Well this has been a FANTASTICA week:) Despite the earthquakes and all we have been kept safe and saw Gods hand in every moment. One thing I have really come to understand this week is how He is in the details of every single thing. This week He has guided us, made sure we were in the right place at the right time, guided our words, protected us from danger and helped so many come to feel His love!
Well, I just have to start talking about my all time favorite family! This Friday Brayon will walk into the waters of baptism, oh how we all have been waiting for this day soooooo patiently! The exchange with the Albanian Sorella, Sorella Muçe, was a very special moment for me this week. We went (and since she was a guest they had this whole feast prepared for her). At first the mother, Vasilika, was the only one home so we started teaching just her the restoration (in Albanian) and the Spirit was so strong and I got to experience the power of the gift of tongues again. Even though I couldn't understand all that was going on I felt Vasilikas heart being touched by the spirit. Then, the whole family came piling in the door from soccer practice and they just adored Sorella Muçe and it was so neat for them to see a member from their own country and to hear her conversion story, especially since her parents aren't members. I will never forget this part....the dad said "I have opened up the Book of Mormon only a few times but I have felt and seen the good that it brings and the unity and spirit it has brought my family, and for that I am leaving the option up to my children to choose to do part of this church!" It was soooo sweet hearing them talk about the blessings they have seen since taking the discussions, as soon as they free up their Sundays for church and make some small changes in their lifestyle their lives will be CHANGED FOR GOOD:) Well a couple days ago before Brayons baptism interview we taught him about tithing and at the end he asked us if he could pay tithing for his parents so they could receive blessings as well...I was so touched. This gospel has changed him! We pray the rest of the family will be ready by next month:) They are so excited to come to Brayons baptism.
Another very special experience from this last week...we have been visiting a sister in a ward every week for the past months now and she is just so special. She has been through it all and has a testimony of fire, every time we go there we always walk out in tears because of her stories and inspiring experiences, and her testimony of Christ. Shortly after being married in the temple her husband looked many things up on the internet and decided he didn't want to be a part of the church anymore. She knew that the gospel unites families and doesn't destroy them so she kept faithfully going to church every week and her two little kids go with her as well....well last week we talked with her about some new goals she would like to achieve this year and one of those was to go to the Switzerland temple in the Fall, with the permission of her marito:) and guess what....she talked with him and he ended up being okay with her going to the temple. So, we went back with bishop this last week and she will be going to the temple for this first time in 9 years!!!! Sorella Bishop and I couldn't contain our excitement....the best part is that we ate lunch over there for my first time (my whole time here) and it was the first time the husband met us and talked to us. He even let us do a spiritual thought and it was beautiful...we talked about the atonement and I think his children's testimonies about Christ will be the key to his coming back.
One afternoon this week, some of our plans fell through and we both had the feeling to pass by our sweet Luisa (who unfortunately got a job in Rome and so we haven't seen her in a couple months) and when we went by her son and his wife were there!! And they were surprisingly so excited to see us:) When we sat down with them they began to ask us all about the church and the experiences we have had in our mission and we ended up teaching them the restoration and giving them a Book of Mormon. Cute Luisa is moving back to Peru in march with her daughter (who's a member of the church) and her husband who is the bishop! They live right next to the temple, so I believe this family is being very prepared:) I am just so grateful to learn how the Spirit talks to us and to have seen where he lead us that night.
I love my mission with all my heart. This week I have been thinking a lot about the picture of Christ on the beach and how there's only one set of footprints in the sand, we weren't walking with Him but instead He was carrying us. And it made me think about how hard it would be to think I could never be forgiven for all the wrongs I have done, and the great burdens I would have to carry by myself, and how alone and discouraged I would feel not understanding that there's the possibility of changing and become like Heavenly Father. The knowledge of Christ who perfectly LOVES US, gave us His life and carries us in this life, helps us know we can have a more joyful life and change, repent, and become wiser so we can figure out the path we need to take to get back to Him! I know this gospel is true--please take time to find out if it's true for yourself as well. I know it will change your life and there are blessings waiting that you couldn't imagine:) vi voglio tanto bene
Crystal's current area is Passo Corese, Italy.
Her address is:
Via Giacomo Matteotti, 187
02032 Passo Corese RI