Thursday, March 17, 2016

Yet Another Surprise! March 10, 2016

So first of all I'll talk about another crazy change in our departure date.  Because of a mistake that church travel made on some visa applications, many of the missionaries going to Milan cannot enter the country until the 21st so now our departure date has been pushed back a week.  For those of you who haven't been following the story so far,  my original departure date was supposed to be March 14.  Then because of a mix up in transfer schedules we were going to leave March 8.  Soon afterwards we received word that because of our visas we would stay until March 14: our original day.  Now we are waiting until March 21.  Then a day after we received that news I was checking my missionary portal and saw that my mission president had changed from the one for the Milan mission to the one for the Modesto, California mission.  I checked with the one other missionary who went to the Philadelphia Italian Consulate and it was the same switch for her.  I tried to have a good attitude about it but when a few days later it switched back to President Dibb, I was very relieved. My teachers have been talking a lot about their experiences in Italy and my eagerness to get there has grown exponentially since I've gotten here.  Too bad I still have to wait another week for that to happen though.

This week was pretty good.  We had "Culture Day"  with F. Sloan and he showed us his favorite pictures from his mission in Milan and told us about the investigators and members he met there.  Each city he showed us looked gorgeous and each time he showed us a new one he would say "oh this one was the most beautiful...oh no THIS was the most beautiful place I went to...oh no THIS one was" etc etc.  I've decided that no matter what President Dibb says I want to serve in Verona (the Romeo and Juliet city) because it's sooo gorgeous, Milan so I can get a taste of real Italian fashion and pick up some cheap yet good quality clothes,  Como because it is right on Lake Como and has some beautiful opportunities for a hike on my P-days that overlook the Italian Alps, the lake, and the city, La Spezia so I can go on early morning runs along the Mediterranean Sea, and Firenze (Florence) for just about everything.  I know I'll be lucky if I even go to 1 or 2 of these places and that I will love every place that I go because, well, it IS Italy.  Plus, the reason I'm going there is not for the sightseeing or for the food or for the beautiful scenery. I'm going to Italy to share the restored gospel of Jesus Christ with the people I meet and invite them to come unto Christ.  Everything else is just a backdrop (though I really do want to check out those awesome street markets in Firenze).  

We have started calling the mission president for the Milan mission "Mugshot" Dibb.  We call him that because in the picture they have of him on our missionary portal he looks like he's taking a mugshot. Everyone we've talked to who knows him says he is very serious but an amazing man and mission president.  On culture day F. Sloan, who had him for the last part of his mission, gave us an impression of him and now I CAN'T WAIT to meet him.  

That's about it for this week.

Ciao ciao!
Vi voglio bene!

Anziano Younce

Are You Serious? March 3, 2016

So APPARENTLY we got our departure date moved back to the original one.  I was so excited to get to Italy early but now I have to wait the full time.  I guess it's fine since now we have another week to review and now I have a better chance of getting my visa papers in time.  They reverted back to the original date because for some reason our visas won't let us get into the country before march 14.  At this point all of our emotions are used up so nobody even cared when they told us. Not much else is going on here.  After 4 weeks of seeing the exact same walls, seeing the exact same people, and eating the exact same food the days are running together and there is nothing else for me to talk about.  My district did hosting for the new missionaries yesterday and it was fun. That's about it.  Hopefully next week I will have some more stuff to tell y'all.

Vi voglio bene

Anziano Younce

Slightly Surprised! February 25th, 2016

This week was pretty awesome. I'll start off with the news my zone got late last Thursday.  One of the other Italian teachers burst into our room and started talking furiously to our teacher in Italian.  I couldn't understand a word of it but at the end they told us that they had received news that because of a mix up in transfer schedules, the Italian missionaries would be leaving from the MTC a week earlier than we had anticipated. Che Cavolo! Initially we were scared and I think some of the missionaries cried a bit but after everything had settled down we were actually really excited to finally leave the MTC.  The food is destroying me, the blank walls are driving me insane, and I've decided I don't want to live in Utah ever again.  Or may'be all those things just seem worse because we've been looking at cities in our mission on Google Earth and we just want to get out there and do what we came on a mission to do.  We leave March 8th and even though our language is still gonna stink at that point I couldn't be happier.  The speaker at the Tuesday devotional this week we Sister Wixom of the Primary presidency.  She taught about how we need to become like children if we want to become effective missionaries. The characteristics of meekness, humility, and love of everyone are some of the things that we can all learn from children and are essential to anyone who wants to follow the example of Christ.  I've been singing in the MTC choir for the past few weeks with the rest of my zone and the performance for that devotional was precious.  We sang "Child's Prayer" with a group of primary children and I wish that I could have the simple, strong testimony of God's love that was evident in their voices.  We had another companionship inventory this week and I think it was the best one yet.  I'm grateful that we have all been willing to change based on the things that have been brought up in previous inventories because this week everything was super positive. Even when we suggested ways we could improve to each other, they came out more as compliments than anything like "Anziano Kim, you should speak more in our lessons because everything that you say is so powerful and contributes so much to the lesson."  Then we told each other what our strengths were and it was such a sweet experience because we all had amazing things to say to each other.  I can't think of 3 people who are more different than us but I've learned so much about loving others unconditionally and I've also learned a lot about myself in this companionship.  I know God loves me and I know He loves everyone who has ever lived because I'm starting to feel that love for others even while I'm still at the MTC.  The restored gospel of Jesus Christ has blessed me so much and I can't wait to share it with the people of Italy.

Vi voglio bene!

Anziano Younce

Week 2 at the MTC‏ February 18, 2016

Buon giorno!                    February 18, 2016

While the first week at the MTC may have seemed like an eternity, the second week felt like a day.  It doesn't feel like there was a life before the MTC right now and it doesn't seem like there is one after it.  We just completely focus on learning Italian and how to teach and invite by the Spirit.  We are getting into a groove and everything seems to be getting smoother as I refine my study habits, get more comfortable with my companions, and my bowels adjust to this food.  At the beginning of my stay here my compamiomship had some problems with communicating and there were some things that we kept bottled up but we have gotten to the point where all three of us feel comfortable saying what is bothering us.  my advice for anybody who is going on a mission someday: don't bottle things up when it comes to your companionships.  There is no good that can come from not talking to the person/people who you literally see every moment of every waking day. I felt so stressed about the language last week but now I have realized that I am progressing pretty well and my lessons are getting pretty darn good.  Now that I'm not reading off a script as much, I can connect more to my investigators and can bring the Spirit to my lessons.  My district has made a goal of not speaking english during our meals and speaking Italian whenever possible so we can get used to using it in normal conversation.  This week we pestered our teachers until they told us some cool Italian slang words as well as some Italian missionary slang (2 very different things) so now instead of saying "we nailed that lesson!" we say "Lo destruto!". We have grown close to this group of Tagolic speaking missionaries who are going to the Philippines and they just left today.  There was this gigantic Samoan elder named Elder Milford who was my host on the first day and he was both one of the stupidest and one of the funniest people I've ever met.  Elder Banto and Elder Cram ( who is the smallest non dwarf man I've ever seen) made sure that we got royalty status in the MTC by giving us a mini basketball hoop to hang in our room since they couldn't take it to the Philippines.  I don't know why they chose us as their favorite missionaries but they certainly showed us how to have a good time in the MTC. For this week's Tuesday devotional Elder Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke!  He went around the room and asked questions and answered some about the process of missionary selection. I already knew all about it but as he spoke I gained a further witness by the Spirit that he and the rest of the Twelve Apostles and the Prophet have the authority and power to run the Lord's church and that it was the Lord who selected me to go to Milan, Italy and not just some guy who thought I would do alright there.  

I'll talk to y'all in a week!

Anziano Younce