So transfers happened. I am sad to say that I am not at Napoli anymore, but it makes it a lot better when I tell you that I am now serving in the great great city of Roma!!!! My new companion is Anziano McConkie. Yes, he is related to the general authority McConkies. He is from Baltimore, Maryland and loves singing and acting! His goal is to go to Broadway someday and his voice is literally stunning so I don't think that is going to be a stretch at all! Haha seriously his voice is crazy!!! He is really cool too. I think we will have a lot of fun this transfer! We are also in a four man house which is super fun!
Speaking of fun, the ward here is so cool!! As you might guess from a huge melting pot city like Roma, the ward here is very diverse. As far as I can remember from meeting tons of people yesterday in church, there are people from the Phillapeans, Columbia, Honduras, Egypt, Morocco, United States of America, Nigeria, Peru, India, Ghana, Argentina, and obviously Italy not to miss a couple from Sicilia a notable mention from one man who moved here from Napoli 14 years ago. That guy doesn't know that he may or may not be my favorite member. Needless to say, church here is sweet!! All united by the Italian language which everyone speaks on extremely different levels of proficiency. Haha Spanish would be really useful sometimes. I find myself reaching way back to the Spanish dad taught me when I was little, the two month Spanish class I took in 8th grade and the random words that I've learned from family and friends, or my Dominican Republic companion last transfer, or scraping to make connections between Spanish and Italian words. Haha me la cavo.
This saturday we had two baptisms! I literally only met one of the converts just a day before the baptism and the other at the baptism, but I already love them so much. There names are Fabrizio (Italian) and Russell (Philippino). They are both so spiritually mature. Russell's two kids came to the baptism, but his wife couldn't. We included her by doing a Facebook video call with her during the ordinance so she could watch it from work. Fabrizio is so cool! He has so much energy and excitement for the church. He spent all day Saturday just calling friends and family telling them to come to the baptism. He bore the most powerful testimony ever too. He is so extremely spiritually prepared. We did a lesson with him and read the story of Alma baptizing all the people and he kept stopping us to mark scriptures and make notes. Haha I literally consider it an honor that I have been able to meet him in my mission. Yesterday morning when he showed up to fast and testimony meeting he brought these two huge textbook looking things. We asked him what it was and he said he had woken up at 5:00 AM to prepare those things for his testimony!!! Haha we had to explain to him what a testimony actually was. He is so funny. Also, by the way me and Anziano McConkie did a musical number at the baptism! I played the piano and he sang. We did, "Abide with me tis' even tide" in Italian. It was pretty intense. The spirit was forte! We decided we are going to try to sing on the metros for finding this week so I'll keep y'all updated on that one next week!
Then Sunday evening we went with Fabrizio, Russell, his wife, his son, and our bishop to go visit the temple!!!!!! It was soooooo sick!!!!! I have missed going to the temple so much on my mission. We obviously couldn't go inside and the grounds are still being done so all we could do is just look at it from this mini "visitor center"/trailer, but the spirit was so strong!! There was just a presence there. Fabrizio was so happy too. Seeing him there at the temple made me think of the line in the Book of Enos where he says, "the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart." I love the line "the joy of the saints." Fabrizio is now one of the saints and he is so happy! He has found what he was searching for. I was able to meet Russell's wife and talk to her. His son is funny too. I think he is like 9. He only speaks Italian because they moved to Italy when he was 3 so he forgot English. While his parents were looking around at all the stuff he got bored so I sat with him and we read scripture stories in the children's version of the scriptures. It was so peaceful just reading scriptures and sitting there by the temple with such a funny little kid. I love the temple so much. I would not have traded that moment for anything in the world!
I am so grateful for the opportunity to be here in Rome with Anziano McConkie and so many cool investigators and members. When we first arrived there at the temple there was an Italian member couple there visiting for a second. I talked to them and they mentioned how they lived in some palazzos just right across the way close to the temple. I said, "Voi siete molto fortunati!" (You are so lucky!) The husband responded saying, "No, non esiste la fortuna, solo le benedizioni." (No, luck doesn't exist, only blessings). How true that is! Everything we have from the world around us to our homes and lives all the way to the temple where we are sealed to our families forever is a blessing from God. It is not luck! We should be sure to be thankful for everything we have. It is not there by chance.
Love you, Anziano Stucki.
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Grateful for an opportunity to learn and come closer to the Savior, Neal shares his mission experience with us.