This week has been one of the most sacred and spiritual weeks in my mission!
Brayons baptism was such a beautiful moment. I would be lying if I didn't say that everything that could have gone wrong in the last week went wrong, and this for me was just a strong testimony of how important this ordinance with Heavenly Father is:) but that's not what I want to focus on because that would just take away from how beautiful it all really was. The change we have seen in Brayon and his family is incredible. Sorella Bishop and I are not sure exactly what has changed in their family but EVERYTHING HAS CHANGED, and I know a great part of this is because of all the many, many prayers and fasts, and how much missionary work Brayon is all ready doing. I will never forget the feelings felt as we taught him this week and saw how truly prepared he is and how badly he wants this for his family. One of my favorite lessons was when his cousin came and sat in on our lesson and Brayon taught him how to pray for the first time. "Any time we experience the blessings of the Atonement in our lives, we cannot help but have a concern for the welfare of others. … A great indicator of one’s personal conversion is the desire to share the gospel with others." This is exactly what we have been seeing with him, he's doing all he can to help his family feel the pure joy the atonement has brought him. We also taught the whole family together this last week and Brayon told them he would like to be serving a mission one day. The dad began to talk to bishop about how 10 years ago when they were living in Florence the missionaries always came by and they never let them in their home, even after the missionaries kept trying and trying and trying. They then moved to Passo Corese 6 years ago and the Sorelle knocked on their door and they let them in every now and then and fed them. Then, the missionaries lost contact with them until July of this year;) The father explained how he was definitely guided by the spirit letting us in to his home this summer. I can't wait to meet those missionaries one day and HUG THEM! At the end of the lesson the father prayed for one of the first times, and cried. He's a completely different person.
Brayon's baptism was the most beautiful baptismal service I have ever been to. Everything went absolutely perfect, and the Spirit was so strong which was especially beautiful because we saw it touching the whole family's hearts. When it was time for bishop to baptize Brayon, Vasilika grabbed my arm and we went over to the font together. As soon as Brayon walked down into the water Vasilika just started bawling and put her hand on her chest. He was baptized and as soon as it was over she looked at me and said "as soon as I saw him dressed in white I felt something in my heart." Then she hugged me and wouldn't let go for a long while:) I can't explain the amount of love I felt for their family this night, and for the Savior and the peace and redeeming love He brings people. I've seen it change people for the last 18 months and I know it's real!
Bishop then got up and told the story about how one day he was at the post office and had the strongest desire to share the gospel with this woman but didn't know how to go about it or want to seem creepy because they were both alone. He prayed about it and the next Sunday she and her son (Brayon) walked into church:) I know that Heavenly Father has been preparing this family so much. They were on the front row just in tears as bishop told this story. Brayon stood up and bore a beautiful testimony on his Savior and how this gospel has changed him. Yesterday he received the Holy Ghost and his brother was on the front row just mesmerized by everything. Brayon was GLOWING and smiling from ear to ear...he later whispered to us that he wants his family to feel how he feels now and he is excited to do the lessons with us and his brother Bred! I have never seen Brayon happier, literally his countenance has changed and you can see Christ through him!
Well the past 18 months have been the most beautiful, refining and fast months of my entire life. I have learned so much. I have learned how to be patient driving in Rome while there are a million Vespas barely scraping our car:) I have learned how to live off of pasta and squeeze 6 meal appointments into one day. I have learned how to laugh when absolutely everything goes wrong. I have learned that when Italians are yelling and using every hand gesture possible it's a sign of their love! I have learned how to be honest with Italian men and tell them we are nuns so they will leave us alone. I have learned how important the family is to God. I have learned that if we listen to the worlds advice we will never find true happiness. Overall I have learned and come to KNOW that we have a Father in Heaven who knows us and see us with perfect eyes and loves us. I have come to know why it's so important to use Christs atonement in every moment of the day. I never understood the importance of daily repentance and now I have seen the pure JOY it has brought becoming more like the Savior. I have felt so much joy as well knowing that no matter how far away I am He is by my side and patiently waiting for me to pick myself up and come back. I've seen this in me and the lives of every person I have been working with here in Italia. Wow, I have loved being able to tell the people of Italy about our Savior Jesus Christ:) God has blessed me with so many people to love and share this message with. I know this church is true. I know the authority has been restored to the earth and our church is ministered by the same authority that Jesus Christ had. I know this, I experience the peace and joy that comes from it everyday through my baptismal covenants, patriarchal blessing, priesthood blessings and taking the sacrament every week so I can become more like the daughter He needs. I know the Book of Mormon is the truest book on the earth and no matter how many opinions or sources we can look to in all the world, there is one that will meet all of our needs and give us answers to every question or trial we face in this life. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and we have a living prophet today who guides us! I love this gospel with all my cuore!
Ci vediamo la prossima settimana❤
Crystal's current area is Passo Corese, Italy.
Her address is:
Via Giacomo Matteotti, 187
02032 Passo Corese RI