Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Make it so number one, and we have won

Buona Vita Family and Friends,

Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called "The Pledge". The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course... it probably isn't. The second act is called "The Turn". The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. 
Now you're looking for the secret... but you won't find it, because of course you're not really looking. 
You don't really want to know. 
You want to be fooled. 
But you wouldn't clap yet. Because making something disappear isn't enough; you have to bring it back. That's why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call "The Prestige"."

Alberto and Anziano Gridley.
Uomini Molto bello
(Very handsome men)
Cards on the table. Alberto was baptized and confirmed last weekend!=) It went alright, but we certainly learned what we can do better next time. We forgot the document that we needed the Senior couple missionary to sign at our apartment. The Senior couple missionary was already late to another thing so this was pretty intense and we needed to hurry so that we could attend his baptism. So we had to drive over to go get that with them. But Anziano Larson had forgotten the keys at the church, so we had to drive back and get those. We then got the keys and got the document and had him sign it. I hurried and changed and yeah. I Baptized him. I learned that there is a simple, but fine art to it. I dunked him hardcore with water splashing outside the font on to a few people that were nearby.
The baptismal program.
Legendary Whoops. I had to do it twice though, because I didn't get him completely under the water. I then stumbled over a word of the prayer the second time so I said it again, and now he is Baptized.
Now you can see why it would be easy to cause too
much water disturbance with it splashing over the edge.  
He was really chill and happy, telling me that it was all right and to be tranquil in Italian. I wasn't freaking out but it
would have been nice to have been more clutch.

We also were worried he wouldn't be on time to church for his Confirmation the next day, because he's always missed sacrament meeting. He came on time though. We now just need to finish some paper work stuff and it will be official. He is such a good, funny, character. He likes to do things his own way. After church he was playing a little bit of poker on his phone. (against computers, don't be too uptight about it).

Anziano Larson, Alberto and Anziano Gridley
During the talks that two sisters gave before he was baptized it was basically like they were talking to each other. She said ciao to him and he started talking back to her. He bore a really interesting testimony, he doesn't really use the format yet, but he wants to take his wife to be sealed in the temple. He is heading back to Equador on Friday. Thank you for your prayers and good thoughts.

Anziano Larson it seems has always been sick this last transfer. So besides being just regularly sick this last week he also cut his big toe, toe nail to close to the nail and got a disgusting super painful ingrown toe nail. In order for it not to get worse than it was, we mostly stayed inside for a good portion of last week. He is getting better though so that is good. I kept joking to him that a quick and easy solution would be amputating his big toe. He only thought I was only so so funny.

Here in Italy lunch is almost sacred. You eat it with your family and you get off work and school to do this. (Which is good and bad). Hence on Sundays in order not to interfere with the especially sacred Sunday Lunch, Church is held at 9 in the morning.

A bunch of Italian stores, and Anziano Larson
with the decked out coat he bought here.
Two times a year there are huge sales or Saldi(s) as the seasons change and hence they try to sell all the things they didn't sell off the last season. Anziano Larson had his last Saldi here just barely, so we went to a store outside of Alessandria today, on a train and then a bus.

Anziano Larson lost his wallet earlier this week for a few days. He was freaking out. We almost went to report it to the police etc. He found it under his bed, by his dirty socks, however, so that is good.
It has kind of been a bit crazy around here recently.

I found a missionary quote book this last week in our appartment which is really actually good. There are quite a few motivating quotes that are written by important people in the past. I read it all that day. Needless to say I liked it and picked my favorites which, I'll make a highlight paper of, which y'all can read some day if you wish. A funny thing is the author is this return missionary who compiled all of these motivating good quotes. He also added a few of his own, some of them are really bad like... The best way to complete your effective goals, is to make effective goals. We as missionaries here make fun of him a bit for that, but he really did make a good book, even if some of the quotes are repeated a few times.

I keep over thinking a lot of things out here. I have a lot of time to think and to improve myself out here among other things, sometimes I just think too much. As Beauty and the Beast teaches, thinking is a dangerous past time. A mission is a really good thing though. Anziano Larson said, my mission has been 90% been for me to become better etc, and 10% for others. I recommend a mission to my family and friends, even if you don't see all the reasons why, you will experience why, if you have the faith to be obedient and go.

It seems for everything from everyone, there are always excuses. In the end you just need to act and do the good things you should. Don't let the excuses hold you back. I need to bring back our old Alto Gioco.

In life we need four things from others:

  1. We need to be loved. 
  2. We need to be trusted. 
  3. We need to be understood. 
  4. We need to feel that our work is appreciated. 
The person who gives this talk talks about how he had a really good dog that he loved and took care of. That dog got ran over by a car, he ran to help the dog, and the dog violently bit his hand. His dog would never normally bite his hand. Sometimes when we are in pain, we do things we normally would never do. Hence make sure you have all four of those things, then check that others that you care about, (and even those you don't quite as much) have these things as well.

Thank you for the letters=).

Self-mastery is doing things even if you may or may not like doing something, but do it anyways if it is a good thing that needs to be done. I invite y'all to pick one thing to take some Self-mastery of your life. Don't punch your brother... etc. As proverbs says  It is better to win control over yourself than over whole cities. If you take that seriously you'll find a whole new challenge. (Also help others=))

Are you watching closely...

With Love,
Anziano Gridley

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Padawan of the Pizza

Buona Vita Famiglia e Amici,

My favorite sister, I am most happy about you making a quilt, I read this Proverbs 31:10-31 and thought of you. Hopefully this helps you in life. On that note, I have just finished reading Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. Those books in the Old Testament are so groovy cool. They are just basically basic wisdom and knowledge from about life and God. They're probably my favorite book(s) in the Old Testament. Solomon (I'm pretty sure is the author) and I have thought of a lot of the same stuff. If you are LDS, Christian, or anything it would be good to read and just gain some basic knowledge about life.

There isn't really an apostrophe on these keyboards. Sorry Dad. (Editor's note: all apostrophes in his emails have been added  :(   

We went to the Pizza restaurant owned by the LDS member again. I started talking to him about the dark art of Pizza. Next week we are hoping to go over to his store and to learn this art first hand. I asked him what the secret is, he responded that passion is the secret. I've got plenty of that so I should be coming home a pro. Also that ingredients and experience is important. The water is very important, dont touch the water too much, and since the water in Utah isn't as good as in Italy, he suggested leaving the tap running 24 hours before using the water to make pizza. I'm not sure if everything he will teach will be vale la pena. (Worth the pain) The best pizza in the world might be worth it however, so we will see.=)

We also ate cow intestine at his restaurant. It was really good. There were veggies and oils in the dish that helped make it good.

Anziano Larson was a serious hardcore dancer before the mission. He has won National competitions and what not. He also is usually always sick. Not much I can do for him. Our heating was broken for about a month a week ago. We finally got it fixed and that has been helping. I often am teasing him all in good fun.

The weather here is probably warmer than Utah right now. It is pretty nice.

I have really grown a gigantic liking for General Conference talks. I can't seem to read enough of them. I decided I wanted to read all of the Conference talks available which means the last 44 years worth. I'm really excited to start that.

I tried to start exercising in the morning starting with jumping jacks. I started to hurt my feet, making blisters, hence stopping for a few days. I can report gladly though that Anziano Larson and I went running this morning. Hopefully this legacy will live on and help me become super healthy. 

Alberto should be getting baptized this Saturday. I have been asked to Baptize him. Which is really cool. Something kind of special. He is a bit of a bigger man and I'm hoping I don't drop him. The baptismal prayer in Italian is. "Avendo ricevuto l'incarico di Gesù Cristo. Io ti battezzo nel nome del Padre, del Figlio e dello Spirito Santo."(Pardon the spelling). I dont want to forget that either. So basically I just have to not drop him and say the words right and it should be good. He is a really great man and I am blessed to have been able to teach him. Some fun things about him.. He has some interesting views about marijuana and how it can and should be used for medical purposes haha. Also he wanted to get a tattoo of a heart on his shoulder with his daughters name, which we explained to him about our bodies being a temple. I am excited for the gospel to help him even more when he becomes a member.

 I have been studying the gospel and life quite a bit recently. I can't share everything I learn with you, but the more I learn.. The more I am converted to the gospel and believe in the Church. I don't like how people wont listen to us on the streets and don't care about religion and things that are important and aren't willing to change. In proverbs it talks a lot about how a wise man should love being rebuked or love changing to becoming better, that if you strike a wise man he will learn more from that than a fool who recieves 100 lashings. For myself I am always going to try to hear people, give them respect and learn more of good things.

Good work family in giving the missionaries some names. This is a good thing (speaking from experience). 

Faith Hope and Charity are good things, Six things that are Dangerous, Destructive to this is. Doubt leads to, Discouragement, Discouragement leads to Distraction, Distraction leads to Lack of Diligence, Lack of Diligence leads to Disobedience, Disobedience leads to Disbelief, you have now joined the Dark Side.. Congratulations. Work on good things and not these bad things. Try to have more good things than bad things in your life, and if you aren't doing this right now. Change It.

If we are doing these three things among other things than you are on a good path and shouldn't fall away. (This is a guideline). Praying (especially at morning and night), Going to church, and reading the scriptures. If anything in your life is making you not want to do these things, it's generally not a good thing and you should do the three things. When I don't want to do these three things is generally when I needed them most. We met two men on the street both in pretty dire circumstances. One refused to pray the other askes US to pray for him. Sometimes people don't let God help them, how can you expect God to help you if you won't let him. 

Hence I challenge y'all to be willing to take reproof. To be willing to change and reach your potential. If you do something kind of dumb and Dad says something trying to help you learn. Listen, and take the reproach and become better. Be willing to learn from the strike instead of the 100 lashes. I'd invite you to pick one thing specifically in your life that is of this topic of changing or accepting criticism and working on it.

I do care about y'all. May you find, deserve and earn, love, in honor of this time of season, from God, your family, and that other person.

Auguri. (I wish you the best)

Anziano Gridley

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Kings and Pawns. Emperors and Fools.

Salve Family and Friends,

Kings and Pawns. Emporers and Fools.

Thank you for the letters and the candy. It was really nice to get those yesterday. Pero do not send me more candy. I will eat it and become a big balloon of chubby. So please do not give me diabetes anymore.

We had a Zone training yesterday. I learned about teaching to find, and choices determine destiny.

Alberto the Ecuador husband should be baptized next Saturday. Which is super duper exciting. We taught him everything and he is all for it. If you would like pray for him. It would be a good thing.

Zone Conference, Yay!
They way to say COME ON in Italian is Dai. Which means You Give. So if something doesn't go your way or you are a bit frustrated you just say "Oh Dai". Its a very common phrase type thing... and I've sort of picked up on it. haha

I've been really happy this last bit. This gospel is happy, the essence of the gospel is love. A few especially wonderful moments have been when I've made a connection with an investigator, or they see that I really do care about them. The moments when I really love them. Those are good.

A thought... do you think Ether was a bad missionary? He converted basically no one. No one. Yet I believe he was a good missionary. We let outward non positive results get us down. Others have their agency. It's not all Gods fault despite what people may tell you.

Elder Larson
The way we often try to start talking to people on the street is. we ask a question like... "Do you believe in Jesus Christ?" People really do cast him as a thing of naught. Remember to defend him and try to be nicer to strangers than people who are nice even though they don't believe in Jesus.

2 Nephi 4:26

26 O then, if I have seen so great things, if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men hath visited men in so much mercywhy should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions?

For Gans we read the end verses of 2 Nephi 4. We then put negative and positive things that Nephi said from the verses. There were a lot more positive things than negative things. Showing really that life is worth it. Even though its not always a walk in the park. We should have faith like Nephi instead of being fearful like Laman and Lemuel. Try keeping true perspective and it should be easier to be happy.

There is really good talk that I have liked from last general conference.

I like the talk itself... the Elder speaking speaks with no emotion really.. but what he says when I first heard it took me by a big surprise.

He talks about living the gospel in fear is no fun and is completely unnecessary. Listening to the negative (Satan's voice) inside your head. When Satan wants you to sin he tries to put distance between you and God. So stay close to him. He suggests 6 ways to improve life and to help get rid of his voice. ( So that we can approach the throne of God with more confidence.

  1. Take responsibility for your own spiritual well being. (Stop making excuses etc (trust you me... everyone and their dog has excuses and its honestly not an OK reason though.. You should not be too busy for Jesus.)
  2. Take responsibility for your own body. (Your body effects your spirit... so take care of it).
  3. Embrace whole-hearted obedience. (Yes my little siblings.. this includes obeying Mom and Dad. Go do the dishes Jonas. Thank you.)
  4. Become really really good at repenting. (We can repent everyday all the time so why not do so).
  5. Become really really good at forgiving. (Forgive everyone and don't hold grudges.)
  6. Accept trails setbacks and surprises as part of your mortal experience. (Remember we are here to be tried and tested. Millions of our brothers and sisters are and have been tested... why should you be excused. Acknowledge and face your weaknesses. But don't be immobilized by them. Because some of them will by with you until you die.)

Snow the size of my face

If we are grateful and have faith, hope, and charity, we should be happy and doing good works (things) as a concequence.
I'm very grateful I'm here in Italy right now. Helping myself by helping others. It is great.

I invite you to gain more Faith, Hope, and Charity this week. Also try the six points to destroying the ring of evil power.

I hope you may be uplifted by this email, and that you may find comfort. I have found faith out here. I'm praying for y'all and hope everything works out for you. Remember. There is no spoon. So be happy =).

To remember better days.

With Love,
Anziano Gridley

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Take a Stand

Buona Salute e Vita Family and Friends,

"Your Father failed, because he failed to act."

We met this Indian man who is a Hindu recently. He was extremely patient and very kind despite all odds etc. (He had head phones etc). We met him on the street taught him about the restoration and the Book of Mormon. We met him again and gave him an Italian BoM and we are working on getting him one in his own language. He is very patient and I believe genuine. He came to church with us on Sunday to Testimony meeting. He is really cool and hopefully good things will happen.

The monk guy we met a while ago may or may not like other monks type of a thing, and long story short. We wont be meeting him again.

There is a Nonna (Grandma) here who feeds us every couple of weeks. She has special permission from an old president of the mission for us to visit her without a man in the home. She is really kind to us. Però (however) she prays that the evil people in the world and some people who aren't Christians be destroyed like the Book of Mormon again. I suppose we all have our faults as this isn't a particularly good thing to hope or pray for.. I just found it a bit odd.

We were finding and went around a corner and I had just seen a man... felt to talk to him.. did so.. he speaks English and is from another European country. He the day before had lost his licence and hence would no longer be able to work at his job.. and was feeling really low about that. We taught about the restoration and tried to offer comfort to him. He said that if God would show me a sign or let me know then I will do it. I told him this was the way that God could show him of the truth. We exchanged numbers and set up a time to meet with him again after a prayer with him, we haven't been able to see him or hear from him after this encounter, but I believe we were meant to meet with him if only to provide some comfort in this hard time in his life.

To address some normal (for me) things that you may not know.

We eat with members about two meals each week.

Food wise... I eat a lot of pasta. It's dang good. There is pesto which is a sauce pre-made you throw on pasta that you just made... that's really good. You just can't really have it as left overs. Gelato is really good here as well... but I'm trying to stay away from eating it... kebab.. and Nutella haha. Despite what the world tells you... those things aren't very good for you. I've had Filipino food quite a few times as well.

It is really gray and not exactly pretty here. Anziano Larson isn't super impressed. I do like it though. I'm not here to see a pretty country.

Italians take fooseball way serious. The older men as well. They have different ways that they hold the rod thing. Like a different grip of holding a lightsaber. or like penholder to standard. It's really funny to see them so crazy about this little soccer game. I'm the same way though haha.

A general conference talk I very much enjoyed was by Elder Holland a few years ago called the First Great Commandment. I particularly liked this because the Bible is not crazy descriptive and I appreciate him filling in some holes of some non scriptural but what he imagines probably went down.

He has great sympathy for the apostles. A few days after Jesus death he believes Peter said something like this to the other Apostles. Brethren, it has been a glorious three years. None of us could have imagined such a few short months ago the miracles we have seen and the divinity we have enjoyed. We have talked with the very Son of God Himself. We have walked with him and wept with Him, and on the night of that horrible ending, no one wept more bitterly than I. But that is over. He has finished his work, and He has risen from the tomb. He has worked out his salvation and ours. So you ask, What do we do now... I don't know more to tell you than to return to your former life, rejoicing. I intend to go a fishing.

And at least six of the ten other remaining apostles went with him. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately. But alas the fishing wasn't good. Their first night back on the lake, they caught nothing.. not a single fish. At first light they saw in the distance a figure who called out to them... Children, have you caught anything... Glumly these Apostles turned again fishermen gave the answer no fisherman wants to give. We have caught nothing they muttered, and to add insult to injury they were being called children.

"Cast the net on the right side of the ship and ye shall find." the stranger calls out and with those simple words, recognition begins to flood them. Just three years earlier these very men had been fishing on this very sea. On that occasion too they had toiled all the night and had taken nothing.
Now it was happening again. These children as they were rightly called eagerly lowered their net and they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. John said the obvious. It is the Lord. And over the edge of the boat, the irrespressible Peter leaped.

This next was a very important conversation. (and the background of this story Elder Holland gives helps explains why). He proceeds to ask Peter three distinct times if he loves him (Jesus). The third time Peter says "Lord thou knowest that I love thee." To which Jesus responded (in Elder Hollands words). Then Peter, why are you here.. Why are we back on this same shore, by these same nets, having this same conversation... Wasn't it obvious then and isn't it obvious now that if I want fish, I can get fish.. What I need, Peter, are disciples.. and I need them forever. I need someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs. I need some one to preach my gospel and defend my faith. I need someone who loves me, truly, truly loves me, and loves what our Father in Heaven has commissioned me to do. Ours is not a feeble message. It is not a fleeting task. It is not hapless.. it is not hopeless.. it is not to be consigned to the ash heap of history. It is the work of Almighty God, and it is to change the world. So, Peter, for the second and presumably the last time, I am asking you to leave all this and to go teach and testify, labor and serve loyally until the day in which they will do to you exactly what they did to me.

Kind of some background to the scriptures and an inspiring Jesus speech. To those of my fellow friends and family serving missions or are enlisting I applaud you and I'm happy for you. This is the work of God and it is a cause worth leaving the fish and living and dying for. This I know. I found this helpful to me as a pick me up.. and I hope it is helpful to you as read that story. (Here's the talk with video).

We meet and talk to a fair amount of Africans and Muslims as we go out and try to find people to teach. Normally they will at least hear us more, hence we talk with them more. One thing I believe should be a thing is this. Jesus Christ was either a liar... or the Son of God. As he claimed that he was that.. and hence would be a liar if this was not true... and to think you can take some middle ground to me is silly. Same thing with the Book of Mormon.. Our church.. The apostles of today are either men of God... or they are lying about a lot of things. After having examined a lot of these things. I believe that all of these are true good things and it has greatly helped my life... but to try to pretend some middle ground at least of the core of things is not wise and I invite you all to find out for yourselves what is true.

I try not to be overbearing to people and hence sometimes I just let Anziano Larson do the talking.

I invite you all to find out for yourselves to act. Do not procrastinate this. What really is important..
Anziano Gridley and his Grandma (also serving currently in
the Kiev, Ukraine Temple on a mission with Grandpa),
at the 2014 Low Reunion.
I'll tell you right now.. its not money. I bear my testimony that this is the way to find a sign from God if he exists and what is true in the world. Through reading and praying about the Book of Mormon.... Stand up and rise from the dust.

"That man had a gun."
"Would that stop you..."
"I've had training."
"The training is nothing. The will is everything. The will to act." - Ra's al Ghul

With Love,
Anziano Gridley