1/6/2016 (week 62/104)

Ciao tutti!

Things have been really picking up here and time is becoming slimmer by the minute so I might only be able to update this every two weeks! Sorry!!!

These past few weeks have been grand and things are starting to explode on a nice scale, I could say. For example we have found 4 new people so far this week, which is more than I have gotten some transfers haha. They are really solid people too!! One of them we had the feeling to call even though he was dropped a year ago for having moved to Calabria. He said it was impeccable timing because he was going to move back to Padova in about 3 days hahaha. WHAT??? He is golden and even accepted a soft baptismal invite last year with the
missionaries. He is wonderful and speaks Italian and English fluently. I love him already!!! 

Another cool instance was Saturday night, which will double as my spiritual thought. We were walking on our way to a lesson in the rain when we walked past this young man and briefly said hi as we passed. “You should’ve given him an English class card” I just kept hearing in
my mind over and over. Finally, about 2 minutes later, I stopped and just said, “Anziano…. we need to go back and talk to that man.” He replied with a “he’s gotta be far back though, but I’m down.” I knew we might not catch up because it was a far ways back that we saw him but we started back when I suddenly heard “RUN” fairly shouted into my head. We ran. About 5 minutes later we found him. It must have been a bit frightening to him to see these two men in suits run after him but we had a genial conversation! 

“Hey!! I know this is a bit odd, but would you be interested in going to a free English class we teach??”

“Actually yeah, me and thirty other of my friends, who all just moved here to Italy, all want to learn English and we were just talking about it today!!! Where can I go to learn??”

Brothers and sisters, when the spirit tells you to run, you run. There is very well a needy soul on the end of your trek.

In addition, we are about to launch that member project in a week or two, we are just finishing up the last touches on the plans right now and trying to run it through the ward council/hold a formal presentation to display the various phases, everyone’s parts and expected duties, etc. It should yield great results!

Cultural Bit: Tennis shoes with suits are worn by the public fairly often. I hate it.

Ciao e a tutti una buona settimana!

Anziano Squire

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12/23/2015 (week 60/104)

Oh man, I am doing poorly at this whole blog thing! I apologize to each one of you that reads this!

So, Christmas time encroaches upon us and at this moment we can revel in the joy and hope of a better life to come. For the spiritual message today I wish to pronounce my knowledge of the fact that we can each receive beauty in this life in the place of the calamity, strength in place of weakness, and tears of joy in place of tears of sorrow. Now is the time to change life and make a better day, because our dear Brother suffered so that we might. Let your joy fill where the sorrow has carved you and feel the “song of redeeming love”. Now is the time to celebrate and give thanks, for love has truly birthed a new future for us. It was this love that brought Christ to the earth for us; this love that brought Him to minister to us; this love that made Him weep from happiness and pain for us; this love that brought Him to His knees and up to the cross for us. This love was focused on others. May we seek this love and seek to have it for each other, for it will be given to us if we but ask with a sincere heart! (Moroni 7) And what does He ask? That we love Him, and that we follow Him. In this there is happiness, so what are we running from?

The most important thing I wish to express, however, is the vital fact that we don’t forget about Him after this season, for as He was born for us, He yet lives this day. Let’s love Him, dear brothers and sisters, and show Him our appreciation for the way He lived, by the way we live. Sacrifice, and you will show love. Let us not answer negatively to the ever so gentle question that He asks each one of us, “will ye also go away? (John 6:67)”. I pray that we continue our journey with Him, and grow in the love that He so freely offers us.

Comunque, these past two weeks have been very good and we have been doing a lot of really solid work!!!! The only downside is that Renzo practically dropped himself in a tired exclamation saying that he was not ready to fill the deep void inside of him with the gospel yet. It kills me to see. He is a very depressed individual, and I understand that sometimes it is easier to stay in the sorrow where you are habituated to the cold, than try to make a leap out in faith. Truly, I know how that feels. But, I know how good that joy is when you finally do take that leap and feel the joy of life again, and this gospel is how he is to do it. He knows it too, but just wants time….

Other than that, we had another lesson with our new miracle girl, Ariana, which was quite exciting really, but I kind of forgot how to talk to girls younger than 40 it seems. so it reached a fun little level of awkward until we got to the spiritual aspect of the lesson. Luckily, we had a stellar member who just came back from her mission in Australia and she was able to give us some assistance, and a helping hand to Ariana in giving her a friend in this city! When she gets back from Tuscany in January from vacation, we will continue the teaching with her, but it is going very well!!

Then, last night we attended a Christmas party held by our investigator Wilfred, and there were about 10 people crowded in his little shop! There was hardly the space, but we (as the Africans would say) “clapped our hands and praised God together!” I have really grown to love African parties because it’s all centered around God, the joy in life, and being a brother to one another. Good stuff, and we will be visiting the apartment of about 6 of them next week, so that is wonderful!!

Lastly, we know that our relationship with the members is growing to quite a strong point because they gave us about 40 pounds of food this last Sunday, and we were so happy we nearly cried. Ok, it was just me that nearly cried BUT STILL!! This is incredible, considering they did not like the missionaries when I first showed up. We can now launch a full scale, multiple tier member missionary plan that Anziano Allred and I have been planning and setting up for months. I am so excited.The project we are basing this off of had unreal success in Como. FILL UP THE FONT BOYS.

Cheers everyone, and I wish you all a wonderful holiday season!!!

Anziano Squire

   
 Need a letter to make it really bad? Just post some Italian security on it!!!

12/9/2015 (week 58/104)

Ciao tutti!!!!

MIRACLES THIS WEEK. Allred and I have been going for a 21 lesson week, as part of a challenge from our President and it has been going incredibly!!!!!!! We have so far found about four new people, one a professor for international law, and another a Tuscan girl who is also very interested!!! We have been just trying to trust the Lord more on the finding and thanking Him every step of the way, and we are really seeing growth. Let me tell you all about the girl though!!!! We found her 30 min walk outside of our normal tracking area just sitting on a

bench and we decided to just give her a card for the new Christmas video of the church. When we gave it to her we saw that she had been crying and so we asked if she was ok! Floodgates. Big ones. Wrong question…..or, actually the right one. We talked for a good long while with her about life, and other things and she really began to cheer up. After the friendly conversation, we went into a Christmas lesson and bore an incredibly powerful testimony to her where all three of us where crying at the end. After that, we said a prayer for her and her family and at the end she was so happy and emotional she gave me a hug. FREAKED THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS OUT OF ME. Was not expecting that one!!! We were able to get her contact info though, and she wants to meet again so we will bring a member with us that is also around the same age and we think that we will be able to make amazing progress with her, she is so ready!!!!!

Good week y’all. Don’t have time for the other parts but know that I wish you all a wonderful week!!!

Anziano Squire

  Anziano Allred took this photo in a Vatican owned church here in Padova that apparently he couldn’t take. He didn’t know, hahaha.

Prato della Valle in Winter. (Prato della Valle is a 90,000 square meter elliptical square in Padova, Italy. It is the largest square in Italy, and one of the largest in Europe.)

12/2/2015 (week 57/104)

I don’t have much time for a blog post this week, but I will share with you a cool experience I had. The other day at church I was asked to dispose of the sacrament after church and I just thought, alright sure….the priests should be doing this, but I’d be glad to!! When I was taking it down, I was just dumping the leftover cups in the sink and all of the sudden it hit me. These were people who couldn’t take the sacrament today. There were about 20 cups that had been blessed but not partaken. Christ suffered for these 20 people and they weren’t there. It could be anyone to take those, but they went unused. It hit me that Christ truly did suffer for everyone whether they choose to take advantage of it or not, and this was a real live example of his precious blood being spilt as the water into the sink; spilt and wasted. The symbolism was so strong and it made me feel. I felt as I watched that precious blood go down the drain. Don’t let His blood be spilt in vain. Please. Use this gift He has given us.

   Me and the guys in our apartment eating our Thanksgiving feast.

  
 The Tomb of Saint Luke
  Padova

  My favorite cheese

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!

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!

Italy Milan Mission