Sunday, June 18, 2017

Finding Joy in the Journey and Genova, tranfers and a baptisms

JUNE 17, 2017

Hipster pic with Anz Josh Thompson
Ciao a tutti!! Che settimana!

I woke up Monday morning and told Anziano Wilson that this weeks was going to feel like million years and fly by in 3 seconds at the same time. Im not sure if that makes any sense but that is how the week felt. On Monday we got to drive to Verazze with the other Anziani here to clean out a missionary apartment. For those of you who don't know, any city on the North West coast of italy is my dream, and that is exactly where we went! After cleaning out this beautiful beach house of a missionary apartment, we drove to Genova to get some food before heading home. I don't even know how to describe how it felt being in Verazze and Genova, I was literally screaming because I was so excited haha. I felt like I was kind of related to the people there, knowing that a quarter of me is of that region.

Apartment cleanup crew

 As always, we dealt with all of the transfer shenanigans of the mission throughout this week. The new missionaries arrived to the airport and we gave them big hugs to greet them to the best mission
ever. Right after, we got to take them all to the Duomo of Milano and do some real finding! The next day was full of the usual insanity of transfers. Long story short, Anziano Wilson and Da Ponte had to drive to Vicenza so me and Anziano Brooks were companions for the night at the departing missionary dinner. I got to see 7 missionaries greet their families which is always such a cool thing to watch. The next day we woke up at 4am to drive drop off missionaries at the airport and I was lucky to put my tie on straight because I was so tired.


This is how I fell asleep


 I am so happy to say that aside from all of these office responsibilities, we still have the opportunity to do real missionary work and help people change their lives. Today Jofel was baptized and is now looking forward to be sealed with his wife for eternity. I will never forget in the first week of February when we felt inspired to pass by his house. Jofel's wife was there with their little baby, and
she expressed to us how she wanted to go back to church and have her husband come too. Jofel is now baptized and wants to share everything he has learned with his other family members who aren't members. It is such a blessing to be a missionary. I have honestly received so much more than what I've given. You leave on a mission felling excited, homesick, and a bit out of place and then you reach the end of the mission feeling like what you are doing has more purpose than anything you've ever done before. You almost feel depressed thinking about it all ending. That's how impactful my mission has been.

Jofel's baptism
...I can see the beach in the background!
Ward BBQ

 Love you all.

JUNE 10. 2017

 Thank you for all your prayers and love.

Hey there everyone!

 Italy is getting warmer, actually really hot, and we can't keep ourselves away from the gelato. Most families that feed us nowadays just give us gelato for dessert so we don't have to buy as much. I
keep worrying that I am going to get really chunky but it never happens thank goodness. If you wanted a cat update, I've literally seen like 8 this week! Most of them haven't wanted to come up to me though...


 This week we prepared for the new transfers, which is always fun, and we also got to meet with some pretty awesome people. So many great things are going on in Lodi and I am so happy. Jofel should be getting baptized next weekend! Families keep treating us like their kids.

 There are so many things to be grateful for. It's always such a blessing to be serving with President Allen, his wife, the Hoopes, the other Anziani here. It can so crazy trying to fix problems but I
always love it.

The whole English class!
Duomo with the other Anziani!

So much of my mission I've focused on finding joy in everything I do. I meet SOO many people that are unhappy and it is mostly because of their attitude and outlook of life. We tend to worry so much about the future and it distracts us, even makes us unhappy about the moment we are living in. I listed to a talk by President Monson called "finding joy in the Journey" something I love that he quoted was "You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you’ve collected a lot of empty yesterdays.” We have to be happy with what we have and where we are in life, or else our days won't really be filled with moments worth remembering. President Monson later said "there is no tomorrow to remember if we don’t do something today." I hope we can choose to be happy and make the most important day of our lives the one we are living in this moment. I love the mission and for all I've gained from it. I've definitely gained more than what I have given up.
Making calls while Anziano Wilson takes a selfie
My English class

 Love you all.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

A week of craziness and an early reunion

Ciao everyone!
Reunion with my dad

I can say this was one of the busiest, yet most amazing weeks of my mission.

For a good part of the week, Anziano Wilson and I were ambulance drivers for a Sister who unfortunately broke her leg. For the next few days we drove her and her Italian dad around for Appointments- I was driving a huge van in the tiny streets of downtown Milano trying not to hit any potholes. Her dad is from Napoli so he insisted on buying us Napoletana Pizza, we didn't complain about that ;)
My brother, Conner and me
Il Duomo with my dad and Conner

During this all, two Elders stayed in our apartment for a couple nights, one was Italian and the other was from the Dominican Republic.  It was fun and crazy at the same time but all was well and we still got our office and missionary work done for the most part.  Despite all the craziness, we were able to meet with some awesome families and people. Jofel is set to being baptized in the next 2 weeks! I felt extra blessed this week because I came across about 10 cats haha. Sadly no pictures were taken with any of them, you will just have to believe me.

At the opera

Two months ago I asked President Allen if he would allow me to see my dad when he comes to Italy in June. He was so understanding and loving and gave me permission. Well on Friday guess who came to the mission 
office! My dad walked in the door and I made Anziano Wilson take a picture as I gave him a big hug. I gave him a tour and then we sat in President Allen's office and talked. It was such a special moment for me to be with my dad in the country we both call our second home. Our blood ancestors are Norther Italian, and since I was a little boy I remember my dad always talking about Northern Italy. I had always dreamed of him seeing me as a missionary in action in Italy but I never knew it would actually happen. I was definitely called to this mission for a reason. Out of the some 415 or more missions in the world, with the apostles and prophet knowing nothing of my Italian background and history, I was called to Northern Italy. I have felt so at home, God is aware of us all and he truly loves us. I am so grateful for my mission, and for all of you. 


Have a great week.