Wednesday, April 20, 2016

"Are you experienced?" email from Elder Adam Younce dated 4/20/16

Email from 4/20/16

Before I explain my title, I would like to talk about some other things.

So we have made a habit of going to the house of our investigator,
Michele, for lunch every Sunday after church. He is my favorite person
on my mission so far for so many reasons. I talked about him a few
weeks ago but y'all probably don't remember that. We visit with him
and his family and eat the best food ever. This last week he made a
lasagna for us that can only be described as celestial. He makes fun
of us and his kids the entire time but we are all rolling in laughter
the entire time even if he is picking on us. Usually he picks on our
clothes but this last time I wore my grey suit and he was super
impressed. I don't know if that is a good thing though because he has
a very strange fashion sense. He loves super overly fat ties and suits
with insane amounts of buttons. He had my companion try on a suit of
his that has 6 buttons so that we could only see a little bit of his
tie and his collar. He seems to be a very happy person but I can tell
he gets pretty lonely because he has had a rough life. He used to have
a good job as a dentist and a beautiful family of a wife and 2 kids
and good health but then all that was taken away from him. He got very
sick and could no longer work so he lost his business and his wife
left him soon afterward. She took all his money and their house in the
ensuing divorce. So now he lives in this little, one room basement
apartment where he used to run his practice and he only sees his kids
on the weekend. I saw pictures of him even just 10 years ago and he
was a healthy, happy individual but now he is bent over with scoliosis
and has lost everything. He seems to be a "forever investigator" but
when I visit with him I don't feel like I am wasting my time. He is a
child of God who needs our emotional and spiritual support as much as
anyone. He has made great strides to try to obey the word of wisdom
but he still needs time before he will recognize why he needs to
baptized and I have no doubt that it will happen some day. He showed
us how to make an Italian apple cake last time we were over and it was
super good.

Ok now I will explain the title. On Friday we had a lunch appointment
with an investigator named Vito. He is an interesting guy with a very
interesting house. He has a bunch of classic rock albums hanging on
the walls and a bunch more in stacks all over the apartment (which I
could have looked at for hours) and he showed us how to make home made
pasta with mushrooms. While we were cooking he asked if he could put
on some music and while we explained what type of music we are
supposed to listen to, he went ahead and put on the album by the Jimi
Hendrix Experience called "Are You Experienced?" which happens to be
one  of my favorite albums ever. When I heard the first chords of
Purple Haze play I had mixed feelings but found myself doing a silent
fist pump. I'll attach some pictures of us making the pasta.

Last week I talked about the talk by Elder Holland in the last general
conference and I would like to talk about another one this week. While
being here I have had a lot of first hand experiences with refugees
from Africa and the Middle East and I found that the words given by
Elder Kearon were absolutely inspired. His talk was entitled "Refuge
from the Storm" and in it he addressed the issue of refugees and how
it is our duty as humans, supporters of freedom, and as Christians to
help them in this their time of need. I have talked to these people
who are trying their hardest not to be a burden to others but still
are in need of food and shelter. They do not want to hurt anyone and,
in fact, the ones I have met so far have been some of my favorite
people I have ever met. If you haven't read or listened to this talk,
I urge you to because it honestly changed my whole outlook on the
refugee situation in Europe and the United States. Anyways, my time is
almost up so I should probably close out.

Vi voglio bene!

Anziano Younce

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

"Sigh" email from Elder Adam Younce dated 4/13/16

On Sunday we met with Michele again for lunch. He made the best pasta I've ever eaten and some delicious chicken with potatoes. While talking to him I realized that I was understanding him a lot better than I did when we last saw him during my first week here. It was satisfying to see how far I've come with the language in such a short amount of time. One thing that I've learned about Italians is that that say exactly what they are thinking. We walked in and he starting making fun of how I was wearing a dark suit in the spring and wearing a spring tie (I was wearing a pink tie that I bought in Bellagio last week). He then proceeded to stuff us full of delicious food. Apparently he likes me because I eat a lot and eat really fast. He also thinks that my mouth is beautiful. Sometimes that Italian honesty is really awkward. Lucky for us though, he gave us his leftover sauce from the meal in a jar so we used that for lunch yesterday.

I've been eating better lately than I was when I first got here. It was quite the adjustment going from eating 3 meals a day with snacks to essentially eating one big meal. I wasn't used to taking all of my food for the day in at once so I felt hungry for a large portion of the day because I wouldn't be able to eat a large lunch. Now I have adjusted to eating an ungodly amount of pasta in the middle of the day to hold me over until I can have a small bit of food at night before I go to bed. I know in my previous emails I made it sound like I was starving or something but I was probably just being dramatic. I should be grateful that I am in an area where the members and investigators feed us fairly often and where there is enough food for us. I should also be grateful that the missionary work here is keeping us busy enough that we don't have a ton of time to eat lots of meals. Also our flat is fantastic so we have that going for us. The sorelle swung by to pick up the key to the church one day and they actually got mad because our place is so awesome. I will send a picture of the front of the house later. Now that spring has sprung there is an arch of purple flowers over the gate leading to it and there are a couple of little lizards that we have claimed as pets living in a rock in front of our house plus I think we might have the only place in the mission that has a backyard. There is also an extra room in our house since there used to be 2 coppie that we use for working out and drying our clothes (I'll talk about that later in the email). But enough of me bragging about my crib.

Today we went to see "The Last Supper" and it was pretty cool. They only gave us a few minutes to see it but it was just weird being in the same room as a painting that is as famous as it is and has been reproduced so much. We then went into a Catholic Church nearby and it was odd to see that you have to pay and light a candle to pray. While the inside was beautiful and very quiet, I didn't feel the Spirit and the peace that can be found in the temple. Ultimately it felt empty. It felt more like I was in an old palace or a museum rather than a house of God. Anyways, I'm glad that we are sticking around Milano this P-day instead of traveling to another city. We get to take as much time as we want to see some cool stuff here and don't have the tight, stressful schedule that we have had in previous weeks. I also think we just need to relax some because we have had a tough week so far and have a lot to do for the rest of it as well but you will read about that later.

I think now that the newness of my surroundings is starting to wear off I can start to tell all of you some of the strange things I have discovered about Italy. First of all, the toilets here are awful. Instead of having a quick, powerful flush to get everything down the drain you turn a knob and this waterfall sort of thing happens. It takes forever to get the toilet paper to go down because there is no pressure. I get that they might be trying to save water or something but in reality you stand at the toilet for a straight minute waiting for everything to go down. I do like that you can find great ingredients for really cheap here though. I have no trouble keeping my spesa (grocery shopping) for the week around €20. I don't think this will be true of most of Italy but at least in Milano there are Africans, Indians, and Arabs selling super cheap fake watches and glasses. That last part and a multitude of other things about Milano remind me of New York. If you took away the Italian advertisements there are some times when I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the 2 cities. There are tourist shops everywhere, people selling crappy knockoffs of name brand accessories, busy people in a hurry to get somewhere, and people begging on the streets. That last one makes me super sad because if I was home and it was my own money I wouldn't hesitate to give them a bit of money but now that I have this name tag on I'm not allowed to. It is for a good reason that we aren't allowed to give people money as we don't want them to give future missionaries any problems because of our generosity and also we are dealing with the Lord's money and it has been set aside to sustain his missionaries.  It is still hard to turn them down. Anyways, I will talk about some other Italyisms next week.

This week we are trying to get 21 lessons or more because Presidente Dibb challenged us to do it. We want to do even better than that so we are trying to get 30 lessons. To put this in perspective, our mission averages 9 lessons per week per companionship. On Monday we had 9 lessons scheduled and we ran around all day trying to meet with them but we would get to the place we agreed to meet and they wouldn't show up even if we had called just a few minutes before and they said they were coming. In total over the past few days we were stood up 15 times and we felt like we had wasted a lot of time waiting. However, were able to find 5 people in the park who would hear a short lesson from us and some gave us contact information so that was good. All in all we were sore and worn out from all of the fast walking and standing, plus it was the first really warm I've felt here so that added to our discomfort. I feel proud of those 2 days, however, even though we got way less done than we should have given the effort we exerted. I know that I could show what I did on Monday to the Lord and I could be proud of it because I worked my butt off. About halfway through Tuesday I was thinking that I was tired and that I had done all I could but then I remembered a video that Presidente Dibb showed us in new missionary training last week which basically taught me that as a representative of Jesus Christ, that when I feel like I have been asked to do too much, that my burden is too heavy or that my the task I've been assigned is too hard that I should remember all the Christ has done for me and everyone because He suffered far greater than I have. He took upon himself everybody's burdens. He asked in the Garden of Gethsemane whether there was an easier way but He went through the Atonement despite His fears. As I work past the point I think I can go because He needs me too, that is when I am closest to Him. I'll let you know next week how this goal goes. I'm prepared for the most exhausting week of my life thus far. However, I also know that my energies will be put to good use as I will be using them to invite others closer to Christ.

Ci vediamo nella prossima settimana!

Anziano Younce

Excerps of an additional email sent to Mom and Jacob on 4/13/16 .  Edited and included here

So as you might have read in my big email, I've had a tough week so
far. I would like to go into some detail about what I have learned
from it though. We had a very rough day on Monday and we thought on
Tuesday "ok we need to make up for the lessons we didn't get
yesterday" and then we got an even more difficult day. After yet
another appointment fell through Anziano Hansen had the wisdom to
suggest that we say a companionship prayer to find out what we need to
do. It absolutely did not help with the work. However, we did learn
something. As we walked through the park we came to the realization
that while we might have been working hard and doing all the right
things, we weren't doing it for the right reasons. It became a pride
issue because we wanted to show President Dibb how great we were and
we wanted the recognition that might come from being the youngest
companionship in the mission but still managing to get 30 lessons in a
week. The work had become more about collecting lessons than about
helping others to come unto Christ. The Lord knew that we can do
better than to think that way so he decided to humble us and I'm glad
that He did. It's almost like He said to us "while you are doing my
work, you are becoming disciples of my Son. These are my children.
Love them like We do." Now, to avoid doing things for the wrong
reasons we have decided to not even refer to lessons but to instead
refer to the people that we are going to teach. We were counting
lessons throughout the day but now we will focus instead on how we are
going to help the people we teach. Since we made this attitude change
everything feels different and it has actually felt like we are
consecrating this week to the Lord. Our first lesson today actually
cut directly into our relaxation time but we had a good attitude about
it because we knew this was the only time we could visit with him and
help him. The man's name is L... and he has been having a big problem
with the Word of Wisdom and especially the part about smoking. This is
made even worse by his doctor because he has actually prescribed
cigarettes for him because of some of L...'s mental health issues.
However, he is working closer to baptism and is down to only 2
cigarettes a day from 20 a day. Today was different though because his
dad has died. Because we had refocused on loving the people we teach
we were able to know what to say to him and had, as a consequence, one
of the sweetest lessons I've had thus far on the mission. I think his
faith has been strengthened enough by the Spirit now to be able to
completely stop smoking. I am also sharing this with Jacob because I
feel like as a future missionary he n

Thursday, April 7, 2016

"Good Times, Bad Times". Email from 4/6/16. Elder Adam Younce

So we have been meeting quite frequently with James, our new convert, and Anthony, our investigator with a baptism date who is friends with James. If you recall from last week's email, they have recently been kicked out of their government housing and are now homeless. Through all of their difficulties they continue to have amazing faith. Unlike our very difficult investigator, their experiences have humbled them tremendously and now they trust so much in the Lord and his plan for them. I think I have learned far more from them than they have ever learned from us. They watched General Conference with us on Saturday and Sunday and we have been calling them every day to check up on them and give them words of encouragement.  It is a difficult situation though because there isn't much that the church can do for them here because there aren't the same welfare programs and bishops storehouses here like there are in America. They both came to watch General Conference with us on Saturday and Anthony stayed the entire time on Sunday as well! He has been progressing so well and I really do think he is ready for baptism. This week we started meeting with another African man named Andrew. He was being taught by the Anziani in Lampugnano before they realized that he was in our area. On our second lesson he told us that he used to have a baptismal date for February but that it never happened. We promptly set another one with him for the end of April. Andrew has been asking great questions during the lessons and I can tell he is really thinking about all of it and is trying to understand it but he can't read which could make it difficult to gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon. Unfortunately we have to hold off with Anthony's baptism until the church decides whether or not we will be baptizing people who do not have documents which prove they are in the country legally. That would hurt the work in Italy a lot because many of our best investigators are refugees from Africa who have come here looking for a better life. They make up a large portion of every ward as well and are the most faithful and humble people I have ever had the pleasure to meet. They all are so ready to hear the gospel and accept it but they might not get the chance. Fortunately we think that Andrew has a permesso because he is going to a sort of government mandated class so even if the change takes place where people who are here illegally cannot be baptized he should be fine. 

Now I will share a sad experience which actually turned out to be an amazing learning opportunity.

This week I had my first experience with dropping an investigator. He was a minister back in Ethiopia for awhile before coming to Italy so he thought he was very knowledgeable in the bible and with religious things (in actuality his reasoning based on scripture made absolutely no sense and his questions were even weirder). He had been through a lot in his life and had seen some terrible things but while those experiences should have humbled him, it instead hardened his heart. He would ask us questions for all the wrong reasons like to trip us up or to try to get into a "bible bash". We would answer with simple gospel principles and bear testimony but it was obvious that he was not allowing the Spirit to touch his heart because each time we would feel the Spirit start to enter the room again he would deny it by claiming that he had seen more in his life and had more experience than us so he was entitled to being right. He would then chase that Spirit away again by insulting us and our efforts. At one time we said that we are sacrificing 2 years of our life vest to help others to come unto Christ because of our faith and he denied that it was a real sacrifice. My companion then bore a powerful testimony and said that his father had died a few years ago and that his family needs him back home because they no longer have a father and this man tried to one-up him by saying that his father had died before he ever met him and used that fact to try to bring us down. Needless to say, the room was completely devoid of the Spirit despite our best efforts and I was struggling to feel Christlike love for this man because of all these terrible things he was saying to my companion. These weren't the reasons that we have ceased to meet with him though. The reason we dropped him was that he was unwilling to change. There have been difficult investigators in the past who have gotten baptized but they usually also keep commitments and progress spiritually, no matter how slow. This man fundamentally and adamantly was against praying (which confused me because he was a minister and was still deeply religious) and flat out refused to read the Book of Mormon. He had been taking the missionary discussions for awhile but hadn't followed up on any of these invitations. As missionaries the only thing that we can do to help others to come unto Christ is bear testimony to bring the Spirit and extend invitations. There is no way to help them if they will not listen to the Spirit and seek the truth through it. I'll admit that for awhile I was mad with this man. I didn't feel charity, compassion, or love for him (something that for, any future missionary reading this, is necessary to have for everyone you see and especially for your investigators). By the time it came for me to go to bed that night I was plagued by the thought that I couldn't do anything to help him. That hatred that I had started to feel was turned on myself. I felt guilty that I in some way had failed him and had failed God. I couldn't sleep for a long time because of these thoughts but then an impression came over me that this is not my work and is not my message. It is His message. All the Lord wants me to do is try my hardest and open my mouth. He wants me to love his children and if I do all these things, he is pleased with me. I am reminded of an MTC devotional from a few years ago that they showed us while we were in the MTC by Elder Bednar or the quorum of the twelve apostles. It was called "Character of Christ" and in it he said that it is necessary for a disciple of Jesus Christ and especially his missionaries to turn out from themselves. Christ was the ultimate example of this action. Absolutely everything He ever thought, said, or did was in service of others. He was ridiculed, despised, insulted, and disrespected a whole lot more than I have been on this mission but He never ceased loving. He never thought of His s own pride or comfort or ego. I realized that in my own pride my thoughts had turned away from the needs of those people who I have been sent to serve and I had turned inward. To be honest, before coming on a mission I thought that humility was one Christlike attribute that I had perfected (pretty ironic, I know). Since this experience I have realized how far I have to go. It's a good thing that a mission is probably one of the most humbling experiences a person can go through. It is a constant struggle to become worthy of being called a representative of Jesus Christ. I bear my testimony that missionary work is a divine work and that it is important to God. He will bless his servants who are faithful and he has prepared and will continue to prepare His children to receive this message and our job is simple: find them and invite them to come unto Christ, He who is mighty to save. The field is white and ready to harvest so it is a great time to be a missionary. We could have spent countless lessons preparing that difficult investigator to open his heart but the Lord doesn't tell us that the field is brown ready to plant. He has told us that it is white ready to harvest. Our time for these 2 years is, in reality, the Lord's time and so I believe that misusing it on people who are not ready to accept our message is a sin. While we might have been planting seeds by talking to him there was a field of white and it is harvest time. Someday our former investigator may be ready for the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ but in the meantime, there are countless souls who the Lord has prepared for us. 

Yesterday we had a really sweet experience that helped me see my purpose here a lot clearer. We were having an absolutely awful day of proselyting where absolutely all of our appointments fell through, we did a lot of waiting for people who never showed, and one of our investigators dropped us. In the afternoon, though we had correlation with the ward mission leader where we were to discuss how we could help investigators, less active members, and new converts. We had just finished saying the opening prayer when the sister missionaries called and said that one of their new converts needed a priesthood blessing. To give you some background on this new member, she, her husband, and her 9 year old son had been baptized a few weeks ago. A week after the baptism her husband ran off for unknown reasons and we haven't heard from him since. Now her son is without a father and they are left trying to figure out how they can provide for themselves in his absence. When the sister missionaries called us she had just found out that her mother, who she was very close to, had passed away. If I was in her shoes, having been promised countless blessings if I were baptized but then having my family torn apart I would have been flat out angry with God. When we got the call, the ward mission leader immediately stood up and we all headed to the sister's house. When we got there we gave her the blessing and then shared with her some thoughts and scriptures about the plan of salvation. Then we proceeded to visit with her for about 3 hours, playing card games, talking, and playing with her son. There are a lot of other things that we could have done during that time (3hours is a long time for a missionary) like setting up appointments or making surprise visits to the houses of our weaker investigators but I know that God wanted us to be with that family for that time. We are instruments in His hands and I know that he was answering a prayer and showing that sister His love for her through us. 

Today we went to Bellagio which is at the tip of a peninsula going into Lake Como. The bus ride to and from it was absolutely gorgeous. I will make sure to attach some pictures in another email. We got there and it was pretty much a tourist town but the view was still fantastic and there were some cool shops that we browsed. We bought some "Lake Como ties" from a couple of shops because they are famous throughout the mission for being awesome quality. They aren't as cheap as "Firenze ties" (which are only 2.50 each for missionaries) but they are awesome and I will be sure to send some pictures of them as well. We got some pizza from a little shop which my companion said is the best pizza he's had in Italy and got some gelato which he also said was the best he's had here. That means a lot too considering he spent 3 transfers in Firenze which has the best pizza and gelato in the mission! So all in all it was a fantastic P-day. However, because we did so many changes between metros, trains, and buses and were running around all over the place nonstop the entire time it hasn't been exactly relaxing. Next week for P-day we are staying in Milan to see the original Last Supper painting so it will be a more restful day. What I've learned so far is that P-day is a sacred day to a missionary. Since we can't participate in Sunday afternoon naps and Sunday's in general are very busy, P-day is our day of rest and needs to be protected at all cost. Without it I think all 74,000 or so missionaries around the world would go insane. 

I thought conference was especially fantastic this time. When the prophet spoke in priesthood session I could see he was physically very weak and was struggling to say what he wanted to say but I could still feel the power in his words just as strongly as when he was first called to be the prophet. I watched the hour long movie about his life on Gospel Library this week and I was once again amazed by the amount of service that man has given to the church and to God over his lifetime. He has truly been on the Lord's errand. Remember to pray for him and the other general authorities. They need our support now more than ever. It makes me so sad to hear people oppose them during the sustainings each and every conference so now more than ever we need to voice our support for the priesthood that they have because they truly are men of God. We didn't get to see the second Sunday session because of the time difference but we are planning on watching that this week at some time. Everyone keeps talking about Elder Holland's talk and he always astounds me so I can't wait to hear his words. 

Ci vediamo nella prossima settimana!

Vi voglio bene

Anziano Younce

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The busiest and most rewarding week of my life (so far) email from 3/30/16 Elder Adam Younce

The work here in Cimiano continues to be good. We have a ton of
investigators, new converts, and less actives to take care of and so
far I have loved every one of them. To anybody who doesn't know about
Cimiano, which is probably most of you, here is a rundown. The Cimiano
area consists of a large chunk of northern Milan. The Duomo di Milano
is in it as well as lots of other really cool and historic parts of
the city. Historically this area has been very good for baptizing and
the ward here is super strong. The members come from all over the
place and many of them can speak English (which is super helpful for
me). Our senior missionaries say that our residence is the best
missionary residence in all of Milan. I believe them because I've
heard that some missionary apartments are very loud because of traffic
and other city noises while we have a house in a nice little suburb of
Milan. Our district, for which my companion is the district leader,
only consists of us and a companionship of sisters. They are named
Sorella Pulli and Sorella Avila and both of them are nearing the end
of their missions. Even though we aren't supposed to have a lot of
interaction with the sister missionaries we always seem to be running
into them on accident while traveling to and from appointments. They
are a lot of fun and they fill in the gaps where our experience lacks.

On Thursday we met with a real Italian family for lunch. The father,
Michele has been an investigator for a long time and wants to get
baptized someday but he is a very traditional Italian man so he has
lots of problems with the Word of Wisdom and is very reluctant to
change that part of his life. We will continue to work with him
because he is still progressing spiritually and because I can see how
the priesthood could bless his home if he were to take that step. I've
only met him once but I am already in love with his family (though
that could be because he fed us a huge lunch when we were there).

We also have been meeting with a 19 year old new convert named James.
He is from Ghana and he probably has 10 times more faith than I will
ever have. He has been having some difficulties lately because he is
in a common house set up by the government for immigrants without work
but his building is getting closed down soon so if that happens, he
will be homeless. Regardless of his temporal difficulties, he
continues to have amazing faith in our Savior and God's plan for him.
He has taught me so much about humility, meekness, and undying faith.
Last time we saw him he brought a friend of his named Anthony and now
he is an investigator of ours! Now they both come to seminary. We also
extended a baptismal invite to Anthony in our second lesson with him
nod he accepted. This Sunday he came to church with James and
hopefully their friendship will help him as he makes this step in his

I've had the opportunity to meet the youth and some of the other
people in this ward now and they are so fantastic! I never thought
that in Italy I would go to a youth activity and find only South
Americans though. I also didn't expect to find so many English
speakers. Almost all of the younger generation can speak decent
English. The older people don't know as much so when they
try to pronounce my last name (which is really hard to pronounce in
Italian), they can't even get past the "y" since the Italian alphabet
doesn't even have it. I can't wait to work with these fantastic
members for the next few months.

I'm starting to get used to the meal schedule here more. We usually
have a small breakfast of a banana or apple or don't have anything at
all in the morning. Then we have a lunch of some pasta and maybe some
meat unless we eat with a family (in which case they feed us their
entire pantry), and we completely skip dinner. Sometimes we have a bit
to eat while doing daily planning when we get back at night but for
the most part, we eat the majority of our food at lunch. Don't worry
though, mom, because I am getting all I need. In that time we don't
spend eating, we are able to teach people and bring them closer to
Christ. I'm actually glad that we don't get the chance to eat dinner
here in the Milan mission because otherwise we would all return home
with an extra few pounds that weren't there before we left. Though my
trainer recently took me to this kebab place (kebab here is different
from back in the states. It's not chunks of meat on a stick) which is
apparently legendary throughout the mission because it is only 1,50€
as opposed to the normal 5€ so maybe I'll gain a few pounds after all.

Saturday was a very busy day for us because we had 4 lessons in quick
succession so Anziano Hansen decided to take me to get my first legit
Italian gelato after our last lesson. I got pistachio and hazelnut
which turned out to be amazing. I think if our budget wasn't so
restricted I would get it about 5 times a day. Of course that's also a
really good way to gain 20 pounds and get diabetes. Maybe I'll stick
to pasta.

Sunday was my first Easter here and it was very interesting. After
church (which I didn't understand very well) we headed to the house of
a member named Tina with a couple of other members in the ward. She is
from the Philippines and she cooked us a ton of food and we ate all of
it. She then told us that we would have to try a traditional Filipino
food where they give you a duck egg with a fully grown duckling inside
and you eat it raw. Luckily she didn't have any at that time but she
said she would have us over again so we could try it. I'll have to
prepare myself for that moment because it is a scary thought. She
knows it is super disgusting for people who didn't grow up eating it
so she makes all the new missionaries in the ward try it and she takes
a video of their reactions. Based on their expressions as they popped
it in their mouth I know it won't be one of those foods that surprises
you like "wow this is actually really good. I think I'll try it
again". It's probably more of a "I want a really cool mission story to
tell cute girls when I get home" kind of thing. I'll let y'all know if
I ever have the opportunity to try it at Tina's house. Then we went to
the ward mission leader's home so I could meet him and his family.

Today, Wednesday, we went to Lecco for a few hours. We took a train
which only cost us 4 euros each and went up to the top of a mountain.
We had planed to spend awhile up there hiking and taking pictures but
it was a lot colder than we expected and we were pretty much inside a
cloud so we couldn't take pictures of the lake below us. When we got
lower down we were able to find some good spots for pictures so I
attached a couple in another email.

I'll talk some more about the missionary work here. I've been trying
to learn to trust my trainer and put my faith in Jesus Christ and as
I've done those things, I've seen miracles in my work. This last week
we had 17 lessons while the mission average is somewhere around 9.
President Dibb told us when we arrived that he wants us to get out
there and work hard right away. He knows that we can do hard things
even without knowing the language very well and because he has faith
in me, I have faith in me because I know he has been called of God to
be my mission president. In fact, he told us that last quarter over
half of the baptisms in this mission were done by companionships with
a training missionary. That statistic doesn't happen because greenies
are better at teaching people. It comes from hard work, faith, exact
obedience, and absolute trust in the Lord and your calling. I've
decided that I want to live my whole mission like I just arrived and I
want to carry that fresh enthusiasm and faith with me for the whole of
these 2 years.

That's it for this week. Tune in next week to find out exactly how
much I hate Italian grocery stores.

Vi voglio bene

Anziano Younce

Finally In Milano. Email from 3/23/16. Elder Adam Younce

I will tell y'all everything in order so that I won't forget anything so you'll have to wait until the end of my email to see who I am serving with and where I am.

So on Monday morning we woke up at 2:50 am to fly from Salt Lake to Atlanta at 7:00.  We stopped in Atlanta for 4 hours before flying to Paris and then to Milan.  While in Georgia I had the chance to call my mom and talk with her for a few minutes.  Her words of confidence in my abilities were very welcome to my doubtful and nervous ears.  By the time we arrived in Milan it was 9:00am  on Tuesday and I had only gotten about 30 minutes of sleep in those 14 hours of travelling.  We got to the mission office and did some training with Presidente Dibb and received our iPads (though we don't get to use them for a week) before heading to the Duomo di Milano for some good old fashioned proselyting.  At first I was super nervous and needed to be prodded a bit by Sister Dibb to talk to someone but after awhile we were talking to anybody who would listen and got quite a few phone numbers.  There was one Italian man from Napoli (which isn't in our mission) and we were surprised because he was a very well educated man who was Catholic but Tantissimo faith and knew doctrine and scriptures very well.  He talked to us for about 20 minutes about what sets us apart from Catholicism and we discovered that he already agreed with many of the things we were saying, even the stuff that contradicts Catholic teachings.  He left us with a number and seemed very interested in meeting with missionaries back home.  It was obvious that the Lord had prepared him for us to teach.  There were many people who said rude things to us or gave us dirty looks but after talking to that man from Napoli, none of that mattered because I knew that I did my best and helped people to come unto Christ that day. 

 We got back to the mission home and after some more training, my first Italian Italian meal, and even more training, we fell asleep.  It was the most  glorious night of sleep of my life.  I didn't even have time to take my white shirt and pants off before I fell asleep (don't worry mom, they aren't wrinkled).  In the morning we had yet another session of training and then met the trainers.  I was given Anziano Hansen as a trainer and was assigned to the Cimiano area which is the northern part of Milano. Anziano Hansen is also relatively new to the mission as he has only been in for 7 months.  Apparently there is a lot of diversity in our ward which includes a large South American population.  Right away we are teaching a family that Anziano Hansen met in Disneyworld before his mission and who he now has the opportunity to teach.  I am so excited to serve with Anz. Hansen and teach these awesome people but I have to go now since you are now up to date with what is happening with me.

Vi voglio bene

Anziano Younce

mom, apparently we cannot do the thing where we send multiple emails back and forth on p-day so you can't expect me to send a bunch of emails in response anymore.  

Mom and Dad, I love you so much and I thank the Lord every day for the blessing I have had to be raised by you.  I see people missionaries who have not had that same opportunity and need to figure out how to be a decent person on their own and I'm glad that I've had your amazing examples to shape my life.  Just know that I am alive and well in Italia.  pictures will come next week when I get my iPad set up.  until then tell people to go to the Milan mission blog where the Sister Dibb will be posting pictures soon.  Just google it and you should find the blog.

Almost There. Email from 3/17/16 Elder Adam Younce

We are just a few days away from Italy and we are doing so well!  Yesterday the new missionaries arrived who are also going to Italy and once again there are way more sisters than elders.  In one district there are 4 anziani and 4 sorelle going to Rome and in the other district there are NO elders and 7 sisters going to Milan.  We took them through an orientation last night and it seems like everybody is getting along with each other very well.  We got to know the 4 anziani pretty well already since they live in the room right next to us but haven't talked the the sorelle much because we haven't had the time to.  We hope to be a good influence on them for the few days that we have with them and hope to be able to help them with any anxiety and confusion that they may have.  It's pretty rare that an older group of Italians is around when the next group comes in because typically we fly out 1 or 2 days before they get to the MTC but our visas were delayed so we get this opportunity. Our zone didn't have anybody to set an example for us or help us out so we want to make sure that we provide that support that we didn't get to the new missionaries so they don't make the same mistakes that we did like wasting study time at the beginning of our stay here.  We are starting to make our preparations today for Italy like packing our bags and getting our last free haircuts so everything is starting to feel so real! I can't wait to get there and find out who my trainer is and where I'll be serving for the next few months of my life.  I already miss the missionaries going to Rome who left on Monday and I know I will miss my amazing companions but I want to finally get out there and do what I came here to do: invite others to come unto Christ.  

Next time I email I'll be in Italy!

Vi voglio bene

Anziano Younce