Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Miracles of Christmas

Dear Family and Friends,

You know you've had a good week when you end it with aching muscles and just begging to take a nap for P-day. All I can say is that I haven't ever experienced a week like this in my mission. It was unbelievable.

Suffice it to say, I am having a good time here in Cagliari. Every day it seems like is an adventure with Anziano Wiggins and having two other Anziani in the house helps with the jokes, but especially the spiritual strength we have together. As a house, we keep ourselves constantly updated on how the work is going, especially in finding new investigators, in an attempt to encourage one another to work as hard as possible. For example, one night we sacrificed taking the next bus home because we saw someone on the other side that we thought we should talk to and we had a very good conversation and we got his number!

Some funny events include a strike happened for the air traffic controllers so a missionary trying to get his permesso di soggiorno was stuck here an extra day, we had a ward party where the Africans sang a traditional song for Christmas and then we had to do the same unexpectedly (all we could think of was Jingle Bells), and looking for a smoke detector and finding out that no one in Italy owns a smoke detector. But the week was really defined by the people we taught.

First off, Victor. Victor is a refugee who is from Nigeria and is also only 22 years old. He is a friend of a member that just came to church one day and felt a different spirit than he had in other churches. We have had the great opportunity to teach him for the past 3 weeks and we had an amazing lesson with him and Bishop Maltesi on tithing. Actually, it was the first time I had ever taught the law of tithing to an investigator I think. It was amazing to see his dedication to endure to the end, that's definitely something that defines him. Since he is a refugee, he is interviewed by our mission president for baptism and so that wasa really cool expereince to participate in. We told Victor to show up at 3 and he showed up at 3:45. Good thing the interview started at 4. It's not their fault usually though, but in general Africans show up late thanks to buses being late or other things.

But all went well and his baptism will take place on the 23rd of December! He is really amazing and so we are glad he wants to take a big step toward becoming closer to God. If he was the only miracle, I would be content but there's more. John has been struggling to come to church on time even though he has so much faith in what we teach. We gave him a Word of Wisdom pamphlet to read over and he came to the lesson, explaining that he had quit smoking the day before because he felt that was exactly what God wanted him to do. He taught us the lesson basically and so we decided to really commit him to come to church and so Anziano Wiggins invited him to be at church at 8. He didn't hesitate a bit and said he would be there before we were (and we are usually the first ones in church). Sure enough we get a call while we are on the bus to church, and it's John asking where we are because he was in front of the church. Just so amazing!

And then there's Domenico. Our ward mission leader gave us the information to contact someone that was interested on Facebook. And so we met at the church for a lesson and in Anziano Wiggins' words, he is the most prepared person I have ever met. We sit down talking about why he wanted to meet and so he explains that he was thinking about how many denominations of churches interpret the Bible in different ways and then searched on the internet for scripture that hadn't been changed, that was original. And so the Book of Mormon came up. For me, he was exactly like Joseph Smith in his search for where the truth was. We explained it all and left it all up to him, to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it and to come to church. Well he started reading and had an amazing time in church and the members couldn't believe how cool he was. He is certainly one of kind. He even wants to see the Rome temple construction site when he visits Rome for Natale.

I've learned a lot this week. God has blessed us so much this week and is continuing to help us be his instruments. In my studies this week, I've found myself turning again like I did last year to charity and I remember the question posed to me by someone, Do you really love those you teach and serve? We are doing a lot of great work but the most important thing I should do, I realized, is love others. More importantly, show that I do love them. So I hope during this last week before Christmas that it will be possible. I love this mission and see the blessings that God has bestows on me everyday and I hope to share those with everyone. It's going to be an amazing Christmas in the Lord's service, all thanks to our Savior Jesus Christ.

Vi voglio bene!

Anziano Price

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Mission At Its Best

Dear Family and Friends,

So here we are. It's week two of the transfer and I feel like we have done so much yet there is so much yet to do. Exhausted and yet really excited for what's to come. Searching to improve, yet also very content with how the week. To put it simply, it was awesome!

We first had our zone conference which while being a little crazy and put together fast, it turned out really well. I love having the opportunity to try and make a difference in the lives of these great missionaries we have serving on the Rock of Sardegna! With the help of my companion, Anziano Wiggins and Sorella Demann, we delivered a great addestramento and we are shooting very very high this transfer, in terms of goals and working our absolute hardest. Better time now than never to rededicate yourself completely to the work. The tiramisù I made turned out really really well, miracles were seen the night before in finding as a zone, more trainings were done and pretty soon it was over. I'm so ready to work my hardest now.

And we certainly did. We had lessons with our investigator Victor as well as with John who brought his wife to the lesson with the bishop, both of whom are from Nigeria actually. They surprise me so much during the lessons with how much they understand on a spiritual level the gospel of Jesus Christ. I catch myself going into lessons thinking something will be difficult or that they won't understand a certain concept. Like take for example, when I ask them what it means to have faith in Jesus Christ? Everytime the answer blows me away, on a level usually that I never thought of. Victor and John have been through a lot in life and understand truly what is important in life.

But I have to say miracles just keep falling out of the sky for us. We are sitting in correlation and our ward mission leader mentions someone who we should see. So we proceed to message him on Facebook and he immediately responds with questions about the Book of Mormon and our testimonies. There's that and Anziano Wiggins randomly just talked to a man running a Cagliari jersey store that turned out to be both interested in English Group and also learning about what we believe. Crazy!

Anziano Wiggins is a really good missionary, just an inspiration in daily diligence and receiving revelation that is just incredible. Also he really loves NASCAR. Plus the other two anziani, Anziano Anderton e Hunsaker are really amazing and we have our own Christmas tree and we are going all out for Christmas! Cagliari is just a great place to be. On Saturday nights, we do a blitz which more or less is where we go out with a whiteboard that says we teach english for free and talk to everyone that is interested and give away a lot of pass along cards. The centro is packed with people and it is fun to just talk to italians as they try to speak broken english or make fun of our american accents.

Honestly, I have the mission at it's best right now. Sure there have been and still there are a lot of daily struggles and I realize that I am old diciamo in the mission, but really I realize that I have been blessed. Blessed to serve in really cool places, meet amazing people, have great companions, and just be a missionary. My message really is to just enjoy Christmas. To remember why we do this all. The fact is that we truly do have a Savior, I can testify that he lives and that means He heals us and performs miracles and comforts us and teahces us today, just like he did back in Judea. I've spent some personal study time looking specifically at the words used for Christ's Atonement, being ransom paid, blood spilt, and how he now can forgive us all. It really is an honor to be at his side and proclaiming His name for He has saved my life and I owe Him every tribute of gratitude I can muster. (Luke 7:41-47)

Vi voglio bene!

Anziano Price

Monday, December 4, 2017

Welcome to the Rock!

Dear Family and Friends,

I'm sure you're wondering where I am. So am I because I got transfered to Cagliari and I feel like I am dreaming. Okay, geography lesson: I moved from the islamd of Sicily to the other island in our mission called Sardegna. Fun fact: legend has it that Sardegna is actually where the lost city of Atlantis is based. All in all, it has been a switch from night to day. Smooth streets, buses that are timely, no trash! It's like I've been transfered to a mix of northern Italy and England. And despite my heart being in Sicily, I love it here!

I bid my adieus right after I got the call on Monday night by visitng a few families, seeing our miracle investigator, Santo, and teaching our great English Group one last time. Someone must have mentioned that I was leaving because some of the students gave me some chocolate as a gift. I will miss the Sicilian generosity that I have experienced for a good while.

I found that I was leaving on Wednesday which was quite a shock because normally you leave on Thursday. So after a flight, I am here in Cagliari with literally one of the best people I could ever serve with, Anziano Wiggins. He is the best, just such an inspiration and a great hard worker. We are going to work so so so hard this transfer.

Okay I would write a lot more but we have zone conference interviews today, the first zone conference of the transfer and it has been crazy. Just know that I know God answers prayers. He certainly answered my prayers. I am so blessed to serve on a mission and so grateful to be here in this new place. I could finish my mission here. Time is flying but now is the time to literally make my mission memorable and life changing. I can't wait to get started.

Vi voglio bene!

Anziano Price

Monday, November 27, 2017

Last Thanksgiving Here

Dear Family and Friends,

It would be wrong not to say what I am grateful for and since I wasn't there to say it at the Thanksgiving table, you'll have to listen to my belated comments.

It would be rude not to thank my family first. That is my Heavenly Father and my brother, Jesus Christ. Without them, I would not be here. Without my parents and their amazing upbringing of me, I would not be here. Thanks to my siblings, I had a great time growing up, having fun and learning still, an education that prepared me for the experience that I did not expect, Italy.

I am so grateful for Italy. You can focus so much on what's wrong and doesn't work and there are certainly some aspects of Italy that are funny. 1-4 o'clock breaks, bidets, hand gestures, crazy street traffic, etc. But I just love it! There's nothing that really makes an experience depressing by thinking of how the grass is greener on the other side. There is no other grass, I'm in Sicily and there's no where else I should want to go or even compare this great island. There are things I will gladly take from their culture, like food, emphasis on family time, getting out of the house more, and general friendliness to random strangers. Sure normally you find those that don't say a word back, but Sicily has some of the nicest people I have ever met.

Speaking of people, I am thankful for all the members I have ever served while I was in their areas. This week we had another wonderful pranzo from the great Rochira family that filled me to bursting, just because it was so good and I can't resist that. They are such a sweet family, with laughter and with the spirit of helping others. They culiminate family love and I hope to follow that example for my family someday, including the italian cooking(seriously, I'm grateful that I have a love for cooking now. I made an oreo cheesecake and tiramisù ). The members here have spent what time they could to make me feel more at home, help me fulfill my purpose, and be a light in my life.

I thank each and every one of my companions. As I said in my talk in the american Sigonella Branch this last sunday, I have begun a journal that records all the lessons I have learned from my mission and really, it begins with my companions. I'm grateful for Anziano Draghi, Easton Anderson, Moscon, Albright, Mars, and my current companions, Perfili. They have taught me a lot and I am trying to write it all down. I hope they know that I appreciate and love them. They helped me when I needed it and gave me lessons that I will take for the rest of my life. They made me who I am and have made my mission the way it is.

The mission has been a miracle and I can't repay God enough. I say a lot of words and so I should show it with a story, rather than just write all these great sentences. We were walking in a park and we proceeded to stop the 2nd guy we had seen on a bench. We asked if he wanted to watch a video and he said sure. We showed him SiiunaLuce to which he then asked who we were and then where are church was. This led to a church tour later that afternoon, teaching him the Restoration, and he even came to church that weekend. Santo is amazing and I'm so glad I got to take part in that. That wasn't me, that was God. But I am grateful that we were worthy and ready to follow the prompting, go into the park, and were prepared to teach when called upon.

I'm grateful for forgiveness, especially forgiving others, because that was needed this week, as well as prayer and repentance. I'm grateful that I still got a little taste of Thanksgiving from an American family living here and getting giant arancini from a nice couple who want to begin investigating the church again. I'm grateful that I got to work hard this week and that I had a fun P-day playing ultimate frisbee with an entire zone of great missionaries, including Anziano Morrill and Gunnell from the MTC, who I hope to have influenced just a tiny bit. I'm grateful for every trial or at least I am trying to be grateful for them and see them as stepping stones to growth.

You see how easy it is to be happy and cheerful when you see the blessings before you? I certainly saw that the best thing to do is to look at a situation or people with grateful eyes and find the best in it or them. Nothing is easy nor ever will be and it is easy to be a pessimist. I choose to see things with the help of Christ's light as they are and always try to improve nonetheless. Will there be times still where I doubt my purpose being here? Yes. But now I have a long list of things to say I received from this mission and if nothing else, I know more than ever that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that we need Him more than ever in our lives. If that's all that comes, even though He always promises more, that is sufficient for me.

Vi voglio bene!

Anziano Price

P.S. If I get transferred, you'll find out next week :)

Monday, November 20, 2017

Joy to the World (I know it's not Christmas yet)

Dear Family and Friends,

What a wonderful week! I will attempt to recount the experiences with same vigor and feeling I had in the moment, which will hopefully give you a peek into my life as a missionary.

First off, it was the week of appointments. It just seemed like we barely fit in time to do studies because we were running from appointment to appointment (more like driving speedily sicilian style and trying to quickly find a "legal" parking spot). First it began with the Smedila family, then the Penroses, the Hawkes, the Sanfillipos, and the list continued for all the investigstors and less active members we tried to visit. Honestly, I feel spoiled to be in this spot on the mission. The members here cook so well, are welcome and open with the missionaries, and are sincerely trying to help us find people to teach. I love feeling the Spirit that is so abundant in their homes and challenging them to change and improve in spiritual thoughts while eating a delicious pistachio pesto pasta, a chocolate cake, chicken salad sandwiches, and even homemade sourdough bread (in this ward, there are some American families we visit).

One thing that has defined my mission is love for sure. I've tried to always show love to those we teach, serve, and minister to, especially the missionaries I work with as a leader. I had the amazing opportunity to go on two scambios. First, I went with a young first transfer missionary, Anziano Trickett, who I can tell has great desire and, like when I was a greenie, is nervous speaking with others and opening his mouth in Italian. I can say with little doubt that it was one of the best days of my mission. I forced ourselves to talk to a lot of people, the most people I have tried to stop in a while. Some stopped us before we could get words out of who we were, others answered our questions in the beginning but soon closed off. Anziano Trickett has the great idea ask people if they wanted to see a video of Jesus Christ. And so after receiving two bidones from investigators, we set out prayerfully searching for people to talk to with 3 hours left. Sucessfully, we showed the video at least 4 times to athiests, catholics, and those of the world (one group offered us marijuana at the end of our conversation). One person remarked that he would like to find more videos of Christ and so hopefully we can see him again. My favorite part was bearing pure testimony afterward of who we are, that Christ lives and has called a prophet to restore his Church and that even today we have a prophet who lives. We felt the spirit powerfully and we knew it was true, even if no one else we talked to believed us. What can finish a great night like that better than a scambio kebab?

All I can say is that I know there is a reason I am here, in the exact spot where I am, so that I can be an example and help these great missionaries I am serving with become even better than me. The other scambio was with someone I look up to very much and was very touching because God let me see how much I was needed here right now and how I have truly made a  diffference, even when the world might say otherwise. Losing yourself in the service of God is truly one of the greatest feelings one can have.

To close, we had an amazing stake conference here first in Catania and then at Siracusa. First off, I got to translate at least 5 hours of talks into a microphone for the English speakers which I have to say I was quite impressed that I had the capacity to even do something like that. My brain was certainky fried though. But the special moments were seeing all the wonderful members I have worked with again. The members of Ragusa couldn't cease shaking our hands and giving us hugs and baccios since Anziano Perfili also served in Ragusa too. They begged our mission president to send Anziano Perfili back and asked for us to come back down to Ragusa before I leave. Their reaction left my heart full with joy and then the Siracusa members came! I saw Giuseppe, a new convert who I was able to teach who still remembered me, as well as other great members who can't believe that I am still here. There were just too many people. They have made the great effort to make us happy and feel loved, and I have to imagine that it is because the missionaries changed each one of their lives.

At the end of the conference, we sang God be with you until we meet again. I can't help but feel that might be the last time I see any of the great members of Sicily again because transfers are next week and it just might be my time. I will miss it all so so so dearly. I don't know if there is anything that will come close to the feelings I felt, the experiences I've had, the memories I've made right here on an island that I didn't know existed. Did I think any of this was going to happen before I left on my mission? No way. Am I glad that I am here now? You bet I am! I have felt the most happy on my mission as I shared pure testimony, as I really tried to give it my all, when I was exactly obedient, when I served someone who had need of me (even if it is just making pancakes in the morning on a scambio, a pasta al forno for the house or giving a street performer a euro to thank him for taking a video of me playing the violin). I loved this week so much and I can't wait to try it again this week. It's all true and it's time to bring this joy to the world.

Vi voglio bene!

Anziano Price

Monday, November 13, 2017

Good Times

Dear Family and Friends,

What a great week! I can honestly say for the most part that I am trying my best and that of course I am genuinely enjoying my time here in Italy. And out of all places to be, it's Catania!

My love for Catania has grown and that obviously starts with the people. We spent several nights in the centro of the city and other piazzas waiting for contacts, stopping people, and I couldn't help but take all the wonder in. The small crowds of ragazzi, couples, tourists, foreigners selling goods, and the occasional homeless man. The snowcapped mount Etna in the background of a cathedrals, narrow cobblestone streets, and statues. It's amazing to really think that I am blessed to be in Italy just now to talk to people about God and having joy in this life. Literally, yesterday I spent the night asking people on a scale from 1-10 how happy they were. Maybe I should change the question because they all said they were 10s currently even though I promise you the gospel of Jesus Christ could have made them happier.

It's also been getting a lot colder, like cold enough for sweaters and coats some nights. I just can't believe it's already this time of year. One night we were sitting on a cold bench in this piazza for someone who never showed up and so to use time wisely, I spent it trying to start conversations by looking at them until they made eye contact and then trying to compliment them on something. It somewhat worked :) I'm just mosly trying to work on being more spontaneous in following the Spirit.

Being with Anziano Perfili during this time has been fun. We are teaching well, working well as zone leaders, and laughing together, although being on scambios were also great too. I should have took some pictures but had some fun and did some great work these past few days with Anziano Morrill from Ragusa and Anziano Haws who is also in Catania.

One of the most special moments was with Fratello Ghignola. He is a member that lives farther out and recently his wife passed away and we have been meaning to go see him. Finally we had this appointment that seemed like him mostly just talking about his time as a ward mission leader years ago and I didn't know if it was the best use of our time. But during our spiritual thought, I just felt that this is where we needed to be and he was the one to help. He is alone almost all the time and part of my mission was meant to help him out that night feel a little bit happier.

Nothing else to say. I'm loving it here. God is certainly blessing me with great appreciation for this city and the people in it. It was a great week and I think that really is blessing for how much more effort I put in, how much I really just tried even more to talk to everyone. I know it's true and I want to continue to let everyone here know.

Vi voglio bene!

Anziano Price

Monday, November 6, 2017

A Full Week

Dear Family and Friends,

As the the week comes to an end and you have to finally write about what actually happened, I always evaluate on the things I did. Did I help someone in need? Did I talk to everyone I could? Did I make this week worth it? What could I have done better? It's hard to constantly thinking of your performance (good thing I've had some practice with that from violin) but I promise you it's worth it. There's a difference from saying you are a missionary and being a missionary. I hope that my words express that I am honestly trying notwithstanding the many weakenesses I have and the faults that still get me.

Comunque, it was a great week to be a missionary here in Sicily. We had a conference in Palermo, one of the cities I have yet to serve in. So while everyone else was taking trains and buses, we took a nice classic road trip. And of course we stopped for a gelato and brioche, probabĺy one of the best I have eaten (because that's what Palermo is known for). There were so many missionaries that I haven't seen in a while so ot was great to catch up and just enjoy a great night before the conference. The next day, Elder Engbjerg (eng-byow) came and spoke to us as well as President Pickerd about focusing on the fundamentals, but especially about loving others, finding the One everyday, and never giving up. I have to say I quite enjoyed it but the fun did not stop there.

The day after, Anziano Perfili and I along with the sister training leaders caught a plane all the way up to Roma! There we held a council, bearing testimony of how we can make the mission more successful and it was just powerful to feel the Spirit and see how we can improve our mission leadership. It was definitely a fun trip there and back, and made me want to try better.

Side story: Well I thought the plane ride would be a good time to practice talking to the One and so I tried to strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to me. Turns out he's from Vittoria, which was a city near Ragusa so we had plenty of things to talk about. Just a nice conversation. And you know what, on the plane ride back the next day I sat next to someone who was from Ispica, another town in the province of Ragusa. A couple tender mercies that just show the divine design of God in his plan for me.

Also funny story: I made cheesecake for the break the fast pranzo after church and all the members really enjoyed except for the first counselor who insisted that we should have made brownies. So far, he's one of the only Italians that would deny the cheesecake, unlike one member who asked to take the leftovers home :)

Being away was great, but we basically came back with only 2 days to work for the week. We made a goal to call everyone in our phone and out of it we actually got 3 potential appointments. But that night was also life changing. We were walking along the Lungomare and I felt the prompting to talk to quite a few people. But when it came to the opportunity, I backed out. I'll be honest and admit that I am scared to still talk to people. It happened so many times that night and I began to get really anxious. I have looked to people like Anziano Perfili around me to solve my problems, but this time, I finally looked up to Christ. In the last ten minutes I finally stopped 2 ragazzi, asked them some questions, they weren't interested and we left. It might not seem like much but I knew God was pleased that I tried because as I always forget, that's all he wants me to do.

This week will mark an entire year that I have spent in Sicily in the same zone. Everyone asks me, doesn't that drive you a little crazy? Sure it can, but I think it's something God intends for me to learn really well. To be content with the life. To be the difference and help others do the same. It's so hard and I am only touching the iceberg on it. It's my challenge, my struggle, and I'm finally going all in on talking to everyone, not being afraid, and finding the One to help each day. To put it simply, I'm trying to become like Jesus and help others do the same, no matter how difficult it may be.

Vi voglio bene!

Anziano Price

Monday, October 30, 2017

Second Chances

Dear Family and Friends,

It's getting more and more difficult to recount the weeks. They are just normal to me these days. Yet there is nothing normal about taking giros on Italian streets, trying to talk to random strangers about who God is. It's nerveracking and breathtaking at the same time, especially when you make things really fun.

Let me give some examples. One day we were riding the metro home and I had the idea to talk to this one guy on the other side. I had no idea how to go about it but it is a lot easier to just ask if I can sit next to someone. So I did that and just asked, "Hey can I practice Italian with you?" And surprisly he said yes! We started talking with my broken italian and his broken english about normal things (which always leads to why I am here all the way from Arizona) and we communicated pretty well. I guess it was the Holy Ghost. It was a cool experience and at the end, I got his facebook profile. That's two things I have learned recently. Ask and you shall receive, and it is really easy to ask for people's facebook.

There were many times in fact where I could really feel God guiding us to do what we did. Sometimes, it seemed like we were lost, without a purpose, but then we popped into a random music store and I try and play a violin in the attempt to strike up a conversation. Or we would pass by a ragazzo, realize we needed to talk to him and then turn around in the attempt to ask him a question. I'm really learning how to follow promptings, to do it the first time and never ignore, even though I still mess up on that a lot still.

Okay, I'll talk about the Halloween party now. First off, I thank all the leaders and my parents for all the parties they ever pulled off in my ward back home because it takes a lot of work. The bishop put the missionaries in charge of the party and so we did our best to organize. In the end, there were multiple trips to the grocery store, some hours of planning, and lots and lots of baking. We made peanut butter frosted brownies with peanut butter caramel popcorn while the Sorelle took care of cookies and cinammon rolls and jello, and the decorations. Yah we went all out with our 100 euro budget :) It was a crazy party in the end, the ragazzi like to take over things with their music and dancing, but it was actually a lot of fun for the families and our investigators. It made having to clean our kitchen like 3 times in a row worth it haha.

Other small things include going to a fun pranzo at the Smedilas, another cena with la famiglia Rochira, translating a talk into english for an American couple on the spot that called out some Italian members for talking too loudly during church, daily night schenanigans with the other great Anziani we have in our house, and normal missionary work.

So yeah, missionary work is great! It requires so much strength, faith, repentance, obedience, love, discpline, hard work, and lots of mistakes, but there is no either way to do. I believe that the time when I have given it my all has been the time when it has been most worth it and I just loved the mission. I am working my way up to it again so I am grateful I believe in a God that is merciful and gives second chances and whole lot more after that because I need them and the world needs them. I just want to tell everyone this truth that has only become more true thanks to my mission here.

Vi voglio bene!

Anziano Price

Monday, October 23, 2017

Lots of Thoughts

Dear Family and Friends,

So the calls have come and as I expected, I am still here in Catania and I am in fact here with Anziano Perfili still too. That was a little more unexpected but it usually takes me two transfers with someone to get united and do my best work (considering 6 weeks now goes by sooo fast). We are a good duo with still a few kinks, but what great companionships don't have kinks?

The ward is certainly happy that we are still together as seen from the hugs, bacces (missionary talk for "italian kisses"), and compliments.  There is nothing like an Italian ward that's for sure. Yes, wherever you go in the world the church has the same organization and structure and of course the sacrament, but there are always some unique features. Like the one old sicilian in Elder's Quorum that is famous for giving long and interesting comments, the first counselor handing the person giving a talk a note that says they need to end their talk in one minute because they used up too much time, and of course the overwhelming sense of love you feel from all their buon giornos, handshakes, and especially their hand gestures. I even got the privilege of seeing a lot of the youth from Siracusa and Ragusa, and even someone from Pozzuoli yesterday as well and it's amazing to see that my friendship with them still exist.

I certainly also love being in this same zone and treasuring the relationships I have with these great missionaries that I work with. On Thursday we helped send missionaries off to their new cities, including Anziano Mars who will be going to Rome. I got to do a little mini scambio the night before with him which reminded me of what seems like forever ago in Ragusa. And of course, we got kebab (look it up, it's really good here!).

So after the craziness of helping others with transportation, Elder Ballard's conference,zone leadership councils, and helping the vescovo charge batteries for translation, we were still able to make a difference in our work. From an apostle, we received the challenge to talk to 10 people every day and so I have been really trying to put it into practice. You talk to anyone and I mean anyone to reach that goal, like these two full grown men racing RC race cars in the parking lot for fun haha.

For me, talking to people has always been my struggle because I'm a nervous guy and I don't like to bother other people. I kind of have to turn my brain off actually and just go for it, saying "Hey how are you?" or "I like your dog. What's his name" and things like that, and soon things always progress to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. This one lady we stopped immediately recognized us as missionaries because her sister recently was baptized nearby in Caltanisetta about a year ago which really shocked us. We were told by Elder Ballard to expect miracles so I am working hard to truly believe and do my part.

Really, this week has been a wake-up call to the fact that the end is getting closer and closer than I think. 9 months is nothing in missionary time. I want to end as my best self, doing everything right. While that expectation isn't healthy (especially since I've recently become a clutz and cracked the kitchen stove in my attempt to clean), I want to live everyday from now on without regret. To make the most of every day because today is the day! Soon I will have to leave this great country and take off the missionary tag, so I want to do it with the utmost assurity that I did my best. Because I owe to God to try.

Vi voglio bene!

Anziano Price

Monday, October 16, 2017

Car, Italians, and Normal Work

Dear Family and Friends,

It's going to be a good day. Tonight we get transfer calls and I have no idea what to expect. Anziano Perfili has his predictions, but I've learned for myself that I can never really predict where God wants me to be in the mission. I'm so happy though because we had a great week and I feel like it will just continue to get better.

First off, we finally got the car back! Yes after my stupid mistake and waiting 2 weeks, we got to work with the vehicle. We made appointments with members, were able to make it to appointments on time, and not have to wait for late buses. I love using public transportation but a car is necessary sometimes, especially here.

We had an appointment with a great family named the Sanfillipos. We enter their house hearing a two year old scream, the house in a little disorder, and the parents working on fixing up dinner while the kids were roaming the house. Families like that are amazing to me. Sorella Sanfillipo managed to make a tiramisù in less than an hour and Fratello Sanfillipo  The kids were cute, Vincenzo is a stud youth, and the parents are amazing young converts. Might I add the food was really good and we invited them to give a friend a Book of Mormon.

Actually the inspiration for that challenge came from one night we were on the Lungomare. While walking and trying to talk to some ragazzi, these three boys randomly stopped us and asked who we were. This is normal so we begin to explain and soon these ragazzi are posing questions at us that are pretty big. What's after this life? What does it mean to believe? Who's God? Are their evil spirits in the world? Why would God create evil in the world? And so we opened up the Book of Mormon and explained it all our best. It was cool and the Spirit was there, helping these 13 year old boys understand the truth. Maybe something will come out of it soon.

As for the rest, we visited the Famiglia Rochira and like always give us the most amazing food and stories. We also were able to do a fun activity with the GANS which was crazy and the rest was more finding people who seem to be interested. I love the members here dearly and what was even better was hearing Elder Ballard do a broadcast here for all of Europe. In fact, when we arrived, there were two random men who walked into the church wondering about "mass". Turns out they were interested to learn more about this church they knew from about 30 years ago and found the gate open. They promised to come back next week when church actually starts and I think they want to learn more.

Like always, it's up and down. Days where it feels like nothing is happening and then everything is happening. Days where I want to teach everyone and days where I don't feel willing and able to give it my all. But there are two things I will never deny. Food and the blessings of this mission. I want to do my best and live up to the challenge that I have been given. It's an honor to serve a mission here and I just want to change Catania as much as  it has changed me.

Vi voglio bene!

Anziano Price

Monday, October 9, 2017

Another Week

Dear Family and Friends,

I'm in Siracusa right now just enjoying a nice day back in my old city, living up the memories. Man, I love my mission so much! It has really built my testimony on how God has divinely designed our lives with the amazing people, tender mercies, miracles, and even challenges that make us happy and reach our potential.

Really, the whole week centered on zone conference and the persepective is definitely different when you are in charge. On Monday, my scambio with Anziano Smith got rained on and so we decided to go out anyway. It was an amazing night, even if we didn't find anyone or get the car back, because I was able to see why I was called as a zone leader specifically to help him that night. While I won't share the personal details, I was able to relate and just show love and support and it was great.

Nevertheless, the rain continued thoughout the week. And without the car, we had to do a lot of replanning in order to help our mission president move from the airport to the church, meet for a pranzo with the vescovo, do all the interviews for the missionaries, as well as organize how the missionaries can arrive safely to our apartment to stay the night (let's just say some people got soaked!). I loved seeing all the missionaries gathered together and as well as my father in the mission, Anziano Draghi(who gave me a tie), and my son in the mission, Anziano Mars(who made me an apple pie!). The hard part was cramming that many missionaries into one apartment and then getting to bed on time.

Zone Conference was great and our part of the training went well. We also had Sorella Rochira from the ward make pranzo for all the missionaries and it was soo good!  Funny story: so the car we rented to take President Pickerd home was a stick shift as well (luckily he knew how to drive). But the problem was I had to drive the car back to the rental store. Well 15 minutes later I finally figured out how to change gears again and get the car back all in one piece. :)

Really there isn't much else to report. I feel like God is blessing us even when I also feel I could be doing so much more. Our lessons have been going well, the members are great and funny and good cooks, and I have great missionaries to work with. I just want to keep doing my best. I know God has called me to this mission for a reason. I'm learning so much and it really is a blast! I know God lives and loves us and has a plan for each of us. All we have to do is ask Him and trust Him in all things.

Vi voglio bene!

Anziano Price

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Little Red Fiat That Could

Dear Family and Friends,

Today was nice. We played soccer with all the missionaries in the zone. Just a nice fun day with good food, laughs, old fsces, and new friends. Now it's raining hard like it has for the past couple days and it's sadly getting in the way of our work. Oh well, what's one more trial right?

I'll just get straight to the good stuff. As Zone Leaders, we have the responsibility to teach and inspire the missionaries we serve. We felt strongly the need to strengthen the Ragusa district and so we decided this week to go their district meeting (I promise this gets more interesting so stick with me).

We pull into the great city of Ragusa and I couldn't help but feel that same special love once again for the time I spent here. Exactly the same good old tranquillo Ragusa. We park in front of the pristine church to find Anziano Morrill and Mars already waiting for us. Anziano Morrill gets a big hug of course and I don't let go of my figlio, Anziano Mars, in the mission for a minute (I didn't realize how much I missed him). Dolce was eaten, the meeting went well as we delivered our message of encouragement and diligence, and we even were able to give blessings of comfort to the Sorelle there.

Now, as we are leaving Ragusa with Anziano Morrill and Mars because we are about to do a scambio, I see we probably should get gas. That leads to Anziano Mars recounting the story of when Simone, a member in Ragusa, put diesel instead of gasoline into his car. I get out, finally figure out how to pay for this, and then grab the black handle and start putting what I think is gas into the car. It was diesel.

Now I know many of you are shaking your heads because I was at that point too. And of course, we reasoned that it probably wasn'ta big deal so we drove. 50 minutes later we are on the side of the highway in the middle of sicilia, waiting for a tow truck to come get us. Finally, it comes after a couple of hours, and I'm just grateful at this point. They give us a car to drive back and follow the truck back home. But twist, it's a small red Fiat 500 and it's a stick shift. Quick update: I don't know how to drive a manual. But since I was the only one authorized to drive, I had to learn. The Italian helping quickly taught, "It's easy! 1, 2, 3, 4, 5!" In short, I manage to finalky learn how to change gears, get the car all the way to 3rd gear on the freeway and stay like that until we get into Catania. In Catania, there was a traffic and it starts pouring! I'm forced to change gears and really finally learn how to drive the car in this rain. In the end, after several times stopping and having to turn on the emergency lights, we made it safely to the auto shop and currently, we hope to get the car soon. That's another mistake I'll never forget.

Really I have been working on encouraging myself more and I had been wishing for more exciting experiences so I got my wish. Nothing else too interesting really. My scambio with Anziano Morrill was nice, my first one so I'm glad it went decently well and that I was able to comfort him and help him serve in Ragusa. As well as I went on a scambio with Anziano Lambert, a greenie here in Catania, and I loved it! I loved seeing that enthusiasm, the desire to attack the world, even if a lot of things got in the way. Other than that, we taught Giuseppe and had an amazing cena thanks to the Rochira family, I had an astounding pistacchio bomba (i'll try and get a picture for next time), and of course, General Conference!

All I can say is, I really needed general conference. I asked God for a mountain to climb and he certainly has given some mighty hills to mount, but I feel there's still more waiting for me. Hearing the words of prophets and apostles really enabled me to feel the Holy Ghost confirm that these things are true, that I just need to keep enduring, and learning, and growing! Have peace, don't fear, and know you are doing the right thing! I know this church is lead by Jesus Christ through his prophet and apostles. I could complain and try to get by with little effort, but that's not what God expects and wants me to do. I'm going to give it all, and hopefully this week I will be able to really feel that I did it!

Vi voglio bene!

Anziano Price

Monday, September 25, 2017

Cool Stories

Dear Family and Friends,

I'm settling in finally. In this beautiful city of Catania, near the newly snowcapped peaks of the volcano, Mt. Etna, I am finally feeling at home. Yes, while I still may get lost here like in my old greenie days, my mental map is starting to click as well as my confidence in driving with these crazy Italians is growing. Yes, the grocery store, people, and missionaries are different here, but that's just another change that I have to tackle and love while doing it.

Okay I first have to thank all the mission leaders I had before. I never realized all the tiny details you have to take care of as well as the late nights writing up reports, brainstorming how to help other missionaries, mixed in with the busy schedule of normal missionary work. I've probably never been more tired in my life, but I just focus on the love I have for all these missionaries. Especially for Anziano Perfili.

He's the best. Different than any missionary I have worked with (which I should have expected because all my companions have been different), but overall, he's been helpful. We had a really good talk one day about how I felt inadequate and doubted why I had been called to this position because I felt like I wasn't cut out for it. Yes tears were shed, that's been me lately, kinda emotional, clumsy, but just doing my best to be humble and learn everything I can from Anziano Perfili. Fortunately, I have someone like him to lift me up and tell me all the good things I am still doing.

For the rest, all I really have are some cool stories. When finding in a park one day, we stopped this young couple and asked them about their belief in God. Instead of normally turning away, they became interested and we soon established contact through Facebook. Then on Friday we met them with the sorelle missionaries and ate a pizza while explaining more about who we were and our beliefs. Emanuele and Stefania were super nice and actually might investigate the next time we meet.

We also had a meal appointment with an american family who gave me a nice memory of home. Classic american meal with good old conversation, an amazing spiritual thought, they committed to planning how to give someone a Book of Mormon, and they even gave us a Reeces Peanut Butter pie which was quite the treat. Let's just say, I'm trying to make a goal of eating healthier this week :)

One day we had an appointment with Fratello Palla (old member who talks in funny grumbly Siciliano) and his family so we figured out the one bus that goes by there house to the middle of nowhwere. We walked in only expecting him and his wife, but we walk in to teaching almost all his less children and grandchildren. That really put the pressure on us, but we just decided to keep it simple with teaching about Jesus Christ and His Atonement. It was a really cool miracle and we might even get a chance to go again tonight.

Miracles just happen here. One night we were in a piazza where we a met a member who is a recent convert and recently just came from Nigeria to here that we had no idea about. As well as then we walked into a comic book store to follow up on a contact, to which an employee there began ti talk to us and added us immediately to his Facebook. And then that night while waiting to get a dolce called bombe (it's the best!), a couple noticed we were speaking in English, asked who we were, and we basically taught the Restoration in 10 minutes.

Giuseppe Paternò continues to be a stud. We read the first chapter of the Book of Mormon and he didn't understand it clearly so we invited him to read it again. He then sent us a photo the next day of the summary of the chapter that he was memorizing! We also met up in Catania where he brought his friend Salvo and we manged on a cipolline (super good onion mozzarella pomodoro ham pastry) and we explained who we were to Salvo as well. And on the way to that appointment, a man named Filippo stopped us and asked if we could teach him about the Book of Mormon. And to top it all off, Giuseppe shows up to church in a nice suit, making all the members wonder if he was a missionary without a tag.

Truly, Catania has been a city of struggle mixed with the blessings of miracles, something I need to be more grateful for. I'm growing to love the city and want to give it my all. As I learned in my study on charity this week, I need to learn how to give up all of myself. Yes I already do that with my time and desires, but that also includes my fears, worries, doubts. My favorite words of advice are to quit worrying about myself and just do what I have been called to do, sacrifice it all. I look forward to this next week with great hope that I am serving God and striving to do the right thing. Hopefully, I will also receive the answers to my prayers this week as we listen to prophets and apostles called by God to lead us. I love you and pray that all is well with you as it is with me.

Vi voglio bene!

Anziano Price

Monday, September 18, 2017

Nothing Like Catania

Dear Family and Friends,

Where do I begin? My perception has accelerated by at least tenfold being here in the bustling city of Catania. It really has made me reflect on all that has happened already during my mission and that really there is an end to all this. I got to make everyday count if I will ever reach my goals and enjoy every glorious minute as a missionary for the Lord.

First off, it's weird to have an older companion. I feel like I am being trained again because Anziano Perfili is showing me some many things that I didn't even know or think about (small things like language because he's a master at that, big things like end mission goals, how to be a zone leader). To be honest, it has been a really difficult thing to adjust to, but I am working on being really humble and letting God lead me to what I need to know. I know once I get back into the rhythm of things after all these big changes, things are going to be great!

I mean things already are great. There is nothing like Catania. Where else can you wake up and have the view of an active volcano from your balcony? Catania is such a big city and without the car right now, we are constantly on the streets right now trying to talk to everyone. It's a nice problem to have too many people to talk to rather than not enough and so I'm grateful for that. The only downsidd is traveling to appointments and such, especially when the bus you planned on taking ends up being late by 45 minutes, totally changing your game plan (reminds me of Pozzuoli haha). Luckily, we have very nice sister missionaries who offer us rides (don't worry, I made them a cheesecake to make up for it)

I'm sorry there's nothing too funny to report other than the fact that every 5 minutes while we are on the streets, Anziano Perfili attempts to kick a smashed cigarette box between my legs (old missionary tradition), and 3 out of 10 times, he gets me. We have just been really focused/tired from the work we are putting in (although Anziani Perfili insists we finish the day with a game of chess before bed and I can't deny that!). We did have some fun member appointments this week, mostly thanks to Anziano Perfili's profound knowledge of Italian, Napolitano, and Siciliano which causes everyone to just laugh and ask how he knows their dialect so well.

The one investigator we are teaching right now, Giuseppe Paternò, already shows great signs of progress. He loves talking to us about the gospel and even went to church while we were out of town.He certainly has built my faith that they're people really here who want to hear the gospel message.

Also cool story. One day we were walking in the main square with the Duomo and there was a library on wheels sort of thing, where you trade a book to get a book. So obviously I couldn't deny the opportunity to give the library a Book of Mormon and in exchange get this pretty cool language study book for Italian. I hope someone will actually take the Book of Mormon eventually.

All I can say is that I am ready to love this transfer. I definitely need to give it my all if I will be any close to succeeding. I am ready to love these members, I am ready to love my companion, I am ready to love the work and get to work. It's time to finally clean this house (you know 4 man houses), it's time to really talk to everyone, to help my fellow zone missionaries, to lead, and quit judging and self doubting. After evaluating how I wanted to end my mission this week, I said to myself that I wanted to say that I had served each day with love. That if I couldn't do anything else, I could just live like Christ. This mission has shown me how much I can really be, and especially what I don't know how to do. But at least I can love and just keep growing. I know that's all Christ wants me to do. I'm just happy he wanted me to do it here in Catania as His missionary.

Vi voglio bene!

Anziano Price

Monday, September 11, 2017

I'm Still Here

Dear Family and Friends,

When the moment finally came. Monday night, around 10 o'clock, Anziano Draghi called. He first actually wanted to talk to Anziano Mars which I thought was better too because I was super nervous to see what would happen because I knew I was leaving Ragusa in my heart sadly. Then, Anziano Mars handed me back the phone.

Anziano Draghi: Hey Beloved Son!
Me: Hi dad!
Anziano Draghi: I just first want to say I am proud of you. President Pickerd came in and asked me personally if I would like to give this call to you. Well, Anziano Price, do you like your zone leaders? Do you like Anziano Alexander and Anziano Perfili?
Me: Yeah, they are great!
Anziano Draghi: Well how would like to serve with one of them. Anziano Price, you have been called to serve as a zone leader in Catania and your new companion will be Anziano Perfili!!

Yah the rest was followed with shouts of absolute shock and disbelief, immediately followed by so much gratitude for the blessing God had given me and my assurance that I loved Anziano Draghi amd promised to do my best!

So yah, after spending already 7 transfers in the same zone, I am serving in Catania! It's nice that I know the city relatively well from my scambios here and I love Anziano Perfili! It's the first time in forever that I have had an older companion and I am ready to learn so much. He's from California, super focused on improving our work and service as zone leaders, and sometimes such a goofball! And perhaps the best speaker of Italian I have met on the mission (besides the native speakers of course).

So the beginning of the week was filled with goodbyes to amazing members, final lessons with investigators, walking the streets and hills of Ragusa for one last time (also catching an early sunrise), and of course, eating some pizza with my figlio in the mission, Anziano Mars. It was also sad to leave him but at least I am pretty close by haha. I feel like I keep repeating myself but I also cried in my last district meeting in Ragusa for multiple reasons, but mostly because of the feeling that I honestly felt like I did my best in Ragusa and God was happy for it! A feeling I honestly can't explain. So I left on the best note possible in my opinion.

And transfered into the craziness of being a zone leader. In short, Anziano Perfili work to train a large group of missionaries in our area to become better, and also report to our mission president the progress of all the missionary companionships. Also we help out with transfers which is why Thursday was crazy because we had to manage missionaries going to the airport, train station, and also waited for missionaries to arrive at our home at 11:30 at night because of their flight. Soo to say the least, it's a lot of work and I know I could easily stress myself out about it, but I'm focusing on making fun, fufillin, and just magnifying my calling.

Poi, early friday morning we caught a bus to the airport because news flash, President Pickerd wanted all the mission leaders to hold the council in person in Rome, so we arrived and I saw so many people that I love and have served with. Sorella Coz Becerra from Siracusa, Sorella Torres from Ragusa, Anziano Kolsen from Catania, Anziano Young, Vance, Cutler, Parkinson from the MTC, and of course , mamma mia it was amazing! It was a long training on utilizing the new proselyting tool of Facebook and in general how we can improve as a mission in our finding new investigators. I got to organize the musical number which was lots of fun (sadly I coul'nt bring my violin on the plane and play). Pretty soon, the next morning we were rushed out with sandwiches after receiving some training and caught the plane back to Catania. Oh yah, and of course I said goodbye to Anziano Draghi. This is his last transfer so I will definitely miss him after this one.

We were pretty tired to say the least, but we put our minds together, came up with a plan for our zone, and even met stopped people that night in Catania. This is the biggest city I have ever served in and I am excited to use every opportunity I can to talk to everyone. We have seen miracles already from that night.

Nel fine, I am happy. Honestly, I am kind of glad to still be here. I love Sicily and now I know Sicily really well. I know God has a plan for me and especially for me to learn from Anziano Perfili, gain confidence as a zone leader, talk to everyone, and become my best self overall. Yesterday, we were teaching a family and the friend of one of the sons, and I could just feel the Spirit testify of rhe scripture I said about seeing miracles after the trial of our faith. That friend wants to learn more now and already plans on coming to church next week. I love this mission, Italy, all my companions, and God for everything he has planned and done for me. I just love it so much! We'll see what crazy adventures happen this next week!

Vi voglio bene!

Anziano Price

Monday, September 4, 2017

Forward with Faith

Dear Family and Friends,

How can I best describe this week? Emotional? A Rollercoaster? Fufilling? Eye opening? Boh, maybe I should explain all that occured and you can be the judge.

The festa for San Giovanni really started it all. Remember when I said it was crazy last week? Well the party just kept going. We worked hard on advertising our free English Group since it would probably also be a little rude to proselyte during the religious celebration. On Tuesday, everyone in Ragusa was probably on that street and piazza near the Cathedral and things were crazy! Everyone was buying candles, waiting for San Giovanni to come out in an explosion of confetti, etc. so we waited patiently for that and then proceeded to talk to people. My favorite conversation was with twp ragazzi that started with his cool superhero shirt and they totally want to practice English. Sadly, they are going to school in Torino but we it is still worth it. We did our best for a while but then the parade decided to come on the street we were on and so we couldn't stop anyone that wasn't in procession following the statue. I loved it though and bought peanuts to prove it (seriously, it was half fair, half sacred tradition) with fireworks at the end to cap it off.

All in all it was a normal week. The finding techniques (i.e. violin playing in a park, cleaning up a piazza, etc.) didn't work out so well but we did our best to represent and just go and serve. Today during our P-day in Modica we helped an English couple involved in a car crash understand the Italian that hit them and they were so very grateful for the translation we did for them. My motto for finding has now become, give them something to marvel at.

We happened to be in Vittoria one day to see Sorella Ferraro. After the lesson, she invited us to pranzo so we went out to search for another less active member which didn't work while she was preparing the pranzo. While walking through the park, a group of ragazzi called us Jehovah's Witnesses and usually, I would keep walking, but now I've learned this is a good chance to explain who we really are. So we went, talked, and they really had no interest but we at least explained the Book of Mormon to them. Then we probably had one of the best pranzos ever! The blessings of missionary work here in Ragusa!

Really highlights of the week were seeing Salvatore from South Africa again who wants to start reading the Book of Mormon, having a cheesecake competition between the Sorelle and us where the members judged at a ward activity, Anziano Mars picking elderberries and making jelly in his spare time (yah it's pretty good!), and helping our ward mission leader set up and clean up the church for the 18th birthday party of his son (it's very big in Italy).

Poi, we taught a lessons with Sebastiano. Things were looking really good, we were teaching well, understanding his needs and such, and trying to get the ward on board with it (all of which was slightly stressing me out because I've never done this before). But the lesson we had the night before, Sebastiano explained how he doesn't feel quite ready yet, he believes in the Book of Mormon but feels bad for missing church last week and wants to feel more secure with knowing that God really exists. It is totally natural to afraid of change so I understood quickly, despite the huge disappointment that it was. I love him a lot so I hope he will take the chance and make the commitment in the future!

I went into the week knowing that it could easily be one of my last here in Ragusa, so as we say in Italian, I was going to spacca tutto! (go all out!). Plus we were approaching September, which people finally returning, new opportunities, etc. But with all that expectation, it turned into stress quickly and I found myself not living up to those expectations I wanted. Things weren't turning out how I expected and that did disappoint me, I felt weak. One night I turned to God and poured out all the feelings. And since then, I have gained understamding of how I can improve and realized how much I have grown since I started here in Ragusa. This has been a city of miracles for me, partially because of the experiences I have had, but mostly what has changed in me. Nothing ever has gone according to plan and for the rest of my mission it probably will be the same. The greatest lesson that comes from that for me is learn what God wants me to learn and also just never give up, because that's the last thing God wants me to do haha. I don't know where I will go because I am almost certain I will go somewhere and have to leave all these bellissimi membri, investigators, and experiences. But I move forward with faith that there is somewhere else I need to be.

Vi voglio bene!

Anziano Price

Monday, August 28, 2017

Crazy Things

Dear Family and Friends,

I will define this week simply. It was one of the craziest of my mission. Considering all the things that have happened to me, I honesly treat this as one of the best/interesting/unexpected weeks of my life.

Let's begin: First off, while Anziano Mars was trying to clean the sink one day, the faucet broke. So that led to us figuring out how to remove and replace it...which led to us later in the week having to take apart the whole sink, disconnect the lines while the water was still on because there was no shut-off, and then finally having a fixed sink again at the end of the week. I'm so glad Anziano Mars is good handyman because all I could really do was offer support on the sidelines.

Comunque, we are just starting. We had our zone conference this last week (which for me is like Natale!) and so that meant, I got to see Anziano Draghi again! Oh he's just the best trainer a missionary could want, and will truly be my best friend. We had a gesso which was fun and we certainly met interesting people, and of course Anziano Draghi wanted to end it all with singing "America the Beautiful". I learned a lot from the conference but the thing I learned the most was about love. Just as Anziano Draghi was about to depart, I gave him a hug and just started crying. Yah, I don't know really why but it was nice to have a minute to say that I really do love and appreciate everything he did. Luckily, since he's Italian, he's a lot closer about those things than maybe other people would be haha.

On the way back from Zone Conference, we missed the bus we wanted to take. That was a little annoying but we made it up with gelato and brioches (YUM!). The bus driver before was looking at our tags, and when we boarded the bus, he asked if we were musicians. I had my violin with me because we played a musical number, Rock of Ages, which also went well. We explained who we were, but he still invited me to sit in the front and play for him a song. Sooner or later, I played for the whole 2 hour bus ride all the hymns, classical music, christmas songs, and even suzuki method book pieces I could remember. It was a blast! It felt so unreal yet people applauded, people encouraged me to continue, and we left the bus driver with a pamphlet. I guess I need to use this talent a little more.

It only gets better! The festa of San Giovanni has hit and so the parades have begun, fireworks have been lit, and his birthday is on Tuesday still so this is just the beginning. The streets in centro are packed with vendors selling normal goods like candy, toys, food, as well the unsual like clothes, pets, cooking utensils, and even lightbulbs. It certainly is a nice welcome back to Ragusa after everyone has been on vacation on the sea and the summer is about to end.

Sebastiano continues to move up and down in confidence and his preparedness for his baptism but we are moving forward for the interview this Saturday so I am praying a lot for him and hope he really takes the leap of faith to baptism, that it will be better!

We also had a lesson with Emanuele which was interesting as he insisted that we needed to tell the prophet to add wine to the sacrament water cups. Also a member brought us giant ricotta stuffed rolls which were absolutely buonissimo! We also had two great pranzos with members which as always was simply a delight to enjoy laughter and also explain how they could introduce their friends to the joy of the gospel. Today we were at Siracusa which was nice to see again. We checked out some ancient Jewish baths and just enjoyed a nice day in that great city.

While driving back, I was talking with Sebastiano who drove us there about my mission and how I felt in general. As the words were leaving my mouth about how I might leave the next week because of transfers, I started to cry a bit (yes, it happens, I won't deny it.). I couldn't even say I would miss Ragusa because I would have probably bawled. I honestly do not understand why completely. It might have to do with how much I love Ragusa and the people and the food and everything here. Or it could be how much I have grown as a missionary, as a child of God. Or just how much I have gone through with my companion and district of missionaries, the high highs and the low lows. It could be that I still feel like I need to do something more here. Whatever it is, next week will be interesting. Maybe I am just a more emotional person? All I can say with confidence is that I am going to make this week worth it all, that I will be here until the end, when I have to go where there will probably also be more tears. I know there is a purpose for why I am here and intend to find out what it is before I leave. I know there is a reason I am here in this mission at this time and that God has a plan for it all. He loves me and all of us so much that the plan for each one of us seperately is the best thing that could ever happen to us, no matter what.

Vi voglio bene!

Anziano Price

Monday, August 21, 2017

Just Loving Life

Dear Family and Friends,

It's such a struggle to remember all the things you did at the end of a week because we do just so much here! I had to buy my second journal which is crazy to think that I have been out here long enough to be able to do that! In fact, I have been in Italy for just over a year now and I can honestly say without a doubt it had been the best experience of my life. Italy and my mission here have changed me for sure (now let's hope it's for the better!)

Comunque, this was a great week! First off, we celebrated Ferrragosta! Pretty much means middle of august and every takes a week off to go to the beach for the day when the Virgin Mary ascended into heaven. Surprisingly we still were able to teach 2 lessons on that day which is unheard of! Granted, our only investigators are not the normal people to celebrate Ferragosta i.e. super old (Emanuele), not from Italy (Elias), and acts sometimes like he is always on vacation (Sebastiano). Sure it was difficult to see days where there was hardly anyone on the streets but we perservered and had some cool experiences.

One day we were in the park enjoying the much needed cool breeze in the shade after our studies, and we decided to go in an area we nevee really go into. While walking with the intention of going to check if some addresses were correct, we see two ragazzi sitting on a bench. Of course, we need to go talk with them. Turns out they do speak English and we got into a conversation. Who are you? Americans! Missionaries? Do you want this homemade arancino? (That was a surprise and it was so so good!). Daniele and Leonardo immediately launch into big questions (what's after this life? What's good and evil? What makes someone good or evil? Why does God allow suffering to exist? Does God exist?) and so we tried our best to explain all of it in the context of the plan of salvation. In the end, it came to the point that we really don't know all the answers because we live in mortality, we are meant to walk by faith, and if want these answers we turn to God. We gave them a Book of Mormon and they want to meet with us again sometime after Ferragosta! È stato bellissimo!

We also had a scambio this week where two other missionaries (Anziano Perfili e Alexander) came to Ragusa and we worked with theem seperately. We all first went to pranzo with the Lo Monaco family because they are amazing (seriously, one of the best ragu pastas I have eaten) and Anziano Perfili started his mission also in Ragusa. I was with Anziano Alexander for the day and for part of it, we literally just turned down random streets, searching for the one person on that we could ask a question, that we could help and share our message with. It was a great opportunity for me to learn and put myself out there to talk with literally everyone and just be a light.

Other highlights include: We went to Catholic Mass with Emanuele for the memorial of his wife who passwed away 8 years ago which was actually very interesting to observe how they worship. Emanuele certainly appreciated it that's for sure! We passed by a former investigator's house who proceeded to talk with us about the bad things that happened in his life while eating peaches soaking in a glass of wine, but he is still a great guy. We have started teaching Elias italian which is pretty fun and he wants to make really fast progress so he talk to everyone. And afterward we got Magna Magna pizza, probably the best pizza here (but sadly not like Napoli). We also had a fun pranzo with the Guastella family from Comiso who just make me laugh and smile that these great people exist.

Oh and since we stopped English Group, we were finally able to go to Falcone's class. For those who don't remember, he is the guy who had a giant library of books on religion and philosophy and considers our religion  one of the best and comes to church often. He holds a class where his friends gather and talk about different religions and philosophies and also argue with one another at the end. It was a really cool experience because they asked lots of deep questions about our faith and what we believe (so definitely worth our time!) And they also enjoyed the sugar cookies we brought haha! By the way, we didn't have a rolling pin when I made the cookies so my first thought was unwrapping a roll of aluminum foil and using the cardboard tube. Let's just say it worked, but there was a big mess afterward.

To conclude, I'll talk about Sebastiano. He has been on and off for over a year now investigating the church and I have had the great opportunity to teach him for almost 6 months now. We had a lesson last week where he straight up told us in the middle of the lesson that he received revelation that he needs to be baptized on the 9th of September. It's a huge miracle and we will do everything that we can to help him get there still. To see people change and feel the same way I do about the gospel and how it truly makes you a better person, fills my heart with joy. When I go out each day, I try and imagine with everyone I meet, how their life could be more happy, more full of peace and our purpose, which hopefully gives me the courage to declare unto them the truth that will cause that might change of heart. I am definitely not perfect but I'm trying to let faith guide me, not fear. I know there is more I need to here, and time's sadly running out. I love this work, my comoanion, these members, and everyone really in Ragusa. I really believe that the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is the best thing to change someone's life for the better and I hope I truly fulfill that duty before my time runs out here in the great city of Ragusa. I certainly owe it to God to do my best!

Vi voglio bene!

Anziano Price