We have seen so many miracles this week. This has probably been the hardest week I've had yet, but it was so rewarding. As the week went on I was more and more tired and humbled. I came to rely on the Lord more and more.
On Saturday we had pranzo (their big lunch they have every day) and a lesson with one of our investigators and two other members in the ward. Our investigator has been smoking for so long and she has been through many missionaries who have all tried to help her. Anziano Melling and I both wanted to help her stop so bad and we had carefully prepared a lesson to share, but after pranzo they started talking and much of it was Siciliano. Siciliano is a dialect they speak here. It is very similar to Latin. I understood almost none of it and Anziano Melling only some. We tried to switch gears and get into our lesson, but it's very hard to stop Italians once they get going. Needless to say, we both felt pretty lost and frustrated afterward and we didn't really get to help her like we wanted.
Right after that we had a lesson with a less-active. Going into this lesson, we started off well but things deteriorated as she asked some odd questions. As we tried to answer her questions she started to become defensive and frustrated. The conversation started to turn into an argument more than a lesson. I felt like she needed to just talk out her concerns fully before she would be more receptive to listen so finally we just stopped talking. She explained her concerns fully, we gave her a satisfying answer and then to our surprise her non-member began to explain a time several weeks ago (about a week before I came) when Anziano Melling gave her a blessing in the hospital and how it gave her the strength to go through some of the hardest testing she has ever had. After that experience, the mom said she wanted to take the lessons! We were so excited!
The next day was Sunday and we had a random less-active from Marsala (a town about 30 min away) walk in and bear his testimony that he new this was the true church and he wanted to come back. That night we also had a member call and say they had planned a dinner for us to come and eat with their non-member grandchildren, and then another ex-investigator from several months ago called later and said he wanted to start taking the lessons again!!
I've thought a lot about the quote "Success is given." I know God always does what is best for us to learn and grow. He may bless us with success one day or withhold it from us another day to test our faith and help us come closer to him. Our job is to strive for exact obedience so we will always be ready to recieve those blessings.
Speaking of obedience, on a more random note one hard thing we are working on following right now is a "no Biacare" rule. Biac-ing is the greeting thing that many Europeans do where they kiss each other on either cheek when saying hello or goodbye. No biac-ing is a new rule that President Pickerd put out only a couple weeks ago. It's very deeply ingrained in their culture so we are having to work hard to resist people everywhere we go. Haha
Anyways, I am doing good! I love the people and I could not be more grateful to be a missionary right now. It is so cool seeing the miracles God creates. I know everything is possible through God. He really can do anything. We just need to trust Him.
One last thing, if you do not feel like singing in church because you are worried what others will think of you, I would like to introduce you to a small branch of 30 people in Trapani, Italy who could out sing 100! They sing with their whole souls! They sound horrible and they're off tune, but few times have I felt such a strong spirit during a sacrament meeing hymn as I have here. I get to play the piano every week for sacrament meeting and I love it so much. There are few things as beautiful as the song of a sincere heart.
Love you all so much!!! Anziano Stucki.
Grateful for an opportunity to learn and come closer to the Savior, Neal shares his mission experience with us.