Monday, January 30, 2017

Tiramisu and Other Events

Dear Family and Friends,

Nothing too different happened this week which I can't tell if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Hopefully, my email won't be boring with the same events and messages as before.

One thing that has changed is I have become the chef for our district. Usually, I'm better with dolce but I have been practicing my pasta al forno (ziti for those in my family). And this week, instead of doing the same chocolami for our district meetings, I was asked to make a tiramisu...and I have to say it was buonissimo! Making it was more of interesting story though :)

All you need for tiramisu is orzo, cookies, and a cream which you make and takes forever to whip (about 20 minutes). We had bought a mixer and this was the first time we had used it... and by the end it smelled really terrible (almost like smoke). I thought it just needed to rest a bit but when the sisters and Daniele asked me to make another for our pranzo after church on Sunday, the mixer stopped working. Remember this is late at night (little after 9:30 since it was the only time we had) and we need a mixer. First we tried asking our neighbor downstairs. He didn't have one. Then, we tried just using a whisk which turned out to be impossible. So thankfully, we have the Zombra's (awesome member family!) who live in our palazzo so we asked them and they had one!  Tiramisu saved!   Advice: don't buy kitchen appliances for cheap from a chinese store.

Other than that interesting note, things were pretty much the same. Arancinis were eaten, lessons were taught(sorta, lot of people couldn't meet), we went on a super fun scambio in Catania with the Zone Leaders, and we actually did service! There is a cute old Austrian couple that live here and we got to help them with maintaining their house in Campagnia. But we forgot to wear service clothes so we show up wearing our white shirts and ties and we are supposed to be using a shovel and a pick outside in the dirt. Luckily they had some old pants and boots we could borrow. I'm sorry I didn't take a picture because it would have been hilarious. But the work was great, we dug a hole for their new drainage system and Anziano Moscon picked away at cement to create a tunnel for a new pipe.

We tried our best this week even if things didn't go according to how we had planned it.  It's so difficult to remember that I didn't do anything wrong when people don't want to meet or when appointments fall through because in my mind, I always feel like there's something I can do more.  Of course, we should never give up to the challenges we face in this life, but we also don't need to beat ourselves up when we struggle or things don't go according to that ever imaginary plan. God wants us to try and just do our best with the circumstances given.  If we were in a state of being where everything went well, then we would be without joy and could never grow.

I saw that this week where it seemed like we couldn't see any fruits from our labors sitting in sacrament meeting.  A lot when into that silent prayer that I offered after taking the sacrament, and then God granted an even bigger miracle than the forgiveness and comfort he constantly gives me.  Daniele was our only investigator in church at the time and at the time believed he would be the only one for the day. And out of no where, in comes Roberto, the boyfriend of a member, in the middle of church. I was really happy for that quiet moment.  Hopefully all continues to be well and that I can continue to see the hand of God in my life. Thank you for all your support and prayers. Keep up the great work and see the hand of God in your life. Ciao!

Vi voglio bene!

Anziano Price

Monday, January 23, 2017

Change of Heart

Dear Family and Friends,

Wow what a week! There's too much to talk about as always. First things first, I love the people! I focused my week on love and I found a lot of it here in Siracusa every day. 

The week started with Zone Conference in Catania. We spent two days there, helping the missionaries there and receiving training from our great mission president and his wife, President and Sister Pickerd, and the assistants. It was awesome! I always feel so united seeing all the missionaries there and I really learned a lot of things that I want to apply to our work. There was a lot of motivation to remember our purpose as missionaries which really helped me for the rest of the week and I hope the rest of the transfer. Oh and I finally got to play my violin with Sorella Gochnour on violin and Anziano Cox on piano which was really fun! 

Later during the week we had some more funny incidents like Anziano Moscon trying to make a ragu for the first time. Sad to say it was also one of the first times we didn't finish the whole pot or really half of it, it wasn't good at all! But we had to eat it since we were starting a fast for our investigators that day! Don't worry, we now know from other members and I have written it down in my new recipe book. Also, we taught Concetto how to use Duolingo on his phone to learn English and he's obsessed with it now! Also, we had a huge rainstorm last night and we got soaked on our way home. Fortunately, it seems less cold with the rain than without it. 

But really I want to talk about Daniele. If you followed along my time here in Siracusa, you know who Daniele is but I can repeat. He is a college student that comes to English Course and came to us desiring a closer relationship to God. He loves to sing karaoke, read, and also hang out with us on P-day. He also has been reading the Book of Mormon and is soo close to an answer. Last Saturday, we had an amazing lesson with him where we talked about recognizing his answers and he opened up about every spiritual prompting he had to continue with the lessons, to immediately live the Word of Wisdom, and that this church is true. He wants to be baptized, he just doensn't feel ready so we are doing everything we can to help him continue to progress and feel more sure. Daniele is awesome, that's all I can say!

For the past week, I have felt promptings from the Spirit that I should show my love more in my missionary work. Someone asked rhetorically, "Do you really love your investigators?"  When I heard those words, I felt the need to change my heart and my actions to become more Christlike, and the results have been amazing! Now it's not so much worrying about what this person does or what's wrong, but rather how can I help this person feel God's love more? How can I be their friend in this? Someone said "We don't convince people to come into the church. We love them into it!" and it's so true! I'm definitely less stressed and the miracles are so much easier to see. No the work is not easier, but there is no burden with our vision on Christ and not on how things should and shouldn't be in my opinion. 

Also, President Pickerd really encouaged us to make this a time we will always remember in our lives and for me it is already is, there just seems to be too much to remember. Like our visits with the Zombra Family or the Amaldi Family (who thankfully love to feed the missionaries the best food ever!) or really any member family, our times walking the streets to invite anyone and everyone to come to English Course and Anziano Moscon's first time doing door to door finding. Also the moments playing my violin in a duet with Sorella Gochnour for a gesso in Catania, our many visits with Bronzo (who is always enthusiastic to do missionary work), and all the other wonderful people we meet everyday! 

I love it here in Siracusa and I don't want to leave! There's really nothing else I would rather be doing! I know this is the Lord's work and this church is true! I am so grateful to be a part of this church and continue to experience the blessings of the Atonement and God's love every day. God lives and loves you all! Thank you for all your support and emails! Keep up the great work!

Vi voglio bene!

Anziano Price


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Sandwiches, Struggles, and Miracles (Sorry couldn't think of an alliteration)

Dear Family and Friends,

Today was an awesome P-day! We got awesome sandwiches that were the best sandwiches I have ever eaten from a street shop in Ortegia (only 5 euro!), and ate them near the steps of the Duomo in Ortegia. Yeah, it was pretty darn perfect, sorry you couldn't be there. 

Honestly, I don't even know where to begin with this week. It was a great week but it always seems like a great week when you're doing missionary work ;)  No really, this week was good for me. I focused a lot more on others around me instead of stressing about myself, and slowly things started to get better. Since I can't think of anything that really stood out to me, I'll just explain what my week basically looked like (a pretty typical week).

On Tuesday, we taught our 88 year old investigtor, Concetto Russo, English and about the Book of Mormon which is always really fun. Missionaries in the past have written down translations like "Let's blow this joint" and so Concetto has some interesting vocabulary sometimes. 

Tuesday was also my first district meeting as a district leader. It definitely was a bit shaky (the chocolami helped though), but we all remembered our purpose as missionaries and felt motivated at the end to reach our goals of doing more service in our community and showing love for the members here and our investigators. I am so thankful to have such a fun, hard working district here. Definitely makes my job easier. 

I just realized how long this email would really be if I continued to write down everything that happened this week. (This is why writing emails is so hard!) In short, we taught English Courses, we visited the Marchese Panificio in hopes that the family will have time to learn about the gospel (because they are so ready for it!), and played ping pong with our investigators (mostly with Giuseppe and Vittorio) before our spiritually powerful lessons. Anziano Moscon and I cooked pasta (lots of pasta!), experimented on recipes, and also got pizzolos (they're the best!). Also, Anziano Moscon got a haircut from one of our investigators. The bad part was that it wasn't very we called the sisters in to help. Even the bishop came in near the end to fix his hair. It looks great now!

I am actually really excited for what's in store this transfer. We had a really good lesson with Antonio Tito, a non member father of a really awesome member family, on the Plan of Salvation. I could feel the Spirit so strongly testifying how he could really be with his family forever if he took the step toward baptism. Also, Daniele Ferlito, the guy who took us to the mall and who has been an investigator for a while, is really reading the Book of Mormon and really desires a testimony to clear up all the doubts he has about the church. He wants to believe which is the first step. Even Vittorio has mentioned the desire for baptism to fill the hole in his heart from everything bad that has happened to him in his life. Miracles are happening here in Siracusa! 

As Anziano Moscon said to me, "the real miracle we see everyday is that we are still surviving."  For me, looking back on the week, it seems super great even though I know they were some really hard times. I really was struggling one day with the stress of trying to meet people that couldn't and doubting myself and all the normal things to stress about. I am really relying on the Lord every day, sinking my head into my pillow in prayer every morning and night despite my exhaustion.  I'm going to conquer this stress thing sooner or later with the help of the Atonement. Thank you for all your prayers and help! I know the Lord is watching over all of us because we are his children, he loves us and wants us to feel his love. In the end, I am grateful for all the miracles he provides and can't wait to keep working in his service. Hopefully, you all can see the miracles God puts in all your lives too. Ciao for now!

Vi voglio bene!

Anziano Price

Monday, January 9, 2017

Coke and Prayers

Dear Family and Friends,

It is officially winter here now. It hailed for about 1 minute which is pretty crazy for Siracusa but yes, January is the month where it is probably the coldest here for Italians in Sicily. Anziano Moscon and I can tell as we try and find people to talk to on mostly barren streets smothered in our scarves and coats (thanks to saldi season). My first real "winter" as Anziano Moscon would say since he's from Idaho.

Despite the rapid change in weather this week, I love the work here. Yes it is probably stressing me out more than it should (no, I haven't pulled out all the hairs on my head), but I love it here. The festas sadly ended with La Befana, the holiday where the witch, Befana, rides around on her broom, fills kids stockings with candy, and maybe is the wife of Santa? More importantly, it's also the day the wise men arrive to see the baby Jesus. The Vinci's, a member couple here, actually invited us over to celebrate a bit and it was...interesting to say the least (happens more than you think).

On Friday night, Sorella Vinci started with singing a Christmas hymn like she always does (I don't want to say she isn't good at singing, but...) and we also sang call to serve together with them as well. Then we proceeded to eat a cold Margherita pizza (the way Siciliano eat it) and it actually was decent pizza (sorry to say it wasn't the same for the cold arancini). But the greatest part overall was with the Coke bottle. They brought out Coke for us to drink but they had put it in the freezer. Anziano Moscon said it would explode if they tried to open it. So I tried to open it slowly but since the bottle seemed like it would explode, I decided to wait for the carbonation to leave the bottle with cap slightly loose. Sorella Vinci decided to trust God instead on this one and began to say a prayer, blessing the Coke so that it would not explode. She then put it in a plastic bag and began to open it, causing the coke to spill luckily only in the bag. The lesson I learned is always say a prayer, even if it might be stupid, because God wants to help us even if we may think it's stupid. And it's definitely one funny experience I will remember forever.

Some other experiences that made the week were when Anziano Moscon and Sorella Tacchi tried their first horsemeat sandwich, Davide Corso (return missionary) came home this week from England and there was a huge party, I learned how to play briscola with five people from a less active member (basically like a mix of dominoes and rook), and our attempts to speak Singalese with George and Fernando who come from Sri Lanka. Mostly we do a lot of gestures and pointing and use pictures but we still need to improve on our methods. Hopefully, our small attempts will lead to something great.

Overall, the new year is great. We are doing our best to work hard even when it seems like everything isn't going in our favor. We have had great miracles like lots of members come to church, Sorella Conforto helping us with our missionary work, and especially felt the love of members giving us random food like pandoro, arancini, and even cooked pasta (they must think we can't cook). And we also have had some struggles, mostly with trying to meet our investigators with fellowshipping members, and helping our investigators keep their commitments.

I just want to bear testimony about prayer. This week, I came home stressed from missionary work and worrying about how to solve problems, thinking I had to do it all. But every time I kneeled down and offered my heart to Heavenly Father in prayer, I felt his love come and take the burdens away. I went to sleep those nights feeling calm and secure, knowing everything would be alright, and that I have a great companion, district, and missing president here to help. I know whenever we have any problem, we can always turn to Heavenly Father in prayer and solutions will come in time and we can always feel his love when we really want and need it. Thank you for your help and prayers! Have fun going back to school and work again, applying those new year goals!

Vi voglio bene!

Anziano Price

Monday, January 2, 2017

2017: My Year in Italy

Dear Family and Friends,

Transfers have come and gone, and thankfully I am still here in Siracusa. The bad news is that Anziano Anderson is apparently needed in Palermo and so our missionary duo has ended. It was really awesome to be His companion for at least one transfer because now I feel a lot more confident as a missionary and feel I have finally been fully "trained."  Which is a good thing because my new companion, Anziano Moscon (who is also very cool) is in fact a transfer behind me!  I'm follow up training Anziano Moscon and that also makes me the district leader in Siracusa!  Basically, the district is just us and the sister missionaries here, now Sorella Coz Beccera and Sorella Tacchi (she's from England AND has an accent!). And as district leader, I just ensure that missionaries here are safe, working hard, inspired, and not stressed. The change has been fast but has also been a lot easier than I expected.

For New Year's Eve, we couldn't really celebrate and in fact probably while most people would be celebrating, I was scrubbing away what seemed like black mold from our shower. Public Advisement: Keep your house clean always, or else you have to do deep cleaning days like we do in the mission field. We still celebrated with our two little confetti cannons the new year but it wasn't close to the same (especially since we went to bed at 10:30). But I love having a clean house now.

My companion is super funny. He's from Idaho Falls, just came from Messina, reminds me of Andy Samberg, and is also kinda a shy awkward kid but he's just hilarious and I can tell he will open up a lot soon. It's a pretty good thing I am a little more confident in my language abilities since I am the one leading lessons and training!  Before, I was really nervous but now I can tell we are going to have an awesome transfer!  Yesterday, we had awesome great lesson with Giorgio who has been an off and on investigator in the past, and we even challenged him to be baptized this transfer, starting the year off right.

As missionaries, we make goals constantly, at least every week. But for me personally, my goal is to make 2017 not my year, but God's year. This is one entire whole year of my life where I will be in Italy, serving members and anyone we meet. This is my time to show my faith and testimony and become an instrument in the hands of God.  Because I am everything when I am with him and he has given me so much. This is my time to show my obedience, my gratitude, my devotion. And really every year is, every week, every day we have is an opportunity to show God, "I will follow thee!"  I have faith that this will be a time in my life that I will never forget, especially here serving in Siracusa where I already love the people and I am also learning how to do missionary work a lot faster than I thought I would. Thank you for your love and prayers for me!  Make 2017 a year where Christ is at the head, where we can forget ourselves and simply go to work. Because that is when we will be the most happy!

Vi voglio BENE!

Anziano Price