‘Twas the pday before transfer calls

Well tonight is transfers calls. There is probably a pretty even chance that I could stay or go to a new city today since I’ve been here in Mistretta/Sant’Agata for 3 transfers. We threw a surprise party for one of the Palermo 1 Anziani. He loved it, so that was super cool. We also made tiramisù and lasagna this week and it was really good. Everything is going well. We have had a bit more contact with some of our investigators. I’ve really got a good idea of what it’s like to get to understand someone’s problems and see how helping them solve these problems with the gospel can really change their lives for the better.

Sorry it’s so short this week.

  1. A lasagna I made with Anziano Fryer (it was really good, whoever said missionaries can’t cook well has obviously never been to the Italy Rome Mission)
  2. Some dolci our branch president made us

Stake Conference and Steak Conference

This week we had stake conference. It was cool to see so many members in one spot. And there was only half the stake in Palermo. The other half was in Siracusa. We had a cool half Palermo half Siracusa conference going via Skype. It was cool to see how many members there are here in Sicilia. I haven’t served in any bigger cities yet, so I am used to only having 20 or so members at max. I felt like I was back in my home ward being able to see so many members again. Especially because I got to meet the Aloisio family of Bagheria that is directly related to the Aloisio family back in my stake in Missouri. If you guys are reading this, vi mandano un abbraccio e baci! A loro voi mancate!

Right after stake conference we had a pranzo with all the Anziani at the Palermo 2 Anziano house. Everyone had bought meat the night before and grilled it all up on coal grill that the Palermo 2 Anziani bought a little bit ago. There were steaks, burgers, hotdogs, sausage, and even chicken heart. It was probably one of the most American things I’ve seen in a long time haha. It was also fun to have some hang out time with the other Anziani for a little bit before heading back to Sant’Agata.

Other than stake conference not much happened out of the ordinary. We taught some lessons, did some finding, got fed some delicious food, nothing too crazy. Something interesting I realized the other day is that I haven’t once had a meal appointment where I was served something that wasn’t good. I remember hearing horror stories of missionaries eating stuff like pig face, tripe, scorpions, or something gross/crazy like that, but so far I’ve been avoided all that. It helps I’m in Italy and not in a third world country, but even Italians eat weird food sometimes.

Le settimane sembrano di passare più velocemente per il più tempo che sono qua in Italia. Già sono quasi sulla missione da 8 mesi! Quello è un terzo del mio tempo! Non so come mai sia stato già così lungo. Il mio pensiero questa settimana è che il nostro tempo sulla missione è molto breve quindi dobbiamo usare il nostro tempo con saggezza. Questa mi sembra più importante ogni volta che io veda il calendario e mi renda conto da quanto tempo sono qua e quanto tempo ancora cel’ho. Non sprecate mai il nostro piccolo tempo qui!

(translation)

Vi voglio un sacco di bene,

Anziano Findlay

Also, photos

  1. The stake conference squad (minus like 3 Anziani)
  2. Some dolce our branch president made, a pistacchio mouse and a cream cake thing
  3. Bella Sicilia
  4. Bella Sicilia
  5. Fratello Aloisio and me at stake conference
  6. Some really good sheep meat with veggies, the carrots with it are seriously the best tasting carrots I have ever had.

 

 

Italian Turkey Day

This week we really saw a lot of miracles with the work. We did some area book finding (looking through our info books and calling people who look like they might be willing to meet again), and it really worked. If you are also on a mission and you have not yet tried to go through your area book or phone I highly suggest trying it. Just put aside 10 or 20 minutes a day to go through some papers and then call the numbers you find.

This week was pretty busy. I did an exchange with the district leader and he got to see the town. He also got to teach some of the new investigators. It’s always interesting to see someone else’s teaching style and take things from it especially from missionaries that have been in the mission for a lot longer.

We had an early Thanksgiving dinner this past weekend which was super cool. The food was an interestingly Italian spin on the classic American dishes, also I guess a lot of Italians don’t like turkey, so we ate chicken instead. It was really good though. It was also nice to see so many of our member’s together having a good time. Our members are split up into a branch up in Mistretta and a group down in Sant’Agata, so they don’t get to really see much of each other all the time. It was really nice to see them all talking an laughing together. That plus we got an inactive member who hadn’t come to a church run event for years to come and it looks like she had a great time. Hopefully that’ll help her be excited to come to church again.

Today for pday we had zone calcio (soccer) which was a blast. It was raining which believe it or not made it more fun. And I have to say, I have come a long way with my soccer skills. If any of you saw me before the mission… well let’s just say, a mission changes a person and that includes how good he is at soccer.

Non ho tanto da dire oggi ma al meno voglio lasciarvi la mia testimonianza. Io so che questa chiesa è vera e che il nostro Padre Celeste ci ama. E perché Lui ci ama ha mandato il suo figlio Gesù Cristo di essere il nostro salvatore affinché io possa, voi possiate, e tutti noi possiamo tornare a vivere con Lui e le nostre famiglie per la eternità. Non dovreste dimenticarlo mai.

(translation)

Con amore,
Anziano Findlay

  1. Zone calcio squad
  2. My new favorite pasta (with shrimp and prezzemolo)
  3. Thanksgiving dinner with the branch
  4. Another picture with the branch

Mission Tour, Siciliano, and Tennis

This week we had our mission tour. We had the chance to hear from a newly called area seventy who talked to us about the importance of going back to the basics. He is from Denmark. I would give you his name, but it was really weird, so I don’t really remember it let alone how one would spell it. It was really cool to be back together with a lot of my MTC friends. I also got to see some familiar faces from other places around the mission. It was an incredible experience over all.

I made a really funny realization this week. I’m starting to understand Siciliano. Not all of it, but sometimes I can get the idea of what is said. Besides that, the language is really coming along. I’m obviously no where close to a native, but I do find it is becoming a lot more natural which is always a comfort. As a word of advice for those of you studying languages, maybe for those of you who are just starting a mission in a foreign country as well, something that I wish I knew is that becoming as comfortable in a language as a native speaker takes constant studying and work and is NOT as easy as it would seem or as it is made to seem when talking to return missionaries who claim to speak perfectly in the language. Now I don’t mean to say that as a discouragement, in fact, just the opposite. Don’t feel bad if you don’t always feel 100% comfortable in the language. That uncomfortableness helps you learn so that it feels less uncomfortable to speak. I would say if you ever start feeling comfortable than you’re in need of a bigger challenge. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t speak like a native because most natives will always speak better than you (at least when you have only been speaking the language for a month or two to even 2 years) the reason for that being because, well, they are a native. I can attest that it takes time, study, and practice to truly get good. Not to mention the gift of tounges helps quite a bit.

Anyways, that’s my opinion. Maybe some people do feel as fluent as a native after a few months, but it doesn’t feel that way for me. However, some people truly are just gifted with languages, so you never know.

This week the work has been a lot better. We are starting to have trouble getting in contact with our best investigator, but we were also able to do some good finding this week and have a few lessons lined up for this next week. For pday we played tennis and went bowling. I really missed playing tennis. It was nice to get in some courts again. They weren’t clay courts, but I’m sure I’ll have a chance for that later on.

Questa settimana è stata meglio. A volte non so tanto del piano del signore tranne del fatto che lui ha un piano e questo piano è il modo migliore per fare il suo lavoro. Se noi ci fidassimo il lui è la sua volontà, potremmo fare il migliore perché lui sa le vie che ci daranno il successo e questo è vero per tutta la vita. Continuate a fare il giusto e Dio vi darà le vie migliori.

(translation)

Vi voglio tanto bene,
Anziano Findlay

  1. Tennis
  2. Tennis
  3. Me, my comp, Sorella Wood from my MTC group, and Sorella Zapata who served in the same district as me when I first got here
  4. Anziani Sellers, Payne, Smith, myself, and Sanchez in that order an MTC reunion

 

6 months in Italia

This week was a blur. Honestly time seems to go by faster and faster every day I’m here. I realized I’m only a few days out from being in Italy for 6 months which means I’ve been out on the mission for already over 7 months. It honestly feels like just a week ago I was still in Cosenza not understanding anything going on around me and being hardly able to communicate the simplest of things. It’s amazing how much progress I’ve made in six months when I think about.

My new comp is pretty cool and a hard worker. He also is pretty decent at cooking and has a ton a recipes he gave me, so that’s always a plus. I took him to see the castle in Mistretta and we took some pics. And then after that we got to assist in the dedication of a member’s new home which was really cool. He is the brother of two of our other members, and he and his wife just moved from Bologna. It was cool to help them settle into their new home in Mistretta.

We were also able to meet with one of our investigators that had been hard to get a hold of for a while. We taught a her a lesson on the importance of reading the Book of Mormon in hopes that hat she’ll be able to start reading and gain a testimony of it. We are planning to also move onto commandments the next lesson, the problem though is that she is unable to come to church because of work. I’m not sure how we are going to get around it for now, but hopefully reading the Book of Mormon more will help her have the faith and desire to come and learn more. For now all we can do is invite her.

Questa settimana Dio mi ha dato di nuovo un esempio che lui ci da il successo quando vuole. La sola cosa che possiamo fare noi è di lavorare e seguire lo spirito. Stavamo facendo un po’ della ricerca ieri sera quando quest’esperienza è successa . Eravamo in giro per due ore e non c’era quasi nessuno fuori. Avevamo provato a parlare con ogni persona che avevamo visto, ma nessuno ci voleva parlare. Iniziavo a pensare che non c’era un motivo per fare della ricerca quel giorno perché non c’era nessuno con cui a parlare, ma poi ho visto una donna da solo con il suo cane. Ho deciso, “vabeh, proviamo una persona di più, non può farci male.” E poi, abbiamo parlato con questa donna per forse un ora della chiesa. Il mio motivo di questa storia è che a volte le cose sembrano deficile ma se noi andiamo un passo indietro e permettere le mani di Dio a guidarci possiamo sempre fare un buon lavoro perché serrebe secondo la sua volontà.

(translation)

Happy Halloween!

Vi voglio una pizza di bene,

Anziano Findlay

  1. A cliche tag pic
  2. My comp and some mountains
  3. Comp unity
  4. I think I found a new cover photo

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