C'è tanto da scrivere questa settimana!
The Maxi Conference was awesome!! That's the one that was in Taranto. We learned a lot of great things, and I also got to see some of my best friends here. Anziano Rowland and Anziano Garcia. They're so sweet. We also played tons of sports. My team was named the ant crushers. Mostly because there were tons of ants everywhere, and the mascot just fit.
Our team dominated at almost everything, but having only four of us made a lose a couple games. We played volleyball, dodgeball, ultimate frisbee, soccer, and ultimate frisbee played with a rugbee ball. (We played it once with a frisbee, once with the rugbee ball). Even though we didn't win, I would definitely say we were the team that had the most unity and spirit. I'm pretty sure no one else even had a team name! My teammates were Anziano Cox who I knew in the MTC, Anziano McDaniel from Ogden, and Sorella Hirsh from New York.
Basically what made me enjoy it most was being able to see Anziano Rowland (my district leader from the MTC), and Anziano Garcia (from my MTC district--from Malaga, Spain). I sat by Anziano Rowland on the ride back from Bari and we did a lot of catching up. It looks like we're both loving our missions, so that's good. haha. We've also both had tons of funny experiences.
We stayed the night in Statte. It's more or less a suburb of Taranto. It was alright. Taranto is a beautful city. I've found that my favorite cities (in the world) are always those that have water, and Taranto has a bay, so I liked that. Here is a picture of the view from where we stayed in Statte.
We also had a Zone Conference in Bari in the last week. haha. I love traveling! At that conference me and my companion did a 20-minute presentation on how we can have a more effective personal study. If you ask me, what it comes down to is how much we can follow and learn by the spirit. Obviously everyone has different levels of focus and intelligence, but that can only take you so far. Once you do everything you can, if you pray for the spirit you can learn a crazy-ton more stuff. haha.
I think I've about mastered the art of talking to people on the train. Or at least talking to one person. On the way to the conference to Bari I talked to a guy who learned about the church 20 years ago, and doesn't have any interest. Then a college girl came and sat by me and I talked to her for a good while. She was really cool. She's an art major, and she loves Michael Jackson. When she was four years old she saw a video of him or something, and has been in love ever since. When he passed away she flew to London for a big event they had there, and one of her life goals is to go to L.A. on the anniversary of his death one year. It was really interesting to talk to her, and of course I also shared the message of the restoration with her.
Here's what I've figured out. You can't fake genuinity, but you can gain it. I've figured out that I'm actually interested in every person, because every person has something interesting about them. As you learn their desires, their beliefs, and their interests, they naturally ask about yours and it makes sharing the gospel really easy. Basically I've just come to the realization that everyone is better than me at something, everyone has different talents and abilities, so there's always something to be learned, and the sweet thing about a mission is you get to talk to so many people that you learn all kinds of things!!
I've also met many crazy people. haha. The other day we were at a really interesting less active member's house and she said the closing prayer. In her prayer she said: "...and please bless these men that you sent to serve thee that they will not be killed...because those that serve you are killed"
haha, what!! It's nice that she's so honest in her prayers. She's an interesting lady. Really funny. She always tells us random quotes that she doesn't understand. She'll say something like "My mom always told me never to trust doctors and lawyers"
Then a few minutes later she'll say, "Doctors are saying never to eat meat"
Then we'll say back "But didn't your mom say not to trust doctors?"
And she responds, "Oh yeah! hahahaha"
It's pretty nuts.
Let's see, what else should I fill you in on. I guess that's about it. I'm really grateful for my mission and all the important things I've been learning, and all the great people I've met. I already know that I'm going to be friends with all the people in my MTC district for the rest of my life. Anziano Rowland will always be the best district leader I've ever had. Even now when I talk to him I feel like he gives me advice that helps me in the mission field.
I love my life. I love life. I love the gospel, and I love Jesus Christ. I know that he is our saviour. I know that each of us can improve every day thanks to the atonement. We can bring our lives into harmony with the will of God! It's incredible and amazing.
There are basically two kinds of preaching (to me). Small groups, and Large groups. I have no problem with Large groups, as in I can talk to a whole bus of people or a crowd, or a class and it's no problem. Small groups would be like on the train talking to one person. I love that as well. I'm getting better at talking to two different people on the train at the same time, but I definitely still can't handle three, but I'm building up to it.
I think of in that way because Jesus Christ would talk to individuals, and he would talk to large groups. The woman at the well that got water that would stop her thirst, but also the thousands of hungry people that listened to him when he decided to feed them all fish and bread.
Oh! One more thing I wanted to say was that I love what I learn for after my mission. Sorella Taranto taught us about setting goals, actually so did President. We need to think about what we want to do in life (Marriage, Job, Education, Service), and then quantify it. For example, I want a happy, spiritual family. Very Broad. So then I break it into things that I can measure, like family home evening once a week, family scripture study, maybe dinner as a family, yada yada yada. One thing I really liked was that the Tarantos always had service as one of their priorities in life. I love service. They didn't just do church service, but they also did community service. I'm not really sure what exactly I want to do with that in the future, but I think I always want to do some sort of service. There's always the random ones that are great as well. Another thing I’ve been working on that will help me later in life is gardening! Check out my sweet onion and spinach that I am growing!
Okay, one last thing. This was hilarious. There was a talent show at the Maxi Conference and there was a skit about the RM MTC. hahaha. I can't remember what the acronym stood for, but it was hilarious. They taught about asking referrals from your dates, dates in the presence of a father, and their guarantee that a girl will propose to YOU within ONE transfer (6 weeks). haha. They did a really nice job with it. I hope someone got it all on film because it was totally hilarious.
P.S. I figured out a new way to work out. Haha.