Yup. Thats where we decided to go today for our Pday outing- to the leaning tower of Pisa. Somehow we were able to worm our way into Presidents heart and he gave us permission, and on we went. Its SOOO much smaller than I imagined it to be.....and then we went around and looked at ridiculous postcards and then took the hour train ride back and now we are here...emailing about our week...but I cant really think of anything to write.
I sort of want Tommy to fwd me his mission emails- what did he write in his? I feel a little guilty that this is the one connection I have with the outside world and that this is your window into my life, and I fail at painting a proper pic of it, every week.
Things here have warmed up- Florence is the hottest and coldest city in the mission; we spent just a few hours under the sun as we were admiring the tower, and its incredible how draining it is to be out in the sun! I know we will get used to it over time since we havent been exposed to this much at once.
Laurent has cancelled his baptismal date. He came to church on sunday for his baptismal interview and he decided he didnt like the idea of being tied down by a date, and there are still things he wants to sort out. Last Wednesday, Lenora and Andrew were in town and we got to meet up with them and spend most of Wed morning and night with them- it wasnt what I was expecting; I thought it would be slightly strange to be around Lenora, as a missionary, in Florence, but it was actually stranger to see her in the MTC. We all had "dinner" with Laurent, and I am so happy that they got a chance to meet someone I am working with. Laurent is such a good person. I just wish I could bring the font to him. We have the feeling that he will just randomly call us up one day and tell us he is ready, and thats what he later said he would do, so we are continuing to see him every few days, and just praying that we can help him have spiritual experiences to help him along in the conversion process.
Victor, a man who lives with a family that we are working with, has been working with the Elders and he cancelled HIS baptismal date for June 5th, so we joined forces and we are working on teaching the family as a whole, even though its almost impossible to find them all home at the same time. Its true that there is opposition in all things- I find that the better things are going, the more obstacles we face and the more the adversary works against us. The key is just to work even harder :)
Sorella Nelson had her first Russian meal with me at Lyudas on Thursday- Lyuda brought out the Kvas (gross gross GROSS russian soda) and she poured us cups and as Slla Nelson reached for hers, I gripped her leg from under the table, to warn her, and she started giggling and I, who was in the middle of teaching about Joseph Smith, started giggling and we just fed off eachother and Lyuda joined in and ....Im not sure why she laughed, but we were laughing bc of how awful the Kvas was and how funny it was that we had to drink cup after cup of it, but Lyuda joined in and we all had a really random good laugh during the second lesson, and then we stopped laughing and resumed teaching. The strangest and most random thing. (side note: Slla Nelson managed to drink it without coughing and spluttering). What we DID get out of that visit was a can of sardines under oil from Ukraine. We placed it on our desk and looked lovingly at it every day till Mon finally arrived, and then we stowed it away in my bag and whisked it off to DDM- a meeting with the District Leaders, the 2 Anziani who work in Florence 2 with us. Slla Nelson, who was in charge of treat bucket, pulled out the can, a loaf of bread and butter, and we instructed them to butter a slice of bread. I started taking pictures because they had the most curious expression on their faces, and then we had Anz Coombs open up the can and Anz Neilsen gave a gasp and plugged his nose. It was a pretty bonding experience- I never thought I would ever be capable of eating a mini fish whole, mini bones and all, not to mention TAIL, but we all ate up and had a good fishy snack, THEN we pulled out the real treat, apple crisp, and washed down the remaining fishy taste.
The mission office called me this morning to let me know that my permesso di soggiorno is ready for pickup. Slla Nelson still doesnt have hers and she is almost ready to go home- I really am being blessed with little miracles every day. Oh. Lenora brought me lots of clothes and I am bewildered even at myself to confess that I actually prefer Jody dresses! They are light and I dont have to wear layers, and I think Ill mainly wear them during the hot summer months, much to the disappointment of the other sisters. (They dont think its fashionable or cute, and I have to agree with them, BUT.)
One of the miracles of this week was that we not only taught a record number of 10 LESSONS! but that half of them, 5 of them, were with members present!!!
I am seeing more and more of Dad in me with each day. The other day, I pulled out a map of Firenze that we count on, and I started patching it up with pieces of tape in hopes to make it last a little longer. I ended up laminating the entire thing with tape, and then I thought of Dad and his collection of laminated maps. I am half tempted to send him our map once I get transferred out of Firenze, so that he can add it to his collection :)
I consider myself so lucky to be here. All the other missionaries have no idea when they will be able to ever return and visit the people they have helped, and I know that I can see them basically whenever I make it to Italy, which hopefully wont be too many years inbetween. I am making lots and lots of friends here and establishing relationships that will last into the life after. I have the best companion. We actually get along too well. Maybe I shouldnt say the following, but I will to demonstrate how its like: we end each nightly planning session with a prayer, and both of us looked at eachother and rather than kneeling onto the freezing marble floor (which is by the way, h-a-r-d. Marble is incredibly hard!) we both, as if having discussed it, climbed up onto our wood desks. During president interviews yesterday, Pres Acerson asked Slla Nelson by what she meant when she said that we are having a lot of fun together. She put it something like "well, most wouldnt laugh if they were soaking wet and freezing and then someone just called to cancel the appt they were headed to, right? we do. We just take every situation and circumstance and laught about it."
And its true. Its such a blessing to be serving with someone who has a postive attitude. Getting along with your companion makes all the difference. Communication is so so very imporant, and as we find ourselves being asked for counsel and advise to save marriages, etc., the only thing we can really stress to them is how important the Gospel is. If Christ is at the center, theres no going wrong. That doesnt mean there wont be problems, but no problem will be unresolvable. (am I making sense?)
Thats that. Buona settimana, and I hope we all look for opportunities to serve others- we really have no idea what our neighbor is going through. Who knows, they might just be praying for someone to smile at them or reach out a helping hand.