Monday, March 31, 2014

Reggio di Calabria

March 22, 2014

We spent the night in Reggio di Calabria on our way from Catania to Cosenza.  It didn't take long for Michael to strike up a conversation with the owner of the bed and breakfast and next thing I knew, he was handing out a Restoration pamphlet with the promise to talk more about it in the morning.  We arranged to have the missionaries serving in Reggio meet us at the palace so we could give them his information so they could follow up with him.  We met them at the palace and then walked back to show them where we had stayed so they would know where to find it.  While we were standing in the doorway, the elder's phone rang and it was owner of the B&B wondering where the missionaries were because he was at the Mormon church.  We arranged to meet him and introduce him to the missionaries before we had to leave for Cosenza where Michael was speaking at Priesthood Meeting.  We're hoping the missionaries are able to share the gospel with him.


March 31, 2014

Most of our family really like artichokes (carcofi) and so it's fun to see all the artichokes in Italy.  We drive by field after field of artichokes and the markets are full of them.  The Italian people eat a lot of artichokes.  They even eat steamed artichokes for breakfast.  We ate fried artichokes in the Jewish section of town one time.  My favorite pizza is artichoke pizza.  We see a lot of artichokes, but have never seen as many at one time as we saw on a truck that was on the same ferry we were as we crossed the strait from Messina to Reggio di Calabria.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Departing Poem

One of our missionaries will soon be returning home.  This is how he summed up his mission:

Two years have flown by fast
I have no clue to where.
I remember when all I could say was
''Io sono Anziano Baer''

Back then my shoes were new
without holes everywhere,
But I wouldn't want them new again

Because the holes let in the air.

Mission life has been great;
the experiences I wouldn't trade.
So many people I did meet,
So many friendships that were made.

I've been happy, I've been sad,

especially when investigators we did lose.
But thankfully God gave everyone
The great ability to choose.

This precious time is closing soon;

its about time to move ahead.
But just as Sorella Waddoups always says,
''No testimony is ever dead''.

I ask myself what will I do?

just what will be my fate?
The answer to those, I do not know

But seeing my mom will sure be great.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


March 19, 2014

This is the talk I gave at the Mission Conference:

When our youngest daughter was small, she always gave her father coupons for Father's Day.  They would say things like "This coupon good for 1 shoe shine" or "This coupon good for 1 bag of popcorn".  If he tried to redeem the coupon for popcorn, she always said okay and put a bag of popcorn in the microwave.  If he tried to redeem the coupon for a shoe shine, she would cry and cry because she didn't want to shine his shoes.  She came to visit us in Rome a few days ago and as we were preparing to go to the airport, my husband said "I ought to take one of those coupons with me."

As missionaries, we all wanted to serve a mission.  We had great intentions.  We received our calls, signed a letter of acceptance, and returned it to President Monson.  That was our gift to him.  Now that we are here in Italy serving as missionaries, are we okay with keeping the commitment to serve or do we cry because it is too hard?

In the Book of Mormon, Nephi was obedient.  He returned to Jerusalem to get the Brass Plates from Laban.  It was hard and his brothers complained and mocked him, but he did it anyway.  Nephi was instructed by the Lord to build a boat when he'd never done that before.  It was hard and his brother's complained and mocked him, but he did it anyway.

I'm reminded of the song, Nephi's Courage, that we sang in primary.

I will go; I will do 
the thing the Lord commands. 
I know the Lord provides a way,
He wants me to obey.

In 1 Nephi 3:7 it states:

"And it came to pass that I Nephi, said unto my father:  I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commanments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."

Just as the Lord prepared the way for Nephi, He will prepare the way for you.  All we have to do is be obedient by obeying His commandments and following in his path.


Rest Peacefully

March 25, 2014

We received word today the mother of one of our missionaries passed away.  It's a very tender time.  We express our love and sympathy to the family.

Rest peacefully, sweet mother, and know that your son has been well taught and that he loves you.  He has a divine knowledge of the eternal plan of salvation.  He is an extraordinary missionary.  We will love him and nurture him and, at the end of his mission in Italy, will return him to his earthly father.

2014 Mission Tour

Anziano Patrick Kearon

Italy Rome Mission
March 19-21, 2014

*  *  *  *  *

Patrick Kearon (born 18 July 1961) has been a general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) since 2010. He is a member of the church's  First Quorum of Seventy. 
Kearon was born in  Carlisle, England.  He was baptized into the LDS Church on Christmas Eve 1987. He was introduced to the church when he stayed with an LDS family in California; two years later, he ran into LDS missionaries in London and began learning about the church. He has worked in transportation, real estate and related fields. In the LDS Church, he has been the president of the Bristol England Stake and an area seventy.
He gave his first General Conference address in the October 2010 Conference. He spoke of being healed spiritually through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Kearon and his wife, Jennifer Carole Hulme, whom he met while she was studying in London as a BYU student, are the parents of four children. At the time of his call as a general authority Kearon was living in Somerset, England.  In 2011 he was appointed as an Assistant Executive Director of the church's Priesthood and Media Services departments.

*  *  *  *  *

Elder Patrick Kearon, Counselor in the Europe Area Presidency and a member of the First Quorum of Seventy, presided over the annual Italy Rome Mission Tour.

Meetings were held in two locations over a three day period.  The first meeting was held in Rome and most of the missionaries serving on the mainland of Italy and the missionaries from Sardegna met in Rome.  We had about 100 missionaries in attendance.   The second meeting was held on the island of Sicily in Catania.  All the missionaries serving in the Palermo and Catania Zones as well as a few of the missionaries serving near the boot of Italy met there.  Again we had about 100 missionaries.  All the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders  went to Catania so they would be there for the Capi Conference (Leaders Conference) the following day with Elder Kearon.

It took weeks of organizing travel and sleeping accommodations.  The office elders and assistants did all the work while we were still traveling and doing training.  The day of the conference in Rome there was a transportation strike which made things a bit hectic for a while, but by two minutes prior to starting time, all the missionaries were there.

The theme of the conference was FAITH and ACTION.   Over and over the conversation lead to faith (fede).  President Waddoups taught we have to have faith to teach about faith.  Faith is demonstrated by goals.  We have to want to do something before we can do it.  Have faith in yourself and in your talents.  If God said we can do it, we can believe it.

Mark 11:22-24

And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.

For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.

Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
A lot of time was spent on finding new investigators to teach.  If we don't talk to people, we don't find investigators.   If we don't have investigators, we don't have anyone to teach.  If we don't teach, we don't baptize.  When we are finding, we have to talk to everyone and use all the "clubs in the bag".  We need to show confidence and testify of the things our companions say.  It is important to listen to the spirit when finding as well as when teaching.  The Italian people love their families, and they will love the concept of eternal families.

Elder Kearon began by reading part of the First Presidency Message from the Preach My Gospel manual.

We challenge you to rise to a new sense of commitment to assist our Father in Heaven in His glorious work.  Every missionary has an important role in helping "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39).

The Lord will reward and richly bless you as you humbly and prayerfully serve Him.  More happiness awaits you than you have ever experienced as you labor among His children.

Elder Kearon referred to a talk given by Elder Nelson where he refers to the image of parents taking their child to a primary school and wanting them to come home happy.  Heavenly Father wants all His children back and missionaries are the ones He needs to help them return to Him.  Many people don't know they are stuck in a primary school and don't know there is a better way and a pathway to get there.  Missionaries have that knowledge and the responsibility to teach them.

One of my favorite quotes was "If you have voices of doubt--turn it off".

It requires action to make things happen.  Elder Kearon asked the missionaries to highlight the things they will do after the conference.  Too many people listen and take notes and think what they hear is really good, but then they don't do anything about it.   Elder Holland said "It takes a great Stake Conference to last past Tuesday."

The missionaries were asked to think of the most capable missionaries in finding and list their attributes.

Happy - Men are that they might have joy?  (Not something in the future.  It's NOW!)
Natural - At peace with self
Look of love from eyes and smile
Bold - Know message and bear sincere testimony
Selfless - Talk about them instead of you.  We have 2 ears and 1 mouth
Focus - Talk to others instead of talking to companion
Unwearying diligence - Love for people
Find everywhere
Big smile - Look like the message - "Become the Message" - People see you before they talk to you
"You might be the only message some people read."

How can these attributes be adopted and shared?

Enos 1:4

 And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens.

The way to truly adopt these attributes is through exact obedience.  Obedience molds character.

D&C 130:20-21

There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated--

And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.

The scriptures tell us that God's glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.  That should be our goal, too.

Moses 1:39

For behold, this is my work and my glory--to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

Our purpose is to get Father's children home and the the gateway is baptism.  The missionary's role in the conversion process is to create a climate where the Holy Ghost can bear witness.

During the Leader's Conference with the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders on the final day, Elder Kearon asked the missionaries to list the keywords that impressed them during the conference.  These are the things they listed:

*Positivity and Hope
*Mighty Prayer
*Self Worth
*Absolute Trust
*Reaction to Rejection
*Be Patient
*Passion for Missionary Work
*Courage and Boldness

It's impossible to concentrate on all those things at once, so they narrowed the list down to 6 things to work on--even though they will probably only work on 2 or 3 at a time.  These 6 things were:

*Positivity and Hope

At the conclusion of the conference, Elder Kearon referred the missionaries to a section of the Preach My Gospel manual that talks about being a successful missionary.

A Successful Missionary

Your success as a missionary is measured primarily by your commitment to find, teach, baptize, and confirm people and to help them become fruitful members of the Church who enjoy the presence of the Holy Ghost.

Avoid comparing yourself to other missionaries and measuring the outward results of your efforts against theirs.  Remember that people have agency to choose whether to accept your message.  Your responsibility is to teach clearly and powerfully so they can make a correct choice.  Some may not accept your message even when they have received a spiritual witness that it  is true.  You will be saddened because you love them and desire their salvation.  You should not, however, become discouraged; discouragement will weaken your faith.  If you lower your expectations, you effectiveness will decrease, your desire will weaken, and you will have greater difficulty following the Spirit.

You will know you have been a successful missionary when you:

*Feel the Spirit testify to people through you.
*Love people and desire their salvation.
*Obey with exactness.
*Live so that you can receive and know how to follow the Spirit who will show you where to go, what to do, and what to say.
*Develop Christlike attributes.
*Work effectively every day, do your very best to bring souls to Christ and seek earnestly to learn and improve.
*Help build up the Church (the ward) wherever you are assigned to work.
*Warn people of the consequences of sin.  invite them to make and keep commitments.
*Teach and serve other missionaries.
*Go about doing good and serving people at every opportunity, whether or not they accept your message.

When you have done your very best, you may still experience disappointments, but you will not be disappointed in yourself.  You can feel certain that the Lord is pleased when you feel the Spirit working through you.

* * * * *

The theme of the mission is "Bee the best you can bee."  We continually stress the importance of bee-ing a little bit better tomorrow than we are today and that we should never compare our best to somebody else's best. 

The one quote that Elder Kearon said that really resonated with me was:

"Your best will always be good enough."

President and Assistants with companion ties.

The anzioni usually get matching ties.  These anzioni have matching, shoes, socks, suits, and shirts--but not ties.

Americans with Italian Surnames
Amici (friends and neighbors) from home

Monday, March 24, 2014

Letter to President

Remember when I was in Rome coming to Napoli and two of my bags got stolen (wow can't believe that was already 2 months ago). Well looking back at all the emotions, tears, feelings of stupidity, I remember just praying let some good come out of this. I would still think it stinks but It would be worth it if we could share the gospel with someone because of it. And yah we talked to the police officers at the station about it, gave a Book of Mormon to the man who found my bags so that was great.  So lets fast forward 2 months...So my glasses got stolen and I have just finally got around to getting new ones. And what do you know we struck up a conversation with the glasses guy.
Me: " SO how long have you ...(pausing. thinking of how to say worked here in Italian)
Him: "Have we been married?" ( pointing to the lady he is working with)
Me: Sure. (thinking. yes what an even better question)
They then go on to tell us all about their family, their 3 daughters, how they met, their whole life story, which continued into an invitation to lunch at their house Sunday afternoon. (oh these crazy Italians) It ended up being the optomitrists ( the husband and wife) their 3 daughters, and their boyfriends, and their cousin, and her family. It was a full house. But we were able to share a little bit about our message about Gods plan of happiness for us. How in our church we have temples where we can make ordinances that will seal us to our family forever. They want to hear more! Wahoo! SO hopefully I'll have more news for you next week!

What an answer! Maybe it took two months! but HEY IF MY GLASSES HADN'T BEEN STOLEN I never would have met this awesome, crazy Italian family. They are so great! I wish I could explain to you how fun they are! How much I already love them! God answers prayers...usually in ways we don't even expect. So Pray. Ask. Be patient. Your answer will come!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Letter to President

OUR INVESTIGATOR GOT BAPTISED THIS WEEK. Can you believe it? We still cant. All week we were like "Hey, remember when we met him on the bus and he denied us and NOW he is getting baptised?" It was one of the best baptisms I've ever been to.The spirit was super strong and he was SUPER happy. He invited a TON of his high school friends to come and we got to meet his family for the first time. That was the best part, while the elders were helping him get ready, my companion and I got to talk to his family. They were really exited for him and couldn't believe all the changes he had made in his life. This is the kid who plays Rock music and refuses to cut his long curly hair... getting baptized at age 17. They were so shocked and so proud of him. They were asking a lot of questions and we started explaining to them the blessings of the temple and his parents started crying and were clearly touched by the spirit. My companion gave them a copy of the Book of Mormon and we set up a Family Home Evening with them for this week. It was one of the strongest times Ive felt the spirit in my mission, at his baptism, we were worried that he might not be ready yet, but the spirit confirmed to me many times that he was ready and he knew the path that he was choosing to follow and how he is going to bring so many people with him. The best part though was his confirmation on Sunday.. it was one of the most beautiful blessings I had ever heard, it talked about him serving a full time mission and him being an example to his friends and family and all the people that he had promised to bring the gospel. We were just in awe. He truly is so special and people kept coming up to us saying "good job sisters" like we even did anything.. that's the thing.. all we do is invite... and we invite SO many people every day... the ones that make the difference are the ones that ACT on it. And it just reminded me that sometimes it's the most unlikely people that accept the gospel. That night we had an incredible conversation with the Bus driver and this boy just happened to walk on and we just gave him a pamphlet because he had been listening... not thinking anything of it.. and the bus driver never accepted an appointment with us while HE GOT BAPTISED.. It was really all him.. we just feel SO blessed to have played that small part.


March 9, 2014

Happy Birthday !!!

Salsa Surprise

March 8, 2014

Sometimes timing is everything.  We were having a meeting at the villa with the assistants when somebody rang the doorbell.  We weren't expecting anybody so didn't answer it until the second ring.  Turns out it was a couple from Thatcher, Arizona who were in Rome and they had two packages of award winning salsa mix for two of the sisters in our mission with ties to Thatcher, Arizona.  After having been gone for nearly a week, we had just gotten back into Rome the night before at 10:30 pm.  If they had come at any other time, we wouldn't have been here.  We will have two happy sisters when they get the special treat.