Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Bloom and Grow

Ancona was a disaster.  I didn't end up getting my Permesso last week.  The documents were successfully overnighted down to me (by DHL, Gentry!  They're everywhere!) but the Questura was closed and wouldn't let me pull any strings.  I got really angry, but Anziano Carter and I talked it out and I called the office in Milano and everything turned out okay.  We went home empty handed, and just yesterday we took a long train down to finally grab my Permesso and take a long train home.  Oh, well.  Everything happens for a reason, even if we don't get to see it now.

I sure love it here in Reggio Emilia.  The weather has been wonderful.  This time last year I was dying of heat in Ferrara.  Now there's an almost constant cloud cover and frequent sprinkles of rain that keeps it all cool.  The Italians are amazed.  They say they haven't seen a summer this cool for decades.  I'm so grateful, I can't stand the heat.

My sister Audrey is now the Sister Burton!  Or Hermana Burton, I guess.  That's so exciting.  I look forward to watch her bloom and grow as a missionary over the next year and a half.  I know she will be a great tool in the Lord's hands if she is obedient and chooses to be happy.  It's taken me a whole year and a half to get that into my head, so let's hope Audrey learns faster.  She's always been smart.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Plan

Oh, boy.  Did I have a weird week.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM!  Haha!

I'd love to make this a really trippy email, starting at the end and working my way back through the story like a Christopher Nolan film.  So I think I will.  Surprise of the week:  I'm writing this email from Ancona, in all the same clothes I wore yesterday, sweating over phone calls from a bunch of important numbers I don't know.

How did I get 260 kilometers from my assigned area of beautiful Reggio Emilia?  Well, it all starts several days ago when I got the call from office in Milan: "Your Permesso di Soggiorno is ready!"  Last time I heard that I was in Verona and traveled with Anziano Kessler to Padova to simply pick up the legal document that lets me stay here in Italy.  So when I got the call, Anziano Carter and I went to the train station, bought (really expensive) tickets for Tuesday, and went back to work.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


First and foremost, big shout out to my little sister Audrey headed to the MTC a week from today!  Woohoo!  She'll be headed to Mexico to serve for 18 months as a sister missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I feel like I'm in the movie Legacy or something.  "This is my brother Johnny, my dear, dear brother Johnny!"  (That will be funny to such a small group of readers.)

Audrey, the MTC was still one of the best parts of my mission.  Enjoy every moment you have there, because by the time you're a few months into the field, it'll feel like it was only a dream.  If you start well at the MTC, your whole mission will benefit.  Be obedient!  And don't worry about the language AT ALL!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

An instrument in His symphony

This week went so fast.  I can't even believe it's already July 9.  What happened to Independence Day?  We tried to celebrate it by singing patriotic songs and eating at McDonalds.  It was pretty fun, but four Americans celebrating isn't quite the same as ALL American celebrating.  Plus I spilled chocolate milkshake on my pants.  Ha!

But it was a good week.  We went to Modena for a really great zone training meeting that focused on personal revelation, being creative and individual in missionary work, and finding the people God has prepared to receive his message.  They are here!  We know they are!  Anziano Carter and I get sad sometimes that so few people listen to us, but we believe and are searching for the people God's been getting ready.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Busy and new!

I absolutely LOVE weeks like this!  It feels like it's been a hundred years since I last got to email, which means the week has been filled with new things, and both of those are so welcome and exciting in missionary work: busy and new!

Reggio Emilia is a beautiful city.  I love the Centro.  It reminds me a bit of Verona, but on a smaller scale.  It's just more Italian, I guess, and makes me think of the beginning parts of my mission.  I love the vibe and the people stop to talk with us often and I can't complain at all.  In fact, I rejoice!