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! 

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