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Catania – Week 10

Ciao tutti!

Everything went really well this week and we were really busy with everything that we had going on! I had the opportunity to go on a scambio last Monday evening with the assistants and I went with Anziano Kelly and it went super well. We had our investigator show up and we gave him a church tour as we waited for the member to come to the lesson with us. It was a super spiritual lesson that went super well with the member that was able to come along with us. He has a really awesome conversion story on how he met the missionaries and was baptized within a week. It was really special to hear him share that story and it invited the spirit and helped our investigator feel really comfortable. He is really special and has a special heart that is willing and open to learn and grow. We hope that he will continue to progress and really find that conviction within himself. He asked really good questions on how can he have faith to pray and we were able to explain to him that simply offering a prayer is an act of faith as he shows that he is doing something to draw closer to the truth. Hope that all goes well with him! It was really awesome to to able to learn from other missionaries and I was able to learn a lot from Anziano Kelly. Anziano Albello and Anzino Toronto went finding in the park and were able to find a lot of people that were ready to listen to us and hopefully these appointments will stick through today.

We were able to have an awesome Zone Conference that was really uplifting and we were able to have a big discussion on the doctrine of repentance and change. It was super cool and I really look forward to continue to share scriptures on this doctrine with those meet to help them understand and feel what the Savior has done for them. I am thankful that we have the opportunity to be able to preach repentance to others in a different way than we may initially think that means. Repentance is change and simply by changing our nature through the Atonement we are repenting. We repent when we turn away from the things that distance us from God and initiate doing those things that do. I love this definition from the Bible Dictionary on repentance:

The Greek word of which this is the translation denotes a change of mind, a fresh view about God, about oneself, and about the world.

Since we are born into conditions of mortality, repentance comes to mean a turning of the heart and will to God, and a renunciation of sin to which we are naturally inclined. Without this there can be no progress in the things of the soul’s salvation, for all accountable persons are stained by sin and must be cleansed in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. Repentance is not optional for salvation; it is a commandment of God (D&C 18:9–22; 20:29; 133:16). The preaching of repentance by John the Baptist formed the preparation for the ministry of our Lord.

I think that is so cool that is simply change. Change that is only possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ though. It is something that is more than changing habits and behavior but truly changing our nature. I know that these changes are possible thanks to the reality and understanding that Christ suffered already for each one of us personally so that we may be clean from our sins and mistakes. I am thankful truly for that knowledge.

We were able to have a lot of great conversations with others this week and were able to invite others to meet with us, and we really hope that we can continue to make a difference in the lives of others as much as we can. I am thankful for the fact that God continues to offer the opportunity to others mercifully and lovingly to hear this message and find for themselves whether it be true or not. I know that there is nothing to lose in having missionaries over to do a little experiment you could say to see if what we share is true. It is a decision that absolutely changes lives for the better. I know that the restored gospel of Jesus Christ makes bad people good, and good people better.

We saw some other cool miracles searching for members that we haven’t seen at church for a while and were able to find 2 new investigators through knocking on one door and then were able to get a return appointment for the daughter of a former member that has passed away. We hope that we can continue to see success in searching all these people out!

There was a funeral that was held in the church this past week for a member that passed away and we are really hoping that the family will continue to do well and we were so happy that we were able to help out in any little way that we could with ushering people in and out. It was a privilege to be able to help the as they go through a sad moment in their life right now. I am thankful though for the reality of Heavenly Father’s perfect plan of salvation that truly lets us know that it isn’t over. There is no such thing as the end, because of him.

Just as it says in the Book of Mormon.

8 And now, behold, I will testify unto you of myself that these things are true. Behold, I say unto you, that I do know that Christ shall come among the children of men, to take upon him the transgressions of his people, and that he shall atone for the sins of the world; for the Lord God hath spoken it.

9 For it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yea, all are hardened; yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement which it is expedient should be made.

10 For it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice; yea, not a sacrifice of man, neither of beast, neither of any manner of fowl; for it shall not be a human sacrifice; but it must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice.

The Atonement is real and it was done out of pure love, or charity, for each and everyone of us. We can apply it everyday in our lives and know that it is thanks to this that we have the chance to live again.

That we can live with our family for eternity. I am so thankful for that knowledge.

We were able to also do a Geso yesterday in Centro that went really well! We did it on family history and it was super cool to be able to talk and share about why we do family history and the importance of knowing where we come from and the story of our family. I hope that others were touched by those conversations and will commence to call us to do free searches on their family lines. This week we have transfer calls! I don’t have a clue what is going to happen but I think that I am staying. It would be awesome to get to Napoli at some point before I finish up, but we will see what the Lord has in store for me! You all have a wonderful week!



Catania Zone, August, 2016

Catania Zone, August, 2016

Catania Zone soccer, August, 2016 (photo courtesy of Anziano Blaise's blog)

Catania Zone soccer, August, 2016 (photo courtesy of Anziano Blaise’s blog)

Catania – Week 8

Ciao tutti!

Hope that everyone has had a great week! This week has been really good for sure and we really enjoyed it. We are still on the search for a lot of work right now, but we were able to go and see our really awesome investigator that has been reading the Book of Mormon. He was really impressed with the way that the Book of Mormon is so similar to the bible. It was really cool to get to meet with him again. It was really amazing to explain to him the plan of salvation and he had looked ahead at the pamphlet so he was able to understand really easy all that this plan that our Heavenly Father has prepared for us. We were also able to have a really special meeting with the family of the sisters’ investigator where the spirit was really manifested strongly in that meeting. Another awesome miracle that we were able to see was the effect and results of that lesson to the less active family that I shared last week while we were in the trio. The son of the family met the Anziani earlier in the week and he said that his dad wanted the Anziani to come back to their house again. He wanted to meet with us but not only that he said that the whole family was going to come to church! Yesterday the whole family was there! It was super awesome and was so good to see how the spirit really touched and changed his heart. We are really enjoying Catania and the increase of missionaries here will really help this ward continue to be excited about missionary work. We are excited to see in what ways we can help them and do our best to serve them in any way possible. We are doing our best to try to find people that are ready to listen to our message and act on the invites to see if it is true or not. That is something that is so nice about our message is that there is no middle ground to it.

It is either completely true or it is not. I know that God can confirm to each one of us that it is true. I know that the scriptures are ways for us to know the truth and especially reading, pondering, and praying about the Book of Mormon. At the beginning of the Book of Mormon there is a story of Lehi, this father and prophet, that is leading his family into the wilderness and they have a type of compass that works by faith for God to instruct them on where to journey to. I was reading how Alma, another Book of Mormon prophet, later counsels his son using this story as an analogy to the scriptures. He states

38 And now, my son, I have somewhat to say concerning the thing which our fathers call a ball, or director–or our fathers called it Liahona, which is, being interpreted, a compass; and the Lord prepared it.

39 And behold, there cannot any man work after the manner of so curious a workmanship. And behold, it was prepared to show unto our fathers the course which they should travel in the wilderness.

40 And it did work for them according to their faith in God; therefore, if they had faith to believe that God could cause that those spindles should point the way they should go, behold, it was done; therefore they had this miracle, and also many other miracles wrought by the power of God, day by day.

41 Nevertheless, because those miracles were worked by small means it did show unto them marvelous works. They were slothful, and forgot to exercise their faith and diligence and then those marvelous works ceased, and they did not progress in their journey;

42 Therefore, they tarried in the wilderness, or did not travel a direct course, and were afflicted with hunger and thirst, because of their transgressions.

43 And now, my son, I would that ye should understand that these things are not without a shadow; for as our fathers were slothful to give heed to this compass (now these things were temporal) they did not prosper; even so it is with things which are spiritual.

44 For behold, it is as easy to give heed to the word of Christ, which will point to you a straight course to eternal bliss, as it was for our fathers to give heed to this compass, which would point unto them a straight course to the promised land.

45 And now I say, is there not a type in this thing? For just as surely as this director did bring our fathers, by following its course, to the promised land, shall the words of Christ, if we follow their course, carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise.

46 O my son, do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way; for so was it with our fathers; for so was it prepared for them, that if they would look they might live; even so it is with us. The way is prepared, and if we will look we may live forever.

47 And now, my son, see that ye take care of these sacred things, yea, see that ye look to God and live. Go unto this people and declare the word, and be sober. My son, farewell.

I love this profound teaching that shows that if we look to the scriptures we may live forever. It truly will lead us down the paths of life and help us become who God wants us to become. I know that if we take heed, study, and treasure up the word of God we will truly be lead “into a far better land of promise” after this life. I love you all and hope that you have an amazing week!

Anziano Garrett

Anziano Goode taking Catania District selfie

Anziano Goode taking Catania District selfie

At church with Anziano Albello and Sorella Bellomo.

At church with Anziano Albello and Sorella Bellomo.

4 of the 6 missionaries working in Catania before the last transfers.  There are 8 now.

4 of the 6 missionaries working in Catania before the last transfers. There are 8 now.

Housemates in Catania

Housemates in Catania

Catania District baptism

Catania District baptism

Anziano Goode's district selfie

Anziano Goode’s district selfie

Catania District before the last transfers

Catania District before the last transfers

Anziano Goode

Anziano Goode

Saying goodbye to Anziano Goode.  He's off to home.

Saying goodbye to Anziano Goode. He’s off to home.

District meal!

District meal!

Catania – Week 6

Ehi tutti!

I hope that everyone had a wonderful week back home and that you are all enjoying your summer!

This week went by super fast and we were able to have a lot of really cool moments this week where we were able to teach some sweet lessons! One of the really cool miracles for me this week was while we were doing some less active finding in a part of town that we hadn’t been to and we were searching for two families that a member had mentioned we could go and check out. We went in search of this house and it ended up being really strange. The number that we had of the address was 123 and we were on the right street, but we made it further down and noticed a problem.

We got to 121 on the corner and then the very next house was 125. It was really weird and seeing as I forgot what spell we were supposed to cast to get into Sirius Black’s house we had to resort to asking people where the heck this house and family lived haha. They unfortunately didn’t know either so seeing that it was kind of late we moved on to go the next family’s house. We ended up finding the daughter of a less active and she is not a member. She and her husband were home and we were able to come in and share the Restoration with them. They agreed that they would read the Book of Mormon and pray to know if was true. It was really awesome and they have two kids! One that is 9 and the other is 2. We really hope to get back over there this week and see what we can do to help them out even more. It was a really special miracle and I really pray that their hearts will be open and they will be willing to just try their best to search for the answers.

We were doing finding in the park here in Catania the other day searching for some people and we had 3 lessons that morning with people that we were meeting on the bench and it was going really well.

The last lesson we had ended up being one of the better ones where they were into what we were saying and it was the last one that we had before going home for lunch. We are doing our best to search for as many people that want to act on the message to just find out if it is true or not. It a was amazing to see at the end of the week on Friday we were able to have two baptisms one from each of the companionships. These girls are super awesome and they were so happy to be baptized.

It was really special to see and I am so very thankful that we were able to be there to witness it. They have really grown spiritually and were so happy to make these covenants with Heavenly Father. I was able to confirm one of them on church Sunday which was the first time that I confirmed the gift of the Holy Ghost to someone. It was a special opportunity for sure.

Anziano Goode went home Saturday and we sent him off nice and safely up to Rome. It was a pleasure to work alongside him and I was able to learn a lot from him over the past few weeks. He trained Anzinao LaPray in Trapani so we would often chat about Trapani and all the great and wonderful people there. I do have a friend that decided to go on his mission again from Trapani and I am so excited for him! He will leave this September I found out today! Super cool!

After that we went and did service at an English Group member’s house and we primed the tile on his porch. We then ate pranzo with him and I have never eaten 3 arancini [stuffed rice balls which are coated with bread crumbs and then deep fried. They are usually filled with ragù (meat and tomato sauce), mozzarella, and peas.] in one sitting with 2 mini pizzas, fruit, and gelato to top it off. It was super fun and great to be able to do that service for him. We were also able to share the restoration with him and his wife. It was super special and they were so very nice to us. Hope all goes well with them as well!

We have been in a trio ever since Saturday and it is going really well. We are doing a good job at trying to stay as busy as possible and we hope that we will be able to continue to be as effective as possible until transfer day. We are all staying the same and Anziano Berger will be getting Anziano Neilson who served with Anziano Rasband in Sardegna. I am excited to talk to him some more and he likes to run so we will all be going running in the park here in town. Been able to pretty much run everyday lately and I was able to go for a nice 6 mile run the other day. It definitely feels good to be able to run. I am excited to stay with Anziano Albello and we hope to continue to be able to do all we can to find as many people to teach and work side by side with all the members. We will be getting 2 new Sorelle in the city so we will have 8 missionaries in the ward. That is a ton! It’s the most I have ever heard of in one ward so we really hope that we will see a lot of great things this summer as we help as many people by inviting them to come unto Christ.  [Note:  Several other missionaries have reported that this transfer is affecting 72 out of the 75 companionships in the mission, so it looks like only the two anziani still in the middle of training new missionaries, including Taylor, and the two assistants aren’t changing this transfer!]

We have been studying a lot about repentance, change, and coming unto Christ as a mission. I enjoyed this scripture from the part in the Book of Mormon when Alma and the sons of Mosiah are converted. They are going around destroying the church and bringing people away form the truth. An angel appears to them and commands them to stop. Alma falls and loses all his strength. [Read more…]

Catania – Week 5

Ciao tutti!

Hope that everyone is doing well! This week was really awesome! We had a good week trying to get our work rolling and find those solid investigators that are willing to act on the message that we are bringing. I really hope that we will be able to do our best to really find those that are willing to choose for themselves to come unto Christ through the invites that God wants them to do.

One really cool miracle that I saw this week was when we were park finding. I was having a rough morning and the families hat really looked so sweet turned us down pretty fast when we went up to them, but it was cool to see that the lord puts us through trials for a reason and the last guy we stopped before going back in for lunch was willing to listen to us and was willing to act. He is a very intelligent man and is a sincere guy. He was really happy to meet us and I am so glad that we had he chance to get to know him. He will be coming back to town this Thursday and we will hopefully be able to see him at the end of the week. We really think that he will be keeping to our invites and be willing to search to find the truth. He said intellectually these things don’t sound crazy at all and could be true, but it has to be something done within his heart. Such a great guy though and it strengthens my testimony to know that God gives us little obstacles for our own good and to test us to see if we will continue to do the things he asks when it may be hard or tough.

Last week President and Sorella Pickerd arrived to the mission field and went to 4 different conferences around the mission in 4 days to introduce themselves to everyone. It was super fun to get to meet the, and feel the great love that they have for each one of us. We are all definitely looking forward to working with them and doing all we can to work hard here together in Italy. [Read more…]

Catania – Week 4

Ciao Tutti!!

Hope that everyone has been having a great summer! This week passed by pretty fast again. We had a lot to do this week with finding new people to teach and we are still searching for a lot of new people. We had the opportunity to go and visit a lot of members this week that was really nice and good to be able to get to know them. We are looking forward to getting to know them better and start working with them more.

So this week it was really awesome to get over and share the message of the restoration with them. I am very grateful for the members here in Italy that really take us in and are so nice to us. It really makes you feel like you are part of their family and they really help you feel at home with all they do. It was really special to feel and notice that great love and blessing this week. That is one thing that I am so grateful about the mission is getting to meet and make so many strong friendships with others. It really makes everything so special to work side by side with them.

One big miracle that I was able to see this week was that guy that came to church last week we saw him on the bus again and it was interesting to see how much happier he was and more optimistic about life. It was a night and day difference from the first three times we saw him on the bus. It was really interesting to me and I really I have high hopes of him. He didn’t sit down last time when he came to church. He said to the member that was the usher at the door when he insisted him to sit down that he was Catholic. I thought it was funny that he didn’t want to sit down, he is such a nice guy and I am glad that we have a good friendship with him on the bus, and really hope that he will be willing to learn more.

Anziano Albello and I are doing really well! We are still learning the city but it has come pretty much now. We walk pretty much everywhere so we are getting a lot of good excercise in. We are loving our time together and I am really learning a lot from him. He is a super humble guy and a great missionary. Crazy that we have been here three weeks now! We have been working hard together and we are really hoping to see a growth in our work. We are trying to find those that are ready and willing to act on out message. We are happy that we are here and hope that we will continue to be able to see all the miracles that Heavenly Father wants to give us.

Well I hope that you all have a great week and that you continue to have a wonderful summer!

Vi voglio bene!

Anziano Garrett

Catania – Week 1

Ciao Tutti!!

So this week went by super fast! We had a nice busy week, full of fun things going on over here! Monday, Tuesday, and Wedneday I was able to have a lot of lessons with people while saying goodbye to less actives, investigators, and members. It went really well and we were able to have a lot of spiritual lessons with people. I was pretty shocked for sure about recieving my transfer call so I had to say bye to a lot of people really fast. It was really nice though and I am thankful for the things that I learned in Cosenza and for what the experiences that I learned there really helped me to gain things that I needed and helped me grow more into who I need to continue to work on becoming.

I definitely made a lot of amazing friends over there in Cosenza.

So Thursday was the day of transfers and it was a pretty hectic day.  We got down to the station and everything with the help of some ward members that gave us a ride to the train station so that we didn’t have to walk. It was really nice and super awesome of them to do that.

We had to wait in the train station at Paola for a little bit and then my train came. So I knew that my greenie was going to be on the train and I happened to get a picture from my Grandpa [from Sister Waddoups’ blog] of the two new missionaries that had just come in. So I thought they knew I was going to be joining them on the train there. I get on to a cart, but I was supposed to be on cart number 5. Thinking that logically it would make sense that the first one started at the front, I made my way backwards on the train trying to get to number 5. I have three giant overweight bags with me as well. I remember that Presdient Waddoups asked me on my first transfer day if I have ever heard about preaching without purse and script but it seems that lesson has still not settled in for me quite yet. I made my way all the way to where I think 5 should be and I am squeezing past people. Well there comes a point when I can’t go any further and I run into a group of people that tell me I am now at number 2 and happened to actually get on the right one the first time.  But I hadn’t seen any missionaries there at all. So at the next stop I get off the train and race back up the platform with the help of the Crotone missionaries and the senior couple and manage to get on the train just fine, but still haven’t found anyone. I left my bags with a nice lady in my assigned box on the train and ventured off in search of my greenie. Finally managed to find 2 missionaries on the front of the train that were headed to Palermo, but that meant that the front part of that train would split off once we got down to Messina. So then I finally got the information (after a ton of time) that they were sitting in first class which happend to be the very last cart of the train. So needless to say I was finally able to find them and meet my companion who is Anziano Albello.

Anziano Albello is from the Philippines and is a super awesome guy!  He is a little quiet, but he is super cool!! He really has so many amazing Christlike qualities that I have been able to learn so much from all ready! I don’t know why he went to the MTC in Provo, because he lived in Milan for 6 years and then moved back to the Philippines 2 years ago. When he first started talking Italian to me I was super impressed and he told me that he had studied for a year. I didn’t find out until we got to Catania (from someone else) that he lived in Italy for 6 years. He is using grammar that I haven’t even been able to scratch the surface of hahaha. That helps out a ton when it comes to missionary work! He is going to do amazing things here with all the skills that he has. I am excited to be with him and get to know him better! He is from a family of 4 and likes movies, music, to travel, and guitar as well! He is going to be an awesome missionary and we have already been able to see some really cool miracles together! [Read more…]