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Sorella Urban is not longer in Italy...

Thursday, April 29, 2010


This will be super quick, the Elders from Pistoia just called and need Sorella Hughes to sing and record a song in church in an hour, so we are leaving in a few short minutes.

First, Ciao! I find myself writing in another Jody dress, but this one doesnt have puffed sleeves. Slla Hughes was sick at the beginning of last week, and I am now, but seem to have it much worse than she did, but I am pulling through. I just wish I had some cranberries.....
The zanzare are faithfully keeping me company and the pigeons have laid another 2 eggs but I think Sorella Hughes is too busy to care. Yay!

Mom, I get to call on May 9th I think, so what time should I call? Missionaries with divorced parents get to call both, so I wrote President and asked him if I could call you, and Im waiting to hear back. Im pretty sure he will let me, so can you please send me your phone number and what time I can call?

Amber, I got your package- we spent all day Thursday going to retrieve it and it seriously was in the middle of nowhere in a storage unit, but after much sweat and blisters (sort of not true...but true) we got the package and wrapped our arms joyfully around it. Awesome. THANK Gma Spalding for the clothes- they are great and very cute. AND for the choc bunnies- I ate mine almost immediately. Very good.

This week has been full of different things- its finally nice outside, and .....we fasted with Laurent over the weekend about his baptismal date, May 29, and we kneeled in prayer together at the close of it and his first words were "May 29th is the day!" So its the day!!! Margarita and Marina are being baptized a week from today!!!! Giving up smoking is something incredible hard, but it can be done, and apparently grapefruit helps. Interesting!

Mom, thanks for the letters. I actually can recieve letters at my Firenze address, so I give you permission to write me there, but Id rather the majority be sent to Rome. I was very happy to hear from Tommy and Dera, and that things are going fwd with their move to Udine. Please dont tell them that they told me too late to not spread the news. AGHHH!!! (Dera and TOmmy, dont kill me! But Im not going to mention who I may have said it to, bc ......then you really will fly over and kill me. PERDONAMI!!!)

Sorella Hughes and I have alot to do this week. She wants to say goodbye to alot of families and investigators, and next Wed we want to go see some sights. I saw Ponte Vecchio from a bus window the other day; while we walk around, especially around the Duomo, tourists will stop us and introduce themselves as members and ask where we are serving. Their response is always "Youre the Florence missionaries?! Do you know how lucky you are to be here?! " We really are lucky. This is a beautiful city and the people are wonderful.

We were able to help a Croatian refugee return home. She has been in the Rifredi train station for more than a month, with 10 suitcases containing all of her belongings. She didnt speak Italian very well so we are really not sure what her story is, but she reminded me alot of the police escapee in Kaz who took refuge under our bush for a few days. All I could think of was what you had done Mom, so I made her some tuna fish sandwiches and got some stuff together and gave it to her. Her name is Snezhna, and this morning we poked our heads into the train station, and she and her stuff was gone, so we are very happy that she made it out of here.

How is Nonna, is she still in the hospital? I am so happy that she is tranquilla and scherzando. I find myself missing the time I spent with her- it was actually pretty fun at times. (like taking one way streets in the opposite direction) :)

Sorella Hughes had her first Russian meal at Lyudas house on Thursday. It wasnt the best tasting meal Ive had here, but its been definitely my favorite. We had borsch with smetana (sour cream) and the flying saucer cookies that Dad used to always get, and KBAC! I gripped Slla Hughes knee under the table as I drank my first cup of it, and I thought back to when Mark refused to even take a sip of it. I feel remorse for ever giving him a hard time for not drinking it- it seriously is the nastiest stuff ever created. Lyuda sent us home with a bottle so we gave it to our district Elders as their mystery gift, and they told us that they hadnt even sipped it. Just opening the bottle and smelling it was enough for them. ha!

Marmota, can you give me the pizza recipe? And whats the purpose of baking soda? I find myself often in the mood to bake, but since we dont have much time, I limit myself to one experiment a week, and last week I made peach cobbler. Slla Hughes and I will try to make popcorn balls with the weird easter marshamallows that you sent.

For next week, I will not be writing. Slla Hughes has to pack and wrap stuff up, so just a heads up. Mom, if you could hear from Dad about his phone number, and then send it to me (yes, to my Firenze address ..Im sorry I keep contradicting myself) then that would be great.

I am slowly improving my Italian.... its a terrible TERRIBLE thing when someone will ask how long weve been here and then point and ask why I speak better if Ive only been here for a month. I want to sink thru the earth. I almost consciously have to purposefully make mistakes so that it doesnt happen. Oh mamma mia. What else? Im printing off the emails I recieved, (time) and if there are any pressing questions, then I will find time to write a note before pday ends. (oh! Amber, whats the pin to my new card?)

Thank you for all that you do for me. For your prayers, support, letters, and packages. I am so so so grateful to be here. And to think that there was ever a time that I was debating about to come or not! AGH! There is so much for me to work and improve on, its almost overwhelming, but I am so thankful for the patience and love that Heavenly Father has for me. Its great to stand at the feet of the Statue of David and see the awe that the crowd has at Michelangelos creations, and to see the same thing in the faces of those we speak to. Laurent has changed in his countenance- he has loosened up and become easier on himself, and its a humbling and inspiring thing to see. The knowledge the Gospel gives us changes us and motivates us to become better. I am so sorry for Andreas loss, and for those who are going through tough times now. During sacrament meeting last week, I was sitting next to Snezhna, the Croatian refugee, and the speakers were talking about eternal families and she started sobbing. I wrapped my arm around her and I found myself becoming emotional- she thinks it would be a beautiful concept but that it cant be true, and Im not sure if I was sad about her not believing it or sad for the things she has been through. I have so many blessing that I never appreciate fully or show my gratitude as I should. Being here is making me feel even more indebted to the Lord and for His tender mercies. I know He is protecting and watching over me, and gives me the strength to lift us those whose arms are hanging low. I hope that I can always be someones angel; to better the life of everyone I come in contact with.

Grazie mille. Vi voglio bene. Buona settimana, and keep your heads held high.

Sorella Urban

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Still Alive!


Yes, I am still alive :) I love it here. I am finally starting to sometimes walk infront of Slla Hughes- being a greenie has been a very humbling experience. I have always been more of the leader type, and the first few weeks were very strange having no idea where we were going or where we were at. After the first day, I gave up asking and just followed. Now I feel much more confident and aware of thing... YAY!

The training on Friday went great. Slla Hughes and I practiced and practiced and it really paid off. We spent all of Friday at the church and I met alot of other missionaries and.... we were the first to present our training. It was exactly 40 minutes, miracle. I started us off, and there was a mosquito buzzing around my face and finally I smacked it and said at the end of my intro of who I am, I said something about "and I always have mosquitoes following me" and they called it the ice breaker of the year. Phew. At least I got some to loosen up. We were then followed by two other sets of Elders, and compared to theirs, I would have to say that ours was much more ... animated. We think everyone was very sincere when they expressed how well we did. So we are very happy- our fast paid off too. Moral of the story: do the work, put in the effort, and put OFF! on before presenting, and things will be ok.

Seeing we dont have much time, Ill touch on the highlights. (This morning we went to visit a woman who has lost everything, and she lives in the train station near our home...and the Elders asked us to go with them but Im a little confused with the whole thing. They havent even called President and yet, they are blowing ahead with their plans to teach her the lessons. I know its important to spiritually nourish, but right now she is wondering where her next meal will come from. Her story is alot like Ainuras, and I cant remember what we did for that....but Ive suggested we call President, but everyone seems against that. Hmmm.)

The day after I became Sorella Hughes comp, we set goals for our transfer. We set May 5 as the date that we would have a baptism, seeing that it was the last day she has here. We thought Laurent was our closest to baptism, the father of the family from Cameroon. Last pday, he said he would be baptized on Nov 29th, his birthday. We saw him yesterday, and we expressed our concern for the risk of rigressing if he waited that long, and that there is NO reason why he cant be baptized now. I shared with him a story, of a little boy who sat on his fathers lap and the father told him that he was sending him out on a trip, and althought the trip would be long and difficult, he knew that it would be the best thing for his son to do. It would give him experience and wisdom, and the father asked him to just remember how much he loved his son and to always choose the right. I related the young boy to Laurent- how I know that we all sat on our Fathers lap and he introduced us to the plan of happiness. We all chose and accepted His plan once: we told Laurent that this is something he has just forgotten and needs help remembering. After much more, he agreed that theres no reason to wait that long, so we whipped out a calendar and I pointed to May 29th (his half birthday) and said that we felt that that was the date he needed to be baptized and he nodded and said he needed our help along the way. So, we will be fasting every saturday with him for the next 5 saturdays, each fast for a specific thing for him. He asked how long we fasted for, and I thought 24 hours would deter him, but his reaction was "Only 24 hours? Ive done one for 9 days for my church" and my response was "9 days?! Im sure grateful Im Mormon!" Sorella Hughes isnt that optimistic bc she was so disappointed in his refusal of May 5th, but we know that miracles happen, even from solely the faith of others. He might lack the faith, but our prayers and righteous desires are heard and answered.

As for having a baptism on May 5th, I am so excited to announce that it will be for Margarita!!! The woman from Colombia, the one we are doing a chocolate fast for. She has smoked 2 since the 21 of March, and her sister who is a chain smoker, who never showed any desire to, wants to quit now because of the excitement and preparations we are making for Margaritas baptism. It was a miracle- we went to their house last thursday, and she asked what day she should be baptized. She thought of the 1st of May, but its a holiday and there wont be much transport...in the end, the 5th was the day that worked best for us all. Truly an answer to our prayers. We are so happy for her and for the influence for good that she will be. Itll be Sorella Hughes 5th baptism, so it will be a wonderful way to end the mission.

Talking about mosquitoes earlier reminds me: I woke up Friday morning (a little nervous because Sorella Hughes was SOO nervous and it was getting contagious) and I look in the mirror to find what? A mosquito bite on my eyelid!!! Ay ay ay. Ive become master mosquito killer in the apartment. I am now so skillful, that therell be a mosq flying at knee heighth and I will put my foot up and step down quick and kill it! Sorella Hughes discovered 2 MORE EGGS...which are now sitting in a little basket in our hall...waiting to be taken out. It kills me to hear the mom on the balcony, ranting. Once Sllla Hughes leaves, Im afraid that therell be a whole flock on the balcony since I dont have the heart to move them. Can you imagine how hard it would be to lay an egg? Just the fact that she can is enough to give me that admiration and respect for poor mamma pigeon. She deserves to keep them if she can come out with them.

We visited Lyuda, our Russian busy lady. She was very hostile at the beginning- standing with her arms crossed, as if "get out in one minute or else" but slowly she warmed up...after I invited HER to sit in HER chair. (aghhh awkward).... and by the end of getting to know her (She allowed us 15 min before we had to go) she gave us chocolate and some weird ukrainian marshmallows. I warned slla Hughes that the choc was probably alcoholic, and I was right. bahaha. But she is really nice and we have a return appointment for tomorrow. Another russian lady that I met on the bus, Vera,...I called and she was busy at the moment, so Ill try her again. We have to order more Russian materials from the office today which is a very good thing! Theres a Russian woman the Elders in Pistoia met, and she doesnt speak and Italian... but the distance is too far for me to go up, so I dont know what their game plan is.

Sorella Naslund e Maero moved in last Wednesday- its been interesting. I only have from 9:30 to 10:30 to write in my journal or to read my scriptures, and they are TALKERS. Which is nice, but also....very limiting. The biggest difference Ive noticed about having other roommates is how fast the toilet paper goes!

One day a few weeks ago, I was wearing a Jody dress and wrote in my journal "Only for the Lord would I be doing this". I had on a pink, floral print dress with puffed short sleeves.
Sorella Maero told me her first impression of me was "Oh. Shes the type who wears Jody dresses." (and I thought back to which dress I was wearing...and it was the best of the bunch! Agh!) Can you imagine what I must have looked like in a PINK dress with PUFFED SLEEVES?!

Dad, I saw a pheasant and thats about the only wildlife Ive seen.......and thats when we were outside in a village to go to correlation. No foxes, but maybe you can send me the one you saw?

The weather is going back and forth; we are still in sweaters and scarves, but an American family was at church on Sunday, and while I was translating for them, they said that Utah had a big snowstorm before they left. Im glad Im here! The Spirit does warm a soul. Sorella Hughes and I have often taught on park benches, and although it may be super cold and windy, I feel warm inside and dont care about my lavendar goosebumpy legs. (speaking of purple- Grandma, you would love Florence. I have always liked purple, but Florence is changing that. I dont think I ever want to see or own anything purple after my mission- theres just too much of it!)

I am so happy. I really was born for the mission life. I am healthy and am never very tired when the alarm goes off in the morning. Sorella Hughes has never been too sick on her mission, and scoffed at something shes been told by others that Sorelle fall apart on the 18th month mark of their mission. Hers was last thursday, but it hit her Tuesday. its something real! We think its the influenze though, and we spent a few hours back at the apartment so that she could rest.....and I experimented in the kitchen......could have possibly had something to do with mustart...............or cream cheese.....
Transfer predictions are due this coming tuesday, which are alot like the sheets for March Madness that you fill out for which teams will win. All the Elders are really into transfer predictions- we have to guess whos being transferred, new companionships, and who the new assistants and zone leaders will be. Everyones guess is still that I will be training, but ..... we shall see. There are plenty of wonderful, well-qualified sorelle out there who can train! ;)
Have a wonderful week. Look for the good in everyone and everything; attitude really makes the difference. Thank you for all your prayers towards having a baptism on May 5th- the way it worked our makes it obvious to us that the Lords hand is in all that we do.

The time is drawing to an end with Sorella Hughes. The addition of the new Sisters has really bonded us even more and I am already missing her and she hasnt left yet. She is a wonderful missionary and such a good example for me. I hope I can be a fraction of what she is like. I am slowly but surely working on becoming the person I have always wanted to be. There is much to do and I am still a very rough stone, but change feels and IS so beautiful. Seeing the changes that Laurent and Margarita and so many others are making...what examples! What faith and strength. If anything, I am learning more from them than they are from me.
Amanda, a Peruvian girl about 20 years old, is someone we meet with every Sunday (last week was in McDonalds) and we asked her if shed read 3 Nefi 11 and she pulled out her scriptures and had not only read much more, but she had written notes and summaries on what shed read! PLUS, we extended the invite to be baptized, and she accepted!!!
Miracles are happening everywhere and every day!

Sorella Urban

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dov"e primavera?!

The work may not be flourishing here, but mosquitoes sure are. One night last week, we returned home to find the light in our room on, and my window wide open!!! I woke up from my hands burning and slowly since then, Ive killed off a few. Now, as we are sitting here writing our emails, we have to pause to kill those who stray past us. Agh!

Much has happened this week! Forgive me if I repeat myself, I cant remember what Ive mentioned or not.......but Sorella (smack) Hughes and I ARE training this Friday, and we have slowly formulated a game plan. Plan C is to simply throw up our hands and run out of the building. Later, if President asks us what that was all about, we can just tell him that we recieved a very strong impression to go visit a family; he cant get after us for that, can he?

Last Thursday, right (smack) after Pday, we went to go see Jill, an American who is 9 months pregnant and lives here with her Italian husband. She is the YWs president and we are trying to work more with the members...so our purpose was to see what we could do for the young women. It didnt really turn out that way. Sorella Hughes has been kind enough to not fill me in on all the news about the Florence 1 and 2 branches, but Jill is the gossip queen of the branch and filled us in. (I would put in a frowney face here if I knew how). Briefly put, Florence has the reputation of being the most messed up = the branches needing the most help. There was a time when there was just one ward, but the conflict and drama that happened caused 2 branches to be made, thus hoping to result in some peace and unity among the members who dont want to murder eachother. We walked out of there a little dazed - sorella Hughes knew all this but now I knew it, and although it was a little disheartening to see all the work and prog (I just KILLED HIM!!! finally.) ress that needs to happen......it is motivational for me. I know Florence may be in shambles, but think of all the changes that can happen! After talking to Jill (well, she really did all the talking), I am even happier that I get to serve here. It means that theres alot on my plate- the missionaries who get called here have something specific to do, and I am going to do my best to do it. On Sunday, I was more attentive to how the members interact with eachother, and I noticed a little of what was talked about. Florence 1 and 2 meet at the same time, they just have different classes and we cover both wards. One Sunday we will go to one, and the next Sunday we go to another. Its a little hard- with having the worst memory, I havent been able to remember many of their names, but its a work in progress :)

Has anyone ever taught the Restoration in a super crowded McDonalds? That was us this past Sunday.

Margarita has had 2 cigarettes since April 24th!!! She is doing so well, despite that her sister is a chain smoker and smokes infront of her. We are still doing our chocolate fast, although she seemed surprised to hear that we were still doing it. Um...if it means nothing to you, then why are we abstaining from chocolate?! Some days are incredibly hard- it seems that every good food has chocolate in some form! oi oi. We get to break out fast on the 24th...we will hold on faithfully. I cant imagine how hard it is to give something up like smoking or coffee. Margarita is my hero

As for the family from Cameroon- Vittorine is no longer accepting our phone calls, and only aknowledges the fact when we show up to teach her husband, Laurent. She is still very closed off and her response to everything we teach her is still "we have that in my church too"....and the restoration- she just nods and says its nice.
We saw Laurent yesterday afternoon, and as we huddled on a park bench to teach him about how we can recognize the spirit, he said he is ok with setting a baptismal date so that it gives him something to work towards. I cried, I was so happy! Sorella Hughes and past companions have set many many baptismal dates and Laurent has never accepted them. We have been praying to have a baptism on May 5th, and I wanted to extend that date as the invite, but Sorella Hughes gave me "the look" so I kept my mouth shut and he said that he would pray with a date and we agreed to call him this morning to find out.

On our way here, we prayed and called him and....... he said that he has chosed to get baptized on his birthday. "Laurent, when is your birthday?" His response "November 29th". No! Sorella Hughes told him that he is ready and doesnt need to wait that long, and that we will talk about it later. Now we regret not giving him a specific date to pray about, but we will extend that invite to him tomorrow.

Lyuda, the Russian woman I met on the bus last week, has agreed to have us over tomorrow, so we are excited for that. I am struggling to remember church vocab, but I think reading a chapter or two in the Russian Book of Mormon will help me recall some things. I cant remember many hymns, so I am going to teach Sorella Hughes the first verse of I am a Child of God and I think itll warm her up a little to hear us sing for her in Russian. At least, hearing Sorella Hughes will. She has a really good voice- during zone singing on Sundays, when she steps out of the group to approach someone, the female voice input plummets drastically, so I have made it a point to secretly watch Sorella Hughes" gaze and when she is about to step out to walk to them, I will scurry and approach the person so that she can keep singing. Its worked out nicely so far :)

What makes tea ... tea? Sorella Hughes has never had tea because she grew up thinking it was against the word of wisdom, but I told her I have had tea and we had some fruit tea this morning and she looked over all the ingredients and is confused... and we are wondering what is it that makes tea against the word of wisdom. Caffeine? Can we eat chocolate simply bc of the low amount of caffeine in it? Hmmm.

We got a call from President Acerson Monday night. He asked us if our apartment had the capacity to have 4 missionaries. We told him that it was, and he said he would call us back Tuesday. He did, to inform us that the Livorno Sorella are moving in with us either today, tomorrow, or Friday. Sorella Hughes reaction was nothing short of wailing and gnashing of teeth, (once she was off the phone of course), ....... this will be an adventure! She has never lived with more than her companion, and she mentioned something last night: Sister Urban, when you first arrived, you warned me that things happen to people out of the extraordinary that normally dont happen, and its because of your presence. The first thing that came to my mind of something that has never happened to me was getting a fine for a ticket on a train, and it happened with you. (an invesitagtor we were with had forgotten to validate her ticket, so we all pitched in to pay the fine) I beleive you when you say that you bring about weird events".

The sisters are Sorella Maero and Sorella Naslund, who I was with in the MTC. The Elders guess is that I will train next transfer (What?! Dont I get a follow up trainer?!) but Sorella Hughes thinks that when she leaves, I will be in a threesome with them. Sorella Hughes was companions with Sorella Maero for 3 transers in Rome, and hasnt said much about her experience so that I can formulate my own first impression, .....but....all I can say is ....that it will be an adventure. This too shall pass, basically :) I now eat my words for when I said in the MTC that I love Sorella Naslund, but I am grateful that I am not her companion. Ha! It will be good. We spent last night moving S Hughes stuff into our room (all her clothes) and I cleaned up the kitchen and made space for their stuff. Using the bathroom will be interesting, seeing that we only have an hour to get ready.

This past week, when we were going over to Margaritas, we thought it would be nice to bring over some flowers so we stepped into a florist and got some crysanthemums, and the lady helping us asked what color of wrap we wanted, and we hesitated for a moment because we were fine with simply just the flowers, and I said we could have transparent but she insisted we pick a color so we told her she could pick it, and Sorella Hughes chose gold for the ribbon. Voila! Purple flowers, gold ribbon, and PINK wrap. It looked TERRIBLE. I tried not to snarkle the entire time that she was wrapping it, AND to make it even more hilarious, she seriously tied on a ribbon that had 6 feet of length on each side of the bow. She even made TWO BOWS! and ran scissors down it to curl them. It really looked like something I would carry around on never-catch-me-with day. We thanked her and made it to the corner before we turned to eachother and busted. We took off the pink wrap and altered the ribbon several times before we just decided to tear it all off. It looked SO much better. Were we the ones who had gone to school for this? We were a little confused......but it was a fun experience. Not to mention that we had asked her to cut the stems (the flowers seriously stood to my waist) and she obliged and cut off less than a finger width off. There I was on the bus, carrying these flowers that looked like mini trees, with gold ribbon flowing off of them and getting in everyones way on the bus. aghhhh... fun. In fact, it was so weird looking that I actually sacrificed some of my cameras battery to take a pic of Sorella Hughes with it.

To celebrate (or mourn) our last supper, I am making us mexican chef salad today. Grazie a mamma for the makings, and I would have you know that we dived into a box of cheezits for comfort since we couldnt turn to chocolate, once we found out about the sorelle moving in. ha. Oh my. I cant wait for next week to tell you how the first week has been!!! It took a few hours to get the packages (the notice had no number or address on it, and we finally traced it to this one post office in the centro) and I got another notice a few days ago. Same story...so we are going to wait to see if they have added anything to the next notice so that we can go trace it. A sweet, kind reminder that all packages and letters, ALL, go to the mission home. Thanks Mamma for sending me proof of your love, but I feel embarassed when I get mail and she doesnt. I think thats why its a rule- so that theres more unity in a companionship. One of her comps would spend home-time on her bed, going thru her scrapbook and listening to tapes that her parents would send her. I cant imagine how annoying that would be, so I dont want to do the same. Thanks again for the letters and packages- we have neatly stored the goodies in the bottom of my closet so that we can track its progress in diminishing :)

Dad, I loved your story. I am glad you didnt pass out and made it to the door, and feel your shame in having to explain yourself. My first Sunday, I sat next to a family, not knowing if they were members or not, and started talking to them. He later introduced himself as Pres Acersons counselor, and LATER, Sorella Acerson called to ask if she could get my anything, and to mention that he had told them how I had sat with them and talked about the Book of Mormon. I honestly dont remember doing that, but it seemed to have left a good impression. ba. The general vibe I get from the fellow missionaries is that Pres Acerson is intimidating and Sorella Acerson is sweet but constantly judging your appearance. I hope that is not the case, and I dont think it is, because I have had breakfast with them in our pjs. Or maybe I have just spent more time with them than what is normal.

The quote of the week: Anziano Reschke, upon walking into the room for our district meeting on Monday, saw me and exclaimed: "When did you get a new sweater?!"
I was wrong in thinking that others wouldnt notice if I wore a dark navy blue sweater for 3 weeks in a row. My latest purchase was a salmon sweater, and everyone complimented me on how they like the added color to my outfit, at least from that it was been. Black tights, black shoes, black shirt and skirt, and a dark navy sweater. I really do look like a nun!

I dont know the status on the coat or if I am even getting one from Lenora or Mom....but I still need to get an umbrella and will get around to it someday. The past week has been terrible weather, but todays showing signs of hope. Maybe Florence will see Spring this year after all.

For Zone Conference on Friday, I think they might as well just call it the "Sorella Urban show". We are giving the training, I am sharing my testimony as the new missionary, singing in a group to record a few songs for the Acersons sound track for when they leave, reciting Il Scopo "My purpose", ...and I know Im forgetting something. We are just waiting for a phonecall to tell us that we are also in charge of buying and preparing the sandwiches for lunch. I am a little nervous to train, even more so because Sorella Hughes is freaking out at how she doesnt feel qualified to train. Imagine how I feel!! I know that once this is over, any ideas that the Elders had of me training so soon will be squashed.

I need to wrap this up and look up some stuff to integrate into our training presentation. I cant describe how happy I am to be here. Maybe its because I havent been out that long and havent had much experience, but I havent had any rollercoaster days. Every day is a great day, and sometimes there are days less glorious than others, but there is never such a thing as a bad day. I am grateful that the sun is out and for the warmth that it brings, and it is a constant reminder of how that is just the same with the Gospel and the love our Heavenly Father has for each of us. I know that He has gone before me to prepare the way, and I am trying to do my best to qualify for this special calling and work that He has for me. How wonderful it is that it is spring! Jesus Christ really lives, and how great is His work.
Thanks for all your support, love and prayers.

A prossima settimana-

Sorella Urban

Buon Compleanno to Marmota, Anita, e Carla!

sun shining....no gelato....but still time :)


Week 2 in Firenze. President drove up on Monday morning to interview us, and mine was seriously less than 60 seconds long. He asked me if I had any questions or concerncs, I said no, and then we closed with a prayer and as an afterthought he added "oh, and you should work on learning how to get your way around for when Slla Hughes leaves" .......which basically translates to that I will be here next transfer and will get a new companion here, so .... yeah. WHICH basically translates to that that will put me in the Milan mission boundaries on July 1st when the mission changes...which puts me in the MILAN MISSION! Weird. I sort of wish I could serve in Sardegna and see Slla Pickett and Anzi Larsen and Knuteson...but serving in Milan where you all served and Zia and Franca...thats cool. To serve in both the Roma and Milan missions is cool!!!

Ive been doing well. If I had a coat, I wouldnt have worn it yesterday or today because the weather is finally becoming springlike. Im still in shock that I feel warm, so I still keep my sweater and a scarf on :) I feel like Ruslan - hoarding in the warmth while I have it.
General Conference was Sat night and Sun night- we took a bus to Prato, about 30 min away, and I was the only missionary to sit in the Italian room. Im surprised there werent other missionaries- how often will they get to hear it in Italian?! It was neat hearing Alessandro translating the conference....and I wonder what happened during Pres Monsons opening address bc Alessandro went quite for what felt like an eternity. I didnt get much out of Conference, becuase for 2 of the sessions, a girl from Moldova sat next to me and would turn and ask me random questions all throughout conference "Do you live in a big apartment or a small one?" "Whats your shoe size?" (That last one, I cant blame her for asking---my shoes, despite being grandmaish, make me feet look like shovels).
Oh Papa, Lenora knows about the shoes- dont worry about ordering me any. Doesnt L come in May? L, I have no idea what your plans are for where youll go in Italy, but maybe the best thing would be to take my valigia to the mission home in Rome so that I can get it at the next Zone conference? I really dont have a problem if you dropped it off in person, bc that wouldnt distract me or anything, but maybe the President would rather have you drop it off at the office. We shall see.

Speaking about zone conference----our DL, Anziano Reschke, called us on April Fools and told us that Slla Hughes and I will be teaching the training for ZC on the 16th. We laughed. And told him it was a good joke. It was april first! No reason to believe him- ESPECIALLY since its never been taught by sisters before, ESPECIALLY by a greenie. SOOO. the next day he called and repeated that we would be teaching and that he wasnt joking. We laughed. And told him it was a good joke but it was getting a little old and it was no longer april fools day.
On Mon we asked Pres just for peace of mind, and he told us that we ARE teaching training at ZC!!! AUGGHHH!!! We have no clue why sisters have been chosen, much less why WE have been chosen. I will let you know how it goes.

Lenora: can you send me a copy of my patriarchal blessing? Theres one in each of my journals in the attic, in a blue tub. Can I get a Gerber? Of all of the things Ive lost, I think thats something Id like to have.....Tommy, thanks for suggesting it. It is something that I would use daily. A russian hymnbook! There are so many Russians here! I got my first contact yesterday on the bus. Slla Hughes and I get on the bus and we walk to opposite ends and talk to people, and I saw her talking to one lady and she was very closed off and so Slla H moved on- and I walked up to her and found out that shes Russian so we started talking in Russian and she was so nice and warm! Right before she jumped off the bus I asked her if I could have her number and she said "Sure!". Slla Hughes doesnt like Russians bc theyve been mean to her (or generally cold towards her) and I jokingly told her its bc they sense her dislike for them even before she approaches them. bahaha.

I recieved letters from Gma Spalding, Tobi, (thank you! I think Ill have time today to possible write a letter or two, and thanks Mom!) and a postcard from a Cristina in France. Any idea who she could be?
Mom or Zia, do you know the Bocca family from when you served in Milan? Sotilli (?) is her name and Bocca is her cognome. Anyways, she remembers a Sorella Panebianco that taught her family when she was 9. About packages- we noticed two package slips on the apt door last night, so we took them to a post office bc they have no address or tel number, and they said to return tomorrow bc they need to track them down. Thank you for whoever sent them (I think ones from Bestie and Gma Spalding) and a reminder to send them to the mission home, as well as letters. It is nice getting them thruout the week, but its even nicer when Pres comes and hands us Christmas :)

Grazie Mamma for the garment bag. Its very cute; I like the button idea ;) Speaking of garments (I apologize for everyone else reading this- I would write things in different letters but I just have time to write a general email, so abbi pazzienza) Lenora: XSA-T for ...bottoms? and tops are 3 XST. I have 5 sets bc Presidents parents brought some when they came, but I would like a few more, so if you could bring that in May, much apprezzato.

Yesterday we were at Gioselias house, a teenage girl who needs help with her English homework and we teach her at the same time. Well, we were there crowded into the kitchen and her 3 younger siblings were running around the house and they came into the kitchen and started making themselves sandwiches : a piece of bread with GOBS GOBS AND GOBS of maionnese and ketchup, and then to top it off, theyd stick their fingers, WHOLE HAND, into the gob and spread it all around. THEN theyd put their hand in their mouth and lick off the excess. For me, I could have dealt with it ok bc I concentrated on a fruitfly. Slla Hughes on the other hand, doesnt like either of them and she was heaving and trying to look away but they were trying to climb onto her lap and by the time we walked out of there, she had ketchup on her scarf, shirt, arm, and a decorated easter egg that we assumed was boiled but wasnt, was dropped next to her foot. Ha. I love moments like those. This is what I will remember from the mission. Oh. And every other day someone will approach us and announce that theyre looking for a girlfriend and want a number. What good examples of boldness! I hope Slla Hughes and I can learn from their examples when we ask people for their numbers. We just leave out the part about being single and wanting to change that.

What is Deras address? I would send this to her but I have the worst memory and cant even remember Tommys...or grandmas :( Thank you for those of you who send this on. Carla- whats the status on your papers and Robes?! Im so excited for when you arrive in the Milan Mission!!! :) Agh. Milan Mission!!! Its a weird idea to me, but Im excited for what the future will bring. The work has been slow this week. Our numbers are dismal, but we are trying hard. We are praying for a baptism for May 5th, because that is the day Slla Hughes leaves, and the closest candidate we have for baptism is Laurent. He is from Cameroon and has a beautiful family. We met with him in a park yesterday (Thank goodness- it is amazing how quiet the absence of little children is)- and we taught him the order of prayer bc he prays to "Signore Gesu" and after a great lesson, we asked him to say the closing prayer....and........drumroll...he ended in nothing other than "Signor Gesu"!! So. We are stumped and dont know how else to tell him, but we will find a way. Maybe just to flat out tell him that he is praying wrong?! ha. jk. maybe not actually.

Lets see what else......... Lenora, really ...the only things I cant get here are mod bod shirts, a pair of shoes, and a gerber. Other than that, Im happy. Ill find stuff so dont worry about me.
Good luck with finals, Miranda, good luck with end of school and I hope I get a senior picture of yours :) Amber- congrats on landing a job! I am SO SO SO relieved and happy for you. How big is Alex now? It sounds like Ls package to Papa really did make it to Iraq- yay! Mom, the reeses pieces you sent for cookies...well.....cough cough...... I have no idea what happened but yesterday they disappeared and it cant possible have all gone into my mouth. They either jipped me and only put half the right amound in the bag, or.... I really was concentrated on my scripture study and they just slipped down my throat faster than I thought they were. But thanks for those. Too bad that future cookies will have to do without them. I dont know when I would even have time to cook. Its crazy insane how little time we have at home. We have made a goal to eat lunch out- like pack a lunch, so that we spend more time out of the apartment, and I love it. We talk to more people on the bus and on the streets. There are so many immigrants! After day one, I could almost finish the conversations I had with each one.
me: Where are you from?
(in my head Im already thinking "Peru")
me: Peru, really? Thats so cool! How do you like it here?
(in my head, Its ok....)
its ok.......
me: and how long have you been here?
(in my head, 8 years)
8 years
me: wow! 8 years........
and so on. No joke, it goes EXACTLY LIKE THAT.

Every Peruvian has been here for 8 years. Every Russian has been here for 6 years, and every African has been here for 7. It really is an amazing thing.

This morning we went to go get my codice fiscale (sort of like a social security number) and it was the easiest thing Ive ever done. Besides the fact that my ticket number had EC 137 on it and EC, after searching the ticket board full of AC, BC, CB, DC, etc, and questioning why I didnt see my EC on it....ha! its because it didnt exist! Theyd typed up the numbers wrong that morning...but besides that, I got it and it was quite painless. So now I have one, and most missionaries dont, so I feel special. I got one so that I could retrieve the money mom sent me last week. Grazie. Its already been put to some good use, like buying deodorant and floss (I think I still have mango stuck in my teeth from 2 mondays ago).

I have only had gelato twice here :( But the work goes on.....

Last night, we taught English class again, and this time the Elders made it so Slla Hughes and I both taught advanced which consists of only Tiberio and Francesco, and once again, the conversation was mainly about fly fishing. Dad, whats Temolo translate to? Its a kind of fish that he loves.....

Pasquetta was on Monday, which is the holiday for Easter, and the strange this is that everything was open on Easter Sunday, but EVERYTHING was closed for Pasquetta. Luckily we didnt perish from hunger (well, maybe Slla Hughes came close to it, but my life was perserved from peanut butter chips) :)

Yesterday morning, Tuesday, we have service for a couple of hours at an old home. I mean, a rest home. And one of the old ladies had her 100th birthday, so the Governor was there with an Italian flag tied around his waist, and lots of champagne. Old people are already slow, I dont know what theyre thinking giving them alcohol.

Lots to still say but I should end.
Im so happy I got to hear General conference, and Im even happier that Ill get a hard copy of it to read up on all the things I missed out while I was answering what size of shoe I wear. What great leaders we have today. I finished reading the Book of Mormon this week and have started on the DC- There is never enough time in personal study it seems! I dread the hour ticking by as there is so much to read and learn from the scriptures. Ive never really used the footnotes but theres lots of material in them! The letter I was writing about the preexistence is no longer in my possession, so Ill either start over or wait till next fall when I can do it. I just dont have the time- everything we do, besides emailing, is focused on our purpose. Even eating gelato helps us focus, so dont try telling me otherwise. We are still doing the chocolate fast for another couple of weeks.......and I admire myself for the self control Ive displayed by not letting out a scream of joy and a mad rush to the Kinder eggs whenever we enter a store. So be proud of me

part two

I have no clue what happened but I touched a button and my icon disappeared so here is part two.
I really just have to wrap up and maybe Ill have a minute to write a few more personal needs :)

Im so grateful for the time I have to be here. Florence is beautiful- we went to a nearby city for an appt and I just wanted to stare and gawk. Tuscany is the Garden of Eden. And I still havent taken any pictures. Slla Hughes isnt that big into it so Im postponing everything for my next companion. I will laugh if shes even MORE not into things that I am.
I pray that youre all well and that General Conference helped answer some of your personal concerns/ questions.
We really are led by a living prophet who communicates directly to our Father. We are the luckiest and most blessed people to have the knowledge we do!

The work goes on. We have the widest variety of investigators and things are coming to mind that Id like to share, but alas. Time. My word of advice for this week: stay away from mayonnaise and ketchup.

Sorella Urban