|Ticino River, Pavia Italy|
OK, so basically this first week here in Pavia has been CRAZY!!!! So first of all, let me explain the title and a little about Pavia. So like you already know, there is a university here. Apparently its one of the best in Italy. In fact, I'm sitting inside it right now. It's pretty nice. But I'm mostly happy to be out of the rain. There are a ton of students here, so its really weird to see all these kids my age. Besides that, there are just a ton of old people. This town is really small. My smallest yet, but when I walk around and look around at it, it actually looks like what most people think Italy looks like! My past two cities we're kinda modernized, but Pavia is pretty old school. The cobblestone roads kinda suck, they hurt my feet, but its cool to look at. The Ticino is HUGE!!!! Its a really cool river and we just walk up and down it for days talking to people. We also have a really sweet old bridge right outside our apartment. Its awesome. Super gorgeous at sunset. I haven't been out to certosa yet, but I'm planning on it. The other anziani said its pretty cool. Although its raining today, the weather has been great here! Sun all day and cool temperatures. I'm pretty happy right now and I'm excited to get to know the city better. Speaking of those towers, we randomly ran into a couple of them the other day. There are only 3 left sadly, but they were super cool. It reminded me of San Gimignano (where I went with Sean).
OK, so lets talk about my comps here. Anziano Parker is from Salt Lake City and he's really cool. He's a youngin' but his birthday is the 9th, so he'll finally be 19. haha. Turns out that he is the cousin of Anz Davis (from Pistoia), so I had heard about him before without even knowing it! Then the other two anziani are Anz Gainer (who I knew back in Genova) and Anz Valencia, who is AWESOME!!!! He's in his 4th transfer and he's from Dayton, Ohio. He is almost exactly like my friend Dane from BYU. Literally in almost every way. They are both huge, they talk the same and they are both super funny. We have a blast here together. They are so much fun already.
OK, onto the work here in Pavia. So I'm kind of doing damage control here for our copia. The last companion of Anz Parker wasn't the best and didn't really do a whole lot of anything, so I'm basically reopening this copia. We have basically no investigators and our new converts are less active because they never visited them. So basically my goal is to regain the trust of all of the members here and let them know that we are here to actually work. We've been working day in and day out. Doing finding work like crazy. Talking to everyone. Passing out bigliettini like crazy. Trying to see members, our new converts and investigators. I'm really excited to work with all of these people here. They are super bravi. Now a couple of stories of the miracles that we are already seeing here in Pavia.
This week, we've been doing a lot of finding work, because our teaching pool isn't that big right now. One day this week, we were out on the fiume talking to people when I saw this man staring into the distance. I felt that I should talk to him, but then I brushed off the feeling. We walked right past him and while we were walking away, I felt that prompting again, so I turned right around and started talking to him. He is from Israel. We taught him on the street for about 10 minutes and he seemed really interested. We ending up walking with him to a bus stop and just talked to him the whole time about who we are and why we are here. He had a ton of questions about the gospel, so we answered them the best that we could. He then called us the next day and told us to meet him at this gelateria. It was closed, but we ended up walking and talking again for another 30 minutes or so. Again, he had a lot of questions about the gospel and what we believe. He was really interested and we are going to meet him again today or tomorrow. It's funny how subtle the promptings of the spirit are. If we aren't paying attention, then we can easily miss them. I'm so glad that I listened to that prompting.
Then last Friday, we went to visit one of our new converts and his non member wife. Anziano Parker told me that the wife is about to have her baby (like any second now) and she doesn't really want to do anything or listen really until after the baby is born. Of course, that didn't discourage me, but prompted me to really try and get her involved. The husband doesn't have work and is usually in neighboring cities all week looking for jobs, so its a difficult family situation there. We read Mosiah 24 with them and really talked about how the Lord hears our prayers and will always come to our aid. During the middle of the lesson, we noticed that the wife stopped looking at the TV and was engaged in what we were saying. We asked her some questions and she responded with a smile. She was hooked. After the lesson, I went to shake her hand goodbye and she told me that she "liked my preaching" and told us to come back anytime. She then told her husband to go get us some juice boxes. He brought out some juice boxes for us and I was deeply touched. I know how poor this family is and the fact that they gave us out of the very little that they have, touched my heart. I'm so grateful for the Lord's love and the opportunity that I have as a missionary to share this love with his children who are maybe a bit lost. That really was one of the best moments of my mission. I'm so excited to go back there and teach them again. To love them and help them. And after she has the baby, to connect their family together in gospel, so that they can enjoy the blessings that eternal families bring.
OK, funny story time. So this Sunday was my first Sunday and I got worked. We were greeting the members and all of a sudden this American family from Switzerland shows up. Their daughter had just finished her mission in Rome and they were going around northern Italy. I had the lucky opportunity to translate for the two boys (12 and 18). In priesthood, we talked about the millennium because a boy the week before had a question about it. Don't worry, we were only using President Joseph Fielding Smith's "Doctrines of Salvation" books. That was pretty hard to translate, but I did it. Then in Sunday school all of the teenagers were talking at the same time and answering questions at the same time, so I had to translate jumbled up ragazzi talk. That was pretty hard, just because it was so fast. Then I helped pass the sacrament, which wasn't hard. And then I bore my testimony because I was new. So basically, that was the busiest Sunday of my life. Super fun, but crazy. The 18 year old is about to put his papers in. He wants to be my son in the mission, which is technically possible if he gets called here. We'll see what happens. haha.
Next, a random note. We thought our District was just our ward, so 4 anziani and 2 sorelle, but then our DL (District Leader) got a call Monday morning before district meeting telling him that we also have the Lodi sorelle and the Lodi Anziani, who just happen to be the AP's (assistants to the mission president). No pressure right? haha. Turns out, Sorella Smart from my MTC district is training in Lodi, so I get to see her every week! It was the first time that we've seen each other for 7 months. Crazy.
To answer you question dad, yes, I am senior comp. This is my 3rd transfer in a row as senior comp. Crazy.
Next, thanks for the sports report like always. Love hearing about BYU basketball winning. Please try and send me the bracket. My comp is huge on basketball, so he'll love it. Thank you for updating me on my 4 friends. The only one I'm not sure about is Seth, because I'm pretty sure he went out on his mission before me. I think it might be a cold place in northern Europe too. But I do think he's from the Utah area. I don't know. Thanks anyway.
Please let me know about people's calls when they happen. That's so cool to hear about. Thank you so much for that story about your missionaries there. I know the power of prayer is real and when we put real people into our prayers, we will get real answers and real blessings. Thank you so much for your prayers. I'm going to try and send some pictures, but we'll see what happens.
Just a heads up, I had to use 50 euro from my personal card last week for transfers. I guess my reimbursements didnt' get in in time. That's what going to Genova twice in two weeks does to your wallet. haha. I will pay myself back when I get the chance, but I just wanted to give you a heads up.
As for my address, since I'm so close to Milano it's actually going to be faster to send it to the mission home, because the assistants will bring mail to district meeting, and if not, we have a member who goes and picks up our mail for us. It's kinda sweet. haha. Besides, I don't know our address. haha. And I don't know how long I'll be here. For some reason, when I found out that I was coming here, I had this feeling that I won't be here that long. We'll see. Who knows. Only the Lord, that's who!
Well, thank you all again for your love and your support and your emails. I love you all so much and I love hearing from you. I hope you have a great week and I can't wait to hear from you all next week!