Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Keep progressing!

Tate's home?  Tate's home....  Tate's home!  Holy ravioli!  I can hardly believe it!  Give me a second to compose myself here.  I was there when Tate opened his call, over two years ago.  I remember how he shouted "SUVA FIJI!" and we all jumped around the room with unbridled joy.  I remember saying goodbye to him at the airport.  I remember wondering where in the world I would be when he came home someday.

Well, here I am, sitting in a dirty Internet Point in Padova, Italia, listening to tiny cars drive by outside while I try to stop myself from typing Italian words that jump the front of my mind faster than their English counterparts.  Here I am, following Tate's amazing example, spreading the true gospel to the wonderful people of Italy.  Here I am in a sort of daze, looking at pictures of Tate and my family back in Pasco, trying unsuccessfully to imagine our future reunion.  I'm sure it will be just as joyful as the day he opened his call, if not more so.
Congratulations, Tate.  Benfatto.  Thank you for your unmatchable friendship, your lifechanging example, and your love for me and your family and the Lord and His work.  Thank you so, sooo much.
No, Mom, we still don't have gas.  It's okay, we're used to cold showers by now, and one of the wonderful Senior Couples brought us an electric hotplate we use to make sugo and pasta.  Sugo is... um... ha!  Sauce, maybe?  It's pretty much just red sauce.  But it's real and homemade and super good.
This transfer is nearly over.  By this time next week, I'll know whether I'm staying in Padova with Anziano Chipman for one more transfer (which would be FANTASTIC) or if I'm headed to another city... maybe to train.  *gulp*  That's a less than pleasant thought.  I'm sure I'll be okay if it happens, and that Heavenly Father will help me so that the poor kid isn't ruined for the next two years, but even so I don't feel anywhere near ready to train a new missionary.

Why do I think it's a possibility?  Well, last Thursday I met President Dibb for the first time at a Zone Training Meeting in Pordenone.  My first interview with him was fantastic.  I love him already, and I know he loves me.  He talked to Anziano Chipman about making sure I was ready to train next Transfer.  Uh-oh.  He also said "We have lots of missionary time together."  I love that for some reason.

If I do get transfered next week, I'll really miss these anziani.  They are fantastic.  I love them all as friends, as bravi missionari, and as fellow servants of the Lord.  It's strange to think that I'll keep getting this close to so many great young men, only to be whisked away by the ring of a cell phone at the end of every six weeks (or twelve... or eighteen).  The mission is a very, very unique experience.  I know Tate misses it already, and I don't look forward to the day it all ends.  I'll enjoy every minute I have, because Elder Holland promised me they would all be for my good.

There's a sweet eighteen year old girl we met in Prato della Valle the other week.  She didn't believe in Christ, but she agreed to come to our English class.  I didn't think much of it.  Anziano Chipman, on the other hand, made her something of a project.  He shared a spiritual thought after English class, set up an appointment to teach her more about our church, and has been a really great example to me of searching for the potential in the people we meet.

Turns out he was right.  She says she has a wonderful feeling when she meets with us.  She wants to know more, and she even committed to being baptized next month.  Yeah... baptized.  So, as you can imagine, that's another reason I want to stay for another transfer.  As long as we do our job and teach her all of the necessary doctrines, she will gain a strong testimony through prayer and study and be ready to be baptized in August.  Gah!  So exciting.  She's bravissima.

As always, thank you all for reading, for your support and your love, for your prayers and your thoughts, and for trying to be better every day.  We ate with a wonderfully family this week, and the father gave a beautiful and impromptu discourse on the concept of progress.  We're not perfect, nor will we ever be, but we can find great joy, purpose, and satisfaction through daily progress.  I've heard it so many times before, but it really sunk in when this great young father bore his testimony.  If we strive every day to be a little better, and recognize our mistakes and where we can improve, rather than just coasting week to week and being content with everything around us, we will find a great deal more happiness  in life.  Contentness must not be confused with happiness.  Being "content", to a certain extent, halts progress.  Progress and positive change are the sources of excitement and joy, both in this world and the one to come.

Keep praying, keep progressing!  I love you all dearly.

Anziano Burton

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