Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving from Anziano Walden!

Mom, Dad, Zack, and all family and friends who are reading this,
Happy Thanksgiving!!!
Today has been quite the busy day for me, its only 1 and I'm already exhausted. They have quite the Thanksgiving program here all day, and its still our pday, so a lot of stuff needs to get done. We had to wake up at 4:45 just to get our laundry done! It's been crazy but I sure do love Thanksgiving! I feel like I haven't appreciated this holiday enough.
So Its really different being away from home this Thanksgiving, but the Holland (as in Elder Jefferey R.) family have adopted us into their family for the day, and they're taking great care of us. This morning we had the opportunity of having a great morning fireside with Elder and Sister Holland and all of their kids and grandkids. Man, Elder Holland sure is a great speaker. He told the stories of all these prophets(Noah, Isaiah, Daniel, Moroni) who were so discouraged because they knew that at the end of their dispensation, the gospel would end in apostasy. However, he said: "each one of these prophets had a vision in which they saw the Elders that are in the MTC right in this moment, and this vision is what kept them going."For the first time in human history, the gospel is destined to succeed on the Earth, and that missionary work will fill the Earth more and more until every tongue shall confess that Jesus is the Christ, ushering in a new era of eternal happiness with our families and our Father in Heaven." I thought that was pretty cool to think about. Also he had his oldest granddaughter share her testimony, and talk about her mission call that she just opened..... and you'll never guess where she's going..... Milan!!! How cool is that? You know it's got to be the best mission in the world when an Apostle of the Lord calls his own granddaughter to that mission haha. It'll be exciting to hopefully meet her out in the field. Anyways, he also shared this quote that he elaborated on for a bit: "Mothers are Magical." I loved it when he talked about mothers today! Mom, I'm so grateful that I have you in my life! You've been such a great example to me, and you've been so caring to me, in only the way that a mother can be. I hope that someday I can marry a woman who will be even half the mother that you've been to me:) I'm on a mission though, so I'm not really worried about that at the moment haha. Anyways, other than that, this week has been pretty standard. I've got to admit, zone leader has been a lot harder of a calling than I thought it would be.  However, we have such an awesome Branch presidency that has really helped us out, and I feel like I've learned a lot through this calling. It seems like the best way to fix any problem is through service and love.

Anyways, thanks for the donuts and the package! The thanks for the donuts is on behalf of the zone as well... they devoured them haha. I only ate a couple.That picture with you guys and Buster is hilarious, I'm so jealous. And Zack's smile is lookin mighty fine haha...... I noticed he was wearing my sweatshirt in the pic though.... not surprised at all.
Also, it looks like we're probably leaving the 18th now instead of the 27th. Its not locked in yet, but its sounding more and more like that is the case. I think that would be so cool cause that means that I only have 3 1/2 more weeks left in the MTC!!! Crazy! If we leave the 18th, I would call you at the airport, and then again on Christmas in Italy (possibly skype). If we left the 27th, I would only get to call you at the airport, because the MTC doesn't allow phone calls on holidays. Like I said though, its probably gonna be the 18th.
Tell Trevor congrats on starting his papers too!!! Tell him that a mission is by far the coolest thing you can ever do with your life. It will get hard, but it is soooooo worth it. Just to give a bit of perspective on how much the age change is changing things, right now we have 9 elders in our Italy zone. On December 3rd we will get 19 more Elders and Sisters (which will be quite the task for me and Anz. Allen) and then in January we get 35 more Elders and Sisters!!!! The Italy Milan mission sure looks like its gonna be growing pretty fast. What a blessing to serve at this time!!! I"m so grateful for it!!!
Also, I was unpleasantly surprised to see that no one took my challenge to share the gospel with one person this last week (Or at least no one let me know about it) Hopefully I will hear from a lot more people this next week who took the challenge. A word of quick advice: Sometimes the Lord doesn't give us blatant opportunities to share the gospel because He wants us to create our own opportunities, and have faith in Him to sustain our valiant missionary work. Again, I challenge everyone who is reading this to make their own opportunity to share the gospel to someone who is not a member, whether through a conversation, and phone call, an email, or an invitation to a ward activity, etc. I really want to hear from people that are taking this challenge, because I know you'll be glad you did! In the wise words of Spencer W. Kimball: Just Do It!
Hope all is well and that everyone is doing great!
Vi Voglio Bene,
Anziano Walden

PS:  How's the scripture study goin Zack? I wanted to let you know that studying from actual scriptures instead of on the ipod has been soooo much better!!! Also, get a copy of preach my gospel and study from that! We use it soooooooo much here in the MTC. Oh, and Anziano Crescenti (from Italy) leaves a week from Monday, so you should send him a wallet soon, he really wants one haha.... he says to you "Tu sei un fratello per una altra madre" which means "You're a brother from another mother." He wrestles too and I was telling him all about you're wrestling practices and stuff.

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