This week was totally awesome. Very spiritual. Very tiring. My companion doesn't speak a word of English, so I just speak Italian all day long. I know, it's horrible. hahaha. Nah, it's alright. I'm already past the point where it's uncomfortable.
We had the opportunity to hear from two seventies on Wednesday. That was awesome. Then on Thursday morning we met with Nicola. He had already had his interview, but wasn't sure about getting baptized on Saturday. We told him the same thing that Elder Caussè said which is that each of us needs to find our personal sacred grove. We need to find somewhere that we can pray aloud, kneeling, and express all our desires to the Lord. Personally, I did it Wednesday night, and then on Thursday I bore testimony to Nicola about the Spirit that I felt. I also read a little bit from Joseph Smith History. Some advice that Dad gave me has really helped. Whenever you want to have the Spirit, open Joseph Smith History and read a little bit of his experience. When we left Nicola's, we had decided that for now we wouldn't set a specific date, but that he would be baptized as soon as he feels ready.
That night we talked to him on the phone and he said that right after we left he was going to read the Book of Mormon, but it was like someone was telling him not to read it. He said no, and read anyways. He prayed and he was overcome by the Spirit. He wanted to be baptized two days later, on Saturday.
That created a real mess for us though. haha. There has been a lot of work being done to the church (repainting, repairing, etc.) so the church had to be cleaned up. With the help of the members we cleaned the church, and then we set up the baptismal font. The baptismal font is ridiculous. haha. You know those swimming pools that are made up of white tubes? Well, it's kind of like that, but with rusty metal pipes instead! haha. It's crazy.
The day of the baptism we tried to do everything we could to prevent the water from being freezing cold. In the end we had four pots of water that we heated with the stove, and we made trips from our house to fill up jugs with warm water. We also underestimated the time to fill the font, and had to use water from our back-up water supply at home (that they have for when the water doesn't work in the summer).
After the baptism we used the same pots from earlier to drain the font! haha. It was the only way! We had a lot of difficultly taking it down because the pipes are rusty, so we had to leave it partially mounted until Monday when we used some tools to take it down.
Nicola was baptized on Saturday, and confirmed Sunday. Next week Nicola is going to get the Aaronic Priesthood. They're hoping to get him the Melchizedek Priesthood early next year because we really need it here in this Branch.
I love new converts. They're always happy and have the spirit. Do you remember in Bari, with Cecilia (the new convert who's 32)? Well, whenever I saw a guy around her age in Bari I would stop him and share the gospel with him because I told her that she needs to get married and that I would help her find a husband. WELL, I've finally found someone! haha. Nicola's 33. hahaha. Now I just need to figure out how to get these two to meet.
There basically haven't been any baptisms here for about five years. In January we will officially have two new active members (that started coming but live out of our area). Our Branch will now be up to 8 active members. We just got a new list of less active members to work with, so I expect that we'll start having even more.
Well, I've gotta go! You're always in my prayers. If I could give you any advice it would be to follow the counsel to find your personal sacred grove. When I was in college I always had up the poster of the sacred grove. That's a sweet poster. I went to a member's house in Ragusa and they had it in color! It was pretty awesome.
p.s. Merry Christmas!!!!!!