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Catania – Week 15
Transfer 13, Mission Week 80

Ciao tutti!

I hope that everyone is doing super well! We had another busy week and were able to do a lot this week as well. We had a good lesson Monday night with two of our investigators and a member and it went really well. We hope that they will be able to really get rooted in the Book of Mormon. We were able to have another good lesson with the girl that Anziano Goode and Anziano Berger baptized a couple of months ago. She is doing really well and has been in church almost every week since! I think yesterday was the first time I have seen her miss. We also were able to go and visit our part member family in Castel Di Judicha which went really well! They are so much fun to visit and we are really able to feel the spirit in abundance when we go over. That was a really interesting lesson because the daughter asked a pretty profound question on why she needs to believe in something in her life and why this religion would be the right one to pick and go with. We studied for a few days about it and felt that we were prepared to address the question going into the lesson. It started out really rough and it was just not going like we though it would. We weren’t on the same page teaching, but then it seemed that once we took a step back and approached it doing our best listening and trying to feel the spirit it went so much better. The spirit was really strong in the lesson and it ended up being a really cool experience.

This week Anziano LaPray and I were able to go on a scambio and be companions again for another day which was a lot of fun and just felt normal quite honestly hahaha. We were able to work on their part of the work and go to go and visit some people that will hopefully turn out to be some investigators here in the near future. We had a good time together and I always love seeing Anziano LaPray’s love for the scriptures and the gospel and how much he dedicates to studying the gospel and really applying it in his life. We of course had a good amount of time laughing and enjoying being back together too! Had some good stories to reminiscence on and talk about. Crazy to think we were together like a year ago at this transfer. The time just flies by.

We were granted the opportunity this week to travel down to Ragusa to grab the Anziani from there and then make our way to Gela so that we could do a baptismal interview for someone down there that will be being baptized this Friday. He has an amazing story and it was really nice to get down there and do all that for them. It was a long time in the car about 5 hours. I was really sore from sitting down that long, but maybe that was partly due to the fact that I did an ab workout the morning of that I haven’t done in like months hahaha. We got back and had a family home evening with a less active family at their house and we made pancakes with them and it was a blast. We had a good time and shared a good spiritual thought and everything! We then had another scambio here in Catania and it went really well! The Messina Anziani came down for it and I had the privilege of going on a scambio with Anziano Jacob who was in my group at the MTC so it was cool to get to know him better and we were able to work hard and learn a lot from each other. We had a great time for sure.

We then went again to our part members family’s house and shared another lesson with them and we watched the restoration video together. It went really well and it was good to be able to help them see more of Joseph Smith’s life and how we can learn not only about him and his experiences, but also learn from him in examples of faith, humility, courage, and love. It was a good lesson and went really well. They are such a special family and we are excited to see that the daughter is reading and they both are thinking when we are teaching and helping them understand the gospel. Yesterday in church I was able to give a talk and I was able to talk about observing the commandments. I am so grateful for the commandments and I really love that it is through obedience to them that we are able to receive all the blessings that Heavenly Father has for us. Just like loving parents give rules to their children it is only for protection and in their best interest so they are happy and can experience the most joy possible. Heavenly Father gives us to them so that we are happy and that we can make sure we are receiving all that we can. In the talk I used a quote from President Uchtdorf’s last General Conference talk that talks about obedience that I really love.

Obedience is the lifeblood of faith. It is by obedience that we gather light into our souls.

But sometimes I think we misunderstand obedience. We may see obedience as an end in itself, rather than a means to an end. Or we may pound the metaphorical hammer of obedience against the iron anvil of the commandments in an effort to shape those we love, through constant heating and repeated battering, into holier, heavenly matter.

No doubt about it, there are times when we need a stern call to repentance. Certainly, there are some who may be reached only in this manner.

But perhaps there is a different metaphor that can explain why we obey the commandments of God. Maybe obedience is not so much the process of bending, twisting, and pounding our souls into something we are not. Instead, it is the process by which we discover what we truly are made of.

We are created by the Almighty God. He is our Heavenly Father. We are literally His spirit children. We are made of supernal material most precious and highly refined, and thus we carry within ourselves the substance of divinity.

Here on earth, however, our thoughts and actions become encumbered with that which is corrupt, unholy, and impure. The dust and filth of the world stain our souls, making it difficult to recognize and remember our birthright and purpose.

But all this cannot change who we truly are. The fundamental divinity of our nature remains. And the moment we choose to incline our hearts to our beloved Savior and set foot upon the path of discipleship, something miraculous happens. The love of God fills our hearts, the light of truth fills our minds, we start to lose the desire to sin, and we do not want to walk any longer in darkness.

We come to see obedience not as a punishment but as a liberating path to our divine destiny. And gradually, the corruption, dust, and limitations of this earth begin to fall away. Eventually, the priceless, eternal spirit of the heavenly being within us is revealed, and a radiance of goodness becomes our nature.”

This is longer then I quoted in the talk, but thought that it added some more weighted value that I loved. I know that obedience is what pushes us down that path and it is how that we can really come to know who we truly are. I am thankful for that and am grateful for the love that he offers us through his commandments. I know that he loves us and he is only watching over his in all that we do.

We have a busy week ahead of us and we will be driving down to Palermo on Wednesday for a mission conference where we will be visited by President Kearon. I am really looking forward to it and the opportunity to feel such a rejuvenating spirit from all that we can learn and understand together. It will be really edifying and I hope to continue to prepare in any way that I can. It will be such a wonderful opportunity. Then Anziano Nielsen and I will be headed to Rome this Friday for a leadership conference. I am excited about that for sure! Will be cool to see Rome again, but it will be super cool to be with President Kearon again and hear from him on an even smaller scale. Thank you for all that you guys do! Hope that you guys have a great week!

Vi voglio bene!

Anziano Garrett