Sunday, February 23, 2014

February 18, 2014

So, I forgot to tell you guys last week but transfers was this week! And guess what?! Collega and I are together again for another six weeks in Brescia! He was kinda upset because he wanted to leave since he's been here since October but who knows what'll happen this next transfer?

This past transfer went by so fast!! On each of my planners I write the number of the transfer I'm in on the top and then my transfer scripture, which is pretty much my rallying cry for that transfer, on the cover and I'm about to start number 5! I just see this number getting bigger and bigger and it's such a weird feeling!! I sit there and think, "flip! Where has the time gone?" Because when you hit
your number 8 that's the year mark!! And then 16 is when you're done!! Finito! All I can think is, "I'm not young anymore...I'm becoming an old missionary!" My nightmare is that I'll have to train soon. I don't want to but collega keeps on telling me that I will. I'm trying to think different thoughts so that I can have another cool collega and not train. We'll see though. Vediamo.

This past week we taught 23 lessons! :) Then the sisters in our district taught 20, and then another group of sisters taught 33! Our zone
leaders were freaking out and saying, "This has never happened before in our zone! This is crazy!" Collega and I were just glad that we were examples to our zone. :)

Thanks Fam for all that you do!! Here is some more pics if you want! I don't know if thery're still blurry! One of them is collega and me. Another is, or could be, an album cover, but it's mostly of our district. We didn't plan it. Love, Anziano West

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

February 12, 2014

We're back down to four bap dates but that's okay. We found Briseda and had another lesson with her. We told her that she needed to pray and ask God if this is the right thing for her to do. She's pretty much been taught everything...sometimes twice, and she says that she knows that this is, I really don't know what's up with her but we'll work with her. And, ya, we got...20 LESSONS!!!! I think that we were the highest-teaching companionship in our zone for that week!! Because we had zone training this past Monday and our zone leaders asked us to share a success story. So, of course, we shared our 20 lesson miracle!! It was funny because before the meeting one of our zone leaders went, "wow, you guys are setting things on fire over there in Brescia!" That's right we are. So for this week we also have another goal to reach 20 lessons! And then next week is transfers so I don't what our goal should be because we have no idea what's happening but that's cool.

Obviously, having the faith and asking for our Heavenly Father's help also goes a long way too!! Another cool thing that has helped us reach our goal is prayer lessons. Now this is a pretty cool thing that President Dibb said we could do, because I really believe that this thing is engineered to get new investigators. Which it does for us. So, when you're out doing finding work and stuff and you stop someone you can testify of a principle, share a scripture (it's recommended), testify, and then an invitation. And a prayer counts it as a lesson!! Our invitation is usually, "Can we meet with you on this day so that we can talk about these things and give you this book?" Or something like that. And they usually say yes because they feel good from the prayer!! How cool is that?!!!

So, I thought my Italian was coming along...last night, and this is pretty funny, but I just can't believe that this happened to me...collega was laughing so hard. So, we got some gelato and then we were heading home for the night when this one ragazzo, with his group of friends, stopped us and started asking us why we were here and why we wear shirts and ties and così. And then he asked us which kinds of girls were easier to kiss; Americans or Italians. Well, I thought he was asking about the language not the girls. So I said it depends on the day and that it's difficult here in Italia sometimes. And then the group of ragazzi were like, "oh, no! It's not difficult!" and then I went "ya, it is!". And collega didn't say anything during that whole time, and he understands better than I do...he later told me what happened, between gulps of laughter, and that he was trying SO HARD to not to laugh when I said that!! Haha!! Well, anyway, that's my embarrassing story of the week!

Man, they're taking a while to choose a new bishop. Sure, let me know soon!! And those Mozzarella cheese balls are amazing, aren't they?!! I'm telling you, your life changes when you have one of those! I'll try and get some pesto! That stuff is amazing with pasta!! And sandwiches! On anything!
I miss all of you too!! And Febbraio is already half-way over practically...time goes by really fast out here! You can tell Danielle that I have a little smurf toy that she can have when I get back...if she wants it. It makes nice decoration on my desk! Ha!

Anziano West

Sunday, February 9, 2014

February 5, 2014

Missionary work is really big here. I guess it's really big all over the world!! In church, it's coming down like a hammer! Hey, and guess what is cool?! In March, it's super possible that they might split the ward in Brescia!! How cool is that?! So, then, there would be one ward and then one branch...I thought it was cool :)

I completely forgot it's the winter olympics already! That's crazy!! Ya, back in 2006 or something, it was held in Italy. In Torino. (I'll coach you guys on how to say the cities in Italian...because the english doesn't do it justice!!) On a seperate note, I always find it strange that the Italians just love english. Especially the ragazzi. They LOVE American teenage/pop culture. It's weird because their language sounds so much better than our language.

We still haven't met with Briseda! She keeps on cancelling our meetings with us! We have another one set up for tomorrow morning, I think, but we'll see. But also, I just learned some new things about faith!! Because last week, my collega and I had a blast doing missionary work. And also this week too!! So, we had all of these potential calls we were doing and then tons of people to meet with but some of them didn't work out, but we kept trying to meet with people and stuff. Anyway, during our weekly planning, we wanted to shoot for the standard of excellence that our mission has, which is 15+ lessons. So we set our goal to 17 and that's the highest that I've ever done so I was kinda excited but also thinking, "I hope we can do this much". But the coolest thing happend throughout the week!! We started keeping track of how many lessons we've had everyday and both of us were constantly thinking about it. Always!! When someone didn't show up to a lesson, we usually go, "Okay, what are we supposed to do now? Collega, what's our back-up plan... great, it's strada. Love it." But during this past week we started saying, "Okay, where can we go find another lesson? Collega, make sure you smile SO BIG that your eyes just disappear!!" (a little inside joke that we have :) And then we found lessons and we almost reached our goal!! We got 16 instead of 17 but we felt so good!! Anyway, my point is that we started to LOOK for opportunites to teach rather than just going through the motions! And so many cool things just happen! When you do everything that you can and you feel like nothing else can happen- That's when miracles start to happen!! We also started handing out bap dates like candy! We got 5 bap dates now too! Yesterday, I asked this old guy out on the street while we were passing by this bar (bars are different in Italia rather than, no worries) if he had faith in Jesus Christ and he said yes. Then I asked him if he would like to be baptized in the church of Jesus Christ. He said that he kinda believed and he didn't believe (which makes no sense) but he didn't say no! :) It's fun inviting people to baptism out on the street!! It's makes you feel really good inside!! I'm pretty sure that old guy will probably accept his baptism in the spirit world because I invited him to do it! Next time, I'll probably make the question a yes or no question and see what people say! :) (Old people are hard to talk to because they think they're the wisest people on the planet and that they're too old to, I was happy to invite an old guy to baptism!) So, this week, we're shooting for 20 lessons and we already have 8 as of yesterday! :) I think we can do it!!

Our budhist friend is doing awesome!! In fact, he's one of our bap dates now :) It's kind of difficult to communicate with him because he doesn't speak Italian very well and he gets confused when he use the formal form of "you" so we had to think and dumb down our Italian which was fine. It made me realize how far I've come in my Italian. I still don't know a lot and I can barely speak but I just felt good when I thought of how much I spoke when I first came to Italia. He's reading the Book of Mormon in Hindi and he says that he's really loving it, so we'll see how it goes!

That's so cool that mom's physical therapist went to Italia for his mission!! Mom said he served in the south so that means he probably learned almost a different language. They speak differently down there! That's for sure! Maybe I can talk to him when I get back! That would be fun!

Tell Jacob hi for me! And good luck! He's going to have a lot of fun! He's serving in Virgina, right? When does Austin get his call?

And mom, I teach people from all different kinds of religions all the time. You name the religion and it's probably here!

I also got a recipe for pesto from an investigator!!! We're going to make some when I get back!!

Love you guys!!

Anziano West

January 29, 2014

I'm glad that you liked my pics!! (I didn't know that they were so blurry but thanks for the tip! I'll do that now!) In fatti, Brescia is one of the oldest cities in Italy. Apparently older than Roma. Not sure if that's true but it's OLD!! There are TONS of churches here!! In our white handy-dandy missionary handbook it says to not proselyte near other religion places but then my trainer once told me that there were some missionaries that taught a lesson on the steps of a Duomo! You don't hear that any day!! (No worries! I try to obey the rules!)

You can buy gnocchi here at a normal grocery store. It's just super heavy!! And have I told you guys how much I love the Mozzarella cheese balls?! They're so good!! I had three of them before I came to write you guys an e-mail! Not exactly the best idea but it was lunch time. Also, hint: When you make pasta next time for dinner- pour in olive oil into the water when you're waiting for it to boil. I'm not exactly sure what it does but all of the Italians do it. And they throw olive oil on everything. Also throw in some salt in there too. I think Dad already does that. That's all the hints I'm going to give you while I'm on my mission. When I come back I will teach you the ways of cooking pasta! I've even been practicing saiting or whatever you spell it. You know when you thow on oil and then onions and stuff. I've been doing it to tomatoes and it's really good!! I put it in with the pasta and it tastes super good!!

Ya, I love doing the missionary work here! I like it a lot better than Vicenza. I don't like the city as much but I do like being in the world of Italy. :) A lot of the missionaries wish they can go and serve in Vicenza because of little America but then I think, "I really don't miss America. I just miss my family and that's it. But I sure do like having to communicate in Italian!!" Sometimes I have to talk in English but not as much anymore! Meno Male. I like to go through the Area book too but it's a little tough to use the time because President told me that he wants the missionari to work with members. That's where the greatest success is to reach convert baptims. So, he told me to put that as first priority and then when it came down to doing strada or casa (street contacting or tracting) you can do that when you have nothing else to do. But it's a big push over here for the members to get more involved, because they know people!! And those people can get baptized!! It's great but it's a slow process. We haven't seen Briesda for three weeks so were going to have to push her bap date back a bit, because she hasn't been coming to church. But we'll see. We've got tons of new investigators but a lot of them we're not sure about. But we got a buddhist investigator! :) He's from India too!

Sorry about the cold down there. Whenever the people found out where we are from they go, "oh, it's freezing down there!" And then they tell us in degrees celsius and I'm not exactly sure how cold it is but I'm guessing it's pretty cold! Tell Lindsay good job on the piano! Tell her to keep it up!

I liked your play of words, dad!! :) You can run but you can't hide! God knows where you are! Ha!

I love all of you! Thank you for all the prayers!
Anziano West

January 22, 2014

Hey, Dad!! Ya,I've gotten pretty used to my area now...pretty much. Flip! My collega and I get lost all the time and he's been in Brescia for three months!! It's pretty fun though! We'll be walking around trying to find a house or something and then I'll go, "where are we?" and then he'll go, "I don't know." "You've been here for three months!! How do you not know where you are?!" And then we have to pull out the map and find out what street we're on. We get pretty good navigating by maps! :)

This past week has been a little tough for me. One, apparently in Brescia, it's illegal to do publicity of any kind while you're on some transportation device of the city...which means we can't really proselyte when we take the buses and stuff. Lame. I was trying to work on my contacting skills!! And we can't ask "interrogating questions" or something like that. I was upset. Missionaries have been here forever doing that stuff and we can't do it anymore! Our district leader told President and then President said, "well, go find out what the law says and then get back to me." Okay. We'll find out today what it says but who knows? We'll see what happens!

So, Marco is doing pretty well. He's a nice guy! He makes gnocchi for a job (that stuff is super heavy!! Once you eat some...Buona Notte!! You're a goner! And the worst thing is, you don't feel it until after 10 minutes or something when you eat it! You can have a little bit and then think, "oh, that wasn't too bad. I'll take some more". Ya, you better take a nap after) and he's just really happy! Also, he decided to hang out with the youth and went bowling with them for their activity! How cool is that! The youth here are really cool too!! They love to try and speak the little english that they know and it's usually, "Hey! Sup', dude!" and that's about it. There are two returned missionaries that served in Roma and they're super cool also!! Also a lot of fun! Anyway, I only taught Marco once and he has a concern about whether or not you can have a family after this, we get to teach him about temples and eternal marriages next time! Good thing too because he's 32!

So these past few weeks I've been here, we've been trying to clean up the records and the such here. Since missionaries have been here for a long time, there are tons and tons of people that have been taught at least once but then dropped for some reason a few years ago. Well, if they had interest before then they probably still have some interest somehow. So, we've been making tons of calls and we've set up a lot of appointments but some fell through. But we still have a lot of calls to make still because under our contacts list there are people that have been found on the street but never taught!! In fact, there was one lady that I called and she said she didn't remember who what the missionaries were. But then I asked her if she remembered the "Mormoni" and then she said that she remembered and that it was two years ago that the missionaries got her number! And she's never been taught! We got a lot of potentials to cover! :)

So, the work is progressing forward here in Brescia! We have one Bap date and her name is Briseda! She's from Peru. Hopefully, we have another baptism soon! Also, just pray that our teaching pool EXPLODES from all of these potentials that we have from, who knows how long, but I'm excited!!

Love ya!
Anziano West

January 15, 2014 -- Another Baptism

Hey fam!!!

The new's not as pretty as Vicenza. It's not pretty really. But it's a new area!! The city is dirty and kind-of...sketch. Ya, dad, it's the right place. Also, this city is crazy wierd. But it's a lot bigger than Vicenza and a lot of people don't know english! We take the buses and the metro for our transportation! No bikes because I guess they broke down a long time ago...they're just sitting outside on our balcony. I don't know what to do with them. Absolutely, no American food! I'm in the Italian world for good now! So, it's coming around pretty well. My collega is Anziano Heaton from St. George and he's one of those guys who loves to go hunting for elk. He's a fun guy. He doesn't really take the senior comp. thing really seriously, which is fine because my last collega did and what he said kinda went, but my collega now is laid back but he works. He's been here for two transfers. So it's all good!!

The work here is different. One, the companionship here has been here for a long, long time. I found some records back in 2001-2003. I don't even know if those people still live here! In fact, I've found some teaching records with Stew's name on them :) I guess he served here too. Ask him how weird the city is because it's super crazy/weird!! There's a ward here and the members are really nice! I like them. We stay with another companionship and one of them is Italian! He's trying to learn English, and we've done some exchanges since I've been here, and he's a pretty cool guy!! He helps me with my Italian and then I help him with his english! It's fun because he doesn't know the American idioms and the slang, and I don't know the Italian ones, but it's fun to learn together! Two, since we're on buses and stuff, we have to do more contacting. I'm not used to that. I'm always used to jumping on the bike and cruising to whatever we needed to go. So, it's been a new learning experience for me. I feel like Vicenza was kinda of a second home to me and that I knew the people. I didn't really have a problem stopping people randomly, after a while, because I felt like they were part of my home. And the ward members were cool too. It's just weird moving to a new city because you don't know anything about it!! And Brescia is wierd...the investigators are super weird. We have one invest. who just dabbles in deep doctrine. That's it. She reads doctrine and covenants and loves Joesph Smith but she doesn't have a testimony of modern prophets today. And the lesson that I had last night was appalling. Before I got here she wanted to know how to become an angel or something like that and then the missionary that was last here, said that angels don't progress. Bad mistake. YOU DON'T MENTION/TALK DEEP DOCTRINE. YOU ONLY TALK ABOUT WHAT'S IN PMG. I was upset when my collega told me this, because one, we're not supposed to talk about this stuff, and two, the last missionary loved talking about deep doctrine with this investigator!! So, she wanted to know where in the scriptures it said that angels don't progress so we had to go find it in D&C and then show it to her. My collega marked the verses and told her to read ONLY the marked verses but then she goes, "aspetta. Leggo questi", and I went in my head, "oh flip. We're done for." and she read about becoming gods and was bad. We didn't know what to do. Tonight we're going to call President and see what he says because she's nuts.

I'm working on being bold and it's a work in process! I think it'll always be a work in progress...

Oh, ya, we got a baptism this past Sunday. I never even met the guy until the baptism! It's weird to see the reaping because I wasn't there for the planting and growing process. My collega was there the whole time though. His name is Marco Ucchedu and he's from Sicilia!! He's a great guy! Never really talked to him though. I'll let you know how he is when we start teaching him the new convert lessons.

Love ya,
Anziano West

January 8th, 2014 -- Move Day!

Thank you for everything!! It was great talking with you guys too! I loved it!
No, mom, I didn't get the baking soda paste thing. For one, I haven't really been thinking about it and two...I GOT TRANSFERRED!!! I'm leaving America Jr! Finally!! See ya, little America!! I'm leaving tonight and I'm going to Brescia! It's not far but it's somewhere. I really wanted to go to another region. Somewhere to Genova or Firenze (I really want to serve there. Really, really bad!) Or maybe even Milano. I would also like to go to Como. But I'm going to Brescia!! So excited to go! It's on the other side of Verona which isn't far. But whatever. My collega is training again. He'll be a good trainer. He likes to run the companionship in a trainer way, I guess you could say. All I know about my new collega is that he's been out over a year. I'm not even sure what he's name is. I'll find out tonight though! And my apron is awesome!  And I'm keeping it! It says "Italia Milano di missione" or something like that. But it's cool!

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Ya, the Italian is slow but it's coming. My collega says that I sould like Elder Caulhoon when I talk. It's hard to sound like italian. And to speak grammaticaly correct. I'm always thinking about how the words and stuff match up or not. My thought process always go like this: "Okay, he said tense...that means it would be 'pensavo' and then 'che'...which means it would go to imperfect subjunctive because it's hypothetical...oh flip. How do you say that word again? Man, how come this always happen to me?!" But, ya, I really hope I become bilingual. I'm becoming fluent but I'm not there yet. I know I'll become fluent but I really want to be bilingual. Maybe I'll get an Italian collega because I noticed that most missionaries that speak Italian really well had an Italian collega. So, maybe I'll have that chance. Hopefully.
Tell Aubrey congrats!! I've been thinking about what I'm going to do when I get home-health wise. I'm so glad I'm leaving Vicenza. The food habits here kill me. Not only that but pasta is the main food group for missionaries. And I can't tell you how happy and glad I was to see that chocolate and that licorice you sent me! I felt so good eating that stuff!! I just kept on thinking, "oh, I miss this so much! So much! I miss mom's cooking! What am I going to do?" All that I'm saying is, I may become a health freak, but I really want to have your cooking! I've also been thinking, "should I go to the gym or something when I get back? Because I'm not sure if I'm getting fat or something but my body is in so many different proportions..." All I know is that after these next two years I really need to do something!! Another thing you have to sacrifice as a missionary is your health standards. Not fun.
Love ya, mom!! I also sent you another e-mail regarding some things! Make sure you look at it!
Hey Dad!!
Thanks for praying for Peter! I know what you mean when you feel like he's part of the family. I told him that I was leaving Vicenza and he told me that he would miss me! What a good guy!!
Funny you should bring up about the hen gathering in the chicks. This past transfer I've learned a lot. Especially about using our time wisely. And most effectively. This past transfer my collega wanted to do a lot of things but then I asked him, "does this do anything for our missionary work?" And then he'll think for a moment and go, "no, not really. You're right, let's do this instead." Everything that I learned from my trainer helped out a lot but it was kinda hard because I couldn't really apply it with my new collega, because he does things differently! But we both learned together about what to do that matters and what not to do or to do later. Doing stuff like this allows us to have that revelation that we need to further the work here in Vicenza, because we're really doing what the Lord wants us to do! I really liked your analogy, dad!!  
I'm still learning how to follow the spirit. More so, having the courage to follow it. I asked President how to have confidence and he told me to pray and then be bold. No one will get hurt from you boldness. So, I'm working on that. Remember, the righteous are as bold as a lion!!
Alright, I miss you guys! Have fun!
Anziano West