Good week for the work in Ladispoli!
We had two lessons with him this week. The first one was on Thursday night and we brought Eugenia, a member, with us. Just as with most of our lessons with Giovanni, we don't actually teach much of a lesson. Instead, Giovanni talks for most of it and expresses his doubts and concerns and thoughts and we try to jump in every once in a while to address these concerns and help him out. On Thursday, he talked about one of his concerns that we have been working with for a while. Summed up, he doesn't feel that he should be praying to know which church to join because he has other things he needs to be focusing on with his relationship with God. He feels like it is much more important to work on fixing his vices and minor sins from day to day such as patience or not having meaningful prayer and scripture study (he does read and pray every day, but is easily distracted and it is never as good as he wants it to be). We have tried to explain to him how a testimony of and participation in the restored gospel will help him to overcome these things and he has the rest of his life to do it! After baptism, we get the gift of the Holy Ghost which is given to help us continue in our progression in these like this! But explaining this hasnt helped much up to this point.
This time, Eugenia shared her experiences and the second half of 2 Nephi 4 - Nephi's psalm. We read it together and Giovanni was reading from a Romanian Book of Mormon we borrowed from the church for this lesson because he left his at home. We finished reading and Giovanni simply said "Can we finish the lesson here? And can I take this Book of Mormon with me?" We said sure and he folded the page of the Book where we had read, we prayed, and he practically ran out of the Church. It was obvious that he was really touched by what we had read. Eugenia was all nervous that she had scared away our investigator but Sorella Giordano and I were thrilled that something had finally hit him!
We talked to him the next day and he told us that he really felt the need to be reading and praying and commiting himself more. Perfect.
The second lesson was last night, we simply watched the Restoration film with him, two members, and another investigator who randomly joined us after english course. The moment it ended, he said "That was wonderful". I was worried about watching it with him because he doesnt fully understand why we focus on Joseph Smith so much, but it turned about absolutely perfect. The Spirit was strong and we talked about what we liked from the film and we all bore testimony. It was short and simple and powerful. As soon as he walked out, we danced around and cheered and were absolutely thrilled that it went so well. He is close to baptism, I know it!
We found a new investigator! His name is Luciano and he is a 7th day adventist and extremely religious. He comes to church often, but the members told us not to work with him because he is fairly argumentative and confrontal. Well, we finally set an appointment anyways and it turned out great! He does have a ton of questions and knows the Bible very well, but he was not confrontational at all! He had already read and studied the entire Book of Mormon and D&C and gave us a nice overview at the beginning. He studies hard and sincerely wants to know the truth, although he is extremely detail oriented, which may be a little bit of an obstacle. It all has to fit together perfectly for him. It is awesome having a lesson with him though; I like people who are detail oriented and precise! Good fun! We want to work with him more but he lives very very far away.
We also have another new investigator, Cristian the kid from Ecuador who comes to english course. He was the one who stuck around and watched the Restoration film with Giovanni. He is already making friends with the other young adults in the branch.
Also, they announced that the Ladispoli branch is going to be made into a ward in two weeks! Its amazing how I have only been here a few months but I feel like this branch is my own and I feel the joy that the other members feel at this announcement. It is HUGE! The entire organization of the branch will change. It is also a huge success because in the last ten years, the branch has had several close calls of being closed down. This is a dream for some of the members who have been here from the beginning.
I had a cool experience. I woke up one morning this week with the thought "Work with the husbands". It was a very strong impression. I made a list of husbands of members afterwards, whether they werent members or less active. I dont know which ones will be the right ones, but we are going to start working with some of the husbands a little bit more.
Yesterday, we talked to a man on the street outside of his house and it went really well. We finished up and asked his name and he told us "Luigi". We had just turned and started walking away when a neighbor walked by and said to the man "Ciao Vincenzo!"
Love you all!