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 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