When I read this week of each of your adventures in the Great Maine Walker Family Reunion, I almost felt a tinge of jealousy, but then I remembered I'm in Italy, and that the fun we're having out here is just one of a different, but nonetheless real, sort! Our joy comes from seeing others accept the message of the restored gospel and make commitments that will set their eternal course in the right direction.
While many of you were paddleboarding, swimming, kayaking, and participating in other fun water sports, I got to admire the Adriatic from a distance! Che Bellissima! One day I will swim in her waters, just not for the next 16 months!
As Camille met boa constrictors in NYC, Anziano Waddell and I found Biscotto, (as he has now come to be called). Biscotto is my childhood dream of having a dog come true in the form of 30 second, slobbery hellos exchanged as we go to and from our house each day. I recognize the reason why we can't have pets as missionaries, because if he wasn't kept from us by a gate, we'd never get anything done, we'd be playing with him all day!
As you ate ice cream, pizza, lobster, clam, crab, and countless other meals, my culinary abilities were flourishing on the other side of the globe. New, hungry missionaries, heretofore reliant on college meal plans need food to eat, but don't know quite how to prepare it themselves. That's where two "veterans" of the Italy Rome Mission step in. This week was filled with classic Toronto household dishes such as fajitas, German pancakes, and cereal, along with newly acquired plates like gnocchi, chicken fried rice, and 4 cheese pesto. If I have learned anything besides how to effectively preach the gospel in the months I have lived here, it is how to cook, and cook well... a skill no doubt my family and friends will thank me for in the future, not to mention my wife. ;)
As you roamed the streets of "Little Italy," I roamed those of "Slightly Bigger Italy," searching for those with a thirst like that of the woman at the well. The living spring that is Jesus Christ is the quenching draught they seek, and only when his servants walk by, smiling and friendly, do they recognize how tantalizing the water is!
As you discussed Safe Harbors, and rescuing the one, we were trying our best to put the concept into practice. Anziano Waddell and I have dedicated this week to searching out those who need to be brought safely home, and ensuring them passage on the Great Ship Zion. Not all want to come aboard, in fact many prefer to swim around the boat, and hop on that ship "Vice and Temptation," so expertly guided by the Enemy of our Souls. Our work is to provide them a ticket, and allow them to choose whether to come aboard, or seek refuge elsewhere. I testify the only true refuge is found in the safety provided by the commandments.
I echo the invitation from Nana this week, to firmly plant yourself on the Rock of our Redeemer. As you do so, the insignificant shafts in the whirlwind will have no power over you. In reunions to come, we will see others missing, serving the Lord selflessly in other lands and bringing the gospel to those who have need of it! I truly can't wait for that day!
All of my love, and a warm Italian abbraccio,
Vi Voglio Bene,
Anziano Toronto II 🇮🇹