Dear Family and Friends,
To say that a few things happened this week would be an understatement. It seems like every week unfolds into an adventure that we never planned or really could have expected, but in the end is better than anything we had planned in the first place. I guess that's a good sign that Lord is with us as we are laboring here in Ragusa. He puts an idea here, a bidone there; a person here, a chance to speak there and pretty soon, you have an experience that only Anziano Mars and I could have experienced.
For example, this week we lost our car! That is, we had to give it to a senior couple (who were super nice and took us all out to pranzo) who need it more than us, which in the end is a blessing. We can talk to people on the street more and I no longer have to worry about driving in Italy. But the heat decided to arrive right when we lost the car as well. Or rather, the heat probably is a lot more obvious now since we are outside a lot more now. We are fortunate to actually be in Ragusa since the giant hill gives us more altitude and wind. But we still drink un sacco di acqua!
I also never expected training to be like this. In the sense that you are helping someone start being a missionary from scratch. It's a lot harder than I expected but even more rewarding, just like when I was being trained. I've seen really how much I have grown from being a "greenie", and now I just have to inspire that same change in Anziano Mars. Which isn't too difficult considering Anziano Mars is already great. Totally different than all the rest of my companions and one of the most unique people that I have met. He's just so attentive, detailed, and knowledgable about the most randomest things. I pray that I can just be a good enough trainer that he can be set for the rest of his mission.
But now I will go to experiences. Last Sunday, Giuseppe, a student from English Group, randomly came to church so we had a lesson with him this week. He had lots of questions and so we did our best to explain the Restoration in the context of his concerns. Mostly, he wants to know the truth but feels it's too hard to read the whole of Book of Mormon. And he thought church was a little boring but still we have lots of hope in Giuseppe. During our lesson in the park, the carabinieri or police also interrupted us and asked for our documents. I never expected anything like that to happen and fortunately we did have our documents. Giuseppe said they probably stopped us just because we looked strange or possibly someone called the police thinking we were "dangerous".
As for the rest, we taught lessons to Sebastiano who finally came to church again, the new convert Simone, and other members. I have actually been able to feel the Spirit a lot stronger as we have begun teaching together with Anziano Mars, the Restoration to these great members. We accomplished more finding with English Group posters, door to door and gessos and it feels good to walk around the city a lot again. We also had amazing pranzos with Sorella Puglisi and the Dimartino family and turns out I really like cherries. Anziano Mars reminds me everyday how I take for granted this amazing food that Ì have been eating for a year. And probably the craziest thing we did this week was set up for the musical. The theater group has been working hard and so have we so finally we have seen some good progress considering that it is this Thursday. On Sunday, we came and took apart the chapel in order to make room for the stage so there was a lot of chaos. But in the end it looks nice, I've never seen anything done by a ward this big and in decent order. We are excited to perform (okay, more I am excited to perform since Anziano Mars isn't too fond of acting :)) and we hope we have an awesome turnout of people to come to church.
On a more spiritual note, I feel calm. There have been some days I look back at the end of the day and just feel peace. Peace that all will work out. The stress with investigators, with training, with trying to understand people, with trying to find people has actually disappeared. I know this peace comes only from God and so I know we are still doing the right thing. I feel all could go wrong and yes that wouldn't be something I would like, but I feel confident enough to say that I can do anything with the Lord so why worry about what is ahead. Yes I may fall and slip, and yes I may still get frustrated, but I love the feeling at the end of the day where I can say to God, I did my part and thank you for your amazing help and forgiveness. I hope I can cherish and remember every moment because this mission has changed my life. I understand more, I sacrifice more, I am willing to give it my all even if no one else listens. And I just love Italy so much!
Vi voglio bene!