So right now I’m sitting on a bus headed to Bari because this week begins a stretch of zone conferences that won’t end until we’re back in Rome Thursday night. So next time I write you I should have plenty to talk about!
The past week was one for the books. We had a bit of everything. To start off, on P-Day we went to the Trevi fountain and the Pantheon, which is supposedly the oldest standing building in Rome (or so I hear). Those were cool, but the better part was meeting up with my daughter, Sorella Gochnour, and second granddaughter, Sorella Wood! It was great. Technically I saw them the previous Friday during a leadership conference but it was better getting to actually catch up on P-Day.
Tuesday we met with President and Sorella Pickerd and discussed more specifically exactly what we wanted to accomplish for this round of Zone Conferences. President Pickerd has such a vision for this mission and us missionaries. I doubt even I understand the potential he sees in us.
Wednesday we met with our investigator and successfully got him to move up his baptismal date from September to next month in this transfer! Then we went to district meeting where the senior couple Thacker made us sloppy Joe’s! So good. I may have had 5 of them plus that amount of helpings of funeral potatoes. I was hungry. Tender mercies. In the evening we met with one of our other investigators and scheduled a baptismal date for him for the end of next month! Miracles are happening at Rome!
Thursday we woke up early early and caught a plane to Cagliari in Sardegna. Cagliari is gorgeous. The streets are spotless. There’s no trash anywhere and the landscaping is kept so well. I was shocked. I had the opportunity to do an exchange with Anziano Crook for a good part of the day. Also in the morning we gave Sorella Tacchi and Sorella Lalonde their driving tests which were funny. I got to see Sorella Tacchi again! She’s so great. Also I saw my granddaughter Sorella DeMann! And Sorella Cardullo, Anziano Allen, and Anziano Morrill too! Several us went to the city center in the evening to do a chalk drawing finding activity. We were all talking to everyone! I loved it. I love doing missionary work. It’s hard, it’s hot, and sometimes it’s awkward but there’s no greater feeling at the end of the day than knowing you did all you could to testify of Christ and his restored church.
Friday we had the Sardegna Zone Conference. I’d say it went pretty well. They had some awesome participation which is what makes for a good meeting. I appreciated it. Afterwards we were in the middle of the trainer/trainee meeting when Sorella DeMann informs me that everyone in the meeting had to leave right then or they weren’t going to make it home until almost 11pm! You gotta love the Italy Rome Mission. So basically everyone jetted out immediately and rushed to get to the train station and it all worked out. It always does. A few hours later we found ourselves at the airport with President and Sorella Pickerd. I almost wasn’t allowed on the plane because I only had my permesso di soggiorno and not my passport but it was only a slight setback and I eventually got on. I personally was laughing during the whole ordeal.
Sunday I had one of the coolest surprises! I was sitting in Sacrament Meeting at the start of church and one of the ushers comes up to me right before they are about to pass the bread and water and he says there are American families downstairs that need translation.
Downstairs is like an oven with no airflow plus you can barely hear what people are saying because the sound system is weak. I wasn’t the most excited, but I figured it was a good opportunity to improve the language so there’s always a bright side. No, the real bright side is when I walk in and the family that needs translation is the family that moved to Taranto while I was there this past winter!!!! The serendipity of it all had me speechless. Turns out the wife is headed back to America the next day with the three kids to get ready to have the baby and the husband would be flying back at the end of the week.
It was so awesome getting to see them literally right before they left. They had no idea I had been transferred to Rome. It will be good to see them again back in America too.
Before I go I wanted to remind each of you something that I was reminded of this past week. Sometimes we may find ourselves in what one could call a slump, whether it be physically, mentally, or spiritually. Whatever aspect of life you want to apply it to, there are these periods that we may not feel we are accomplishing what we could.
What I have realized is the fastest antidote to this state is gratitude. If we are grateful for what we have and we recognize the individual blessings that we receive daily or have received than we will be strengthened to rise above where we currently find ourselves.
I wouldn’t say I was much of cryer before my mission but anytime I begin to count my blessings I don’t get very far before tears begin to fill my eyes because of the great things with which my Heavenly Father has blessed me. I invite you all to do the same. You may start with the big things, the obvious things, but soon you’ll begin to see the tiny things that we may normally overlook and that is the moment that we realize just how present the hand of the Lord is in our lives. I love my Savior. I love representing Him here in Italy. I know this is His true restored church on the earth today.
I love you all,