Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Our Efforts Are Never Wasted

Do I want to go to the singles ward? VV4 for life.

Well things are definitely winding down here. I've been blessed to see a bit of everyone over the last week and work really hard at the same time. The work is making progress little by little so it's been particularly comforting for me. I always worry whether or not I'm making an impact in the places I serve. I feel as if I've made an impact here in this branch. The highlight of this past week was setting a baptismal date with Ivano!

We've really been prepping him these last few weeks and it's paid off. We went into the lesson having planned to talk about baptism. We talked about it and talked about his own progress. We explained to him that his next step could only be baptism. I asked him at the end, ''Ivano if Jesus Christ was here and asked you to follow him by being baptized, what would you say yes?''.  Haha to our dismay he said no. We asked him why and he said he didn't feel ready. We challenged him anyway and promised that he could be ready by the November 4th. He declined but we insisted and continued being persistent. At a certain point he said by November 4th I can't but maybe by December 4th. Eveson and I sort of looked at each other and turning back to Ivano we said ok!!

As I ran down his stairs (this was Saturday) with joy I slipped and sprained my ankle. Yeah, I basically couldn't walk the rest of the day. On Monday it got super purple and blue and was pretty big, but since then it's gone down. Haha. Hopefully it's just a sprain or twisted ankle and nothing more. Right now I've been walking on it and it's ok so don't worry.

We haven't really heard from Brunella much but I'm confident that with time things will work out. She knows these things are true but she needs to go forward with her faith. The guy from England, Christian, has fallen off a bit. It strange because he was so elect. Personally, I think his girlfriend or wife kind of scared him off or something. If he's truly elect though he will respond and come find us.

This last transfer has really been a good one! Although the work didn't go amazing it has really progressed. We've worked our butts off with the members and pretty soon there will be a lot of awesome referrals for the missionaries. Already there are so many people that the members are working with but they aren't at that ''give them to the missionary stage.'' This next transfer things are going to explode.

I've had some cool moments this last week in which multiple missionaries have thanked me for being a GEM (Grow Every Missionary program in the mission). Apparently, president while talking to the assistants used me as an example of being a GEM my entire mission. The assistant is the same missionary who took my place in Verona after I left and wanted to tell me. He also thanked me for 'Gemming' the city because he had such a wonderful transfer there.

Now I don't say this to vaunt or be prideful, obviously you know that, but it was a great 'feel good' moment. It helps me realize that all our efforts are never wasted. I can say that my mission would have been a serious letdown if I just given a mediocre  effort. I'm grateful the Lord has seen it fit to bless me for those efforts. I think that even without all the success in terms of baptisms I would say I was successful. I would be successful in the way that I've grown and changed. I'm so much more prepared for life and what it has in store (at least I hope so)...vediamo (we'll see).

Torino Efforts

Feeling Good About Pisa
Sanremo Blessings

I totally planned on making a small email today...darn....lucky you.

Well I got some good goodies for you all....cookies.  Nah, I have some other gifts as well...most of which I will buy in Milano tomorrow...

Catch you later

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

In Tune And A Good "Christian"

Hey everyone!

Well I am managing to keep my head in the game. It's getting difficult the more others, members, talk or mention that I am leaving. My departure always seems to get brought up especially when we are planning or what not. Haha it's slowing down the clock big time. I guess I am exaggerating just a little though. 
Overlooking Sanremo
I'm definitely not as sad as I thought I would be to leave. I think the more I see the mission winding down I'm seeing that I've served the Lord and now I have a new way of serving. I'm excited to see how much more the work here in Sanremo will go though. On Sunday we were a bit down in our numbers over the week. We had gone to Milano which really took a chunk of our finding time away.

We lost a bunch of time when we went to another city and the brethren from Africa gave us a bidone. Well Sunday night rolled around and we were doing Casa in Casa (tracting). We got a call from this investigator Giovanna saying she was at the church waiting for us. We hadn't invited her the day before to come to church for the morning services. Well when we got there she realized nobody was there, of course nobody was because as it was 8:30pm. We explained that church is in the morning and we asked if she would like to go and have a lesson inside. She didn't really want to so we taught her outside where we were sitting.

The lesson went well but it's not the main part of the story. Right after we finished we had taken about 30 steps and we stopped this couple. We met Christian from England and his girlfriend Juliet from Nigeria. We got talking and right from the start it was clear that Christian was very in tune and was a good ''christian''. We started talking about the Restoration, the Book of Mormon and he was amazed. He said, ''really so there is a prophet today and this Book is new scripture?''. We talked for all of about 20 minutes and set up an appointment for the next night!

Well Monday night came around and we waited for awhile for them to show up in church. I then called them and apparently they'd just forgotten about the appointment. Well they came right after and we had a great lesson! Christian is so elect and just gets it! His girlfriend or wife, I'm not really sure yet, isn't quite as elect but is very kind. They both said yes to the soft baptismal invite! It was really a great blessing to our prayers. 
Sisters McNamara & Jones, Robinsons, and Elder Eveson
We've been talking a lot about our transfer vision and what we had visualized. Obviously with no baptisms we felt that we could still find and set 2 baptismal dates before the end of the transfer. We are praying that all will go well with these two new investigators. The miracle for me was the fact that they live here in Sanremo. When we first met them I thought for sure that they were tourists.

I had a great experience this week with prayer and receiving answers. I was really stressed out about district meeting and our English class. It was the end of the week and i really wasn't sure what i would do for either activities. I finally just figured I needed to first pray and then do my part in studying. Well, I prayed a ton and I used all my spare time to grind something out. In the end I was well prepared for English class even though I'm a terrible teacher of English. For district meeting while I was thinking I came across a talk that was perfect for our district. Leading up to both things I was just filled with lots of peace and I know that Heavenly Father was giving me a hand. It just adds for my love of the Gospel and teaching of the Savior when we witness the blessings after the trial of our faith.

Well, you guys don't get to excited but be ready to get your party on. I just hope Sawyer doesn't pee on me when I tackle him to the ground. He'll remember me quickly... just watch.

Love you all and have a great day!

Monday, September 24, 2012

I Love Missionary Work!

Ciao tutti. Non vedo l'ora di vederve! (Hi everyone.  I can't wait to see you all!)

You are just going to have to grind out these last few weeks. Time is slowing down but it's been giving me a lot of mental preparation. I keep thinking about what I will do, what I want to do and what the Lord wants me to do. Boy am I glad that I learned how to plan out my day as a missionary. I feel like it's going to give me so much time everyday to accomplish all the things I need to do.

Things here in Sanremo are going pretty good. We've been able to see Brunella a few times since last week. We will probably end up changing her baptismal date to October but she's still loving the Gospel. She's waiting right now for her work to decide whether she needs to return to work or if she can get medical leave. She's been talking with lots of people to figure the whole thing out. It's made it really difficult though because it's possible that they confine her to her home. We're praying that she'll get medical leave, with her leg being injured, and be able to leave home when she wants. She is hanging in like a trooper though and is learning how to rely on Heavenly Father.
New Investigator Luz (from Argentina)
Ivano is progressing. I think our threats, threats is a little strong, of dropping him are pushing him a bit. He's been accepting our invites and his mom even came to church on Sunday. It was funny because when we asked him if she'd like to come he said probably not. Moments after Ilde, Ivano's mom, came into the room and I asked her. She told us, ''Sure, I would love to come.'' They came together with the Genovese family and I think she enjoyed it.

We are determined to find more people this week. The assistants challenged us to get 7 investigators this week so we have to. So far we are at zero. We spent all Monday teaching our brothers from Africa and having district meeting. Yesterday we woke up at 5:45 and had to catch the train at 6:50 to Milano for a small conference. We got there are 10:50 and we finished around 4:30. We ended up catching our train around 7 and got home at 11:30. haha long day. So we have a lot of ground to make up but I have a lot of hope and faith for this week. There are 4 or 5 people already that we just need to get hold of and set up appointments with.

Sanremo Morning

At the end of the conference me and one of the other ''dying'' missionaries bore our testimonies. Usually the missionaries going home bear their testimonies in their last conference. It was super weird but I felt the spirit so much in the moments leading up to my turn. Again I felt it as I bore testimony and listened to the others after. I've been nervous about post-mission life but I think a lot of the nervousness has left.

It's been really difficult lately with the brothers from Africa. They are all being kicked out of their camps on Dec. 31. Because of this they've all been really worried and I would be, too. We try to encourage them as much as we can but I can't promise them a home, documents or a job. Maybe I can, I would like to, can I? I feel the best thing to do is to promise them that if they will be obedient and do what is asked of them by God then everything will be OK. I feel for them so much and I've really grown close to them over the last few months. It will be nearly impossible to remain in contact with them after the mission. They have phones but none have email and none of them have fixed housing. It's the same story with those in Pavia.

I came away with some really great stuff from the conference yesterday. I realized that I need to better put my soul into this work and not just my strength. I really want to focus on putting my whole soul into the work along with all my strength. Hopefully it'll pay off over the last two weeks. I've really come though to grow such a desire to serve in the church and live up to my priesthood calling. I think that has been one of the biggest things that will push me after I get back. There are a lot of things I've learned, but I won't bore y'all.

Whew, meno male (thank goodness) the Utes won! I would have pulled my hair out if the Utes had been on the other side of that game.

Well thanks for the great emails, pictures and updates.

I heard great news yesterday that Martino, the 19 years who got baptized in Verona, baptized a lady from the other Verona ward. He's already baptized someone! I guess he played a big role in helping her decide to get baptized, too. He also spoke in the Verona Stake conference, well he bore his testimony! The missionaries said that his testimony just silenced everyone and hit them hard spiritually. I love missionary work. I'm so glad that I didn't give up in Verona even though we had like zero success in the time I was there.

Well I love you all.....16 days? Eh, who's counting? Not me.

By the way I think Jack is probably taller than me. Mom what's the deal? Why didn't he get any Taylor genes?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

She Said Yes (to Baptism)!

What a great week! We came back strong from last week and really planned well all week long. We taught lots of members, people outside in the streets and showed our diligence to the Lord. We were able to find one investigator who seems to have lots of potential. Since the lesson though she's been busy and we are still trying to set something else up. She's a single mom, with a bf, but just isn't very happy in her life right now. It was great though to bring her a ball of joy during that lesson and see her own spirit cheer up. I've seen this so many times in the mission, people are filled with the spirit but they let laziness or doubts keep them from pursuing that light.

We had some really great news though towards the end of the week. As we talked with the Cangiallosi family they told us that Brunella would be coming to church. Well Sunday came and she came! She had a great time and so many of the sisters talked and conversed with her. Well we taught her after church and kind of figured out where she's at. She'd been blocked up at her house for a few weeks and we hadn't spoken in weeks. She said she read often from the Book of Mormon and feels great as she reads it. We helped her understand that it was the Spirit and we then read 2 Nephi 31 together and invited her to be baptized on the 29 of this month. She said yes! It was really really awesome. I felt such a strong spirit as she told us why she would do it. Now we just need to start teaching her so we can prepare her. We hope that 3 weeks is enough, but we have to see her a lot. We are seeing her tomorrow but since Sunday we weren't able to meet. Pray so that her work lets her transfer to Sanremo because it will be a big help for her.

I also needed to mention that can't really write about investigators problems anymore. I guess the Area Presidency really came down hard on our mission because missionaries mention to many things both about investigators and companions. So if I accidentally say anything just be sure not to write about it on my BLOG.  Thanks!

This last week we worked a lot with members. We read in PMG and did lots of role plays with them. They all seem to be able to open their mouths and talk about the church but most members, I speak of everywhere I've been, don't give invites to act. We did role plays practicing teaching quick restored principles, testifying and then giving an invite. It went really well and we actually helped them realize with which friends they could do it with. We haven't gotten a lot of referrals yet but we have many members now planting some seeds. It's also a great confidence booster for them and helps them grow trust in us. Boy, I wish I had done this earlier in the mission because I could have seen a lot more success.

There is one particular thing I need you all to pray about. I have been so tired lately. During the day I am fine but the last month I've been struggling to get up. I get up on time but it's just about the hardest thing in the world right now. Every time I start to say a personal prayer I fall asleep. I've been falling asleep a lot in my nightly prayers and I'm losing out on a lot of blessings because of it. Pray that I can stay awake until my prayers are finished. It sounds stupid and I've been trying hard.

Felice and his family haven't been to church for the last two weeks. They did come last week to the baptism which was after church. They are doing pretty well though, and, yes, Felice received the priesthood about 3 weeks ago. They were shocked when they figured out I was finishing the mission in a matter of weeks. I know I had told them multiple times though haha. The African brethren are doing ok. We only had one come to church last week. It takes a lot of effort on our part to keep them coming and keep them active. I can't imagine what it would be like if we lost our telephone and couldn't call them.

How many time do I get asked by other missionaries and my companion, ''so what transfer are you in?''. Haha, too many times. I was thinking the other day about what I would do the first couple days after getting back. I quickly put together a list of all the movies I would be watching on Saturday. As I looked over the great list I remembered General Conference. Haha well at least it's more edifying and more spiritual. I'm excited for it and ready to get some good revelation. I was bummed to think I would have to wait to see most of the people in church.

List of things to do...

I haven't though about the school thing yet or about work. I'm just trying my best to stay concentrated on the work. I have a feeling the last 3 weeks are going to go by slow.....I'm also thinking about buying a bunch of Italian cookies because:  1)i love them 2) it's something cheap I can bring and share with everyone.

I'm looking to get a painting either next week or the week after. I still need to choose one.

Is their anything else you (mom and dad), the girls or Andy want? I can't promise I can get it, but I could try.

Love you all and I'm getting so excited to see you all...Abbracio e Bacio..