Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Che bello!

Dear Everyone,

It's a been a few weeks since I wrote a real bloggish letter, hasn't it?  I've been more focused on my mom, which I don't think anyone will complain about.  But now I have quite a few things to say, and I'd like to address it to everyone--which I did.  At the top of this email.

Three main things to type about the in the next fifteen minutes or so: first of all, and this is kind of directed to Mom but also to everyone who has children, teach the kids about our ancestors!  Maybe every FHE, choose one ancestor to tell a few stories about or look at a picture of.  I've found so much joy putting together the My Family booklet and realizing how much my life is influenced by these people I never knew.  Where I've lived, what I can do, what I like to do, even what I look like, it's all because of these people's choices.  And I'm so happy that we have the opportunity to get to know them, even just a little, and to preserve their names and actions in the theoretically eternal internet!

We went to Firenze again about a week ago, last Thursday.  It wasn't nearly as fun for me because we didn't have time to do any sightseeing and we were on trains for about 8 hours total.  We left Ancona at 5:30am and got back at 10:50pm.  Yeesh.  But the Conference was good, I got to chat with an amazing sister missionary in my group (the sisters who came here with me are going home in August), and we got lots of mail, so it was an overall positive experience.

I've had lots and lots of trying moments this transfer.  Lots of anger and stress and blowups, I suppose.  But God put the right people in my path to help me understand myself better, learn to control myself better, and realize how much I care about this work.  It's so important, and so frustrating when it doesn't go according to my plans.  But the lesson to learn is that while you're working for the Lord, you have to accept His plans, and move forward accordingly.

One way to do that is to be positive.  My mom has been telling me to look at the bright side since my early, early childhood.  I guess I've always been something of a moody kid, a "sad soul", as I wrote in my journal, but that doesn't mean I need to wallow in continuous misery.  In fact, as my beloved Branch Mission Leader taught us, we can turn anything positive by saying "Che bello!"  (kay bell-oh) 

There's not a great English translation because we don't say things in the same way, but it's pretty much "How lovely!" or a really sincere "That's great!"

The example he gave was the heat.  There he was, walking through the city with his family, practically swimming in the humid Ancona air.  And as he wiped the sweat from his brow, he took a deep breath and said, "Oh, quanto fa caldo!  Che bello."  (It's so hot!  Che bello.)  Instantly, the heat becomes a "beautiful" thing, and the mind begins to find reasons to support that idea.

Anziano Hallulli and I tried it on scambio.  It works!  Every negative thing we encountered -- a wrong bus, a steep hill, no one's home -- by saying "Che bello" after each negative observation, it became positive, and we laughed as we realized how well it works.

Try it this week.  "Che bello!"  There's something good in everything that happens, and sometimes it's surprisingly easy to find it.

I'm being transferred from Ancona to a city called Reggio Emilia.  I'll say goodbye to all the dear friends I've made here today, pack tonight, and take a train tomorrow morning at 6:30am.  Che bello.  I'll continue to be a District Leader there, and next week I'll write you from my fifth city.

Anziano Burton

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