So the most important update of the week is Noemi got BAPTIZED!!!!! It was absolutely incredible and I can’t think of anything I would’ve wanted more than to be at her baptism the night before I left Napoli. She was happy beyond belief. She literally could not stop smiling. The joy that came from her could have filled a stadium. In her testimony after her baptism all she could say was that she was so happy. Is there anything better in this world than the happiness we can feel from the gospel? Some would say yes, but I would disagree.
Okay, other things! I stuffed my face full of Napoli pizza before I got transferred. Literally in the few days before I left I think I ate 6 pizzas. It was glorious! Also, I may or may not have made the deal of the century on a pair of suits my last P-day in Napoli.
On another note, it was really hard saying goodbye to so many people I had grown to be close with. I will miss them more than words will express.
The trip to Ascoli from Napoli was quite an eventful one! I took a train that came into Rome over an hour and a half late, two missed buses, a very enjoyable walk up and down the hills of Rome, and then a 3 hour bus to Ascoli! I think the best part was having two massive bags to pull on the very unforgiving sidewalks of Italy…
Anyway, Ascoli is the polar opposite of Napoli in almost every way. It has been quite the adjustment but I can already tell with unceasingly hard work this city can be transformed into something so great. The potential is there we just have to go out every day and never stop trying to find those people who are being prepared.
Alright, are you guys ready for my super deep missionary spiritual thought for the week? It’s actually not that deep but it’s something I find really interesting because it comes from a chapter in the Book of Mormon that is used more often by missionaries than any other chapter and it is….you guessed it! Alma 32.
Okay, so on the train to Rome I was with Anziano Maxwell who is going home in 3 months so he has close to an entire mission’s worth of lessons learned and perspective to share. Obviously, I was all over trying to pick his brain and learn! He talked about how it was only a few weeks ago that he was explaining the reasoning for us to have faith to an investigator and for the first time he really understood the concept of what the cycle of faith does for our lives.
Faith isn’t just a one time thing. For our faith to grow we first plant the seed, in our hearts, for a desire to know. Then through our efforts we nourish the seed and it begins to grow and this growth is something that we can feel inside. Once we have these feelings of faith, that initial desire to know becomes knowledge and we no longer require faith because we know it. But what is the point?
The point is that once we know it we need to continue nourishing the seed by continuing to do the little things we were doing in the beginning like praying and reading our scriptures which will lead to the seed to grow further into a tree. Our reward is getting to eat the fruit of the tree! Then what happens? Do we just stop? NO!!! What is inside all fruit? More seeds!!!! We take those seeds and plant those in hearts which lead to more growth and more knowledge and it becomes a never ending cycle of improvement!
I know I’m pretty far behind in understanding basic stuff like this but I think it is pretty incredible when the most simple yet beautiful concepts become crystal clear in our hearts and our minds when we truly demonstrate the desire to understand the mysteries of God. I want to challenge all of you to find something in your life that maybe you’ve always known or always been taught, and investigate it further in your hearts, seeking for the truth and asking for help in understanding from Heavenly Father. I know He will enlighten your mind to greater capabilities.
I love you all! I really do!
(check out the slideshow below of all the pictures from my last week in Napoli)