Monday, June 5, 2017
It's Not Easy
Dear Family and Friends,
After the great fun and spiritual experiences we had last week, I feel like Anziano Albright and I came back to the ground or as Elder Holland puts it, returning to the "regular vicissitudes of life". But thankfully, we were prepared for this and I can honestly bear testimony that we are trying our best over here, even though sometimes it may result the way we would like it too.
In short, I guess I should say what happened this week since I can't think of a creative cute way to describe our daily happenings. I remember the day after P-day we had plans to go see several families but then they all got bidoned(canceled) and so that morning, we decided to go put up English course posters because you always need more people to come to English course. Also there was the time where we tried to make cookies in order to teach less active families, but no one answered so we ate the cookies intead. Since we are trying to find more people to teach, finding is the name of the game here in Ragusa. We have started doing more area book finding, which is basically like calling old investigators and potentials from a while back. Most of the times it can be awkward. I remember calling one person asking, "Do you remember us?", which he didn't maybe because the missionaries had seen him once FIVE YEARS AGO! Most of the times, it is funny and maybe we will start to see some fruits.
On the funnier side of things, we visited some great member families sharing with them the message of The Family: A Proclamation. One time we went to the Micozzi's, where sadly the husband is sick and unable to come to church, but he's 85 and still alive so that's good. With the Criscione's, we try to encourage the husband to investigate the church since he's a non-member, but he usually wants to get back to watching tv instead of listening to us. Luckily, he and his wife liked the message still and gave us some cookies. Fact: Every spiritual thought apparently must be followed by some kind of snack or dolce, at least for Italians.
Sebastiano was making good progress but now he seems a little stuck, in that I don't know how devoted he is to searching for this answer, this answer that the Book of Mormon is true. He's an amazing friend, always taking us places for P-days and being really funny, but sometimes I just wonder, what is it that he really needs in order to make those steps toward Christ. I remember one lesson in particular this week where he opened up a lot about his problems in his life currently to which we felt confident to to tell him to ask God for help in these things and how this answer about the Book of Mormon would not only help him for eternity, but help him right now. We fasted for him, not just for an answer, but so that he could have peace about whatever happens in the future for him. Sorry if that was confusing.
The trick for me in doing missionary work really is finding the joy in small things. Anziano Albright and I did door to door this week several times and one time we even got kicked out of a palazzo again! That's how you can tell when you are getting close, when Satan bites back. Also, the mission president and his wife, President and Sorella Pickerd, visited Ragusa this week. It also turned out to be the same day as the Day of the Republic, the italian holiday of when they became united as a nation. So as with every holiday, everything was closed. Luckily, we still managed to find a nice place to eat delicious sicilian food (I tried gnocchi with rabbit ragù) and had a great time talking and visiting the church and the apartments. They loved the Ragusa church building, it is certainly one of a kind!
Advice time: I receieved this recently from President Pickerd. Count your blessings! Something I am really striving to work on. But I can start with being thankful for Anziano Albright, my district, these wonderful members, the haircut I got this week, being able to see the ward practice the musiscal, the Beauty and the Beast, our English Course throwing us a pizza party, and playing my violin as part of our gesso this week which was really fun. Counting blessings always makes me feel better.
I think I have hit the point where most things just seem like a normal part of life now, as if I have always lived in Italy, as if I always have worn a white shirt and tie, as if I was born being a missionary with an imaginary family and friends that I email every week. Maybe it's because I've been out here almost a year even though I still like to think I'm still that "greenie" that I used to be. Luckily, even without family, friends, my dog, the comforts of life in America and home, I never would trade my time on this mission for anything else.
As Hillary Clinton, a recent convert here and refugee from Africa said to us last night in his words, "It's not easy what you do. To teach people what is right and wrong. To volunteer your time. It's not easy." I agree wholeheartedly. It is not easy, but it's worth it!
Vi voglio bene!