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-
Buon Compleanno to Marmota, Anita, e Carla!