Thursday, December 2, 2010

Gela 2010

It looks like I'm going to finishing the year here in Gela. We got the transfer calls the other day, and the only thing that is changing is that I'm a district leader. That should be cool.

I feel like I'm going to end up in Rome at some point. But if not it may be better because we can always visit Rome after the mission. Instead it seems like I keep serving in the cities that aren't worth visiting! haha.

This place has so much mafia. The other day we saw a random Ferrari. haha. There's also a street with multiple cars that have been destroyed. There are also some people that we see all the time that we're pretty sure are with the mafia. Gela and Palermo are supposed to be the two cities where it's the biggest, but they always keep quiet about it all.

Things are going pretty well here. We've doubled the attendance in church!! haha. Which means that last week in church we had more than 8 people. haha. The work's going well. There is a less active brother that hadn't been to church in a long time, but he talked to one of his coworkers about the church. We went with him to teach her, and she said that she would come to church, but that he would have to come too! haha. They both came to church, and I'm pretty sure they'll both continue coming.

Nicola is doing great. He needs to have a stronger testimony, but if everything goes well he should be baptized in a couple weeks. One thing that I've been really enjoying is proselyting here. I pretty much enjoy it anywhere, but what makes me really like it is the specific people that I meet. For example, I met a couple of atheists that were all dressed in black, and we explained to them a little bit about God and invited them to pray. The guy didn't really accept it, but the girl listened and was really interested and said she would do it. It's really great to see people who are sincere because they'll really come to know the truth.

Speaking of which, I also met a couple people this week that were a little more difficult. For example, we met a guy who was 18 and he talked like a 70-yr-old that has lost the faith. He told us about how he's been praying for 18 years without getting a response and that he doesn't believe in God. We tried to help him and invite him to make changes, but he wouldn't accept anything. In the end he more or less asked if it's possible that God exists with all the evil things that happen. Yes! We tried to explain to him free agency and God's plan for us, but in the end he pretty much thinks that if someone does something wicked, they should be punished immediately. . .oh well.

One thing I was thinking about lately is the amount of time and effort that people put into something. For example, if I was to be good at tennis, I have to go and play for hours every day, and slowly I'll start understanding how to play the game and how to do the strokes and how to play well. If I want to become a mathematician, I have to study for hours and study and study and practice and practice and practice. If someone wants to understand the things of God, they can't just think about it a little on Sunday, or figure it out with just a few minutes of study. When I think about how complex and difficult some concepts are in math, and how much time it takes to understand them, it's obvious that the mysteries of God take some time to understand. On top of that, we can't understand spiritual things with just study, and so we have to pray and receive help through the Holy Ghost.

Which brings me to another thing I've been thinking about which is the concept of giving milk before meat. We need to teach the basic principles of the Gospel before teaching the more complex ones. In the end, even though it's interesting to learn the complex things, a lot of times it's not even that important. There are things that we don't even really need to worry about for now. I'm sure that the prophet and apostles know all kinds of doctrine that we don't know, but they generally teach the basic things because that's what we need to strengthen our faith and our testimonies.

There's a person here that is from another religion that has studied a book written about a book that Brigham Young wrote (or something like that). In the end, official church doctrine comes from the scriptures. Here we have some who doesn't even understand English that well who is studying a book about a book about doctrine that comes from the scriptures. He doesn't even really know what the Book of Mormon is! It didn't take long to realize that he was actually an anti-mormon, but it was silly because he was bringing up things that we don't even believe in! haha.

Anyway I hope that every thing went well for thanksgiving. We didn't do a whole lot here. We did a fast a thanks and that was about it.
I guess the Christmas season is starting. Merry Christmas!

The weather here is starting to get a little chilly. brr. It's not too bad though. I definitely prefer warm weather for doing missionary work, but now I'll have more motivation to get appointments because I want to be inside! haha.

Anziano Banks