I cannot believe how fast the time is going by!
I got the results from auditions. I am singing Savior Redeemer of My Soul next Wednesday afternoon at the welcome devotional for the new missionaries. I am so excited and grateful I get to do that! Also, speaking of that, I saw Dallyn Bayles in the temple today!!!!! He came at the very end of the session and was directing people to the veil. It was a huge surprise and the timing was weird so unfortunately I didn't get a chance to talk to him, which is good because I was shocked speechless!!
I realize now I haven't really told you about my zone. There are three Italian districts and two Romanian districts in my zone (probably around 30 people total). Half of the Italians are the Rome mission and the other half are the Milan Mission. My district has two companionships of elders and a tripanionship of sisters. One sister in my district is Canadian and one elder is British (Elder Maytham). The rest of us are American. Everyone is obsessed with Elder Maytham's accent. Good thing he's not annoyed by it, because we have a lot of fun with it. Haha By the way, Donnie Osmond's son is in my zone. He is a really cool guy and a good missionary! Look in the pictures I've sent. I'm sure you can recognize him. He looks just like his dad. Also, as I mentioned my companion is from Pennsylvania. He reminds me a lot of Cade! Haha we have lot's of fun. Good thing he likes to sing also. Whenever we have a spare minute we stop in an empty classroom and belt out a hymn or two while I play the piano.
We did an exercise in class this past week where my teacher took the role of a less-active Italian member. As a class, we practiced teaching a first lesson with her. She basically believed religion was there only to give people hope in a troubled world and that it wasn't relevant to her. As we continued to ask her questions, she also said she didn't feel God's love. I thought of a quote that I heard Hank Smith share at a BYU music camp last year. He said, "Someone with an experience is always more powerful than someone with an opinion." I thought of how literally and powerfully I have felt God's love. I felt the spirit as I bore my testimony in my kindergartner-level Italian that I know God loves her. I have felt that love so powerfully in my life. I wasn't able to say all of this, but I thought how a belief in God is so much more than just hope. It is strength, direction, help, and ultimately purpose. The scripture that says, "This life is a time for men to prepare to meet God," has been on my mind a lot. This life on earth is so momentary. It is not the final destination at all. We left our Heavenly parents to come here for a short time to learn, but the goal was to return to Him and to go back home. Several times I have had moments where I have felt God's love for me and others very powerfully. I now realize that that is the pure love of Christ. That feeling is the best feeling I have ever felt. That love is so empowering and it has kept me going throughout this week. At the end of the class I had this thought, "Dove c'è Dio, c'è casa." (Where there is God, there is home.) Even though I am no longer at my home (in Moab) I am coming to realize that ultimately the most joy, peace, and comfort comes when we are close to God.
One thing I've discovered about myself is how much I love talking to people. One day last week when I was feeling down there were two people who randomly reached out to me. One was a man who I sat by in the endowment session and the other was a member of the new mission presidency who randomly came and sat with my district during lunch. He was so kind. Even when he looked at you, you felt genuine and sincere love. I wanted to do that for someone else. Several times this week I would just reach out to someone around me and introduce myself. This week I got to host new missionaries again. They recruited a lot more hosts than they needed so we spent a lot of time waiting on the curb waiting for the new missionaries to come. During that time, I got to talk to a lot of other random missionaries and I enjoyed it so much. Often we think of missionary work as inviting people to church or teaching them the missionary discussions, but being kind to those we meet is sharing the love of Christ and that is definitely missionary work as well.
By the way, yes, I did get the packages. Thank you so much! My nose bleeds are better. My district always makes fun of me when I take my supplements, but this past week they all got the flu and I didn't so I got the last laugh on that one. :) Haha
By the way, thank Shaunna Sanders for teaching me how to speed read effectively (in the ACT class). It has come in handy here! Haha
Love you all! Anziano Stucki.
Grateful for an opportunity to learn and come closer to the Savior, Neal shares his mission experience with us.