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Pictures from Sciacca
Photos from this transfer (so far)

Sciacca, Dec. 2016

Squid for dinner

Street issues in Sciacca

Harbor panorama, Sciacca, Sicily, December, 2016

Sciacca at night

Sciacca harbor view

Interesting beach front property in Sciacca

Sciacca grafitti

Some drydocks in Sciacca

Canolo in Sciacca

Getting ready for Christmas at the Sciacca Branch

Apartment view, Sciacca

Sciacca, Sicily, December, 2016

Sciacca, Sicily, December, 2016

Sciacca, Sicily, December, 2016

Beach front property, Sciacca, Sicily, December, 2016

Cathedral in Sciacca

Cathedral in Sciacca

Sciacca, Sicily, December, 2016

Sciacca, Sicily, December, 2016

Sciacca Cathedral

Sciacca, Sicily

Sciacca Cathedral

Sciacca, Sicily, December, 2016

P-Day in Sciacca, note the Mumford and Sons concert shirt!

Sun getting low in the sky, Sciacca, Sicily, December, 2016

Squid dinner

Burger and fries, Sicilian style

Anziano Hughes and me

Anziano Hughes and me in Sciacca, November, 2016

Anziano Campbell, Sciacca, December, 2016

Catania – Week 17
Transfer 13, Mission Week 82

Ciao Tutti!

Thanks for all the birthday wishes! Feels like just yesterday I was in Rome on my birthday. Weird how another year passes by so fast! Sorry again I couldn’t get to every one last week! All of us Anziani were able to go and take a trip up to Etna with a member. It was a lot of fun and we had a really good time together. We got to hike a little bit and really enjoy all the scenery with him. It was really cool and we had a great day with our member. Had a nice and busy week again! We have been really staying busy throughout this whole week and we were able to see some really cool miracles.

We had a great week trying to see all the people that we have to see.

We were able to see a lot of new converts and less actives this past Tuesday and the lessons went super well. They were all really receptive to what we had planned for the and what we shared with them.

We have been doing our best to apply the counsel that was given to us at the President Kearon conference. For instance one of the families that we are working with we did our best to teach to their level and teach them and by doing so we can also at the same time catch the attention of the parents by doing so. It was really neat to see the receptiveness of the family as we taught them. It was also super neat to see them all make it out to church yesterday which was amazing.

We had a great District meeting this past week with an excellent addestramento by Anziano LaPray on love and charity which was super applicable to all of us to hear and learn from. I really enjoyed being able to talk about how that is the essence of the gospel. I am so thankful for the love that the Savior gives us and how we need to emulate that love to others. I love how it works as we serve others and pray continually for that charity we can be filled with the pure love of Christ that we can then offer to others. I am thankful that love is what can help fuel our desire to continue to do all that is right for our love for God. Something I really enjoyed learning was from this verse in the gospel of Matthew when Jesus Christ is asked which of all the commandments is the greatest.

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Here we may only think that two people are the ones we are showing love for, God and our neighbor, but Anziano LaPray underlined the fact that it states as thyself, meaning that we need to love ourselves. Of course not in a prideful or evil what, but in a way that really helps us remember that we are loved by others. This is really good for our own self esteem and was something that I really enjoyed.

That evening we were able to get over and visit a member at his house after a lesson outside of Catania and we had a good family home evening with them and they invited over some of their friends that the sisters used to meet with. It was cool to get an update on how they are doing and being able to share a little spiritual thought with them. It was a really cool spiritual evening with them all.

Thursday we went and did a scambio with Anziano Whitaker and Anziano Jackson in Reggio Calabria so we went to Messina and then crossed the straight to go and spend half of Thursday and Friday with them. The scambio went really well and we were able to see some really cool miracles from it. It was a lot of fun and a good time to get to know them better and work with them in their area. It was nice to get a little bit of finding in with them. We had a cool experience Friday morning where their investigator didn’t show up, and we finished up the scambio with some finding. The last couple that we ended up talking to were these moms on a bench in the park. It was super cool to see the progression of the conversation as we shared the restoration with them and then gave them a Book of Mormon and offered them to read it. After the Presdient Kearon conference I have been really trying to work on smiling  and being excited about leaving invites and it is really interesting to see how that is working. I think that when we know that the gospel has worked so much in our lives we need to be excited about all that we are doing and what we are inviting them to do. They were eager to read the Book of Mormon and also learn more. We got a return appointment and it was a really sick miracle.

That evening upon our return to Catania we had two lessons. We ended up sharing the same talk at both lessons. They really fit for each of them. We were able to explain to them a little of what General Conference is and why it is important and then share the last message that President Monson shared with the world. It was cool to see how this message applied to both groups personally. A lot as well with keeping commitments to read the Book of Mormon, pray, and come to church. I really enjoyed watching it with them. With the part member family that we are visiting the daughter was able to make a connection on how the message that he shared with the everyone ran in correlation with the chapter that she was reading in 1 Nephi 17. It was super cool to see her applying the things that she is learning and not just reading for curiosity, seeing how it works and can apply in our lives personally. I am so thankful for the converting power of the Book of Mormon and then help that it offers each and every one of us.

We were also able to visit some others over the weekend and we were able to see a baptismal service for one of the sisters’ investigators who is over 80 years old. It was wonderful to see him and how happy he was to be baptized and make this great covenant with the Lord. We are headed into our last week together for Anziano Nielsen and I. He will be headed up to Rome next Monday and head off home on Tuesday. It has been awesome to work with him and be able to learn all that I can from him. I am excited to see what we will be able to accomplish this week as well. It will be a lot of fun.

I am so ready for General Conference this week and being able to hear from the Prophet and all the other Apostles. It will be super special and I always get really pumped to hear the messages that they have prepared for us. I was studying a little bit about general conference in preparation for this weekend. I really love this quote from Elder Robert D. Hales.

These conferences are always under the direction of the Lord, guided by His Spirit. We are not assigned specific topics. Over weeks and months, often through sleepless nights, we wait upon the Lord. Through fasting, praying, studying, and pondering, we learn the message that He wants us to give.

Then a quote by Jeffery R. Holland

If we teach by the Spirit and you listen by the Spirit, some one of us will touch on your circumstance, sending a personal prophetic epistle just to you.

I know that if we prepare for General conference we will be able to listen to the messages and receive the answers we so seek to our questions and concerns. I invite you all to tune in to a session of general conference and search for the spiritual answers and comfort you are seeking or may just plainly enjoy. Here is the website with the information, times, and how to watch from the comfort of your home!

I love you all and am thankful for the love and support you give us all! Love you guys and have a great week!

Vi voglio un sacco di bene!

Anziano Garrett

This picture is from Anziano Scott's blog (far left). This is my comp, Anziano Nielsen (center) and 6 of the 7 companions he has had on his mission. Taken at the Mission Conference in Palermo.

This picture is from Anziano Scott’s blog (far left). This is my comp, Anziano Nielsen (center) and 6 of the 7 companions he has had on his mission. Taken at the Mission Conference in Palermo.

Cosenza – Week 11
Transfer 10, Mission Week 65

Ciao tutti!

I hope that everyone had a great week and that everything is going well wherever you find yourselves! This week went really well and flew by too! Monday we were able to have a couple of lessons with people and one which was just spontaneous, but ended up being really cool. It is super neat to see how when we have these unexpected opportunities the spirit really guides us to know what we need to share and it’s been really cool to see that this past week. The lesson with our one really sick [awesome] investigator went really well and it is awesome to see that he doesn’t try to find criticism whatsoever in the messages any more, but he just adds things that go right along with the message. It is super cool to see his progress even if it is slow sometimes. I will definitely miss him a ton.

Tuesday we were able to have DDM [district meeting] in the morning, which ended at 11:45 and we had to catch a bus at 11:50. We made it to the bus station and bought our tickets, but we ended up missing the bus. We asked one of the workers for the bus line where the next closest stop was so we could go and catch it. He said there wasn’t one and so we took off running after the bus and we ended up making it! Then 2 minutes later there was a stop that we could have easily made it too hahaha. We had a good visit with a less active person and were able to share a talk with him by President Uchtdorf entitled, “You Matter to Him.” It was a great visit and he is such a funny guy. He is really lonely so he really loves the comapany that we give him as well when we are over there. One of the few people that I have met here that really understands sarcasm hahaha. We then almost missed the bus that was supposed to head back into town as well, thank goodness we were blessed with another miracle. We had English groups that night and then we had a meal appointment with a member where we were also able to bring our sick investigator to. He is so cool and is awesome to see how integrated he already is into the ward and how polite and kind he is. He is so cool. We were able to have a good dinner with a good spiritual thought as well.

Wednesday we got on the train and headed down to Messina and then to Mistretta. Before we got on the train we did notice a sign that said something about a strike so we were a little worried, but it said our train was coming and we ended up being fine. We got down to the right station and then we were able to catch a ferry over to Messina. Once we got there we walked to the train station and then we were trying to find out where our train would be and this guy comes around the corner and starts speaking perfect English with an accent to us. Of course we were at the train stations so someone came up asking information about trains since they think we look like workers hahaha. It is good for service!! He explained how the train may get cancelled because of the strike so we needed to ask about what was going on. Well he commented on us in what rubbed us the wrong way and walked off. We went over near him and he started talking again and then we were able to get a good conversation going. He is half Italian and French, teaches at a university in the DC area, has 4 doctorate degrees, studied at Yale, speaks 4 fluent languages and has studied some others, and was just such a smart guy!! It ended up being a super cool miracle though since we were able to talk to him the whole ride down. We were able to have some really good things in there and he accepted the mini Book of Mormon that I had. We wrote our testimonies in it and gave it to him. It was super cool to see that we were supposed to go down there for even just a miracle like that. We were able to have some really good appointments up in Mistretta as well. It was really cool to see some of the work and the people that Anzinao Nessen had worked with and the love that you can see and feel between all of them. There was a family in particular that was super fun to meet, and it was so great to really see the love they have for the missionaries and the great faith that they all have. It felt super good to be in Sicilia again and was a lot of fun/productive trip! [Read more…]

Tràpani – Week 13 (Christmas Week)
Transfer 7, Mission Week 43

Ciao Tutti!

I hope everyone had a great Christmas week and a good time celebrating with friends and especially family. The week was really weird. I was in Palermo from Tuesday until Thursday doing a scambio with Anziano Palazzo. We had a really good scambio and I definitely learned a lot from him. We were able to see this new investigator that they received. Months ago the Sorelle met this younger guy on the bus and they were talking to him and he was asking questions and they said it was a really good conversation, but he wasn’t interested to meet and learn more. They felt they needed to leave him with the Book of Mormon so they did. Then just about 2 weeks ago he showed up to English course and he had read the introduction and something really hit him about the Book of Mormon (the spirit). He is now super interested and wants to learn more so we met with him and had a really awesome lesson on the restoration. He is very intelligent and understands things really well. He is such a humble guy and super nice. We then had English course there and talked about Christmas for the lesson which was a good time.

Wednesday we did finding in the morning for English course and then switched it to a Christmas survey before lunch. We handed a ton of English Course bigliettini [cards] out. Then, disgustingly, I somehow ate 425 grams [15 ounces] of pasta in a sitting and was still hungry afterwards. That was really gross. In the evening we went to this Palace in Palermo and sung for the employees there. It was super cool! A member had set it up and invited the missionaries. We then did finding on the way back to Palermo 1’s church. Anziano DaPonte and I went out and did Christmas Survey finding together which was a lot of fun. We were then able to finish up the night with another lesson with that super sick guy. The plan of salvation really went well and he is such a good guy.

So for the holidays it worked a little different than a normal week.

We had somewhat of Pdays you could say starting at 1:00pm on the 24th and going until 6:00am on the 26th. And we had permission during this time to skype our families, go to members for meals, watch 2 animated movies, and other pday appropriate activities. Thursday we had our zone blitz where we sang Christmas carols with all the missionaries in the zone. It was a really good time, and my voice definitely hurt afterwards. We had some members and investigators there with us singing as well. We sang at the two big piazzas where the opera houses are in Palermo. They are really cool. So we had a really nice backdrop for our caroling. We were talking to people that were walking by and listening to the caroling. We shared the Christmas video with them and tried to receive potentials for the Palermo areas. [Read more…]