The suspense was building up for me all last Monday as to what would happen with my transfer call. I didn’t want to leave because Claudine was ready to be baptized on Sunday, but I also knew that wherever the Lord needed to assign me would be the right place. Well the stars aligned and I stayed in Napoli. This will make for 6 total transfers in Napoli done in two, three transfer blocks. I was shocked to hear I would be staying, but then immediately ecstatic because I knew I would get to be there for Claudine’s baptism. I’ll get to that at the end.
Not sure how many will remember this, but last week I said it had been one of favorite weeks on the mission. Well that was superseded. This week was even better. It contained two highlights that I will expand on.
The first being a small conference we had in Rome this past Thursday and Friday that led to many awesome experiences. This week being transfer week we were awaiting the travel plans to be sent out so we could have our zone organized and ready to leave or receive new companions. Wednesday at around 14:00 we receive the plans and my companion notices that our train up to Rome would be at 16:31 on Wednesday and not Thursday! So we had two hours to get all of the travel organized for the zone, cancel the plans we had for that evening, pack our stuff, and get our train. It was awesome. We get to Rome and meet up with Anziano Houseman and Anziano Kolsen. They are great guys.
Awesome missionaries. We slept at their house and then woke up at 4:30 the next morning to go with them to Roma Termini because Anziano Kolsen was headed to Catania. At the station we come up to the big group greenies waiting to catch their respective trains. I find out which one of them is going to be trained by my son, Anziano Kelson Anderson, and inform him that he is my grandson and we need a picture!
He is awesome! Anziano Bardsley from Perth, Australia! Then he had to leave, but then I found which one of them was going to be trained by my daughter, Sorella Gochnour, and inform her that she is my granddaughter! Second granddaughter in fact. She’s super cool. Sorella Wood, from Oregon I think. Some might say all of this is a bit unnecessary, but I disagree. I am proud of my posterity. Anyway I got a picture with my daughter and granddaughter as well. Such a sweet moment.
Throughout the day Thursday we were working in Ostia which was my companion’s previous area so he was excited to go back and visit people and do some good work. That evening we came back to Rome to have a meeting with a few other people from around the mission, most of whom I hadn’t seen in a long time and it was great to be able to catch up with them. Friday morning I woke up very early again and we had an awesome training session with President where we discussed many important topics and I felt really uplifted by the experience; hope I wasn’t the only one. Then afterward it was necessary for us to all go our separate ways which was tough because some of those people mean a lot to me and I’ll miss them.
Now on to Claudine’s baptism. Saturday we hear from Floriane that she is doubtful she will be able to catch the bus in the morning because she won’t have a way to get to the stop in the next town over. So we organize with our branch mission leader, Sam, and he and his wife, Lori, go pick up Floriane, Claudine, and Lucia. We had the chance to meet with them Saturday evening and Claudine was blowing us away with the simplicity of understanding gospel principles, especially commandments and repentance. She was ready for baptism. In the morning, during sacrament meeting, Floriane was confirmed and received the gift of the Holy Ghost. This was such a special moment because we had been telling her how much the Holy Ghost would help her after her baptism. She was so excited. Then in the afternoon we all gathered again at church and Claudine was baptized. It was a beautiful ceremony full of the spirit. Noemi was so happy to see her granddaughter dressed in white and I was so happy see this family receive these blessings.
After a week such as this, it suffices me to simply bear my testimony of the truth of this work to which I am called. I love being a representative of Jesus Christ. I know He lives. I know He suffered for us so we each could be baptized and receive forgiveness on conditions of repentance. I have been bounding with joy the last week straight in sheer awe at the great things that God has done in my life and how much He has changed me. We have so much to be grateful for.
I love you all. I’m praying for you,