Dear Family and Friends,
I love being a missionary! I'm sorry but there is nothing that compares to the joy and happiness that one feels being called by God to preach his word, even in a small city like Ragusa where it seems like no one wants to hear it. This week was simultaneously tiring, amazing, hot, frustrating, fun, and miraculous all at the same time. Sadly, I feel like I will never be able to fully describe the life as a missionary, but you will just have to work with me and imagine what it's like.
First off, this week we did a scambio with the Zone Leaders in Catania. First, they came down to join us for our district meeting, give us an exciting addestramento, and take us back up to Catania for the day. I was with Anziano Bertoldo for the day and so we dedicated the time to talking with everyone in our sights as we walked around the city. It was fun and afterwards, we got to teach a new convert over Skype since he lives far away so that was definitely a first. And of course, Anziano Albright and I stopped for a delicious strawberry and vanilla gelato with brioches before we headed home from our great scambio (Honestly, I don't know who thought of mixing sweet bread with ice cream but it tastes good).
One highlight of the week was our visits with Sorella Puglisi. Some of the coolest stories I have heard come from the members like Sorella Puglisi. Especially because Sorella Puglisi doesn't stop talking ever! We always come to share a spiritual thought but it is such a struggle to focus on the topic when Sorella Puglisi brings up her complaints about the Italian government, her phone bills, the musical practices, and also as she recounts to us occasionally her life story (which in her words, is a modern day romanza). The other time we saw her that week was to just drop off some bags of clothes from another member but the supposedly 5 minute drop off, turned into an hour long conversation about how her birth saved her dad from getting killed in WWII (pretty cool story actually). Italians love to talk but Sorella Puglisi especially does because her husband sadly passed away about 8 months ago. We even gave her a blessing of comfort because she feels alone in this moment of her life with so many problems. And always in return for our listening for so long, she rewards us with gelato.
Our lessons with Sebastiano keep getting better and better. He is more focused especially on finding his answer by reading the Book of Mormon so I believe the Spirit is really taking an active role in his conversion. He came to church and finally has realized that even with all the different commandments like the law of chastity, his doubts all point to one question: is this the true church of Jesus Christ or just another imitation in his words? We are praying that he recieves his answer and will be prepared for the 10th of June.
Hilarious Finding Moments: Finding takes up a good chunk of time so thankfully these moments make every situation unique. But the biggest thing I have noticed is that a lot of people make assumptions about knowing our religion without even us saying anything. Either we are Amish or Jehovah's Witnesses, or just not normal Christians. Like when we were doing casa a casa and this lady answers the door. After our introduction, she explains, "Sorry but I believe in God.", to which our response is so do we! Then she says, "Well I also believe in Jesus Christ" to which I say, great we do too...which leads to an awkward shutting the door. Another experience was yesterday night, we went out to do finding and there were tons of people on the street! Most of them were old and looked like they were waiting for Catholic Mass so we thought, perfect time to teach the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Sadly, everybody was a little too busy waiting for their mother's day parade of the Madonna. There are so many funny and different traditions here in Italy!
Overall, this week like most was a struggle but I am learning how to deal with the struggle and turn it into joy. To not worry, to suffer these things now for Christ like he did so that I might please him. This week we also had church in Gela where it was just Anziano Albright and I and only one other member of the branch! That could easily be discouraging but as I presided the meeting, I remembered in my testimony how Christ is always with us, even if it is just two or three of us gathered. We have a testimony of the truth still and that's what matters.
Ti voglio bene!