2/25/2015 (week 17/104)

Ciao Amici!!

Did you know you are loved? Such an incredibly sad phenomena occurs far too often in this world where we get so caught up in life that we forget the grander picture and the hope in it all. We forget how important we are to others, and most importantly to our loving Father in Heaven. He truly is a real being. I know this. Take a moment, look up into the blue sky and remember that you are loved!! As I have been remembering this fact this week, finding has been a lot easier! Truly, every person I talk to is a child of God and when I look at them like that, smile, be excited to talk to them, and show genuine interest, I find that the Spirit flows like water. Ancora, we don’t have many people to teach right now, and we lost an investigator or two but we will not give up! We had a miracle this week where we actually found this Peruvian lady on P-day and she became very interested in the church. She traveled miles to come back for a second lesson and said that she has been searching and searching for the truth and she feels like the Book of Mormon has been a gift from God. She is GOLDEN and since she doesn’t live in our area we were able to get her info to some missionaries in Navigli. Little did she know that SHE was the gift.

Transfers are next week, and we will find out on Saturday, in a few days, where we will be going or if we will be staying. I sincerely hope I stay here in good ol’ Cimi because I have truly grown to love the people here. We are thinking though that my comp, Anziano Tolman might be heading out, and my guess is he is going to Lecco. Boh. Chi lo sa. Vediamo, no?

We also were able to have zone conference this week and it was absolutely incredible!! The spirit was strong and I was able to learn a great deal of things. Also……..are you ready?………. ELDER BEDNAR OF THE QUORUM OF THE TWELVE APOSTLES IS COMIING TO OUR MISSION IN APRIL TO TALK WITH JUST THE MISSIONARIES IN OUR MISSION FOR 6 HOURS! I will get to speak with one of the Twelve Apostles. WHAT. Being a servant of the Lord has its perks I guess, haha. One statement that really struck me at the conference, though, was one that my Mission President said. When he was speaking, he said in relation to the current work he is involved in here, “I have no other purpose.” I will speak on my thoughts of this in my spiritual portion.

Cultural bit: This week in Milan is FASHION WEEK. What a blast. I still can’t believe some of these things are clothes but hey, cioè, whatever floats their boats, right? Also, one thing I have learned here is that you can pull off just about any fashion that you would like, and the people will accept it. Wanna pop that collar? Do it. Wanna wear some mom jeans with a corregated fur coat? Do it. But always, you musn’t  forget your scarf. This is CRUCIAL, PEOPLE.

Spiritual bit: I have no other purpose. Conversion comes through consecration. Now, what does this mean? This means to love the Lord with all your heart, might, mind, and strength. It means giving your all to Him. Therein lies true happiness! Now, this is easier said than done. There is a saying here in Italia, “Tra dire e fare, c’e di mezzo il mare” meaning that there is a large difference between saying and doing. This is a difficult thing, and this is why we are giving our lives to perfect it. Remember, you become the person that you want to be by doing the things every day that that person would do. Little by little, friends, but there is something important to realize about consecration that I am just now beginning to understand as a missionary. Every single thing that Heavenly Father has done, is doing, and will do for us is to render us the happiest that our beings can experience. And then more. We don’t say that He is our loving Heavenly Father for no reason. Moses 1:39 states that it is His entire purpose to bring about our eternal life and happiness. Consecration is a large sacrifice, but what we fail to realize at times, is when we consecrate ourselves to Him, He consecrates Himself to us. Love God, for I promise He loves you. We think of sacrifice in the wrong way too often. Stop thinking of it as sacrifice and start thinking of it as love. We sacrifice in families, but this is actually showing love. We sacrifice in marriage, but it is out of love. And what do we get in return? Happiness, and love. Whenever you see the word sacrifice, try replacing it with love. I can’t think of a way to describe how strong the knowledge in my core is that He loves you. You are everything to Him. Everything. Nothing bad will ever come from giving to the Lord, and I promise that as you try one bit at a time to give back you will see blessings. He will take care of you. Do the little things each day to give back and show your love to Him and eventually you will find yourself converted, consecrated, and full of love and joy.

Ci sentiamo,
Con amore,
Anziano Squire

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Vespas

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The Duomo (Cathedral)

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Me and Diego

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Making Tortellone

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Making Tortellone

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Rosa

Me with Mahesh Rai, Anziano Tolman, Ostergar and Investigator

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2/18/2015 (week 16/104)

Buona Sera!

Wow, do I have a lot to say but not the time to say it. First off, one of the guys that had a baptism date dropped us this week, but has still been coming to activities so we will have to see what happens with him. It makes me awfully sad though because I could see the happiness that it was bringing him and it’s so sad to see someone turn away from that. He even recognizes it too, but refuses to do the work necessary to bring about his own personal conversion. As for Silvia, she is actually moving back to Milano as a surprise and wants to be baptized. Can’t complain here. I’ve also watched her brighten up with the gospel and have watched her be filled with so much more happiness. It’s for stuff like that that we are here.

We have been pretty low on investigators though so we are really trying to batten down the hatches and get rolling! We are having good success too, and I must say that English and Italian classes that we teach for free at the church really help as a finding tool. I am so grateful for those. We are also, cioè, tripling our lessons just to try to get everything that we can done! There’s a reason we are here and I am really starting to see it.

Fun bit: while visiting one of our favorite Filipino members I ate what I can honestly say is the oddest and nastiest thing I will ever eat on my mission. Balot. This is essentially a boiled egg that is half developed. There was a half developed chicken, and we ate it. First, you crack open the top, drink the juices, then peel off the rest of the shell and eat the chicken and the veiny mass of egg bed underneath. My gosh it was bruttooooo. But we did it. Mostly, just because a sister did it first in front of us, then we just had to or our dignity would die.

Cultural bit: Everyone smokes. Everyone. Everytime we are at the metro too, and a group of high school kids get out of school, we can just tell that they are coming due to the giant cloud of fog that follows them. It’s nasty. Also, the more facial expressions and grander hand motions you use, the more Italian you are.

Spiritual bit: I don’t have much to add to this other than it brings me hope and I feel the Spirit every time I watch it. Everyone needs to watch this, especially if you are having a hard time in life!!   http://www.mormonchannel.org/watch/series/mormon-messages/mountains-to-climb-2

I love each and every one of you and if any of you ever need anything or someone to talk to, please email me at squire.jacob@myldsmail.net

Con Amore e Auguri,
Anziano Squire

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Me and a random guy
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Pureed potatoes and rice
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We came across these sheep in the city while we were on our way to the metro one day.
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Party for the Bishop’s son

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Anziano Tolman, me and Mahesh Rai

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Meditating

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Meditating with Mahesh, Anziano Tolman and Sorella Tokarski

2/11/2015 (week 15/104)

Buongiorno!

The work continues!! Unfortunately, Silvia moved to Como but we are trying to get her new information so that the missionaries up there can follow up on her baptism, and we have high hopes for her! The more incredible news is that her friend here, Roberto, who we have been working with, still wants to keep his baptism date at the end of the month! I am so excited for the man and I know that this gospel can help everyone it comes in contact with! We also got a new investigator this week from Gambia named Kewa, who we have just begun teaching about the Restoration. He is a very kind man, and I must say that all the Africans are the kindest and humblest people, people that will always bring a smile and accept whatever comes their way. They are wonderful examples to follow. We are trying to focus our efforts right now on gaining new investigators because our numbers are dwindling a bit, and we know that out of the millions of people here in Milano, there are people who are ready, people that need this!

Fun stories:
         -Mondays are rough for anyone in the modern world, but this last monday provided a new kind of progression. Upon leaving our apartment that morning and going to the church, an old man walking near us just started growling and barking with such tenacity…. whether it was at us or just in our general direction I fear I will never know, but I will say that he must have been practicing or something because it was actually quite spot on. Props to you old man?
         -There is a family in the ward who we went to visit this week and because they are always so busy we decided to cook dinner for THEM. Unfortunately, the Tikka Masala that I made for them seemed to be too hot. In fact, wayyyy too hot. I don’t think I have ever seen South Americans hesitate to eat something because it was too hot, but these wonderful people ate it anyway, even though I insisted they didn’t have to. Good sports! haha
         -Miracles really do happen here! They are often quite small but they are profound. I saw many this week, some as large as the growing of a testimony, to random people on the metro approaching me and asking things such as “do you know where I can take an English class during the evenings?” (we have an evening course that we teach for free) or something along those lines.

Spiritual Bit: There will always be convincing evidence for AND against the truth. The one thing that you must understand, and that it took me a long time to figure out, is that logic is a very powerful tool. When based off of spiritual truth it can be quite useful in the concept of an idea, but when based on false assumptions or when trying to reach heavenly truths, while relying solely on the capabilities of the mind, imperfect in mortal nature, and still within a period of growth, can be devastating to faith. Remember, faith is an active belief on things that you don’t see, and is meant to push you beyond your level of comfortability. However, when we excercise faith we receive witnesses. Theses witnesses are much stronger than any piece of singular scientific data or rational idea because they come from God and they come through the Holy Spirit. I implore you, if there is anything that you are uncertain of, or even just wish to grow a greater knowledge of a spiritual truth, ask God. We are given a beautiful promise that if we ask God in faith, real intent, and sincerity, He will respond. (James 1:5) God wants to teach you and I promise each of you that He will! Just trust in Him.

Con Amore,
Anziano Squire

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This is my horribly destroyed ray of sunshine umbrella. We had a proper burial this week where we threw it away together at some random trash can in San Ambrogio, and then I bought another yellow one. I have decided that I love having yellow umbrellas because across the Italian city landscape its all grey and black, even the umbrellas, and it really shows what we are here to share. I want people to look at us and see that we are different and that we are happy. Thus, yellow umbrellas.

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With Anziano Tolman

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At the train station

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With Mahesh Rai

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Working with Anziano Ostergar, Mahesh Rai and Anziano Mayberry

2/4/2015 (week 14/104)

Ciao Tutti!!

Quindi, this week was a blast, even though not much new happened again!! I think it was mainly a blast just because of the fact that I am doing my best to do this work and even though I didn’t see many people accept the gospel this week I still know that my Heavenly Father is proud. I know this because I prayed about it and I can feel it. No matter how bad I have been feeling because I always try to push myself too hard, I know that He is accepting of my work. To all of you about to go on missions, just know that you aren’t going to be judged by God by the people that accept, but the people you invite. Our purpose is to “invite others to come unto Christ”. Every person out there has their free agency. We are here to invite. Also keep in mind though that the Lord prepares people for you, so you should expect and have faith that success will come!!

Despite the wonderful Spirit we had this week, we still have some rough news. Our friends Diego, Mahesh, and Silvia (one of our investigators with a baptism date) are all moving either this week or in the next few. Either way, we have some beautiful work ahead so we aren’t discouraged!

Cultural Bit: Everybody here either thinks we are Jehovah’s witnesses or Amish. Why Amish, I haven’t the faintest idea. Also, it seems that some of the new fashions heading up are undoing the top button on a suit jacket, using a folded up tie as a pocket square, and for the youth, they have big canvas jackets with fur hoods, combat boots, combat-ish pants with side pockets and cinch bottoms, and the boys have the sides of their heads shaved with the top long and combed wavy on top- gentlemens style. Interesting eh.

Spiritual Bit: Faith is difficult. Faith is where you do everything you possibly can and still more. You get to a point in all actuality where you are at the very tip of your comfort zone and sanity and then you have to make a decision. Trust that He is on the other side, or not. When you decide to jump off your limit of capability in trust that the Lord will catch you, it shows Him that you aren’t trusting yourself anymore, but that you are putting your all in Him. I promise that when you do this He will catch you. He has done this more times than I can count and I love Him for it. Trust Him and you will never regret it. Remember, it is not until after the trial of your faith that you gain your witness. Stay strong. It’s worth it. Ether 12:6

Con Amore,
Anziano Squire

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My new Italian suit!

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Me and Hugo

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Mahesh Rai, Me snd Anziano Tolman

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Out working with Mahesh Rai

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Waiting for the train

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Me, Anziano Tolman, Mahesh Rai, Anziano Mayberry