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.