Transfers and a bit of America

This week we had transfers and I am remaining here in Sant’Agata for at least one more transfer. Anziano Moscon is gone and now serving in Bari Poggia Franco as district leader. My new comp is Anziano Fryer. He’s really tall which gets people talking. He’s also really clean, which I’m not gonna lie our apartment has kind of needed that. Especially since we have church here now.

We got to do some service for some members in our branch. We helped them harvest olives which was super cool. Basically what they do is place nets all around and underneath each tree and then you come in with a this machine that shakes the branches and knocks the olives off onto the nets. The machine is essentially a long pole with a an almost hand-like end with little finger-like spines that shake back and forth. After as many of the olives as possible come off the tree they collect up the nets full of olives and put the olives into crates. The olives are then separated from the little branches and leaves using a what is almost like a really big strainer. Then, they take the olives and mash them up with a big stone wheel and train out all the oil. It’s quite an interesting and almost old fashion process, but the Italians are really good at what they do.

Con i trasferimenti c’è sempre un nuovo eccitamento. Spero che un nuovo collega accenderà una scintilla nel lavoro che non c’era prima. È interessante a vedere cosa cambierà e succederà con ogni nuovo missionario con cui faccio la missione. È sicuramente vero che ogni collega è diverso è porta una nuova vista della missione. Questo trasferimento potrebbe essere l’ultimo per me a Sant’Agata e spero che possa essere il migliore. Teneteci nelle vostre preghiere.

(translation)

Vi voglio bene,
Anziano Findlay

  1. A really good pasta I had with peperoncini and another spice I don’t remember the name of
  2. An “American style ham-burger” from a cool place in Palermo, it was actually pretty close to the real deal
  3. The new comp Anziano Fryer
  4. There is an American store in Palermo and I couldn’t resist
  5. The American store
  6. The best pizza I’ve had to date, still hoping for that Napoli pizza though

We finally have church in our city

We finally got church moved to our apartment. It was supposed to happen last week, but we didn’t have chairs, so we had to wait an extra week, but now we have a pulpit, chairs, a whiteboard and all the rest of what we needed. We held church yesterday here in our apartment and it went well. It was super weird because we had to run everything, and we’d never completely run a sacrament meeting like that before. We directed the meeting, blessed and passed the sacrament, gave the talks, and even directed the music. I’m hoping that we will be able to start delegating some of the responsibilities to our few members though, so we don’t have to take care of everything and they can all be involved.

Sadly we’ve pretty much been dropped by all our investigators. This puts us back to square one with finding. However, this isn’t that bad because at least this means we can focus our time on others who may have more time, interest, or drive to actually follow our invites. In fact because they all dropped us we were able to use some of our time that would have been spent on a lesson to do some more house to house finding. We ran into an older man and his niece that are willing to listen to our message, and want to read the Book of Mormon. We’ll keep our hopes up for them.

This next week is transfers, so it is pretty likely my current comp will be headed out somewhere else. He’s been in Sicilia for his entire mission so far. He thinks he’s headed up north, but I predict he’ll stay down here and head over to the Catania zone somewhere. As for me, I’ll probably stay here for at least another 6 weeks. I just gotta hope my next comp is cool and a good worker.

Adesso ho un piccolo pensiero spirituale. Stava ascoltando di una canzone del Coro di Tabernacolo. Si chiama “Questo è il Cristo”. Durante questo canzone c’è un testo che dice “hanno toccato le sue ferite nelle mani ed il fianco, ed ognuno testimonierebbe che, Questo è il Cristo.” Quindi, noi non possiamo toccare le sue ferite così. Non possiamo vedere per noi stessi il suo sacrificio, però questo non significa che no possiamo sapere per noi stessi. Questo è perché la fede è così importante. La fede è il modo in cui possiamo “toccare” le ferite di Gesù non fisicamente ma spiritualmente. Mediante la fede possiamo riconoscere il suo sacrificio perciò possiamo avvicinarci a lui. In chiusura la fede è la cosa più importante e basilare che c’è e dobbiamo sempre lavorare a sostenerlo.

(translation)

Come sempre,
Anziano Findlay

Tyler and his companion at Palermo Zone Conference

Tyler and his companion at Palermo Zone Conference

Palermo Zone conference Oct. 2017

Palermo Zone conference Oct. 2017

Zone conference and as always pizza

This week was a quick one because of zone conference. For those of you who do not know we are now authorized to use Facebook as a tool for missionary work, so if anyone asks why my Facebook info is changing or why I’m posting stuff, that’s why. I promise I’m not being apostate in any way. Besides that we didn’t do too much. We got canceled on by all but one of our investigators this week and finding has been rough, but what else is new. But even with all that we still managed to have a few good conversations about the gospel with random people. It the end that’s what really picks me up during a bad day. It’s rough to get rejected all the time, so when someone finally stops and has the desire to listen just for 5 minutes it really means a lot.

Anyways, today for pday we went bowling and ate some incredible pizza. It was super fun because I haven’t bowled in like 6 weeks. Surprisingly, I’m still pretty decent. I managed to at least break 100 every game which I figured I’d hardly be able to do that, so that’s sick.

Thats all for this week though. Sorry it’s short today.

Con amore,
Anziano Findlay

Scambio with a Greeny

It’s incredible to think that exactly 6 months ago I was watching General Conference in the MTC in complete English. At that time I could hardly imagine the idea of watching it in Italian and actually getting something out of it. It’s incredible how much one can learn in almost 6 months of being out on mission. It’s also crazy to think that I’ve already been out for a full quarter of my mission. The time zips by out here. 3 1/2 transfers has felt like nothing, and in another 4 I’ll be writing about my year mark!

Everything is going well here in Sant’Agata. We are having some success with our investigator on baptism date. We have taught her the first 3 lessons and are hoping to start commandments this next week. We even got her to watch some of conference and she really liked it. She actually started crying during President Uchtdorf’s talk, so that was pretty cool.

We have also had some more success with finding. We found a couple during some casa a casa finding that will hopefully have a chance to read the Book of Mormon we left with them and find a way to come to church. Speaking of which we will start having church in our apartment! We will finally be having church in our own city! Hopefully this will really turn around the difficulty we’ve been having with getting people to come to church. Now they don’t have the excuse that it’s not in their city.

We did a scambio this week after district meeting. I took our district leader’s greeny, Anziano Mansell, back to Sant’Agata. He got a taste of what it’s like to serve in a small city instead of a big princess city like Palermo. He was chill about though and did his best to help the work out here. It was funny to serve with a Greeny for a day though. It made me realize how awful my Italian must have been when I was a new greeny. I had a couple good chuckles when I left him to hang dry while doing finding. He would try to talk to someone and then he would turn to me for how to say something and I would just shrug and watch him sweat. It was hilarious. Now I know how my trainer felt.

Con amore,
Anziano Findlay
No pics sorry

Header Image from http://www.icastelli.it/it/sicilia/messina/santagata-di-militello/castello-gallego-di-santagata-di-militello

Some good personal study material

This week has been a lot of the usual casa a casa finding and street contacting. We finally have some solid investigators though which is nice. We just have to hope they will actually come to church and progress. It’s always a lot nicer to be teaching lessons than doing finding 24/7. Finding is always rough, but we always manage to talk to a few people and get a few numbers as long as we just work hard. For example yesterday we were doing street contacting and we had received the same “non mi interessa” over and over again, until eventually we ran into an extremely Catholic man that was willing and interested to learn a little, so we could at least answer his questions and have a nice conversation. He was actually really cool to talk to because he actually knew what he believes as a Catholic. I actually was able to learn a lot about what Catholics actually believe from this guy. Something you have to understand about Italians is that almost all of them are Catholic, but almost none of them go to church, have read the Bible, or really even know what their church teaches. It was cool to actually talk to one that was informed on his own beliefs.

Something I’ve found is that It’s always good to be informed on what other churches believe because you never know when someone of a different faith will try to start a “discussion” with you. Not that Bible bashing is a supported missionary tactic, but sometimes when a TJ or an Evangelist comes at you with some ignorant “discussion” you have to be prepared with some of their own doctrine on hand. I had a chance this week to get my hands on a TJ Bible this week which if you don’t know what that is, essentially it a “retranslated” version of the original Bible which had been changed to fit the beliefs of the TJ church. They have deleted/changed certain verses of the Bible and changed every mention of God to “Jehovah”. These changes make for a lot of contradiction in their Bible which means if studied, especially when studied closely with the real Bible, it makes for some good bashing material. And for this reason, they are coveted among missionaries around here. You never know when you got to defend your beliefs, so it’s good to be prepared.

This p day we went to Cefalù which was cool especially because this was my first real p day where I actually got to go see something cool here in Italy. We went up a big hike to some old castle ruins, we checked out the beach, and then we checked out a cool catholic church.

Questa settimana è stata lunga. Abbiamo ricevuto un sacco dei bidoni, ma alla stessa volta avevamo visto i miracoli. Uno di questi miracoli è che infatti abbiamo visto un po di successo con casa a casa. Secondo me casa a casa è un spreco di tempo ma quando non ci sono persone fuori non possiamo fare qualcos’altro. Ma una cosa che ho imparato questa settimana è che noi non sappiamo come si fa il lavoro del Signore. Il Signore sa. Quindi, a volte i nostri modi non funzionano. Quando questo succede, dobbiamo essere guidati del Signore perché questo è il Suo lavoro. Non è lavoro nostro.

(Translation)

Sempre con amore,
Anziano Findlay

  1. View from the top of the Cefalù castle
  2. Other view from the castle
  3. The beach
  4. The church
  5. Outside the church

 

This week was a lot better in terms of missionary work. Finding is always rough, but we got three new investigators, so now we’ll actually have some lessons to teach which is always more enjoyable than street finding. We have also started to do a lot of house to house work now that school is in session. I ‘m not a huge fan of it because the way houses work here is hard for missionary work and you usually never even really get a chance to talk to anybody. You start by ringing a little bell on the gate out side of the apartment called a citofono, then someone answers through the little speaker, “chi è? (who is it?)”, and then the instant you tell them you’re missionaries they hang up or tell you they aren’t interested. I usually prefer to just do street finding because you actually get to talk to people face to face and you can’t talk to more in a shorter amount of time. That being said, I was humbled this week when we wen’t house to house finding. We actually found a few potentials in only an hour of finding.

In other news we played zone calcio today which was dope. And also we have Facebook as a tool now for our mission. I don’t exactly know how that’s gonna work, but it will be cool to use it.

That’s about it for the week, we’re kind of low on time today, also no pics this week sorry.

Sempre con amore,
Anziano Findlay

Header Image from http://messina.gds.it/2017/06/28/rete-idrica-fatiscente-a-santagata-di-militello-lallarme-del-sindaco_687611/

“Discussions” with a TJ and DragonBall Z with a DJ

This week has been a bit of a struggle. Changing cities is not quite as simple as I expected. Although the work is still better here than it was in Mistretta, all we’ve received these last few days are fat no’s and bidoni (when someone doesn’t show up to an appointment). I think my least favorite phrase in Italian is, “non mi interessa” which means, “that doesn’t interest me”. I think I’ve heard those three words more times than any other phrase in the Italian or English language. Along with that, this new city is literally crawling with Testimoni di Geova, or as we like to call them TJ’s. Most of you probably know them as Jehovah’s witnesses. They love to stop us and discuss with us (which is code for argue) the Bible and God and other stuff which is annoying (I won’t lie though, also a bit fun), but it will never be as bad as the Evangelisti who will literally yell at you and tell you you’re going to hell which I always like to follow up by handing them a pass along card with a picture of Jesus on it which enrages them even more. Luckily I haven’t ran into to many of them yet here in Sant’Agata. It is rough for now, but I ‘m sure with some good work and some time our numbers will look quite a bit better. At the very least Sant’Agata is a cute little town with a sick beach and incredible sunsets every night, and for the most part the people are quite amicable.

We had transfers this past week. My companion and I will be staying together here in Sant’Agata. I have a feeling that I will be here for a while. During the night of calls we were in Bagheria, a suburb of Palermo. We had a cena appointment with a member up there who has possibly the most interesting house I have ever seen. It is covered in DragonBall Z posters, pillows, dartboards, you name it, and has one of the most incredible sound and light systems I have ever seen. This recently baptized man and his also recently converted son are probably the most interestingly strange members I have met out here in Italy.

A volte lavoro missionario è un po’ deficile. Può essere deficile di avere la forza di girare tutta la città parlando con le gente per ore e poi ricevere niente come frutti del nostro lavoro. Però, dobbiamo sempre ricordare che quando il lavoro è così deficile, stiamo ricevendo le benedizioni per cosa facciamo. Se noi lavorassimo con tutto il cuore, potremmo ricevere le benedizioni come la regola per le nostre lotte. Dio può benedirci con il successo quando vuole, ma noi dobbiamo lavorare di essere degni per le Sue benedizioni.

(Translation)

Sempre con amore,
Anziano Findlay

  1. A shrine to Goku from DragonBall Z in the house of the member in Bagheria
  2. That same members massive sound system
  3. My new favorite Pasta, Pasta tre colore
  4. Some Pasta al forno that i made

Attacking Sant’Agata

This week was spent getting situated in Sant’Agata. We spent hours just walking around and stopping people trying to find investigators. It actually paid off a bit. We’ve got several contacts and as long as we can get some follow up appointments we will have some new investigators. It is amazing how much better the work is in a new city that hasn’t seen missionaries. Most people show at least a little bit of interest once they realize we’re not Jehovah’s Witness.

We did a blitz of the city with the other Anziani in our district. It was crazy to have 6 missionaries running around our new city like chickens with their heads cut off stopping literally everyone in sight. I got to do a split with Anziano Payne, one of my roommates at the MTC. Sadly we did the blitz at a kind of rough part of the week without a lot of people out so it didn’t go as good as we had hoped, but it was fun at least to have the other Anziani in town to check out the place.

Per adesso il Lavoro qua non è tanto, ma io so che con se noi lavorassimo un sacco qua, potremmo vedere i miracoli e le benedizioni. Per i altri missionari nella missione, andate fuori e fate il vostro migliore. C’è l’ho fate.

(Translation)

Saving cats and changing doormats

Sorry this one’s late, our Pday got changed for the move yesterday. We are finally moved out of Mistretta into Sant’ Agata. We’ve been waiting to move for some time now, and it has finally happened. The new apartment is great and we are getting a new Kitchen with new appliances so that will be great. Besides that we had zone Conference last week. I got to meet all the Anziani and Sorelle that aren’t in our district which was cool. I also played my violin for a musical number.

This week was spent saying goodbye to a lot of The members in Mistretta. We will still see them in Church every Sunday, but we will not be able to see them as much during the week.

One crazy thing that happened was that we saved a little abandoned kitten and fed it some tuna. Our back door to our house in Mistretta has slatted blinds that we leave open at night to let in the cool air, and that night the same kitten crawled through our door. We eventually found a member who would put it out on his farm land, but before we sent it off we got some good pics of it.

Now that we have moved my companion and I have the chance to open a city that has never had missionaries in it. This is such a cool experience that not a lot missionaries get. It’s amazing how many people have never heard of this here whereas in Mistretta where almost half the people we talk to have some idea of who we are.

Sono molto grato di avere quest’ opportunità di iniziare il lavoro ad una nuova città. Sarà Interessante di vedere come le persone ricevere questo vangelo. Io direi che le persone che non hanno sentito niente della nostra chiesa siano più aperte di ascoltarci. Fra due giorni ci sarà un BLITZ della città con tutti i Anziani nel nostro distretto. Speriamo che possiamo iniziare il lavoro come una bomba. Pregateci per questo.

(Translation)

Con un sacco di amore,
Anziano Findlay

  1. The inside of heaven…I mean an Arancina
  2. I Italiani amano le loro uve (The Italians love their grapes)
  3. Brioscià, possibly the best thing to ever happen to Ice cream
  4. The kitten we saved
  5. The new vista from our house in Sant’ Agata
  6. The sea in our my new city