Thursday, April 30, 2015

Week 14.5, Good Week

everyone, sorry i didnt email monday, our p day was postponed til today! and another quick one haha

so, it was a pretty normal week, except i need to tell you two major things. one, about the bednar conference, and two, about our investigator named Guiseppe. I'll start with Giuseppe, since this story goes back to 2 sundays ago. the reason i didnt tell you yet is because i didnt wanna jinx anything, but this dude is legit. ok so it starts off with me and my comp walking into sacrament meeting about 10 minutes before church starts. we see this stranger sitting down near the back; neither of us have seen him before. so, naturally, we strike up a convo and get to know him. well, it turns out this guy had been studying to be a catholic priest from about 2003-2013 or so, but then some missionaries found him. long story short, they got a lesson with him. and during this lesson they testified of the book of mormon and its significance in the truthfulness of our church. this sparked curiosity in Giuseppe, and he actually read and prayed the following night. he said that as he prayed, he felt a hand lightly touching his head, so he looked up, but no one was there. he continued to pray, and as he asked about the book, he felt that same comforting hand brush the back of his head, like a father would do. he immediately took this as his answer. he left the catholic church and began taking lessons with the missionaries. after pretty much all the lessons were taught to him, his mother died. this destroyed him. and because of this, he stopped meeting with the missionaries, and kinda fell off the face of the earth. well, about 2 years later almost, he felt something missing in his life. he then remembered the comforting hand that brushed the back of his head years ago, and decided to come to church...that's when we first met him. now, after teaching him about 5 times in the last 13 days, he is more than ready for baptism, and will be baptized on May 9th. he is the most ready i have ever seen. he has an unshakable testimony of the most important principles of the Gospel, and he knows the Bible more than anyone I can think of. this guy is the definition of prepared. he is amazing. this was and is a great experience for me, because of the rareity of it, and the reality of it. God really does know his children, all of them. and sometimes as a missionary, we have really good lessons, but then get really discouraged because nothing happens after, and we may never even get a 2nd lesson.  after a while, you start to tell yourself it's something you're doing wrong, and you blame yourself and become discouraged. i'm starting to learn that that's not what we should do. the Lord has His timing, and His plan for everyone, and it is a perfect plan. sometimes people just arent ready yet, and we cant control that. all we can do is put our best effort forward and never stop doing so. i think of how the missionaries must have felt almost 2 years ago with Giuseppe. they had amazing lessons, and he even developed a testimony of the book of mormon, but just stopped. they must have been super discouraged, and may have even blamed themselves for it. but I can testify that they didnt do anything wrong, and that it wasnt Giuseppe's time. I know that now is his time, and the Lord has prepared him more than we know. I have no clue what I did to deserve this experience on my mission, especially so early on, but it's beautiful to see the Lord work in mysterious ways. I love this.
Another highlight was the bednar conference. now, i could go on for hours and hours about it, so i'll just keep it brief-ish. the entire Italy Rome mission had the privilege of hearing from an Apostle of the Lord, David A. Bednar, and it was unforgettable. he didnt even give a talk, in fact, it was more of a Q&A session. to hear this man's testimony and his answers to such profound questions was unreal. almost as unreal as the fact that i shook his hand and talked with him face to face. this man is amazing, more amazing that you can see from watching him on conference. since i dont have a ton of time, i'll just share something that really stuck out to me. someone asked "how do you know when you're truly converted?" his answer was remarkable but simple. he replied by saying, "if you ever think you are converted, you're in trouble." he explained that once we think we are converted, we not only stop progressing, but we digress. he likened it to another situation. he said that some of us may think "oh i could never fall away from the church, i'll never lose my testimony" and he said that with that mindset, that is how it happens. if we dont think we are susceptible to falling, then we will let our guard down. and if we let our guard down, thats how Satan gets you. he said that we must constantly be seeking to progress, and never think we arent susceptible to even the worst situations, because we are. he said that progression does not come all at one, but over time through consistency and diligence. 
I had some very spiritual but personal experiences this week. I've really grown to love this work even more, and i love my life as a missionary. i love it!!!!! i miss you all a ton, but i love you all enough to sacrifice these 2 years for a better cause, and i know you guys will be blessed for it. love you guys so much.


classic pose of the dude is all over caserta

horse in the middle of the rode, italy probs :-)

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