Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Angela the Miracle

The work is going so well here in Ostia, Angela is still going strong. I will start off with some wonderful things that Angela our miracle said or did this week.

She came to church on Sunday, arriving early to stay for all three hours with her husband (Angelo, haha. Angelo and Angela) and 3 year-old daughter, Sofia. Sofia screamed for the first ten minutes because she didnt want to go to Primary (can't blame her, there was only one other kid there and he was 10!) and she wanted to be with her dad. But once we calmed her down and went to Relief Society with her, everything went well.
Things that happened during Angela's first church experience:
She leaned over to Sorella Olsen during Relief Society and whispered, "I brought my tithing, who do I give it to?" We hadn't even talked to her about tithing yet!!
During Sacrament Meeting, Angela whispered, "You can feel the Spirit like air here!"
Our gospel principles teacher asked for examples of people with great faith. Members listed off some examples from the Old Testament like Moses or Noah. Angela raises her hand and says, "Nephi. Nephi was a huge example of faith. He had enough faith to build a boat even when his brothers mocked him and to cross the ocean to the Promised Land". Way to go Angela for pulling out some Book of Mormon examples!
She introduced herself to the bishop. The first thing she says to him? "Hi, I am Angela. Will you baptize me?" (she decided that she wanted Bishop to baptize her)
She invited ALL of the members to her baptism.
When we asked her how she felt after church, she responded, "in paradise"

We taught her about tithing after Sunday and as soon as we told her that we wanted to talk about tithing, she said, "Oh, what a wonderful gift from God!" She loves the concept of tithing and already has a strong testimony of it.

In talking about the Book of Mormon, she asked us, "So, are you telling me that not everyone immediately feels the Spirit of this Book?" She was very surprised.
Angela told us about how the Book of Mormon has helped her to understand the world better now. She gave an example: she used to think that a certain church was a Satanic cult but thanks to the Book of Mormon, she now realizes that they too have pieces of the truth and are trying to do what is right but are just a little misled.

She is incredible!!! Every appointment we have with Angela just seems strange, as if it couldn't possibly be so easy to teach and baptize a person. I've been thinking about some of my past experiences from the beginning of the mission. I remember in the MTC a year ago, I had a very specific impression that my role as a missionary was to come to Italy and bring these people the Book of Mormon. I felt that one of the most important things I could do was convince people to read this Book and that the Book would do the converting, not me. That is exactly what happened with Angela, it was literally a fulfillment of this impression in the MTC. All we had to do for her was convince her to read the Book of Mormon. She was so completely prepared beforehand, we didnt do a thing!

Okay, other than Angela, good things are happening!
We participated in ward counsel last week and we told them about how we are teaching Adriano. Everyone in ward council knows him because he has been coming on and off to church for years. After talking to them for a few minutes about him, we casually announced that he had a baptismal date. Our bishop's jaw dropped and he said, "WHAT? In 2013?" We responded, "Nope, July 30th!" Haha, they couldnt believe it! We decided together to do a ward council fast with Adriano and met after church as leaders of the ward with Adriano to pray and conclude the fast. Bishop asked Adriano about his experience with fasting and Adriano explained in front of all 10-15 of us.
While he was fasting the day before, he went on a walk and meditated. He asked if the Book of Mormon was true and he had the impression that he simply needed to read the Book if he wanted to know if it was true! Before we had chosen specifc chapters scattered throughout the book for him to read but now we are helping him to start from the beginning. With every verse or paragraph he reads, he analyzes and has to understand every word. He is extremely detail-oriented and it is a good thing but it might take him 5 years to read it We hope not!
A member, Sorella Battistini, shared her experience with Adriano and I think it helped him a lot. She listened to the missionaries and recognized that it was a good thing but still had her doubts and wasn't fully convinced. They invited her to baptized and she told them of her doubts but decided to take a step in the dark and move forward with faith. Her testimony of the Church came day by day after she was baptized until today she knows with certainty that it is true, and is now currently serving as the Relief Society president. Sometimes that is what faith is. It is not blind, we have evidence and clear reasons why we choose to believe. BUT, it IS trusting in the feelings that we have enough to move forward in faith without certainty. And then, after the trial of our faith we receive the sure witness.

Random things from this week:
We ate a very fancy meal with a member last night: spaghetti with mussels!
We met a Lebanese man who used to be a Catholic priest. He has started reading the Book of Mormon as well and because of how sensitive to the Spirit he is, I think he is going to have an experience like Angela!
There is a man sitting next to us at the internet point with his headphones on and "singing" (more like repeating over and over the phrase "always on the run". Is this from a famous song??)
We taught a lesson in the Piazza right outside Vatican City (I could have thrown a rock and hit the Vatican from where we were sitted, teaching)

Funny story:
We have an investigator who we have to be a little careful with. He always thanks us profusely and tells us what an honor it is that we teach him. Last time we saw him he said, "This is such an honor, I dont know how to thank you. I want to kiss you but I cant!". We told him that he can thank us instead by reading the Book of Mormon and praying.

I think that is all!! Zone conference tomorrow!

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