Allllllora, we got cancelled on by nearly everyone we set appointments with this week (we missionaries call it getting bidone-d), so we had a TON of street finding. Lots of interesting characters met. I actually met this guy from the Sovereign Order of Malta, and this other guy that is thoroughly convinced he died in his past life in the war. Not to mention the crazy witch lady who preaches at the top of her lungs, threw water on the missionaries in Lampugnano, and cornered us in the subway all the while whistling like a bird. Cool people, and very….. unique people. Either way, life is grand out here and I am enjoying every second of it!
Another grand experience was getting to go visit my old MTC companion in Pavia last P’Day where I watched him eat 3 kilo of burger. I was not sure that was possible, but I saw and I believe. Was it a good idea? Well, no, but he did it! And we watched with whole hearted interest ^.^
Truly, nothing else really happened. It was a very finding-filled week.
Cultural Bit: EASTER. Alright, so Easter is a big deal out here. Not only that, but the whole week before. The Catholics out here celebrate every day in the week before as a type of holiday, and then they have Pasqua on Sunday, and a holiday just as big on the day after, Pasquetta. The fun part is everyone has a very religious spirit, and they all go to the masses on Pasqua, so the population of Italians here all go to church that day. The streets are EMPTY. It’s also quite fun because for every big holiday here they have assigned pastries and breads, and for Pasqua it is a sweet bread with almonds and fruit pieces shaped like a dove. They call it a Colomba (dove) and everyone has them out here around the holdiay season.
Spiritual Bit: I saw something that I think I will never forget this week. We were teaching this man out at a park and there was a lull after the small meal we ate until the lesson, and what he began doing surprised me. He got up off of the battered and worn blanket he had placed on the ground, walked over to the grass, and began picking weeds. Carefully, and almost lovingly he began to pluck them from the ground and cut off the roots with the same knife that he used to eat. After a few uprootings I asked him, “uhhhh what are you doing over there?” He then walked over and showed me the weeds he collected and while smiling at me he said “Look at these!! These are great! I’m picking some because when you fry them up with some spaghetti they are too good.” I knew that he was poor, but I truly had no idea. I was struck. He had just fed us a pizza that he had hand made, and what was left of his Pasqua Colomba, and yet here he was, picking up weeds to eat that week. Generosity truly has never had a kinder friend.
This is charity. True charity.
One thing I have truly begun to notice here on the mission is a simple truth: It is too easy to get bogged down in the minutiae of life. We forget who we are, why we are here, or sadly enough how to be happy. I walk the streets here every day and see this; these people have burdens weighing down on them that are crushing their hopes, their sanity, and their eternal perspectives. I know at least for me it is hard to think of my grand purpose in life to prepare myself to live with God again and do the things that Christ has asked, when I am stressed out by my current life issues. But here’s the truth of the matter: trials are just distractions. We are meant to be happy, work for happiness, give happiness, and gain happiness for all eternity. Only how do we knock ourselves out of this immortal cycle of stresses and impedances?
Love and Charity.
I cannot tell you how many times even smiling at a person on the street out here has changed their complexions, their demeanors. Anziano Holder’s brother actually served in Ukraine recently, while there was still war there, and this was the street contacting method he used: “Do you know where I can find a smile?” and then every time they would bust out laughing. These were people with families torn apart by war and who have lost everything. Yet, they forgot when they smiled.
If you want to get out of that horrific cycle, that depressing cycle, then don’t worry, you can do it. There a few steps. This man sure wasn’t bogged down, because he figured it out. First, reach out to others. I promise you there are people around you that need help and are actually put there by the Lord into your sphere of influence because there is something you can do personally for them. As you do this, not only will they often reciprocate, but also you will be filled with this love of Christ that will banish any worry or burden off your mind. Next, be kind to those around you. One of my favorite things to do was to write notes or messages to my friends, out of the blue, and tell them how much they mean to me, or how much they impress me. I would be sincere. I would be specific. I found that as I was kinder to those around me, and helped them see value and worth in life, that I was happier too, because I began to delight greatly in their joy. This will grow as you do that by the way. Lastly, and most importantly, search the charity and love that Christ has for you. It is everywhere, but it is easiest to find through the scriptures and prayer. Read about His acts. Read about His sacrifice for us. Then pray to feel that love.
I wish to make a promise right now to each one of you individually, that if you study this love this week, and pray about it at the end of the week on Sunday, asking to feel His love specifically for you, with sincerity, He will answer you. You will feel something incredible, and I know at least for myself when I did this, it changed my life. I forgot about my trials. I forgot about my sadness. I remembered my joy. As missionaries we are authorized to make these kinds of promises to people and God follows through on them, so I can promise that if you do this, with true sincerity, it will bless you. Life will be easier.
Cheers everyone and I can’t wait to share more next week!!
Also, please email me! I would love to see how your lives are progressing!! Anzianojacobsquire.wordpress.com
Con tanto amore,
Visiting with Anziano Holder in Pavia
Anziano Savage Praying