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Catania – Week 7

Ciao tutti!

I hope that everyone was able to have an awesome and amazing week this week! This week went by really well for us and we were able to accomplish a lot while we were in the trio this week. We had some really good and powerful lessons throughout the week and it was a super good experience to be able to teach and testify with three of us and bear solemn witness of the things that we were teaching. I am thankful for the opportunity that we had and I was able to learn a lot which I love doing from other missionaries. It helps you really be able to see how you can improve and in what way you can do better. I am so thankful for that.

We had a lesson that sticks out to me in particular this week to a less active family. It was really cool and there was a really special spirit there as we taught them about how the Book of Mormon is written for us in our day. It was lesson that was based right out of the Book of Mormon accompanied with strong and powerful testimony on the divinity of the Book of Mormon. I know that it is is true and we were able to bear witness on the truthfulness of it and the blessings that come from living the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that we all felt the spirit in the that lesson and I know that that they did as well, but it is up to them to accept it for what it is and understand that is what they were feeling. That is all that we can do as missionaries is present the message and allow the Holy Ghost to teach and bear that witness to them that it is true. I am thankful for that and knowing that we don’t have to get this knowledge from anyone else but the Holy Ghost and that is Heavenly Fathers way of allowing us to know of spiritual truths. Those feelings we get, the burning feeling, the pressing upon our minds, sudden strokes of ideas, etc. comes from the spirit and allows us to know what is the truth.

Transfers days have come and gone once again and everyone here has survived from them! so it was a little different this time because Anziano Berger had to travel all the way up to Rome in order to go to a Missionary Leadership Council. So he had to endure the entire travel up there even though he was staying here in Catania for the transfer.

So since the zone leaders have the car here in Catania I was given the opportunity to drive it in order to help out with the transfer day. It had been a whole year and half since I have sat on the driver’s side of a car so it was so weird. Driving here is so different in Italy and is a lot more hectic. This is also one of the craziest cities in the whole mission to drive in probably all of Italy honestly. It is pretty nuts for sure. It was cool and we were able to get everything where it needed to go and transfer day was a good success.

So Friday evening we went and visited a member that lives a little outside of Catania and we were able to go and share a message with them. on the way out on the bus that we took we saw that some man was obviously burning his orchard of olive trees. It was pretty interesting and the fire was pretty big. So we visited the family and shared our spiritual thought with them and then headed back outside of the neighborhood in order to take the bus back into Catania. We were waiting there for a while and the smoke got really bad so we decided to walk down to the end of the route at the next stop where the bus turns around and heads back into town. We waited and waited and the bus never came. We decided to walk back to the other stop hoping that maybe the members could give us a ride back into town. We then realized and saw that the fire had gotten out of hand and had hit the tree line along side of the road. It was dangerous for the cars to pass even though they were just doing it so we didn’t know when the bus was going to come or be able to make it through. We called some other members and they were going to come and get us, and then they finally were able to put out the fire and we got through on the bus that came shortly after. it was pretty nuts hahaha. I guess that must be something that people are doing right now because yesterday over that side of town from the station you could just see smoke raising up into the sky all over the place.

We had a super amazing miracle this week! We received a phone call during weekly planning and it was this guy that wanted a Book of Mormon from us and so we were free Saturday and were able to grab a train to go and see him after picking up people from the airport. We went past the stop that he was waiting at since the door didn’t open for us. We got off at the next one and it in my head I was thinking with the little time he had that he said that he had that we wouldn’t be able to do the lesson. We called him and he said that he called his friend to give him a ride. So he showed up to the station and we walked back into town which took about 10 minutes and were able to have a lesson with him. He is our age and he is so awesome! He is honestly prepared to here about he gospel  and believes that the truth can be found out there somewhere. I was so thankful and grateful to have met him and that we had the opportunity to teach him the restoration. he is so cool and was really excited to be able to receive the Book of Mormon.

It was really special and we really look forward to seeing where it all goes!

Another miracle was that the lady that called me the other week came to church! She has been living in Italy for 15 years and hadn’t been able to find the church until she called the number that she found on the Internet. It was so awesome! She was so excited to be back and she brought her husband as well. I was privileged to sit next to her in sacrament meeting and she was able to partake of it and renew her baptismal covenants that she has made for the first time in 15 years.

It was so very cool! She was definitely blessed with a wonderful day to return where we had an amazing sacrament meeting with wonderful talks that were given. It was super cool and super special for us. Her husband isn’t a member and he really seemed to enjoy church and hopefully their son, about our age, will be able to come next week. It was so very special and we were able to enjoy it with them.

I am so very thankful for the power of prayer and that Heavenly Father has blessed us with divine communication that we can have with him. We can truly be able to receive so much help and blessings from on high as we pray to our Father in Heaven. He wants to hear from us indivually and is ready to give us the blessings that he wants to give us and is ready to do so. We have to ask of course according to his will. I love this scripture that is found in the Book of Mormon when Jesus Christ is teaching the people how to pray and what can be accomplished through prayer.

19 Therefore ye must always pray unto the Father in my name;

20 And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you.

We are always to pray to Father in the name of Jesus Christ and we will be able to receive all that which is right that we ask of him. I know that the responses and answers don’t always come in the time that we think or in the necessary way, but I know that they come to all. I know that he is listening to us and is ready to respond. I know that we have a Father who is so willing to bless us with the highest of all blessings as we call upon him. I know he wants to give us these wonderful things. Jesus Christ teaches on the sermon on the mount in Matthew 7 about prayer.

7 ¶Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?

10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?

11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

I know that this is true and that he can give us all that we need. I am thankful again for prayer and know that it is something that we can always work on to be more sincere and genuine with our prayers. I want to invite you all to look for ways that you can improve your prayer and be willing to ask Heavenly Father for these recommendations to improve and he will help us pray with more power. I am thankful for all the prayers that you guys have been giving me and all he missionaries in the world. We really appreciate it a lot! I love you all and hope that you have an excellent week!

Con tanto amore,

Anziano Garrett

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 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…]