Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Benvenuti in Italia!

Whew. First week flew by!! There's enough to tell you that I could type all night...but, instead I'm just going to run down the list of things I wrote to tell you guys about. haha.

Okay, so basically the people here are amazing. We have some serious characters. One is the guy down on the corner. He's this bald old man who is a little bit dirty if you chat with him too much, but every day we say "Buon Giorno" to him, and never know what he'll respond with. My first day he responded with the same, but then another day he busted out the Bon Jour, and another time Buenos Dias. haha. So who knows. He's a funny dude.

I have a lot of other favorite people. Like the guy who owns the coffee shop down the road. I love everyone who works there, but the guy is the funniest. He always says, in English, that he's "keepin it gangster" hahaha.

Check this out: What do you think of when you think of Italy? Pasta. Random people playing the accordion.
And it's true!! Every day for lunch we eat pasta! haha. My companion is a way legit cook, and so he's been teaching me. Pasta's cheap, it's good, and it's totally Italian! haha. (By the way, my companion is half Italian) And random people playing accordion? In this last week I've seen four or five different people just walking around playing the accordion. hahaha. It's pretty crazy.

Our branch. So we have a pretty small branch. There are around 20 active members. I think in total there are around 40 or 50 members in the city. There will be a lot more pretty soon!! haha. We're so busy. We have tons of potential investigators, which will turn into progressing investigators, and then baptisms!!

But anyway, we also teach an English class two times a week that has about 60 people!! It's a great source of investigators. And I love our students. My companion speaks with an Australian accent, so at the classes we've had they always want to me to pronounce everything. hahaha. And then after I read something they all cheer! hahaha. I'm like a pronunciation hero. haha. I love it.

We taught one lady a private lesson the other day, and I thought that was weird, but then I realized why we did it. At the end of the lesson (like normal) my companion shared a spiritual thought. And then he started asking her about her relationship with God and she started to cry a little talking about how she used to believe in God, and now I think she's going to take the lessons!! It was pretty awesome.

We also had a powerful lesson with Gina the other day. She's been feeling far away from God, and my companion promised that if she reads the Book of Mormon every day she won't have that feeling any more, and then yesterday she said she's ready to be baptized soon, and now we have a lesson with her tonight!! I'm pretty sure she'll be my first baptism!

Anziano Connell has been here for four transfers already, so he basically knows the entire town, so we're pretty popular. haha. It's way sweet because most everyone actually likes us a lot.

Hey, so I remember a trick that Dad used to do where he'd ring the bells to get let into a building and then go door to door. Well, we basically did that, and it was way sweet. Because it's ridiculously cold here, and we have to go inside to get warm! We haven't had any success doing houses yet, but I enjoy it because it's easier than doing street because you don't have to chase people down so much. But we do a ton more street, and I'm starting to talk more. But it's hard to understand people sometimes.

We get around by walking, and then on occasion taking the bus. I'm definitely not going to be putting on weight here, that's for sure! The other day we did take the bus and went down around the mall, and then we went to catch some lunch. Check this out: My companion got a Big Mac, and I got pizza!! haha. I never thought anything like that would ever happen. I'm still pretty stoked on the food here.

Nutella. So good.

I learned a lot spiritually this week. It's a lot easier to recieve revelation when you really need it. Like to help an investigator. haha. So I gained some insight on following the Spirit that I'd like to share. Basically, it's how to follow the spirit.

Here's what I've found. First, of course, you have to be being obedient. Then you'll have an idea, and if it's a good thing, you should do it, and it may be the Spirit. Because we know that all good things come from God. If it's something that the choice doesn't matter (like it's not being disobedient, but it's not something you would normally do, or it seems like a random thought), then you should do it, cause it might be the Spirit. And of course if it's something bad then it's not the Spirit. And then as we all know, hindsight is 20/20, so then when you look back on the decision and it turns out it saved your life or something, then I'm sure it was the spirit. haha. So to help you trust the Spirit, you also need to trust yourself, and try not to get stuck into a routine.

Well, it's about time for me to go.

I'll just tell you one last thing. The coats that I wear aren't even mine! Instead of the trenchcoat I've been wearing dead missionary closet coats. haha. It's so awesome.

ciao ciao.

Con Affetto,

Anziano Banks!

p.s. This is a picture of me and my companion and a pandoro. It doesn't taste that awesome, but it's a traditional Christmas thing here. It is a sweet yeast bread dusted with vanilla scented icing sugar and is supposed to resemble a snowy mountain peak.