Thursday, October 24, 2013

Prato October 23, 2013

Ciao tutti!!

Oh boy, where do I start this week. Well, I'm here now in Prato and this city is gorgeous. Bellissima!! There is this river that runs right through the city and there are olive trees everywhere. They are literally lining the streets. Everyone comes and picks them and then makes their own olive oil. This city is a lot smaller than Genova and so we have bikes here. I really like how small the city is, but I hate bikes. My legs hurt all the time and I'm always sweaty and I've been tired every single day I've been here. I'm glad I'm on bikes though because it forces me to exercise. I'm getting a pasta belly and it really stinks because the food is so good and you just want to keep eating it. 

So here's a little more about my comp, Anziano Walker. He grew up in Escondido but he moved to St. George and now lives there. And get this, he was really good friends with Becca (Eric's cousin). He kinda freaked out when he found out that we were cousins. So Becca, if you're reading this, he says hi. Cool thing is that he is a pilot. He really likes to all the time. Even when we are in the middle of centro. IN fact, we actually do singing finding in centro. We just go and sing while the other two anziani go and talk to people. The first time we did it, this lady tried to give us money! Instead we gave her a pass along card and she's coming to English class probably. We actually have talked to a lot of people doing this. It's just strange enough to work I guess. haha. So the other two anziani in our apartment are Anziano Windley and Anderson, both from Utah. It's really weird because we are basically all at the same level in the language, but we were all in different parts of our missions, so we are all learning together. Our apartment is huge and brand new. This is the 3rd transfer that we've had it, so its really nice. Two bathrooms...yeah, that's pretty nice.

So going back to Prato a bit, the river flooded the other day when it rained and let's just say, it was pretty full of water. I will attach some pictures. We do a lot of finding work on the side of the river. It's a really nice bike path (Dad, you would love this city). We actually met some guys who are mountaineers and they offered to take us up the mountain sometime and so we did this morning. We hiked this mountain that separates Prato and Firenze, so at the top, we had an amazing view of the entire valley. It was so much fun. There is actually a really old house up there Casa Bastone, and we stopped by there because the guys friends work up there and maintain the house and what not. It was a little museum thing. Dad would love it. They were all really nice and they actually grabbed an American flag they had and hung it up on the flagpole with the Italian flag. It was awesome! They were all so nice and really funny. And it was really good practice at just normal conversational Italian. I had a ton of pictures from this hike, so I wont send all of them. 

So, we have had some really great miracles with me. Heavenly Father is very patient with me. We had fast Sunday this week because last week was District Conference here in Firenze (they are almost a stake!). So we fasted and the power of fasting really works. We had a  day of basically all finding work, which is never very fun, but we managed to set up an appointment with an old investigator. So we met him, his name was Salvatore, and we taught him. Then after we said goodbye, this ragazzo walked past, so we started talking to him and we ended up teaching him a lesson too! He was super interested and his name was Salvatore too! So we got 2 new investigators within about 30 seconds of each other. It was crazy! And then during sing finding that night, this man walked up to us and told us that he really respected us because he never sees us doing anything bad. We are just always so happy. And guess what his name was....that's right. Salvatore!!! So that was a crazy day. Then yesterday we had a lesson fall through so we went to do some casa, and I will be honest, I didn't have the best attitude about it, but I went and did it. We got rejected about 15 times and then we met this girl at the door of her palazzo and she was actually interested! We taught her for 5 minutes and then gave her a restauration opuscolo and she said that she wanted to meet with us again! Heavenly Father really has a funny sense of humor. He gives me these little miracles right as I'm losing faith. I'm so grateful for the Lord's help in this work. It really is his work. I'm so grateful to be here serving the Lord. This work is really hard, but its really rewarding. 

Reading your letter this week Dad it reminded me of a really cool experience I had last night. We were teaching this really cool couple about the Plan of Salvation and they had a ton of really confusing and odd questions. We tried our best to answer them, and then at  the end of the lesson, I felt prompted to promise them that if they go to the Lord in prayer, that he will answer their questions. The spirit was so strong and it really just affirmed to me that I really am making a difference in these peoples lives. I love being a missionary. Sure its hot and humid and I have to ride a bike everywhere and no one really wants to talk to us and I have to pay almost 5 euro to email you, but I know that I am helping the Lord's work move forward. I'm so grateful. I'm learning so much and it honestly feels like I've been here for a week. I can't believe I've been here for 4 months already. 2 years is going to fly by so fast. It's crazy.

I want to thank you all for your prayers and support. You are all so amazing and I couldn't do this without you all. I love you so much. I love hearing from you and I hope that you can all feel a little piece of the joy I feel when you read these emails.

BYU sports is the best. I'm glad to hear that we are all now in winning ways. Keep me updated. I still have my 2 BYU women's soccer posters up in my room. I'm a dedicated fan, for life.

Really quick, we had a branch activity this past Saturday that I just kinda walked into. It was a western, so we had little gallery games and then a "campfire" together in the chapel. We sang songs and I kinda acted one out for the Italians who had no idea what we were saying. Its super hammy (prosciutto-ey here in Italy), so I'm sure you will all get a kick out of watching it. Any who, now the branch loves me and I think I'm always going to be remembered here as that one Anziano Pacus Bill.

I love you all and I hope you all have a great week!!

Wo ai ni!!!! (I love you in Mandarin. There are a lot of Chinese people here)
Anziano Langlois


Anzianos Anderson, Windley, Walker and Langlois

The river before the storm...
...and after.

Casa Bastone

Thursday, October 17, 2013

I'm Getting Transferred October 16, 2013

Ciao tutti!!!

Well, transfers are tomorrow and sadly, I'm leaving Genova. I got the call late Monday night after a lesson and I'm going to Prato. A city that is literally 15 minutes outside of Firenze( Florence ). My new companion's name is Anziano Walker. He is from Anziano Salmon's group and he's from San Diego area. That's all I know about him right now, but I will tell you more next week. So yep, today is my last day in Genova. We are having a Ward culture night party food thing tonight so it will be a fun way to leave. Then tomorrow morning I go with Anziano Treadway to Milano where I meet some other missionaries who are heading down to Firenze and then I will meet my companion there. Anziano Salmon and Erickson are now companions and they are staying here in Genova. Anziano Treadway is going District leader in Pavia. I'm really excited to go to Prato, it is going to be so cool to see another city and to be so close to Firenze! I noticed that you said that Sean and his family are coming here in January, well there is a very high chance that I'm still there in Prato at that time, and like I said, its literally 15 min outside of Firenze. That is super exciting. 

So before I forget (like I did the past 2 weeks), Happy Late Birthday Jason and Jude!!!!!! I'm really sorry I forgot, but better late than never. And speaking of birthdays, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Also, a very Happy Birthday to Jess and Annie!! I hope you all have a  great birthday!

Ok, so I want to apologize again for my really short email last week. So like I said, we climbed a mountain for P-day. It was super fun and super tiring. We followed this road, but then it ended up being someone's driveway, so we decided to just go straight up the side of the mountain. It was pretty dark because we wanted to beat the sunrise, and the way was very thorny. Our legs took quite the beating. Anziano Erickson got bit by a spider and later that night his leg was all swollen up, but he got some antibiotics and he's fine now. Any who, at the top, we saw that there was a road that went up the mountain, so we went back that way. But we decided to take a few shortcuts between the switchbacks. It was not a shortcut. It was super thorny and ridiculous. We found our way out and then stuck to the road after that. It was a super fun trip though.

So Anziano Salmon bought Scarabeo, which is basically an off brand version of Italian Scrabble. We tried playing and it is REALLY REALLY HARD!!!!! It was actually really good language study, because we had to think completely in Italian, which was really hard. Switching languages, we taught English class this week and a new student came and we found out that he and his twin brother own a pizzeria. So last night, we stopped by and ordered some pizza. While we were waiting, they made us some farinata which was really good and then they gave us our food for free! It was like 20 euros! They were so awesome and they made some good food.

This past week, I've been sick, which has really really stunk. I've wanted to go out and do things, but I had to stay inside to get better. I'm feeling better now, so that's good. And just in time for transfers! Meno male.

So this week, we've had a lot of miracles. We had 3 less actives in church!!! One stayed for 1 hour, another for 2, and the last for all 3 hours! It was really awesome, because the one that stayed really liked Sunday school and priesthood. It was so great to see all the members talking to them and welcoming them back. I really hope they keep coming. But the biggest miracle we had this week was very unexpected.  This week we decided that we were going to follow Anziano Ballard's advice from conference and talk to literally everybody. We did this and at first it was really hard because literally no one wanted to talk to us. Eventually we found a person here or there who would at least entertain us with a conversation, but nothing really came of it. We then did a pass by of a less active we have been trying to see for a couple weeks and like normal he wasn't there. But right as we were leaving, we got a call from one of our investigators, Giordana, that she wanted to meet us at the church right away. So we ran over there and when we got there she was super excited and happy. She has been having a lot of weird health problems lately and the first time we met her, we gave her a blessing, and she wanted to thank us because all of a sudden, her problems went away. She recognized the power of the Priesthood in this and had a ton of questions about the church and is super excited to learn. Its amazing all the different ways the Lord blesses us. We just need to be listening and paying attention so that we can recognize his answers and the blessings he gives us. Like Anziano Bednar said in conference, "eyes and ears of faith are required".

And that segues perfectly into my conference report. So like I said last time, it is so cool to be a missionary and watch conference. It went by super fast, but I felt the spirit so strongly and I really learned a lot. I just want to touch a little on the talks I really liked. Like I already mentioned, I really liked Anziano Bednar's talk about tithing, but especially how "eyes and ears of faith are required" for us to recognize the blessings that we receive. It's so true how if we aren't paying attention, we can easily miss the blessings that he gives us. Then I really liked President Uchtdorf's talk about the church and how everyone is welcome and fits in perfectly. This church is amazing and the gospel of Jesus Christ applies perfectly to everyone, that is the most amazing thing. Then I really like Edward Dube's talk. First of all, I really loved how he talked and just everything. Second, he had a really powerful and important message. It doesn't matter where we serve, but how. The Lord cares about where we are willing to go to help progress his kingdom. Then President Monson's talk at the end of the Sunday Morning session was super powerful. You could really feel his testimony of this gospel and how it was such a help in the difficult times. The spirit was so strong during his talk and I will never forget how human he seemed. Sometimes we forget that the Prophet and the Apostles are normal people too. They have trials and hardships just like we do. It was super powerful. But my far, my favorite session was Priesthood, especially President Monson's talk about hometeaching and beings a true shepard. I have such a strong testimony of the importance of hometeaching. Thank you so much Dad for always talking me with you and teaching me how to really be a friend to the people we visit, and not just lazy sheepherders. You have been such a great example to me all of my life of how to really be a disciple of Christ. I love you so much and I'm eternally grateful for your help. Keep on being the amazing Dad and priesthood holder that you are.

To finish up, here is my less spiritual sport talk. The Dodgers suck. I'm not surprised that they choked, but I had hope. Oh well, maybe next year. We need to get some better and more consistent hitting. I'm sad to hear that my team lost, it's always a downer, but its part of the game, so I know they will get it back on track. I have faith in my girls. I'm glad the volleyball team won and in such a dramatic fashion too! haha. Its always a good day when BYU football wins.

That is so crazy how many missionaries you have now, but we are in the same boat here. About 75% of our mission is below their first year mark. Crazy! But its just proof that the Lord is hastening his work. Keep on helping the missionaries with lessons and feeding them. Missionaries love it when members feed them. Trust me. haha

I want to see pictures/video of Lizzy's field show! It sounds super cool! And thank you for the greeting Mr. Peter!! (I guess I can call you Brian now). I'm glad to hear that the CD is underway, I'm really excited to hear it when it's done. Send all my love to everyone in the band program, especially studio.

As always, thank you so much for the letters, I love hearing from you all! I love you all so much and hope you have an amazing week! And sorry again for the short email last week. I hope this one makes up for it!

Vi voglio tantissimo bene!!!
Anziano Langlois

Monday, October 14, 2013

Quick Email Oct 9, 2013

Ciao Tutti

I apologize for the really short email this week. P-day was kinda crazy and I don't really have a lot of time to write. I'm really sorry and I promise that next week will be a lot better.

So basically this week in a quick glance, we have this really cool investigator from Austria but is here in vacation. We taught her yesterday and we had a great lesson. She is super humble and therefore the spirit was really strong. She then came to the baptism we had right after. A kid in the ward got baptized and it was really cool. The spirit was really strong and I knew she felt it.

We climbed a mountain today for p-day and it was pretty crazy. It was super hard, but super fun and it actually didn't take that much time. Besides that, this week has been pretty normal. We are still working really hard and seeing more success. I was sick this past week so that hasn't been that fun. But I'm slowly getting better. 

Once again, I'm really sorry for the short email. I love you all and I will write a much better email next week. And Mom, as for the counter, how is it 38 dollars? That's nuts! Is there someway to make it cheaper, by sending it some other way? As for things I need, I cant think of anything. Erin is knitting me a scarf, but besides that, I cant think of anything. I don't really need it if its going to be that expensive. And you can always send it at Christmas or something.

I love you all so much and for the third time, I'm really sorry. Conference was super awesome and I love every minute of it. It went by too fast though. Keep on being amazing everyone!

Vi voglio tantissimo bene,
Anziano Langlois

Friday, October 4, 2013

Ciao October 2, 2013

Ciao tutti!!!

I'm going to start with sports this week. Yes Dad, please tell me about BYU volleyball and basketball. I have a really good friend on the volleyball team (shout out to Sam!!) and we now know that one girl who's name I can't remember at the moment on the basketball team. I'm excited about the football win, and sad about the soccer loss. Last year was just so great, but I am still a dedicated fan none the less, so keep the updates coming! I really want to know about the playoffs as long as the Dodgers are in it. After that, I probably won't have any interest. haha. 

The weather right now is really nice here. We have a lot of rain about one of week or so, but besides that, it's perfect. But starting Saturday we move off summer schedule here, so that means 6:30 wake up and suits to meetings. That means that winter will soon be upon us. I have a feeling that I'm going somewhere really cold this winter, but who knows. We'll see what happens! 

 Working with less actives is probably one of the best uses of missionary work, because you can always find referrals from them. Tell the TO3 Ward to keep on working hard, I love them and send my support. 

I'm really glad to hear that you are reading out of Predicare il Mio Vangelo. That book is inspired and the common misconception is that it is only for missionaries. That is WRONG!!!!!! Every member should read PMV, so that they understand their role in helping the missionaries. We just did a training on the Work of Salvation with our ward, so I just want to stress the importance of members understanding their role in missionary work. It is critical. Invite invite invite!!! Fellowship everyone. Share the gospel as much as possible with everyone! Just like Elder Holland said, "an invitation extended with love will never appear offensive".

We are super excited for conference here. It's going to be weird because the times are super different, but I'm really excited. Unfortunately we don't get Sunday afternoon session here, so I'm going to miss Elder Hamilton's talk. I'm going to try and see if we can watch it in District meeting the next day. If not, I can watch it next P-day or something. I want to challenge you all to have a question in your heart when you watch conference, and if you listen hard enough, I promise you will receive the answer. I also want to invite all of my non member friends, yes you know who you are. Its not just for the members of the church, its for everyone! I'm sure my family would be more than happy to have you over to watch with them. I testify that their really is a living prophet on the Earth today, and we can hear from him, the things that our loving Heavenly Father wants us to know in these perilous times. I pray for you all the time and I love you all so much. Don't be afraid to ask questions. 

I want to share a really special experience I had this week. We were calling old potentials out of the area book with really not a lot of success. We went to get ready to leave when I said that we should just call one more. We called them and found a really awesome woman who had met the missionaries before and read the Book of Mormon. She lives in Austria right now, but is here for vacation. We met her that night and had an amazing lesson. We didn't really know what to teach her, so we got to the church early and prayed. We then thought that we should show her part of the movie Together Forever, so we ran back home and grabbed it. When she got there, the Spirit told us to do something completely different. It's funny how the spirit works, and we may not understand it, but if we head its promptings, we will know what we need to do, and what we need to say. We had a really powerful lesson with her and at the end of the lesson we were inspired to give her a blessing. She is really trying to overcome this difficult time in her life and she is honestly seeking for answers. I know that they Lord gave her these trials, so that she could be humble, and now the savior and this gospel can help bring her up even higher than before. It really made us think of Alma 32 where Alma rejoices because the people were made humble and so he knew that they would accept the gospel. The moral of this story is to follow the spirit. He will never guide you astray. If we are humble and willing to heed the promptings we receive, we will be blessed and guided in our lives.

In other random news, I love Ecuadorean food. It is so good. I have eaten so much rice, beans, and chicken here, and it is always good!!! Jason, I know you ate good on your mission. Oh man, I love when members feed us. Its the best! haha. Sorry there aren't any picture this week. We wanted to go to this awesome little town called Portofino today, but we missed our train, so we are just going bowling again, but this time with the Capi Zona! Next week I think we are going to Portofino, so we'll see. Either way, there will be pictures.

Another random story. So we planned this activity for people to come to the church and find out more about the church. we planned to watch the Restoration film and have a question and answer session. So we passed out about 200 plus biglitini over about a month, and then literally no one, and I mean NO ONE showed up. We know why it failed though. We didn't include the members! So next time, we are really going to use the members better. haha. Moral of the story, members are really important in missionary work!

I want to end this email with a really lame, but awesome thing I realized this past week or so. So one night we were walking and I saw this cat, so I spoke to it naturally. Then Anziano Salmon asked me why I said "ciao", so I said, "normally cats say "meow", but the cats here in Italy are Italian, so they say "ciao"". Yes, I know its pretty lame. Anziano Salmon thought I was crazy, but I'm convinced that it works. Communque...Thank you everyone for your letters this week! I love hearing from you and I can't wait to hear from you all next week. I really hope I hear from some people saying how awesome conference was, yes, you know who you are. Just go watch one session. I promise its worth it. Please tell Patrick again to email me, and please send me recipes!!!! I am out of cooking ideas!!! I need new ideas! 

Vi voglio tantissimo bene!!!
Anziano Langlois