Monday, May 1, 2017
Do's and Don'ts: Italian Food Edition
Dear Family and Friends,
Okay, I may like talking about food a little too much. But trust me on this week because the food certainly defined this week. As well as the amazing members of this ward, the people we meet on the street, my great stalwart companion, Anziano Albright, and of course our everpresent defense of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
April 25th is a holiday apparently for Italy because of the Liberation during WWII so the ward on Sunday decided to plan an activity for the holiday in two days. The problem was that we showed up and no one was there! Literally no one for a while. Soon some came but really in the end, it was The Magrograssi family, Sorella Rollo and her Sri Lankan housemaids she invited. So since we needed more food, we quickly went home, whipped up a kilo of pasta con sugo rosso( with a splash of besciamella), mozzarella, and salsiccia in under an hour. Yes, it was good, one of my favorite pastas. Sorella Rollo, the old Sicilian lady, kept complimenting me saying she couldn't believe the anziani had made this. Checked that off the mission milestone list.
Also, on the more funnier side of things, we were invited to eat with Stefano Dimartino (a returned missionary) but his mom had to go to parucchiere(hair stylist). So he started making a normal pasta...okay not normal but a red sauce with tuna pasta, but at the end we realized it wasn't enough sauce. So he says in english with his italian accent (he served in manchester), "okay elders, never do what I am about to do", and he proceeds to add ketchup to the sauce! It was hilarious and nothing changed but if anyone in Italy knew, he would probably get arrested for something like that. :)
This week we also got to meet Sorella Ferraro who is a member that lives outside of Ragusa in a city called Vittoria. She is a great member with a strong testimony but her husband doesn't let her go to church that often since it makes her late to cook pranzo. That seems very small but considering she has made some of the best of the best food ever and that her husband is a very traditional, eat at 1 o'clock, type of Sicilian, I can understand her more. She kept stuffing us with this sicilianas stuffed with ricotta that were amazing, I had at least ten. But we come to lift spirits and invite people unto Christ, not just eat food. So we helped answer her questions and encouraged to have patience in the trials she was facing. The key factor is always obedience, if we aren't obedient, we have no guarantee of blessing. It was quite a spiritual visit.
Other Milestone: As diligent missionaries, Anziano Albright and I decided to try doing door to door again for an hour one day. We find a nice looking palazzo and decide to ring the bells. The hard thing about italy is you have to get through 3 doors: outside gate, door to get in the building, and the actual door. So we ring all the bells of the first building, manage to get inside the gate in the middle of ringing, but no one even lets us in the apartment. We continue on to the next building (since there were two) and continue to ring without success until about the 6th bell. A lady answers, says she sadly isn't interested but appreciates the effort and offers to at least give us a coffee. I thought about it but I figured it would be difficult to explain we don't drink coffee and there could be more people to find. So I said no thank you and rang another bell...which actually turned out to be the same bell! She said "Dai, amore. Venite!" (Basically, c'mon love, come inside) and so we did. Nothing major turned out but she expressed her love that we were good Christian young men doing the right thing, just explaining what you believe. We accepted her fruit juice and sadly weren't able to transition to the gospel. But she gave us two jars of her homemade pesto and told us come back whenever you need to!! That's pretty miraculous! Only in Sicily!
The rest of the week continued like this: meeting with Sorella Puglisi, giving a less active member a blessing of health, teaching Sebastiano, going home teaching with an amazing new convert Simone, made my first ragu pasta al forno(super good!), teaching English Group, giving Sebastiano a blessing for his back, doing a gesso where we finally got someone's phone number, planning a youth activity that in the end, didn't go as planned, and Simone announcing in his talk on Sunday that he wants to serve a mission! It really was quite the eventful week. What also isn't seen is the number of times we called people, and especially the number of people we stop to ask if they have ever heard of the Book of Mormon.
For me, this week was about feeling the Spirit. It's pretty easy to tell if you are doing the right thing if you know God is telling you to do it. But for me, recognizing the Holy Ghost has always been a more difficult thing to accomplish than said. But really this week, it became clear. Sometimes God says, "Just do what's right because I trust you. I'll tell you what to do if it is really important". For me, it's this way. My favorite feeling is when after acting on something or I read something that finally clicked in the Book of Mormon, the Spirit just flowed in my heart, with the same thought in mind. "I love you. Don't worry about that, just go and do". I love food (like ricotta, kiwi, lasagna, gelato, etc.), but what I really love is knowing I am doing the Lord's work. We have transfer calls tonight so anything can happen. I am ready to just go and do, to finally find that one person we have been searching for this whole time in Ragusa. But of course, with patience and trust in the Lord. I love you all and send my prayers of support.
Vi voglio bene!