Week 7 – A lot of Africans

Ciao Carissimi!

This week was pretty lit because it was the beginning of my second transfer in Italy! For those of you who don’t know what that means, a transfer is a period of 6 weeks where your companion and location doesn’t change. At the end of each transfer you get what are called transfer calls. This is when you receive your assignment for the next transfer: your new companion and your new city. My companion and I were not moved from our current city Cosenza. However one Anziano in our district finished his mission this last transfer, so we had to stay with him until his new companion got here on Thursday. We spent Monday and Tuesday in Catanzaro with him, then came back to Cosenza Wednesday, and then on Thursday we dropped him off with his new companion. It was pretty cool to hang out with another missionary for half a week.

We taught a lot of lessons again this week. We finished teaching all the important stuff to one of our investigators which was awesome, but she doesn’t feel ready for baptism. We will have to keep having lessons with her to get her ready for her date later in July. We only have one big lesson left with three of our other investigators on date for baptism. Two of them are from Ghana and they pretty much soak up everything we tell them. The other is from the Philippines. He is really excited to get baptized, but like most people in Italy he smokes a lot. We are working with him to break this habit so he can be baptized.

Our two friends from Ghana are incredible missionaries themselves. Something about Africans is that they pretty much never do anything alone. They always bring friends. These two simps (short for simpatizzanti which means investigators, just FYI so y’all don’t get confused) they have come to church for the last 3 Sundays. Last Sunday they brought one friend, but this past Sunday they brought 3 more. Their were a total of 6 Africans in church which is literally equal to half of the active ward. We taught a huge lesson to them after sacrament meeting about faith in Christ and His example for us. It’s pretty funny because we literally never go finding to get African simps! They just come to us!

Se qualcuno di voi vorreste mandarmi e-mail in Italiano, per favore non esitare. Io penso che sia un buon modo per praticare il mio Italiano. Sono stato imparando tantissimo, e lo so che posso ringraziare Padre Celeste per tutte le cose che io ho imparato. Il dono delle lingue é reale.

Vi voglio bene,
Anziano Findlay

  1. Me and Anziano Blackwell, the Anziano in my district that just went home
    2-4. Some cool art I saw at an art gallery

Deep Doctrine with a Mason

Ciao tutti,

This last week has been pretty great! We had a goal of getting 5 people on date for baptism and we hit it! On Wednesday we had a lesson with some immigrants from Ghana. One of them was already on date from our last lesson with them the previous Sunday, and Wednesday we challenged the other and he told us he is ready now. Then on Saturday we had a lesson with an Italian woman that has been working with the missionaries for a while. She told us that she believes the church is true, but that she doesn’t know why but she isn’t sure about baptism. However, we got her to accept a date and she promised us she would pray about baptism and try and progress towards it. She already pretty much follows all the commandments, so to be honest I really think it is just matter of time until she gets baptized. If it doesn’t happen now it will eventually.

For p-day last week and today we played some basketball. It’s fun with a good squad of Mormon missionaries that haven’t actually worked out for a range of 6 months to 2 years, but at the same time for some reason we all were so much better than any of the Italians we saw playing. That’s probably partly because pretty much the only sport that people play here is calcio (soccer).

One cool thing that happened this week was that this free-mason guy came up to us and started talking to us about Jesus. He had some cool things to say about how He had two different kinds of qualities. Those that were visible like miracles and teaching and those that were invisible like charity, love, and friendship. He then contended that the reason the people crucified Him was because they could not or would not see those invisible qualities and therefore could not or would not understand Him and His gospel. Then he went on to give us an American 1 dollar bill and pointed out the symbolism of the pyramid on the back. He talked about how the eye represents God’s all seeing eye and the rest of the pyramid recognizes the world. God’s eye sees everything, but the world does not see all like how we cannot see the the real top of the pyramid. Then he started to talk about some weird stuff like the illuminati (hence the subject line), but what I really liked about what he had to say is the Idea that we need to learn to see and have those Christ-like qualities that are not always so evident in daily life because they provide an even clearer view of who our Savior really was.

Anyways that’s about it for this week. Nothing too crazy happened, but the work here in Cosenza is really starting to pick up. It is a good feeling to be teaching lessons all the time. One of our investigators met with us three times this week and lessons are always great because you feel like you are having real success by teaching people. However, don’t get the idea that finding isn’t as important. Nothing happens without finding. However unsuccessful you may feel after walking through the whole city and not getting a single new investigator you have to keep going because the good work like lessons can’t happen without it. Plus, God blesses those who are diligent even in the face of failure.

Vi voglio bene!
Anziano Findlay

  1. A gesso that I drew for some finding in Catanzaro during our blitz there
  2. Some real Pizze Margherite (which is the real plural for Margherita pizzas, which is also the real name for cheese pizza) we ate with an investigator
  3. Got my hair cut, but in Italy they cut your hair how they want, I ended up with a Riga along my part which is where they shave a line into your head
  4. A beach in Catanzaro with my name tag.
  5. The same beach earlier that day that I snagged right at sunset, just beautiful

 

Week 5

This week was pretty crazy! We started off with some zone calcio (that’s what they call soccer) on p-day. It was pretty fun, but all the Italians that were watching us were laughing so hard at how bad we were. I guess we really all are true Americans haha. Then we blitzed the city that night meaning that most of our zone went out and did finding together with a big finding method called “gesso”. Gesso means chalk, essentially what we did was draw a message on a sheet in chalk and then lay it out in the middle of a piazza and talk to people that look interested. We actually picked up a few new investigators with it which was pretty awesome.

Later this week we had a lesson with one of our African investigators. We were waiting for him outside of the store that he usually begs outside of. And before you get the wrong idea of him, let me explain the culture here. There are boatloads of African refugees that come to Italy everyday, mostly from Nigeria and Ghana. They come to escape religious persecution or because they have heard life in Italy is better. The only problem is is that life is not much better for them here. They don’t have legal documents and they can’t speak Italian, so none of them work and to survive they have to beg. Begging is also way more common here especially because of cultures like the gypsies (which yes, gypsies are very real) and because of the amount of refugees. Anyways, we were waiting for our investigator to come, but we felt like we should go to the bus station, so we left deciding we could teach him another time. When we got there we found him at the bus station. He was having a really rough day because he had lost a family member the night before. We were able to comfort him and tell him a little bit about the plan of salvation. This really cheered him up. I am so glad we listened to that spiritual prompting and were able to help him in a way that our planned lesson would not have been able to do.

One thing I have really learned this week is the benefit to recognizing people’s needs and answering those needs with the gospel. We had another investigator going through a similar struggle because her dad has cancer. We were able to relate with her and comfort her as well. It is amazing the effect the gospel can have on people when they can see how it helps their life and can feel the joy that comes from it.

Pics

  1. A brioss, essentially the original ice cream sandwich aka the essence of dolci perfection
  2. A pork chop made by Sorella Spadafora, a member who on countless occasions has told me that she will cook for Jesus in heaven
  3. My comp. Anziano Hansen and Sorella Spadafora with the lasagna we made
  4. The Zone Calcio squad
  5.  They set up a broadcast of the Real Madrid/Juventus final. This was a sick bicycle kick goal that happened about 20 min in. Soccer is like one of three things Italians all love

Sunday Meal with Members in Cosenza

Anziano Findlay’s parents received this very thoughtful note and photo this morning:

Ciao!

My wife and I had dinner with your missionaries! I served in Cosenza for 13 months back in 2011, so we came back to visit on our tour of Italy. We ate lunch together at a members house, Maria Rosa, on Sunday.

It was fun getting to meet then and we wanted to let you know they are happy and being well fed!

Have a great day,
Andrew Bringhurst

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