This week was exciting! Because of transfers we got put in a trio with Anziano Bacon for the first half of the week here in Pescara. That was exciting. Being in a trio always adds a different dynamic to things.
Later on in the week we did a lesson with Emanuela, a Brasilian member, and her non-member Italian husband, Adamo. In light of the suggestion from our ward mission leader, we decided to invite Adamo to be baptized. He has been coming to church for years. He knows our church extremely well, but we don't think he has ever been officially invited to be baptized so we decided to try! For the lesson we started out by reading Mosiah 18. We read the first ten verses and then began talking tabout baptism. It was super intense but we just went for it and invited him to be baptized and do the necessary things in order to prepare for it. I half expected him to just say we were crazy and deny it, or have a change of heart and say yes. Well he did neither and just responded saying that he's never really felt like he needed to and that he just doesn't see the point. Well, we explained many things to him including the fact that baptism is one of the necessary steps to having an eternal family, but he didn't really say much. It was kind of sad because Emanuela kind of went off on him for a bit telling him he needs to do this or that. In the end though, it has to be Adamo's choice. He did commit to start praying consistently everyday though. It's a small step, but it's the right step. We will just have to be patient and do some praying of our own!
The highlight of the week was for sure last night. I'm not even sure how to put this, but pretty much we got invited to a birthday party of a Nigerian member's 4-year old daughter. Now if that sounds like it might be boring, I will tell you very quickly that it wasn't! It all started when on Sunday in church we went up to the mom, Tessy, to see when we could come by that week to do a LESSON with them. This family is so so busy and we have literally been trying to get an appointment with them for weeks. She was in a hurry to leave, but mumbled something about how we could actually come to their house that night because her daughter was turning 4 and they wanted to have a little party. Well, we decided to go. We were planning on doing a gesso with the district at 6:30 so we thought we would just drop by and then head off to centro where the gesso would be. Well, when we got there, we went into the frontroom and there is a bunch of Nigerians all gathered together, some sitting some standing. Many of them were decked out in fancy African dresses. I don't know how to describe it all, but pretty much they were praying for the little girl whose birthday it was. Praying doesn't seem like the right word though. You could say they were "calling down blessings" upon the girl. At certain points there was one who was speaking a prayer while all the others would be shouting "Amens" and "Hallelujah's." Then they would break out into a ton of individual but still spoken prayers and then sing some hymns that I didn't know. Well, that was the first 15 minutes of the party. Then my companion was asked to give the opening prayer. All I have to say, is it seemed like the most boring prayer I have ever heard in my life. He got a handful of "Amens" and "Hallelujah's" so I don't think the Nigerians would have agreed, but then the Sorelle who un-beknownst to us had also shown up gave a spiritual thought. Then us and the Sorelle sang I Stand All Amazed. I also felt like our performance was pretty lame for that hymn too. 😉 Well, the party got more hyped as we gathered everyone around the table to sing Happy Birthday and have the cutting of the cake. At the top of our lungs we spelled/yelled the letters of, "JESUS" and when we arrived at the last "S" the adorable 4-year old birthday girl brought the knife down on the pink frosted cake and cut it. As the chants and singing got loud and as I began rethinking everything I have ever thought that made a good birthday party, someone pulled out a big sparkling bottle with some clear liquid and began pouring everyone a glass. Now, I may not be the expert on my alcoholic beverages, but two years in Italy has definitely taught me what a bottle of champagne looks like. Nightmare visions started passing through my mind as I thought of the scene of us, headaches and dizzy showing up drunk to the gesso that evening and about the headlines of "District leader and companion get drunk at African party with two sister missionaries, one in the first week of her mission...." Ok. PAUSE! PAUSE!!! Don't freak out. I refused it, they showed it to me and read that it didn't have alcohol so I ended up drinking a sip. It definitely wasn't alcohol. It just tasted like sparkling cider. Anyways, time is up!
I have to go. Please don't worry about me. It was all good.
Love you! Anziano Stucki
Grateful for an opportunity to learn and come closer to the Savior, Neal shares his mission experience with us.