This week I have noticed more than any other week how I have been prepared to serve here in Italy with these people. I have noticed it with two people in particular. One, Vittorio, is the boyfriend of the mother of one of our wonderful members, Natalia. Did I ever mention how great this branch is with people our age? The word for YSA (Young single adults) in Italian is GANS (giovanni adulti non sposati) and we have a whole bunch of them in this branch. Two are about to leave on missions, four more are working on their papers. They are all adorable, kind, funny people and I would love to be their best friend if I weren't a missionary here. Anyways, Natalia is one of them and we met with her mom and boyfriend. He has read a lot of stuff about Mormons on the web and has a lot of questions and doubts. I was so grateful for my experience as I was able to understand, relate to, and address every one of them. We ran into them last night. The most recent concern since he started reading the Book of Mormon is that horses didnt exist in the Americas so long ago (absolutely and completely debatable). Haha, he is fun to work with.
Second person is Arcangelo, the eternal investigator who comes to church every Sunday but makes no progress because he has these deep rooted issues about the ability to come to know things spiritually and his relationship with God. So many of his doubts and questions are ones that I have had and thought about for years and understand how to work through them. It makes it one of my favorite experiences in the world teaching him. We grab him during Sunday School at church and teach him in the corner outside the bathroom, haha, because all the rooms (including the kitchen) are being used during church. We talk to him about why God would ask us to walk by faith in this life. What benefit would it be to us to not be able to see the things we believe in? (character building through faith-the whole purpose of life, duh-, not condemned if we know something but choose not to do whats right, access to the power to work miracles, ect) BUT, God doesnt want us left in confusion so he confirms the truth of things to us through the Spirit, through our feelings. As I teach him, I understand these things and the perfection of Gods plan and process of learning and perspective much more thoroughly. Sweet.
Catia is crazy. She is our Buddhist investigator. She pretends to want to listen but doesnt really and immediately cuts us off in everything we say. She finds great joy in debate and this time she brought some friends to debate with us, haha. Yikes. One of them seems sincere though (Tweety) and although we are pretty much done trying with Catia, we want to track down her friend and try to meet with her. Funny story. We do "Kinder Predictions", which is when we buy a chocolate with a toy surprise inside and ask a question and open it up and interpret the response according to the toy inside. We asked a few weeks ago "Who will be our baptism here?" And opened it up to find a strange looking action figure woman with long purple hair. Tweety has long purple hair. She could be our baptism!!! Haha.
Catia also particularly attacks S. Tutt everytime we meet. She called her a word I didnt know and so I wrote it down. During language study yesterday we looked up the word fifone. It means "wuss". Hahahaha, great vocab from Catia. For whatever reason she called S. Tutt a wuss. We laughed pretty hard about that.
One more thing. I am working harder than I ever have before in the mission. I am receiving all sorts of inspiration for people and praying for miracles. Its neat to see. We still need a miracle, despite everything we can do, it is not us that changes people and converts them to the gospel. We are trying but we are still so imperfect and miss all sorts of opportunites to invite or dont explain the importance of things as clearly as we should. But we are getting divine help on how to improve and doing our best to put it into practice.
I am praying for April 2. We feel there should be a baptism that day.
We are running off to visit Ostia Antica!