Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Source to Happiness

April 23, 2017
Hey everyone! I want the days to slow down because they are flying too fast! We had an awesome zone conference this week. We starred in the mission wide safety video so it was cool to watch it in front of the Milano zones and hear everyone laugh haha. Right now the mission is focusing on being creative to do missionary work instead of being old fashioned. I seriously love it. Even though we spend lots of time in the office, we still try to get our message out to people by doing creative things. Tonight we played soccer with some members and their friends which was super intense because soccer is like a religion here. It was still cool to get out there and show that, although we are missionaries, we are normal people with talents like everyone else.
Soccer with members and friends.

Duomo today

  I got a new companion this week! Anziano Wilson from Vancouver Canada.  My 3rd comp from Canada who also speaks French! He is here with me and Anziano Simmons so he can learn all of the office duties before Anziano Simmons leaves. Earlier this week, a man named Michel from France called us and wanted to meet us in Lodi. How cool is that! Just two days after Anziano Wilson got here, this guy calls us. So we taught him the whole lesson in French and I was able to help out because I studied French throughout school. Michel has already learned almost everything from when he was in France and he wants to be baptized. It is very cool to see how things just work out in the way that they do.
Kitty bunk bed

He didn't want to wave.  This is the best cat ever.  Named Minoos.

 Easter was super great and we were able to spend it with some awesome people. We ate good traditional foods and talked a lot about the resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ. I know He is the Son of God and our Savior, even though I have never personally met or seen Him.
The Zone

 I've had way too many special experience in my life and mission to ever deny it. The world asks, what is the source to all happiness? It is Jesus Christ, and everything I teach about Him. It is almost
impossible to believe it unless you try and see for yourself.
Love you all! Have a great week.
April 16, 2017
Happy Easter everyone! The mission President and his wife, along with the mission office senior couple, hid a bunch of Easter eggs for us and the other elders to find. It was fun running around the yard with 3 other 20 year olds acting like little kids again haha.
This holiday is a big deal here for Italy, so people don't hold anything back when it comes to celebration. I don't think there is a better way to celebrate Easter than by having the baptism for our 9 Year old friend, Prestley. Recently, we were able to get his dad to come back to church which interested his son Prestley. They have so little in there lives and they have been through so much. Vincent, the dad, was shot in the leg years back so he has had trouble finding work to support their family. Nonetheless, they love the gospel and have more faith than most people I've met. They are truly saints and miracles come to them so often, despite their life situation. Prestley is a great little
kid. I love how Children see things in such a simple and uncomplicated way.
Baptism for Prestley
I'm makes me pretty sad at how some people over complicate things that are meant to be so simple.  Another really cool thing happened last Sunday. To give a back story; 3 months ago, we passed by a family who had not been to church in years. Well they let us in and they talked about how they have been wanting to see us for a while. They haven't come to church because the husband works every Sunday. Last Sunday they came to church and the wife said that recently they have been praying for a miracle so that they could come. A miracle happened and her husband wants to keep learning from us and eventually be baptized.
This is a time for us to recognize and celebrate the fact that Jesus Christ died and lived again as He said He would. I've never been happier, more grateful, or full of love than this time here in Italy, teaching others about Jesus Christ.
Buona Pasqua a Tutti! Vi voglio bene.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Perfect love casteth out fear...

President and Sister Allen did this to my bed.  Ha Ha!
Once again, I can say that it was an awesome week. I've really loved the long drives we take each day to our area. It is so green and full of life everywhere with rivers and streams. It's very beautiful where we get to work. Today we visited the famous Milano soccer stadium which was so rad! As always, we kept working hard, keeping things afloat in the mission. We had the "grand opening" of our english class that we publicized for a few weeks with rad flyers. It was so awesome because a good amount of people came and all of them stayed to watch the new Easter Video called PrincipeDellaPace. Everyone loved it, and I'm not surprised because it teaches mostly about peace and the Savior. I hope you can at least watch #PrinceofPeace and share it with someone. The follow-up videos that go along with the video are amazing too. Let us remember why we celebrate! Because He is risen and He is the Prince of Peace.

Visiting the famous Milano soccer stadium where AC Milan and Inter play

 "Perfect love casteth out fear," were some of the words spoken by Elder Ughtdorf in last weekend General Conference. This week I reflected a ton on the words spoken by our prophet, apostles, and other leaders of the church. They always speak of things that directly go along with our changing lives and new worldly trends. I specifically was touched by Elder Ughtdorf's talk about how the power of love supersedes that of fear. He said that "One of the ways Satan wants us to manipulate others is by dwelling upon and even exaggerating the evil in the world." In reality there are so many acts of kindness and love all around the world that sadly go unrecognized.

 The more I look for the good and love that's in the world, the less fearful and more peaceful I become. Have an awesome Easter egg filled week! Don't forget to share the video!

Anziano Hogan

Brand new car
Hello everyone!!!

So I've decided not to write home for the rest of my mission...

APRIL FOOLS!!!! Happy April 1st everyone. Sister Hoopes, who works here in the office, made us brownies except they were literally cut out brown cardboard E's hahaha. This week I was able to visit, in my opinion, the most beautiful place on earth. We worked a ton on moving apartments, spreading the word about our new english class, and working with the awesome people of Lodi. These last few days have been tender for me because they mark a year since I returned home. I am so extremely grateful for being able to return back here so quickly. It honestly has been the best time of my life, all these months in Italy.
Don't worry...we didn't touch the water.  We were just tanning.
The Liguarian coastline
On Tuesday we took a train to Bergamo where we picked up the brand new mission van and drove it back to Milano. The next day we had to move a missionary apartment so we drove the new mission van to a city called Imperia and Sanremo which are cities in Liguria that lie near the border of France. It was one of the coolest drives of my life just gliding along the Ligurian coast passing along Genova, Savona, and all the other little beach cities. It reminded Anziano Simmons and I so much about California!! It was a special moment for me because I know that our biological ancestors are from Liguria. Ever since I have arrived in italy I have waited to visit that area.

The moving squad
Friday was such an awesome experience for Anziano Simmons and I because we taught a high school class all about who we are and what we believe. A young member from Lodi got us this opportunity. It was the coolest experience to have the attention of about 20 teenagers, telling them for an hour, the things that we believe. At the end of our presentation, we showed the new 2017 Easter video which almost had the teacher in tears.

A world cat convention here in Milan
 As many of you know, this is the weekend of General Conference! I hope everyone gets the chance to watch it. I liked what Elder Nelson said about having our focus on our Savior. He said "If we look unto Him in every thought, our doubts and fears will flee". I know that is very true because He is our perfect example. I love what I am doing here and I love you all!

A church with thousands of bones!
Real human skulls!

 Anziano Hogan