Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Hay Pasta, Tomatoes, and Thoughts
Dear Family and Friends,
This week was certainly a week of firsts. We have yet to still find that one person here in Ragusa who wants to hear our message but we definitely tried our best and had a lot of adventures along the way. Anziano Albright sure makes the journey a lot more fun. Like for example, we were waiting at the questura for Anziano Albright's fingerprinting appt so he can be legal in Italy but it always takes forever (imagine DMV but in Italy). He made the two hour wait so much more fun with his jokes and blunt humor. My favorite quote this week is when he said in response to me saying how there are three steps we working to accomplish: finding, teaching, and baptism. He replied, "If we can get to the 2nd step, I'll cry a river of tears so we can have the baptism". I can't imagine how much harder missionary work would be without a companion to always be there to laugh, talk with, and back you up whenever you need it.
Let's go to the funny things first. Of course most of these involve food, but after all it is Italy. I wouldn't be truly Italian if I didn't mention food in this email. Anziano Albright and I wanted to try making a pesto lasagna, basically just like a normal lasagna except the ragu is replaced with pesto and besciamella. We decided to use the really good pesto from that Sicilian lady a while back along with good prosciutto. It looked perfect especially when we took it out of the oven. Except that upon eating it, Anziano Albright exclaimed that it was more like eating hay pasta! Apparently, we added way too much pesto and we were supposed to mix it with a lot more besciamella. Sadly, we used up all that good pesto but considering the only way I know how to cook now is by trial and error, it definitely wasn't as bad as it could have been.
One thing we did cook right was homemade tomato sauce! We visited Sorella Ferraro this week which as always was tawesome. She brings up so many questions about the purpose of this life and why she's here and we did our best to answer her questions with the Book of Mormon. Her life would be more blessed if she could just have the church closer to her or a more patient husband so that she could go to church and not have to worry about making pranzo late on Sundays. Like seriously when we went, her husband during the prayer for pranzo couldn't wait and started eating in the middle of it! It was so funny! But I can understand, she makes really good food! At the end, we said goodbye and passed by a box of fresh tomatoes from campagnia that her husband received from work. She immediately saw us looking at the box and proceeded to put 15 tomatoes in a bag for us to take home before we could deny them. Sicilians are just about the sweetest people you will ever meet sometimes.
But anyway, we decided to make our own red sauce with these bad boys (after asking plenty of Italians how you make tomatoe sauce to which most of them said, you don't, you buy it). So the night before we go to buy this special machine which basically just grinds the boiled tomatoes to pulp which then can be cooked into a sauce. We hesitant during the whole process fearing something would go wrong but in the end it tasted sooooo good! Just little too sweet from too much sugar but still much better than the grocery store sauce.
As for other firsts, we went all the way out to Rosolini (about 45 min away) this week to teach a former investigator named Giovanni Crepez. We have been trying for a month to help him come here so he can see the church but in the end we decided to go out one time to him and figure out his situation. He is quite an interesting guy and has been through a lot in his life. Ultimately, he realized that every church was missing something for him to which we explained how that was the fulness of the gospel, which enables us to have peace in this life and eternal life in the next. It went well and in the end we determined it would actually be closer for him to go to Siracusa so hopefully he can continue his progress with the anziani there.
After a week of helping members with their home teaching visits, helping Sebastiano progress, searching desperately for people interested in our message, ringing door bells, directing church in Gela for one member again, driving back and forth, and ultimately living the life as a missionary, I realized I was tired. Like really tired. I'm not going to lie, this work is difficult, really hard, and sometimes frustrating. I honestly think this is the hardest I have worked for something yet. And at the end of the week, when you look back and see what resulted from all that hard labor, one may think it was wasted. But like my grandfather told me, when you are pushed to the point of utter exhaustion, that's when you know you gave it your all for the Savior. Yes, I am still weak and there are lots of things I need to work, especially if we are going to be blessed in finding the children of God. But I know that the greatest happiness that can ever be felt is that total sacrifice for the Lord, even if nothing seems to have resulted. I am working everyday towards that goal, to feel that joy in total exhaustion for Christ, for God and His Church. I want to be his missionary, his son and hope that I can be a part of his daily miracles here in Ragusa.
Vi voglio bene!