1) What are the cultural differences you have observed in the areas where you have served thus far?
Down south is really a different world. The accent is different, the dialect is different, and life is more slow paced. Up here in the "north" everything is a lot more modern.
2) Is there a difference in attitude about religion in general for the people in Ragussa as compared to those in Pescara?
No, not really. In Ragusa, it was a really really small isolated city, and so it was pretty much just bakeries and churches on every corner, here it is not the same but there are more people from all over the world in Pescara so not everyone shares the same culture. Here I mean, I haven't accidentally walked into a a public place that was watching a recorded mass on their tv yet, so you could say it's a little more traditional down south.
3) How are the members of the church from one area to the other? Do the testimonies seem stronger for some than for others based on geographic location?
Same incredible testimonies and conversion stories. Stories that deserve books or movies made after them. The members in all of the places I have served all have super solid testimonies. They have incredible faith and trust in the Lord, and they KNOW it's true. Ya know? They are all very much minorities as far as religious beliefs in this country, and the more the word "Mormon" is becoming familiar here, the more things there are out there against it. People have a lot of false information about the church, and so they get scared when they meet you and realize that Chiesa di Gesù Cristo dei Santi degli Ultimi Giorni is also known as the Mormon church. The members receive A LOT of opposition, they are sooo amazing and incredible to me. They have a lot of courage and a lot of faith.
4) Are the people on the mainland of Italy more traditionally Catholic than those on the island of Sicily?
No, pretty much the same.
5) Are people who are not members of the church generally familiar with the Book of Mormon when you talk about it or is it completely new?
More people recognize the word Mormon (still confusing it with the Italian documentary about the Amish, titled "Mormoni"). It depends. Ragusa has had missionaries for more than 40 years, and so almost everyone was somewhat familiar with it. Here, it's not as well known or people are just surprised that we exist in Italy.
6) What are the dominant religions other than Catholicism there in Pescara?
Jehovahs Witness or Evangelist or Muslim for foreigners. You're pretty much either Catholic, Atheist, Evangelist, Jehovahs Witness, or Muslim.
7) How are your investigators?
Woo! Well at the moment we're kind of at a rebuilding stage in the work! Our investigator is doing alright, and the other ones we still have to find them! Haha, just searching for those souls that have been prepared.
8)How is your ward?
Great! This past week has been incredible we've been getting a lot of help from the ward and they've just been making it rain with the love. One member even bought me some hair product and brought it to church Sunday! Haha, she doesn't approve of me using gel everyday.
This past week we had an EPIC life changing scambio. We also had specialized training at Rome, and it was our last one with the Waddoups! We get a new mission president in about a week! How crazy is that?
One thing I learned that I thought was pretty cool last week, is the importance of faith. A lot of people say when they experience a miracle, their faith increases. But that's not true. You have a miracle because of your faith, and then the miracle only increases your knowledge. I met this woman on the bus last week who could not walk for NINE YEARS. No one thought she would ever walk again, but she prayed continually. She never lost her faith. All she wanted to do was be able to put her feet in the sand again. Nine years later, now she has a house on the beach, and she walks perfectly, next year her goal is to get back to riding a bike. She received no miracle until AFTER the trial of her faith. Nine years? I can't even imagine. But when faith ceases, miracles cease. So don't lose your faith! Sometimes we just have to wait a little longer than other times.
They insisted on the clown nose haha I love our members
Last picture with the Waddoups :(