Tuesday, December 17, 2013

In Rifle for Christmas!

I'm in Rifle for another transfer!!!

Last week my companion was talking to president and President told him that he has one more transfer in Rifle, but said nothing about me except for that my visa wasn't in yet so we assumed this meant I would leave since there's a good chance my visa will be in by the end of the next transfer so they should bring someone in to take over the area. NOPE! Saturday night we got a call from our Zone Leaders and they said "We have some transfer news for you" like one of us was out and then said "YOUR BOTH STAYING! Keep tearing it up elders." We didn't see that coming at all. We're pumped though, it's going to be so much easier this transfer to help people develop their faith now that we've spent so much time strengthening our relationship with them.

We met an awesome new family this week that we started teaching. We were given their phone number by a member of the Rifle 2nd ward and told to talk to them because the mom wanted a way to help her son have a good foundation while he's going through the trials of high school. We went over and visited them and he got really excited to learn more and she really encouraged him to go to church and meet with us again. She even said she would listen in as we taught him as well! He came and played basketball on Saturday as well and we had a great conversation about Jesus Christ. His name is Trevor and he's such a great kid. We're really excited about him.

Elder Cano (one of the Spanish Elders in Rifle) went home yesterday. He served a great two years, a full year of which he spent in Rifle, and by the end he had worn himself out but you could see as we visited members for the last time what an impact he had on the people here. He was such a good missionary and is such a great guy. He's going to UVU when he gets home so I can't wait to see him there. His companion Elder Pikula is training a new missionary that is still learning Spanish. Elder Pikula is pretty nervous because he's still learning the language himself but he'll do just fine.

For Cano's last training as a District Leader we first had a secret santa exchange where we all got another missionary assigned to us and we got presents for each other and then he gave a really great training about Christ. He first had us talk about all the gifts Christ has given us. Answers ranged from family to freedom from sin to hope. The one I pointed out was his example that I have to follow so that I can know right from wrong and see what kind of person I can become. He then had us each break off into different parts of the building and write a letter to Christ where we said what gifts we were thankful for and then decided what gifts we could give to Christ this season. It was such a cool experience. For me, I was able to think about how I can be a more Christlike missionary and do everything I can to be an effective advocate of our Lord. I'm so thankful for this Christmas season we have to celebrate his birth and remember his life.

Merry Christmas!


~Elder Della-Piana

Monday, December 9, 2013

Sao Paulo high 95 and Rifle low -17


So I find out thursday if I stay in Colorado for another 6 weeks or if my visa's in and I'm going to Brazil! The other day it was -13 degrees when we woke up and had been -19 that night! I was thinking about it and if I go to Brazil that will be a 100+ degree temperature change. Oh boy! I have a feeling I'm staying one more transfer though. My companion says he thinks he'll be leaving Rifle because he's been here 6 months but I would be surprised if they had me take over an area because I'm a visa waiter so there's a good chance I'd be handing it back off after 6 weeks.

"Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15)
So we got a little over a foot of snow earlier this week so we got to do quite a bit of shovelling. We ended up walking a lot more than usual this week for a few reasons. First on the snow day we weren't allowed to drive but the roads weren't that bad so we got a ride with a member to an area where we could see a few people so that wasn't that bad. Then the next two days we were walking because we hit a curb driving in the snow and bent our front left wheel. It was cool though because we went on exchange with the Spanish elders so that we could see both Spanish and English investigators instead of not seeing any english that day while they went down to Glenwood to get our car. While we were on exchange we accidentally knocked the wrong door and realized after knocking but as we went to walk away someone came out and we apologized but offered to say a prayer with their family (we call it the prayer approach). They let us in and as we got talking we shared a message with them too and they invited us to come back this week to study with them! It was cool as well because they spoke spanish and english and at the end the spanish elder asked if they would rather meet in english or spanish and they said English. It was super funny because we both looked at each other when he asked and it was just a funny moment of suspense to see who would get this awesome new investigator so when they said english we both stayed natural but on the inside he was crying and I was doing a huge fist pump. It was cool

One cool miracle this week was a new investigator named Jackie that we met yesterday. Her sister-in-law encouraged her to meet with us and gave her our number so she called and set up an appointment. She's had a hard time the last few months because her husband has been in jail and she's been trying to support her kids as a single mom which can obviously be really stressful. We taught her yesterday for the first time and she was very receptive to the message of the Restoration. She kept asking really good questions and then when we would explain something she would say "Okay, that makes sense." She was very willing to read the Book of Mormon and pray and she is coming to church next Sunday!! We explained what baptism is and asked if that would be something she would be willing to consider and she said YES! She's a very humble woman and said her husband gets out of jail next week and she wants to be meeting with us and bring him into it when he gets home! So I guess I'll keep you posted on how that goes. It's cool because she is actually David's aunt who is one of the people we started meeting with last week.

 We got to meet with a less-active member that will be starting to come back to church once her broken leg heals and we talked about keeping the Spirit of Christ in Christmas. There were some awesome videos that we watched on mormonchannel.org about it. One was "The Reason Behind Christmas" and the other was "Wise Men Still Seek Him." It was really cool to talk about why we really celebrate and how we can overcome the commercialism that tends to surround this season. I love the quote from Thomas S. Monson that goes something like "The Spirit of Christmas is the Spirit of Christ"

I love you all, and wish you all a Merry Christmas Season.

~Elder Della-Piana

Monday, December 2, 2013

Happy Belated Thanksgiving

Happy Belated Thanksgiving Everybody!

Thanksgiving was great here. We had dinner with our Ward Mission Leader Brother Boyd and it was SO GOOD! We had a Turkey Bowl that morning and played football on end for a solid three hours and then rugby and Volleyball for a little after that. It was a good day. We were supposed to have two thanksgiving dinners but one fell through so we only had one. That's probably a good thing though because we were so stuffed.

A couple cool things happened this week. We got two new investigators and both kind of had cool stories.

The first one was David. The first time we met him my companion was actually at the DMV with another missionary to help him get a license and they just kind of talked to David and invited him to come play basketball with us some time. A couple days passed with nothing and then we got a call from a lady that was in from Salt Lake and wanted us to meet her son. We weren't able to connect with her again after she cancelled our appointment and we were waiting for a response. Then tuesday night we went out with one of our members and on our way to visit a recent convert we stopped to offer a lady some help moving a mattress. She didn't let us help but her neighbor called us over to talk. It turned out it was David's mom! We went over and had a really good conversation about God and the Bible and some of our beliefs and he invited us back for this week and we're excited about him.

The other new person we met this week is named Kenneth. Kenneth is from out of town and is just staying in Rifle for a little while as he waits for a job he has set up in Wyoming for the spring. For now he's living off his savings and taking it easy. His first contact with a member in the area was Sister King. They met at the Library and started talking and she invited him to church and he CAME! Then a little while later the Kings had the missionaries over for dinner and invited him and they had a good lesson. The dinner was actually the day before I got here so I had never met him and nothing had come of it since then. Then on Wednesday we were stopping by the house of one of our other investigators and Kenneth is the one that answers the door! It turns out he had just moved in two days earlier and was going to live there for a couple months and he gave us an open invite to come back and meet with him. He's already read the Old Testament and the Book of Mormon and his biggest concern is that he believes in God but isn't sure about Jesus Christ. He offered up unprompted that if he did believe in Jesus Christ he probably would join the Mormon church. He is excited to meet with us and seems open minded. Really a great guy.

We got to do some good service this morning. We put up a shed for a horse in the freezing cold. It was nice to be out working in the yard. Felt a little more like home.

One cool scripture I came across actually in the MTC but I was thinking about this week is in the book of Jude. It says:
"Behold, the Lord bcometh with ten thousands of his csaints," (Jude 1:14)
 Whenever I think of the huge influx of missionaries due to the age change this scripture comes to mind. It is such a pleasure to be numbered among those thousands of ambassadors for the Lord. It brings me so much hope to think that He goes forth with us. We are not alone in this work.

I love you all!

~Elder Della-Piana

RIFLE - Week Three

Well I'm starting to realize how easy it would be to put on a ton of weight in this area. We get fed by members so much! The other night we had dinner with some members and there is a tradition of having an eating competition between the missionaries on who can eat the most wings. I was the lightweight only eating 40 while my companion had 42 and the Spanish Elders had 45 and 51. Only problem was we played basketball with some investigators right after and we were all super sick. Good times.

The work is going well. It's funny because this week felt a little slow in terms of how many lessons we got to teach but we still had way more than we'd ever had in Dartmouth. It was interesting to see how my expectations have changed for myself as I've come into this area and we've been so blessed. I'm so thankful for this area, for my companion, for the members and for the other missionaries we get to work with. It's so sweet.

It's wild how many trials the people we meet with are going through. I feel so much love for them and I can see just how much of a blessing it will be in their life if they will just accept the gospel. We were meeting with one investigator that has to be out of her house by December 1st and has no place to stay and it's a trial for her and we shared Mosiah 24:13-14 with them
13 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.14 And I will also ease the burdenswhich are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.
She didn't embrace it completely but we are praying for a miracle for her so that the Lord can lighten her burdens.

I love each one of you. Thank you for the letters, emails, packages, etc. It's cool to feel so supported as I'm trying to keep focused on the work.

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Lot of Teaching in Rifle

Que pasa mi raza,
Elder Yates(1st comp) and Elder DP
Sorry that one's Spanish not Portuguese. We spend a ton of time with the Spanish speaking missionaries that cover the same area as us so I get to hear Spanish way more than Portuguese. In fact we switched companions for a day for training and I went to the Spanish area and I understood everything but I could barely communicate. I could still pronounce it pretty well so I mostly read and he talked. Of course then the other day we knocked a door and they only spoke Spanish but they let me in and I taught them about the Book of Mormon in the Spanish I remembered and they said we could send the Spanish speakers over (at least I think she did). Anyways "que pasa mi raza" is how we always great each other.
I'm loving Rifle so much. It's cool to be in a small town rather than in Denver. I loved Denver but I love the small town feel where everyone knows and recognizes each other. The Members of the Church here are awesome too. They feed us SO MUCH! I barely have to buy groceries. They also come teach with us pretty regularly.
Elder DP, John (got baptized), and Elder Smelcer
We had a couple awesome experiences this week. The first was Monday evening. I had been sick all day so we didn't get to go on a hike with the other Elders but I was feeling better by the time dinner rolled around so we went to stop by the house of one of our investigators and talk to her for a bit. Her name is Sheri and she's going through a hard time where she is trying to get clean off drinking and get her kids back so we had planned on sharing a message about having the faith to get us through our trials. We started talking about it and it was exactly what she needed to hear. We had also felt like we should bring a copy of The Family: A Proclamation to the World and so when she talked about how she was having a hard time deciding what adjustments to make to the House Rules when her kids came home I pulled out the Proclamation and read a paragraph that talks about how success in family life is most likely to occur when founded on the principles demonstrated in the life of the savior, love, forgiveness, repentance, patience, etc. I had her read it out loud and half way through she began to cry. She said "this is an answer to prayer. I have been looking for something like this for so many years. Thank you so much." It was such a tender moment and I am so grateful I got to be a part of it.
We had one that was kind of cool and funny at the same time. We went to meet with a man we're teaching named Eric who believes it is his life calling to serve the world because the Lord has blessed him so much which is way cool so we're looking for service to do with him. It's interesting because he is such a talker and doesn't listen all that much. It's even more interesting because he lives with 4 other bachelors. So the other day was the first time we taught him in his home because we usually had just talked outside by his truck but he let us in and one of the guys (Bobby) had been drinking. So Eric asked "what's the good word of the day" and we shared with him a message about serving others from Mosiah 2:16-19 and talked about the service that we're doing and the service they can do but as soon as we started getting into it Bobby just started yelling at us. I say us but I mean me. He pointed at my companion and said "you're the man, I love you" and then kept looking at me and saying "put those down" and pointing at my scriptures, "what do you need those for, can't you speak for yourself" and just drilling me with questions and then not listening to the responses. It was kind of hilarious but pretty annoying as well but all the other guys just kept rolling their eyes at him as well. Anyways, the cool part is that one of the guys who we had never met was really interested in our message. His name is Abraham and he was a really quiet but humble guy. Bobby had kept ranting about how Abraham would spend all day reading his Bible and Abraham's response was about how it helped him focus on the things that matter most so we're looking forward to seeing him again soon.
Well I'm having a great time! I love getting to spend all day doing this work. We felt super blessed this week because we got to teach 25 lessons which is more than either of us have ever taught in a week. It was so nice to spend so much time in people's homes talking rather than out and about knocking and having it not go anywhere. It's cool though because even in those stretches when no one wants to talk to us there's still the feeling that we're going about the Lord's business so what we're doing is important.
One of my favorite quotes from Christ right now is when he's speaking to a man who brought his son to be healed:
"If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth" (Mark 9:23).
Keep it real!

~Elder Adam Della-Piana

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Trasfer to RIFLE, CO

Dearest Family and Friends,

So as you know I was transferred at the beginning of the week and I was told that I would be transferred on Thursday but didn't find out where too until Tuesday. Well on Monday Elder Yates (my last companion) emailed president and basically told him "If you're taking him away, at least send him to Rifle" which is where Elder Yates' spent the first four months of his mission and talked about it all the time. Come Tuesday at transfer meetings and Elder Yates has already been put with his new missionary fresh out of the MTC and they announce on the projector that I'm headed to serve in RIFLE! It was a pretty wild sequence of events. 

So now I'm in Rifle Colorado. Its a little town in the middle of the Mountains off of I-70. 

Rifle, CO
It's been a sweet first week, especially because I've gotten to know a bunch of the people that Elder Yates used to talk about. He served with my new companion Elder Smelcer who is a great missionary hailing from Fresno, California. He's a short, energetic water polo player who had a tough companion last transfer so he's ready to just WORK this transfer. 

The investigator that Elder Yates had talked about the most is named John and he was baptized on Friday. Elder Yates had tried really hard to come out for it but President didn't let him which was kind of disappointing since John wanted him to say the opening prayer. It was cool for me to be a part of though. Of course when I met John for the first time we were doing service at the thrift shop where he works and he couldn't pronounce my name so he just decided to call me "Dora" and then he just kept talking about how he wished it was Yates instead of me. He's super funny, he really just likes messing with people. 

John's story is actually pretty cool. Our mission is part of a pilot program for the Church's website justserve.org so we spend several hours a week serving without talking about the gospel unless the people ask. The program was just started recently and so John is one of the first people that have gotten baptized as a direct result of this program. The missionaries here go work at a thrift shop almost every day where all the proceeds go towards the food bank next door. John works at that store and one day at lunch he just started asking questions and eventually became interested in the church and turned his life around. It sure strengthens my testimony of the fact that when we "go about doing good" (PMG) and are living the principles of charity that the savior taught our example can be the best missionary tool. 

We had a bunch of other cool experiences this week. We got four new investigators this week. One was a referral through church headquarters, another is the husband of one of our investigators we haven't seen in a while that decided he would listen too, another was with a pack of drunk guys that were friendly but loud but he was sober and gave us a conversation and say we could come back and another was someone that had investigated once before but had fallen off the map and now she let us back in. 

I've started putting a quote from my studies on the top of the page in my planner daily just to give me something motivational throughout the day when I check our schedule. The other day I read in Mosiah 4 which talks about not judging beggars and imparting freely of your substance. The part that stood out to me was the line "for behold, are we not all beggars?" (Mosiah 4:10). It motivates me to try to watch out for others a little more and extend mercy as Christ does.

I love you all!

~Elder Della-Piana

Monday, November 4, 2013

It's Cool Here!

Querido todo mundo,

I hope I spelled that right, I've found that my speaking and reading are much better than my spelling in Portuguese (it means "dear everybody" in case it was too bad for Google translate to pick up). 

Elder DP & Elder Yates
Well they're shipping me out, and not to Brazil. Thursday morning one of the other Visa waiters called me and asked if there was any news on my visa and said that night they were making visa calls that night. When President called that night mid lesson and we had to call him back I was sure I had it and got super pumped. Turned out Elder Yates is just training again and so we had to adjust the awesome day we had planned out so we could go to a long training for that. It was cool though and we still had two lessons with members that evening even though we had to move everything around and got back around 5.

Red Rocks Amphitheatre near Morrison, Colorado
 I've really come to love the members and people of the Dartmouth area and so I'm kind of bummed to have to leave. We felt like we spent the whole transfer laying the groundwork with our relationship with the members as well as with solidifying our teaching pool and figuring the area out. I guess Elder Yates will just get to reap the benefits next transfer. He'll be training again and hopefully he won't mess the next one up as bad as he did with me. (just playing he's a great trainer I love him to death)

This week was sure an interesting one. Tuesday we had a good lesson with Roland and chose December 14th as the date for his baptism. He's very excited and we are sure glad he chose to move that up from March. It feels like usually we come in and he teaches us. He reads from the Gospel Principles manual like it's his day job and so when we started the lesson about the Sabbath day he took off and explained it to us. I swear he's already a member and is just playing with us. 

Then Wednesday we were super excited about a guy named Kenneth that's my age and believes in God but doesn't go to church and we gave him the Book of Mormon and this was our follow-up but when we got there he was super sick. His mom answered and was very nice and said we could come back but we haven't caught him home again since then. Once that fell through and our backup plans went sour we went to some appartments where we had randomly stopped to help some people move in a couple weeks ago. We tracked for an hour and a half with not even a conversation but we kept our heads up and we were joking and having a good time just to keep a positive attitude. Finally a man named Charles let us in. He was moving from California and finding work in the area so he could be here with his Fiance. He let us in to talk for a bit. He said that several years back his wife and son had been killed in a car accident and they had been going to church and studying the bible so he didn't understand how God could have let that happen and it had destroyed his faith in God but he wished he could believe. We talked to him about faith and trials and were able to explain it in terms he could understand. He thanked us and said "You guys may leave, but tonight I'm going to be thinking about what you said. I've been waiting for a long time for someone to explain it to me in a way I could understand because I don't get it when I read the bible." The spirit was there so strongly and I felt many times guided to what to say. It made up for how difficult our afternoon had been. 
Thursday was tricky because it was Halloween so we could only have set appointments and when we couldn't get many we ended up spending the evening with a less-active family just fellowshipping them. It's fun to be around them because they're from Maine and her Mainah Accent makes me feel like I'm back home. 

Friday we had a long training for new trainers that I sat through even though I'm being follow-up trained. It was actually pretty good. I felt the spirit and was able to learn things that I can do just as a regular missionary. Then we had another lesson with Roland where he basically taught us the law of chastity because he had read it that morning and that's what we had prepared for. He even got down to the idea of clean thoughts as well as actions. He's golden. Then we had an awesome lesson with Kathy where we thought that the Sister that was supposed to teach with us wasn't coming but by some miracle she showed up even though we had dropped the ball on communicating with her and she helped SO MUCH and invited Kathy to an activity and really just made the lesson better with her testimony. 

Then this weekend was pretty hard. We literally had two of the best days we had ever planned for and EVERYTHING fell through. All of both days. It was rough. Yet, it was still an awesome experience. Saturday we contacted a referral from headquarters thinking it was a self referral and it turns out she had no idea who had referred her but even though she's not a member she has a daughter serving an LDS mission in Sacramento and she said she has some unanswered questions about the church and invited us back so that was sweet. Then Sunday we were fasting for our missionary efforts and we had made a goal to make it a full twenty-four hours. It was hard. We biked all day, had little success, had to bump back and inconvenience our dinner appointment to do it and ended up starting the meal after 25 hours but when we broke our fast there was such an outpouring of the spirit that I knew the Lord had honored our sacrifice and that our mission will be able to see the windows of heaven open. 

Today we went to Red Rocks with the less-active from Maine that I mentioned. His name is Brother Blake. He is SO funny. The rock formations there were amazing and the ampitheatre would be so cool to be at for an actual concert. I am so going back there when I get home. We went geocaching which was cool. It was the first time I've done it. Look it up it's pretty sweet. We found two of the three we looked for. Brother Blake looked it up and I guess there's one across the street from my house in Maine haha. Look it up for more info. I'm loving it here, having the time of my life. I'll try to shoot off a quick email tomorrow with my new address so you can all write me :)

Eu amo voces!
~Elder Della-Piana

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Mom Says to Write More!

Hey y'all,

So I got an email from my mom saying they have to tell people "as far as we know he's doing great." I guess I need to lengthen out my emails a bit. 

I really am doing well. I love being a missionary. It's hard, often we have long stretches with little success but there are so many little miracles that make it worth it. 

So a little more about my companion. His name is Elder Yates, he's from Oregon and lives on mount hood. He is very service oriented and is always looking to do stuff for people. We ended up busting concrete and then pouring new concrete foundation on Saturday for a deck that one of our investigators is building. We do a good job together in lessons because we both know our stuff and are seeking to follow the spirit. It's fun too because he might play college basketball when he gets home (I can still beat him 1 on 1 though). 
As for the work it was a good week and a hard week. We had one of our best days in a long time on Friday. We were in homes teaching with members almost all day and those lessons each felt like they really helped our investigators feel the spirit and see the things they can do to progress.

It started off with our investigator that is progressing the fastest. His name is Roland and he's about 70 years old. He referred himself to the missionaries by calling the mission home and asking for a large Book of Mormon. When we dropped it off to him he asked, "is there any way you could come back and explain the church a bit more to me?" Naturally we got super excited and when we came back four days later he apologized for only reading 10 chapters! (We normally struggle to get people to read a full chapter in a week.) "I'm really just trying to take it slow and soak it all in" he said. So we explained the restoration to him and asked if he would be baptized and he looked at us and said "of course." He explained that his wife died and he's lonely so he really wants to have a place for fellowship and something that will inspire him so that's why he asked for the Book of Mormon because he knew so many Mormons through the years that seemed so happy. He keeps saying "if only I had this 40 years ago."

He's definitely an example of someone that has been prepared by people that have been planting seeds. When we explained the priesthood to him he said "yeah, you have melchizedek and aaronic right?" and we asked him how he knew that and explained that he worked with a Mormon once that he was driving home from the airport and explained it to him. He said "yeah, people said he would go far, his name was Monson, have you heard of him?" and we said "Thomas?" and he said, "yeah, did he end up becoming president or anything?" We're pretty sure he's already a member and is just messing with us at this point. 

It's super inspiring to work with him. It shows me that the Lord is preparing people all over the place and we just need to find them. We biked past his place ten times before we got that referral from Headquarters and all that time he was waiting there being prepared. He's going to set a date for early December so hopefully I'll still be around for that, not that I'd complain if my visa came in but I really love this man. He has some back issues and so originally when we talked about when he would be baptized he said "you gotta be patient with me, I'll do it but I want my back to be well for it. So how's... sayy... March?" Ahhh, I'm sure glad he's healed well since the blessing we gave him and he feels good enough to do it sooner.

Well that's been the big miracle from this area. There's been little ones too though. Of course it feels like a small miracle any time someone invites us back. We just met a kid my age that plays basketball and believes in God but doesn't go to church and we really felt the spirit when we talked with him and as I encouraged him to read the Book of Mormon. We're going back on Wednesday so we'll see how that turns out next week. 

I wish I could write about all of the people we're teaching but I can't. Here's one more though before my companion drags me away to go get our p-day stuff done. His name is Emilio and we're teaching his whole family. He really knows how important God will be in his life as he raises his kids. The cool part is that when we stopped by the first time after he said we could come by some time he told us about a dream he had the night before where we were riding our bikes in the rain and there was a light around us and we were completely dry while all the elements were clashing around us. He's been really good about having his kids join the discussion and hopefully they're coming to church next week. 

I'm having a good time, I love sharing this message, I'm getting better at staying on my bike, and I love you all.

Que perseverem ate o fim,

~Elder Della-Piana

Monday, October 14, 2013

Bike Crash #1

Hello Everybody,

Colorado is a mighty interesting place. Maybe it's just being a missionary here. In fact I'm sure that's what it is.

President and Sister Murdock
with Elder DP
I met my first false prophet this week. He claimed to be "Bishop, Apostle, Prophet and Reagent of the United States of America." He talked a lot about how many billions of dollars Obama owed him by divine right and how the United States would struggle until he received it. It was actually kind of sad because he looked like he was probably homeless and it was a bit scary how serious he was about it. I also had a drunk guy toast me and then yell at me to go back to Utah. Ahhhh good times.

I also had some awesome experiences. Last night we had a devotional with Matthew Holland, President of UVU and son of Jeffery R. Holland. He shared with us how he knew the Book of Mormon is true. He said that he went to the mountains to pray and try Moroni's promise but he prayed and fasted and read and kept doing all these things and felt nothing. Finally after a crazy attempt to summit another peak he was on his way back down and he had the line "line upon line, precept upon precept" running through his head. When he talked to his father about it he realized that that was how he had developed a testimony. He already had one. He had learned bit by bit as he experimented upon the word and found that it was true by experience. It made me think of my own knowledge of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I am sure that the Book of Mormon is the word of God because every time I read it my mind is enlightened and I gain new insight and feel that peace that can only be explained as the spirit. Although for me it was not one spectacular moment of the Spirit as some people have described I believe that our witness of truth can come in many different ways as we seek it humbly.

One super cool experience I had this week was that we had a super motivational Zone Meeting and I got really fired up to talk to everyone I saw and the first person we came across gave us a conversation! That never happens. He had actually investigated the church previously and talked about how he had half-heartedly tried Moroni's promise and didn't feel anything after he read a couple pages. He talked about how he assumed that other people had and that not every member of the church was dishonest or hadn't received it but he expressed a desire to hear people express how they had received that promised witness. We explained to him what a Fast and Testimony meeting was and how he could come to a meeting where he would feel that and then I shared with him my experience of how I came to believe that the Book of Mormon is true and that the teachings of this church are true. After all of that it turned out that the day after he was leaving to move to Minnesota and so we won't get to hear the end of the story but he told us he would go to a Testimony Meeting on Sunday and try it out again. He was a super humble guy and very astute. He posed some really good doctrinal questions that were sincere and we were able to clarify misunderstanding as well as explain to him what we believed. It was an all around superb experience. It was cool to see how sometimes you will plant a seed and never know how it turns out.

So our area is one ward and we bike the entire distance. I'm still getting used to the whole biking thing. The other day we were going down a hill and I had a loony-toon-esque crash. I was reaching back with my right hand to get a flashlight from my bag as it was getting dark and we were headed down an unlighted trail. As I was doing this my companion slowed down quickly to make a turn. I reacted quickly so I wouldn't run into him and hit the brakes. Unfortunately my left brake is my front one and as we all know when you hit your front break your bike tips forward. This, combined with my exceeding momentum, caused me to catapult over my handlebars. I almost caught myself on my feet but I lost it and went down hard on my hands. Fortunately there was a patch of grass to my left and I was able to roll myself onto the grass so my looong skid would be a bit softer - whether this was by my own quick instincts or maybe some kind of Angels in the Outfield type thing I am as of yet unsure. My wrist has been a bit sore since it and I was pretty scraped up but other than that I came away in one piece which was good.

I love you all, thank you for the emails and letters. You are all in my prayers and I'm thankful for yours as I serve the Lord.

Ate Mais,

~Elder Della-Piana

Monday, October 7, 2013

Conference Weekend

Chilli and Cheese on Eggo Waffles
(Normal people don't even think of doing this - missionaries do)
There are so many things I want to write about today but I don't have very much time. This weekend's conference was so sweet!!! I came away from each session with added understanding and increased desire to do the Lord's work.

Adam said it snowed hard and melted quickly
(Snow is tricky when you packed for BRAZIL)
This week we had a lot of hard days, but many rewarding experiences on top of them. It's hard to talk to so many people that are not interested in even talking to us. We've had days where we have spent hours trying to contact people that had been interested or trying to meet new people and had no success. It's hard to have a message that is so precious to my life be so easily rejected by other people. Even when we just offer a card so they can contact us with service opportunities we get shot down regularly. Fortunately, I know the Lord's hand is in this work and there are people out there that we will be able to help.

We got to the email late and we're getting kicked out but we are excited about one investigator that apologized for "only reading 10 chapters" of 1 Nephi and has been prepared by positive experiences with members throughout the years. He even knew President Monson from work. He rocks.

Sorry this is so short, I love you all

~Elder Della-Piana

Monday, September 30, 2013

Denver - "Fifty-two eighty"

I thought about writing this in Portuguese and making you copy it into google translate so I could practice my Portuguese while I'm here but that's not very fair. I don't think my Portuguese is good enough anyways for that to work.

So, Colorado has been sweet, they call Denver the "fifty-two eighty" because that's the elevation. I'm in a biking area which is kind of nice because it's getting my cardio back into shape. The other day we had an appointment on one side of our area and then Dinner right after on the exact opposite end, we ended up doing near 20 miles on the day.

It's fun though, one of the coolest things is meeting so many new people. In our mission we call it OYM or "Open Your Mouth" so we'll just stop and talk to any given person about whatever and then at the end we'll offer to pray with them or come by and share a lesson with them and if that doesn't work we ask if they know anyone else that might be interested. We've had some success with it, a good number of people will at least let us pray with them but fewer have let us come back for a lesson. We've had some fun with it too though, like the other day we stopped and shot around with two guys and played some basketball with them for a bit and ended up sharing a spiritual thought with them. They didn't seem all that interested in becoming investigators but we at least had a cool conversation with them.

There are some cool people that are investigating the church though. It is so inspiring to see people seeking to turn their lives around. There is a man that we are teaching that has had a hard life with drugs and jail time but he is learning so much about the church and has a real desire to change. He has learned how good he feels when he seeks to turn to God rather than to his old habits. He's cleaned up so much and has overcome some hard trials even in the past week. I shared the scripture with him from Ether 12:27 about how God gives us weakness so that we may be humble and that God promises that if men "humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." I truly believe that principle.

I've been learning to eat like a missionary too. This is our first Preparation Day so we've been making due with what we had until we get to shop today. We ate lots of grilled ham&cheese sandwiches but the best meal was when we heated up some canned chile and threw it on toasted eggo waffles - we were hungry.
Well I gotta go, sorry I don't have pictures this week, I'll remember to bring my camera next time we email.

Love you all,
~Elder Della-Piana

Thursday, September 26, 2013

First Note from Lakwood, Colorado!

Hey Hey Hey!!
How's it going all! I just have a few minutes to shoot off a quick email to let you all know my new address and let you know Colorado is SWEET!!! I love my mission president so much already and I love the people so much already. We had an awesome first day in the field. We had a couple lessons with investigators and less-actives that were so fun to be a part of, I fixed the breaks on a bike for one investigator, had breakfast with a member that gave me a bike to use for a little while, and just all around had a great day. My trainer is Elder Yates and he's way cool - he is 6'7 and loves to play ball so this is going to be SWEET! The field is so awesome, yesterday was day 1 and it was seriously the coolest thing. A lot of interesting people that weren't easy to teach but were easy to love. I can tell he's an awesome missionary and that I'll learn a bunch from working with him. He looks for opportunities to serve at every chance we get.

One big thing in our mission is OYM - Open Your Mouth. What we do is just whenever we see someone we look to strike up a conversation and even if it doesn't turn into a gospel discussion we try to leave them feeling good about missionaries and knowing that we would love to come by and pray with them or share a message or even just serve. It is so cool to just go out and talk to people all day and just enjoy being around people. We contacted so many cool people. 

One of my last days at the MTC we did an activity where we went around to the pictures of Christ in one hallway and looked at them as we read accounts of his earthly ministry from the Bible such as when he walked on water, taught in the temple as a boy, washed the feet of his disciples and appeared to Mary after his Ressurection. As we read those accounts and I considered Christ's life I was so touched by what my savior has done for me. I want so badly for everyone to feel this joy that I feel as I follow the example of my savior and as I improve when I make mistakes.

I love you all and I love hearing from each one of you, 

Ate Mais,
~Elder Della-Piana
Lakewood, CO

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Last Letter from the MTC

Querido Familia e Amigos,
Mason, Sara and Adam
After six weeks at the MTC it's strange to be heading out. Sometimes while we're here we've forgotten that there is an outside world almost, hard to imagine a place where people don't have nametags, walk around with phones and hold hands with the opposite sex. Every once in a while we will see a teacher or a senior couple pull out a phone and we're like WOAAH!! WHAT IS THAT? Honestly that's not even an exaggeration. Whenever we walk outside my companion points to the mountains and says "Those are fake," and some days we question reality when they look just a little too much like a fake backdrop for an old movie....

Speaking of my new companion, I HAVE A NEW COMPANION! Yes that is companion number FIVE in SIX WEEKS. I guess I must be difficult to work with or something because I have just blown through companions. Actually what happened is that he is headed to Toronto Canada Portuguese speaking so he needs to be able to understand the Continental Dialect which his first district was studying to go to Africa in Mosambique and Cape Verde and then he spends this week studying the Brazilian dialect with us. It was actually really hard to see his district go because we grew almost as close to them as we did as a district. They left Monday and Tuesday morning and I couldn't believe how much I was missing them after only knowing them for a few short weeks. 

Elder Langdren and I have had a great time together. Since this has been my first time with just one companion it has been a new experience and I've loved every second of it. We have a room to ourselves as well which is nice to just have a bunch of extra space and it's been really cool to just have deep conversations in our down time. It's been cool for both of us because we both want to be super diligent and obedient and we have had the Spirit edify us so much more as we have worked for it

So one of the things I've thought about the most this week and at the MTC in general is the scripture in Alma about "Having the image of God engraven upon your countenance." There are some videos that we get to watch on sunday nights that are recordings of previous firesides at the MTC from Apostles and Prophets and I'm pretty sure they are only available here. The number one video is by far the one from Elder Bednar at Christmas 2005 about the Character of Christ. He talks about how the Character of Christ is that when the natural man would turn in, Christ turns out. He describes the natural man by paralleling it with the Cookie Monster "I want cookie NOW!!!" and how sometimes we as missionaries say "I want Baptism NOW!!" or "I want investigators NOW!!" and we forget our purpose. "It's not about you" he says, "so quit worrying about yourself and get to work." As a missionary I am a representative of Jesus Christ. That means I am standing at doors and sitting in lessons acting more or less doing what Christ would do if he were ministering. In order to do that effectively I have to turn out as he would do. Elder Bednar says that as he talked to recent converts and asked why they let the missionaries keep teaching them they said that often they understood very little of what the missionaries were saying, whether out of complexity or inability with the language, but they let them back because of how they felt. I hope to be able to be a conduit of Christ's love for the people of Colorado and then those in Brazil.

On a fun note my former companion Elder Moore caught a little bird the other day. It was cool and he was petting it and everything and I know that he loves baby animals and that's a calming thing for him while he's away from his farm so I was happy for him. So we went to lunch and he kept it with him just kind of holding it and petting it and next thing I know a Sister made him jump and the bird goes flying around the cafeteria!! It was ridiculous. He caught it back pretty quickly but not without making a bit of a disturbance. Good times.
One last note I saw my man Sean Clancy here the other day. He came to my table and looked past me and after asking if we were speaking spanish or portuguese asked if we knew an Elder Della-Piana, then I did a double take and realized who he was and it was super awesome to see him. 

Well I'm signing off for now, I love you all. Know that Christ loves you too and wants to hear from you so pray and then search the scriptures because that is where you will find answers.

~Elder Della-Piana

Friday, September 20, 2013

A Visa-waiter in COLORADO

Hey y'all!

President & Sister Murdock
Colorado Denver South Mission
So we got our reassignments today and I'm headed to the Colorado Denver South Mission on Monday!! I'm so pumped. My flight is at 7:24 and I land in Colorado at 8:46 and from there I presume I will hit the field straight away! I'm so excited to hit the field. Honestly I could care less where it is because I'm just ready to start serving. Honestly it will be kind of nice to adjust to being a missionary in English before I try it out in portuguese, I just hope it doesn't take too long for my visa.

(UTAH on Left and WYOMING at the top)
We had an "in-field orientation" today where we got a bunch of awesome training about how to be super awesome missionaries. One of the things that stood out to me the most is that you can do good things your whole mission and not fulfill your purpose, to fulfill your purpose as a missionary you have to consistently do the best things. What an inspiring concept in any facet of life, if we consider in every decision what would be the BEST choice rather than just a good one then we will always find satisfaction in whatever we do.

Okay well I've got to run. They just gave us a few minutes tonight to let our family know about travel plans and reassignments.

I Love you all!!

~Elder Della-Piana

Friday, September 13, 2013

"All good in the lagoon"


De boa na legoa! That is one of my new favorite lines. It's like saying "All good in the hood" but it translates more closely to "All good in the lagoon". (It's pronounced gee-bow-ah-nah-le-go-ah) Portuguese is seriously so much fun. We've been getting closer to conversational in the last couple weeks. I'm finally to the point where I pretty much understand everything and I'm just slow and clumsy at articulating my thoughts using my limited vocabulary but it is so far from where we came. I am farther along after one month than I was after my third year of Spanish. The Lord truly does qualify those whom he has called and blesses them with all things necessary for their success, in my case the gift of tongues. 

So a super highlight of this week was the two firesides we had, one Sunday night and one Tuesday night. The one Sunday night was by the Administrative Director of the MTC and when I heard that I thought cynically to myself "lucky us, another lecture on behavior in the Residence Halls" or whatever but it turned into one of the most profound messages on prayer I've ever heard. He pointed out that as missionaries the whole success of the work hinges on our prayers and the prayers of our investigators. That only through prayer can we receive guidance and the gift of discernment to know their needs and only through prayer can they know of spiritual truths. He used one of my favorite quotes from Preach My Gospel about "either the message of the Restoration is either true or it is not. We can know that it is true by the Holy Ghost... No one can know of spiritual truths without prayer" (pg 39). 

A old friend Elder Jewkes who used to live in Massachusetts.
I want to invite anyone who reads this, whether you believe in the message of the Restoration, whether you believe in a God or not, or whether you have already prayed and either received the feeling of comfort and peace the spirit brings or didn't feel that, I invite you to pray to your Heavenly Father. Thank him for those things you appreciate in your life. Tell him about the things that are hard. Ask him for guidance and for those things you need. Ask him if he's there. I PROMISE that if you ask with real intent to act on the answers you receive, with a sincere heart, desiring to know of the truth, he will manifest it to you because he loves you. I have felt that, I have been guided when I needed it. I testify that Christ lives and that through him we can be cleansed from sin and overcome trials.

We also had an inspiring message from a member of the Seventy on Tuesday night that talked about including members in the missionary effort. He expounded on the story of Amulek, pointing out that Alma sought him by revelation, not just by need to have a member present as a checklist. He pointed out that the way they found was that Amulek acted in FAITH and invited his family to hear and then his extended family and as Alma taught, Amulek was able to relate to the people and help them see how the gospel could relate to their life. As missionaries it can be hard sometimes to relate to our investigators that have more life experience than us but as we invite members that can relate to them and share experiences and their conversion we can effectively show people rather than just telling them how the gospel can change their life. 
Life at the MTC is also super fun. I have a friend in another district that will be my companion next week because his district and companions are all leaving for the field but he has to stay an extra week because he is going to Canada to speak Portuguese and so he has studied the continental dialect but now I have to help him learn the Brazilian dialect. It will be way fun because he is hilarious. Every time I see him he comes up with a new acronym for DP - Dancing Pony, Dangerous Pterodactyl, Doctor Pepper, Daily Planner, Dill Pickle, Dangerous Pope, Dude Perfect, Diving Pelican - the list goes on. He also enjoys random trust falls so the other day we finished the spiritual thought in his room and I heard from above me "Well, lets see how this goes- Trust fall" and I look up and he is cascading into my unprepared arms. Fortunately I caught him but it was quite the event. 

Gym time is super fun too. The other day I was playing basketball with one elder on Scholarship for D-II ball, another that is walking on and was good enough to do it, and another elder that's playing football for Harvard when he comes back. We also played some awesome sweet volleyball the other day. It's always nice to get out after a long day of studying.

I love you all, seek truth, stay strong to the truth you already know, act in faith and all will work for your benefit.

Ate a semana que vem! (Until next week)
~Elder Adam Della-Piana

Friday, September 6, 2013

Half Time at the MTC

Elder Klingler - Elder DP - Elder Burton

Dear Family and Friends, 

Wow it's crazy how time has flown here. I can't believe we are only 15 DAYS AWAY from potentially getting our reassignments to our stateside missions if visas don't come through. It feels like just yesterday I was walking in with my orange sticker with no idea where I was or what to do, having to look at the maps to know where I was going and looking lost in the cafeteria feeling like the first day of high school again. It's amazing how the MTC distorts time.

One of the crazy things that has happened to me is that I have not had a single chance to get in a rhythm while I've been here. Every time I get in a flow they switch it up on me. First it was the companions and becoming Zone Leader but now it's that they made us switch buildings for class and completely changed our schedule. The new schedule is actually really nice, we went from 6:30 breakfast to 7:15 and class starts at 9 instead of 7 now, but we are definitely being prepared for being flexible once we hit the mission field. 
Elder Johnson - Elder Moore - Elder DP
So the great thing of the MTC is how much you grow. 

Every day I get new inspiration that shifts my perspective or uplifts me or just reminds me of how true the gospel is. One growing experience has definitely been seeing how the Lord truly knows "how best to succor his people" (Alma 7:12). The MTC is hard. It's hard to study for long hours and try to teach in a language you've only known for three weeks. There is a lot of pressure to because of the importance of the task that sometimes I have gotten angry at myself for making mistakes. Sometimes it's hard also to see other missionaries wasting time or being disobedient and driving away the spirit because of how important our purpose is as missionaries. The Lord has blessed me that as I have asked and been humble I have been guided to find inspiration on how to overcome this. 

One of the important lessons I have learned is that we are not expected to be perfect, but we are expected to improve. I thought of President Watson's council that growth requires repentance. I have learned that even though I am not perfect now, the Lord has suffered for my imperfection and I can rely on him as I identify my weaknesses and seek to repent and change. One specific experience has been as I have sought to develop my relationship with my companion Elder Moore who has a very different attitude from me. We may not have been very good friends even though we are both football players because we are very different in attitudes about study and obedience. As I have prayed I have grown to love him and we have been united in our purpose. It's awesome.

At the same time the MTC is so much fun. I have a super fun Zone and District and we have a ton of fun at gym, in the residence, at lunch and sometimes too much fun during study time. Yesterday it was funny at dinner when we peeled a banana down the side so you couldn't tell it was empty and then we put it back and just watched peoples reactions as they grabbed it and were totally stumped so they put it back for the next person. You have to have a little fun right?

I am so thankful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am so thankful that through faith, repentance, baptism and the Holy Ghost I can receive blessings from the Lord, that I can be guided by him as I pray and study the holy scriptures. I have seen it again and again in my own life and I am so glad to get to "invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel." As we come unto Christ and live according to his Plan of Happiness our souls are filled, we find our purpose in this life and I have faith that we will receive a fullness of joy in the life to come. 
I love you all, 
~Elder Della-Piana

Friday, August 30, 2013

Man the MTC is so sweet!! It is the coolest thing to be in an environment where you are being edified from the time you wake up all the way till you come back to your room. I have learned so much about teaching, about applying the gospel to our lives and about Portuguese that I can hardly believe my eyes when I look at the calendar and realize it hasn't even been 14 days yet!!

So I mentioned my two companions last week and how they are pretty hilarious dudes (except I'm not allowed to call them dudes or guys because in the words of the MTC President's wife "the guys are the ones back home dating your girlfriend" hahaha she told us that on the first day). Well to be honest I was a little nervous about our companionship working together because they are very alike and at first I had trouble handling their energy and crazy goofy humor but the beginning of last week we hit our stride and were having a BALL! We got along, we were studying well, we were working well together during our lessons, laughing a ton in all of our free time and everything was just cruising. Then on Thursday they both got called down to the front office and we found out that BOTH of their visas had come in at the same time. We had been joking that we were in a "tripanionship" because one of us would get our visas but none of us expected this to happen. So this morning was their departure date and they are already missed. They had kind of become our District Clowns and just had everybody laughing all the time so they have already been missed.

This turn of events means that I will now be joining Elder Moore and Elder Johnson in another companionship of three which will be very fun, they're great guys. One of the other elders that got a visa in our zone this week was one of our Zone Leaders which meant that there would be some mixing up in Zone Leadership. On Sunday our Branch President, President Laney, came to our classroom while we were studying before Sacrament Meeting and asked us three to be the new Zone Leaders. This meant that I am no longer District Leader and so Elder Neeley was asked to be the District Leader puting 4 out of the 5 elders in our district in leadership positions with Elder Fry being the only one left out. It's been a little wild adjusting to all this change, switching rooms, new responsibilities, new companionships, etc. but change leads to growth so I'm excited for the challenge. 

I've already felt a lot of growth at the MTC. The other day I was feeling pretty stressed. I was being pretty hard on myself as District Leader and also about the language. My district hadn't been studying very well during our study times and I was worried that I wasn't doing enough to encourage us to focus on our purpose as missionaries. I also felt stress about the language because with my Spanish background and having listened to many hours of the Book of Mormon audio in Portuguese I actually have a pretty good ear for the language and understand most of what is said but I get frustrated because I was struggling to say anything or it would come out in Spanish. While I was sitting there kind of staring off Elder Johnson came over and just checked up on me to see how I was doing. I was so thankful to be able to just talk it out a bit and realize that I'm doing fine, I'm way ahead of where I'm supposed to be and it's not worth worrying about those things, especially the ones that were out of my control. It was a growing experience because I came out of that and was able to just focus on controlling what I could and not letting other things get to me and it has helped so much the past couple days. 

So there have been some pretty funny things that have happened at the MTC as well the last week, many of them are moments where you had to be there but here are a couple that maybe you can appreciate a little.
So one of the pranks that was happening between the rooms was that Elder Moore would come into my room and turn up our heat all the way so overnight it would get way hot and actually we didn't notice for about two days the first time because we were so dead tired. So this went on mostly very one way for a couple days and then I finally decided to get him back and turn up his heat as we left one morning. The funny part is that they had been unscrewing their vent and putting their soda and milk in the vent to keep it cool. So when we got back that afternoon they had spoiled milk and hot soda :) I got them good. It was even better when one of them decided to toss one of the sodas and it blew up all over Elder Johnson who was the only one who had the guts to catch it because they had shaken it up.

Then the other funny thing was when Irmão Gabriel (our teacher) was practicing possessive pronouns with us and he pointed to one of the Sisters and asked Elder Burton "Ela e sua mai" meaning "Is she your mom" trying to have him practice responding in the negative. Nope. Elder Burton responded "Nao, eu sou SUA mai" which meant "I am YOUR mom." It was pretty funny.

Well I love you all. Always seek after truth and light. Remember that "the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray" so you must "pray always that ye may come of conquerer." (2 Nephi 32:8) I've seen it at the MTC that as I pray I am given added strength to do what I couldn't have done on my own. I want you all to know that the power of prayer is real, God wants to hear from us and he wants to bless us.

You all rock!
~Elder Della-Piana

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Bom Tarde!

Man this whole week since I've left home has been one big whirlwind of emotions, inspiration and confusion. I got to say a lot of goodbyes but mostly just see you later. I was a bit worried last week that I would get homesick because I was realizing how much I'll miss all of my good friends and family "in the great state of Maine" (Look up James Taylor's song "Gotta spend just a little more time with you" and there are some lines that sound like they were written for how I felt that week). But once I said goodbye all I felt was excitement for the new opportunity I have ahead of me. I still love you all but I'm so excited to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord. 

So the first thing I got to do when I got to Salt Lake before I hit the MTC was a super highlight because I got to go to the Salt Lake Temple with my Grandma Cooley, Aunt Gina and my Grandpa and Grandma Thompson. I was able to perform the endowment for my Great-Uncle Zoof and it was so cool because everything just worked out so perfectly for it to happen and because I had been able to perform his baptism and confirmation as well. Afterwards we were able to seal him for time and all eternity to his Mother and Father in Christ's authorized manner in the Temple of the Lord. It was so cool, I can't wait to see him someday and see how he has accepted the covenants that he has become entitled to through the performance of his Temple Work. 

Then after an open house, some last minute shopping the next morning and a stop for an In'N'Out Burger I finally arrived at the MTC. Grandma and Grandpa dropped me off and I was escorted through an efficient missionary making machine, receiving keys to rooms, name tags, stickers, you name it I got it and came out the other end wearing a nametag with a big orange sticker to say "HEY I'M NEW." All of the missionaries that have been in the MTC think it's the funniest thing to say "welcome to the MTC" to the new missionaries because you hear it so much that you eventually get sick of it and don't even respond. Eventually I caught on and so I started welcoming people to the MTC as well which got quite a few double takes when they saw my tag and realized I was just as new as them. My companions thought it was the funniest thing ever.

Which brings me to my companions. Yes plural, I am in a companionship of three which is very rare and can be awesome and drive you crazy at the same time. Luckily I love both of my companions. Elder Burton and Elder Klingler are both hillarious and even though neither of them are anything like me we get along great. One thing that I have learned about each of them is that they are both very quoteable guys. Which makes every day awesome.

Elder Klingler is having a hard time with portuguese and was getting kind of discouraged. But he had a great moment of strength when he pointed out that at least we're not learning Japanese and we get to use the same alphabet so we need to suck it up and quit acting like a bunch of "wimp-baby-nuthin's" and learn portuguese. He's doing well now. 

Elder Burton had another great quote. At lunch the other day I complained about the pineapple on my teriyaki burger and he instructed me, using a comparison similar to Lehi when he told his son Laman "oh that you would be like unto this river," except Elder Burton said "oh that you were like unto this napkin, forever wiping away the sauces of unrighteousness" - deep. 

I can't believe how fast we are covering material in portuguese! The first time we walked into class we hardly spoke English. We didn't spend much time that day but the next day we studied hard and by that night we taught our first lesson in Portuguese!!!!! It was nuts I couldn't believe I was doing it. Then on our third lesson on Monday I did a lesson that required me to ask questions and respond to his concerns and carry on a conversation and I DID IT!! After four days of study I carried on a choppy conversation in a language that I had previously not known how to say anything!!!The gift of tongues is true! We can receive gifts of the spirit as we seek them (See Moroni 10:8,15-6 - read that whole chapter it is so powerful and strengthening!). 

I have so much more to write but that will have to come next week, I have run out of time allotted for email. Search the scriptures they will edify your soul and lead you to happiness more than any other source you could turn to.

~Elder Della-Piana

PS - There's this great service called Dear Elder that makes it REALLY easy to send letters to me while I'm at the MTC. I'm pretty sure it's free while I'm at the MTC and then cheap when I'm in the field. Look it up and feel free to write, I'd love to hear from all of you