Thursday, February 20, 2014

Moving...Again February 19,2014

Ciao tutti!!

Well, as you might have guessed, I'm getting transferred. I'm leaving good old Prato and going to Pavia. A city that is about 30 minutes outside of Milano. I've had a couple friends in my group serve there, so it should be fun. Basically all I know is that it's a Ward and a bike city and its basically on a hill. Fun!!! My new companion's name is Anziano Parker. He's from the group below me (Anziano Windley's group). I will know more about him after I actually meet him, so stay tuned. In other transfer news, Windley is finally going to his 2nd city after 4 transfers, and he's going to Verona. Andersen and Mallari are staying and both getting companions from Windley's group (they are everywhere!). I think I'm in the same district as the office anziani, so that means I will get mail really fast! haha. I will tell you more about it when I know more. I think it may be snowing there.....I really hope not. It finally stopped raining here and the past few days its been super nice. Not cold at all. I've almost gone outside without a jacket its been so warm.

Any who, a lot happened this week and mostly these past two days. Goodness me. So first of all, the past few weeks I've been talking about a less active that we helped reactivate. Well, after she left her old work, she's been searching for a new one. Last week, literally right after I was done emailing you, I got a call from her saying that she found work! And best of all, she has Sundays off to come to church! Prayers really are answered!!! My mind immediately went back to the blessing that I gave her, that if she had the faith and the desire to come back to church, she would find new work that would allow her to worship the Lord. Heavenly Father is so aware of us, its crazy. He knows each one of us and loves us more than we can understand. He is always aware of our problems and he listens to our prayers. We just need to show the faith necessary to receive the blessings.

Next, the other Anziani had another baptism! He is the Chinese son of one of our members. He just came here from China 6 months ago. He speaks very limited Italian, but he understands it pretty well. The other anziani were teaching him before I got here, but then stopped because it was really hard. But recently, we heard from another member that he wanted to be baptized and go on a mission. So the other anziani jumped back on teaching him and after using Google translate on his phone and Chinese pamphlets and his mother translating, he was ready for baptism. He got baptized this past Sunday and he was all smiles. Every time I would see him at church I would ask him how he was and he would always smile and say "bene" in his funny Chinese accent. After his baptism he got up and bore his testimony that he had written down, with some help from his mom. Oh my gosh, I don't think I've ever heard a more sincere testimony in my life. In his very basic Italian he told us that when he came here from China, he felt sad and homesick, but then when he started coming to church, he felt like he was home again. He called us his home in Italy. It was such a sweet and amazing moment. The spirit was definitely there testifying of the things that he knew were true. Another awesome thing with this baptism is that one of our baptismal dates came! I had to translate everything for him (still hard because I don't remember the English words! haha), but after he said that he really liked our church and that he felt good. We've seen him twice since that and each time he amazes me with how prepared he is and how well he understands the gospel. He will be baptized. Hopefully on my birthday, but if not, then soon after. He is really elect. I'm really sad to say goodbye to him, but he took it really well and said that we will always be brothers. Which is so true. 

Speaking of brothers, I've been thinking about Christopher lately and I'm completely in agreement with you dad. I know that he is doing his job on the other side of the vail and is helping guide me to the people that are ready. Thank you so much for sending me that dedicatory prayer. I'm so grateful for Christopher and the man that I know he is in the spirit world. I can't wait to be able to see him and be a complete family once again.

So, like I said, these past few days have been nuts. So I found out that I was getting transferred yesterday around like 4:00, so right after I found out, we starting calling people to say goodbye and try and see them. Last night we biked to Tullio and Michiela's shop only to have Sel call us right before we went in saying that he wanted to meet us in centro. So we hopped back on our bikes and flew up to centro, taught him, said goodbye, and then raced back down to see Tullio and Michiela. Yesterday was Tullio's birthday so he was really happy to see us. They were pretty sad that I was leaving, but Tullio understood. Michiela however, wanted to call President Dibb to tell him that he made a mistake and that I need to stay there for 2 more months at least. I explained to her about how he is inspired to where we need to go, so she backed off a little. She then cried when I gave her a picture of us with a message on the back. It's so hard to say goodbye to them and to people in general. I have such a great love for these people and its sad to leave them. I know I will see them again, but its still hard. 

Today isn't much easier. Right after internet, we will eat lunch, then run to Firenze for the last time, maybe pick up a tie for my new comp, then run back here. Hop on our bikes and go out to see a member family that called me today and told me that we had to come over and see them before I leave. Then bike back and go see another member. Then go see the Elderly couple and another member, then go to Tullio's for a little birthday party with another member family. Then run home and finish packing. It is a crazy day and I feel like a chicken without my head. Getting transferred is stressful. haha.

OK, now for some silly stories. So this past week I went to Pistoia for a scambio with our DL, Anziano Bartholio. We went to this park, called Duck park, and these ducks were NOT ducks. They were freaking dinosaurs!!! They were huge and they hissed at us and trying to chase us and bite us. I asked a random guy what they were called and he then asked us who we were and we taught him a lesson and he became a new investigator! Best street contact ever! 1 for 1! haha. Then we went and saw this really awesome member from Ghana, Samy. I love Samy. We are super good friends, and I'm going to really miss him. Well anyway, he's been telling me to come over for a while now, so I finally got the chance on our Scambio. We then had the "ka challenge". Basically, he made this super super super hot pepper soup and then we ate it with this weird flour water mixture called bankoo. It was pretty hot, but it wasn't too bad. I guess dad's super peppery eggs when we were growing up helped. haha. After finishing it, he told me that I was "ka". I'm pretty proud. No joke. 

Now you probably won't believe this, but I went to an Asian buffet this week. I know right? SHOCK SHOCK SHOCK!!!! We went with one of the other anziani's investigators and I was a little scared at first, but I just grabbed random stuff and it turned out to be super good. We ate soooo much. My mission is definitely making me a less picky eater. I've been missing out on some good food in my life. Oh well, only almost 20 years too late. haha. Holy cow...I'm almost 20. That's super weird. I can't believe time's gone by that fast. Nuts...

In conclusion, my English is terrible and I'm super busy today. I'm sad to leave Prato, but I'm excited to go to another city. My mission is flying by. I'm probably going to hit my year mark in this next city. WHAT?!?!?!? Don't blink, you'll miss it. Wow. Anyway, thank you for the emails like always. I love you all and I wish you the best in this upcoming week!

Oh yeah! Also, I need you guys to do me a solid. Can you go to Facebook and find out where these 4 friends of mine are on their missions? I've made a list of all the kids in my BYU hall and where they are and I'm just missing these 4. Shane M, Peter N, Keaton B, Seth D. If you could let me know where they are, that would be awesome. Thanks so much in advance!

I love you all and I will hear from you next week! Also!!!!! I want to hear about how the challenge I issued you all went!!! I didn't forget about it! haha

Vi voglio bene!
Anziano Langlois

PS. I'm not sending pictures because the internet points are kinda sketch and I don't want to pick up a virus. When I have a safe computer, I will send you some.
Found this on the Italy Milan Mission Blog.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Trains, Trains and More Trains Febuary 12, 2014

Ciao tutti!!!

Man oh man, this has been a busy week. As you can probably guess, I've been on trains a lot this week. That's because since the last time I've written you, I've been to Genova and back 2 times. So basically, I got a call a few weeks ago that my permesso was ready. I tried calling the questura to set up an appointment for me to go, but they told me that I had to go in person. So we went up last Thursday (4 hours), only to get to the questura to find out that I had to come back Tuesday. So we spent the night in Genova and went back the next morning (4 hours). Then yesterday, we left early in the morning to go to Genova again (4 hours) and ended up waiting an hour and a half for my name to be called. After that, it took about 2 minutes. Then we spent the day there and came back this morning (yep, you guessed it, another 4 hours). So basically, we've been on trains all this week. I never thought riding a train would make me so tired. I'm literally pooped. But, some really good things came out of these two trips. First of all, I finally got my permesso. It expires in July, so in a few months I will have to start the process all over again. YAY!!!... Secondly, we got to hang out with Anziano Erickson, because he had to come back to get his too, so we spent the day in Genova with him and his companion, who I also know. Then, we got to go visit some members back in Genova and hang out with them. It was so weird, but awesome to see them again. Being there so much last week, it kinda felt like I never left, but its been a long time. 4 months since I've been there. Crazy. It was funny. So last night all 4 of us were at a member's house and then he asked us if we could help him do a little service. We gladly accepted. Turns out, we sanded the paint off two of his doors. It was super hard because the sandpaper wasn't that great and we were trying not to get his house super dirty with the dust. It was fun though and just really funny. One of the kids asked us if we just came over to work. haha. Next cool thing, on our way back home last week, we came through Pisa and got to go see this famous tower that everyone is talking about. They aren't lying. It really leans. It was super weird to see it in person. I was actually surprised by how much its actually leaning. It was crazy far! But the best part about visiting the tower is taking pictures of the tourists taking pictures of them holding up, pushing down, leaning on, hugging, etc the tower. Super funny pictures. I didn't take one like that, because I figured I had enough of other people doing it, and it looked silly. Then last of all, and most importantly, while we were on our way to Genova yesterday morning, I got a Train Italia tie!! I know that sounds silly, but that is the goal of every Italian missionary, to get one of those ties. I literally just walked up to an employee and told him that I wanted his tie and asked him if he wanted to trade. He said no, but then he told me that if his wasn't dirty, then he would just give it to me. I promptly told him that I didn't care if it was dirty, so he gave it to me. Sweet!!!! My mission has been a success. haha.

Well, when we weren't on trains, we were trying to do missionary work (side note: we were still trying to do it on the train). Last week, I talked about the less active that got reactivated. Well, we saw her again this week and after teaching her, she gave us both gift bags to thank us. She is so sweet. After she left, we looked inside and she had bought us boxers and socks. She is so awesome. We thought was so funny, and nice that we both wore our socks to church on Sunday. She was really happy to see that we had them on. 

Now for our weekly miracle. This week we were calling old investigators and we set up an appointment with one old investigator named Sel. We met with him on Saturday and taught him the Restoration. He was really interested in knowing the truth and accepted a baptismal date for the 29th of March. (what a great day to be baptized) Another small miracle that happened while we were teaching him is that another random person walked up to us and asked us for the address of the church. We gave him the address and our phone number, got his and invited him to church the next day. He didn't show up, but we are trying to get in contact with him again so we can begin teaching him and helping him come closer to Christ. The Lord works in mysterious ways, sometimes sitting on a bench in the park teaching a lesson is another way to find people. Now that's what I call "finding while you teach". Sorry for the bad mission humor. Everything is funny now.

So craziness. Today is my 8th month in the mission. WHAT?!?!?!?! I can't believe how fast time is going. This is nuts. 2 years is soooooo short. I bet Dad, Jason, Peter, and Dan can attest to that. Oh man. Every transfer is getting faster and faster. In fact, next week is transfers again. I feel like Anz Andersen just got down here, but that was almost 2 transfers ago. Now I understand why the Lord warned us not to procrastinate the day of our repentance, because time just keeps getting faster and then all of a sudden, time is up. Crazy. I was also thinking about something while we were on the train yesterday. I thought of D&C 61 (I think), where Joseph Smith and others are traveling down the Missouri. The Lord tells him that "it is not expedient for my elders to move swiftly, while nations parish in unbelief on the banks". Traveling on a train through city after city, just made me realize how many people there are who have never even heard of the missionaries or the gospel of Jesus Christ. It made me want to stop at every little city and preach in the town square or something, like the good old days. We are so lucky and blessed that we have found the gospel, but our job doesn't stop there. We need to help our brothers and sisters to find the joy and happiness that only the true gospel of Jesus Christ brings. "Every member a missionary". That's what President Kimball said. Now, more than ever, we need to invite our friends, relatives, coworkers, etc to come unto Christ. That is the missionaries purpose, to INVITE. 

I challenge you all this week to try and invite one person this week to come to church. It doesn't matter if they've been invited a million times already or never before. I promise you that if you do, you will feel the spirit and your testimony will strengthen, regardless if they come or not. I want to hear about how you all did next week, so don't forget!!

Well, like always, I love hearing from you all. You are the best and I couldn't be out here without all of your love and support. Go BYU sports. Jude is adorable. Thanks for the tips Mom. And remember my sfida for all of you!!

Statemi bene, 
Anziano Langlois

PS. Be on the lookout on the BYU women's soccer twitter/website!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Rain, Bikes and Miracles Febuary 5, 2014

Ciao tutti!!!

Well, just another week goes by on the mission. But what a week it was. I know I keep talking about the rain, but it has literally raining every single day for the past 2 weeks. To say I'm tired of it would be an understatement. However, I'm not in the Polochic river valley like dad was trying not to fall in the street, but I am trying not to get hit by cars. A missionary in our district this week got hit by a car, and then literally on our way here to the internet point, we saw this old lady get layed out by a car. It was bad. We jumped off our bikes and helped her up. There were two other men there with us helping her, so we let them take care of getting her squared away with the guy that hit her. It was crazy to watch. You have to be super careful here. Italians are not the best drivers. But funny story about the rain. So we were inside doing some area book because it was POURING, when all of a sudden we got a call from one of our members saying that his family home teaching comp bailed on him and he wanted to know if we could cover for him. We eagerly said yes and set off on our the pouring rain. He called us when we were less than a block away and asked us where we were because the home teachee wasn't there. When I told him that we were about 10 seconds away, he was shocked that we got there so fast, and then you should have seen the look on his face when we pulled up on our bikes, soaked head to toe with big smiles on our faces. He then said in his funny Italian/German accent "effective missionaries". He was so surprised that we were there on bike in that rain, and I thought the same exact thing Dad, "only for the Lord". 

Anyway, onto the week. So this week we had a huge miracle, but it wasn't without trials. So at the beginning of this transfer, we found this super awesome investigator who is super interested in the gospel. We've taught him a few time and every time he has a ton of questions, but his questions are like, "when do you guys do baptisms?" or "what do you have to do to get baptized?", so he's pretty elect to say the least. We were really excited because our copia hasn't had a lot of success in the legit investigators department, but then when we taught him last time, we found out that he lives in Firenze, so we have to pass him to the Anziani there. We were pretty heartbroken, but at least he didn't drop us like another one of our investigators the night before. It's really hard sometimes, but I'm happy that he will probably be baptized, just in Firenze. That will be the second referral baptism that I've had. haha. So in light of losing 2 investigators this week and a ton of rain, we had an awesome miracle. For the past couple transfers, we have been working with a less active. She was here by herself working to support her family in Honduras. Her son is on a mission in Mexico and the only reason she is less active is because her padrone (boss more or less) won't let her come to church. The situation got worse and the padrone started getting hostile. She felt abandoned and discouraged. We visit her every single week and try to lift her spirits. Our elder's quorum president starting giving us a huge hand with her. He invited her over to his house so we could all meet together and he gave her rides to visit her daughter who recently arrived from Honduras. A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of giving her a blessing of comfort and in the blessing, she was promised that she would be able to find a new work and come to church. I cannot describe the feeling you get when you are able to have the spirit work through you in giving a blessing. In a different language nonetheless. She then called us a few days later telling us that she left her work. We saw her the next day in church for the first time in almost a year. She was there with her daughter and was so happy. She hasn't found work yet, but her daughter found work and now she is able to come back and worship the Lord that she loves so much. It was such a blessing to see her back in church and to see her so happy. This really has been a huge miracle for me. It really helps me see just how much the Lord loves each of his children and is aware of their needs. I'm so honored to have helped her on her path back to the fold of the gospel and I honestly can't explain the amount of my joy. It may not be a baptism, but I was lucky enough to help a lost soul find their way back to the loving embrace of the gospel.

Now for some funnier stories. So we helped a member move this weekend, after 3 weeks of planning. They kept on canceling because of the rain, but after 3 weeks of moving it back a week, they finally decided to do it regardless of the rain. Like you would guess, it rained. Not that much, luckily, but it did. So they didn't have our Tetris skills when it comes to packing a truck. We easily could have fit everything in one trip, but they decided to leave the truck half empty and make two trips. Not really a problem for us, but whatever. So we hop in a members car and we are following the member who was moving to his new house. We get to the end of a street to turn, when all of a sudden, his car dies. It ran completely out of gas. So we get out and help him push it out of the way, while the other two fratelli who were with us went to get some gas. While waiting, we discovered another thing about Italians driving. They all use their flashers so much to park illegally, that they don't even pay attention to them when they are on and there are 3 people standing outside the car waiting. So people would pull up really close behind and then honk after literally 3 seconds of waiting. Italians love to use their horns. For literally everything. They honk right as stoplights turn green. No joke. Anyway, the other came back with gas and we used a cut in half water bottle as a funnel for the gas. Then the car didn't start, so Anz Windley and I said a quick prayer, and sure enough, the car started. Small miracle, but still a miracle nonetheless. Then the rest of the move went fine. 

Next story, so last week for p-day we went to play basketball in Chinese park with the local Chinese population. We may or may not have destroyed them. It helped that Anz Windley played in high school, but we beat them soundly. It was pretty funny, because they didn't speak Italian or English, and there was one that kinda spoke Italian to his Italian friend, who then spoke to us. It was pretty funny. They did speak basketball, so there were no problems there. haha.

OK, another spiritual moment. We watched "On the Lord's Errand" this week. If you haven't seen that, go watch it. It is incredible. President Monson is amazing. His life is crazy! I still can't believe he was a bishop at 22. WHAT???? But after watching that, there was no doubt in my mind (not that there really was before) that he is the prophet of God. He is the Lord's mouthpiece and servant on this earth. I'm so grateful that we have a living prophet today. It means so much, and without him, we would be lost.

OK, now onto sports. That super bowl sounded really boring, unless you were a Seahawks fan. I was not expecting that big of a blowout. Wow. Yet another great week for BYU sports. Speaking of that, you should watch the BYU women's soccer page/twitter for a picture that I sent to one of my friends on the team. Yes, I know I'm a dork. Somethings just don't change.

Next, I'm really jealous of those vacations, those sound like so much fun!! I love camping so much and then ATVing and kayaking...oh man. I'm jealous. But I guess I can't really complain because I'm in Italy right now...Oh well. haha. Speaking of showing you around after my mission, that's going to be so awesome to show you all the cities and people that I've grown to love. This country really does have a special place in my heart. They may frustrate me sometimes, but that happens everywhere. Especially because this country is in such great need right now, I try and share my love with every single person I meet. I know that our Heavenly Father loves us and he doesn't abandon us. He loves each and every one of us and he know that pains and suffering that we have to go through. I'm so grateful for my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that it can and will bless the lives of all those who search for the truth. 

I thank you all for your love and support like always. You all mean so much to me. Keep on keeping on. When the times get hard, just remember President Uchtdorf's words from the May 2009 Priesthood session, "I am doing a great work and cannot come down".

Forza fratelli e sorelle,
Anziano Langlois