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

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