Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Two Years to do it, an Eternity to Remember it

Hey everybody,

I first wanna apologize for sending this so late, it's cuz I didn't have wifi the whole day and just now get to send out my draft. But anyway...

This week was an interesting one. It may not have been filled with a bunch of lessons or appointments, but it definitely had its miracles. I guess I underestimated (again) the power the God has and what He really is capable of. It's honestly astounding to me how He hasn't stopped working miracles, even here in the literal home stretch of my 2 year full time missionary service.

The people we meet with regularly didn't come thru this week unfortunately, but we met other people and had some discussions to remember. This one man that we taught over a week ago kept having things come up and keep us from being able to meet with him all the way til Sunday. He's the guy I told you about from Egypt that wants to become Christian. He recognizes that we are one of MANY Christian religions and for this reason wants to study and think this out before he decides which religion is the true one. A little over a week ago we gave him a Book of Mormon in Arabic, his native language. On Sunday after church I called to see why he didn't make it to church to make sure he was ok. He answered and felt super bad that he slept in and couldn't make it but then he was like, "I'm almost done with the book you gave me." I was like 😳 "bro, that book is over 500 pages." So yeah apparently he's passed the halfway mark and loves it. It's difficult to talk about it though cuz he reads in Arabic but we chat in English. So he doesn't have the best vocabulary when it comes to English gospel topics..lol. But it works. Side note: my whole mission I've avoided teaching immigrants and refugees because their lives are so spontaneous that you never know what could happen or when they could leave and you don't want to get them into something that they'll eventually leave because of moving away or something. But with this guy it's different. He really wants it and most of all, he wants to change his life he said. So Sunday evening we had a heart-to-heart and he was like, "guys I wanna change. I wanna become Mormon. I wanna quit smoking and this and that" it was pretty incredible. He really wants our help and I'm pretty juiced to help him turn his life around. It's one of the coolest things you could ever witness.

In church on Sunday, as we entered the 2nd hour of church, there should be a "Gospel Principles" class. For some weird reason, the church in Ostia doesn't really do it unless there are some new people there that don't really know about our church. This is not how it should be, for a number of reasons. Anyway, we came to the conclusion that if we just did it regardless every Sunday, that God would more likely send people to us than He would if we were unprepared. So, we did it. And 5 minutes after starting, this random guy about 55 years old comes walking in saying he's looking for the Mormons and wants to "study" with us (in his words). So that was pretty cool...it was unreal. It went really well and after church we exchanged some info and he asked us to come by and see him on Tuesday. Wow.

Today for p day we went ice skating and got this bomb gelato and looked around Zara (shoutout to my Europe bois). It was fun. Last full p day so that's weird. But then after went and had a super bomb dinner with this fam as we taught the father since he currently isn't a member of the church and wants to know more and discover if it's the truth or not.

All in all it was a good week.

Guys, idk what to tell you. I'm prob gonna see you all soon (I hope) and I can't wait to tell you all about this experience and hear about all yours these past 2 years. This week we had Zone conference and I kinda gave my "final words" if you will. I spoke for like 5 mins. What I said then is what I'd like to kinda just sum up for you guys...

   These past 2 years have been the most unique of my life, and they always will be. Many people have the misconception that these are supposed to be the BEST two years (of your life, even) but that's not it. Yes, they are amazing. But we are not here on earth all meant to go on a church mission for 2 years, therefore the best years of our life will not be enjoyed in this manner. However, these past couple years have prepared in a way that nothing else could've done. I have had some of the best and some of the worst moments of my life during these 2 years out here in Italy. There have been moments when I was so happy I couldn't even remember why I was so happy, and then there have also been times where I've found myself on my knees asking God why certain things had to happen to me and those I loved. In the end I've come to know that God knows all, and knows everyone. I didn't come to Italy for a vacation, but I came here because apparently there were some people i needed to meet and experiences i needed to have. I can't really sum up 2 years in an email, but just know that if it wasn't for these 2 years and everything that happened in them, I'd be completely lost. I love my mission and I love these people. It's out here amongst the rejections and the miracles that I've come to know that this is the truth. I've gained something here that you can't just get by chance. I've gained a knowledge of the truth. It isn't a perfect knowledge, but it's enough to keep me going for the rest of my life and keep me doing what I need to do. 

I'm sorry this is so awkwardly worded but it's really hard for me to express myself cuz I have so much to say and even more going on in my head. This has been the best experience of my life. God is real. I've found His church, His truths. And I'm never going to forget a single moment of my mission. This mission has saved my life. I'm eternally grateful.

See you guys soon. I love you guys.

Last Zone Conference

Ice Skating on Pday

We are all finishing our missions on the same day

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