|Me and Sorella Alley|
I wish I had been better at that before my mission. I know I could have done a lot more for the missionaries and for those they taught. I don't think I ever realized how much members make a difference in the lives of these people. All anyone really wants is to have a place where they belong. Church should always be that place, especially when we consider that we are all brothers and sisters. No one should ever feel left out of this family, because I'm too busy to let them know I love them. These members have definitely made realize how much better I can be.
|Sorelle Burkman, Alley, and Elena!|
Saturday was a pretty great day also. The Anziani in Ancona were having a baptism! Two actually - brothers, the first young men in the branch! We were planning on taking Luigi, but he ended up not being able to come. We still had to go though, because when they found out we were coming, Anziani Miller and Mustafaraj asked me to give one of the talks, since not a lot of members were going to be there. We decided to bring two of our members with us. Alan is one of the young men in the ward and we thought it would be nice if there was a young man there for the baptism, even if he's from a branch an hour away. We also brought Emanuele, because he's the young men's president. This baptism was so wonderful! These two young men are extremely incredible. Next week, they are going to be given the priesthood, and then they will be blessing and passing the sacrament each Sunday. How incredible is that?
I was so grateful to be able to go, because it was the first baptism I've been able to go to since being in Rimini. There is nothing like a baptism to remind you of why you're serving a mission. There is something incredibly sacred and special about witnessing someone make a covenant with their Father in Heaven. During the baptism, one member turned to me and with tears in her eyes said, "Posso ricordarmi il mio battesimo." [I can remember my baptism.] Then of course I started to cry, no surprise there.
Sunday was surprisingly wonderful as well. President and Sorella Dibb were in Ancona in the morning so President Dibb could set apart a sister leaving on her mission. On the way back to Milano, they stopped in Rimini to interview one of the members. We were at the church having lunch with this member and had no idea he was coming until she told us 30 minutes before he got there. While he was in the interview, we talked to Sorella Dibb for about an hour. She was so very sweet as always. She loves being a part of the missionaries’ lives. I'm so grateful for her and for how much she obviously cares about the missionaries. Since President Dibb was already there, he decided to do our interviews. For some reason, mine went on for about 30 minutes. But it was really nice to get the chance to talk to President Dibb - to talk about the work, about myself, about how wonderful it is to be here. He's so assuring and lets you know that you, specifically, are important and needed. I really needed that talk with him.
Now for the best part of the week. Monday we had a beautiful miracle. Last week, Anziano Dowling called me with a referral from one of their investigators. I called the next day, but Valentina was at work and told us she would call us back. She didn't, so we called her again Sunday night. Her husband was so excited to talk to us and said he would call us back when Valentina got home. They called about ten minutes later and made an appointment for the next day. I have never been in a lesson where the spirit was more powerful then this one. From the moment we got there, everything was perfect. We were able to completely be ourselves and connect with them, which is sometimes really hard to do when you don't speak the language very well. Christian told us they just really want to be apart of something. Which led in perfectly to the first point of our lesson, that we have a loving Heavenly Father, and we're all family. We taught them about the restoration and the Book of Mormon. They eagerly accepted the invitation to read. Then, we invited them to be baptized. Again, eagerly they agreed. We're meeting with them again today. They are so excited to come to church this Sunday, and we're excited for them to be welcomed into the branch.
God watches over all of us. He leads us to where we need to be. Everyday, we are being prepared for the next step in our lives, whatever that is. I don't know where I'll be a year from now, or even three weeks from now. (Although let’s be honest, I'll probably be right here in Rimini) But I do know that wherever I am, God will have prepared me for that time. Just like he prepares people to hear and accept the Gospel. I can't imagine living my life without this knowledge; it just seems too difficult. I love you all, and I'm so grateful for the love and support you have shown me. We each have an incredible journey ahead of us; I have no doubt of that.
"For verily I say unto you, that great things await you." D&C 45:62
Until next time,Sorella Ellen Rose Ervin