19 July, 2011

Miracle Bloomin’ June!

As with every other month, we have had an immense amount of miracles.  I hope you can find time out of your busy day to read these and recognized that Italy is truly flourishing with miracles at every turn.

Open their hearts

This morning, before our lesson with a young woman named Maria, we were on the street and invited a man to hear the gospel. He said he had spoken with missionaries in the past, but he didn’t want to give us his number, commit to coming to church or setting up an appointment. Using the “Teach to Find” method, we could see a change being wrought upon his heart. He agreed to meet with us and gave us his number. It truly showed me that the Lord prepares people and puts them in our path. “Teach to Find” and questions from heaven open the hearts of the children of men to hear God’s voice and feel His love.

They’re the same!

We met a guy doing casa who was really nice but said he was too busy at the moment.  We were talking about church and he said he visited a church near his house. He then said that there was another church that was really good that he liked to go to sometimes, and that he had a friend there.  I said that our church is near his house as well, and that he should come one time.  Then, we suddenly realized that they were the same church! 

A member called us later to tell us that he had a friend who he wanted us to talk to, but unfortunately our appointment fell through.  On Sunday, this guy walks in and sits down next to the member who had called us.  It turns out that this guy we met doing casa is the same guy who our member wanted us to see.  Coincidence?  Return appointment coming up...

Birthday bouquet

We have a member who loves to work with the missionaries.  He lives about 20 minutes outside of town, but drives in all the time to help the missionaries with lessons (he even came and knocked doors with us once).  His wife, however, is a less active member with bad feelings about the church and doesn’t like that he spends so much time with us. 

Yesterday, this Brother was our only chance to teach Sharon.  But it meant he had to come with his wife and leave her in the car while we taught.  We were super nervous that she would be even more frustrated with him because of us, so on our way to the lesson we stopped every time we saw flowers and made a little bouquet and a thank you card for her.  The bouquet came together really well (we were really proud of ourselves!  It was beautiful, and my companion found some really awesome flowers in a field nearby) and we finished it just as they pulled up in their car.  We showed it to him and he smiled and said, "Oh, that’s perfect.  It’s her birthday today."  The Lord works in amazing ways. When we gave it to her, she seemed surprised and thanked us a little stiffly.  After the lesson and just before leaving, she smiled and said, "Thank you again for the bouquet.  It made the whole car smell wonderful."  We had no idea that it was her birthday.  The Lord did, though.

Progress Record Yields Success

Last week, we made a BEAUTIFUL progress record. Beautiful. Neat, detailed, and clear. Beautiful. We made copies for everyone and distributed them in ward council. One of investigators that comes to church regularly had never been to relief society, because she always left after the second hour. We had asked her to stay before, but apparently missionaries are really easy to ignore. So, on the progress record we asked the relief society president to help her want to stay, which they did perfectly. She stayed! It’s amazing how immediate the results of obedience are. Even more amazing is how easy it is to forget how much easier life is when we are obedient. 

Unexpected attendance

We had an investigator walking to church and he was going to be late. A very nice lady offered him a ride and he accepted. When they both arrived, we were kind of shocked because we were not expecting this other lady, but then she asked if she could stay and see how everything was that we do. Of course we said yes, and it turned out that she had a very spiritual experience and could feel the spirit very strong. We gave her a Book of Mormon and then exchanged numbers, but at the end, she asked if she could come again and bring her family. I know that Heavenly Father puts people into positions to help them. I am very grateful she gave that ride to our walking investigator.

Members make THE difference!

Well, right after the Training that we had last Wednesday, we went out right away to put some things into practice that we had learned. We had FHE at the church that night and so we went and gathered up four investigators and brought them. That was the smartest thing I think we have ever done. During the lesson, one of our brand new investigators asked the members what they were talking about when they said they had felt the spirit. The members got really excited and explained what they meant and how important it was, and how we receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost after baptism. She instantly made many friends, had so much support, and the members got really excited about sharing our message!

After FHE, one of our young investigators who is 14, had some questions about the For Strength of Youth pamphlet that we had left her. She was wondering why we really had to wait until we were 16 to date. I didn’t really feel like I was able to answer well, so I took to her a YW and she explained beautifully why and how it has blessed her life. After this FHE, we have continued to bring more members, and we can just testify so strongly that members are so important and they really do make the difference between investigators and progressing investigators. We are never going back to teaching investigators without members! THEY MAKE THE DIFFERENCE! 

Plus, like you said in the Training Meeting, they can’t get baptized until they are "ready", which means integrated into the ward. That is our job to work with the ward and really get things rolling. I just love working with the ward so much. We CANNOT do this work without them. Thank you so much for the training we received at the Training, it was so inspired. 

Precious members

This transfer, one of our main goals is to have as many member lessons as possible. The results have been incredible. The members are so strong, and a super help to us and our investigators. Their support and testimonies really bring a strong spirit. Not only that, but the members begin to truly care about our investigators, and stay involved in their progress.

The other week, we found extra time and went to teach Madalena a lesson. We hadn’t invited a member on such short notice. We entered her palazzo and decided we would go ring a member that lives nearby to come with us. We did, and she and her daughter came down within 5 minutes to come teach with us! They were amazing—just what was needed in that lesson with Madalena. The sister from our ward was able to relate to her, share spiritual experiences, and a powerful testimony. The 11 year old daughter also testified, helped teach, and was a fantastic example for our investigator. My companion and I never want to go back to lessons without members! They are too precious to miss out on!

Members and books

One of the things we have really been trying to improve here is the relationship between the members and the missionaries. This week, we really wanted to gain their trust, and let them know how much we want to help them. On Monday, we found out that the ward missionaries who are always able to accompany us to lessons, were all going to Bern for a week at the temple. We were a little lost as to whom to ask to go with us to the lessons. We prayed and asked Heavenly Father to show us members that would be available to help us.

On Tuesday, we had to help organize the church library, because we just inherited all of the books from a closed branch. We helped for a bit, and then we had to go to a lesson, but before we left for the lesson, we decided to ask one of the members to accompany us. He accepted a little reluctantly, but we told him that it was going to be a fun time, and that we would be short.

So, we taught the first lesson, and then we all went to another. On the way, we were really able to learn a lot about this brother. He was a little annoyed at first, but opened up. We had the lesson; he was a huge help and bore a strong testimony.

After the lesson, he said how much he had liked it, and that he would be happy to accompany us to the other lessons that we will have with her. After that, we really had to head home, but we decided to stop by the church, to see if they still needed help with the books. I had figured after all this time, that they had finished. When we arrived, they were just about to finish. We helped, and then we started talking to them. We decided to do an on the spot, short power lesson with them. The Spirit was so strong. After, they gave us a ton of referrals, and told us about people who they had found about a year before, had planned to give to the missionaries, had forgotten, and had not remembered until we started talking to them. They both said that they would be available to accompany us to these lessons, and they just seemed so much more excited about missionary work after. It is amazing how God answers our prayers.

Following counsel and the Spirit

Yesterday, I tried really hard to implement what the assistants taught us about going heavenward for our questions and things we say during lessons. We went and taught our baptismal date who had not come to church on Sunday. The lesson was really intense and she loves the things we teach her, but just kept saying she really doesn’t know if she can follow the gospel (that’s what we taught), endure to the end, and go to church all the time. She was basically telling us she didn’t want to be baptized. I tried really hard not to just ask the next question that made sense, but to think and pray in my heart about what to say.

Something came to mind, and I asked her if she knows God loves her, what that means to her, and if she knows that God knows her. We were able to have an extremely powerful four minutes together. It was an incredible experience. Although I was sitting in between the member and my companion with Paola on the other side of the room, it was like there was an energy channel between me and Paola, like no one else existed, and I could see the change in her face as she answered the questions and listened as I spoke. I said things I never would have said under normal circumstances, but that just felt right. At the end of the lesson I felt like she needed a totally different commitment than what we had planned and that she needed to drop her date (which is normally a super taboo thing to do as a missionary, let someone drop their date), so we did it. And you could see the change in her countenance. I know that God really will tell us, in the middle of lessons, what to say and what to do, if we just stop trying to use our head and rely on what He puts in our heart.

Afterwards, my companion talked to me about what happened and told me she was amazed and knew that that was exactly what Paola had needed and wanted to know how I thought of it. But honestly, it wasn’t me; I was just following the counsel of our leaders and listening to the Spirit.

Leave an impression

This week, we taught a lady who received a Book of Mormon 30 years ago. I was amazed because she remembered the circumstances and the names of the missionaries from when she was given the book.  After she talked for a bit, I realized that the missionaries only came once, taught a lesson, and then left the Book of Mormon.  Well, the Spirit was really strong and we now have a return appointment and plan on bringing a member and working with her.  The story itself is a miracle, but I think it was more an important lesson for me.  Everything we do as a missionary can affect other people. Some people remember missionaries that came to their house for just a few minutes 30 years ago, others remember seeing us in the street, or caroling at the Duomo, etc. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking people don’t notice us or what we say just goes in one ear and out the other, but if you have the Spirit you can leave lasting impressions.

Gli istrumenti di successo

Siamo pieni di miracoli questa settimana e non so da cosa iniziare. Ieri, abbiamo avuto una data e stiamo riattivando il cugino che battezzerà il simpatizzante! 2 piccioni con una fava! È bellissimo vedere miracoli e vedere che il Signore mette al nostro fianco delle persone disposte a fare il passo piu’ importante della loro vita: il battesimo con autorità e con la consapevolezza che è un’alleanza sacra! Non pensavo mai a cose simili ma con Start Chart, Teach to Find e fare pratiche di battesimo hanno aiutato me e il mio collega a vedere molti frutti! Adesso capisco sempre di piu’ GEM! La mia vita sta diventando diversa--io sto diventando diverso e so che facendo ogni giorno questo potro’ io, con l’aiuto di Dio, essere simile a suo figlio Gesù Cristo.

The Best Bishop

Our Italian family had baptismal dates for last Saturday, but they ended up being cancelled because they didn’t feel ready. We were kind of stressed out about what to do after that point, and so we just kept praying, teaching, and bringing members to lessons. They had an appointment/interview with Bishop last Friday night and hoped that we would hear from them later that night, or the next day. The mom called us that night (right at 1030, and their interview started at 845) and told me that she had some bad news.  They had just finished their interviews and she said she didn’t think they were going to get baptized anytime soon...in fact probably never. There was some silence. Then before I fainted from stress, she said "SCHERZO!" It turns out that they LOVED their interviews with our Bishop, and she is completely convinced that he was called of God and that she is ready for baptism. Matteo felt the same way, and Guilia still wants to wait a little, but she knows that she needs to read and pray to get her answer. It was such a blessing to see what a small interview could do to our investigators. I am so grateful for our Bishop and that he is living in a way that our investigators could feel almost instantly that he was called of God and is truly laboring for the church. It was also a huge blessing because now the Bishop really understands who they are and is totally supportive of everything. We were just crying for joy that night. 

An old quality placement

A man stopped us and asked, “Are you the Mormons?”  His name is Tomas and he had an amazing story.  His mother had a copy of the Book of Mormon that she read frequently and loved dearly.  She wanted to join the church, but died before she could.  We bore testimony about the plan of salvation, and he was really happy and surprised. He proceeded to tell us that as he was cleaning his mother’s apartment after her death, he found her Book of Mormon, opened it up and started reading.  He saw that she had underlined and noted all kinds of things and was struck by how powerful this book was to her.  As such, he decided not to just throw it away as he had been doing with the rest of the books.  He told us that around 5 days after he found the Book of Mormon, he saw his Mom in a dream who told him to read the book and find the missionaries. The spirit was really strong. He also told us all the things he doesn’t like about the Catholic Church and why for him it’s not the truth. He had searched for years, but the branch in his city had been closed.  He recently moved here and is so excited to come to church.  Needless to say, the Lord’s hand is in our lives.  Finding is not always simple, but when you do what you can, and try your hardest, the Lord always provides.

Stopped by a car

This week we had an awesome experience. We had gotten a bidone and were on our way to do some finding when a guy who was driving his car, stopped and called out to us. He asked “Are you those Americans that talk about Jesus with everybody?” And we said ‘Yeah!’ and he then said “Great! Here’s my address and phone number, come see me tomorrow!”

We ended up meeting him two days later, and found out he is the father of a less-active teen in our ward who is going through a really rough time in his life and needs the gospel. I know that the Lord has prepared this person to hear our message and that through the Atonement he will find new peace in his life that he is searching for. It is amazing to see how the Lord prepares people!

Ask the question!

My companion kept thinking of a certain place to do casa, but for a good hour and a half, we had no success. As we reached the end of one of the last palazzi around 8:45 there were only a two more doors in the palazzo and they were both offices where people work. We decided to do them anyway, but no one was at the first door. The sign on the second door said China Consulting and there were a bunch of Chinese characters written under it. We knocked, this lady opened, and my companion told her that we have a message of Christ that is extremely important and will change her life. She said that she had no time right then, but thanks anyway. Something was different about this lady, though, so I jumped in and asked if it would be better to come back Tuesday night instead. We set up a time, exchanged numbers, and then we left. We taught her yesterday about she had a friend with her this time and they had tons of questions for us. Being Buddhist, they wanted to know about our beliefs of life and its purpose, etc. We taught them the plan of salvation and they loved it. They randomly asked us questions about Native Americans and their traditions, history, etc. We told them that we would bring them a book all about it—in Chinese even. I am 87% sure it was a total miracle finding these prepared children of God.

Let them unload

We were about to choose a palazzo to do some casa when my companion said he felt we should do strada. So, we started walking. I felt like going into Centro where there were almost too many people! After not feeling good about stopping anyone, I saw this kid our age walking alongside us. I felt like I should stop him, so I did. He unloaded how his life was really difficult right now, his parents are upset with him, he broke up with his girlfriend and he would accept any help God wanted to give him right now. So, we talked for a bit more and set up an appointment and exchanged numbers. I explained to him where the church was and he said, "Wait... I have a friend in that church! I came with him to a baptism last month!" He is friends with a super bravo guy in our ward! So, we decided to get the member on board—which he is.

Don’t judge the people you see

So the miracle story of the week is Samuele.  He is 20 years old, dresses in black and is a little intense, and we met him last transfer.  I am SO glad we talked to him!  He is SO golden!  He doesn’t smoke or drink or do drugs and he is super nice and everything!  His appearance does not reflect him at all! Last transfer, we started teaching him and the poor kid had it rough.  Basically, everything that could go wrong did. Well, we started teaching him and we’d been helping him grow spiritually; he was recognizing the spirit and everything! 

Well, for two weeks, we just couldn’t see him, but when we finally did, we saw that great miracles had occurred!  His mom let him move back in and he is working again, to name a few!  He told us how he recognizes that God is helping him.  We had a great lesson and set a baptismal date for the 2nd of July!  He came to church last week and loved it; the members are not being judgmental (we made sure to warn them in advance) and he is progressing wonderfully!  One of our youth is preparing for a mission and he is taking Samuele under his wing, so hopefully he will want to serve a mission too! It just goes to show that you can’t judge a book by its cover.  You NEVER know who is elect and who isn’t.  I am SO grateful that we talked to Samuele during his greatest hour of need! There is no other feeling like it!

Questions answered

We had an investigator show up in church that we weren’t expecting and she kind of looked angry. Well, mid-way through the testimony meeting she went up and bore her testimony! She said that she woke up today mad at God and told herself that she needed to go to church to find the answer. The first testimony that was born today answered that question perfectly. She said she knows that God answers prayers even when we don’t feel like asking him. And now she is coming to stake conference this week!

Language preparedness

We handed out 7 BOMs in one day! We were at home and started to take these different languages, then throughout the day we found the people who needed those diverse languages. It was a great blessings. One woman practically ripped the book out of my hands when she saw that it was written in her language and asked if she could keep it. Talk about AWESOME! Also, with Teresa leaving on her mission, we have been getting a TON of referrals. Most people didn’t want to talk about the Gospel with us, but we have this one incredible girl, Marisa, who is excited to learn more. I can’t wait to go back and teach her again!

Turning lemons into lemonade

One of our many miracles this week was how God directed our day yesterday. Like always, we start out with a whole day packed full of planned lessons, meetings, activities, etc. After our first lesson in the morning, we got a call from one of our afternoon lessons canceling. Then we got a call a little bit later about correlation being canceled that evening. All a sudden we had a whole afternoon open! We spent several minutes making calls and trying to arrange other lessons to teach instead, with other investigators, potential investigators, members, less actives...but no one was answering or no one was available, so we weren’t able to make any more lessons! After doing all we could to reschedule lessons, we decided to pass by a potential investigator. We weren’t sure which staircase was hers. The doorkeeper of the palazzo directed us to this staircase that he said, "Yes, I think the Romanian woman Sara lives here." We were kind of doubtful because there were TONS of staircases and what are the chances he’d know exactly where this woman Sara lived.

But we went forth with faith. We decided to start at the top of the staircase and do some casa until we found her. We had about 2 hours. We were let in and had a lesson with an Egyptian mom and her three beautiful kids. Next door, we were let in again, a mother, daughter, and her granddaughter. Next door, we were let in AGAIN and had a lesson with an older lady and her son. We also found out from these people that Sara did in fact live in that staircase, on the bottom floor. After the lessons we had, we headed down to the bottom floor, and met Sara’s husband and daughter! We had a little lesson with them, left them with the Romanian BOM, and were off. We are going to go back and teach them when Sara is home next week. Miracle? Instead of the one or 2 lessons we had planned that afternoon, that all canceled, we were able to have 4 lessons with over 11 people, all in the 2 hours that Heavenly Father provided for us to do casa (after all other resorts failed).

Teach the simple principles

On Saturday morning, we were walking to an appointment, and I was looking at the ground as we talked. I looked up and BAM! I saw a man and immediately felt like I should stop him. I spat out the first words that came to my head--something about God answering prayers.  He stared at me and said, "For me, in the last year, talking about answers-I’ve seen very little."  We talked about how in the last year, he had lost his house and job, his wife is epileptic and had cancer.  All I could say was, "I can't say I understand; I’ve never passed through anything like that. But one thing I do know - I’ve seen the way God answers prayers, I know it is real."  We gave them a Book of Mormon, promising them peace if they would just read it. We parted ways, wondering if we would ever see them again.  
     The next day, they showed up in church! He hadn’t been able to get our meeting on the street out of his head.  He had read part of the Book of Mormon and it brought back a flood of thoughts that he knew he believed, but had just forgotten. He said, "We just want to know, is there any way we can learn more?"  We set up an appointment and invited them to join us for testimony meeting, which was PERFECT for them.  The Spirit was extremely strong.  In fact, they were so moved that he stood up and bore his testimony!  He talked about how he had received more answers and more sincerity in 15 minutes on the street with two missionaries than he had in all his time searching for them with many different priests. He said, "I feel...not confused, but I’m just trying to understand what is happening--what the Lord is doing for us.  We were losing the faith.  Now we are just trying to understand what the Lord is telling us." Later, as we talked, his wife described the serenity she felt in church, and how she wanted to be able to always have that. They were baptized on June 25th.

The power of Teach to Find

We were doing casa, and it was the last palazzo. We knock on this door, and this 18 year old kid answers. We asked him what the purpose of life was and it turned out to be one of the best TEACH TO FIND approaches I’ve ever had! I testified of his response and taught a principle, and then my companion testified and taught a principle. It doesn’t seem like a big thing, but the spirit was so strong and I now understand more fully how powerful teach to find is. We got his number and we will call him today hoping for the best!

Change through the Doctrine of Christ

The Spirit is the teacher, and changes the lives of those who recognize it. As we have really implemented the things we learned at leadership training--to really use the doctrine of Christ as our tool--we have seen so much change. The ward has changed dramatically, they search for people, love people more, and really want to help us. They call us (and they didn’t before) to see what they can do. Since last transfer, we have been teaching the members what we learned, and then asking them what is hard in this Doctrine of Christ for them. We ask them to be honest, and they really seem to trust us because we have tried really hard to serve them and love them. When they respond, we then ask them if they would teach us a short spiritual message about that next time we come to their house (which is usually the week after). When we go back, it has been such a great and powerful experience to hear them, and to see in them how this gospel really does change.

I feel like…

We had a lesson with Teresa last week.  She has already been taught everything and has such an awesome testimony but we have been having kind of a hard time setting a baptismal date with her. We decided for the lesson to read some of the Book of Mormon with her. As we did so and bore our testimony about the Book of Mormon, the Spirit was so strong! All of the sudden, she took out her phone and she said, “I want to chose a date. Let’s chose a date for my baptism.” It was so awesome!  It is just proof that when it comes down to it, it doesn’t really matter what we say--the only thing that matters is what our investigators feel.  When they feel the spirit, they will want to act.  It was so awesome. We hadn’t even said anything about baptism the whole lesson! It was so awesome. Miracle!

Preach to all

Last transfer, my companion and I were just sitting by a lake on P-day and this man came up and started talking to us. We thought he was just a creeper--he was 60 and had purple hair.  Usually, we just walk away from the creepy guys and don’t talk to them, but I decided to give him a pamphlet of the Restoration. I explained it a little bit and said there were elders here he could talk to, and he gave us his number.  That night, we almost didn’t even call the elders because we really thought it wasn’t going to go anywhere, but we did it anyway. They called him and were able to set up an appointment. Then I found out yesterday that last Saturday, June 4th, he was baptized!  Miracle!  It was a really humbling testimony for me that I need to be careful and not judge. Remember that every single person deserves a chance to hear the gospel. 

Teaching 20

As soon as we took on the task to teach twenty lessons for sure this week, we started finding people much easier. In the past few weeks, we haven’t been finding too many new investigators that wanted to listen to us. But this week we found 7! I don’t know where they’re going yet, but I have high hopes for them.

Persistence through rejection

When we were waiting for the bus the other day, we ended up waiting for about 30 minutes.  I saw this guy next to me, walked up and introduced myself, gave an invitation to hear more about the gospel, and he said no. I understood and respected his decision, and then walked away. The bus still hadn’t come, and I felt a prompting to give him a Book of Mormon. I thought, He said no, and I don’t think he wants to hear anymore about what we have to say. But okay, if the spirit directs, here we go.... I walked up to him, asked him why he didn’t want to believe in anything, and what his thoughts were. I talked about the restoration, and then pulled out the BOM as the spirit directed, and was hopeful he would take it. He didn’t want it. I respected his decision again, and walked away. As I was standing there, I felt another prompting to ask him again. I decided to try one more time. I went over and said, "Mi dispiace, ma..." and began to tell him that I felt like he needed this book. We talked more about what it was, and I had him read the testimonies of the 3 witnesses, because for some odd reason I couldn’t find the introduction page at the moment. The testimony of the 3 witnesses was exactly what he needed. He took the book and said that he would read it. I asked for his information but he didn’t want to give it to us. It is in the Lord’s hands now, but we at least planted a seed in his heart and he has the BOM. Even if it takes a year for him to read, all will be well because we were directed by the Spirit. This is Heavenly Father’s work.

Create your own miracles

Again there has been a mass combination of events that are leading to so many blessings and miracles from the Lord. I would have to say that this week’s miracle is applying current mission training and seeing instant results. Last Friday, the traveling assistants taught us about how we can replace unplanned bidones into more teaching experiences of less actives or members. We have started to contact less actives that have not heard anything from the church for a few years and they are excited to hear from us. I find that maybe more of the miracle is that when we report the happenings of these less active contacts to the branch mission leader, he and the branch leadership are blown away at the work we are doing. Our investigators are getting so close to baptism as well and the branch has not had a baptism for at least a year. This growing relationship has caused a new spirit of missionary work in the branch and we have been invited to speak in the next sacrament meeting and to come to the next Branch Council Meeting. I feel that the Lord definitely has many of his elect in this area and as the relationship between missionaries and members continues to grow, there will be more chances to get these elect introduced and involved in the church.

Train talk

Yesterday, we were able to see just how much God is guiding everyone and everything in this work. We found ourselves on the train home seated next to Maria, who was going through some extreme ups and downs in life. We taught her for a good duration of the train ride and she even read a conference talk we had with us, and we will have the pleasure of following up, teaching her, and baptizing her. She even mentioned how we could have been a sign to her, and I took advantage of the golden opportunity to confirm that feeling and tell her that we have something great for her that can help her achieve the serenity she’s looking for.

The Second Chance

The Lord is so merciful and He truly has me in mind. The other day, a woman with her two kids walked past me and I felt I needed to talk to them. But I didn't. Shame. Then, my companion was on the phone and I was overwhelmed that I didn’t understand anything. As soon as I got home, I knelt before the Lord and confessed my sins. I truly asked for forgiveness for not talking to her and, if it was in His will, I prayed that we could see her again. Yesterday, my companion felt like grabbing a French Book of Mormon and we headed out. As we are walking, I saw the woman with her two children sitting on a cement wall. Immediately, we walked over and started talking with her. Her name is Mary, and she is from the Congo; her native language is French. As we started teaching her, she offered a prayer and cried a little—it wasn't noticeable, but I could tell. As we began to bring the lesson to a close, she started crying hard, saying that she KNOWS we didn't meet her by chance, that the book we gave her is in French, and that the lesson we taught about Faith was truly an answer to her prayers. She invited us to teach her and her family again. We testified that the Lord loves her and that we are here to help. She said that the Book of Mormon would be the only other book she has EVER read in her life aside from the Bible, but because of how everything came together, she knows that she MUST read it and she will.

Note: The woman in this story was baptized!

Spiritual Harvesting

We had a district meeting and taught us about a little thing called spiritual harvesting. It changed my mission! This week we did it, where we pray about an area during planning, get to the area and pray about where in the area we need to go, then when we both feel good, we confirm it with another prayer before we go into the palazzo. Seriously, this past week we have been picking out palazzi and almost EVERY palazzo we get a number or we get in and teach a lesson. Saturday was one of the best days of my mission in regards to finding work. We found 9 new investigators and got a handful of numbers for people who are actually interested and elect—all in one evening! This spiritual harvesting has changed the way I find and we are literally being led exactly where we need to go.

Just do it!

I did a scambio, and it was a miracle. The power of doing 20 inviti and asking for referrals that this other missionary demonstrated to me was incredible. We found TONS of new people and received 8 referrals in one day, just because we did what we were asked. Doing what the Lord asks brings miracles. Our scambio was a miracle.

Testimonies of sincerity

At the end of our incredible baptism ceremony, our new converts bore their testimonies. It was the greatest joy I have ever experienced. They were so sincere. The room was filled with the spirit. Their testimonies were POWERFUL, they touched every single heart. It is the most beautiful thing to hear our investigators who we love so profoundly to stand up and bear testimony, straight from their hearts, of our Savior Jesus Christ and His true church on the earth. God is directing our work.

Plant seeds, reap blessings

In the end of February last year, my trainer and I were teaching an investigator and he gave us his roommate as a referral, and his name was Marco. He stopped making progress after a while, so he was dropped. Then yesterday, I was on a scambio and my companion mentioned a Marco from his city. I found out that he was the guy that my trainer and I found—over a year ago! This is such a blessing to me from my Heavenly Father, and seeing how He prepares His children over time for the Gospel. He and his mom were baptized! They are strong and active, and from what I hear, Marco wants to serve a mission!

Simplicity in teaching

We had 3 of our appointments turn into bidoni so we went and did finding work and had a super spiritual finding experience. We went and did Teach-to-Find to a lot of people. In particular, we talked to this lady at her door and found out that she is separated from her husband. We talked for 20 minutes about prayer and the purpose of life, just bearing awesome testimony to her. She started crying and the Spirit was amazing.

Un giorno sulle bici

Ci sono momenti in cui penso che la bici non sia molto efficace come mezzo di comunicazione nel lavoro missionario, ma questa settimana non è stato così. Ero al semaforo sulla mia bellisisma bicicletta e accanto a me c'era una ragazza e non potevo non salutarla e farle un bel complimento. Lei da lì mi chiede chi sono. Ottimo momento per spiegare chi ero... ma pensavo che sulla bici mentre entrambe stavamo pedalando fosse impossibile , e le dico “Se puoi, possiamo parlare scendendo dalla bici?” Lei dice, “No...dai se è tanto importante il tuo messaggio parliamone pedalando.” Wow! Abbiamo pedalato per almeno 15 minuti insieme, ho parlato tanto e fatto a lei domande ispirate. Lei era cosi felice che ha fermato la bici e mi ha detto, “Mi dai il libro che parla di Joseph Smith?” Lo ha accettato e apprezzato con gioia. Abbiamo scambiato i numeri e ho il desiderio di vederci ancora. Penso sia un grande miracolo. Ogni momento è quello giusto per insegnare e parlare!

Empowered through the Spirit

The miracle this week goes to the Start Chart and Teach to Find drills. This week, we found a few more investigators and placed a lot more copies of the Book of Mormon. BUT the credit, of course, goes to God, because I know He prepared the people that we met to receive this message and led us to find and teach them. I can tell He is really helping us out, because the Spirit has really led us when we taught this last week. We have been asking more inspired questions and really have been using the Spirit more in our lessons. It’s awesome! I know that God has been there every step of the way helping us out.

1 comment:

  1. I happened upon your site quite by accident. I have really enjoyed seeing the great work in Italy through your blog. My husband served his mission in Rome 77-79 and my oldest son in Milan 02-04. Let me share a wonderful story that hopefully will inspire you and your missionaries.

    My husband was very discouraged and wanted to come home. After over a year out he hadn't even witnessed a baptism, let alone had one. His wonderful mission president (Coletti) met with him and also had him meet with Elder Charles Didier. Elder Didier promised him in the name of the Lord that if he would have 10 people who he and his companion were teaching, they would recieve a baptism. They worked tirelessly and met the goal of 10 people. After praying over each one to know who to challenge to baptism--a different approach than used now, lol--they felt that they shouldn't challenge anyone. Back to the streets they headed to do a little "casa". After a while they felt that the must return to their apartment. Once there, they prayed again. Again, the answer was none of them. They set out to have some personal study time when a knock came to the door. My husband went to the door and found a man, tired looking and a bit disheveled. My husband thought he was a beggar and reached into his pocket when the man held up a worn copy of the Book of Mormon. It seems that he had recieved it several years before in his hometown of Ancona. The missionaries were unable to find a place to live and Ancona was never really opened. This man had read the BOM many times and knew it was inspired. He didn't know what to do about it. Paolo lived in Ancona and worked in Bari. He took the train home each weekend. This weekend, he fell asleep on the train and dreamed a dream :) In this dream he was shown where to get off the train and the streets to follow in a strange city. He knocked on the elders door. He was baptized that afternoon. The Lord always keeps his promises.

    My son grew up hearing this story. When he recieved his mission call he was so excited to be going to Milan. The boundaries of the mission were changed while he was in the MTC and Ancona was now part of the IMM. As luck would have it, Elder Didier was in the MTC while he was there. He related the story to him and Elder Didier told him to "go and do likewise".

    When my son arrived at the mission home, he told President Henderson of his desire to serve in Ancona. President Henderson told him that he would if it was the Lord's will. After a year out, my son recieved some personal revelation that he would be transfered to Ancona. Shortly thereafter, that revelation was validated with the transfer to Ancona.

    President Henderson challenged him to baptize a family, Yikes! The first day in Ancona, my son, the senior companion, took his junior to the farthest reaches of his area. There he called upon Paolo, the man his father had baptized more than 25 years earlier. When Paolo answered the door, he shouted "Anziano Boyce!" thinking it was my husband. "The Gospel is true!" Paolo was suffering from age related dementia but still shared his fervent testimony. My son and his companion gave him a priesthood blessing and left inspired.

    Continued hard work paid off and they baptized their family.

    Ancona and all of Italy holds such a special place in our family's heart. We look forward to the dedication of the temple.

    In spite of a wonderful missionary experience, our son is now inactive. We pray daily for him.

    Thank you for reminding me of the many blessings of missionary service, especially the Italian kind.

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