This week we taught fewer lessons than we were planning on unfortunately, but on the bright side, we found some really cool new investigators! The first one’s name is Arnaldo. [The names of all investigators have been changed.] We met him near Centro a few weeks ago, and he was incredibly interested in the church. Seeing as it was almost pranzo [lunch] time, I went ahead and gave him our last Book of Mormon for the morning, and we took his address down with an appointment (unfortunately he had lost his phone a few days before, and had no number…). We went to his house a few days later at the set time, but nobody answered…. We resorted to leaving him a note on his door. We returned the next week, and he didn’t answer again. At this point we started having a few doubts about whether or not he cared anymore. But we didn’t give up on him. We returned to his house last Tuesday, and after I rang at the building I heard someone call out, “Chi è?” [Who is it?] from a window a couple of stories up in the building. It was him! He recognized us and let us in. Luckily his interest was not diminished in the church, and he had an unending flow of questions about it. We had brought Salvatore with us this time, and he was able to help us out a lot with the questions. Arnaldo wanted to come to church really bad yesterday but got sick unfortunately… And the good news is that he just quit smoking, even before meeting with us for the first time!
Next Salvatore drove us out to a smaller town called Scandale, and there introduced us to a lady he had met about a month ago while out in this town. We showed up unannounced and unexpected, but she kindly let us in. After chatting for a while, we pulled out the Restoration, and she loved it. She was already showing her younger daughter the Book of Mormon, declaring to her daughter that it was the word of God. It was a pretty cool experience. Her name is Allesandra. As we were leaving, we detected a bit of a unsettled tone in her voice. Salvatore asked if she would like a blessing, and she accepted. We gave her a blessing of healing and comfort, and I know that the Spirit was strong.
The final new investigator is Patrizia, Angela’s daughter! After Angela was baptized, we asked her if we could teach Patrizia the Restoration and give her a Book of Mormon. Angela was all for it. After church yesterday we sat down and gave her the Book of Mormon. Patrizia is only 11 years old, and I felt wrong about challenging her to be baptized right there on the spot. I’m not sure if that was the Spirit telling me to not do it quite yet, or if that was just me chickening out. I put out the invite softly, asking her if she would think and pray about baptism, and let me know the next time we saw her. Angela was key in the lesson with her daughter and was very encouraging. I think it will turn out well.
Angela also wrote down her conversion story as the mission is putting together all of the new converts’ conversion stories into some sort of book (I’m not too sure). But anyways, I thought it was really cool, and I asked Angela if I could go ahead and share it with you guys, and she said it’d be fine!
“There have been a lot of challenges and conflicting situations in my life before I got invited in the church 3 months ago. I know that God loves me but I take that for granted. I didn’t realize how selfish I have been for so many years. I always thought that having enough courage, self-confidence and trust in myself were the only essentials I need in order to go through my constant life struggles, until one day, God knocked on my door and sent me some angels who lead me back on track.
“The missionaries and members have been so generous of their time and effort in showing me how amazing God and his plans for each one of us are. I personally felt lots of changes and blessings in my life in a span of 11 weeks! It seems to me that a CPR has been given to my dormant faith and my doubtful heart. I am grateful that God finally got through my system and I know that He is working on it.
“During my baptism, I felt like I was on center stage with a spotlight on… It was a great experience and my emotions were a bit hard to explain. But there was one thing I knew and felt – with water I was justified.
“Thanks to the Holy Spirit that was showered upon me the day after I was baptized, I know that when we seek the kingdom of God, all things will be added unto us. Definitely God is putting things into the right places in my life. He is keeping everything in order. Through Him and with HIm I know I’ll get to the end of this long road without being astray once more. God loves me!” – Angela, Crotone 5:20 AM
Lots of good things happened this week. Our investigator, Carla, has a baptismal date for the 30th of March. When I was with Anziano Robertson, she had a dream of him helping her up some stairs because she couldn’t make it up alone. Then, talking to her the other day, she had a dream of me baptizing her in the ocean. It’s some crazy stuff! Italians have a LOT of experiences with dreams. Carla is only 17 years old, and it will be super cool when she’s ready to be baptized. The cool part is that sometimes to explain the Gospel of Jesus Christ we draw stairs as the steps of faith and repentance, and then at the top there’s the doorway of baptism.
[Craig’s next paragraph is about these two pictures that I sent to him. The missionaries in both of them are currently serving in Craig’s last area, Caserta.]
No way! That investigator that Anziano Heder and Tingey baptized was taught while I was there in Caserta. He’s a cool guy! His name is Adam. I’m super glad he finally got baptized! That’s awesome!!! It’s funny because I used to go out to Laura’s house too with the Willies when I was in Caserta. It’s funny to see all the people we left behind in pictures! I’m glad they’re doing awesome over there.
Well… I can’t think of too much else. Tomorrow we’ll be going to Taranto for our zone conference, so that should be fun. We’ll be gone from 5:30 AM until 9 PM on the road traveling across the bottom half of Italy…. I love zone conferences though!
That’s cool you’ve taken a fancy to classic cars Jeffoso! Maybe you could find one for me too someday. 😉 Anyways, that garage will look really nice! The district leader is Elder Rowbotham in Catanzaro. He and his companion, Anziano Kenny will have been together for 4 transfers after this one!! Holy cow. It’s crazy. That’s 24 weeks, basically six months. Elder Rowbotham has been in Catanzaro for 5 transfers… That’s super long. The average amount is 3-4 transfers in an area. We call Anziano Rowbotham the Calabria King because he started in Reggio Calabria then came to Catanzaro, both areas in the district of Calabra. That list is super cool too of all the missionaries out in the field! I’m glad that the Cougs are doing well in volleyball too. That is super weird Ryan Sagers will be back already!!! Oh my goodness.
That’s all for now!
Craig said: “We also had a big old English Course party this week, and gave out a bunch of certificates to all of our students and ate pizza together. It was really fun!” Craig and his new companion, Anziano McArthur, are in the back row. Click on the photo for a larger view.
Craig said, “We’ll be having a talent show this Friday as a branch activity, and we came across the sisters doing some talent show publicity on the boardwalk. I teasingly called them the gypsy sisters, because all the gypsies will go around the streets playing instruments and panhandle for money. Sister Taylor bought a drum out here just for fun.”