Well, here it is, I've been here 4 weeks! Now I have only 12 short days left until I depart for Italy! Ahhh, I am so excited it's crazy.
I'd first like to start off concerned with the fact that my English grammar and vocab are already deteriorating due to the constant Italian being spoken. I guess that's good and bad. That being said, the language is coming along! I'm still nervous for how fluent I'll be out in the field, but if I've learned anything so far, it's that with the Lord on my side I can literally do anything...
My lessons are going well with my simulated investigators, we got one to commit to baptism! I'm also quickly learning the duties of a Zone Leader, as I have about 4+ meetings on Sundays and I even had to teach for a whole hour during Priesthood class! The best part is, it was an emergency, so they gave me 20 minute notice to prepare a 60 minute lesson. Needless to say, I was nervous, but it actually went quite well. I thought it was alright but everyone told me it was super good, so I'll take this compliment haha. Also, it snowed a little bit on Monday! It was only for like 20 minutes, but still. Plus, I did choir on Tuesday for the devotional! I dont usually do that kinda thing, but I did and I loved it. I also surprisingly have not gained a pound, and I'm definitely guessing that's a blessing from God, since the food we eat here is more fattening than when I ate Taco Bell 6 times a week.
I'm having a great time here. Honestly, I love the guys in my zone. although my companion may be the most awkward and different among the entire zone, I still love everyone and it's just so awesome to be here. Every day we get one of our teachers to talk about his mission, so he does until he realizes we're getting off topic from the lesson. But when he does, it's so amazing. He says the people there are so lovable it's ridiculous; that they're the best people you will ever meet. He also says, obviously, that the food there is so amazing that you cannot stop eating and will never want to eat in America again. He says that it is the most beautiful place he has ever seen in his entire life and that it's also the most peaceful. He told us his favorite places he served in were Napoli, Palermo, Calgari, Rome, and some other place along the southern coast of Italy. He also said there are a ton of different dialects throughout Italy that we'll need to learn and that they speak Sicilian in Sicily, not Italian. and apparently it's not even similar to Italian, so that'll be a fun bridge to cross someday...oh and Malta is in my mission, and if i go there I have to learn Maltese, which is a mix of english, french, and arabic....yikes!
Every day I find out something new that keeps me motivated to work hard. Though I have lots of fun and am doing what the Lord wants, I still come across challenges, almost daily. but I know the Lord gives me these challenges, not only because I can handle them, but because I NEED them. He knows I will grow from them, and that these trials are necessary to become the person/missionary He NEEDS me to be one day! I am so grateful for the love He has for me, and that we have to opportunity to literally TALK to God! Prayer is the greatest thing, I'll tell ya. I've had multiple experiences these past 4 weeks, personal experiences, where I have SEEN the Lord answer my prayers. It's such a comforting feeling to know that we can ask for help and answers and He WILL give them to us! I am so blessed. y'all are so blessed. life is great, and it's a gift. we should all treasure it to the fullest and strive our best to make it good in the eyes of God so we can one day return to live WITH HIM and become just like Him! Eternal life is the greatest gift, and sharing it with your family is even greater. I am out here for that reason. not for baptism numbers, not even to baptize people. I'm here to unite families together in accordance with God's plan, so that they can receive eternal life together, and partake of the purest of all joys.
If ye should labor all your days and save it be one soul...how great should your joy be in the kingdom of God-- just a paraphrased version of D&C 18:15 (I think) since I dont have my scriptures on me. but that is so amazing. that is my goal. If I can save just ONE soul, change ONE life, THEN, will my mission be worth it. The 2 years of labor, hard work, failure, tribulation- all of it will be worth it if I could 'save it be one soul'.
I KNOW this church is true. I have received personal revelation from God on more than one occasion telling me so. I know that I am doing what He needs me to do. I know that by being an instrument in His hands, I can do absolutely anything He wants me to do, including performing miracles. I have learned to appreciate the trials He gives me, and look at them as a growing experience. Ever since I have made that change in mindset, my life has been amazing. I challenge you all to ask the Lord for challenge. I know that sounds crazy, but I challenge you to ask Him to give you an opportunity for personal growth, and that He may help you to recognize it as just that, so you may attack it with momentum and come out of it stronger than ever. I love the Lord, and I love this church with all my heart. I love you all, and want you all to know I am praying for you every day, and I can also feel your prayers. I appreciate them more than words can describe. I know these next 22 months or so will fly by, somehow, and because of that I vow to make the best of every moment, and never turn down an opportunity for growth. these truly will be the best 2 years of my life, and FOR my life. I can already see that after 4 short weeks.
Again, I love you all, and love to hear from you.
|An Elder in my district decided to build a fort on his bed, lol!|
|Thank you Lepak family for the yummy treats!|
|Me and some of my buddies on Sweater Saturday! (we all wear sweaters every Saturday) I love these guys,they're great.|
|The other two Elders in my room|
|My companion and two Sisters heading to serve in Stockholm, Sweden.|