11/25/2015 (week 56/104)

Hey y’all!!

Good weeks here! Good ones for sure!! Last week I was way too busy to write a post, so sorry about that one! And just to lay it out, the current events about the war out here have not affected us too much, though there have been a few isolated events here, but overall we are safe and not worried about our well-being so thank you all for the concern!!

Comunque, things are going well and we just managed to pick up a new simp (investigator) yesterday named Kingsley!! He is a good Nigerian man who we are excited to teach because of his intense love for the Savior, so, good on him!!! Our other two solid simps, Tanal and Renzo, are doing well and we are working towards baptism with both of them, and it will be in the near future for sure!! We just need to help Renzo feel ready, and help Tanal to come to church.

My new companion, by the way, is named Anziano Allred and has actually lived in Salina, KS for a little while, so we bonded over that one a bit! What can I say, I love the guy. His desire is so sincere and all he wants to do is go out and give the work a nice kidney punch to get it going; he just hits the streets. Honestly, I’m lucky to have him and the area is too, because of his drive and fervor for going out and getting things done, as well as sincerely caring about people. We all needed a bit of that. The whole training thing is super interesting because it really magnifies your weaknesses and helps you to improve. I feel like I’m the one getting trained in all actuality, and I have realized that I am learning more from this experience than I did when I was being trained. I just look at the example of this man I am with and it helps to respark in me the desire to do and be. It is incredible to see it though because I can see the changes I have made since I was at his stage, both good and bad, and it really helps to put my life into perspective. I hope he is getting as much out of this experience as I am, and I know that if I just keep trying to do the Lords will in this, and treat Anziano Allred the way He would, that He will make sure Allred feels and learns what He needs to. Perhaps, I might even have a part in the learning, who knows!

Cultural Bit: there is actually a type of cheese in Sardegna that is illegal now because in order to make it, you have to set it out in the open air for a few weeks so that it will get infested with maggots. Served with the maggots a-crawlin’.

Spiritual Bit: I received this in an email from a friend I made about a year ago in the MTC. I really like the message and points it presents, so I wish to share it with you all for the thought this week.

“Lately I have been reading in the Old Testament so I can learn more about my Savior as Jehovah. I just recently finished reading in Leviticus which means I learned the “rules” of being a Jew. Then, in Institute we were reading about the miracles that Jesus performed. The Miracle of Jairus’ daughter has always fascinated me, but now it does on a new level thanks so my new-found appreciation for Jewish law. In Mark we read ” Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn…And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her,…arise. And straightway the damsel arose, and walked.” As a Jew, touching a dead body would cause Jesus to become unclean and in need of purification, and yet He does it anyway. The other times Christ raised people from the dead, He never touched the body–with the Widow Nain’s son, Christ touched his coffin to raise him from death; with Lazarus, Christ called out to him to raise him. But with the daughter of Jairus, Christ wasn’t just showing His power over physical death, but also of the spiritual. Sometimes we go so far down the rabbit hole of sin that we appear to be spiritually dead. But the Savior knows better. To Him, we’re only spiritually asleep. There is no faith too dormant, or a time when we are so far gone that Christ cannot “take [us] by the hand” to raise us to new heights. His hand is outstretched and ready to raise us from spiritual slumberings. We are never spiritually dead to the Savior, we are only asleep.”

I second my testimony to this by saying that Christ is a perfect Savior because He is the only one that has overcome all the things that we go through. Our guilt, our pains, our wounds are never too much to push us away from Him and I testify that no matter what it is that we have done, no matter what it is that we were, no matter how many times we tried but didn’t get better, that if we turn to Him He will lift us out. He proved and sealed that promise with His blood. Trust Him.

I say this in the name of our Savior, even Jesus Christ, amen.

Love,

Anziano Squire

  Anziano Allred and I

  Someone had a bad day.

  Our Thanksgiving Feast, Italian Style!

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11/11/2015 (week 54/104)

Hello!

So Jeff’s baptism went great but I think he was afraid of the water so it took a few dunks, haha, it went well though! As for Renzo, he is not getting baptized this week. 😦 He just doesn’t feel ready and focuses far too much on negative things in life. He seems to think he needs to fix the difficulties in his life to get them out of the way before he can get baptized but we are trying to help him realize that the spirit and the gospel are the things that will help him overcome them and that we can’t do here things on our own, but I think he needs more time to come to terms with that. All of us come to that knowledge at one point or another with ease or great pain, and I’m just hoping that he doesn’t drag himself down trying to get there. He’s so close to making it and we aren’t giving up on him for anything.

Alright, so for the transfer news. I’M TRAINING. Not ready for that one, haha. I feel completely inadequate, but in a different way. I felt like if I ever got to this point I would feel inadequate which is true, however, I thought I would have fear. I don’t. I know the Lord has prepared me through my experiences and trials, but has prepared me in knowing that it is only through Him that I have strength. I AM inadequate, but that’s ok because I know I can do it if I let Him take

over. I don’t want to be a missionary who relies on himself, because the work doesn’t work that way. I know I am inadequate, and that is how the Lord has prepared me. I have also found that it is truly this way in all facets of life for all of us. Just trust Him and you will qualify for anything He puts you into.

Anyways, picking up my greenie in Milano tomorrow. 🙂 So happy, but also super sad because I have had such a good time with Anziano Benge here and now he is opening up a new coppia in Milano so I know he will enjoy it!

Cultural Bit: people at government buildings won’t take you seriously unless you match their intensity in arguing. I went to the post office today and I was able to get what I wanted 🙂

Tante belle cose!

Anziano Squire

 

 Me and William from Varese   

 Renzo & Anziano Benge

11/4/2015 (week 53/104)

Ciao tutti!

I am in love with Padova. Seriously, this place just keeps getting better and better! Saturday is a baptism of a great Nigerian man named Jeff that the other guys are working with, then the next Saturday is our main man Renzo, and then a few weeks after that are two more people!! In a recent interview, President Dibbs told me that he put us specifically here in Padova so we could get the baptisms up because it’s been about 7 months since the last, and somehow we were honored enough to have the help of the Lord to change that up! Honestly, if you expect to be able to do missionary work without the Lord then you need a MAJOR wake up call and some healthy doses of repentance. We owe all of our success to Him right now.

One cool thing of the week was that Renzo just recently showed us around his house and said, “look at all this empty room, we could easily fit a family here that needs it. Can I speak to the Bishop on Sunday to see if anyone needs a place to stay?” The man just wants to help people, and turns out a man just lost his home a few days ago, in the ward, so Renzo can now help him out! It’s incredible to see this occurrence in the lives of those being taught, and that is: when truth flows into them, they naturally begin doing good. This is actually the spiritual message of the week, that when we do the little things God asks, we allow Him to change our natures, and even though we don’t often realize it, we begin to be more Christlike with those around us. It is the natural consequence of the closeness with God that we achieve when we read the scriptures, pray, and go to church. Also something interesting, about 100% of the people out here that I have met, that are inactive, always say that the first thing to go was their reading, praying, and church attendance, then everything else just came crashing down and they found themselves inactive. Want to know the path from inactivity to activity? C.P.R. (church, prayer, reading). Want to know the path from activity to discipleship? C.P.R. Want to know the path to getting closer to God? C.P.R. When we do those three little things, we will find that our natures begin changing, and everything else begins to follow.

Other than that we celebrated Anziano Benge’s birthday for about three days, it seemed, with members having us over, us making cake and tiramisu (with orzo mind you), going out for dinner for once, and random members and investigators giving him gifts. He says he hasn’t celebrated a birthday for five years, so we fixed that one up real good.

Cultural Bit: Bread is often cheaper at the local bakeries than the supermarkets, so go get you some fresh bread and mozzarella.

A dopo!

Anziano Squire

 Anziano England and I  Morning Studies, European Style 

Our investigator, Renzo, who makes that cake every time we come. It’s a large donut like thing covered in Nutella and then whipped cream. He will be baptized next week!!!!!!!

 A hilarious stringed instrument an investigator named Bryan made. It actually works!

10/27/2015 (week 52/104) Half Way!

Ciao tutti!

Sorry I didn’t have much time last week, and not much this week either but here’s a quick update! Our simps Renzo and Tenal are making some decent progress and both are sincerely and genuinely interested in the things that we teach, making lessons powerhouse spiritual experiences for them and us alike! Both have set baptismal dates for November 14th and November 27th, but Tenal needs to come to church more to qualify, so pray for him! And also pray for Renzo’s family because his daughter is undergoing some pretty rough chemo and they could use it! Other simps have all but dropped off and it was a bit sad to see Wilfred tell us last night that he won’t leave the Catholic Church for anything and so he doesn’t want the things we offer. But hey, there are about 500,000 other people here who need to hear this too so we aren’t giving up hope on that 🙂

Truly, our job as missionaries is to invite others to come to Christ; what happens after must be THEIR choice. Too many missionaries mix up in their heads their purpose with that of their investigators, and that should not be done. The whole purpose is for us to present the opportunity, but to accept the opportunity is not the role of the missionary. Just because the opportunity was refused or rejected, doesn’t mean the missionary failed. Yes, any good missionary will feel sorrow for the lost sheep and do all they can to keep them on track, but I hope no other missionaries out there blame themselves for the incorrect use of the agency of others.

Anyways, at the end of the week we had the wonderful opportunity to go with about 8 others missionaries to Venice and sing in a choir at a Lutheran church as part of a multi-denominational worship service. What a grand experience that was 🙂 Venice IS as beautiful as everyone says but you have to explore and get out of the tourist areas to see the real thing. As for the event, there were present a number of representatives from our church, the Catholic Church, Roman Orthodox, Lutheran, Evangelist, and a few random others. Good stuff 🙂

Cultural Bit: Padova has a church that has the supposed remains of Saint Luke himself.

Spiritual Bit: So many times in life and especially among missionaries here, I have seen a slew of self degrading criticisms on the grounds that we aren’t perfect. We are meant to give our all to God, every ounce, every bit of everything, but every time we try it seems we fall short. Even President Uchtdorf said in the April conference, “We are not saved “because” of all that we can do. Have any of us done all that we can do? Does God wait until we’ve expended every effort before He will intervene in our lives with His saving grace? Many people feel discouraged because they constantly fall short. They know firsthand that “the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” They raise their voices with Nephi in proclaiming, “My soul grieveth because of mine iniquities.” I am certain Nephi knew that the Savior’s grace allows and enables us to overcome sin. This is why Nephi labored so diligently to persuade his children and brethren “to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God.” After all, that is what we can do! And that is our task in mortality!”

The power of grace, as it states in 2 Nephi 25:23, is a power that will complete our efforts and exalt us to a higher level of ability after we do that which we can. We must be diligent. We hear that word very often: diligent. We know we must be so, but how? May I point out the definition of diligent? It is to have careful or conscientiousness in one’s work or duties. It doesn’t mean you have to outwork even your most inner safety barriers on sanity, but to be persistent. Tomorrow we get up and try again, then again, then again, then again. If your child were to do that day after day and even though they fail often at following your council they still try again and again and again, wouldn’t that show some strong love? Wouldn’t you step in and help too? I promise that with persistent work and just taking those consistent, but small steps, we will qualify for grace and show our love to the Father. It IS doable. God made sure it would be, and I say this in the name of Jesus Christ amen.

Tante belle cose

Anziano Squire
  Venice VeniceVenice   VeniceVenice   Our Mestre Chapel (Our church’s ward right next to Venice) Our Mestre Chapel (Our church’s ward right next to Venice)  

  Things got dark but this is the building where Indiana Jones broke the floor in the Last Crusaders. They use a different building for the outside, but this one for the inside shots.