Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Over the Hills and Far Away Email from 7/13/16 from Elder Adam Younce

So this week has been particularly exciting. We got our transfer
calls, but I'll talk about that later. We also met with our
investigator named Hector again and when we asked him about what he
thought about the Book of Mormon, he said he had read a few pages and
that it felt right and that it was very interesting. When we asked him
whether he thought it was a true book and about all of the things we
had taught him previously in the restoration lesson, he said he
believed it all so we went off of that and extended a baptism date to
him! It seems that even though we have had a tough time with some of
our people lately, the Lord does reward us for our sacrifice with
blessings such as Hector. We also were given the opportunity to give a
blessing to a little girl in a less active family. Once we were done
with the blessing we chatted with them and had a good time before we
told them that we had to leave. Before that, though, the husband asked
what he would need to do to receive the priesthood so he could do
blessings like that and we told the family that for all those sorts of
blessings to be available to them, they would have to start coming to
church and living the gospel in their everyday life. They seemed to
really like us and talked about having us over again sometime. The
Sorelle were the ones to give us their information so we could go give
the blessing but they are usually the ones to go see them. We told
them what happened today and they were amazed because they have never
been able to meet with the husband and they did not form a friendship
with the family that fast. Usually the situation is the exact
opposite, where Anziani have a tough time meeting with an
investigator/less active and the Sorelle are the ones who are welcomed
in more readily so it is nice to have it switched every once in a
while. So now we are both meeting with the family to try to get them
to church.

So with transfers there are some really good things happening. We
learned that I am being transferred to Verona and that Anziano Pyper
is training a new missionary here in Cimiano! I'm excited for the new
guy because Pyper seems to be an ideal trainer, doing work while also
having fun and not letting the stress get to him. I'm thrilled to be
going to the "Romeo and Juliet" city where apparently the work is good
and the city is beautiful. I will be there with Anziano Gridley, who
Pyper served with in Vicenza and we will be whitewashing in, which is
missionary slang for when you and your companion transfer into a city
at the same time when neither of you has been serving there before. It
will be fun but also very trying because we will not know who the
investigators are and what their needs are so we will be trying to
figure out all of that, plus figure out our method and how to get
around the city. I'm up for the challenge though and I can't wait to
see how I do once I'm out of my crib and into the meat of my mission.
Anziano Pyper has been telling me about G. throughout this
transfer and from what I've heard, I can expect a quirky guy with some
unusual methods, he will be a great companion. We will definitely do work and  we will
definitely get along as long as I do my part to be a good companion.
Instead of going around everywhere on metros, trams, and buses, I'll
be riding my bike everywhere in my next city so that should be way
different, especially since it is in he heat of the summer right now
and we've been dying just being outside period, let alone riding bikes
everywhere. I guess it's about time I get some good leg workouts in
after not doing any for the duration of my time in Cimiano. There are
apparently lots of missionaries in Verona so in my district there will
be the zone leaders, two sets of Sorelle, and another companionship of
Anziani besides us (there might be even more but that's the
missionaries I know of in Verona). Also, I talked to one of the office
Anziani who used to be in Verona in the same apartment that I will be
in and he said that it has AC! There will be a lot of changes with the
place I live considering the place I have now is more of a house in
this cute little neighborhood in the suburbs of Milano and is always
super humid and hot inside, no matter what we do to try to change
that. I will now be living in an apartment with rockin AC and will be
more in the city. In my district will be a trio of Sorelle including
Sorella Harris, who was in my MTC group and was in the Milano area
Lampugnano this last transfer. We have only just recently been
"bottlebroken" (which is when your trainer leaves and you are
introduced to what the mission is really like) but now she is
bottlebreaking two people at the same time in a totally new city.
Luckily one is from Italy so she is fluent in Italian and the other
one lived here for a few years so she knows it very well for her age
in the mission. The zone leaders are also in our district so we should
be in close contact with them all the time. All in all, I should be
having a really great next few transfers. I will be "killing" Anziano
Gridley because he only has 2 transfers left, which will be different
from my two companions that I've had who are not yet to their year
marks. I've also been told by an office Anziano that it is most likely
that they are setting me up to train after G. leaves because I
will be old enough in the mission at that point and have been doing
pretty decent work so far, plus I will be in an ideal training area
and there will be a gigantic group coming in at that time so all hands
will be needed to take care of them. The prospect of training scares
me right now but I'm ready for whatever the Lord sees fit to throw at

That brings me to my thought for the week. I am a person who always
wants to know the plan. I want to know why I am doing something, how I
am to do it, and what the end result will be, all before I ever start
it. Life doesn't always allow for that though. In Ether 12:6 it says
"...I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped
for and not seen. Wherefore dispute not because ye see not for ye
receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." In other
words, the Lord will not show you the blessings of your faith until
you have already put it into action. Doing the will of the Father and
exercising ones faith in Him is rarely convenient or easy, and we are
rarely shown the full picture in that moment, but we can rest assured
that He has the full plans and knows how to go about making it happen.
All we have to do is trust in Him and submit ourselves to His will. I
wish I always knew what He has in store for me but I guess I need to
just show a bit of faith so He can use me in the way He needs so that
His plans may be fulfilled. As I've looked back on my life, I have
seen the hand of the Lord and how he has guided me to the place where
I am today. The more I see where submitting blindly to His will has
taken me and the blessings that have come from it, the easier it is
for me to do the same in these days, despite not knowing where I might
be going.

As always, thank you everyone for your continued support and prayers.

Anziano Younce

Immigrant Song Email from 7/6/16 from Elder Adam Younce

This week has been brutal to us with our work once again. Sometimes
you just do everything you can to meet with people and to help them
progress and it just doesn't work out the way that you want it to. We
plan lessons and call to confirm the day before or that day so we go
to the appointed spot and they aren't there. We call again and either
they don't pick up or they forgot and are across the city. So we have
been stood up or "bidoned" as we call it more than ever before. Each
day we might plan 4 lessons and 3 of them fall through or something
like that. Putting so much love and work in every day and not being able
to see an equivalent amount of change in the people we teach
absolutely breaks my heart. Also, our investigator with a baptism date
set named Isidro just found out that he is going to have to go to
Toscana for 2 months starting Thursday for work. That means that even
if I do stay here for another transfer, I won't see him again. Luckily
there are missionaries where he is going so we will put him in contact
with them and he can be taught while he is down there. I don't even
care whether I'm able to be there for his baptism though because I
know that I did everything that I could do for him and that ultimately
it paid off even if I didn't get to be a part of the final process.

On a positive note though, happy Independence Day! We spent our Fourth
of July by bringing a bunch of American desserts to district meeting
and then we went to the apartment of one of the companionships in
Milano with the rest of the Milano people and we made burgers and
steaks for lunch. On the way over there I had a really special
experience. We were getting off the metro and a man recognized us as
Mormons and then told us that he is American. We were confused because
he looked Italian, started by speaking in Italian to us, and spoke
English after that with a thick Italian accent. He confirmed once
again that he is American and told us that he is from North Carolina
and showed us his license to prove it. I told him that I am too and
showed him mine and he totally freaked out and told us his story. He
is from Napoli and then moved to North Carolina to teach Latin at
Sanderson high school in Raleigh. I told him that I have friends that
went there and that there was recently a missionary in Italy who went
there. He then told us that his sister and her family is Mormon and
that he is not but goes to our church a lot. I asked where and he said
that he lives in the neighborhood right by the Raleigh temple and that
he goes to church there at the stake center right by it except when he
goes to Wilmington in the summer, when he goes to that church. I told
him that the stake center there is mine because I live in Cary and
that I've lived there my whole life. He seems to be someone who was
right on the edge of being baptized after many years by the stories
that he told us. He came to America to be with his sister who married
this returned missionary who served in Italy and then he was
introduced to the church through her. He had many students in his
class over the years who were members of the church and he told us
that every single one of them really impressed him, especially how
they got up early for seminary before school. Remember, youth, that in
every respect you are examples wherever you are. You have the capacity
to change hearts just by living righteously. Now this man came across
me completely by happenstance while he was in Italy looking for
records of his grandpa and it seemed to be some sort of answer to a
prayer for him. During our conversation he was crying the entire time
and probably said "thank the good Lord Jesus for the blessing" about
20 times. It was weird being able to talk freely with someone who
knows your hometown as well as you do and it was great to have such a
positive on someone just by existing and being in the right place.
Yesterday we woke up early to do some service but I didn't know what
kind of stuff we would be doing until we got there. All we knew was
that we couldn't wear our missionary tags in there and had to wear
normal clothes. Turns out that we went to this huge warehouse full of
old birth, marriage, and death records for the Milano area and got to
search through and organize these records so they could be taken to
the FamilySearch center here in Italy to be photo captured and then
put up to be indexed. I really felt the importance of the work that
these people do all the time and that I got to do this one time
because each name in each of these old books represents a person who
did not have the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the
accompanying ordinances, just like any one of our investigators. Just
because they are no longer with us doesn't mean that they aren't
important. Over the past few months I have really gained a great love
for family history work and hope to do more with it once I get home
and have the time and resources for it.

I'd just like to end things with a little bit of a tribute to America.
Being away from it for an extended period of time has really made me
appreciate it for what it is: a choice land. There are few other places in
the world where children are brought up with the knowledge that they
can do or become anything if they work hard and even after over 200
hundred years of our government being established, it is still a
beacon to the world of freedom. We have some stains from a past filled
with racism and slavery, but the good thing is that we know that we
must change and then we actually do something about it. Also, while I
grow to love the Italians here a little more each day, I guess I have
a special connection with the massive amounts of immigrants here as well.
These people come to Italy for many of the same reasons that my
ancestors came many generations ago such as for work opportunities,
religious freedom, safety from a hostile government, simply looking to
improve their lives. Many of them want to eventually eventually get to
America where these things they seek are in even greater abundance and
are willing to work hard to get to that point. The fact that for the
most part we have been very good to immigrants in the past and that we
have such a rich tradition of immigrants in our country. Everyone
except for a few Native Americans can trace back their family to
European, Asian, or African immigrant ancestors who came looking for
freedom and opportunity and I think that is the exact attitude that
was needed for God to decide to restore His gospel on the earth once
more here in the United States, a place where it would never again be
taken from the earth, but rather protected and nurtured by this

Vi voglio bene
Alla prossima!

Anziano Younce