Well, first of all, I bet you are all wonder what in the heck a "sciopero" is. Well, its the Italian word for a "strike", and if any of you are familiar with Italian culture, you would know that they happen very often and they are really stupid and annoying. So basically, they announce it for about a week or so, and then it happens. 2 weeks ago we had a train sciopero. This past week, we had another train sciopero. Today is a bus sciopero here in Pavia and a public transportation sciopero in Milano, so for the 3rd week straight, we are stuck here in Pavia on p-day. It's not terrible, but its annoying, because we're trying to go to Lecco, and we can't because there is always a sciopero. Gahhhhhh!!!!! OK, Italian culture rant over.
So like last week, we are still super busy all the time. We are always on trains or buses or walking because there is a sciopero. When we aren't doing one of those things, we are probably in a lesson. We aren't teaching a ton of lessons (I taught more in Prato), but we are always teaching still because our lessons are so scattered about. So our days are really really long and tiring. Every time we try to go to the station in the morning or when we are coming back at night, the 3 bus is always about 10 minutes away, so we just walk to and from the station most days. It only takes about 5 minutes or so, but it's so tiring. We are walking to much. In Voghera, we just walk around for days. This week, I think we were in Voghera more than we were in Pavia.
OK, miracle time. After church on Sunday, we went to a member's home in Voghera for lunch and to present them with a family mission plan. We started the lesson, and after talking about how the Lord is preparing people to accept the restored gospel, the mother stopped and thought for a minute. Then she asked her daughter about her friend's family that she always goes over to. Apparently, when she goes over they ask the daughter what the difference is between our church and the catholic church and other similar topics. After talking about this family for a few minutes, we got them to commit to setting up a time for us to come and see this family of 4 this week. It was incredible to see the spirit prompt the mother almost immediately. So we got 4 new referrals from just that appointment. After we left, Anziano Parker realized that he forgot his wallet at home which had his abbonamento and permesso in it, so we called up the other Anziani, who brought it too us. But while we were waiting, we stopped by a less active's house to see if she was there. She wasn't, but her non-member son was. He let us in and we got to talk to him for a little bit. We taught him a quick spiritual thought and then he had to leave to go pick up his girlfriend from work. We've been trying to get a hold of them for a while now, so it was a miracle that we ran into him, especially because he doesn't live with his mom. He just happened to be there for about an hour or so. Then we went to go do another pass by and while we were walking this man said "ciao anziani". Startled, we started talking to him and we found out that he works in Pavia and has talked to the missionaries before. He told us where he lives, so we are going to try and pass by him later this week. Then almost immediately after that, an older lady walked up to us and asked us who we were. We gladly told her and then started talking to her about our message. We taught her a lesson and then when we tried to get her phone number or set up a time to come by, she wouldn't let us, but still, it was a miracle. So from the small act of Anz Parker forgetting his wallet, which seemed like an inconvenience at first, we had 3 miracles that wouldn't have happened if he hadn't forgotten his stuff. We were talking about how the Lord really does work in mysterious ways, and it's so true. We always need to look for the hidden opportunities inside everything we do.
Another miracle that happened this week came on Friday. We set up an appointment to see a new convert's brother at 10, so we left Pavia pretty early and skipped our studies to get there. Of course, there was a sciopero that day, so after running from the bus stop to the station because our bus came late, we found out that our train was delayed because of the sciopero, so we ran for nothing. Gosh, we flew down that street. It was quite the sight to see. haha. Then we taught Joan, and we set a baptismal date with him! When we said the 26th of April, he sat there for a moment and then said "alright...26th? I'll do it". It was so awesome!! He's super bravo and I'm so pumped to work with him more. Then we walked to the station and found out that all of the trains that went to Pavia were cancelled, so we were stuck in Voghera. We found out that there was a bus in a few hours, so we went and tried some pass-by's. No one was home though. Then we went to catch the bus and turns out that the machine was wrong. The bus didn't come at 1:05, but 1:35. So we had to sit there for another 30 minutes. Luckily, we met this really cool couple and we started talking to them. When the bus came, we got on, but the girl sat a few rows behind us, so we couldn't keep talking to her. After taking that bus to the middle of nowhere and then getting onto a smaller bus, because a bridge was too narrow for the big bus, we finally got to Pavia, and as we walked away from the bus depot, we kept talking to her and we gave her an opuscolo. We also gave the guy a bigliettino when we said bye to him in Voghera. I don't know if anything will come of it, but we gave them a good impression of the church and I really hope they call us. They were super awesome. Then after that, of course, the 3 had just left, so we walked right to our next appointment, and then we got to go home for about 30 minutes to finally eat something. But then we went back to the station (that's right, on foot again) and hopped on a train to go visit some members. After having a great lesson and dinner with them, we rushed back to the station (the member may or may not have broken some speeding limits to get us there in time), but we jump out of the car and run to the platform and we don't see the train. We thought that we had missed it, but it turned out that it was 5 minutes delayed. Meno male. So we got back home safe, but only after walking home from the station AGAIN. haha. It was a super fun and hectic day. Oh the life of a missionary.
In other news, we had a super awesome zone conference yesterday in Milano. I got to see a bunch of my friends from the mission and I even got to meet my grandpa in the mission, Anziano Davis. He finishes his mission in 3 weeks, so I just barely got to see him. Crazy stuff. Then this week, we also found out that we had been going outside of our zone by accident to teach one of our investigators. We thought he was in our area because Mortara, the city he lives in, is in the providence of Pavia, but turns out that it's actually in a different stake. Whoops...of course we passed him to the other Anziani in that area (lucky them, he had a bapt date already). But yeah, that happens. Oh well. haha.
In other awesome news, I just got an email from Anz Andersen in Prato, and he told me that Tullio is getting baptised on Saturday. I'm so pumped!!!!! I'm sad that I can't be there to see him get baptized, but I'm so excited that he is finally doing it. I knew he would. He's been ready since I got there, but now they finally got everything worked out. That's so awesome.
Ok, now onto the worldly things. haha. Thanks for the bracket and your thoughts on it Dad. I'm literally doing this blindly right now. And Anz Parker thanks you because he LOVES basketball.
Thanks for the updates on everyone. I was really wondering how everyone was. I heard about Linda and Peter from them last week. I still can't believe that Erin's pregnant. That's awesome. Another August birthday to remember. haha. I'm sorry that Jason lost his job, but I'm glad he found a better one so quickly. Also, tell him that Anz Valencia's sister lives in Salt Lake City. She sounds awesome and she sounds like she has a lot of similar interests as Jason. She works at the Al Rounds gallery studio thing right near City Creek. Apparently its right by the food court and it faces temple square. He should go there and ask for Nicole Valencia, and then take her on a date. haha. Tell Lizzy to keep up the hard work. I knew she would be a boss band president. AP's are coming up. That's crazy to think. I've been here for so long. It's crazy. As for Jack and his spotted head. That's too funny. Can you please send me a picture? I miss the little guy. Sounds like Dad is going to be super busy like always in the next few months. That's good. Work is something that is very hard to come by here in Italy, so I'm so grateful that Dad is doing such a great job and what he does. Everyone here thinks that we are rich when I tell them that Dad is a lawyer. haha. The Lord will always provide. That is a promise that we have as long as we are faithful.
Thank you all again for the emails and your love. It's been a great week and I hope it was great for you all too. I hope next week is even better and even busier for me! haha. I need some rest, but I'm doing the Lord's work and there is time for me to rest when I'm dead. Isn't that right Dad? haha
Shout out to all of my friends at college, all over the country. I love you guys and I'm thinking about you all. Keep up the good work. Gosh, I'm going to be so far behind you guys when I get home. haha
And a special shout out to Mr. G. You're a stud and I miss hanging out in your office and just talking about everything from Arrested Development to the Flint Michigan Mega Bowl!!!!
I love you all and I will hear from you all next week!
PS. the last picture is how we communicate with the sorelle on the train. Via the reflection on the roof. haha