A bit of a hectic week! We ended up hosting a few missionaries for a couple days in a row between permesso stuff and transfers. Monday night Anziano Segura came in from Cagliari, Sardegna so he had to take a plane to Rome then to Bari and then a train to Taranto. He’s pretty cool. From Houston, Texas so we bonded over the greatness that is the state of Texas while my New York companion learned a lesson or two in what it means to have true state pride. We ended up having to wait at the immigration office for over 3 hours to get his permesso but we got it! Then we waited at the bus stop for over an hour which was a bummer because the walk would’ve only been 50 minutes. Then, with transfers, the Anziani from Statte came in to stay with us on Wednesday night because Anziano Bertoldo was heading to Trapani and his companion Anziano Davidson needed to stay with us. Thursday we had an awesome Pranzo appointment at our investigator Mateo’s house. He is so cool!
His mom made awesome food. We had crostini, rustica, besciamella funghi crepes, meat and fries. She even made an authentic tiramisu but we couldn’t eat it because of the coffee, but she had made a pineapple tiramisu and that was super good!!! I was bummed about the real tiramisu though.
After the meal we were getting to the part that we would share a spiritual thought and the entire time I was feeling uncertain about what we had prepared because it didn’t feel right. As we began talking a little bit, the Book of Mormon came into the conversation and Mateo brought up his confusion over the concept of free agency found in 2 Nephi 2:27. He said he was struggling to understand what that really means for us because he interpreted it differently than the way I was explaining it. So I related it to him by giving an analogy of his mother who knows him probably better than anyone on the earth and her ability to know what would bring him lasting happiness. Despite this knowledge, she lets him make choices on his own so that he can learn for himself. It seemed to click for him after that and I invited him to read the Book of Mormon again but this time to really study it and ponder it for deeper understanding.
Then on Saturday we finally got a hold of our other investigators, Maria Grazia and Mimmo, who had been busy all week and we had a great discussion with them about the Book of Mormon. She has been enjoying reading the Teachings of President Howard W. Hunter and I asked her if she believed the Book of Mormon to be true and Joseph Smith was a prophet. She said she didn’t know, she hadn’t asked. I told her that the book in her hand (of Howard Hunter) means very little if she doesn’t first strive to gain the testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet through the study of the Book of Mormon. I helped her to see how the line of authority went through all of the Presidents of the church until it reached Howard W. Hunter and that he was a true prophet, but if she didn’t believe that the authority was restored in the first place than the words to her would only represent any other commentary of religious subjects instead of words from a living prophet of God. We invited her to continue studying his book but to make the Book of Mormon a priority and pray to know if it was true and if she did that then the teachings in the other book would take on a new meaning in her life.
In other news, as I was sitting and typing out this email on the train a man walked up and came about four inches from my face to look at my name tag, I tried to talk to him but he was deaf and so I tried to do some form of sign language with him but he couldn’t understand so I just gave him a pass along card. Looks like I need to learn Italian sign language as well now!
After this week, I am beginning to understand even more deeply the role that the Holy Spirit can play in our lives if we are seeking for the guidance of our Heavenly Father in everything that we do. I’m not one who claims to be very sensitive to the spirit in ways that I can describe tangibly, but I am getting better at recognizing after the fact that most of the choices I make were not anything that I had originally planned or thought out but were legitimate promptings that I followed for reasons I don’t fully know. I want to get better at recognizing in the moment when the promptings come, and actively making the choice to follow them. Either way I know if all of us are striving to do what is right and are committed to righteousness, then we don’t need to worry ourselves.
I love you all and please tell me if I can pray for something specific for you!