I don't have very much time, but I hope I can get some things said. First, thank you for the emails. I only had time to skim thru most of them; Mom, I got your 2 letters in the mail today. Thank you. I got to read them while Sorella Hughes was printing off pics in a kodak place- its a good feeling to know someone outside of my companionship knows that I am alive ;)
ok, where do I start? I have so many things on my mind right now. I have 2 weeks to write about. Ok, the last week in the MTC was an emotional wreck for me. I miss my Anziani. Yesterday when I was eating gelato, I was longing to be able to tell Anz Deursch. I miss them. I have lost all my contact info, my scrapbook, so Amber, or Andrea, if you could email me my 4 elders contact info, I would love it. I really really want to know where they are at and I think I can contact them since theyre in a different mission.
So, here i am in Firenze...Florence. ha. I love it. The Elders told me I wouldnt get to serve in Tuscany but theyll be shocked to hear that I am :) they were rubbing it in bc the milan mission will be taking it in July, so all the missionaries here will become Milan missionaries. Who knows if itll happen to me.
so the last Tu devotional...one of the Apostles came! I was happy for my Anziani. Elder Cook is great. Um.... Anz Knuteson and Larsen came and got me on Tu morning since I didnt want the sorella to wake up that early, and we went and saw my Anz off (the day before, monday, was our pday since we were leaving on our real pday, and the elders forgot about me so i had to go ask special permission to be doing laundry and errands alone :( but the anzi made up for it later that night when we had lots of icecream and enjoyed our last few moments together.) they left at 4 and then the tall anziani saw me off at 5. I had had extra weight so i bought lots of reeses cups to bring the missionaries. the flights went well. i went to JFK and then on to rome, and in JFK, i was spotted by a group of missionaries who were on their way home from Spain. it was neat talking to them and they gave me lots of advice and told me stories. I was able to talk to mom and dad for a few minutes but I was really sad not to be able to reach Lenora again. Oh well. I can wait till Natale.
My flight to Rome went quickly- I tried placing my first book of Mormon but the lady next to me refused it bc she feared shed lose integrity. sad.
I arrived at 7:30 and Slla Acerson was there to meet me after I finally got my bags. Our first stop was San Paolo, a cathedral......and I grabbed my camera bc sorella acerson told me to.........for 45 min we toured the cathedral (i just wanted to take a shower under one of the fontanelle) and then we walked back out to the car and i was the first to hop in and i noticed my journal was sprawled on the floor.........and ...thats it. My bag? nowhere. I glance in the back- EMPTY. Uh...sorella acerson....did president move my stuff? She looked back and then yells out the door PRESIDENT ACERSON HER STUFF IS GONE!!! So thats the beginning of quite an adventure. After talking to some police nearby and circling the block a few times and making loads of phone calls to the office, we..........kept circling and stopping and walking the block and sticking our heads into dumpsters. No one had seen anything. To be honest, for a split second after losing my stuff I sort of felt sick. its an interesting feeling looking down at your journal and camera and realizing that those are your only two possessions. But it was ok- Lenora, Im sorry to hear you cried for me :) I still havent shed a tear, haha. Dont feel bad, its really ok. Yes, I was surprised for a sec, but then I realized that if I had needed those things, they wouldnt have been stolen. I still have my feet and a voice and a brain, so I can still proclaim His Gospel which is all I care about right now. Yes, it would be convenient to have those other things, but theyre not necessary.
I witnessed so many miracles that day. My diaper bag was abandoned at a school close to where it was stolen, and theyd opened my walled to find my aunts number and called her, and she called us and gave us the address to the school.. It was qujite a pleasant surprise to hear a familiar voice on the end of the line. Grazie Zia :)
we went and picked it up and lo and behold, whoever had taken my stuff was thoughtful enough to leave behind my change of garments. I got my binder back, which had a few letters that I decided to keep with me for me to read when things got rough. Im so glad to have those back. Just about everything else is gone, but I have my scriptures and my journal. Its a blessing I hadnt brought my other journal and that Id left it for Lenora to pack away. Id have been sad to lose that.
Someone found my passport while walking their dog in a park that evening, and recognized the name of the church in the back of my passport, bc hed taken English classes from us before, so he turned it in to to police and contacted the church. another miracle. I got it back the next day.
Yesterday, the office called me to tell me someone found my international drivers liscense so thats on its way to me. So many miracles. Im so grateful for getting something back; I didnt need it, but Heavenly Father knew it was important to me and although I dont have any of my language books or materials, at least I have my scriptures to use during personal study and for lessons. Over time Ill be able to get an italian preach my gospel and other stuff, but theres time.
The couples who work in the office are so nice- I spent the first night at the mission home and they brought over a pair of pjs and a toothbrush and toothpaste. I met my companion on Thursday afternoon- Sorella Hughes. She is from Seattle and this is her last transfer, she goes home in May. Shes served in sardegna and rome 3 and has been in Firenze for a few transfers. I assumed Id be here for at least 2 transfers bc I thought theyd keep me here bc I have a follow up trainer for my second transfer but Ill be the one who will be more familiar with the city to train the next sister, but they are closing down cities for sisters bc more are leaving than those coming in, so i dont know if ill be here for next transfer.
My first 2 days were different than for most new missionaries- thursday we spent going around to different police stations trying to track down my passport and we finally got it. Mom, I got the money in the mail. Grazie. I tried going to the post office but they said i need a codice fiscale so we went to go get me one but theyàre closed for lunch so ill get it another day and hope my travel kit deodorant and toothpaste last me another week.
Sorella Hughes isnt my Susan, (moms best friend from her mission) but I love her. It is something that takes getting used to, even as a twin. for being such a small short person, she moves fast and I love that alot. She can take steps just as big as mine, and we find that we mainly run to places to make it on time, which is ....... a killer. Thankfully, I chose to wear my most comfy shoes on the plane , my dillards ones, and ...yeah. They are now used as my tennis shoes and my slippers. Lenora, I hope ill get the time to write you a letter with a favor- when you come in may, i could think of a million things i wish you could bring, but all i really need is a pair of shoes. everything else i can do without or find here, even though its cheaper there.Mom, no, I dont have a coat. It was in my bag. Ive been freezing but at home I wrap myself in a blanket I found, and when I go out, I just pray to get numb quickly so that I feel warm. S Hughes has let me borrow a scarf, which saves me. I hope to buy a sweater or a jacket once I get some money. Its a strange feeling not even being able to buy something because you have no money or possessions in your name. its been a good experience :)
All our investigators are immigrants....I wonder who long Ill be in Italy before I get the chance to teach an Italian. Ive already been involved in my first baptism of a 9 year old girl, Ester. On monday we worked on goals and we feel like May 5 someone needs to be baptized, so please pray for us that we will be guided to someone who will be ready for baptism that day.
The Evertsen family is in my ward. There are Anziani Cardiff (who served in moms ward for the entire time i was there, and hes my zone leader so I am in very good hands, no need to worry about me) and his comp Anz Reschke. They are in either Florence 1 or 2, and the other branch has Anziano Neilsen and Coombs. The first three mom should know bc they served in Terni. There were 8 elders but they closed half the day I arrived- its crazy how small the missions becoming!
S Hughes told me that I have been her easiest transfer- I stuck my belongings in a plastic bag and off we went to Termini to catch the train to Firenze. We bumped into Marzia and her Dad, moms neighbors, and I talked to them the entire time. It was so neat to see them! Im glad they came over and talked to you before you left Papa. Hows Kirkuk? YOu are there, right?
my address is sorella urban
via delle medaglie d"oro
but thats just for letters. any packages need to go to the mission home address which ill get when the zone leaders go down every 6 weeks. since i dont know how long ill be here, maybe you shouldnt even write to my florence address ........i can survive getting mail just once every 6 weeks....... :)
the other day we worked on goals as a district (since we are the only sisters in florence, we go to florence 1 on one sunday and to florence 2 the next) and we have standards of excellence which they all seemed very blown away and discouraged by. I piped up that those are inspired numbers, and yes, theyàll make us reach and stretch our limits, but they are inspired numbers and heavenly father wouldnt give them to us if they were unattainable. they all looked at me like im new and dont know what im talking about, and i do know that i am new and dont know what theyve seen or experienced, but we shouldnt lose hope. If Heavenly father needs something done, He will get it done. Either through us or someone else. But why not be that someone?
The whole week ive been here, every appt has been cancelled but 3. Yes, some people have been extremely rude. But it makes it even better when someone does stop for even a moment to hear what I have to say. I placed my first copy of the book of mormon on sunday during zone singing- we go to the duomo (Amber, right next to the gold doors!...and thats actually where we just had pizza for lunch) and we sing hymns for two hours and take turns standing infront and stopping people. S Hughes and I, when we get on the bus or train, we get on on opposite ends and talk to people. No one has given me there number, but a few have taken a pass along card. Its hard! Its really hard, and sometimes it really takes courage to open my mouth and strike up a conversation with them. But I love going to bed at night knowing I did my best.. Our feet hurt, ...this week weve been rained on every day and I dont even have money to buy an umbrella! But its so great. At night theres nothing better than to look back on the day and know that I gave it my all.
ok, im going to quickly mention some things before we have to wrap up.
for the past few years, ive hated bananas PLUS ive been allergic to them, and in the MTC I ate one and...voila! Im not allergic anymore and they reallly arent that bad. I dont know why i wrote this, but I just had to mention it. i couldnt beleive it.
Lenora, thanks for your care package. I ate all your stuff practically all on the way to the airport. It was so weird passing the dollar theater and everything that had so many memories of me and amber. hahha.......
oh! I went to the temple site at the end of a day full of police station stops- its gorgeous and huge! I cant wait for ground breaking. ah ah ah. I am so excited. It overlooks the city and .............. wow. Its wonderful.
Slla Hughes, the entire 4 hours up to florence, was warning me how bad and old and dirty the apartment was. I LOVE IT! Yes, missionaries have been living in it for 30+ years, but its great. As for the dirty part, I didnt know why till today. we cleaned some this morning...and uh.....of course its dirty! it looks like it hasnt been swept in the entire years. I think past missionaries have only been spot sweeping and stuff. slla Hughes didnt even want to mop- the kitchen floor faceva schifo!!! I couldnt make it wait another week.
i bent to sweep under my bed and i almost died with shock at the dust bunnies. And i know they arent there from just this week.... AND slla Hughes complains about the pigeions that come on our balcony and lay eggs- we found 2 new eggs this morning in a nest and the eggs were warm! I desperately yearned to keep them (remember my may egg with the light? oh goodness.) anways....slla hughes frowns upon pigeons so she had me scoop up the nest and transplant it downstairs. I hope theyre found by some mother pigeon. I felt so bad for the mom-- she was talking to me while I was scooping up the nest. I wanted to catch her and take her down to where I stuck it. If the eggs are still there and cold when we get back home I think Ill have my first shed tears in the mission field.
Dad- thank you for the blue inidian earrings you bought me on your way to italy in Jan. Theyre the only pair I have; I wore them on the plane for luck and Im glad theyre the only pair I have. Thanks.
I love how everyone here rides bikes- slla hughes doesnt want to get one bc she leaves soon, but i hope i get to at some point. when the anziani came riding up on theirs on the night i arrived to deliver some chips and salsa theyd bought for me as a welcoming present (apparently my story has spread in the mission like wild fire... i just met 2 sisters who are from prato and they looked close to tears as they expressed their condolences, and i just want to say, really! its not that bad! I have a skirt and 2 tops and ive done just fine for a whole week, I can do it again for another week!) and i wanted to burst out laughing at how rickety their bikes were.......but then i saw the other bikes, and each one looks more broken down than the one before. They have bike paths everywhere! Ii love it!
mom, as for the pasqua egg- my heart melts everytime i see one, but we are doing a chocolate fast for someone who is trying to quit smoking, so....dont but any for me and ill just get one next easter, assuming i dont get myself into another fix with a smoker ;)
whoever can contact anziano Deursch- tell him I think of him everytime I see gelato. I want to know where my anziani are! I want to know about their trainers, about which city theyàre in, about what they think of milan.. so much to say!
Amber, how is cindy doing? did you change wards, and if you did, what do you think of it? mom i did recieve your jeans and the garment bag- grazie. Ironically, i wish the jeans was a skirt instead :)
in a little bit we need to go to an office to get my permesso di sogiorno. This is an extremely imp appt that I cant be late for! what else do I have to say? one thing I could use when you come L is a battery charger for my olympus camera. once my battery dies its dead...so I havent taken any pics in the field yet. tommy bought the camera with me, but if you need to have more info on what kind it is, let me know. oh, and can you send me a pic of you or the family or two?
I think im going to say ciao now. I have alot in my inbox that I need to sort thru and see if theres any questions that I need to answer. Thank you everyone for your prayers and support. Its been a long but happy week, Sometimes I dont know how Ill be able to stay awake all day with the way I feel when my alarm goes off, but Im blessed with strength that gets me through to 10:30. I dont know how missionaries gain weight in the field' theres no time to eat!
Ill write again next week. I dont think I will even be able to write any handwritten letters this week, so I apologize for that but know that I am trying to focus my efforts on my purpose. I have never loved reading the scriptures as much as I do now- I dread seeing my personal study hour tick by; I could read it all day. Pasqua is on sunday and so is general conference, so we are going up to Prato, a city about 20 minutes away for that.
Please send this on to those who want it- and please let me know how my Anziani are doing. Love to Tobi and Gma Spalding and Amberini and Lenorachka and Mirandi and Andreas family (I saw them my last sunday in the US- it was so great! despite all the Elders begging Matt to get a pic of him handcuffing them).........Dad, let me know if youre still alive :) I expect to be one of the first to be written when carla and robe get their mission calls
Mom, buon lavoro. I love your letters, they really give me added strength and motivation to keep going.
Vi voglio bene. Grazie for everything you do for me. Pray for good weather or faster numbing process :) amber, thanks for the black tights. theyre my only pair and they are SUPER HARDY. it amazes me. I sort of feel bad that they white handbook keeps stressing how important our appearance is......gulp. its the first thing people see of me...no wonder people arent willing to hear what ihave to say. I look like a hobo! I found a black turtleneck that a missionary left behind. at least my grandma shoes are the envy of everyone. apparently theyre fashionable...so my least favorite item is everyone elses favorite. strange.
OK. devo scapare. Theres a mosquito in the apartment. can you believe it? For some reason I thought missionaries would be spared that one MAJOR nuisance. oi oi.
nu ladno. I dont want to end but I have to. I taught enlgish class last night to just 2 men- we talked about fly fishing the whole time. hahaha. So great. I hope Dad and Gramps that this news will make you happy.
The work goes on.
ps. where does Urban come from? everyone guesses and I dont know what to respond!