Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Finalemente!!!! July 31, 2013

Ciao tutti!!

Apparently, you already know where I am, so not so much surprise, but I'm in the beautiful coastal city of Genova. It is absolutely amazing here. My area, since there are 2 sets of Anziani and 1 set of Sorelle in our Ward, yes, Ward (Genova 2), is right on the beach. It is breath-taking. 

My companion is Anziano Salmon from Ammon, ID. He's been out for about 10 months or so and this is his third area, and first time in Genova, so we were opening a new companionship in our city. Fun.

It is super hot and humid here in Italy, I'm very slightly dying right now, but then I remember that I'm dying IN ITALY and it gets a lot better. We live in an apartment with another set of Anziani, and guess who lives there with me? That's right! Anziano Erickson!! I know, crazy right? Guess we are stuck together for another few transfers or so. haha. Our apartment is literally located in the best possible place ever! Thank you so much Fratello Jeter for finding this place!!!! It is 30 seconds from the chapel and about a minute and a half from the train station. Oh yeah, and there are 2 shopping markets within a minute of our apartment. The only downside is the fact that it is on the 7th floor, so its pretty hot up there. Our windows are never closed, except for when a big storm comes through, like last week and slams all of our windows and doors shut. We constantly have fans on, because otherwise we would die.

So the plane ride over was really long. We were on the flight from Chicago to London for ever!!! The plane was literally a house, it was huge. (It was a 777 Dad!). On that flight, I met this really nice couple from OK, Marcus and Shannon. We got talking about who the missionaries were and why we were out here and they were very nice. After our "dinner", they leaned over to me and asked me a question about the church. This sparked a great gospel discussion and I got to clear up a lot of their questions about the church. After basically giving the first lesson, I gave them a Book of Mormon and challenged them to read it. They gladly accepted it and Marcus held on to it for the rest of the flight. I really hope they read it, because I know it will bring them so much happiness. Our group going to Milano placed 10 Book of Mormons that flight, and a few on the flight before that and during time in the airport in Chicago. It was awesome.
 Now when we got to Italy, there were a few missionaries who didn't get their bags, one of them being Anziano Erickson. So we waited with them at the church in Milano for about an hour or so, because they found one of his bags, but then we decided to find our way to Genova. Anziano Treadway, Anziano Erickson's companion, was the only one in our group who had been to Genova before, and he had only been there for 2 weeks, so we were all essentially lost. haha. But we left Milano, got on a train and headed for Genova. It was super hot on the train because the car we were in had a broken AC unit, so we moved cars because the ride was 2 hours long. On the train, we talked to an older Italian woman who was frankly, very rude to us, and kept interrupting us, but we tried anyway. We got to Genova and had to switch trains, so we looked for it, and eventually found it. Once we got off, we went and found what we thought was our apartment, but when the key wouldn't work, we realized that we were off by one building. We went up this tiny tiny elevator that reeked of smoke and fish to the 7th floor (its technically the 6th floor, but in Italy ground level is 0) where we found our apartment. But then we couldn't figure out how to unlock the door. By this point we had been carrying our bags up and down stairs all day and running around with them in the scorching heat. We were so sweaty and hot and sticky and tired and frustrated, that we couldn't help but laugh. Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that the handle of one of my bags broke while we were in Milano, so that was even more fun! Eventually we got inside and unpacked, then the other Anziani showed up and we went to bed.

Because both Anziano Salmon and I are new to this area, we spent the first few days trying to find investigators, members, and non members, and when this didn't work, which it often didn't, we would go do finding work, which is really hard because literally no one has stopped to listen to us. I'm really good at saying hello to people, but that's usually as far as I get before they tell me that they aren't interested and they walk away. We do have one investigator and a couple potentials, but the work is slow right now and really hard, but we keep pushing on. I have to be honest, the first few days were really really hard, and I don't ever think I've felt like giving up before as much as I did the first day or so. But, everyday, I just try and push myself to stay focused, to rely on the Lord and just open my mouth as the scriptures say. I know that I will be blessed for my trials if I remain diligent, which I plan on doing. 

As for the language, I speak it great. I've gotten a lot of compliments on my ability to speak, but as for understanding.......niete. Since our city is pretty much 50% from Ecuador, I can almost understand most of what the Spanish natives are saying. I completely understand other missionaries, but give me a native Italian, and I'm so lost. Its really frustrating, but it could be worse, I could be in the South. Their accents are so strong and hard to understand. We met a man from Bari the other day, and he might as well have been speaking Russian, because I had no clue what he was saying to me. I know I won't magically understand what everyone is saying overnight (unless I pull a Jeter, which would be nice), so I just try and understand more and more every time I speak to someone. Its coming slowly, but I know it will come. Just like I promised Dad, I will study my language everyday, and I have been. 

Like I said before, its been really hard. I never thought it would be this hard. I'm so tired when I get home and I'm tired when I wake up, but oh well. There's no use complaining, that won't do anything except make the work harder. So I always try and be as positive as possible. For example, this other day we had 3 appointments set up. The first 2 fell through and we went about 45 minutes early to make sure we could find the house of our 3rd appointment, but we literally couldn't find it. It did not exist. We searched for an hour, while trying to contact people on the street on the way, but as much as we looked, it was nowhere to be found and when we called him, our investigator didn't answer. So we decided to go try and visit 2 members who lived near by. We had made a list of ever member that lived in our area, but it was using an old ward list, so we had no idea what we would find. Funny side story, after spending a few days making that list, we found one already made in our apartment this morning when we were cleaning it....yay!! Anyway, back to the story, we used a map and went where we thought we were suppose to go, but we couldn't find the street anywhere. We eventually took this sketchy mountain path that took us across this awesome foot bridge and we found the street. We then followed this street all the way to the top of this huge hill. We were so tired and exhausted, and then we found out that there was a bus that went up there. So we went to the first house and the person told us that they weren't interested in being a member anymore and refused to let us in. We then went to the second house, and no one was home. So we had a great adventure for pretty much nothing, but we did get some great pictures of the city. Man this place is incredible. Even though that day was really hard, we didn't let all of the bad things happening to us bring us down, we always stayed positive. and then we got gelato so everything was better then. haha

I love it hear in Genova, and I love hearing from you all. I'm so happy the USA won the Gold Cup, that is so awesome!!!!! I can't believe the Dodgers are still in first (they probably aren't anymore), and and I'm really jealous you all get to go camping this week. Tell everyone that I love them and that Jude is still the cutest thing ever. I love you all so much, and I can feel you all praying for me. Thank you for this. I know I wouldn't have the strength that I have without you all. I love you all so much and can't wait to hear back from you. 
I want to share a quick spiritual thought before I end this letter. We had our new missionary training yesterday (it was really good to see about 10 or so of the missionaries from my group), and we watched this video about the Atonement and its importance to missionary work, and I would say, life in general. Whenever we get rejected, spat upon, attacked, degraded, or anything, we are standing shoulder to shoulder with Christ, because he walked a long path alone, so we don't have to. He is always with us, and he will be there to always bear us up. I know that I get all of my strength and drive to continue from the Savior, and I know that he is hear with me, helping me along the way. And he is with all of you. 

I love you all so much and I can't wait to hear from you all again. Sorry, I forgot to bring my card reader to the internet point today, so I don't have pictures today, but next week I will have a lot. Yes, I did get a picture in front of the map in the MTC Mom. Also, I had to buy a shoulder bag, because they are now required by the first presidency, so I used some money today. You need to check my account for how much is there, because I can't check it here.

Vi voglio tantissimo bene!!!!!
Anziano Langlois

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Last Week!!! July 17, 2013

Ciao tutti!!!

Less than a week left here in the MTC. That. Is. Crazy!!!! I can't believe how fast time has flown by. I only have 6 days left. I am so incredibly excited, I'm literally going crazy from excitement. But I know that I need to stay focused, so I am trying my best to do so. This is the last time I will be writing you from good old 'Merica, so I don't know when I will be able to email you next. Probably not for another week and a half. But when I do, I will be in my first area in the beautiful country of Italia!! Non vedo l'ora!!! (I can't wait).

 Dad, I loved your advice to me about looking at my father's blessing, I have already done so a little bit, and everytime I read it, I see the blessings that have come to past and those blessings that are pertinant to what I am doing currently. I will continue to read it frequently so that I can do the best I can to recieve all of the blessings contained inside it.

Since everyone has been wondering about how we study here at the MTC, and how we all pick up the language so fast, here is a quick run-down of our language based efforts each day:
We have two 3 hour block classes where the teachers speak in Italian and we speak back to them as best as we can. This is where we teach our progressing investigators, and learn how to teach the gospel more effectively. All in Italian of course! Then we have what is called Technology Assisted Language Learning or TALL time, which is where we get on a program on the computer and we can choose words, phrases, or symbols that we want to learn. We have that for an hour roughly 4 days a week. Then we have time for our personal/companion/district language study which is up to us how we want to spend it. I ususally spend it practicing conjugating verbs in different tenses, studying our language books or helping other memebers of my district. I've already gone through two of our language books and am almost done with the next two. But the most important part of learning a language here at the MTC is SYL SYL SYL SYL SYL (Speak Your Language). I've found that the more I try and speak Italian, the better I get at it. I actually love speaking in Italian, it makes me feel so happy and I love it because I can still be myself while speaking in a new language! As for my language study plan for when I'm in Italy, I'm planning on continuing my language study plan I have here which involves studying grammer, conjugations, and reading the Italian scriptures. Yes, I have 501 Italian verbs. Yes, I have a dictionary. I'm not entirely sure if i have an "advanced" grammer textbook. We do have an italian text book that I haven't used yet and I think it should work, but I don't think its "advanced". I do not have a Gospel Principles book in Italian, and I don't think I have access to getting one. So what might be good is for you to order it and get it shipped here and hopefully it gets here in time. I don't know. Just a thought.

Sports. Thank you for keeping me updated Dad! I can't believe the Dodgers are .500!! That's crazy! I'm sad the NL lost the All-Star game, but oh well. We've been getting worse the past few years. As  for the USMNT, YES!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm so happy to hear that they are kicking so much butt right now! I really hope they carrry on this fire they have into the World Cup. We actually might go far this year! Like I said last email, someone please send me transfer news! I want to know who's going where in Europe. And while I'm still talking about soccer, I was playing soccer the other morning and i scored a hat-trick! It was awesome! I was on fire that game. I was playing with Elder Ringwood, so that was really fun! I'm going to miss him when I leave, but he'll be a great missionary in Colombia.

One thing I really learned from you was the importance of service in reaching out . We need to show others the love that we have for them and the love that their Heavenly Father has for them. So we  serve, serve, serve! I also think its really important to look at others the way that Heavenly Father sees them, in all of their glory as sons and daughters of God. 

One of the things I've learned here at the MTC is the power of the Book of Mormon. Like my mission prep teacher said, "you can't read that book without feeling the spirit". I have such a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon and the power it has when you read from it. It truly is an inspired book.

OK, more on the airport. So we now have confirmed plans for our trip. It is what I said in the last email. I am going to buy a pre-paid phone card here at the MTC because it is cheaper. I don't know how long it has on it, but it probably wont be more than 20 minutes, so we have two options for calling. I can call you after I get to SLC which will probably be around 9:30-11am Utah time. Or I can call you from Chicago which would be between 3:30-5pm Utah time. Please email me back before 6:40pm Utah time tonight so I know what we are doing and what number I should call.

If you can possibly work out a way for me to get a Gospel Principle sents to me before I leave that would be awesome, but if not, I can buy an English copy here and try to find an Italian one there. Also, if Dad really wants to get my a advanced grammer text, then you can send that too.  Just a heads up, I will be sending back some books, so when you get those, please do not throw those away. I want them.

Other random news. Sean, there is an Elder here in my Zone that loves Led, so we talk about it all the time! When he found out that I loved Led, he said that I gained so much respect in his book. Elder Wirkus left today for his re-assignment in Lansing, Michigan. It was sad to say bye to him, but I know he'll do an amazing job. I hope he gets his visa soon so he can go down to Brazil. During our devotional last night, we heard a talk from President Hinckley's son, who gave a great talk about how to be the best missionary you can be. I will share some quotes in a second, but after the devotional we actually took a MTC-wide picture in the Marriott center. It was the 3rd time that the entire MTC has taken a picture together, so that was super special to be a part of. There are more than 3500 missionaries here, and more than 70,000 around the world right now. How crazy is that!!! I'm so happy to be a part of it. I know this is where I need to be.

Today we cleaned the temple. It was amazing. We got the clean the chapel and one of the sealing rooms. It was really easy cleaning, but it was such much fun because I knew that I was actually cleaning directly for the lord's house. It was weird being in the temple with all of the construction, but I could still feel the spirit so strongly. The temple worker who was with us gave us a tour after we were done and she showed us the bride's room. That is an incredible room. Wow. The chandeliers in there were incredible!!! Then we got to actually sign the back of a tile that is going into one of the bathrooms. Unfortunately that tile is going into one of the women's bathrooms, but oh well! Now a part of me will always been in the Provo Temple.
The other thing I wanted to share was an experience I had this past week. I was talking to one of the Elders in our zone when another elder stumbled out of his room looking very uneasy. He just walked around for a bit, but then he walked up to us and while bawling, he asked us to give him a blessing. I couldn't figure out exactly what happened, but from what I could gather, he was visited by an evil spirit and he was really shook up by it. The other elder I was with administered the blessing, and it was one of the most beautiful blessings I have every heard. I could feel the Lord working directly through us to bless one of his faithful sons. I was so honored and glad that I lived worthy of my Priesthood so that I could be called on to exercise it when needed. I know that the adversary's power is real and he is trying all that he can to stop us from speading the gospel, but I know that Heavenly Father watches over and protects all of us. It was a really spiritually strengthening experience and i know I won't ever forget it.

Here are some quotes that I really liked from the devo's this week:

"you're not finding anyone, God already found them"
"no tool or resource can replace you. You are the real tool in the Lord's hand"
"Christ loved the people enough to die for them"

Thank you so much to everyone for writing me! I love hearing from you all, and next time I do, I'll be where the Lord needs me in Italy! I'm so excited to be here and to tell you all about my experiences.

Vi voglio bene!!!!!! (I love you all!)

Anziano Langlois

Friday, July 12, 2013

2 More Weeks!! July 10, 2013

Ciao tutti!!!
Due setimani piu!!!! I can't wait to go to Italy already. I didn't know which email to send it to, so I just sent it to both. I can't believe how fast time has flown by. I've been out for a month already! I've seen a ton of people come and go. It's crazy how weird time passes here. I only have 23 months left. I may not speak the language perfectly, but I'm ready to go. I already love the people and I want to be with them. I've been emailing Anziano (Trevor) Morgan who is in Napoli right now, and it just makes me want to go to Italy even more!!!
I'm so excited to hear about your trip to New Jersey. I'm so jealous, it sounded like a blast. I can't wait to get out of these prison walls. In fact, we call the MTC here: Spirit Prison. haha We just found out today that we get to clean the temple next week. I'm so excited to  do that! I thought the last time I would go to the temple for two years was 2 weeks ago before it closed, but I guess I was wrong! haha. P-day is probably the most glorious day ever. Now that we can't go to the temple, I have time to take naps. Glorious naps!
Mom, we do not have the cousins, they come in next transfer when we leave. I forgot to ask my teachers about the pictures, but I will tomorrow. As for packages, I would really like a hacky-sac, we really like to play that here and I'd like to bring one to Italy. Also, if it is possible, I would love to have my moldable plastic. Besides that, I don't really need anything. My district really appreciated the rice krispy treats. Before I forget, I found out that I will be able to call you for a few minutes in the airport when we fly to Italy. I don't know what airport or when specifically I can call you, but I will find out. We fly out of SLC for Chicago around 11:15am on July 23rd. Then we have a 2 hour layover. Then we fly to London and have another two hour layover. Then we fly to Milano!!! I'm so excited to go, but its going to be a long day of traveling. Also, if you could please ask Patrick to email me transfer news from European Soccer that would be awesome. Thank you so much for the sports update Dad! I'm so glad the US is doing so well this year. I think we might have a good chance to go far this year. As long as we don't choke. I can't believe the Dodgers turned it around so fast! I miss sports so much. We never know what happens in the real world, so its nice to hear whats happening every now and then.
Back to New Jersey really quick. You all mentioned how hot and humid it was on the East coast. Well, I found out that when we get to Italy, it is going to be exactly like that. Oh joy!!!!!
Thank you again for the package. I love it all and I even used that foam stuff to celebrate 4th of July. I will attach a picture. For the 4th we had a speaker talk to us, and then we all watched 17 Miracles. I loved the movie, but I think the only reason they did it was so that all the missionaries would be inside during the Stadium of Fire performance. We then got ice cream and got to watch the fireworks. They weren't Tahoe, but they were fun.
Dad mentioned in his letter that when we don't have the Spirit, we don't teach as effectively as we do when we have the spirit. I actually had an experience with this. We were teaching our investigator, Daniel, and I thought we were prepared, but as soon as we started the lesson, I couldn't feel the Spirit as strong as normal. It was a hard lesson, and he had some hard questions, but we did our best to salvage the lesson. We left the lesson slightly discouraged, but we lifted out heads back up and pushed on. When we next taught him, we made sure we wouldn't let that happen again. This time, we were prepared. The lesson was so powerful and the spirit was so strong.  I was so excited and happy for him. I have such a strong testimony of the spirit and its power and influence as a teacher. I'm always going to do all that I can to always have the spirit with me so that I can be the teacher that the Lord needs me to be.
My Italian continues to improve every day. Anziano Erickson is learning really fast and I'm so proud of him. Yesterday in one of our lessons, he took charge and led the discussions. He bore a powerful testimony and I just sat back and watched the Spirit work through him. Fratello Jeter asked us and the Sorelle to make sure we SYL with the other Anziani to help them. He also asked us to sacrifice some of our study time to help the others with Italian. I spent one afternoon helping one of the struggling Anziani in my district and after helping him, he totally understood that things that were confusing him! I was so proud of him and his hard work. I know the Lord will bless those who serve their fellow man, and ultimately serve him.
So every Monday, we have the opportunity to teach members who volunteer their time to help us practice. They are all native Italians or went to Italy on their missions, so they speak really well and fast!! Last week, Anziano Erickson and I taught Sorella Hileman, who served her mission in Catania. She was so incredibly nice and helpful. She loved our message and our testimonies. She reminded me a lot of Grandma Fackrell. We taught her a 20 minute lesson like we were suppose to and we got ready t o leave, but then she sat and talked to us for 20 more minutes, so we weren't able to teach 2 lessons like we were suppose to. Whoops!! This week we taught Sorella Hansen. She is from Denmark and is fluently in like a million languages. She also served her mission in Catania. She spoke super fast, but I actually understood about 95% of what she was saying. After the lesson, she told my teacher that my Italian was great! I still have so much to learn though, and everyday I try harder and harder to master it.
This week we had a random day where it poured really hard for about 30 minutes, and there was enough thunder and lightning to shake the buildings. It was so cool!!! We just stood out in the rain because we were so sick of being locked inside for 6 hours. But while we ate dinner, it stopped and when we came out and the ground was completely dry. It was so weird! But because of the rain we couldn't go play calcio that night, so instead I played 3 square. Which was really fun and surprisingly intense. Some of the people were cut-throats!
Everyday Anziano Erickson and I bear our testimony to random people 2 times each. I love doing this! I love meeting new people and talking to them and finding out where they are from and where they are going and how their language is coming on. We met these two sisters going to Mongolia, and I am so glad I'm not going there. That language is hard and weird!!!. I also love bearing my testimony in Italian, it is so much fun to see peoples faces light up when they feel the spirit. One day this week I bore my testimony to these two Sisters going to the Philippines. Turns out that one of them was on the BYU Women's Soccer team and she recognized me!!. So we talked  for 10 minutes or so. She told me that she wants to give me one of their new posters before I leave, and  that she was really grateful for my dedicated fanmanship throughout the season. It's a small world!!
 Thank you all for writing me the week, I really appreciate it. Reading your letters and emails always brighten my day and make me feel loved. Keep it up!! Also, thank you all for keeping me in your prayers, I can feel an increased spirit because of them. I love you all and I hope to hear from you all soon! Until next week!!!
Vi voglio bene!!!! (I love you!)
Anziano Langlois
P.S. I really apologize for the increasingly worse grammar, spelling, and just overall continuity. We don't have a lot of time to write these, so I'm typing fast. And it doesn't help that the English part of my brain is shutting off more and more every day.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

La Vita E Bella July 3, 2013

Ciao tutti!!
Another week here at the MTC has flown by! I can't believe that it's already P-day again! The days here are really long, but they also seem to just fly on by. It's a weird feeling. We have now seen 3 new waves of missionaries here so it makes us feel really old and like we have been here forever because we have!!!! I'm so ready to go to Italy!!!!!! Only twenty more days! I'm so excited to go and everyday I get even more excited. I know I still have alot to learn here, but I just love speaking Italian, and teaching in Italian, and I'm just loving the Italian people already!!!! As I told you last week, Anziano Erickson and I have two investigators, Sebastian and Daniel. We have taught them both twice now and we have our third lesson with both tomorrow. I can't wait. During our last few lessons, we have been really prepared to teach our lesson, but then we don't even use it because the Spirit directs us on an entirely different path. I have a very strong testimony that if we put in the work to prepare ourselves to teach, the Lord will bless us with knowledge and guidence even it is for a lesson that was in no way planned to be taught!!
I have felt the Spirit more than I ever have in my life and I treasure every small encounter I have with Him. I can't wait to go out to Italy and teach real people who are waiting to hear the gospel and my testimony. I pray for them every night.
On Sunday night, we had the opportunity to watch Elder Bednar's talk from the MTC Christmas Devotional from 2010 entitled "The Character of Christ". That talk seriously changed my life. I look at the world in a completely different way now. There aren't enough words to describe what I was feeling, what I still am feeling, but I will share one part of his talk with you. He said that the character of Christ is turning outward towards others when the natural man would turn inward towards himself. He told us that we must be like the Savior and even when the world seems to be against us, we must turn out and help others. Obviously Elder Bednar said it in much more beautiful language, but I would encourage you all to try and find this talk and read it. It seriously has helped me come closer to my Savior as I try and emmulate his perfect example.
I love speaking Italian. I love learning more of it and speaking it and just everything about it! I study it all the time and I'm pretty good at not having to struggle really hard to find the words to talk anymore. The Lord has helped me so much and I thank him everysingle day. Sunday night as Anziano Erickson and I were leaving our District meeting, a member of our Branch Presidency stopped us and told us that he looked at our teaching records and he was very impressed. He said that we were doing an amazing job. As he said that, I immediately thought of Alma 26:12. I come back to that scripture everytime I recieve a compliment or I learn something new. It is so true, the Lord is helping me every step of the way and I would be nothing without him.
In less spiritual news, I see old BYU friends everywhere and I always get so happy when I see them, especially Elder Brown. How can I not smile when I'm around him! Our district plays soccer or calcio every gym time and I love it!!! I miss watching games so much, but I love doing the Lord's work. I'm really jealous that you all get to go visit Erin and Dan in New Jersey. I miss family vacations. I'm so happy to see that Terry's lawn is finally finished! It looks great!!!!! Please tell Elder Jackson to tell the rest of his district that I miss going district meetings with them and to thank them again for letting me tag along with them so much! I got the package today. THANK YOU!!!!!!!! I love everything in it, especially Jude's flag. He is so cute and I miss him a lot. It is really really REALLY hot here and I'm pretty much dying everyday. But the best part is that it is only going to get hotter and Italy is going to be even hotter!! Yay!!!!
I love you all and I love hearing from you all!!! So please write me or email me! I want to find out what's happening in the real world! Speaking of people writing me, I want to give a special shout-out to Holly for writing me last week. I got her letter after my email time so I couldn't mention her in last week's email. I hope you are getting all of the pictures! And don't worry Mom, I will get a picture in front of the map. Vi amo tantissimo!!!!!
Anziano Langlois

 Elder Wirkus- Brazil (BYU roommate)

 MTC District

 Sister Broberg- Idaho, Boise (Spanish)

 Elder Nickolaisen- Brazil

Sister Rupp- Philippines