This week was a doozy. Why? Well because it was the festa of the Immacolata, which if you weren’t aware is the Catholic holiday when, they say, Mary was purified and made perfect. Not to be confused with Ferragosto which is when, they say, Mary ascended into heaven. How does one celebrate the Immacolata you might ask? Well it’s really a two night, one day event. You eat a massive dinner the night before then recover physically by sleeping in the next day and then you eat an even bigger meal the actual night of the Immacolata. I love Italy.
Except, we didn’t get invited anywhere to eat and no investigator was available because they were all celebrating, so those days were packed full of good old finding.
We had Zone Conference which was super fun but also kinda stressful.
Some missionaries were coming in a lot later than expected so we needed to make a last minute change of plans to accommodate everything. The conference itself went really well. As part of the new #SiiUnaLuce (#BEtheLIGHT) campaign the church is doing this month, we talked about being lights as missionaries to each other, members/less actives, and investigators. It was a great discussion. I even shared the story of Hanukkah with everyone, which quite appropriately is known as the Festival of Lights. Then as part of a mission tradition at the end of the conference (it being Christmas season), we acted out the nativity which was hilarious. Anziano Andersen and Sorella Ensign played Joseph and Mary…and I played innkeeper #3 – obviously my theatrical talents were overlooked on that one. At least I was the one who offered the stable so I wasn’t completely useless.
Also during the skit, we sang Christmas hymns at strategically placed parts of the scene. I became painfully aware of just how unfamiliar I am with Christmas hymns. Fun times. Another highlight of the week was that we had a Scambio with Crotone and I was with Anziano Bellucci. He’s an awesome missionary from New York. When I say New York I really mean Canada because they live so far upstate (Potsdam) they go to Canada more often than not when they go out for anything. We had a really awesome experience serving together. I learned that he and I have the most similar backgrounds of anyone I have met in the mission and we bonded over that.
Also another note from this week. We had to go over to the Sorelle’s house about 5 times to fix their water heater. Italian water heaters and Sorelle missionaries do not mix.
We had the unique responsibility of moving a car in the mission. President drove it down from Rome and then had us drive it down to Reggio Calabria for missionaries from Sicily to come pick it up and take it back. About a 6 1/2 hour drive down and a 7 hour train back with an hour and a half delay. On the way, we stopped off briefly in Cosenza and then had a short Scambio in Catanzaro. I was with Anziano Haws and we had a great night sprinkled with basketball finding and teaching lessons. Anziano Haws is a great and capable missionary. From Fresno and teddy bear of a guy. I loved the chance to serve with him.
To end the week we had a lesson with Giorgio. We talked about the plan of salvation again and this time we went all the way to the end. He lost his wife and son 8 months apart from each other. At the end we asked him to pray and not just any prayer but really ask to know what was right. After he said he felt a feeling of being free. He’s progressing so well and should be baptized on the 24th!
To wrap up, I’ve been reading more intently in the Book of Mormon recently and came up to Alma this week. In chapter 10:6, Amulek relates his experience that he had been called many times but would not hear. I wonder how often this applies to us? How many times do we feel the tugging to give up a certain habit, forgive a certain person, or step up from where we currently are, and yet we refuse to hear? I think it all comes down to pride. Pride is the great vice. It restricts us in ways we do not completely comprehend.
I am grateful for the humbling experience my mission has been and continues to be in helping me learn to “hear” (and then follow) the suggestions of the Holy Ghost. I pray we can all examine ourselves and determine to hear with ears a bit more attuned to the guidance of Heavenly Father.
I love you all, I am still always open to receiving prayer requests if you have them,