Sorella Kelsey Baer
Via Arrigo Boito,
10 36100 Vicenza
Italy grazie mile! Oh dear Vicenza.
This week-- Mom, this place is one of the most humid cities in Italy. My first couple of days here I kept thinking that my sheets were wet and my clothes were wet-- nope, just moisture. And this moisture, thus indicates, that the Kelsey Baer wild mane remains untamed. Yup, this dear hair of mine. Bless it's heart.
On Sunday, Sorella Beutler and I BOTH spoke in BOTH branches. We each gave an 8-10 minute talk in our Italian Branch and a 20 minute talk in our American branch. Let's just say that preparing for both of these was rather difficult... having two different topics and languages... MERCY. In our Italian branch we both spoke on service and then in our American branch I spoke on charity and Sorella Beutler did an UNREAL job speaking on missionary work. In our American branch, we had one of our soldiers bring a friend to church. This dear guy is 21, and he showed up to church ready to learn about the Mormons. Beuts and I felt a lot of pressure, being the only speakers with brand new investigators in the congregation. I felt to testify about a few specific things in accordance with the charity. And after the meeting, this young non member soldier came up to me and said that throughout my talk he knew "somehow" that he was in the right place in the right time, that he felt things and received answers to things that no one else knew. After church, he came over with a couple of other soldiers to the Arbogasts where we had a huge dinner and another lesson, he also came to FHE where he had another lesson, and went to institute yesterday!!! (which the Arbogast's teach!) he's bringing a friend to church on Sunday and we're planning on teaching him tonight! To say he's golden, would be an understatement.I know that the Lord fills our mouths with the very things we need to say, when we need to say them. I pray that we don't hesitate on these impressions.
I don't know how the Lord helped us both prepare and give these talks, one hour after each other, but the Lord sure does qualify us. It was an incredible experience, and I'm grateful for the things that we learned. Sorella Beutler and I made TWO batches of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, and it was arguably one of the finest moments here in Vicenza. The dear Italians sure loved them, they've never beheld such goodness! Mama, I was in absolute heaven-- They're handsdown my favorite dessert, and bless Slla. Beutler's idea of that beloved occasion!
Now to those whom I love most, may I just explain how Vicenza's captured my heart. We've got green, Italian countryside, colorful houses up on hills, castles and old churches, a proprio Italiano centro, Italians and Americans, and people so beautifully open to the message of Jesus Christ. Sure, we get rejected, sure, some people aren't ready. But for the most part, the people here in Vicenza love their Savior, Jesus Christ and can recognize His hand in their life.
One thing specifically that's brought me so much joy and positivity, warmth and fulfillment is our working with our soldiers in our American branch. These young men have such a desire to be good. Beuts and I are CONSISTENTLY in awe at the honor these men hold and protect. I've never worked so closely with military men, and mercy, am I grateful. We've got a pretty solid group of 7 or so men, who are between 20-30 and just returned from Afghanistan in April. They astound me with their testimonies and desires. They're all seeking the right path and the right resources for happiness. Our family home evenings at the Arbogasts' have literally become like a FAMILY gathering. Those men, the Arbogasts and us are a beautiful family unit that supports and sustains each other. Elder Oaks said, "The greatest miracle that can happen is a change of heart." And let me tell you, seeing the hearts of these men change, watching the change in desires in our investigators, witnessing the literal change in my own heart has been a MIRACLE.
I've never desired so much to remain near to my Savior, to utilize the beautiful gift of His Atonement, to plead with my Heavenly Father for the people close and far from me. I cherish my prayers more than ever, and I believe that these changes in ourselves are a miracle. May we realize what goodness we can share, what influence we can have, and what love we can feel. Through the grace of our Savior, Jesus Christ, we can.
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Con tutto del mio amore, Sorella Baer
p.s. I love you. p.s.s. Happy late memorial day! the soldiers here were lovin' it!
p.s.s.s.Happy one year mark to my dear boys Elders Walton and Larsen! So proud of you, friends of mine!