Things are heating up here in Pavia. It's super duper muggy and gross 24/7 here...aaaaaaand loving it. Not really, at all. Only in the service of the Lord.
So last year, I showed up just in time for Ferragosto, which is basically a missionary's worst nightmare. Basically in the month of August (is that right?) all of Italy goes on vacation for like a month. So shops are closed, the streets are empty and every says to call after the holidays. Pavia, being the small town it is, is literally empty right now. We walk outside to go do some finding work and we see maybe 15 people in an hour and a half, and just at the best time, when we need new investigators. Satan is a clever one, but that doesn't matter. We are still trying and President Dibb has challenged us all to get 3 new investigators a week during August. It's going to be hard, but we're trying. We could really use some prayers for finding new investigators right now. All 3 coppie here in Pavia are at a stand still in the new simps department, so we could use some prayers in our behalf.
But, it good news! We have a new phone finally. Yay!!! At transfers we got a new sim card, so now we can function properly. haha. Speaking of transfers, we lost some good missionaries this transfer. We're going to miss Sorella McCann a lot. I don't know if you remember, but we were in the same district when I was in Prato, so it was great to serve with her again. She's now home and it's kinda weird to see her leave. It's crazy how fast time is going by. It doesn't help that Dad pointed out the dreaded month count. It's in single digits and that's terrifying....but I still have a lot of time to serve these people and help more find the truth.
In other good (sorta) news, Anz Johnson and I have been running in the morning.....it's killing me. I hate running. My body just hurts all the time. haha. I'm so tired all the time too, but I know its good for me, so that's why I'm doing it. I've got to get rid of this pasta gut. It also helps that we play soccer every Saturday with members and nonmembers. It's super fun. I love it.
Random question, are Pat and Cheri still planning on coming to Italy? If so, when?
This past week, we planned to go visit a less active member and his wife. The wife is super active and is currently the Relief Society President, but her husband was baptized 38 years ago and then went immediately inactive. In the past year or so, he's been warming up to the church again and is coming back to church. We planned to go visit them for lunch on last Saturday, but the bus didn't run because its Agosto, so we had to cancel the appointment sadly. Luckily, we saw them on Sunday and set up a time to go the next day, Monday. We went and we had a great lesson about the Restoration with them. I have never seen this man look so interested in what we were saying. He was intently listening and the spirit was very strong. We left them with some Restoration pamphlets to give to a friend or neighbor and they gladly accepted the challenge. The husband said something that struck me during the lesson, he said that he keeps feeling like something is pulling him back to the church. His faith is growing every single day and I was so glad that we got to go and visit him and help him remember the importance of the Restoration.
Yesterday I had an interesting experience. We passed by some less actives and one of them told us that she was baptized 20 years ago, but now she has "found Jesus" and went back to her old ways. She doesn't want to be contacted anymore or be part of the church. I couldn't help but feel really sad for her. I had a million things I wanted to say to her, but the opportunity wasn't there. It's so sad to see people go less active. Unfortunately we've had a problem here in Pavia with new converts going completely inactive for one reason or another. It breaks my heart and just makes me ask, why? How could someone who has received a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon, or the prophet Joseph Smith, or the Savior, get baptized, and then just become completely inactive and sometimes even hostile towards the church? I know they have their agency, but sometimes I think the same thing as someone else I really admire once thought, "EXCUSE ME??????? What are you thinking???". It's moments like this that makes me think of the Savior and his apostles after the bread of life sermon in John. The multitudes left Him and He turns to His apostles and asks them, "will ye also go away?". I can hardly fathom what it is like for the Savior as He watches some of His faithful disciples walk away, one by one. It breaks my heart. I stand by Peter and ask "Lord, to whom shall we go?" I am lost without my elder brother, Jesus Christ. I will follow him until the day I die. Even though I slip up and make mistakes that I really wish I hadn't, through Him and His love is the only way. I testify that He is the Christ, the living son of God. He is my savior and yours. It is never too late to turn back and come again unto the fold. He loves you, and He cares about you. It will not be easy and it will require some suffering and repenting on your part, but it will be worth it. I promise you, it is worth it.
My heart if very full of gratitude for all of my friends and family. I love you all so much. Thank you for your support. Thank you for your prayers. I pray for all of you. I think about you constantly, and I try to live worthy of you every day.
May God ever watch over you, and my you know that He DOES.
Vi voglio bene cari amici miei,