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Sorella Urban is not longer in Italy...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

it's shmee!

My life is continually, happily, revolving around the gospel and oranges. A few orders of business: Dad, I gave amber the cd for roberto..to ask her or Lenora, ok? Next, do you remember an Anziano Auna, who performed the Haka dance in the Roma uno branch? He thinks he knows you and mom, he's my teacher.
To start off with, I will be writing Dera a letter that I hope she can type up and post on my blog so you can read it, it's about something we've been talking about this past week and I love it.As I write this I am looking at the provo canyon and the sky getting lighter; this is the best time of my life. I'm so grateful that I have this chance to think of others for a change. It's really not hard at all to focus on His work. In that aspect, I've been blessed. Many are struggling with distractions, and most can't wait to get out of the MTC. I'm soaking up the moment. How glad I am that I get to spent all 9 weeks here! Where else would I jump out of bed at 5:45 am to play bolleyball with Slla Pickett? Today was the first time we did our own thing- we usually go to 6:00 am kickboxing, which is super fun, but we've been playing vball with the Elders during gym and we are determined to master serving overhand. I'm pleased to say that it's going well, and I am quite the masterr :)
With the Brazilians recieving their visas, about 300 left and 100 from our branch left, leaving us the only sisters in the branch. This past Sudany, Sorella Pickett played the piano and I led, and when I stood up to lead the 1st hymn, I saw that the a whole row of Elders didn't have a single hymnbook, so I hurried up to the stand bc I spotted an extra one at the feet of someone in the Branch Presidency. Bc the intro was quickly drawing to an end, I was a little anxious, so I 1/2 knelt to get it and he was trying to figure out what I wanted...I pointed to the book w probably an exasperate look on my face. Long story short, I dove and made it to my spot just in time for the bymn, and it was a nice sacrament meeting until... "now we'd like to turn the time over to our MTC President, Pres, Smith." Lo and behold, even if I hadnt been sitting directly infront of the pulpit, he couldn't be mistaken (he looks like Kiki). Yes, there he was. The one you sit so far away from during firesides and devotionals that you have to watch the screen to see him, standing right infront of me. Now, dont' get me wrong. I was not overwhelmed with a good feeling of seeing him there among us, I was actually overwhlemed with nausea as I racked my brain, trying to figure out how I managed to not spot his face as I dug around his legs. To toot my own horn a bit louder, I leaned fwd and looked at the woman sitting 2 seats from me, Yes, his wife- the one I'd handed an extra hymnbook too. She looked over at my glance, I relaxed my grimace long enough for my expression to pass for a smile, leaned back into my chair, and looked up into the face of someone I no longer cared to see upclose. Looking at screens is just fine with me.

Slla P leaves on Monday- and 25 new italians will be arriving the 3rd. I am excited and hoping that there are some sisters- I love my district, but it's been nice having a sister around. I heard from my friend Mandy this past week- we met in our nursing class, and while we were tubing the river a few days before I left for Rome, we'd joked how awesome it would be to serve as companions. She's been called to the Catania Mission, which, as of July, will be my same mission!!!

There is just one disadvantage of having a female companion- she's too nice to tell me something that might possibly be embarassing. One day, I had a wrap with spinach and veggies, and then we stopped at the bookstore to order somet things...I stopped a few people to ask them some questions, and then I thanked and smiled at some Elders who'd held the door open for us. THEN class started and I said something to Flla Auna and he says "Slla Urban, you have something in your teeth" and points to his. I turn to S Pickett and ask her why she hadnt said anything, and she feebly says she hadnt noticed. Yeah right! I ask her where it is and ALL the Elders chirp in of the location of Freddy and the various tacts I could use to conquer his removal. We're too close as a district for me to be feeling any embarassment at this point (yes, this is coming from the same person who, on the 2nd date, asked him if there was anything stuck in her braces), BUT, after much trial and tribulation (and some gnashing of teeth from the Elders), I removed it with nothing other than a mechanical pencil, and guess what? It was NOT a Freddy. No, it wasn't something that she counldn't have seen- I could have made another salad wrap with the size of the spinach leaf! AGH!!! It was Dr. Fred!

Tommy, I thought'd youd be happy in knowing that...: Anz Knuteson needed to resew a button that was loose on his suit jacket, so I whipped out my sewing kit (thanks lennie) and we proceeded to figure out how to open it. W our 2 great brains combined, we couldn't open it. 3 torn nails and a few "che cavoli!" later, ...nothing. We abandoned the effort for a minute as he tried to take his button off, while exclaiming how nice it'd be to have scissors. I pulled out my gerber and nearly knocked him over with schock. He recovered quickly, cut his button off, and spent 1/2 hours and 2 Elders to get the blade to close. Meanwhile, I'd been working on opening the kid. It had a simple snap clasp, but even banging it against the pulpit didn't help. I think it was the Spirit that prompted me to ask AnZ Anderson for help- he looked it over for a second, and then pointed to 2 long, BUT, in our defense, TRANSPARENT strips to tape sealing the case shut.

Sorella Pickett's teacher pulls me from class whenever he is here, and although I don't necessarily enjoy it at the time, the awkwardness we go through is fun to look back on. We roleplay several hours a day, and he had us practice door approaches. Our goal was to get into his house. Several slammed doors later, I knocked and he peeped the door open...I stuck my hand in to shake his and he didn't accept it, but something happened and we said something that caught his interest. Before he or I knew what happened, I was kneeling in his living room. "What, you mean NOW?" I replied, "Yes, you said it'd be cool to know. Right now is when you can know" so he knelt down and prayed! I'm becoming more and more comfortable with being bold, and not hesitating to follow the promptings of the Spirit.

Some of the Elders in my district weren't too happy with eachother the other night; one couldn't focus and was being a distraction to the other. They called me in, hoping I'd listen to their separate sides of the story and bring justice or something. The only thing that came to my mind was an image of us kneeling together, so I stood there for a moment and then knelt. One Elder cheered and the other groaned (I wonder which of them had a guilty conscience Ü), and I prayed. It really did help us refocus to what we should be doing. Never have I relied more on the Spirit and its promptings that I am now. I do my best to be 100% obedient so that I don't have a guilty consicence when I pray and ask for its blessings. I can expect it from the Lord- He keeps His promises, but I must keep mine.

Time is almost out- I hope you'll take the time to read what I'll be sending Debora. I have so many things on my mind- how grateful I am for the preexistence, and for the knowledge that we have of it. I've never really pondered too much on everything that happened in our preeathly life- so much did!

I am absolutely loving it here. Thank you for your letters. Gma Spalding sent me a package of chips and salsa, and our district had a little fiesta. We're bonding and really having a good time. Sometimes we get a little down on ourselves, too worried about the language and the daunting task ahead, but we shouldn't worry. The Lord's called us to Italy, knowing that we are capable, and that's all we need to know. How well He knows us. Why fear when all we need to do is put our trust in Him? After all, He's the creator of it all- who better to turn to for guidance and help?

I am grateful for all of you. Thank you for your support and prayers. I am more than half way thru my MTC stay- where does the time go? I love you all. Keep up the good and funny letters; they entertain others besides me :) If anyone wants to write an Elder Go- he hasn't recieved a letter from his family yet. He's going to Brazil-

ok, need to run. Ciao tutti! Sorella Urban

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

week 4 with the runaway orange

This past week, the President of Kenya came and toured the 4th floor of the gym building- our floor. We were asked to make sure our rooms were clean, and to not go out hunting for a glimpse of her. At 2, I stayed in the classroom but the Elders sat on the couches in the middle section of the building in hopes of seeing her. I'm taking it they did, because a few minutes later, they stumbled thru the classroom door and were punching eachother for freezing up and acting like deer in a headlight. I'm sure you're wondering if I'll mention why the pres of Kenya came to the MTC....not to stress that she came to the 4th floor particularly. Well, it's bc she wanted to see if she'd want to open Kenya up to missionaries. Isn't that the best news?! Apparently, she met with the missionaries going to Cambodia, bc there's a similarity in the language...? I don't know if she came to a decision or how the visit went, but when does a meeting concerning the church ever go badly?

Never till now have I paid close attention to the illustrations in Book of Mormon stories. Slla Pickett and I have found a new passion for identifying 'its'- which is basically impossible, bc the individual has been identified as an 'it'. But it adds fun to reading and practicing pronounciation in Italian. It's what keeps us reading on- the exciting possibility of coming across another puzzling illustration. (Waters of Mormon story in particular Ü)

Slla Pickett and I spent all morning yesterday preparing for a lesson we taught at the TRC, and we were studying the Fall and I was testing her on phrases that she was memorizing, and w/ one she said "Adam and Eve were squished in the garden"... I looked at the phrase and it said "Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden". I guess scacciati and sciacciati are pretty close :) We got a good laugh out of that.
She's also come up with a song to help her learn the imperfect subjunctive...that goes to the pink panther theme song.

I eat an orange almost every meal, and within a few days, the other Sorelle were hooked. The Elders mocked our obsession with oranges, and then one asked for a piece during class, and from that moment on, they've all been more addicted that we have ever been. On Sunday night devotionals, they don't allow us to bring in bags, cameras, or food. There's always a church movie following the devotional, so S Pickett decided to carry in an orange for the movie. Since bags aren't allowed and she didnt have any pockets, she got Anz Deursch to stick it in his suit jacket pocket. We were lucky enough to find seats up close and personal to the speaker, right behind all the senior missonaries and branch presidents and their wives. Anz D caught my attention and handed me something, and me, being Sorella Urban, didn't get a good grip on what was in his hand so it dropped to the floor and rolled its way to the bast of the pulpit. To my absolute horror, combined with the horror of Slla pickett and the Anziani who were all seated beside me with a frozen expression of terror, it was the orange. Small as it was, it was still an orange. Food.
So much for concealing it till the movie. It was making its slow but sure way thru the aisle, rolling and bumping off the feet of senior missionaries. I was embarassed bc everyone watching the commotion thought it was MY orange, and that I'd thought that I could get away with sneaking in food. To help the flase presumption, Anz Anderson, who was the only one brave enough to retrieve the runaway orange, handed it back to ME. That's what I get for sharing the joy an orange can bring into someone's life. It's my fault Slla Pickett thought she dcouldn't get thru a movie without one.

Thank you for your letters, and for the packages. It really adds to the beauty of each day ;) Anz Anderson got a package from his mom, opened it up all excited, just to find a bag in it labeled for ME. Ah! I felt so bad, but it was so nice of her. A 2 pound bag of chocoloate covered pomegranate. I made the mistake of sharing with the class and the Elders were starting to have great fun throwing them thru the air and aiming at eachothers mouths, until I wrapped my finger around the neck of the bag and stowed it away back into my purse. I really do feel like a mom ;) And it makes me wonder what the Elders are writing home about me......bc Anz Gammel asked me if I've recieved a package from his mom yet. Oh dear.
Tommy. Tommy. Tommy. Yesterday we went and did the TRC, and afterwards we all got together to talk about how we thought our lessons went, and Anz Stoker and Deursch came in grumbling and complaining that one of the investigators they'd taught had been 'a punk'. After some description and after seeing a short, blond guy exiting the building, I connected the dots and realized it was Fife they were talking about. Ah! Did you really enjoy having him as a companion? He turns down every invite and even reading the scriptures- the only thing that came out of my mouth when I turned the corner and saw him standing there checking out was a low groan and a quick getaway for the door. But the best part is that Slla pickett groaned at the same time I did- Fife is becoming infamous in our district.

We thought we were getting 2 new sorelle last week, and as excitement mounted and as we happily made their beds and were carefully choosing out exactly which snacks we'd get from the vending machines to stick on their pillows....2 FRENCH sisters walked in! ay ay ay! And they weren't even new! They both have been here for 6 weeks and just needed to change rooms- so in the barged and complained about the bed arrangement. Slla Pickett and I, at the moment of intrusion, were seated on the floor having a chex mix party (thank you Lenora) and with the wave of tension that walked in, we just turned back to our chex mix party and tuned everyone else out. I loved our reaction- it's wonderful to just be able to close something off like that. So we are happily sharing rooms with 3 french speaking sisters, and sorella Pickett is leaving 2 weeks from yesterday, and then I'll be getting a new Italian district, but no companion. It's been very nice getting the chance to grow closer to S Pickett, esp now with sorelle Lloyd and Naslund gone. We've become expert scavengers of the cafeteria, and notice missionaries eyeing our trays in wonder as we walk past them. I'm sure they wonder how we find all the good food...

A few weeks ago, I can't remember if I told you, but Pres Uchtdorf paid an unexpected call to the MTC president, Pres Smith. He said he had to speak with an Elder Newell, so they pulled up info and found 2 Elder Newells here at the MTC, so P Uchtdorf said that the Elder Newell he had to speak with was learning Portoguese. So they tracked him down and he spoke with him- turns out, Elder Newell wasn't sure if he should be here; he'd struggled with choosing whether to go on a mission or into the navy, and so Pres Uchtdorf came to tell him he'd made the right decision. It was really neat.
We have 2 new elders- one's 6 '8 and one's 6 '4. All the Elders complain of how short they feel now.
Anita, i live in 17 M. My service assignments are taking out the trash- THE MOST FUN I'VE EVER HAD. And the compactors are so wonderful- ajhhhh If only I had time to describe the fun it is to take the trash out. Maybe a later email. My time is almost out. Please tell me how you're all doing- do dearelder - it's the best thing!
I love this time I have here at the MTC. I'm so glad I'm staying all 9 weeks. Some elders left after being here for 16 weeks for Brazil- they really are amazing. I know that the life I'm living now is the closest thing to the life I lived before this life. It's so wonderful feeing the spirit every moment of every day. I'm so grateful for you all, and most of all, I'm grateful for the things I'm understanding at a much deeper level. God really does have a specific plan for each of his children. Oh, so much to say. Next email I'll start with it so I dont find myself in this situation.
I love you all. Thank you for your prayers and support.
Ha presto!

Sorella Urban

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

‏ 9 Feb 2010 settimana 3!

Family! Friends! Ciao!

Week 3 will be over as of tomorrow...how is that possible?! I feel like I've been here an entire 18 months, and then it feels like a moment ago when I was brutally pushed out of the car and dumped on the MTC curbside.

This morning started early, at 3:30, when we took Sorella Naslund to the bus for the airport. There were deer in the parking lot! Then, seeing that it was 4:00 and we had an hour before Sorella Lloyd had to leave, we creeped into the cafeteria and ate cereal. It was like a Jurassic Parks scene- huge cafeteria, empty kitchens, dim light, etc. We took pics,....soon to come Ü

TOMMY! Guess what? Our district goes to the TRC every Monday at 1:00 (LENORA!!!) and I've been assigned to teach with Pickett for the next couple of weeks seeing that her district just left....so we went in to teach lesson #2 in italian about the plan of salvation, and there were 2 young men. Our scenario was that they were Buddhists and we met them while shopping at a store and we returned to teach them the lesson. One of the guys kept refusing our invites to pray or to read and by the time we walked out, we felt like shaking our fists at him. That's when he calls after us 'Sorella, I served with your brother! I'm Fife'. So Tommy. I racked my brain trying to remember if you liked him or not, and the strange thing is that I think you did enjoy having him as a companion. He either transformed, or he's a good actor. I doubt it's the latter. Bahaha. I'm joking. I'm a missionary. I think the best of everyone and I don't joke about wretched things like a poor individual having no sense of humor. WELL. We got back at him. I have a sore throat and raspy mans voice, and we sang 'families are forever' to them...not once, but TWICE. We thought that was sufficient punishment.

Sundays are the best days here EXCEPT for the incredibly, unbelievably, undescribably HARD seats! I barely could sit through our last devotional, when President Hinckely's son came and spoke to us. Being in the choir is wonderful, but it fazes me how they get enough to fill the choir when the seats are as hard as they are. Do people have secret padding there? Do they shift their weight so their rears don't make contact with the chairs at all? I can't help but wonder. And be amazed. If there's one thing I'm in need of, it's a butt cushion. Sor Pickett, the intelligent one, has developed into a scavenger and she really does. In the cafeteria, she zooms around with her tray and comes back with the widest assortment of food that most never see displayed (I think she actually has a key to the kitchen cabinets) and in our dorms, there are boxes of stuff sisters leave behind, and the finds useful things in there. Well, back to the story. Putting her talent to some good use, she scavenged up a nice seat cushion that Portoguese Elders often try to steal away, but she rattles at them and they know not to ever forget to return it to its proper place- her chair.

One reason I decided to stay all 9 weeks was bc I really want to learn the grammar, so when grammar class rolls around and I eagerly inch up to the edge of my seat with full attention, hungering the things I'm about to lap up, the door creaks open and one of the other Italian teachers asks if they can steal me. I nod and squeak 'of course I don't mind' while inside my innards are boiling. (I'm really just exaggerating here, I often do things more willingly than I make it sound) and I go teach with Sor Pickett. On Friday, we taught her teacher a lesson who was pretending to be a store keeper that we contact. WE started with pretending to buy a sweater, and when we were getting ready to check out, he told us the total came to 7 euro, and so she passed him air money, and he said .... uh, where's the money? We looked at eachother and she blushed a little and said, it's here! And he's like 'Oh, you're trying to rob me is that it?!' and he raised his voice and rattled off about mormons robbing him, so we didn't know what to do bc we thought we were playing a pretend game, but he obviously wasn't thinking along the same lines. SO.... I couldn't think of anything other than to walk into my classroom and grab a couple of cookies that I'd just recieved from Grandma Spalding. To my horror, he accepted them as payment!!! He munched away as he agreed for us to return to teach him another day. It was all very funny, but during it, Sorella Pickett and I were wondering what he was doing. He really is so strange! The story's longer, but that's it in brief. It was just funny, and I don't think I explained it well.

OH another thing! Yesterday night, Fratello Bulloch (grammar teacher) came in at 5:15-9:00, and he didn't seem in his usual good mood (we found out later bc we think its time for midterms at BYU).... and I understood where he was coming from a little bit bc the Elders were talking to eachother and eating oranges and rolling around on chairs. Anz Gammel decides it's the perfect moment to tell a joke (NOT) (couldnt he tell bulloch was upset bc we were wasting our time?!?!?) and he stands up and says "Fratella Bulloch, let me tell you a joke. What is the stretchiest substance on the earth?" (Bulloch didnt even give him permission to talk, and he's staring blankly at him, and then asks, what?)
Anz Gammel "Skin. Moses tied his donkey (the real word) to a tree and walked 40 miles".

1) Saying the real word is always a little uncomfortable, BUT in the MTC, it felt like a bomb.
2) Gammel is, at this point, wheezing and holding his sides, I and the 3 other Elders have our heads in our hands and groaning inwardly about the whole situation and how he just made it worse, and
3) Bulloch REMAINED expressionless, and then turned his head to his binder and started writing it. AGHAGH! Not a smile, not a snort. NOTHING!

Ok, AGH!! Time to go. Shoot! Well, ok. 2 sorella are arriving tomorrow. one braizilian moved in today and a canadian is tomorrow. so 6 of us in one room. it's going to be so awesomly crowded!
thanks for your letters, your packages, your prayers, your everything!
i have much to share...but in the second I have, I want to say that I am so astounded with how deeply God cares for each of us. I'll write more in a letter that Lenora can type up- its so good, i dont want to wait till next week to write it.

we had asl girls teach us the first lesson and it was such a wonderful experience- the spirit really doesnt need language to teach truths or to testify of Christ.
ok, have to go. I love you all. I'll try to write better things next week that will be of some spiritual use to you all rather than hearing about how my rear is sore. Ü


New pictures!

1.il mio distretto! Sorella Urban, Anz Stoker, Anz Gammel, Anz Anderson, Anz Deursch
2.24 Jan 2010 A walk up to the temple
3. 30 Jan 2010 All of us were a little tired, to relieve some tension, we found a piano and sang hymn after hymn. that's our new thing :)

2 Feb 2010

The first two Emails from Sorella Nerina Urban in the MTC..


Salve tutti miei cari!

This week has flown by- how thankful I am that it was just the first week that felt so hectic. I had to SCHEDULE bathroom breaks. I wondered how missionaries managed to survive 9-12 weeks of it, but this second week has shown me that things DO slow down and I actually have time to breathe. I think it's just bc I've adjusted to the life routine of the MTC.

The highlight of the week: last night, in class, Brother Bulloch (one of my 2 teachers) came in and had the other Italian district join with us, and he announced that he had just recieved word that the Catania Mission is dissolving and will be absorbed by the Rome Mission. MEANING that Rome will lose Florence and Tuscany to Milan ( :( !!!)... and Rome will get all of Catania and Sicily- WOW! Huge mission boundaries- and there's the possibility of missionaries being reassigned according to need/number ratio- so maybe I will end up getting the chance to not only serve in Rome, but Milan and continue the family legacy! Ü We shall see. I really had mixed emotions- but I know that Heavenly Father knows exactly what He is doing, and everything is working this way because the work is moving forward.
I finally figured out that Sorella Naslund is serving in Rome, not Milan, so I am not the only Sorella going to Rome, but she is leaving a week from today with Sorella Lloyd (milan) and Anziano Snedaker (Rome).
I wrote that I was staying for 9 weeks- and the day after, Sorella Jones (who served in Ladispoli and loves the Squarcias), the boss of the Italian teachers, met with me and asked how I'd feel if I were to leave any day, given with what Pres Acerson felt the needs were. I felt fine with it, but she heard back from him and he said that if I were to go now, that I'd be in a 3some, which isn't the most ideal, so that I should go ahead and spend the entire 9 weeks here and enjoy the experience. And I am. I love my district. Although there are times when I feel like I'm with 4 primary kids, I am learning alot from their example and from their growing faith. It is the best feeling to kneel down in prayer with them and hear them make sentences- it was just yesterday that Anziano Gammel asked how to say 'no' in Italian. It's interesting that you can go a whole 2 weeks of learning a language without ever getting down the most basic words ;) I loved it.
I have so much I want to share but am constrained by time. So I'll try to cover the highlights- Next Tuesday, the other Italian district is leaving for Italy except for Sorella Pickett, who is leaving 10 of Feb for Catania (and she'll end up serving in the Rome Mission when the presidents change this coming summer). So, there's the chance I'll get to serve with her! I love the Sisters I am with, although Sorella Nasbund and Pickett are alot more laidback on arriving to class/appts on time than Sorella Lloyd and I are. BUT, we all balance eachother out well.
Last night, to celebrate the boundary changes (I was actually sad about losing Florence and Tuscany) we toddled over to the vending machines in our dorms and got icecream- in honor of Lenora, I got a TWIX one. We got a picture......speaking of pics, I didn't get to print any off last pday, so after this, we'll go over and do them and they should be ready on Friday, so next Tue I hope to send them off.
Sundays are my favorite- I spoke my 1st sunday and gave a prayer last Sunday, which is unheard of. More than half the missionaries don't even get a chance to peep during their time in the MTC bc there are SO many missionaries waiting for their visas to enter Brazil. Some have been here for 15 weeks. The sisters have made a pact to not shave their legs until their visas arrive- and uh.....yeah. A little nasty, but really funny. They look like Tommy legs (scusa, bello mio) and during P.E., they seem to run a little faster than usual so that Elders can't zero in on their legs and gasp with disgust.
We also take Temple walks on Sundays, actually, none of the sisters want to take the time to, so I go with the Elders, and we sit on a bench behind the temple and tell wonderful stories, ....and Anziano Deursch loves the walks because he catches up on eating snow.
I find it extremely disturbing that I am the only one who actually enjoys the food- what is wrong with it?! I don't know, and I just have to accept the fact that I may never find out. I guess that all of the missionaries grew up in McOmber families- where food is the center of life... that's the only reason I can come up with. MTC food is a leap of an upgrade from sandwiches (mom, I LOVED being raised on sandwiches), but this food it good. And I don't know why there are rumors about the food giving you gas- or maybe I've just been blessed in the whole 'food and gas' realm of things. I've also stayed healthy, while most of the italian district is suffering from colds and aches. hehehe.
Funny how I bought a diaper bag out of desperation, and was slightly embarassed. I am proud to announce that my diaper bag is now my pride and my job, not to mention the envy of the entire district. It's like Amber's car- I have everything in it, including my Gerber, which I strongly suggested to the Elders to write home and ask family to send them one. (I got a few strange looks, until I clarified that Gerber is not only baby food, but a handy tool).
What else? Shoots. Just a few minutes left.
I want to wrap things up with how much I am learning here, and how grateful I am to be here. I am gaining such a deeper understanding of EVERYTHING, especially of the restoration and the plan of salvation, since those are the lessons we've focused on so far. I love the TRC, and the RC, where we call people up and do real missionary work. I just can't wait to get out into the world and do the TRC in a real setting, talking to real people, and helping them with real situations and concerns. The devotionals are wonderful, and I am in the choir- the spirit is so strong and so present, all the time. It's been like being in the temple for 2 weeks, just a little noisier.
Before I forget, I want to thank you all for your letters. The pacakges are amazing. It's great going in for dinner and being passed some dear elders, and getting a pink slip to go pick up a package. Lenora, thanks for sending me the stuff. I'm going to send home a box with some clothes I dont think i'll use, and I'll write a real letter later today with some other questions and things I'd like for you to send if you can.
I love you all. I do feel your support and your prayers- it warms my heart that I can kneel down at night and thank Heavenly Father for my family and friends. Not every missionary has the support that I do, and I'm so thankful for it.
The church is true. God's plan of happiness has so much more to it than I could have imagined. He is all knowing, and even uses my weaknesses and down falls to bless the lives of others. I wish I could expound, but no time. Courage and faith!
Again, thanks for everything. dearelder.com is super- use it more! :)
I'm excited for new missionaries to arrive in 2 weeks- I'll get a bottom bunk so that I can stop waking up in the morning chilled bc I'm beneath the vent :) Pray for my district- that we can all be blessed with the gift of tongues. They are putting forth their best effort, and sometimes get unncessarily discouraged at what they feel is slow progress.

Vi voglio tanto tanto bene.
Ha settimana prossima!

Sorella Urban



Well, here's my first sign of life from the MTC! Today is my preparation day, I have 25 minutes left to write ... so here goes!
First, thank you for the letters and mail- I love them and am starting up a nice little stack on my nightstand. Mail really is one of the highlights of mission life, although the strange thing is.... I think I would be able to do really well without.
I will start with the basics: Once I was dropped off, (thank you Lenora, Amber, Mark and Andrew!) a host missionary, Sister Lee, took me up to my room and to the bookstore to grab my bag of books. I now understand what they meant by 15 lbs of material- I think it's more like 30. It's incredible! After some orientation, I met me district. I am the only Sister with 4 Elders. Elders Gammel, Anderson, Stoker, and Deursch. I was a little hesitant from the start because they seemed like kids, but within 24 hours, I began to notice a change in them and now I can't imagine being with a different district. They are such wonderful young men. I do wish I had a companion solely because I am becoming so attached to my district, that I will find it a little strange that I will be serving with a Sister at some point, not Elders Ü
The more advanced district that's been here for 7 weeks has 1 sister that is going to Catania, Sorella Pickett, and she is 'my companion'. We both have 'solo' stickers on our tags, and we meet up at the end of the day to go back to our dorms. She is competely byherself, but during class she sometimes joins in the with 3 other missionaries going to Italy- Sorella Lloyd (CA), Sorella Nasbund, from Stockholm, and Anziano Snedaker. The sister are going to Milan in a few weeks, and Snedaker is going to Rome. So of the 9 missionaries, one is going to Rome besides me, but my district never has class with them.
This is a little surprising still even to me, but I have decided, as of yesterday, to remain all 9 weeks. I have 2 teachers, Fratella Bulloch and Fratella Auna (Hawaiian with the greatest accent, and he served in Roma) and they met with the Mission Presidency and discussed me and gave me the choice. I really am happy with my choice of staying- I know that it's going to be long and sometimes it will feel a little monotonous sitting in class all day, but I did it because I love my district so much and the experience here at the MTC is not (how do you say? um...not able to be replicated). I am looking forward very much to Tuesday night devotionals!!! wow, it's today! haha, I just realized that!
Now a little about my district- Anziano Gammel is from Seattle, and he is short and pudgy and wonderful. I find the hardest thing to obey here is not hugging. I could give him hugs all day, and he almost gave me a hug the other night and we all burst out laughing when all the missionaries started going 'uh oh!'. He's a very huggy person as well. He is 21. His companion is Anz Anderson, and he is just as amazing. He is from Texas, and I get along with both of them extremely well. Anziano Stoker has been chosen to be our District Leader, and my first impression was that he has the furthest to come, but he is a good leader, despite the fact that he chews on pen lids ALL day ... most times, my motherly instincts kick in, and I point to the trashcan and he groans, rolls his eyes, and spits it out. I will not have my Elders taking bad habits to Italia ;) I refer to them as MY Elders....bc I feel like a mother to them. It's the first time they are out of the house, and they ask me so many questions about everything, and it's nice to be around for them. His comp is Anz Deursch, who is very self conscious about how short he is.... but the other day in the cafeteria, we spotted an Elder even shorter, and we all cheered and congratulated Deursch. He is now very happy ;)
They don't get along nearly as well, but they are both trying hard and putting in the effort, and I admire them alot.
My day starts at 6:15, shower, dress, breakfast in the cafeteria where I meet up with my district,....class....class.......more class. Lunch is at 11:30,....class...........dinner at 4:30............and class till 9:15. With some fun things sprinkled in, like TRC. Yesterday was our first time at the TRC, and for the first 15 min we had to speak ONLY in Italian, so I and anziani gammel and anderson walked into a room and met Fabio, and I kept my mouth shut almost the entire time bc they turn to me and count on me to speak, but THEY need the practice so it was just super awkward as they nervously laughed and ummed alot of words. They are doing so well though- I can't imagine having to learn a new lang at the rate they are. When our teachers arent with us, which is most of the time, I teach them vocab and we read scriptures to help with prounounciation, and they can now bear their testimonies and pray in Italian. It's like watching my chicks grow :) (is it sinful to refer to Elders like that?)
On Sunday, we knew that one of us would be chosen to give a 5 min talk in Italian, so sat night we spent writing down a few phrases about the book of mormon. Come sunday, and the branch pres stood up and said 'we will now hear from Sorella Urban' and everyone looked sorry for me but I stood up and told the story about moms conversion and bore my testimony about the book of mormon, and I didnt notice, but afterwards, my district told me that all the missionaries had their jaws brushing the ground bc they knew I came in on Wed, and they thought I spoke as well as I did after just 4 days. haha! Great! My Elders tell me I am quite popular in the cafeteria- I pass the food lines and whispers start up about how it IS possible to learn a language REALLY fast with the help of the spirit. I don't mind- it gives missionaries inspiration and hope, but I find it very funny that they have no idea I spoke Italian prior to entering.
MOm, I did bump into the Armenians- He left yesterday, and Jennifer is in the room beside me. They gave me some choc (needless to say, the Elders gobbled up) and a thing of mens perfume (needless to say, Elder Stoker has fun spraying it in the room and flooding us out, choking and gasping).
We are going to the temple soon, after we shower. We went on sunday and took a few pics, and I will drop my film off later today, get them developed, and send some out next week.
Will someone please send this email on to those I didn't get? Like fallon, tyrell, brett.... family, grandma,...tommy...yeah. Everyone.
The sisters I'm with are great- they do talk more than I'd like about music and the outside world, but I am learning from them what I don't wnat to do when I have my own companion. I will send this email off now bc I have 2 minutes and I dont want it to delete. Please use dearelder.com - it is great! my Dl delivers the letters everyday, and it's free, so try it out! It's great hearing from you all. I am so very happy I'm here. Gym time is wonderful too :) I am praying to do my very best, and to be 100% obedient. Even if it means writing letters ONLY on Tuesdays :)
I love you all so much. Being a missionary is the best thing I've done so far- I have to send this now :(. Ciao a tutti. Till next week :)