Saturday, November 30, 2013

This is Going to Be Fun! November 27, 2013

Ciao tutti!!

Well, transfers are this week, and I am very happy to say that I will be staying here in beautiful Prato for yet another transfer. Anziano Walker is going off to Modena to be a Capo Zona, so I'm super proud of him. Anziano Anderson is going off to Bergamo with one of the famous Pinnocks, and his trainee, Anziano Windley is staying here and getting a new comp named Anziano Mollari. As for my new comp, I'm really excited. It's another Anziano Anderson, but this one is from my MTC District! I'm so excited!!!! It is going to be such a fun transfer. And on top of that, its almost Christmas, so the lights are all over the city and it is gorgeous. I love it here. It's still pretty humid, and by pretty humid, I mean freakin' humid and so its just bone-chilling freezing. The wind doesn't help at all, but oh well. Succede (it happens).

Well, just a few stories from this past week. So first of all, I tried to make Tiramis├╣ again.....it was at least better this time. It was less soupy, but still soupy nonetheless. Oh well, I'll get it right one day. But we did use hot chocolate instead, so that was yummy. And speaking of that, send hot chocolate Mom!!! It's a great way to warm up when we get in for the night and all the bars are closed. Next, we played some good old calcio the other morning in the park right by our house. It was super fun and I kicked some butt, might I add, but that's not super important. haha. OK, so I've decided that it is SUPER WEIRD to hear American here. And yes, I mean American. American English is so weird to hear. There are so many tourists in Firenze, so it messes with my brain, because I'm so used to Italian now. Oh well. haha. In fact, when we were in Firenze last P-day, we ran into a couple American members. It was super weird, but awesome to talk to them. We took some pictures with them, so some of them might show up on Facebook. Next, I had another Dad mission flashback this week. One night Anziano Walker and I were doing casa and then we stopped to look at the bellissima Toscana sunset, and then I turned to Anziano Walker and asked him "What am I doing here with you? I should be here with my wife." I seriously can't even begin to explain how gorgeous this area is. In fact, we went down to Siena today for P-Day, and lets just say......WOW.....I took over 100 pictures, and none of them do it justice. That city is incredible. Also, in their basilica, they have the head of a Saint from about 1358 or something. It was pretty schifo. Kinda cool, but also really strange. Whatever, I still can't believe that I am here on my mission. I am so lucky. 

Next, we set a baptismal date!!! It was our first one of the transfer and it, just like a ton of other baptisms, is scheduled for the 21st of December. His name is Tullio, and he is awesome. He is so ready to be baptized. Last night, we were teaching him and then he asked us straight up if he could be baptized. We then felt prompted to set the date of the 21st with him. It was crazy inspired, because we hadn't talked about a date for him yet, and then we both thought of the 21st on the spot without saying anything to each other. It was such an incredible lesson and spirit. I'm so happy to be here in Prato still. I will really miss Anziano Walker, but Anziano Anderson and I are ready to get to work. We WILL baptize this transfer. I can promise that. This branch is growing so much and just talking about it now, I can feel the spirit. I know that sounds silly, but I love this branch so much and the people here.

As for news back home, thanks for the sport report. I'm really sad that BYU had such a bad week, especially because my team is out of the tourney now, but I'm super proud of them. They did great for losing so many good players last year. I've decided that Linda and Peter have the cutest kids ever because Ellie is adorable. I'm really jealous that I don't get to see them. I miss Jude like crazy. I was actually just writing Erin about this, but I can really feel your prayers and I thank you. Sometimes, it feels like you all are standing right there with me, helping me go on, when it gets tough and its pouring and I'm exhausted. I cannot begin to express how grateful I am for all of you. I pray for you all every night and I hope that though my letters you can feel the love I have for you, but more importantly, the love that your Father in Heaven has for you.

So yep, I'm staying here for Christmas, so I will start figuring out what I'm going to do for Skype and we will keep in touch. You are OK to send my package here to Prato now Mom. And I can't wait to hear from you all next week! I hope you all have an amazing week and watch out for a Christmas package from me in a few weeks. I'm really going to try and get it sent of this week, so it gets there in time, but we'll see. I love you all so much and I wish you the best of God's blessings!

Vi voglio tantissimo bene,
Anziano Langlois

PS: I'm still trying to work on sending pictures. I keep getting lame computers that don't work, but I promise they will come!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Un Vento Nuovo November 20, 2013

Ciao tutti!!!

Let me just start by saying thank you to everyone for your emails and prayers and support in general. It seriously means the world to me. I love you all so much. 

And now onto the week. So let me just start by saying that its really windy here in Prato. I know I mentioned that last time, but its seriously been really windy for the past 2 weeks and its always right in our face when we are riding back home at the end of the day. Goodness me. And it also doesn't help to have that wind when you need to be home in 8 minutes and you are halfway across the city like we were last night. I don't know how we did it, but we did. My legs had never been so tired. But we were blessed with no cars and all green lights. It really was a miracle, and the lesson went really well. Besides the wind, this area is gorgeous. We went out and explored the far reaches of our area this week and we basically rode our bikes through the Tuscan hills. Yeah, it was pretty awesome. Dad, you are going to love to visit this city, because there are a ton of fun things you can do on bikes. So we went to this little town called Calenzano and we found a castle. From this castle, we could see the Firenze Duomo. Sure it was a little foggy, but still incredible. I cannot think of a more beautiful area of the world to be. Tuscana is amazing. Simply breath-taking. I still can't believe I live here.

Any who, on to some more spiritual matters. We had a baptism this week!!!! It was for the other Anziani, but it was still really exciting. The baptismal service  was incredible and really spiritual. We had two investigators come and they felt the spirit really strong. They are both going to get baptized in the near future. I love the work here. We are teaching a ton of lessons each week and we have some really solid investigators, so I'm super happy. One of these investigators is actually American. He is here on study abroad and we met him on the street and then met him the next day and taught him. He is super humble and was really open and willing to read the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it is true. We can only see him on the weekends, but I'm really excited to go and teach him again. He is so ready to hear the gospel and we were so lucky to find him.

This past week, we really tried to push our number of new investigators we find, because as a mission, we are really trying to teach more people and hasten the Lord's work here. So we set our goal in weekly planning, but then at District meeting, Anziano Walker told us to increase our goal by 2, so we wanted to get 5 new investigators this week. We got 2 during the week, but then it came to the last day of the week and we still needed 3 more. Our 1 lesson that day cancelled, so we had a lot of time to do some finding work. So we literally talked to EVERYBODY for about 6 hours straight. We taught a bunch of lessons, but couldn't set up any return appointments. So we decided to call some old potentials and try to set up lessons with them. We got two set up. 2 new investigators. Then we pushed really hard to get the last one. We even stayed out an hour longer than we had originally planned to search for that last person. We were working so hard, but we couldn't find them. At the end of the day though, we looked back and realized that we had really good gospel centered conversations with a lot of people and we even got some phone numbers that we can call later. Although it wasn't in the way we were expecting, the Lord really blessed us. We have been working so hard and the Lord is giving us people to teach. The Lord will always bless us when we are obedient, but sometimes its not in the way we are expecting. We just need to keep our "eyes and ears of faith" open. I really love that phrase from Elder Bednar's talk.

On other silly news, I tried to make tiramis├╣ this week. Well.....turns out I made tiramisoup instead. I messed up. It was still good...ish, but it was just really liquidy. I'm going to try again this week and don't worry. I've asked a couple expert Italians on their tips. So I'm pretty sure I know what I did wrong.

Dad, as always, I love the sport reports, so keep them coming. It's been a really good week for BYU sports. I'm really happy that they killed Weber St. 4-0. That's so awesome. Go cougars!!!! As for other sports news, it was a week for crazy endings to every game. That USC Stanford game sounded crazy. And Big Blue pulling off the literally last second field goal is crazy. I'm really happy Kershaw won the Cy Young award. He deserved it. He had a great season. And it gives the Dodgers some more recognition. Lets hope they can continue their great season next year.

I'm sad to hear that my bed's gone, but I'm really happy to know that it went to a good place. I'm all for helping those in need. And sorry about all the stuff still left in there. I'm glad to hear that WHS is doing well this year, and I can't believe that it is already time for finals. Wish them all my best, especially Madz.

I guess someone else did send me a package. But..who knows. I still haven't got it yet, so we'll see when it comes. As for sending me things. I'm most likely going to be here for Christmas, but I will know for sure next week, so I will tell you. If I stay, just send everything directly here. It's a lot easier, and I get it faster.

As for Skyping at Christmas, I may go to a member's house or just an Internet point, I'm not sure yet. But I will let you know. And it will be through Skype, so you don't need to worry about getting anything different. Thank you so much for the picture. It absolutely rocks. Oh the memories. And as for requests on my package, peanut butter. And that's all I can really think of right now. haha. I will keep you posted on that.

I'm so glad everyone enjoys my letters. I wish you could all be here with 
me to experience these things, because I can't put it all into words. Thank you again for everything. I love you all so much and I wish you all an amazing week!

Vi voglio bene,

Anziano Langlois

PS. The computer I'm using isn't reading my USB, so I will send pictures next week. We are in Firenze today again, so I will have a ton of great and amazing pictures to send you. Lets hope it stops raining though. haha

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Crazy Times November 13, 2013

Ciao tutti!

Again, I'm sorry for last week. It was just kinda crazy. But don't worry, we have a very relaxing day planned. We are going to go play some basketball and calcio, so I'm pretty excited. Also, shout out to Erin. Happy Birthday! You are such an awesome sister!!

OK, temporal things first. So my package is here Mom, but I haven't got it yet. I think I should get it next Thursday because of a mix-up, but we'll see. I know it's here in Italy though. Next, sports. Wow! What a crazy week for sports! I'm so glad to hear that my team got a piece of the WCC championship, and that they are into the tourney again. I will definitely want to hear all about that when it happens. Weber St. first? I'm OK with that. That is HUGE that bball win against Stanford. I really hope they beat St. Mary's. I'm still hurting from last year, but oh well. And Stanford coming through to beat Oregon again? That's crazy and sounded like a great game! But the real awesome thing is that good old WHS beat Oaks!!!! That game is always so much fun to watch, and what an ending. I probably would have died if I was there. I would have been going nuts and probably stormed the field. That is such an awesome way to win! And now that we are actually doing good, I'm happy, because I thought that it was going to be an interesting year.

OK, now onto more spiritual matters. haha. So this past week (like I already mentioned), we had the conference with Anziano Teixiera, and that was really awesome. But after the Capi Zona came back from consiglio, we learned the truth. So basically our mission isn't doing that great right now in Europe. In fact, we are the lowest baptising mission in Europe. So hearing this, I've decided to personally do all that I can in my own work here in Prato to move the work forward. I know the rest of the mission feels this push to do better and work harder and everything. So we've been trying to literally talk to everyone. We have been passing out pass-along cards like no other and we are starting to see results. So the other day I was on a scambio and we didn't really have any success doing our finding work, but we were still doing it and passing out bigliettini  left and right. At the end of the night, we still had 3 left, so we decided to pray to know who we should give them too. After doing that, we headed off towards home searching for these 3 people. We found two of them and they seemed slightly interested, but nothing special. Then I stopped this ragazzo and starting talking to him. Long story short, he wanted to hear about our message, but didn't have time, so he gave us his address and phone number, and told us to come by sometime and teach his family. Miracle!!! It was literally the last 10 minutes of the night or so, like it always is. Then during another scambio  I did this week, we had 6 lessons planned and it looked like it was going to be a good day. But before we even left the house, 3 had cancelled on us and then the other three also gave us bidoni. So there was every reason for this day to stink, but we kept our heads up high and kept talking to people. At the end of the night, we ended up teaching 3 lessons. It really was a miracle. And another quick miracle. So like I said, we are really trying to pass out bigliettini like crazy, so we were on our bikes yesterday waiting at a stoplight and I decided to give one to this man next to us, so I did. Then the light changed and we drove off. We were then waiting at the next light, when he came up to us again and told us that he wanted to meet with us tomorrow. We gladly set up an appointment and got his number. We are planning on seeing him tonight, so I'm super excited. I've seen the Lord bless my life and my work so much this past week. I know we can turn this mission around and put it back at the top like it was only 2 years ago. 

Time for some crazy stories. So on the same scambio where we got 6 bidoni, we were heading in for lunch and we decided to pass by the fiume (river) to see if anyone was there. I saw this guy sitting on a bench and just drove past, but then I was prompted to go back, so I did. Right as we start talking to him, he says "who sent you to me?". Turns out that he is in a really hard place right now and was about to go drown himself in the river. He said that he had nothing to live for and wanted to know why we came and talked to him. I bore powerful testimony of God's love for him and why we have these difficult times and was just really trying to follow the spirit. He told us that he loved us and was really grateful that we talked to him. We tried to do all that we could and then he said bye and left. We then said a prayer for him and I really hope he felt the spirit when we talked to him. I'm so glad that I recognized the spirit and went to talk to him. If I hadn't, who knows what would have happened. The Lord really does put people in our path and puts us in their's so that we can help his children. I'm so grateful and humbled by the opportunity to be a missionary of the Lord right now. 

Now the next few stories are just kinda silly, but still crazy. So we get ready to go to church on Sunday and we walk out the door only to see that it's pouring. So we go and grab our jackets and set off on our bikes...in the rain...to the church....which is about 20 minutes away....in the rain. When we got there, it looked like we had gone swimming. I turned my shoe upside down and a cup of water fell out. It was nuts. And of course it stopped right as we got to church, and then started up again right when we left church for back home. But I guess I don't really have anything to complain about. I didn't have that in the jungles of Guatemala for 2 years. haha. Then the past two days, we have had ridiculous amounts of wind. It's been so bad that when we were biking home last night, the wind literally stopped us in our tracks. It was crazy. Luckily today is not that bad, but oh man, it was crazy.

Any who, I can't believe that I've been out for almost 6 months. Christmas is next month. WHAT???? I can't believe I will be skyping you all in about 40 days or so. That's crazy. It literally feels like I've been here for about 2 weeks. The transfer is half-way over and that is nuts. I'm going to try and see if I can send home a Christmas package. Its kinda expensive, but I'm pretty sure I can do it. Any who, we'll see.

Thank you so much for your love and your prayers. I have learned so much about the power of prayer. I've literally been trying to pray before and after we do anything, so I can have the spirit and be guided to know how the Lord wants his work done. I know that if we ask Heavenly Father for help and we thank him for all that he's done for us often, we will be guided by his spirit and we will be able to recognize the promptings that come to us everyday easier.

Continue to be the incredible member missionaries that you are.  Keep helping the missionaries. Keep being such great examples to me and never let yourself doubt. Like President Uchtdorf said last conference, "Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith". I know, without question, that this is the restored church of God and that Thomas S. Monson is his prophet, seer, and revelator on the Earth to help us and to guide us back to our Father in Heaven.

I love you all so much and I want you all to know that I pray for you all daily. Thank you for your love and support, and I wish you all the best in this upcoming week. Remember that I love you, but more importantly, remember that your Savior and Father in Heaven love you more than you can even comprehend.

Vi voglio tanto bene,

Anziano Langlois 

PS. We did some plan of salvation drawings the other week too!

PPS. That castle and bridge are about 1000 years old. Yeah, that's pretty cool.

Chalk drawing of Plan on Salvation

1000 year old castle

Bridge 1000 years old

Apparently Anziano Walker thinks he is a tree

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Me Dispiace! November 6, 2013

Ciao tutti!!!

I'm really sorry again for a really short letter this week. It was a crazy day because we had planned to go with these member and climb to a castle near their house, but we missed our bus and so we were late and it's just a mess. So I apologize, I literally have like 10 minutes.

So I just want to tell you really quick about a miracle we had this wee this week. So last p-day we were out doing some finding work in centro, when all of a sudden, we stopped this guy and started talking to him. He was pretty cool, but he said he was agnostic. While talking to him, some guy taps Anziano Walker on the shoulder and asks him for a Book of Mormon. So he starts talking to him and I keep talking to the other guy. I taught him the Restoration and then he left and it turns out that Anziano Walker got the info from the other guy and we were going to visit and teach him and his family. So we went over a few days later and he told us that he had a lot of questions. We were a little scared, but then his questions were like "Where can I find the right path to follow?", "What happens to the people who didn't have a chance to hear the gospel after they die" and other golden questions like this. It was an incredible lesson and he accepted the invite to be baptised. We haven't set a date yet, but when we meet with him and his family next time. We definitely will. The Lord really does prepare people for us to teach. It's incredible. I'm so grateful to be a missionary.

Like I said, I don't have a lot of time, but I love you all and I will write you all back next week. Thank you so much for everything! And again, I'm really sorry!

Vi voglio tanto bene,
Anziano Langlois

PS. Here are a few pics of the duomo in Firenze and the castle!
 
Duomo in Florence




Castle

View from the Castle

 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Greeting from Firenze! October 30, 2013

Ciao tutti!!!

Well, I'm right now sitting in an internet point in Firenze. I can't believe that I am here. It is seriously crazy. This city is AMAZING!!! Sean and Sylvia put it the best, this city is an open air museum. Sadly I don't have a lot of pictures to send of Firenze right now, because we decided to do internet first and then go walk around so it's easier to take our train back to Prato, but next week, there will be a ton! 

I don't even know where to start right now. Life as a missionary is amazing, and life in Toscana as a missionary is even better!!! This area is down-right gorgeous. I can't wait to show you around in a year and a half. And speaking of that, that is crazy!!!!! I can't believe that Christmas is next transfer!!! I'm almost a quarter done with my mission!! Time has literally flown by. I never thought it would go this fast, but it has. I need to go out and do more stuff while I still can!! haha

Well, like always, it always makes me super happy when BYU sports does well. Especially when my team upsets a high ranked team like Portland or Penn St. last year. Its so weird to hear about missionary work happening back in good old TO3, but I'm really happy the missionaries are working hard and that there is going to be a baptism!! Dad, keep on working with the missionaries and helping them, having a good member (especially one as awesome as you) makes all the difference. I'm really sad and shocked to hear about Sister Needham though. I can't believe it, that's crazy. Please send my love to Brother Needham and thank him again for being such amazing teachers in Sunday school. I learned so much from them and I'm very grateful to them. While death is a very sad thing, I'm so grateful that we have a knowledge and testimony of the Plan of Salvation. As I've been teaching the people of Italy about this marvelous plan that Heavenly Father has prepared for us, I am just humbled by how loving and merciful he is to us. Every single day, my faith grows stronger and my testimony becomes more and more built upon the rock of Christ.

Speaking of being built on the rock of Christ, the other day we were doing some finding work on the fiume and we stopped to talk to this man sitting on a bench. He then proceeded to tell us that our church was a lie and rubbish (he was British), and that we were deceiving people and destroying peoples lives. He said a ton of really hurtful things about us and then he asked us if we had a bike pump because his tire was flat. We very kindly told him where he could pump up his tire for free and then wished him a good day and left. I was so shocked at how hostile he was towards us, it really caught me off guard. But I was thinking about it for a while, and I noticed that it really just strengthened my testimony of this gospel and the truthfulness of this church. I know without a doubt that Joseph [Smith] did not make up this church, but that he really saw God the Father and his son Jesus Christ, and through him, the Lord's church was restored in it's fullness to the Earth. If I wasn't 100% sure of this, I would have come home by now. This work is hard, but the Lord's work is never easy. I know that despite the fact that I am rejected over and over again and spat on, that this is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, and that this gospel can and will change the lives of those who are humble enough to let it into their heart. I love the Saviour, and I am so grateful for the help he gives me every single day, the strength and the faith that I need to go out that door every day, even when I know that maybe 5 people will even stop to listen to me for a minute. It's always worth it. I love this work and I love this gospel with all my heart.

Dad, we had similar experiences yesterday night during lessons. Last night, we were teaching this couple, and we decided that we really need to reinforce prayer and what it is. So we reexplained it and bore powerful testimony of how we can receive answers through prayer. Then we watched the Restoration and after the spirit was really strong, they both told us that they knew it was true. We haven't set a baptismal date yet, but they are close. It is so incredible to teach this people about the gospel. Like it said in my Father's blessing, as I teach the gospel, my testimony will grow. I love teaching this gospel and being able to see the power that it really has.

Now, for a little less spiritual things. So Anziano Walker loves to sing....like all the time. And our District is actually blessed with really good singers. So he calls us the Singing District. But anyway, we have Anziano Texiera, from the Area Presidency, coming down next week for a conference and our District gets to sing a musical number. We decided to sing "Anima Mia" or "Be Still My Soul". It is absolutely gorgeous, and I just feel the spirit so strongly. I'm really excited to sing that next week, so you will hear about it next week. And speaking of my District, Anziano Holland's granddaughter is in it. Sorella McCann. She is awesome! Its really funny, because we are all hesitant to bring him up, but she's super cool about it. Anyway, just thought that would be a little cool note. 

So this past week in Prato, we've had some exciting things in Centro. There was this little mini chocolate festival, and oh boy.....was it good. Mom, I just thought of you the whole time. You would have loved it. The chocolate was incredible. And it was crazy, this one lady made chocolate tools. Like a hammer and screwdriver, but made of chocolate. Nuts. haha...pun. And then the other night we had this huge chestnut festival, so there were a ton of people all eating chestnuts. They had this giant cauldron thing that they were cooking them in and passing them out to people, we didn't get any because the line was really long, but it smelled really good. And of course, Anziano Walker had to start singing "chestnuts roasting on an open fire!!". He is such a goofball, but I love him. He is the complete opposite of Anziano Salmon, which is pretty funny.

Lastly, there is this African here named Sammy, and he is probably the coolest person ever. He lives in Pistoia and turns out he was baptized by Anziano Gibbons who was my Capo in Genova. And so that past two weeks, we've gone to institute to translate for Sammy. It is really funny, but really hard at the same time. It is really good practice though to pick up the language. I don't know if I already told you about this, but if I did, sorry. He's just that cool that I need to say it twice. haha

Any who, thank you all for your letters this week, I love reading them all and hearing from everyone. It's crazy to hear what's happening back home. I miss you all and I can't wait to see you at Christmas over Skype! Please keep me and the people of Prato in your prayers. I pray for you all and hope everything is well.

Vi voglio bene,
Anziano Langlois

PS. Jason, do you remember a Holly Mancuso from BYU theater? Because she is in my District here and she says hi.