Hi Family and Friends,
This week was a little different for Braden and he expressed that he wasn’t able to write a typical letter home. He did write, but he spent a lot of time just answering questions that we had for him. So, this week, we are going to give a little breakdown of what is happening in Italy.
The main thing that we have been focused on for Braden is his health. Unfortunately, he hasn’t felt well since the day after he got there. He started feeling dizzy, light-headed and also nauseated. He attributed those symptoms to the fact that he was quite tired from the travel and that he knew there would be several days of recovery from the jet lag. Well, after three days of feeling miserable, he finally mentioned something to his companion. They got Sister Dibb (Mission President’s wife) involved and she set an appointment to see a doctor. The doctor couldn’t diagnose anything at the time and gave Braden a prescription to see if they could pinpoint the problem. Unfortunately, it didn’t help.
Well, that was 4 weeks ago now and he hasn’t seen any improvement. He feels the most sick right after he wakes up in the morning and also right after eating a meal (Although it is constant throughout the day) He loves the food but doesn’t have the 18 year old’s appetite that he had before arriving in Italy. He still feels light-headed and they have now asked him not to ride his bike for the time being. He and his companion are out working each day which is a good thing. He is pushing through and enduring this. He is feeling frustrated, of course, and is just hoping for some relief. He’s trying to stay positive but, after 4 weeks, it is taxing on him.
Additional Training & The Doctor
This week they went into Milan to the mission office for some additional training on Tuesday, and then he and his comp stayed an extra day in Milan to see a new doctor. Since his P-day is Wednesday and they were traveling, he wasn’t able to find the time to write a regular letter. Many of this weeks pictures are from his time in Milan. His doctor’s appointment didn’t go as he hoped it would. They weren’t able to diagnose anything specific. We have explored everything from an inner ear infection, to allergies, to acid re-flux, to irritable bowel. Our inclination is that the dizziness is coming from an inner ear problem which may have occurred while he was traveling to Italy. We want them to explore that possibility even more. We hope that the dizziness is what is causing the nausea and that that will subside if they can get a handle on the dizziness.
We are also now exploring the ideas related to stress and homesickness and how that relates to his physical symptoms. He writes that he is excited to be there and that he is dying to feel well so that he can be the missionary that he hoped to be. He said, ” Italy is amazing and although I don’t eat a lot, the food is to die for. It’s so gorgeous here and the people are awesome. I love Italy. I just wish I felt good.”
Remember Braden In Your Prayers
At this point, we would like to ask all of our family and friends to remember Braden in your prayers. He has such a strong desire to be there and expressed that he had very clear expectations of what mission life would be like and what mission life in Italy would be like. He said he felt prepared for that but not well prepared to not feel well physically. We are certain that this is a trial for his companion too. Anyway, please pray for him and drop him a quick email with some encouraging words. firstname.lastname@example.org We are sure he would appreciate it.
Simplicity of Lessons
Now, on with some interesting stuff from his week. They do quite a lot of street contacting. They have been focusing a lot on sharing a Christmas message with the people and getting them to watch the “A Savior is Born” video that the church has out. He wrote, “So we’ll walk up to people and say “can I ask you a question” (posso fare una domanda) they usually say no no no and walk away fast or just shake their head. Or they’ll say “dimmi” (give me) they use it like “tell me”. And then we’ll say “Do you believe in Jesus Christ. Or do you believe in God. Or why is Christmas important to you. Or we have a short film about Jesus Christ and about Christmas can we show it to you.” And usually when we start these questions they say no no no and walk away. Ha ha.
But we do get a few that talk to us. So that’s good and then we try to get their contact info and share a message with them. Yeah, it’s awesome I really do like the work. We taught 14 lessons last week. So that’s kinda our numbers and that’s like a pretty good week. Our goal was 10 lessons. (A lesson isn’t stopping someone on the street FYI) although it can be. If you pray with them it counts as a lesson. So like sometimes you do that on the street. It’s called a prayer lesson. Those are harder to get and I think they’re kinda awk but ya know, whatever.”
He continues, “The language is SOOO different from the MTC. In the MTC our teachers talked clear and the room was quiet. They spoke slower and they looked right at you and it was so much easier. Here, when they talk normal, like they mumble some words and it’s loud. Their sentences fade off and they talk fast. It’s super hard to catch what they’re saying. And, they don’t understand my broken Italian very well!”
Extra Time in Milan
Since Braden and his companion had to stay in Milan for an extra day, they stayed with some missionaries right in Milan. Just so happens that he was able to stay with one of his MTC companions, Elder Brooks. He said it was super good to see him. The apartment is set up for 4 missionaries but since there is just two of them there right now, Braden and Elder Pack were able to stay the night at their place.
You will notice in one of the pictures, a store called GRIFF Streetwear and Sneakers. He thought that was pretty cool and now we can compete with our cousins, the “Neff”s. They naturally buy the Neff brand, and who wouldn’t. Well, now they aren’t the only ones….Ha ha ha.
Braden also mentions that they are no longer sleeping on the floor. Some bed frames arrived and they are all good!! Also, you will notice from the pics that they did a pretty good job of preparing a Thanksgiving feast. We were quite proud of that meal. Looked good to us.
Well, that’s about it for this week. Braden mentioned that he would write the next letter himself so we will get that up right away. Thanks for all of your love and support and prayers. They mean a lot. We know they mean a lot to Braden too.
Thanks Again… Wade and Lisa