Ciao tutti! Buon natale!!! (quasi)
First of all, I'm so pumped for Christmas. The lights and trees are all up in centro, so every time we're there, I get super excited. Yesterday we had our Christmas conference, so that really got me excited. This is such a beautiful time of the year and a great time to talk to people about Christ. The people are generally more open to talk during this time of the year. However, the cold does not help that much. Speaking of the cold, we no longer have wind here, we have ridiculous amounts of fog. Like you can't even see 10 feet in front of you thick. It's super fun to ride our bikes through. And don't worry mom, we have lights on our bikes. As for using my card, yes, I've been using it for Christmas presents. I'm almost done getting them for everyone, so I will probably send it this week, so it should be there by Christmas. I don't know how expensive it will be, but if its ridiculous, then I will try to figure something else out. Yes, Sean and Sylvia will be here and we're planning to meet up on p-day, so we will have the most time. I'm really excited to see them. And speaking of being really excited, I hit my 6 month mark tomorrow, that is NUTS!!!! But that also means that I get to Skype with you in about 2 weeks or so. So I don't know where we will be yet, but I will know per forza by next week. So I need you to send me your Skype information and when I know mine, I will give it to you.
Dad, thanks for the sports report. It should be an interesting world cup. Let's hope we can hold our own and get out of the group stage this time. As for Italy, of course I will be cheering for them, because I'm here, but if the US plays Italy for any reason, I'm all USA raga. I'm excited to hear about the bowl games as they happen. Even though we are in a small bowl, let's hope we can win it. Last year was a good game, and I hope we can do something like that again.
OK, on to spiritual matters, and then some other random things. So we have this less active from Honduras that we've been teaching, and she is basically only less active because the lady she works for, wont let her come to church. So we see her every week and try and boost her spirits. We taught her this past week, and to be honest, I had no clue what we were going to teach, so during studies that morning, I said a prayer specifically to know what we should teach her. I then opened my little plates (study journal) and immediately found what to teach her. When we taught her that night, it was confirmed to me again that was exactly what she needed. God really does answer our prayers. And then yesterday, we taught this couple like we normally do on Tuesday nights. They were super busy at their store when we showed up, so we started a little bit late. Because of the time constraints, we decided to share a spiritual thought instead of the lesson we planned. Anziano Andersen shared a scripture and bore testimony about it, then I added my thoughts and then we got into a really good discussion about "bearing your cross and following Jesus Christ". At the end of the lesson, they thanked us like normal, but during Michiela's prayer, she thanked Heavenly Father for sending us with that message, because she had a question during the week and we answered it, without even knowing it. She then thanked Him for listening and we saw a real change in Michiela. It really was a miracle and such a testimony builder to show that God really does answer prayers. I know for a fact, that Heavenly Father listens to our prayers and he answers them. It is sometimes through others and sometimes through our own thoughts and studies, but he always answers. Never be afraid to ask him for guidance or help. I have prayed more this transfer, than ever before in my life, and I have seen so many answers and help from our Father in heaven.
Then, this past week we met with one of our regular investigators, and we've really been trying to help him come to church and one night, we were late to our appointment with him, so we raced there on our bikes and when we got there, he asked us what time we could meet the next morning for church. We told him and then we prayed really hard that night that he would come. The morning came, and it was bitter cold and super foggy, so it wasn't looking good, but then he gave me a call and asked if it was OK that he came then. I almost jumped for joy. He then came despite the cold and fog and had a great time at church. I was so happy, and then I got called on by the Branch presidency to bear my testimony in sacrament, so I really prayed hard that I would know what to say, and I don't remember what I said, but it must have been good, because I had a lot of people come tell me how great and powerful it was. I know for a fact that was nothing of my doing, but the spirit's. Without the spirit, we can do nothing, but with the spirit, we can do anything. We can "speak with the tongues of angels" like 2 Nephi 32 says. I have seen this so many times here on my mission, and I'm so grateful for the gift of the Holy ghost.
OK, some other crazy news. So at the Christmas conference yesterday I got to see Anz Salmon again, because he's in La Spezia now, which is now in our zone. So that was super awesome to see him again. He hasn't changed one bit. He is so funny. Anyway, so while we were together in Genova, we found this miracle investigator that we taught and gave a blessing to, and it was just great. So she went back to Austria, and according to Anz Salmon, she supposedly got baptised on the 7th! I happened to write her last week, but I haven't heard a response yet, so I'm not positive that it went through, but I'm pretty sure it did. I will let you know. It seems to always happen, but even though I didn't get to see the fruits of my labors, I'm still super super happy for her and excited. I can't believe it. Crazy stuff.
OK, now for some random notizie. So first of all, streets here in Italy don't make any sense. Like zero whatsoever. We went out to this paesino the other day and found 2 streets that were just ridiculous, of course they happened to be the streets of the referrals we were looking for. haha. It was super crazy and made no sense, but we somehow found both of the houses. Only with the Lord's help. Any who, then since Anz Andersen has been here, we have bought about 4 new tires for him. I don't know how he keeps popping all of them, but as soon as we replace one, the next day it pops. It is so frustrating and takes a lot of time to walk to the store to buy a new one, and then walk back and fix it. Basically, bikes are annoying, but also super fun at the same time. Oh well, I'm used to bike problems now. And continuing on with Anziano Andersen, so we ran to catch a train yesterday morning to get to the conference and we all hopped on (or at least that's what we thought). The doors then closed and we see Anz Andersen still standing outside....and then the train started pulling away. So we yelled at him to get on a train to Firenze. We had both phones so he couldn't call us and since there are a ton of stops in Firenze, we got off at the one we needed to get off at, and every time a train passed by, we run up and down it looking inside the train for him. We probably checked about 10 trains, and in the process I found the Siena sorelle (who were very nice and helped us check trains) and the Pisa/Livorno Anziani. After checking a ton of trains Anz Andersen saw Anz Windley running past the train and jumped off. Meno male. That was a fun call I had to make to President. He was actually super cool about it and was joking around about it at the conference with us. Presdient Dibb is really awesome. I love him so much, and he really is inspired.
Any who, that was my week in a chestnut shell (there are a ton of them here and they are super good). I absolutely love it here and I can't imagine myself anywhere else then here in Prato serving the Lord. I'm so grateful for this opportunity, and for this time of year. I wish you all a happy 12 days of Christmas and I look forward to hearing from you all next week.
Vi voglio bene,
PS. Holy cow, my computer just stopped working and I thought I lost this whole email. Meno male gmail saves drafts automatically.