Wednesday, March 9, 2016

All Hail Anziano Razor. A Sith Lord.

Dear family and friends,

Do it you won't.

Guess what I just got to do. I just rode in a red nimbus two thousand.. It was incredible. I'm traveling from Vicenza to Pesaro. My new home. I rode a Freccia Rosa.
Which is pretty much the nicest train in Italy. I didn't get to cherish the experience like I would have liked to. But I will never forget being a wizard for twenty minutes. Now I'm on a less nice train heading Ancora to Pesaro. This city is south of Vicenza about three hours. It's as south as Florence. But east by the coast. I'm not talking to anyone now so I can write a bit. I have been packing and trying to clean up the house as much as possible for the new missionary. We are doing transfers on pday so they can't blame me for not having everything perfect.

Anziano Esmay and me played settlers of Katan quite a bit this last transfer. Normal game. But first one to 25 points. He beat me a few times but we haven't played since last weeks one game because he was tired of it. There was one game that was the best game. In this form of settlers you have to be able to build enough to get 25 points and if you can't build enough no matter what you lose. Anziano Esmay was totally destroying me. He had twice as much of everything as I did. I almost stopped playing two times cause it was embarrassing. I was losing so bad it didn't even hurt. But I kept being very specific with what I did as I could only do half as much as him.. I focused on getting a good hold of the map and getting cards instead of expansion because I was losing so bad. I ended up beating him because he could only get 24 points and then 22 points later. The lesson was. Even if I can't do a ton. It's more about how I do things. How I live my life. And I can still beat someone with twice as much opportunity. It was just so odd I won that it was awesome.

Hielo has made some great improvements. He had his interview with president Dibb and he did great. He should be getting baptized on the 19th of March. He is one of the coolest guys I got to work with because he changed so much. He changed from a more shady life to a life of God. Obviously he isn't baptized yet etc. But he has progressed a lot. He shows that we should not judge. Because if I had know his cover story up till that point. I probably would have talked to someone else at the park. We got really close to each other before I left and I hope everything works out for him. He took us out last week to an African restaurant. I wasn't feeling so good so it was less good. But he paid for us even though he doesn't have a lot etc.

The future is as bright as your faith.. Is a quote from Thomas s Monson. That I've been liken.

Onyeka's friend, Samuel is doing really good. He came to church for the first time and said that this is exactly wants as a church and has been making amazing progress since. The power of member work is incredible. It wasn't very hard for Onyeka to help Samuel. But it has the potential to really help Samuel's life now. And now Samuel introduced us to his friend Gabriel. And we have a big growing from it that could be great. This is mainly how our success was in Vicenza. We found someone who then their friend joined the church. Then their friend joined the church. And we have it happen one more time. On the other hand we have Hielo's friends. Who are not good guys who caused him some heart ache a bit ago. He can [have] whatever friends he wants as long as they aren't influencing him for bad. Friends have a powerful effect. If we want to help others we have to first make more friends and then help those friends.

We went and ate with Godwin and Yike last week. It was really good. I learned how they make fufu etc. I could maybe make it if I tried. It's harder than it looks. I'm going to miss a lot of these people here in Vicenza. And then last week we went to the gym after football with Godwin, Boyobo, and Sylvester..

 Onyeka and silver are baptized.. That's something super exciting and happy. They both have done everything we asked and were baptized. Really humble and awesome guys. We went and ate sushi with them and brother green and a convert from Mali after the baptisms. Onyeka said his baptism day was the best day of his life. Silver and Onyeka bore his testimony I translated into Italian for both. For Brother Green translated from French to English and then I translated into Italian from English. Christian gave a last hour (minute) talk that I helped him write. He did an example of the pen for the gift of the Holy Ghost but he was supposed to use his hat that he had. He left his hat in the other room when he did his talk. Hahaha. I could see him scared for half a second and then he did the example anyways without his hat.

Paris came to church for the first time this last week. So that was an accomplishment for me. It's interesting with him. He can handle things blunt and he needs directness because he talks so much etc. So I tell him exactly what he needs to do In a blunt-loving way.

I gave My testimony in sacrament meeting to kind of say good bye. My voice was cracking like I was crying the whole bloody testimony. I had to think very carefully what I wanted to say because I only had so much time to speak before my voice would shut off. I don't think I cried but boy I sounded like that one guy. I'm still a tough guy. It's a sign to me of how church and God has changed me if even a bit. I wasn't capable of that a couple of years ago. It also shows me how much I do really care about some of the people at Vicenza.

We had a night with brother Leach where we had Christian and Onyeka come over to his house for the evening. Onyeka went with brother Leach to stake conference and it was brought up brother leach lives next to someone who possibly could give Onyeka a job. Onyeka really wanted to meet with Brother Leach. We watched the short restoration film and then we talked about the importance of a testimony. I've been trying my best to help these guys be long time member material. Brother Leach made some really good food with his crock pot.

I feel a lot of joy and happiness for what went well this transfer but I feel so much regret and sorrow for what I have done wrong and how I have failed so hardcore and so many times.. If I dwelt on it I would be eaten up like I was in the past. Now I dwell on it enough to help me improve and then I focus on the good and I'm happy. The secret is acknowledging the bad. Learn from it. And then forget.. But if I do think about it too much I feel like I'm going to get swallowed up.. I let myself down and my companion and some people down in Vicenza this last transfer. I can't give up and raise the white flag. I'm not supposed to. But at the same time I can't just fix things over night. As the font was filling Samuel said that it was filling gradual. And just like everything most things are gradual..

I talked to a guy named Dimitri the other day on a train. He works in a hotel in Padova. He is from Surbia but has been in Italy a long time. He was really nice and one of the humble people you occasionally meet especially if they aren't African. We had a nice conversation. He believes in God but not the church. Which fits perfectly with my church. At the end of the day we want performance. But if we are set up for victory once in a while you while get it etc. So I've been trying to set others up for victory. The performance is important. As is the preparation.

One of the things the branch in Vicenza wants from the Africans is self reliance and teaching that principle. I explained to them that in the church I have a lot of experience. For the new converts they are still baby's in that way. You don't ask a baby to do too much. You help the baby grow and sure you may want the baby to be a bit more self reliant. But obviously what is fair is if the adult gives more and then the child gives what they can. Same principle with God. I'm glad God doesn't shoot me down all the time. Just to teach me self reliance. I try to help others grow but it is my job to make sure I'm self reliant and doing my part not to worry about others. With example with Christian he is so much stronger than he was when I first met him. He is so much more happy and he is now a man of God. He wasn't when I first met him. The gospel and church changes people. Sometimes you have to give more so that they can grow and then be able to handle being self reliant. It's a tricky subject that I hope my boys figure out.

Corre. corre. Batman. La forza per tre.  (Run, Run Batman.  The force for Three)

I greet you,
Anziano Gridley

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