This past week has been so awesome!
We have walked all over this city. It sounds so weird to say, but my legs feel like they did after running the 5 mile in Moab, except this is from WALKING. Every evening we come home so exhausted. Anziano Melling makes a spontaneous random joke and then starts laughing while I give him a weird look. Then ten seconds later I finally get his joke and start laughing too and then he starts laughing more at me and really none of it is probably that funny, but we are so tired it's hilarious!!! We haven't disturbed the neighbors yet...that's a good sign.
On Tuesday we went to Palermo for DDM and then stayed the night and had exchanges on Wednesday. It was fun staying in the four-man house in Palermo and exchanges were awesome! Wednesday morning I went out with Anziano Rusch to visit less-actives. I didn't have a bus ticket and I'm kind of poor because somebody spent too much on groceries last week so we got to walk the streets (Jk jk I have enough, we just wanted to walk)! Towards the end of the morning at the last house we had to visit, we had the coolest experience.
We walked up to the gate surrounding the huge apartment building, found the person's name on the column of buttons and rung his doorbell. To our surprise his voice came on the little speaker and he anxiously welcomed us in. As we sat in his frontroom, he explained to us how just before we came he had been struck with the thought that he needed to change his life and there were things he needed to do. He expressed his feelings on how we as people must rely on God and even shared a scripture from the Bible that he liked. It was such a cool visit! It is amazing to me how the Lord prepares people.
It makes me think of a time just days before that, where Anziano Melling and I were leaving the apartment for the day and just two blocks from home, we said good morning to a father standing outside his house. We started talking to him and he opened up and told us about his daughter who has severe depression. We explained our message and that it is there to help us come closer to Christ and as a result will bless our lives. As we walked away, I remember getting the strongest impression that this trial was giving to that daughter to prepare her heart and bring her to Christ. I thought of the trials in my life and how grateful I am that I had the knowledge of Jesus Christ so that I could turn to Him and not only be whole, but improved. After that experience, I am trying to make it a mental habit to ask, whenever trials come, "How is this preparing me?" I can't say I necessarily love all my trials, but I am grateful for the opportunities to grow. And even more, I am thankful for the Atonement that allows me to truly change and grow. I love that process! Heavenly Father knew what He was doing when He sent us to earth.
Anyways, back to Palermo... So after we left that less-active's house a member had requested a blessing so we stopped by their house. There were two brothers that wanted blessings. Anziano Rusch did one and I did the other. I hadn't learned how to give a blessing in Italian, but the second brother spoke English well so it was okay to give it in English. It was a powerful moment. Everytime I give a blessing and I feel the Spirit and I know this is God's power.
It is so weird doing things like that in English. It reminds me of two Sundays ago when I stopped an African guy on the street and started talking to him about the Book of Mormon. Partway through, he said in gooder English, "What language are you speaking?" (In my mind I was like, "Well apparently not Italian!!") Anyways, I proceeded to switch gears and explain the Book of Mormon in the most clumsy bunch of English words I have ever used. It was so weird. Haha
Have a good week! Vi voglio un sacco di bene!!! Anziano Stucki.
Picture four is us in Palermo. To my left is Anziano Rusch my exchange companion and at the head of the table is Anziano Gibson from the MTC. It was good to see him. It's pretty rare for MTC companions to be in the same district out in the field so it is cool!
Picture six is us and the other Palermo companionship getting brioscia in Palermo (brioscia is the best!!!!!).
Grateful for an opportunity to learn and come closer to the Savior, Neal shares his mission experience with us.