Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Nelson Conference, Branch Conference and Zone Conference - 10/24/16

Anziano Ridd, friend "Fb," and Anziano Youngblood
Anziani Ridd & Youngblood
MTC District at the Mission Conference in Rome
Hey family! 

This week was pretty sweet...to say the least.

So on Wednesday we caught a train to Rome and stayed the night in a nunnery. It was super sick because we got to see all the missionaries (including my trainer, my ex-comps and my district.) Then the next morning we had mission conference. We got to hear from President Kearon (the area president), Elder Hallstrom, and President Nelson of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles. There were many great messages. I will talk a bit about a few. 

The first was President Kearon. He talked about being anxiously engaged without being anxious. Then he referenced the story of Nehemiah in the Bible; how he was engaged in a good cause and did not come down. Read it, and you will see what I mean. 

Then we had Elder Hallstrom speak. He talked about the cost-to-benefit ratio of the conference. It cost a lot to get us there, but if we take away a lot from the conference, the benefit is worth it. Then he talked about how the mission takes young men and women at a time in our lives - ages 18-21, when we are at the most selfish - and has us turn out and be completely unselfish. 

Then the big hitter came up, President Nelson. He talked with us about the Abrahamic covenant and the 12 tribes of Israel. It was probably one of the most interesting things ever. He taught about how the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh were called to prepare the world for the second coming of the Savior. Then he asked all of us who are a part of those tribes to stand. And all of us stood. He then explained that it was because we were all called before this life and saved for this time to prepare the way for Christ to come again. It was super amazing. And then we shook his hand. 

That weekend we had branch conference, which was super cool. The stake president came and gave a cool talk. He said he hopes to never have a branch conference again, because he wants this to be a ward here. 

On Monday we had zone conference. We talked about the last conference with President Kearon. We all want to try hard to be what President Kearon described to us, walls of light. So we are trying to really BE the message. I really like that, because it just means I'll be focusing on spreading happiness and joy. That's what I came here to do.

So as for investigators, we kinda lost C again...so we are finding him. Then my great friend from Paraguay, “Fb,” is being baptized this Saturday by the other Anziani. So pumped for him. PS... it’s IN THE SEA! 

Anyways I love you all! Have a great week! 

Anziano Ridd
3 Generations - Anziano Jensen, Anziano Ridd & Anziano Youngblood
Photo Credit: pickerdsitalyromemission.blogspot
Napoli Zone Conference with President & Sister Pickerd
PC: pickerdsitalyromemission.blogspot
Thanks so much! 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Philly Cheesesteaks in Napoli - 10/17/16

Anziano Youngblood & Anziano Ridd with their good friend, "Fb."
Hey family! 

This was an okay week. Today we got the opportunity to go to the Navy base here in Napoli and buy some American food, and it made us all really happy. We even got some American food for lunch. I got a Philly cheesesteak. So good. Anyways.... 

This was the first week of the transfer. Anziano Youngblood and I get along really well. He is a great missionary and always has great things to offer. He’s improved his Italian so much in 1 week!!! The secret about training is that the trainer always learns just as much - or more - than the trainee! I know he is learning SO much, but I have learned so much from him, and the Lord keeps blessing me so that I can improve as well. There is definitely an interesting thing that happens when we serve the Lord with all our mind, might and strength. I'll promise that my 100% of mind, might and strength has changed since the beginning from the mission till now. We get blessed with a bigger capacity to serve. I finally have a flipped perspective to see, that as a greenie, I may have truly given it all I could, even without speaking the language. Then the Lord blessed me with ability to speak, and I had a bigger capacity to serve. 

I hope something in that made sense...I don't have enough time to fix it :) 

Anyways, I love being a DL and a trainer. It's so much fun being with so many friends, and being able to serve all of them. It's funny, now I get to be a servant of the Lord, serving servants of the Lord. 👍

Awesome, on to some of the work this week. P and F are awesome, keeping active in church. P was a bit sick so she couldn't make it church, but still awesome. Then our investigators. This week we taught C the Plan of Salvation. We taught it pretty well, because every time we taught a principle, he would just throw out a scripture from the Bible to support the plan of happiness. It was super cool. We taught the lesson along with the Hydes, and it went pretty well. The big thing that happened is that not only did he say that he believed in the Book of Mormon - he said he knows it is true. So we were like,"Great, what do you think about baptism?"...and he was not too fond of the idea yet. So this week we have been planning out our next lesson super hard. He is so ready! We are super excited for him. We taught a couple of other people this week, but I'll talk about them a bit later as progression occurs.

Ok, so I didn't mention this, but President Russell M. Nelson comes to the mission this week for a mission conference. On Thursday, we all go up to Rome to see that. I am super pumped for that this week. Not only that, but 4 days after this we have zone conference. So this week will a lot of fun and excitement. 

Well, this week I have been studying about what it means to have faith. Faith is simply a belief that is acted upon. When we do this, we have faith. In science, we call it a hypothesis and testing. This shows our faith in the hypothesis. If we just have the hypothesis, or belief, and don't do the testing, this is not faith. We might now trust that the hypothesis could be right, or in other words, we doubt it. To learn anything in life, spiritual or physical, we use faith. It is an eternal concept. So to learn about spiritual matter, we do the same. We have a belief. We trust that it is true, and put it to the test. This is made easier through prophetic promises that we can trust. One example is in the Book of Mormon. If we read and ask the Lord with a sincere heart and real intent to know if it is true, we will receive an answer. But we have to believe, and trust our belief (Moroni 10:3-5). Through this faith, we can learn for ourselves. We can the act on the thing we have learned. This will lead to further knowledge. 

If we think about it, it's simple. Believe, act, and receive knowledge. This is the process of faith.

I use this pattern every day to continue to learn of the gospel. Every day, I challenge others to learn and grow for themselves spiritually. Ask and act. I do this because I know we have a Father in Heaven who loves us. Because of this He will help us learn and answer our prayers. I bear my testimony that revelation did not stop with the Bible. There is no way a Father who loves his children would stop giving direction to His children. He speaks today and is always there for us. I challenge all to search for Him. Act in faith. And learn the truth that He has revealed today. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

I love all of you! 

Anziano Ridd

Monday, October 10, 2016

Newborn and Born Again - 10/10/16

Anziano Allen, P, Anziano Ridd, F
Anziano Youngblood, Anziano Ridd, P, F, Anziano Allen, Anziano Cutler
The Last Pizza - M, Anziano Mercado, G, Anziano Ridd
Hey family!!!!  

So there were a TON of things that happened this week - so this is going to be interesting trying to remember it all. Hang with me; I am gonna try and get it all down here on paper. 

I will start with Monday night. We get transfer calls. Anziano Mercado gets his, and I could tell he got transferred. In fact, he gets to go to PALERMO! So sick (awesome). So then I get mine. President tells me that I will be staying here and will be TRAINING???!!?! What?! Ok cool, that's gonna be a fun experience. The Lord qualifies whom he calls. Then he says that he would like me to take the lead as a District Leader. Wow. That's a lot of trust he just put into the hands of a guy 6 months out, who had never been a senior companion. So to say the least - it is exciting. Sad that Anziano Mercado had to leave in Thursday though. The Lord has been preparing me for these callings, and I can see it. It's amazing to see how inspired the President is. 

So from then on, the week was a bit crazy - getting ready for transfers and balancing appointments. Thursday comes and I am super excited. Up till that point, I don't even get the name of my new comp. Anziano Mercado and I part ways, as well as Anziano Andersen - our old ZL.  But then comes the train with the Greenies! I meet many new missionaries and then I meet my new "son." I couldn't ask for a better new companion. His name is Anziano Youngblood. SICK, RIGHT? He and I share tons of interests and get along great already. He is from South Dakota, and played football through high school, then came out on the mission. He also likes Taylor Swift (like I do) and other people don't get it. What is amazing is how well he can speak Italian without ANY language experience prior to the MTC. I am so pumped for the next few transfers with him. 

We also probably had the craziest first day ever together and he was probably super confused. We had to run to Salerno to get a phone someone forgot to drop off. Right when we got back into Napoli I got a call saying I needed to go from Napoli to Cosenza by train to find a lost missionary. Right before we were about to leave, we heard he was found (phew). Then we got completely soaked by rain. Hahahah. Such a perfect first day in Napoli, lol. 

Here is a tangent. We have a plethora of investigators right now from around the world. To show how diversified Italy is, I will name a few. They are from Italy, Ghana, Nigeria, Germany, Russia and El Salvador. Anyways, that's really cool stuff and I thought I would share. 

So from there on, I probably seemed completely crazy as I planned a baptism by myself. I called pretty much everyone in the branch, and also P and F maybe 10 times. Finally it was the day of the baptism!!! We got there and the people filling the font were freaking out because it wasn't filling. We ended up plugging it with a piece of plastic and filling it with buckets to make if fill up fast enough. At that point I was super worried, because the Zone Leaders hadn't shown up and I left them my baptismal clothes. I didn't need to worry, because they came. Finally, everything was ready and we started the baptism. The Lord blessed us with a beautiful day and an amazing baptism. P and F were SO happy. It was great. The Spirit was so strong the whole time, and the last song we sang was great. It was "Nell' anima Mia c'e il Sole" or “There is Sunshine in My Soul.” I baptized F, and P was baptized by Anziano Allen, who had started teaching them. 

The next day we confirmed upon them the gift of the Holy Ghost, and they became members of the church. It was a special experience; one I will always remember. They amount of joy that we felt over the course of those few days was unbelievable. They both shared their testimonies during our gospel doctrine class. Their power and light is bright. As they testified of truth, the Spirit did as well. We all felt it. We all experienced it. The Spirit testified to us that Jesus Christ lives, He loves and speaks with man today, and that His church is restored.  

I would like to conclude this letter by saying I love serving the Lord and people of Italy. I would say this was the most exciting week so far in the mission. I felt the Spirit bear witness of truth, and I know that many others did as well. I know the Church of Jesus Christ is restored today. We don't have to be confused anymore, because we can pray and know this for ourselves. I bear witness of it, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. 

Have a great week! 

Anziano Ridd
Anziano Ridd, Anziano Spencer (from Trapani) & Anziano Youngblood
Anziano Mercado & Anziano Ridd
Our good friend in Utah noticed this photo that her friend put on a Facebook missionary page...while on her anniversary trip to Italy, her friend noticed the missionaries in the train station and introduced herself & took their pic. I love how small the world seems sometimes and
how thoughtful & lovely people can be.
This made my day! 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Found, Lost, and Found Again - 10/3/16

Hey Family! 

Today we had a chill P-day and hung out for most of it. We have transfer calls tonight, and then this Thursday there will be transfers. It will be interesting to see what happens. 

This week was General Conference. What does this mean? It means we heard from the Prophet of God, Thomas S. Monson. Not only that - we heard from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. That is probably the coolest and most important thing that happened in the last 6 months! 

So this week was suspenseful and exciting, with all kinds of joy. P and F are both going to be baptized. Both of them have passed their baptismal interviews, even if getting them to the baptismal interviews was a rollercoaster. F's interview went just as scheduled, but P's car broke down, so she couldn't come the day it was planned. Finally, right before the Sunday morning session of conference, she made it here for her interview. Yay!!!! So this Saturday at 5 we will have a baptism! They are so excited, and we are happy for them. The most amazing thing is seeing the atonement change people. I know it has with both P and F, and it has happened with me during my time here. You give up the things you think you want and need, and put the Savior first. You put others first too, like He did. You want to follow Him in every word and action, and you find joy as you do it. How marvelous!

Second was that we had 4 investigators in church this week. P, F, G and K. I'll talk a bit about K. K is a German who is in his late 20's. He speaks English dang well, and Italian really well. He has lived in Italy for 2 years to teach people about Christ. Yes, he's a missionary who's Christian named K. Well, he's got an interesting story. He wants to live like Jesus did, so for most of his time here he has been homeless by choice, and he doesn't have a cell phone or anything. He has read the Bible about 27 times and whatnot and just is a great guy. He met Anziano Mercado when Mercado had just gotten to Napoli. His story is that he loves Christians in general and has no church. He visits a lot, and wants to learn about all of them. So when he met the missionaries, he was super excited to learn more about us. But through the course of a couple lessons, his big problem is that he gets "lost"…in the most literal sense. In the past they would miss an appointment with him for some reason, and not see him where they scheduled. Because he has no phone, we can't call him to reschedule. So he is "lost" until we find him again. His process has repeated a few times. So he was re-found this last week, and we invited him to General Conference. He came and watched all of conference, both days. He loved it. His one stumbling block about the church in the past was also not thinking there is ONE true church. I hope that changes, we have an appointment with him this week. 

Anyways, I loved General Conference. A couple of the things that came to me while I was watching were the following: 
1. Are we ambitiously coming to Christ? 
2. Do we get upset when someone succeeds? Even if they succeed over us? If we do, we can change that and praise them, and help to bring people up always. Success is good, and we can all achieve it. Why not help others to find it as we strive to as well? 
3. Strangely enough, I heard something Donald Trump said the other day. I take no side in politics, or how this was used, I just thought it was an interesting phrase. "Would we even take one Skittle from a Skittles bag if we knew that one was poisoned?" I had this pop into my head when thinking how our actions affect the Spirit. Would I listen to that song if I knew it had one word in it that would push the Spirit away? Would I watch that movie if I thought it might only have one scene that would remove the Spirit's guiding presence? In the end, I hope I will always choose no, I will not eat a Skittle from the bag, if I thought it might take the presence of the Holy Spirit away from me.

I have a testimony that this Church is the restored church of Jesus Christ on the earth today. I know that Jesus Christ lives, and He died for you, specifically. He knows your potential, and He will always try to lift and strengthen you to get to it. He has not abandoned us in these latter days. He has given us prophets and apostles on the earth to guide us. More than that, we have the Holy Spirit on the earth to confirm the truth and guide us every day. I know these things to be true for myself, and I invite you to discover it for yourself as well. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

I love you all and hope y'all have a great week!

Anziano Ridd
Photo credit & many thanks to L. Hyde