Saturday, August 31, 2013

One Week Left August 28, 2013

Ciao tutti!!!

I can't believe next week is the end of my first transfer here. Time has seriously flown by, and it felt like just yesterday I was getting here, not knowing what anyone was saying. And now I'm 5 weeks in and I can sort of understand the people here! haha.

So today was pretty weird because right as studies started, the other Anziani got a call to go visit a member in Bolzaneto (which is about 45 min away), so all 4 of us went, because the member said that we might need to perform an exorcism. Luckily, we didn't. We just had a really good discussion with them, and when I was saying the closing prayer, I felt the spirit guiding me so strongly what I needed to say to this family. I was almost like a blessing, it was really cool. But anyway, because of that, our P-day started kinda late, and that's why I'm just now writing you. But today has been really fun. We got to go play soccer with a member in the ward and an investigator and some other Italians. It was so much fun!!!!! We had this super nice little field to play on (picture attached) that overlooked the ocean. It was awesome. If I'm honest, I played really well for not being that good at soccer. I scored a couple goals and was holding my own against the natives. We all thought that we were going to get slaughtered, but we actually didn't. The teams were pretty fair and it was just so much fun to play. It was really really hot though, and we were so sweaty and thirsty afterwards, but it was worth it.

So like I mentioned the last few emails, this city has some crazy storms, and I love it. 3 nights in a row this week, we had increasingly bigger storms, the last of which, had more rain than I have ever seen before. It was nuts!!! The wind was super strong too and there was just lightning bolt after lightning bolt. I got some cool pictures of them. And just so you know, the picture that I attach really was the flash of lightning. Crazy stuff. 

So last night, I tried to make crescioni (kinda like a crepe) for the first time all by myself, and as you can probably see by the picture, it didn't turn out so well. But it still tasted abbastanza bene. I will get better as I make them more. 

This past week, I went on 2 scambi with the Anziani from La Spezia, a city that is about 2 hours away. I stayed in our area both times, but we would take the train to La Spezia to meet up and rescambio, so I basically sat on a train for 5 hours those 2 days, it was pretty weird, and as soon as you sit down on the train, its really hard to stay awake. But both the scambi were really fun and I learned a lot. I'm really glad that Anziano Salmon is the District Leader, because then I get to do a lot of scambi with everyone in the District. 

So every Wednesday night, we have the great and fun opportunity to teach English class. I love it!!! It is really hard to try and teach English, but its so funny to watch Italians trying to learn it. Like last week, we worked on pronunciation of the "th" sound because its really hard for Italians to say. So when we had them trying to say words like "thwak" and "thwart", it was pretty funny. We have a pretty big group that regularly show up, so its really fun, and I look forward to it every week.

So our miracle this week comes from an investigator that we are teaching (my first investigator). We have been teaching him for a month or so and he knows its true, but doesn't want to really take any of the steps to join the church, because he really likes his church. So we decided that we couldn't really do anything more for him until he starts doing his part, so we decided to drop him. During the last lesson, we were about to tell him that we weren't going to meet with him anymore, but then he randomly said that he was going to come to church. Since it was Monday, we were putting a lot of faith into the fact that he would remember and would come. Like he promised, he came and I think he had a really great experience. I know that I could feel the spirit during gospel principles and it was exactly what he needed to hear. We are meeting with him tomorrow, so hopefully he will want to progress now. That just goes to show you that people can change, and having the spirit is so important in this work.

Like I mentioned at the beginning, next week is transfers. Its exciting, but I don't think I'm going anywhere. Anziano Salmon on the other hand, thinks that I'm going to train because the next group is really big. He then told me that he thinks I'm ready to train and that I would do a great job. That was such a big confidence booster for me, because I get frustrated when I can't understand people or speak to them. But I'm actually getting a lot better at that too! Anziano Salmon makes me do a lot of things, not in the "he's lazy" kind of way, but as in he wants me to have the experiences. So this week, I'm the senior companion, so I get the phone and I get to talk and set up a lot of our appointments. And tonight, I got to go to ward Italian. And guess what! I didn't make a fool out of myself. They understood me and I understood them. It was amazing!!! The Lord has blessed me so much with learning this language, and I'm so grateful for how well I understand and speak it now. I still study every single day to get better and better.

I'm so excited for Linda to have her baby! You will need to send me pictures. I can't believe that Lizzy is already back in school, that's crazy. I wish her the best, and Lizzy....junior year really isn't that bad, you'll be fine. Just remember, no boys until your married. I have a million things to always say and never enough time, but I love you all and wish you all the best. Thank you for your prayers and for your support! Please keep writing me, I love hearing from you all. And if you haven't written me yet, do it!!!! haha.

Vi voglio tanto bene!!!

Anziano Langlois

 Soccer Field overlooking the ocean.

Tried to make crescioni (kinda like a crepe)

 The flash from the lightening at night.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Time Flies August 21. 2013

Ciao tutti!!

I can't believe I'm already half way though my first transfer, its super strange because its felt really short, but also really long at the same time. I know I keep saying that, but its really a weird feeling and I still haven't got used to it. Oh well.

So this week, we didn't go anywhere super special, we just stayed here in Genova, but we went bowling! 3 games and shoes for 5 Euros, now that's a bargain! I will attach some pictures of that, and just of some other things from old pictures. If I send a duplicate, I'm sorry. 

First of all, holy cow!!!!!! The Dodgers would get really good as soon as I leave...those bums. But I'm super excited about that! Especially because one of the Anziani in our apartment is a big Giants fan. haha. USA soccer is on fire!!! A 12 game winning streak???? That's nuts!!!! They better keep this up, I want to see them go deep into the World Cup next year. While we were bowling today, there was a soccer game on TV and I may or may not have glanced at it a little bit. haha. I really do miss watching soccer, and I've yet to play it here! We are trying to find investigators that want to play so we can do some sport contacting, yeah!! 

So this past week Anziano Erickson and I went on a scambio together, just like the good old times!!! We were basically the blind leading the blind. haha. Actually, it wasn't that bad. I surprisingly understood a lot! We even taught a couple in the park, super awesome! We taught one of our investigators who isn't really progressing and after that lesson, Anziano Salmon and I decided to drop him, because he wasn't putting in any effort really. But we've seen a lot of miracles this week, and when we had the drop lesson with him, we watching "The Restoration" video and the spirit was really strong. After we explained to him that unless he starts putting in his own effort, we can't really help him. He then told us that he knows its true, but he doesn't really want to leave his church. He then told us that he will come to church on Sunday. Miracle!!!!!! We were so surprised!! I'm so excited and happy for him. He's so close.

Another miracle this week. We went out to do some pass bys in PrĂ  and one house was abandoned, and the other (like always) had a different name on the citofono. We suoned it anyway, and we found out that the family that we were looking for, no longer lived there. So we asked the man if he was interested in hearing our message and he said yes, but to come back in 30 min. So we did, and he immediately opened up, so we went up stairs. His door was open and he invited us in. I GOT INTO MY FIRST HOUSE DOING CASA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Quick side note, just so you realize how awesome this is, Anziano Salmon is about a year into his mission, and this was only the 4th time he had gotten in doing casa. So we were really excited, and right as we were about to start the lesson, his sisters family came and he apologized to us, but said that we had to go, but we could come back the next day, so we did. He opened up immediately again and we found ourselves back at the same table. We taught him the 1st half of the Plan of Salvation, and the lesson went amazing. It was pretty much 90% in Spanish, but it was great. I then invited him to be baptized and he said yes!!! However, we can't set a date yet, because he's kinda under house arrest. Hopefully, he said, that it will be cleared up in 2 weeks or so, so we should be able to baptize him next transfer if all goes well. Anyway, this was a huge miracle because we have been working so hard and not really seen any success, but this really showed me just how much the Lord really is watching and helping us. I'm still so grateful for this miracle.

Ok, random facts time. So like I said last time, Italians are a funny people. The funny little thing that a lot of Italians do here that I want to share this week is "capisci Italiano?". So let me explain. We will start talking to someone (in Italian) and about 5 min into the conversation or so, they stop and ask us if we understand/speak Italian. Sometimes I just want to slap them and say "WHAT???? Did you really just ask me that? Of course I do, how do you think I've been talking to you." I never say this, but I'm always very nice and patient with them. I really do love the people here. They are so funny, it cracks me up. I can always find a reason to smile here. 

Ok, so a few nights ago, I found out why this place is called the windy city, because in the middle of the night we were all woken up by what was pretty much a hurricane. All our doors and windows were slamming closed and open (we've lost 2 glass sections on our doors to this). Not only this, but it was absolutely pouring rain and there was some of the loudest thunder that I had ever heard. It shook the house. And speaking of our house, it was struck by lighting at least 3 or 4 times. So it was a pretty crazy night, but then in the morning, it was like nothing had happened. There wasn't a cloud in the sky, and the weather was perfect. It was such a weird few hours. Oh well, gotta love it here!

So just a few last things as I'm finishing up. Lizzy, you're awesome. I love your letters and you are carrying on the Langlois name proudly. I have had the same exact experiences here. No one gets my random quotes. Oh well! Also, it may be hot at band camp, but be glad that there is no humidity, because that is what kills you. I can personally attest to that. Your show sounds like it is going to be amazing. That vanguard show is incredible, and if you show is anything like that, you are going to kill it in the GE category. Keep me updated on that.

Mom, I know this is going to sound crazy, but could you find me a people counter on amazon UK and send it to me? Its just one of those metal things with a single clicker and every time you press it, the tally goes up by one. I want one because I want to keep it in my pocket and count how many people I talk to on my mission. I know it sounds silly, but I would really like one. 

I'm really jealous of the garden, because I miss having free fresh fruits and vegetables. When walking around the mountainy areas of Genova, I had found wild berry plants, but they weren't really yet. I told Anziano Salmon that we had to go back in a few weeks when they are ready. haha. Also, that one Elder who was in the MTC with me, I'm pretty sure I talked to him, because I found a group going there and I told them to look for you if they were ever in TO. 

Anyway, as always, thank you so much for your love, support, and emails. I love you all so much and I couldn't be happier to be here. I can't wait to hear from you all again!

Vi voglio tantissimo bene!!

Anziano Langlois

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Cinque Terre August 14, 2013

Ciao tutti!!!!

I apologize in advance, today has been a crazy day and I don't have a lot of time to write, so I will try to do my best to make sense and tell you everything I can.

First of all, thank you all for your emails! I love reading them, and I miss you all so much. I wish you all could be here with me. it is so incredible here. I love Genova. I went on a scambio with one of the zone leaders this week, and we went to the other side of Genova....this city is huge. I never even knew that whole half existed!!! I loved it though. We taught a Peruvian man, and gave two blessings. Plus, one of the members made us piadinas. They were so good!!! Its funny because everyone has been talking about the food I will eat, but the first time I ate at someone's house was this week. He is less active and after we taught him, he literally gave us an entire plate of freezing cold meat. I don't know from what animal it came from, but it was weird. He also made me eat a radish. Just a straight up radish. That was pretty gross. But I ate it anyway. Now, he is not from Italy, but I just thought it was funny that the first meal I ate at a members house was far from what I thought it would be. haha

Jason, our missions have something very much in common. We both taught Ecuadorians!! Literally everyone here is either Genovese or Ecuadorean. And they are all from Guayaquil, I don't know why, but they are. I just thought that was funny. In fact, a lot of the people we teach here are South Americans. Most of the Italians we teach are less active. Oh well. Also, there are a lot of Africans in Italy, so I speak English a lot more than I ever thought I would. It's weird, and hard to switch sometimes. 

Italians are a funny people. Everyone, and I mean everyone, goes on vacation in August. It's super frustrating because no one is home or the people you meet are just tourists, but oh well. The other weird thing, is that whenever we talk to someone, they almost always start talking about every other church but ours, the one we actually want to talk about. They always say, the catholic church this..the Muslims do this....the Testimoni di Geova say this.....but they never really let us talk about our church. Its kinda frustrating, but you hear some pretty funny and crazy things. I really love the people here, they are incredible, and as I understand more and more, they get more and more fun to talk to, because I actually know what they are saying!!! haha

Today for P-day we went to Cinque Terre, which are these 5 cities that are right on the coast and they are incredible. Oh wow...We went to 4 of the 5 and in my opinion, only really 1 or 2 are worth going back too. I took all of these pictures today, and they are not fake. Everything really looks like this, but so much more amazing. It's nuts how pretty this area is.

Now, I want to turn to a little more spiritual side. During our new missionary training a few weeks ago, we discussed that story of the young man in Matthew 19 who asks the Lord how he can receive eternal life, and after the Lord tells him to keep the commandments, the man says that he has since he was young, so then he asks "what lack I yet?". The answer that follows is specific to the young man in the story, so we were all asked to ask the Lord that same question. There is a lot of power in this, and when you do this, be ready to be humbled. The Lord always shows us hour weaknesses so that we can overcome them and become strong. Currently, I am studying the 4 Gospels and focusing specifically on faith. I plan on doing this for all of the Christ-like attributes. I have already learned so much. If we have faith, we can cast our all fear and the Lord with help us. I know sometimes I feel scared to talk to some random person in a language I don't speak that well, but every time I exercise faith and do so, the Lord blesses me so much. The Lord is always with you and will bless you as you "open your mouth, and it will be filled" as the Doctrine and Covenants says.

As always, thanks for the sports updates Dad. I cant believe the Dodgers are still doing so well! They would get good as soon as I leave. I'm so happy to hear that the US team broke top 20 again! We are really moving up in the world and making a name for our self. I hope we can keep it up. I'm really jealous of your camping stories, that sounded like so much fun. I miss camping so much. And Lizzy, I'm so glad you had such a fun time at girls camp. Always remember the spirit that you feel at those kind of events and try to keep that same spirit with you always. It is possible, and when you have the spirit with you, you can do miracle. You can be guided to people and given the specific words to say that will soften their hearts.

Through all the hard times, I always know that this is the Lord's true church and that Joseph Smith really did restore the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Earth. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that it is the proof of all these things. If you don't believe me, read it for yourself and ask heavenly father if it be true. It will change your life.

I love you all and wish you all the best in all of your lives and with whatever you are doing! Also Lizzy, if you think you miss air conditioning, then you should come to Italy. No one has air conditioning. Its just the best. haha

State mi bene!
Vi voglio tantissimo bene!!

Anziano Langlois

 Cinque Terre

Monday, August 12, 2013

Daily Miracles August 7, 2013

Ciao tutti!!

Well, my second week here in Genova is complete and like the last one, it was hard, but I loved every minute of it! Thank you all so much for your words and prayers of support. I love you all so much. 

So, finding work is hard. Very hard. Most people see my name tag and immediately say that they aren't interested even before I say anything! I get a good laugh out of that, and now I always say, "but I haven't even said anything yet!". The Italians are a funny people, and I love them already. Once you start talking to someone, you have a hard time making them stop. I cannot tell you how many times I have stopped someone and then they talk for 20 minutes straight. Anziano Salmon and I can't even get a word in sometimes. Anyway, I've decided that this city is the perfect place for me to train because I am going to be a finding master after this. I pretty much don't have any more fear of talking to random people, because I'm actually starting to understand them! I don't understand everything, and as soon as someone asks me a question, I completely forget everything they said. Its funny and kinda frustrating at the same time, but then I remember that I've been here for 2 weeks. There's no need to worry. 

In general, I have a very positive outlook on the work here in Genova. We are starting to meet more members and even though we aren't really finding any new investigators, we keep on pushing forward because if we labor with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength, the Lord will help us and put people in our way that are prepared. This has actually happened a few times this week, unfortunately, the people we have these experiences with live in different areas than ours. But it is still helping the work move forward and so I'm really glad we have these experiences. 

One specific example was when we were going to Sampierdarena to help the other Anziani teach a lesson (they were double booked). While looking for this house, I kept telling myself that I was going to stop the next person, but then I wouldn't. But eventually, I did get the courage and when I asked her if she had seen the Book of Mormon before and she actually started talking to me, I was caught off guard and forgot what to say! haha. After I regained my thoughts, I talked to her for a bit and she was really interested. She said that she wanted a copy, but she was only visiting Genova for a few days. But, we got her info and hopefully the other Anziani can teach her, because she is ready. Also, she complimented my Italian! A real genuine Italian complimented my Italian! I was so surprised and happy! I know that this is only possible through the Lord. He has helped me so much with learning and understanding the language. Every single day I learn more and more and understand more and more. Of course, I have to put in my own work, so I study very diligently Italian for 1 hour every day. It has definitely helped me so much. Also, while I'm thinking of it. I found a copy of Gospel Principles in Italian in our apartment. Someone left it, so if you didn't already order one for me, don't. I can just take this one.

I love the ward here. This past Sunday, we must have had almost 70 people there which was awesome!! The members are so nice and they always help me with my Italian. I can tell you that the best way to learn any language is to try and speak it all the time. It's hard at first, but you learn so fast. Every now and then we will run into an African, or Romanian who only speaks very broken English, so I still have to use English every now and then, but most of the time its Italian. Or at least what I think I'm speaking is Italian. haha.

I had a Guatemala experience this past week Dad. We wanted to go to this park that we saw on the map, so we got on the bus and very soon we realized that this wasn't a was the mountains. So we stayed on the bus as it went up this super windy, one-lane road into the mountains. There was a point where a car had to back up almost a quarter mile to get out of the way of the bus. I'm so glad I wasn't driving. Anyway, we get to the top of the bus route and it is this gorgeous small mountain village (I wish I had my camera then! Next time). We waited for the bus to turn around and we rode it back down the mountain. Along the way, we picked up more and more people who were coming from a day in the river, and after one stop, we had about 70-80 people packed onto this bus. there was no room. We were cramped, pushed up against each other on this windy mountain road. And the best part is that almost everyone was speaking Spanish. I thought I was in Guatemala for a second. All I could think of was you Dad, and there was even a man with a mustache like yours! haha

I love this city. It is so gorgeous and every time we try to find a members house, it is an adventure. Yesterday we found this amazing little foot path along the side of the freeway. It was so awesome. I love exploring this city. Now, most of the time, when we go to a house, they either moved or don't want to talk to us, but we go anyway. I love it. And we meet a lot of people on the way.

Today, we played basketball with one of the other Anziani's investigators. He is from Ethiopia and he is awesome! He showed up to our English class and now they are teaching him. It was so much fun to play today, but wow....I've never sweat so much before. It is so humid here. haha. But I love it. I love the Anziani in our apartment, and I love our District. Right now, we have the Anziani from La Spezia with us because we have zone training tomorrow and La Spezia is far away. They are so much fun.

I can't believe the Dodgers are still in first. That is nuts. I can't wait to rub it into Anziano Treadway's face, because he is a Giants fan. I'm also super excited how into soccer dad is now. It makes me so happy. I love hearing about the games, so please keep it coming! It is pretty embarrassing that we lost so bad to Roma, they really aren't that great. But oh well, what can you do.

Thank you again to everyone for your kind words and support. I love you all so much and love hearing from you. I don't always have a lot of time, but I will always try and write you back, so if you want to send me an email, I would love to read it, and you will get an email back. It may be short, but it will come back. haha. Also, if anyone has any quick recipes they want to send me, that would be greatly appreciated. Right now, I can make pasta and toast, and that's about it. Different would be a nice change. haha

As always, thank you for your prayers and I will hear from you next week!! I hope you enjoy the pictures!

Vi voglio tantissimo bene!!!

Anziano Langlois 
Last pictures from MTC

On to Genova Italy!