Sunday, August 30, 2009
La chiesa di Gesù Cristo degli santi dei ultimi giorni
I went to the city this morning with a name an address and a phone number. And thanks to the good siense people, I found the church! I was walking up a hill when I asked a man across the street “conosce bene la città?” or “do you know the city well?” He said he did and so I asked him “dov’è la via don minzoni?” he said “questa strada è don minzoni!” “this is don minzoni!” “oh! ho trovato!” “I found it!” (I should have said “l’ho trovato” but its all buona) I told him I was looking for number 55 and he said it would be that way. I thanked him and went on my way. After walking almost all the way down the street and realizing that the numbers had only changed from 32 to 37, I thought that the church or apartment or whatever it was where gli santi dei ultimi giorni met was elsewhere. I decided to turn the corner and check in the small buildings that were behind the main apartments on the street. Lo and behold there was the sign: La chiesa di Gesù Cristo degli santi dei ultimi giorni!! I was so happy my eyes teared up. I heard the piano and knew I was in the right place.
For the first time since arrival in Siena I felt really at home. Rita’s house is good, but the church was incredible. I LOVE THE CHURCH!!!
Walking inside I found two american elders who asked me about what was happening in the states. I told them about cash for clunkers which they didn’t think was too great an idea. We talked some more about using the internet where it was il più economico etc. there is also a companionship of Italian elders, one of whom is the branch president. All of the people were super nice. About 50% of them speak English. There were about 13-15 people there today. We have the meetings in order from R.S. to Sunday school to sacrament meeting. (note: r.s. is called la società di succoro—the society of succor). In combined SS/ sacerdozio (priesthood) the branch president, anziano ranieri, gave a fabulous lesson about the constant nature of our Padre Celeste. (It was so funny to learn how similar the members of the Church really are. Anz. Ranieri kept saying “diciamo” which means “let’s say.” So for example, he said something like, “we are all playing a big game of football, diciamo. The spectators are the world and the coach is Christ, diciamo.”) And the analogies were so analogous with analogies we would use here. He also taught that when we have a testimony, we know and feel the Spirit.
The Sunday school teacher was a cute short bald man. He had me read a passage from the family proclamation that had the most difficult words to pronounce in the whole world. When you have never seen or heard the word, “reciprocamente” and you have to read it on the spot in a room full of Italians it can be a bit embarrassing, but they all said I did well. Then sacrament meeting was great. It was so weird: there was only one tray of water and one tray of bread. But the sacrament prayer in Italian is gorgeous. In sacrament, one of the speakers was an ex-professor from BYU who knew one of my teachers. His talk was awesome. He spoke about his experiences with converting to the church and deciding to serve a mission. Then the other Italian elder spoke. He spoke very quickly and kind of scattered. The main thing I got from his talk was that God heres “ogni parola, ogni volta”—every word, every time.
After church we all stood around talking and I decided to go explore the city a bit more. I found piazza del campo. It was breathtaking. I also walked through another basilica. It was constructed in the 1220s. It was also incredible. I felt a bit of the spirit there and felt sorry that people who believe in and love Christ so much don’t know the full truth.
Now I am sitting on a bench in a park trying to stay awake because for some reason I just could not sleep last night. I had a dream that Darrell told me he was addicted to alcohol and that woke me up at 2:30 after I went to sleep lightly at 11:30. I thought that finishing The Corpse Bride would put me to sleep, but it didn’t. So I watched the Sandlot. All of it. Then I started listening to music but still couldn’t sleep. I kept thinking about Darrell. At 5 am I texted his uncle. It would have been the perfect time for him to call me. it was 7 pm there. I don’t know why he hasn’t called yet but he is one of the people that I haven’t spoken to since I’ve been here that I really want to talk with.
Some nice old guy named Antonio just came up and started talking to me while he smoked his nasty cigarette. But I have to say: I am SO proud that I can speak Italian. I love my life even when I miss my family and friends. All the dreams that I’ve ever had (except becoming valedictorian) have come true. I am in Italy, and though I am by myself, I don’t feel alone. People like Antonio are everywhere, and after such an wonderful church service this morning I have the feeling that no matter where I go in the world I have a constant family in the gospel and companionship with the Holy Ghost.
today i acted: as translator for some british boys after i ran into my friend from church. they wanted to go to mcdonalds. che peccato.
today i have never hated more: the fact that i have to pay ,50 euro per bathroom visit
today i am torn: between loving the sabbath and wanting to spend all my money on all the cute stuff here
today i gave: my email address to four strangers from canada.