7/22/2015 (week 38/104)

Ciao Cari!

This week was a bit slower and we seem to be losing a few of our investigators a bit which is really sad. We’ll keep trying to get them back!!! Its just sad when these people, who you know have had answers, just start to fall off and reject what gave them joy at the beginning.

The cool thing this week was that we found out one of the referrals that Tolman and I gave back in Cimiano got baptized recently!! BY THE ELDERS FROM BUSTO, IN OUR DISTRICT! I had no idea that it was the same Wilson, hahahahaha che gioia!!!!

Also, this week I was able to do two scambi (exchanges) with the zone leaders in Como, and the guys in Busto. What a grand ole time!! And the scambio in Como literally felt like a vacation even as we were doing the work. I love that place wayyyy too much.

Cultural Bit: When one eats too many carbs they get drowsy and slow. This is a common occurrence with the pasta here. We call it “pasta shock” and I came to the realization that this is the reason I am always fighting to stay awake during my language studies directly after lunch. Now I know.

Spiritual Bit: One of the Italian sisters in the mission just recently finished her mission and at the zone training gave what we call “a dying testimony” or the last testimony that they will give to us in the mission. She said something along the lines of:

As missionaries, God doesn’t judge us on what we do wrong, like, “oh, you should have been doing this,” but is happy for the little things that we are doing and our small triumphs in life and who we are becoming. He loves us so much that He is SO happy when we pray or read or follow a small commandment and He isn’t there to say, “you’re terrible. Why aren’t you better?” But to love us enough, understanding that we aren’t perfect, and rejoicing in our wins. – Sorella Boscia

Why do we always beat ourselves up over things? The truth is God is uncontrollably happy with you even when you do the slightest bit of good! He doesn’t start with a large perception of “evil” to describe you and take one piece off at a time when you do good things, but he already sees us as good and just adds every time we do something well. 

I have been trying to study Charity a lot this month, and one of the things I found out is that a large part of the principle comes from loving yourself first. God wants us to love ourselves, not be proud, but love ourselves. Most often, when we think bad of ourselves we are just giving in to the whisperings of the devil and giving in to his will in making us unhappy. Want to know a secret? The Lord will NEVER tell you to look down on yourself, hate yourself, or degrade yourself. He will ALWAYS uplift, inspire, and give you thoughts that make you happy and want to improve. If you have thoughts of worthlessness or something of the sort, then just remember where it came from and push it out.

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. (Romans 8:16)

We are the children of God. We each are children of the creator of the universe and all in it, an all knowing, all powerful, all loving being. We can become like him. Do you really think you are dirt, still? Because the truth of it is: you are a child of the Most High. You have divinity in you. 

Remember the joy that Heavenly Father takes in your triumphs, even the small ones, and always remember that you are better and can be better than you would ever think.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Anziano Squire

   Buffalo Wild Wings hand carried from the US!

  Milano

  Laveno

  My Zone

  Real Pizza  

 Anziano Holder and his companion 
 Some people from my group at zone training.

7/15/2015 (week 37/104)

Buon Sera Tutti (Al meno e qua)

This week was one heck of a week and we were able to get things moving with our investigators! We dropped a few that weren’t progressing and then amped it up for our progressors by started to talk about baptism with some of them, and one man in specific who is very muslim and usually tries to argue with us had a miracle. We had planned to drop him because he had no interest and had been standing us up, not making progress, and really showed no good signs, but when we met with him to have the lesson, he walked up to us with the Book of Mormon in hand and commenced to talk to us about the chapters that he had read in it. We then had a brilliant lesson on faith and how we can show it, and he said that he wants to take the commitments and see what happens/ what answers he gets. WOW. That is just what we need. We also picked up a new investigator that is an Albanian 28 year old who looks like Neil Caffrey from White Collar. The guy will make some incredible progress, I can already tell, because he is completely open to the teachings and says that he already believes the Joseph Smith story. He is also an intellectual so we were able to have a nice discussion where we talked about how science and philosophical ideas connected to the aspects of religion and the correlations with the mind and human experience. That was a fun lesson for sure. Other than that, nothing much is new here. Varese is a pretty stagnant city as far as change. At least Summer Saldi is here though!

Cultural Bit: Here in Italy, you pay your utility bills at the post office. Imagine the American post offices, but now full with people who need to pay their bills, no air conditioning, and a bunch of people yelling/ waving their arms around. There you go: Italian post offices!Spiritual Bit: I don’t know for the life of me if I used this example before but I will today! There was a story told to us in the MTC of these two Elders that were in the Lisbon, Portugal mission. Whilst walking down a street to find people, they noticed how two men up ahead began calling out to them. As they got within earshot they could hear a bit of name calling and profanity, but they just shrugged it off. It was a normal thing. The closer they got, though, the more caustic and cutting the insults became, and as they passed them and began to walk away the two men changed their subject of ridicule. They began to insult the Savior and spout profanities and shames to His name. The Elder on the right tightened his jaw and stopped right in his tracks. His companion could see his clenched fist turning white, and right as he was about to turn around and walk back to the men, his companion grabbed his arm and said, “Elder don’t, it’s not worth it.” He took a moment to compose himself and calm the war in his mind and they continued onward down the street, as all the while the men mocked the man they stood for. They passed to a new street and began walking a different direction for a bit when an old lady called them over and stopped them in their tracks. She looked at them with amazement on her face and asked, “You tell me what church teaches their men to act like you.”

One of the reigning characteristics of a follower of Christ is Charity. The truth of the matter is that as you decide to follow in the footsteps of Christ you will have to go through all types of persecution and ridicule. It was the path the He walked. The true mark of a disciple, versus a sympathetic who just likes the teachings, is loving your neighbor. John 13:35 states that “by this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Jesus taught that even when we are smitten by our neighbor we must give them our other cheek, or when a man sues you, you must give him your cloak also. A disciple of Christ is not one to take vengeance or indulge in anger, but a love for others , especially when its hard. I testify that when we do this and when we show love for others, we are following in His footsteps and are showing Him what is truly important to us. As we do this we will also gain a greater capactiy to love others and to receive love. We will become more like Him.

I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Til next week, 

Anziano Squire

7/7/2015 (week 36/104)

Giorno tutti!
This week was definitely an eventful one! Transfer calls came and Anziano Mastino and I will be staying together for another transfer here in Varese but the two sisters have changed. Now, we have a sister coming in from Busto Arsizio (in our district hahaha) and she will be training a bright-eyed greenie! Good stuff!!! We are getting pretty lucky here.
So, this week was fourth of July also and one of our members decided to have an event for it, so we gathered together all the american supplies that we could, and headed to the church to have the event! The event consisted of singing american songs, american jeopardy, and eating foods such as hot dogs and baked beans and such. Where they got the canned baked beans, american style, I have no idea…… The cool part though was that our branch mission leader’s friend from the States came to Italy and joined but also another american family who was friends with one of our Sorelle came to surprise her, so it was FULL of americans. Happy fourth guys.

Other than that, we have still been meeting all the crazy people in the town what seems like every day, (where they come from beats me) and just taking things one day at a time.

Cultural Bit: To eat pasta that has been cooked in unsalted water is one of the worst things you can possibly do, and some Italians will even spit it out at your face. They know if you didn’t add it. They know.

Spiritual bit: The essence of the gospel is to change people. To bring about a “mighty change of heart” and to help people feel a happiness, a fulfillment, a depth of living that they never thought possible. It must be taken on faith at first because you will not know what it is supposed to feel like but once you taste it, it will become “delicious” to you.

I have been seeing this change slowly throughout my life, but it has been so much different and so much quicker out here. At the beginning of the mission I felt such an inadequacy and felt like I would NEVER be a good missionary and that I was disappointing God, honestly. Now, Its completely the opposite. I KNOW that I am making Him proud and that I am still inadequate, but in a different way. I can’t do this on my own but I know that He is picking up my slack and making the difference. I am inadequate but I now rely on Him. and have confidence in Him, and pride in Him.

Now, I feel happy. Profoundly so. I have never felt a happiness so full and so deep in my life. It just seeps into my very soul and brightens up even the darkest of circumstances. For about 10 years I have had depression and have had such a struggle with finding fulfilment and happiness in life but now, I have found it to a degree that I never imagined. That I never dreamed. I have been changed so much and I NEVER want to go back to what I was. Of course, I’m the same me but I’m just happy, feel more love and patience for people, and yearn to seek the happiness out of every moment given to me. I have tasted the goodness, and though I have tasted it many times before in my life I have now found out that it can grow. It is not a static happiness.

As for God, wow, I have such a personal relationship that is much closer than I EVER thought it could’ve been. I no longer feel like I say prayers, but that we have conversations. We have made memories together and our relationship is unique. My eyes have been opened to see the individual and unceasing hand in all matters of my life and I trust Him so much more.

We invite all men [and women] to taste of this goodness and come to see life for what it is, and what it can be: good. To an extent that you never imagined. This is because, as the Lord says in Isaiah, “My ways are not thy ways” and the things of the Lord are so much grander and brighter than we have right now, and we have a lot of happiness awaiting if we follow His instructions.

I say this in His name, amen.
Anziano Squire
  
   
 

7/1/2015 (week 35/104)

Buongiorno, buongiorno, buongiorno,

   This week was one heck of a week. First off, I don’t know if I mentioned this or not last week because we received the news right in the middle of emailing, but our investigator that was about to get baptized on the fourth got moved by the organization helping him financially. Now he is in Cimiano, hahaha, at the very least I know that I can trust the people there to take extra good care of him! Plus, he lives with his wife now, so I know that he is a lot happier. I also heard that now his wife and him read the scriptures together every night. God bless that man and his wife, that made me so happy!!!!! As far as I know he is still on track for baptism soon but I am sad we won’t get to work with him anymore….

     Second off, one of the beloved sisters in the mission had to return home early this week due to health issues so I ask each one of you to say a prayer for her right now, because it doesn’t matter who you are, coming home would not be easy, plus she could use the blessings for her health. Just take 20 seconds right now if you could……

     Let’s see…… what else…….. oh yeah, I gave my first talk in Italian the other day in church and it went very well I believe, because the Spirit was there and I know that it was able to touch a few hearts. What an incredible blessing! To know that the Spirit worked through you, to help someone else, is truly an honor and it is one of the best feelings in the world. That’s how you know you are working the right way. OH, but here’s the kicker: we got a call from President Dibbs the night previous to the talk, and he said he would be doing a surprise visit and coming to our church services the next day!

SURPRISE! YOU GET TO GIVE A TALK ON FAMILY GENEALOGY IN ITALIAN IN FRONT OF YOUR MISSION PRESIDENT! WOOO!!!!

Cultural Bit: IKEA is huge here too guys, but we also have another place that we didn’t have in the States, called Tiger. Tiger is a store along the same kind of lines, I think Swedish too, but it has everything from office supplies, gadgets and things you want so bad but don’t need, cooking tools, electronics, workout gear. They have everything guys…. and its all sooooo cheap. I didn’t even know I needed this workout wheel thing for my abs until I went there…incredible.

Spiritual Bit: So, I’m going to set aside the frivolities for a moment and speak of a heavier topic. One that needs addressing.

     In 2013, Anziano Holland gave an address in general conference concerning those with mental health issues and in specific, MDD or depression. Concerning it, he said, “So how do you best respond when mental or emotional challenges confront you or those you love? Above all, never lose faith in your Father in Heaven, who loves you more than you can comprehend. As President Monson said to the Relief Society sisters so movingly last Saturday evening: “That love never changes. … It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. God’s love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve [it]. It is simply always there.” Never, ever doubt that, and never harden your heart. Faithfully pursue the time-tested devotional practices that bring the Spirit of the Lord into your life. Seek the counsel of those who hold keys for your spiritual well-being. Ask for and cherish priesthood blessings. Take the sacrament every week, and hold fast to the perfecting promises of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Believe in miracles. I have seen so many of them come when every other indication would say that hope was lost. Hope is never lost. If those miracles do not come soon or fully or seemingly at all, remember the Savior’s own anguished example: if the bitter cup does not pass, drink it and be strong, trusting in happier days ahead.”

     I attest that sometimes you will have to take the bitter cup and trust in better days to come. For those who have depression you well know the feelings of hopelessness, utter and complete hopelessness to even the idea of feeling something other than the truly overwhelming despair that can take over. I know because I have it too. I have felt it, and some days when it truly hits… no words can truly describe the anguish you feel and how overwhelming it is in your mind. Nothing seems to fix it either, nor do you have the want to do anything to fix it. You don’t have it in you.

     Sometimes, the strength is given to us to press forward through it, or the situation is fixed, but other times there is nothing we can do. Don’t you dare think that Heavenly Father has abandoned you though. Your mind will be torn apart and your heart too, but that does not mean that He is not with you. This, for those of you suffering from this nasty disease of the mind, will be one of the hardest tests of faith you will ever be given in this life. Will you have faith in a better day, and will you have faith that if you continue doing the right things that He will save you. There will be no indication that everything is alright when you are suffering. No sign that says, “15 miles ahead you will reach your destination” and that everything will be alright. It will have to be 100% faith. But I promise each one of you suffering from this that there is a way out of this. You might have to drink from the bitter cup, but take it from the man to drink the bitterest “Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” (Joshua 1:9)

      He felt the same thing, and He will help you. (Alma 7:11-13) Take strength in His love and I promise you will make. You will see another day. You deserve to feel loved, and you deserve to be happy.

     Moreover, if anyone needs more help with this subject I offer what little advice I can give and invite you each to email me at squire.jacob@myldsmail.net. If I can help anyone out with this as well I would be glad too.

     Hold fast and know you are loved, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Bis spater,

Anziano Squire

These pictures are of Anziano Mortezezadeh and I on scambio (exchange) where we got on a train that didn’t stop where it was supposed to, so we got stuck at the World Expo for an hour. We weren’t even mad.

  
 

6/24/2015 (week 34/104)

Ciao, ciao, ciao

We worked hard this week. Dang hard. And we saw so many miracles out of it. I don’t even know what I should share and not because I don’t have all day on this thing, haha. Just things like realizing that you were with a certain member for a split on a certain day with a certain person so that he could share a certain testimony on a certain principle very dear to him and very relevant to the simp (investigator), or even just a man that we thought had no interest calling back and asking for the book that we had, or seeing the Sorelle (Sister Missionary) find a young man that has been perfectly prepared by the Lord. The only downside was a call we got about 30 mins ago from our simp with the baptism date for the fourth; he’s moving to Milan tomorrow morning. It could be worse and I know that all will work out because I know and trust the missionaries in Milan to do even better work than I can, haha.

Not much else is really that new though. What can I say?
Cultural bit: arguing in the states is a way that you generally express anger towards someone. Arguing here in Italy is a form of communication and sport.

Spiritual bit: this is a video that you all should watch
https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2009-01-01-gordon-hinckley-lessons-i-learned-as-a-boy?lang=eng
I wish to express my humblest urgencies for each of us to search for opportunities placed before us. Opportunities to be an angel to someone in need. I have a deep and abiding testimony that often times God will answer our prayers through those around us, and if we don’t pay attention we might miss a shot to save someone.

I can remember a time in college that life was not folding out for my benefit. I was not taking it well. The world had seemed to be crushing down on me in all the social, technical, and mental capacities to which it had dominion. I felt utterly hopeless, utterly lost, and utterly alone. Nothing could console me and I was battered to point of the numbness for a possible of relief. In an act of futile desperation I said a prayer with energy that I barely had. I was on my knees with tears in my eyes when I saw an envelope that I had received a time previous from my family. Upon opening it I found an assortment of letters from the individual members telling me how proud they were of me for graduating high school at the time of the reception of the letters, and how much I meat to them personally. It seemed to hold much more weight at that time than when I received it, and it quelled my pains. It was an ordinary act done by ordinary people, but to me it was a miracle completed by angels.

I promise each and every one of you that you are in more situations than you can possibly realize to help others out and to be someone’s angel. Elder Uchtdorf has said in a recent conference address that “if we look around with observant eyes and the motive of a caring heart, we will recognize the opportunities the Lord places in front of us to help others rise up and move toward their true potential.” There IS a Balm of Gilead. There IS help available. It’s you. This is one of the most divine and honored acts that we can be a part of in our journey to become more like Him, and I promise that as you endeavor to do so you will find more joy that ever you had imagined possible.

I say so in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Until next week.
Anziano Squire

   
     

The Settineri’s Massive Gattone (really big cat)