Monday, February 20, 2017

There to Messina and Back and Again

Dear Family and Friends,

What's up everyone? Today was an especially good day, perfectly sunny and warm which brought a change from the colder week. I probably shouldn't push my luck too much because it might get too hot soon here.

Well, I probably should mention that we actually left Siracusa for a couple days. First, there was a small meeting for all the district leaders on how we can achieve success this transfer and then instead of normally turning around, we headed all the way up to Messina for Anziano Moscon's permesso (so he can be legal). In order to live in the country of Italy, you of course need a visa but you also need a permesso basically saying this is where you live and why you are here. The problem that happens usually is that there is a long process to it so once it is finally ready, the missionary has usually moved to a different city and has to return back to pick it up. Confused yet? There's a lot more to it but hopefully this summary helped.

Anyway, we went and helped the Anziani there while we waited for our appointment and even got to do some fun stuff. There was the Duomo, the tram, Nino who is this awesome new convert that builds model pirate ships, used to work in a pasticceria, and has a pet pidgeon, and other great members. It was a good time but I realized how grateful I am to be in such a great city like Siracusa. Yes, Messina is cool too, but I honestly feel like Siracusa is my home in a way now. Or at least my 2nd home. There are so many families I love here like the Corso's, Zombra's, etc. and there's so much amazing cibo (cannoli, arancini, blood oranges, gelato, etc.!)  This week, we even had a foosball tournament with all the young adults which was super fun. Daniele came too which was perfect because he's been a little out of contact due to his college exams coming up in a week. Don't worry, he's still progressing and we actually were able to discover more of his concerns keeping him from being baptized.

We did our best to make the best of the remaining time we had left but I'll be honest, this week was hard. But to me it all depends on how you look at it. Yes, we had bidones, we had gaps in the day where I didn't have an answer of what to do, and yes we were even home a little late some nights (I'm really working on improving this part). But God doesn't expect me to perfect in life so he for sure doesn't expect perfection in the mission. Yes, I need to try my hardest, but don't expect things to go according to plan, especially out here at the bottom of the world in Sicily.

One thing I noticed starting to happen is that my faith and hope was beginning to diminish because of the discouragement Anziano Moscon and I were facing in the work. The mission is just like life, and throughout our lives, our testimonies needed to constantly nourished or else trials and troubles will destroy it. I'd say the scriptures put it better than I can. God is a God of miracles still and will grant us our wishes if we have faith in Christ, doubting nothing. For me, doubting nothing still seems impossible, but I am holding on to the hope that it is possible and I will see it happen in the mission. I just need to press forward right now and continue to try my best. That's the beauty of the gospel, we all get second chances to become our best. I'm grateful for my time here and wouldn't trade it for anything else.

Ti voglio bene!

Anziano Price

Mormon 9

19 And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles.
20 And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust.
21 Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth.
22 For behold, thus said Jesus Christ, the Son of God, unto his disciples who should tarry, yea, and also to all his disciples, in the hearing of the multitude: Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature;

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

In Defense of Truth

Dear Family and Friends,

Well I'm sure you are dying to know where I am in Italy now. Well the good news is that I am staying with Anziano Moscon here for another transfer. I'm super excited for this one because we have some good plans to start this transfer off right. Sorella CiBi is sadly needed in Bari and now Sorella Ferre is taking her place. Transfer Day is always fun, coordinating rides for the sister missionaries and their luggage to be taken to the train station a day earlier than expected, trains being delayed (which is usually expected), and of course adjusting to changes in our district. Sorella Ferre is only in her third transfer so we still might be one of the youngest districts in the mission.

As for new updates, I discovered that there are actually more kinds of pesto than the typical green basil pesto. Like eggplant pesto, pistacchio pesto, and my personal favorite right now, the Sicilian pesto. Basically, it's the normal pesto but made with tomatoes and ricotta and is absolutely perfect for an easy pasta al forno. I never really thought cooking to be something I would love to do, but now I get excited for learning how to make new Italian dishes. Also, we were able to make german pancakes (crepes for those of who don't understand our weird family tradition of naming foods) which actually turned out good.

Also Sorella Tacchi wants me to mention it was her birthday on Saturday. The celebration was really fun with all the young adults of the ward (GANS) and Daniele and Alessandro together at a steakhouse. Only in Italy can you get a pizza at a steakhouse (yes, that was me).

Insomma (in short), this week was hard on me physically (because I am getting more and more tired) and probably harder emotionally with all the events that have been occurring. Lessons not going well, dropping investigators for not wanting to keep their commitments, and lots and lots of finding. The week was defined mostly by our finding since Anziano Moscon and I knew it was something that we needed to do. We tried walking in new areas and asking people for directions. We also did finding with the sister missionaries, setting up gesso's and simply handing out our biglietinni on Ortegia, where everyone loves to be at night. One time we were stopped by Jehovah's Witnesses (we answered their questions nicely, even if they were angry at us for our choices) and yesterday, when we did a Gesso, one man that I had stopped to ask a question proceeded to yell at me and call me a liar and a hypocrite (honestly, that definitely shook me). Luckily, we had an awesome member who defended me and the church right there a lot better than I could in my mediocre Italian.

Based on the circumstances and experiences of this week, I have been thinking a lot of why I am here, what's my purpose here in Siracusa, will anyone really want to hear our message? Of course, the mission can't be all fun and joy and success, but it's something we are supposed to strive for, right? Really, something I am learning is how weak I am without God's help every day and that everything is in his hands. Yes, it is difficult to understand, why do bad things happen, why isn't preaching about the gospel of Jesus Christ and bearing our testimonies easier than I thought? Luckily, I know also that all these experiences will be for my good, that true joy comes through opposition, and that God loves me for doing this work. I felt the Spirit as I bore my testimony to those who spoke against us and really that should just build my own testimony, not diminish the fact that I know this church is true, that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, that Christ's church is restored upon the Earth today and all Christ asks for us to do is come unto him. It might be the hardest thing I ever do, but I know it is where true happiness, peace, and all the blessings of heaven lie. I love you all thank you for your support! Please, come unto Christ and be perfected in Him.

Vi voglio bene!

Anziano Price

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Ricotta and Transfers!

Dear Family and Friends,

What's up? Being in Siracusa is pretty chill and relaxing still. We missed our train to go to another city so now we are hiding from the rain in a gelateria. Oh my gosh, I love gelato now! I don't now how I will ever adjust back to american ice cream again. Hopefully, I'll be able to find ricotta ice cream again after the mission. 

By the way, we get transfer calls today. What?!! Time certainly has passed by really fast because it always seems like I just got here in Siracusa. Sadly, my greenie days are gone and there might be even bigger changes ahead. You'll just have to wait until next week. ;)

First off, I have to say how awesome the members here are. They sure show their dedication as they are helping others (missionaries or other members) with their agendas and lists of things to do. We had a pranzo with the Ciccio's who have the cutest 3 year old daughter ever who's name is Nora. Also, there was the pranzo with the Zombra's which was absolutely hilarious! Sorella Zombra is one of the best cooks ever and her family is super funny to talk to. Not to mention the Conforto's who love for us to come over for dinner and are also a great help to our missionary work. I could go on and on about how these people are amazing and make the bad days much better. It's my home away from home and I would be sad to leave. 

This week was great with teaching. The difference I noticed the most was being able to feel the guidance of the Spirit with my companion. There was his one lesson especially for a less active member and her boyfriend that before we started, I could feel their was some family tension for us being there. We just decided to bear testimony of Christ as his love and the Holy Ghost just worked through us to heal their hearts and made the lesson go super well instead of the train wreck that I might have expected. Also, it was Daniele's birthday so we celebrated with him and pushed him to decide on his own baptismal date. We'll hear back from him soon hopefully. :)

I have also seen the blessings that come from prayer, from fasting, and how there really are special people to find here. We just happened to be finding near the end of the day with the sister missionaries, asked this one man "Which tie do you think looks better?" (our new introduction), and he is actually intereested in our message. That usually never happens!

The miracles in Italy are smaller but to me they are also more special. As a companionship, Anziano Moscon and I have been working hard at becoming more obedient and being our best selves so much. So when the work gets harder and trials come into our work, it can discourage you at times. The thing that is important for me is to look at the bigger picture. Christ has come and overcome the world. His message is to come unto him and he will give us rest. I have experienced the greatest peace in my life when I speak in prayer, when I study his words, and especially when I partake of his sacrifice every Sunday during the sacrament. The words that came to my mind this week is that through Christ, I can become whole! I want to tell everyone about this, and try to remind myself everyday why I am here because I want to make every day worth it. Thanks for your love and support! Continue to love the Lord and show it!

Ti voglio bene!

Anziano Price

P.S. Blood Oranges are awesome! Honestly, I want to create my own Italian panificio/garden when I get home.