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Sciacca – Week 9

Ciao tutti!

This week went really well and we really enjoyed being able to get some great work done here in Sciacca! The week seemed to have flown by once again. After a while of not seeing our investigator we were finally able to see him this past week with our branch president and the lesson went really well. We were really happy that we were finally able to get ahold of him and we hope that we will continue to be able to meet with him and be able to see where he is at right now. We still have a lot of confidence in him and we will keep working with him and seeing where we can get with him and everything. I really hope that he will continue to progress and make big strides.

We had a great scambio with Agrigento and I was able to be with Anziano Jensen, who is in my group, and we were able to get a lot of great things done. We were able to meet with someone that is originally here from Sciacca, but had lived in England for a long time so she naturally speaks English perfectly. The lesson went really well and she is in a perfect position to recieve the gospel and her daughter, who lives with her kids in Sciacca, sounds like she is in a similar position to really accept the gospel right now. I hope that she will commit to read the Book of Mormon and search for the answer that she really can receive from God. It was a little weird teaching in English, but it all went really well and we hope to see her again this week!

That night we were able to go over to a part member family’s house with the plans to teach the member’s husband and have him sit down for the whole thing. Anziano Campbell and I were unsuccessful in our latest previous attempt. Our member forgot that we were passing by and didn’t remember that we had set the appointment. We were still able to come in and we went into the living room, which was perfect, since that is where the husband usually is watching TV. We kept talking to him and he lingered long enough to sit down fro the lesson and we had a great restoration lesson with him. It was one of the most fun lessons because early on when Anziano Jensen found out at that he was a doctor we used this whole big analogy about doctors and hospital that flowed so well throughout the whole lesson involving both of them at the same time. We were really happy with the result and there was a sweet and special spirit that was there with us. We have seen some really big changes in Gaspare since he we have met him early on in our first transfer here, and we are really excited to see where we will be able to get with him and how we can be of help and assistance to him.

We had a great lesson with our new convert this week that went super well and we were able to talk about Joseph Smith and we started watching the movie with him which we will finish up on our next lesson with him. He is doing great and it has been so awesome to see how well he is continually progressing. We talked about sending the missionaries to his parents back home. We look forward to seeing where we can get with that and I really hope that his parents will be open to have the missionaries over to their home. We were also excited to see him at our ward activity, along with our other investigator, and some other nonmembers too! It was great! We had a karaoke night and this is surprisingly my first one! So Italians love karaoke and it is infamous here that most activities end up getting changed into some form of karaoke. We had a great time talking to people and watch how into it everyone would get while they were all singing. It was a great time. We even got an announcement in church that not this Friday. but the next. we will be doing an activity where we will split up into two teams and play some games, and President added that the end if we have some time we will pull out the karaoke stuff hahaha.

Sunday I had the opportunity to give the lesson in the combined relief society/priesthood meeting that we have where we go through all the lessons together. It was super cool to be able to talk about being an Ensign to the Nations and how our church is truly that light on the hill. It was really neat talking about the pioneer story of them arriving int he Salt Lake valley and how the church going from 6 members at the beginnings in New York and is still an ever growing worldwide church. It is amazing and it was so fitting because the members here in Italy are still like pioneers for the church, in their cities, and families. They are really doing their best to help give all their efforts to building God’s kingdom here in Italy. Anziano Campbell and I were both assigned talks this day too and we were able to give these and I was able to speak on the importance of the scriptures in our lives. It was a great opportunity to share my experience with gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon and how ever since my desire to read and study the scriptures has grown and grown and I am so very thankful for that. It was great too because the brother of the branch President’s wife came to church and has asked to be a part of our church and has a strong desire to change his life.

After church we went over to the branch President’s house for lunch and we were super excited because his brother in law was there too! We had a great lunch together and enjoyed being able to talk with one another and enjoy some wonderful food. They also told this really fun account of a famous Italian movie and a banana so that was entertaining to say the least. At the end of an amazing meal, with a nice cannolo to top it all off, we were able to have a great lesson sharing the restoration with them all. It went really well and we were able to hear this guy’s story and why he has a desire to change right now. We are so very excited for him and the spirit was there in much abundance with us all especially while talking about the atonement. We look forward to seeing him again tonight and finishing up that lesson with him. He is a great guy and we are looking forward to seeing where all we will get with him. He is really golden.

We went to Palermo and traveled to get to the church for our interviews that night with President and Sorella Pickerd. We got there and we were a little behind schedule so we had the opportunity to talk to the other missionaries waiting and get to know them all a little better. The interviews were super nice as always and I love being able to get to know them both better and get the advice and support that we are seeking from them too. I was able to get my temple recommend renewed which was super special and we did the whole thing in Italian!

It got me really excited again to be able to go to the House of the Lord which I have really missed for these two years. Super excited for that.

Zone conference was really great and we were able to feel a great spirit all together. We talked a lot about the importance of the spirit into our work and how essential it is that we have the Holy Ghost doing the teaching because that is the only way that we can help other people because he is the teacher. That is the way that God has ordained it. I was super happy with all that we learned and all the invitations that were given to us so that we can apply these things to help those around us. At the beginning of my mission I was able to bear my testimony in my first zone conference in Italian, and yesterday I was able to bear my departing testimony in English. I was thankful fro the Spirit that was present as me and three of the Elders that came in with me bore testimonies. It was a great zone conference and I love how President Pickerd is making sure that we are applying the things we learn for a lifetime not just for the next week, couple weeks, transfers, or missions, but a lifetime.

I really am thankful for this week and all we were able to do. One thing that I would love to share is from a talk that I used some quotes from in my talk this past Sunday.  It is from this past October, 2016, General Conference. The talk is entitled “Look to the Book, Look to the Lord.”

President Ezra Taft Benson expanded on those teachings of Joseph Smith. He said: “There are three ways in which the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. It is the keystone in our witness of Christ. It is the keystone of our doctrine. It is the keystone of testimony.”

President Benson further taught: “The Book of Mormon teaches us truth [and] bears testimony of Christ. … But there is something more. There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. You will find greater power to resist temptation. … You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path.”

I know that to be true and that the Book of Mormon has truly been this big blessing in my life to really help me be able to have a strong testimony. I invite all to read it and ponder it in the hearts, and as Moroni exhorts us to have faith in God, a sincere heart, and real intent while asking our Heavenly Father if this book be from him or not. I know that we can all receive an answer that will be a blessing for the rest of our lives. I love you all and will talk to you guys next week!

Con tanto amore,

Anziano Garrett

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