I had the most amazing weekend.
Yeah. At this point I'm sure Lia is going crazy because she must have figured out where I went: MALTA.
It was incredible. I flew over on Saturday. As soon as we were flying in you could tell it was a whole other world. On our way up to the house I felt like I had arrived in Jerusalem, or somewhere in the middle east.
I spent Saturday afternoon and evening with Anziano McMullen (he's from England). We had a great time. We taught a lesson to Raffaele (new convert) and his girlfriend about the restoration and the law of chastity (they had just moved in together). You could tell that Raffaele wasn't anxious to talk about it because the missionaries had brought it up already the time before.
It started out a little rough. Raffaele had the attitude “if we're in love then it doesn't really matter”.
“Raffaele, I see that you have a lot of faith. Do you love Jesus Christ?”
“Yes, of course!”
“He taught, ‘If you love me, keep my commandments’”.
It pretty much went something like that. Raffaele knew the right thing to do, and it turns out that he was just holding back because he thought he didn't have enough money to pay for the wedding. We told him, it doesn't cost anything to get married in the church! In the end they were excited to set a date, and there was a strong spirit there.
Then we went over to Brother Borg's house and had some rabbit ... yum!
That was pretty much it for that night. On Sunday I was with Anziano Wester. Church in Malta was really great. It was cool because Anziano McMullen and Anziano Garvin actually both gave talks. Anziano McMullen spoke of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. He quoted the book "Jesus the Christ" quite a bit, and it was really graphic for me. It's painful to imagine what he went through. Not just the physical pain, or even psychological pain, but even pain that goes to the soul. It's strong motivation to live a better life. Anziano Garvin gave a great talk. He shared some of the experiences that we've had together here in Rome, and he also expressed his love for the maltese people. He really loves that branch.
Heck, I really love that branch, they're great!
I went to the Maltese Sunday School class. I don't speak much Maltese, hahaha. But I was able to follow a couple things in the lesson because there are quite a few words that are similar to either Italian or English. In fact, when they asked who gave the Aaronic Priesthood to Joseph Smith I proudly responded, John the Baptist! : )
I'll admit, I didn't learn a lot of Maltese in the few days I was there, but I did get a chance to use the stuff I did learn.
Ina ta membru tal kinisia ta gesu cristu
hahaha. That was the extent of a conversation I had with a Maltese guy who didn't speak any English.
How are you?
I'm a member of the church of Jesus Christ
hahaha. I gave him a pamphlet in Maltese with the address of the church, and then I tried to get his phone number, but I didn't have any luck.
With Anziano Wester we passed by a Chinese family that they had found. It was really cool because the dad actually only spoke Mandarin, so it was great that I was able to teach him. One cool thing is that as soon as they answered the door and I started talking they asked me if I was from Taiwan!!! He said he could tell because of the accent. : )
We also talked to a lot of people on buses, and on the streets there in Malta. They really are great people. They are very open and friendly. After spending just a few days there, I didn't want to leave. The branch isn't huge. I would say an average week probably has over 30 members, but I know that they've had over 50 on church attendance.
One weird thing about serving out there for a few days was speaking so much English. 95% of the people there speak English. I've pretty much forgotten how to pray efficiently in English, and I also had to get used to teaching in English. One thing that still came naturally was talking to people on the bus and on the street. I remember in the MTC I always said that it would be so much easier if I went out English speaking. It's totally true. Haha. Although I think I'm at the point with Italian that it comes just about as naturally (not to say that I'm not always looking to improve).
On Monday we had correlation, District Meeting, and Family Home Evening. They were all three really great. They have an amazing Branch Mission Leader - Brother Foster. He's a stud. He really knows what he's doing and he's got a lot of fire. I heard that he's like 70, but he's full of energy. The four missionaries out there are outstanding. They are all very obedient and they are doing great things. There was a good spirit in their home.
Tuesday I came back home to Italy. I wish I could've spent more time on Malta, but there are many things that we need to take care of here, so it's good to be back. Transfer calls are this Saturday. I have a feeling I'm staying. Hahaha
Well, I love you a lot. I'm really grateful for everything that you're doing for me. I hope that some good missionary work is going on in our ward at home.
I look forward to seeing you...but it's going to be really really hard to leave Italy. I mean really hard. I'm just loving everything that is going on. We are finding and teaching a lot of people lately, and the work is just going to continue to grow. I really wish I could stay here for it. I just figure that if that right now I'm blessed to be able to do so much good that it just makes sense to do as much as possible. But, I know that my life will continue to be blessed like this after the mission too, so I'm thankful for that.