CIAO my friends and family!!!
Well as you may notice our investigator JOEL got BAPTIZED on Saturday!!!!!
WHOOOOO!!! He was SO excited to be baptized! It was a process to get him here but it was amazing!!
So let me tell you some highlights of teaching the one and only Joel!
The first week of this last transfer (6 weeks ago) Sorella Gates and I went on a finding spree/rampage!! The mission goal is to have 10 quality gospel conversations a day/70 a week. The first week we were together we had 90! Don't think this was just because we are these amazing missionaries.... it was because we had no one else to teach and we were in some desperate need to have some new investigators!
So we found Joel outside of a supermercato asking for some money. Sounds a little sketch BUT he is really just an refugee living in the African camp here in Foggia. On our first meeting he told us he has no way to survive because it is really hard to find a job. On the first lesson we promised him that if he would put got first in his life he would be ok! and the next time we talked to him HE FOUND A JOB! In the lesson he told us that he found a job because of the Book of Mormon!
also in a lesson he was telling us that he didn't think he could stop smoking! But then I felt prompted to take a pic of Christ and tell him to commit to Christ to stop smoking. (this idea came from this little book called "member missionary work" I call it the green book that you have to take with a big fat grain of salt... that i actually really do not like ...AT ALL. The author is not very humble and every time I read It i just am about to pull my hair out) SO when we were in the lesson and the thought to do the "commit to Christ to stop smoking" lesson from the green book came to my head I KNEW it was inspiration! (because there is no way I would want to actually use that book) It was actually really powerful! and the next week Joel told us (direct quote)
"I have been smoking since 2002. And then in one day I quit"
He was telling us how every time he wants to smoke he would pull out the picture of Christ and then the desire would totally go away! WOW!! so cool!! so moral of the story..... quitting smoking CAN actually happen AND never underestimate the power of inspiration through unexpected ways!
Another random side benefit (actually I dont know if this is a good thing or not... probably not) is that Sorella Gates and I are having a little bit of a personality change. AKA our voices are not adjusted to "African English" So that Joel could understand us. We sound so ghetto. But it is cool. but also other missionaries think we are freaks. It is really funny!
This week we were with Joel, waiting for 4 hours for the stake president to come from Bari for Joel's baptism interview. We taught him a lesson and just kept waiting and waiting . We didn't know what to do because the stake president wasn't picking up his phone so we were looking around the church and found the movie "How Rare a Possession" and decided to watch it with Joel. It was hilarious because we had to "translate it for him" and make it SO basic! I was trying so hard not to crack up because of the whole situation! By the end of the movie I am pretty sure that he thinks that America still looks like it did in Joseph Smith times. hahaha!
But sopra tutto (above all) the best part of Joel was the actual baptism!! He kept telling us that he wanted to be clean and be born again! Before his baptism he just was so excited and when he came up out of the water he just started to bawl! He was so happy! so cute! Also in his testimony in front of the ward he said (another direct quote)
"I never thought I would be here in Italy, as a member of the church, with all you white people. But God is real and I feel like a new baby right now!" Slightly awkward but sweet also!
But it was so sweet because after the whole baptismal service he came up to me and said "congrats" I was like "Joel, congrats to you... YOU got baptized, I did nothing...its all God!" He said "no no no...thank you for helping me become a new person! I will forever be thankful!" It was so presh! That is what the mish is all about!!
If anything this last transfer I have learned that God really does keep his promises. Our goal was to have a baptism this transfer and we told God our game plan on how we will accomplish this and we got to see the fruits of our labors!
WOW! what a great week! also... randomly Alessandra came back to church this week after months of not coming! I have always felt like it is her time to be baptized and stop being the eternal investigator! Praying that during my 5th transfer here we can have a big break through!! We will be meeting with her tonight so we are doing a big fat DTR!!
Love you all!! xoxoxo Vi Voglio Bene!! Sorella Fuller