We are on this earth to grow. I think one of the most intense ways we do that--make progess, I mean--is by being together. What greater "growth" is there than when human beings connect? When two minds join together to produce bigger ideas than either one of them could have made alone? Of course, personal progress is immeasurably important and is one of the most fundamental aspects of God's plan, but how much more meaningful, powerful, and joyful progress becomes when it is experienced with others.
That's why we have families, that's why friendship is so important to me, that's why missionaries are given companions. Unity accelerates progress, I think. Anziano Marin and I are getting along very well and becoming friends, and that makes every facet of the work go better. And as far as connections go, I'm reminded of something another friend of mine once said: "I doubt McKinnon was the first companion you've ever had." We have the opportunity here to connect with God Himself, our Heavenly Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ, and especially with the Holy Ghost, who can be our constant companion.
Isn't the gospel cool? It's so simple and... exciting! I loved the quote from Elder Ballard you sent me, Mom. ("It may not always be easy, convenient, or politically correct to stand for truth and right, but it is the right thing to do. Always." - Elder M. Russell Ballard) I've been reading "Our Search for Happiness" every night for a while, and it's really an amazing book. I highly suggest it to all who want to know more about Mormons, in and out of the Church. It's well written, comprehensive, and I've felt the Spirit while reading it. Simplify, simplify, simplify, because Christ's doctrine was always simple.
I haven't been back into the bookstore with that piano yet. Maybe this week, definitely next week. Ha! I can only go so long without tickling the ivories.
This week we met a wonderful older man from Nigeria who is on a "quest to know God". He's searched in many books to come closer to his Savior, but he says they're all missing something. We have him a copy of the Book of Mormon. He's excited to read it. We also invited him to be baptized in September, and he accepted. We'll do our best as missionaries to prepare him to make eternal covenants with God, and I pray his noble quest will find answers in the restored gospel. I know the answers are there, and I believe he will find them.
Ferrara is really a beautiful city. I took a few pictures last week that I'm sending today. I hope they capture the antiquity of this place. I'm honored to be here.
There's a music festival called Busker's coming to Ferrara soon. Funny enough, I had several unrelated sources ask me this week, "Are you singing to share the gospel?" I had been so excited to do that before my mission, but I still haven't tried it once. Maybe a musician is all Ferrara needs to open its heart to the truth, and this might be a golden opportunity to try it out.
Speaking of singing, Alma 5:26 became my new favorite scripture this week. "And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experience a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?" I have experienced a mighty change of heart, and I have felt to sing that song. I just need to feel it now, when everything's trying to stop me, and sing again.
Will you sing along?