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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Miracle of the watermelon (and Laurent)

Sorella Nelson wrote that Laurent postponed his confirmation for 2 weeks because he wanted to wait till he felt worthy (youve just been baptized, how much cleaner can you get?!) but he finally took the step and did it. He is now an all-the-way-in member. I cant describe what a sense of relief and happiness it is knowing that its complete. Now, theres nowhere to go but forward, and I trust that is exactly what he will do. She also wrote that Lyuda, our Russian investigator who gave us Kvas (nasty Russian drink) has accepted to go to church!!!!!!!!!! And that their goal this transfer is to work towards Claudias baptism. It almost sounds too incredible, but with faith, prayers, and fasting, theres no limit to what Heavenly Father can accomplish through those who are obedient.

This past week has been incredible. We really didnt feel like we accomplished much; many appts were cancelled last minute and things just seemed to fall through left and right, but when we counted up for our weekly report to the Mission President, we were astounded. Although we didnt have any investigators in church (and we had planned on 7!) we did have an unexpected baptism and confirmation, Sandra set a baptismal date for July 24th!!! (she had wanted brother to baptize her in Peru this summer, but then thought of postponing it till she returned, and we asked why she couldnt do it before she left for Peru "bc youll need the companionship of the Holy Ghost while youre gone for the summer" and we proposed the 24th, in honor of Lenora and Andrews first anniversary :) ) We taught 17 lessons this week- I think Ive never taught more than 11. Its been a super week, and we are hoping to break 20 before the end of the transfer. We also have been incredibly blessed with finding new investigators!

Something we are working on is going through the Area Book and recontacting investigators who had been dropped or some reason or another, and we met with one lady from the book, Katerina, yesterday. We had gone to find her a few weeks ago but ended up in a gypsy camp, but yesterday we managed to meet in a park NEXT to the camp, not in the middle of it, and taught her about the Plan of Happiness. She had recieved all the lessons 5 years ago, and even had a baptismal date, and when we asked her why shed stopped seeing the missionaries, she said that they had dropped her (uh...I really dont see missionaries dropping someone, ESP someone with a baptismal date) BUT we will give her the benefit of the doubt and say..........that she stopped picking up phone calls (like the area book informs us). She fears e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. She spoke for the first 20 minutes about her health (in short, its astounding how people open up to us like a book) and gave us all the details of how menopause is killing her. HAHA. How...interesting. She lamented about the heat, and then when we heard thunder and made a comment of how nice itd be to have some rain to cool us down, she froze and said she was afraid of rain bc that too would kill her. Shes afraid of being in the house and afraid of leaving it- it made me think of how liberating and relieving the Gospel is. We focused on the Atonement, and now Christ suffered every single temptation, pain, mosquito bite, etc, of us all, so that we might not suffer. Why be afraid or scared, or hold onto the burden of your past? I find myself guilty of worrying about something that I really have no control over, like worrying about each investigator- what if they forget to pray? or especially when they have a bap date, the adversary turns his efforts up a few notches- what if they take bad luck as a sign that they shouldnt be baptized? I have some work to do myself. I need to make sure that I do all that I can and then turn it over to the Lord, trusting him to take care of it, and He will, in his own way and own timing.
Poor Katerina fears death. Im actually excited for chapter two, even though Id like to stay here a little longer to have a family and pester some people a few more years ... :)

Oh! About the subject line: We were blessed for working from the area book- we went to find an inactive family, and one of the daughters works at a grocery market up the hill from us. She told us to come find her and to buy watermelon there (we let it slip our addiction to watermelon) and so we went and she picked out a couple for us, weighed them, and when we were paying for them, we realized shed given us the employee discount- we paid less than 5 euro for 24 kilos of watermelon! So thats the miracle of the watermelon. We happily toted them home; all the old women here have handcart things with wheels to make shopping easier, and we have two of them- makes watermelon shopping easire, even if they make us fit the nun profile even better.

While at the Villa on Monday for interviews with President Kelly, I bumped into Davide Bressan! Apparently he is working with the church, moving things up from Catania. Ive also been asked to send Mom e Nonna saluti da Nonna Salsiccia (I laughed when she told me her name, salsiccia? It means sausage, and the funny thing is........she looks like one! In the best sense, of course)
Where was I? Oh yes, interviews. Pres Kelly had me go first and long story short, he asked if there was anything he should know before making next transfer decisions. In my mind flashed the images of Slla Riffaldi dumping a bucket of water on me, of us having mosquito-massacres and runnning around the house cheering, eating a whole watermelon between the two of us for lunch, (if walls could talk, ay ay ay. I am so glad Im not a fly on our wall, and i am so glad that flies dont gossip) and soooo many other things, but I just laughed and said "Nooooooooooo" and he said that he could tell we were not only companions, but we were friends, and that we work really well together, and asked if Id be ok staying another transfer. Would I be ok staying in Rome with slla R? Of course!!! Im not sure why Pres Acerson and Kelly tell me future plans, esp abt tranfers, but its nice being in the loop :)
So, as he said, unless he feels otherwise, we can expect to be together next transfer here, so that would mean we will be together until at least the middle of September. Yay.

This week, Ive really prayed and read up on developing charity for others, and its humorous how when you pray for something, Heavenly Father provides opportunities to test it. I think Im failing..... Yesterday, THREE men, one in the morning, afternoon, and evening, tried our patience and charity. Of all days, we were dressed very homely and had our hair tied back and hardly and makeup, and yet, 3 different times, we had to walk away from a situation. Sorella Kelly has told us that the mission rules for Sisters have changed- we can wear sandals and shorter skirts, but we both know that the men here dont need any encouragement. If anything, we are going to add material to our skirts. Mamma mia. Charity is something I know I will always have to work to develop.

July 4th- we taught 5 lessons!!!!!!!! At church, the members were giving me ?? well wishes? like "auguri!" and I was wondering to what they were referring to, and then I realized it was July 4th, so we celebrated by teaching 5. It was so great returning home after spending the whole day out and just feeling that the day was spent out doing good.

The Assistants are baptizing an Italian older couple tomorrow night!!

Louisa, a young Phillipino woman, is coming to talk to us here so I will send this off. She was "suicide days" as she calls them, and we are hoping to ...... help.

How grateful I am to be serving with such a wonderful companion. DC 17:3-5 and a quote I read this morning "Never does one man stand alone in carrying the burden of such a message and warning to the world.......thus leaving their hearers without excuse in the day of judgment should the testimony be rejected." And Ether 12:4. Read and be happy :)

As Pres Acerson always said,

Sempre avanti, non mai indietro!

Sorella Urban

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