This week has been long but also full of many little miracles. Forlì is beautiful but it is also hard work. We have an amazing Branch with AMAZING members, not to mention some pretty fantastic missionaries ;) . And yet there hasn't been a baptism here for the past 2 two years. Why? I am not sure. But we have faith and are going to change it!!!
Another miracle came after a long bike ride into the country side with an Ex simpatizzanti that we found doing phone finding. MAMA Mia! I was absolutely in LOVE as we headed out into the country (about 7 kilometers out of town) to a little farm house. This ex (now current) simpatizzanti is a single father with amazing children. Here is one of the best parts. He invited friends to meet us! We ended up being interviewed for an internet radio station as well about our daily lives and our work. As we finished up our lunch with them, they said to us "Look! They are radiating JOY and happiness. They must have a beautiful purpose!" It was an amazing opportunity. Also we have a return appointment with them next Saturday as well. :)
This is a miracle that was not necessarily a direct miracle that we could have seen in front of us. We had a lesson with a simpatizzanti, si chiama A. He is a wonderful man who is very intelligent and loves everything about our message and the church. We had planned to set a baptismal date with him (he said yes earlier to the soft baptismal invite) at our last lesson with him. In the end, he told us that he could not have a solid date to work for even after much explanation for the reasons of WHY. The thing that was a miracle is that he can see the great importance of BAPTISM. He even asked that we not call it a "cosa" but rather some other word to describe the sacredness of the ordinance. This is something he wants to ponder more and study more before being baptized, not because he is not wanting the commitment but rather that he understands it is more than just the dunking into water and he wants to understand it. He even told us that he felt he was already a member of the church, a part of the congregation (we really do have an amazing branch). This reminded me of Brigham Young - it took him 2 plus years of seriously studying the Book of Mormon before he was ready to be baptized. Even though we may not see the actual baptism in our time here, we know that when A is baptized that he will be converted.
Funny Story: We were at a dinner the other night with some AMAZING simpatizzanti. They have a difficult situation that they are facing right now and have always asked for prayers and support. At the end of the lesson, Sorella Bennett offered the prayer to close. While she was praying, she asked that they could have more "pazza" which translates to "crazy" After she realized she said that, she tried saying "pace" but ended up saying pazza again!!! The simpatizzanti burst out laughing, pleading that they not actually have any more crazy but rather that God knew what she really meant. It was HILARIOUS and we all just laughed. Nothing can get better than that.
Finally, I wanted to share a scripture that I absolutely loved while reading this past week. If you were on schedule, you probably read it too. 2 Nephi 22:2 (and the entire chapter). "... I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also has become my salvation." Our Savior, Jesus Christ, is the source of our strength. It is through His Grace that we can become uplifted in times of trial and feel the force to do what is right. When it comes down to it, it is only through the Grace of the Savior that we can do the things we do in this world. I am so grateful for his Grace.
I love you so much!!! Thank you for your support for me, which also gives me strength.
Vi voglio bene!!!
PS: the second set of pictures are just an example of the craziness we experience together. :)