This week was too good. I am so thankful to be a missionary and I am thankful for my mission and simply God who makes life so sweet and who is so good to us. This thanksgiving was very different this year and by far the most meaningful I have ever had. I don't know if you remember the story about our bishop, but practicamente they left everything behind down south and moved here about a year ago because they felt strongly prompted to. He got work and one weekend they all went to the temple in England and then as a result of being gone he lost his job and they have been struggling ever since. Well, he talked to us a little ago and told us how badly his wife wanted to cook us thanksgiving but they weren't able to financially so my sweet sorellina had the idea to cook them thanksgiving dinner ourselves and surprise them. So we did and got in their house just before they were getting home and set the table and left them dinner, it was so much fun. The love we felt for their family was so real and grew even more after that night, I won't ever forget this thanksgiving!
So unfortunately Satan is throwing some obstacles Brayons way and he's been struggling a bit with his testimony and wasn't able to have his interview but it's all okay because I know and feel that everything will work out in Gods time :) The most awesome thing happened this week though, Friday night bishop organized a youth activity and both Brayon and Teuta came AND Giulia and Georgia came (the daughters of Nicola and Albas family we have been teaching). We had more investigators than members there and it was the biggest turnout they have had in over 20 years! It was amazing, and the activity was all centered on the Christmas theme "be a light," and bishop did this activity that I will never forget. He turned off all the lights in the room and we stood in a circle and held candles and he lit his and talked about his gratitude for Christ and the light He brings in our lives, and what he is going to do to illuminate the life of someone this season and then he lit the candle of the person next to him. We did that until everyone's candles were lit and the room was glowing and the spirit was pounding in all of our hearts! It was so special to hear our investigators testimonies of Christ and see how excited they are to be that light of Christ this season.
So I never wrote about this but me and my collega were talking this week about the first time we had met Massimo on the train and figured out that strangely during that moment both of us had envisioned Massimo with his hair cut and in church clothes as a member of the church..we don't do that everyday haha, but it was neat we both had that same impression. Well, we had a lesson with him last night, he seemed a little off and tried to give us back the libro di mormon and told us he had prayed and received an answer that our church isn't true but then we came to understand that he still hadn't even picked up the Book of Mormon and read it or asked God to know if IT was true along with the restoration. After talking everything out for a little he looked at us and said, "You guys really are convinced of this and it's so beautiful. I can see the happiness it has brought you. I have some work to do." And he took back the Book of Mormon and said he would read and pray this time with a desire to truly know. I don't know why but for some reason I love teaching Massimo so much...just like the first time meeting him I can always see his potential, and the impact he is going to have on all the members!!!! And the joy he is going to find:))
We had a really sweet miracle this last week--weeks ago this cute Romanian mom called us over to her shop and asked us who we were and told us she wants to learn more. Well, we shared a small message with her and during the past weeks she has told all of her friends about us. Unfortunately, every time we have tried to pass by since then her store is soooo busy and there's not a second to catch her alone and finally this last week when we went she said "satan knows your message is true and doesn't want me to hear it and I don't care! You are teaching me today no matter what!" And guess what....we were able to teach all of the restoration without any distractions and the spirit was so powerful and her desire to learn about the gospel just grew even stronger. She is orthodox but not practicing of course, and loves loves loves our church and everything we believe in. She has been reading her Romanian Book of Mormon and is praying:)) I just have to say one reason I love serving here in Italy is in the past couple weeks we have taught Romanians, Albanians, Peruvians, Italians, Americans, Macedonians, and a family from the Philippines...I know that God is sending so many people from all around the world to areas where they will be touched and blessed by the good word!!!! È fantastico.
Okay, funny story that I just have to share.....I don't know if you remember my all time favorite English course students from Bari, Maria Teresa and Giuseppe?? Well they were like family to me, they were the first people I talked to on the first day of my mission and I adore them. Me and my trainer were able to teach them a couple times and do family history with them but unfortunately after looking up a world of information on the internet they weren't interested, we still kept that solid relationship though:) They moved to a different town in Puglia and sent me an email this week with some pictures of the new bed and breakfast they just opened and GUESS WHAT!!!! Hahahahahahaha, they named it after me and my trainer!!!!!!!! I can't wait to go stay there one day.......
I am so thankful for this gospel. Yesterday I was asked to speak on how living the gospel daily has changed my life and I could have talked the whole time about all the blessings, miracles, tender mercies and moments of pure joy the gospel has brought me every day. God is so good to us and when we strive to do the right things and follow Christ we will feel His love so strong in our lives...and even when we aren't following that path as good as we should be, HIS LOVE IS THE SAME. He is not waiting to love us until we have come back and changed or overcome our trials, He loves us TODAY and that love will never change. I love love love being a missionary.
Crystal's current area is Passo Corese, Italy.
Her address is:
Via Giacomo Matteotti, 187
02032 Passo Corese RI