Hey hey hey, ciao ciao ciao!
How’s it going back in good old Utah? Lots of snow? No snow? Is it gonna be a White Christmas? Here it’ll probably be a foggy Christmas. The fog is insane here! It’s everyday, all day. Sometimes it’s super super foggy. In some ways it’s really cool. But then, it stinks too cuz when it’s foggy everyone goes home, so we have no one to teach. We had an appointment with an inactive member at 7:00 pm and it was a super foggy night. We couldn’t find her exact apartment so we called her to figure it out and she told us that they already gone to bed. “It’s too foggy.”
Also they have random holidays all of the time. They had a holiday yesterday and I’m pretty sure that the only point of this holiday was to get off work. We tried to ask people what the holiday was about and what we understood is that people just pray on this day and that’s about it. So ya know, let’s close the city and not go to work cuz we need to pray today.
Also I’ve discovered that they LOVE 4 things:
- 1st–Cheese! They put so much cheese on all of their pasta, it’s crazy. It’s super good. But it’s crazy.
- 2nd–Smoking. EVERYONE smokes. It’s nuts. I don’t even know how to describe it. Everyone is constantly smoking…it’s crazy.
- 3rd–Olive oil. You’re having a pizza and they take olive oil and pour it on top…it’s the weirdest thing. You have olive oil with everything.
- 4th–Eating. Everyone says that Americans eat a lot and that our potion sizes are huge. No way! Italians eat so so so much food.
Typical Italian Meal
- Here’s a typical meal. So first you have your pasta and they just pile this pasta on. It’s the biggest plate of pasta ever. So you eat it and you’re full. You’re done. You could be totally satisfied. And they always ask if you want more. Even if it was amazing and you could eat more, don’t say yes……. I made that mistake……..I said yeah but just a tiny, tiny bit. And they gave me a plate the same size as my first one……Mama Mia they’re trying to kill us.
- Then after pasta you basically have a second meal. So for example, last time we had chicken and potatoes, smothered in olive oil of course, and it was delicious. You’re already full, but it’s rude not to eat it so you eat the second meal. Then, after that you’re dying you’re so full. You were full after the first plate of pasta.
- Then they bring out the desert. You stuff that down and now you really think it’s time to die. It’s usually like a slice of pie or a couple of cookies. So you know desert is served last, right? After desert you’re done. Nope…wrong!
- After desert then it’s time to eat fruit. But they have really good fruit here so that’s a bonus. But basically they feed you like you’re never going to eat again. At least the food here is super good.
The Lord’s Work
The work here in Italy is actually a lot better than I thought. It’s still hard and it’s still Europe but we have investigators so that it’s way good. This week is my week of 21, which means we have to do everything we can to try to get 21 lessons, which is hard in Italy. Last week we taught 9 lessons and we were the highest in our district. But, the week before we had 14 lessons so it just kind of depends on the week and your area. Mantova, or Mantua in English, is small so it’s kinda tricky here, but we’re confident we can do it. So the week started on Monday and we are at 6 so far. Which is right on track if we can some how get 3 lessons today on a P-Day…. So wish us luck.
I’ll tell you a little bit about one of our investigators. We have this one named Dora, she’s awesome! She’s 88 years old and like 4’6″. She’s the sweetest little old lady. The problem is that, 1st she lives in our building and you’re not supposed to teach people in your building. 2nd is that there’s no man in the house and we’re not allowed to teach a women alone in her house and we don’t want to make her go outside somewhere, so that’s our problem.
The missionaries met her about 4 months ago when she was moving in. They’d stop by and check on her every now and then to make sure she was doing okay but she became very interested in why we are here. So they gave her a Book of Mormon and kind of just left it at that. So, then my companion and the Elder before me visited her right before I got here and asked about the Book of Mormon and she said that she’d start reading it. So then we went and visited her about 2 1/2 weeks after I got here and when she answered the door, she looked up at us with the biggest smile ever and said, “I read the whole thing!” In Italian of course. But it was awesome! She said she liked it a lot and so then later we called the mission president and asked if we could teach her and he said we could as long as we bring a male member of our ward with us. So we brought our branch president and we taught her!
While we were teaching her she said that she had a treat for us and she went and brought out these little red drinks in these little glass bottles. (She knows we don’t drink alcohol and all of that stuff so I wasn’t too worried. It’s none of that, so don’t worry) Anyway, she sets it down and the label says ‘bitter’ and my first thought was, “Oh no….Brian Blackhurst warned me about this stuff.” So I go and take a drink and while I’m drinking it I’m thinking, oh hey this isn’t bad at all….I thought too soon! The after taste is awful…oh my heck. Why would anyone drink a drink called ‘bitter’. Ugh! It’s awful. I thought I was gonna die. But you know, I learned in the MTC sacrifice brings blessings and so I sacrificed my taste buds and my soul and she said that she’d be baptized on Jan 2nd!!!!! Wooohooo so hopefully it all works out!!
So, most of our day is doing street finding. We’ve only been knocking doors twice and it’s just not effective. But strada (street contacting) is, so that’s good. So we usually do that when we don’t have lessons. We usually have one or two lessons planned a day. If they actually go through or not is a different story. So yeah, that’s basically what we’re doing on a day to day basis.
I hope everything is going well at home I love getting all of your emails!! And, my birthday is tomorrow, Friday so that’s cool. We’ll probably make a cake or something! Well that’s all I’ve got for ya for this week! I love you all. Also make sure to share the new Mormon message “a savior is born” on christmas.mormon.org or in Italian natale.mormon.org
Ciao Ciao for now!
PS. I finally got my companion, Elder Pack, to write a little profile about himself and there is a picture of him in Pisa. You can learn about him by clicking “Anziano Michael Pack“, or going to the navigation bar at the top of the page: Italy Milano Mission> Companions.