How is it that every week when email time comes around, I find myself in this stupor? I promise myself that Ill go through my journal and write down experiences that I want to share, but I never have time to get around to it, and you have to suffer the consequences by reading a not-so-well-thought-through email.
This week has been wonderful. Although we have had a ot of people cancel appointments on us and everyone leaving for the beach, we continue to see the Lords hand in guiding us daily.
Last week, we sat ourselves down and discussed what we want our "Transfer Vision" to be, and we have made a goal of having 4 baptisms this transfer, and to have 2 baptismal dates. We still have not been able to reach the goal of having 20 lessons per week, but we continue to set it as our weekly goal. We are teaching a 15 y.o. girl, Carolina, and we decided to invite her to be baptized at our next appt, which was Friday. Her mom sometimes sits in during the lesson, and when the time came to ask her if she would be baptized, the thought came to mind to invite the mother too, even though she barely knows anyting about us. So we did, and they both agreed to pray about it- we called them the day after, and they both had prayed and felt tranquill and slept peacefully, but they said that they arent ready. I am happy that they didnt jump at the idea of baptism- it means there is work to do, and we are going to press forward till that no becomes a yes.
Francesca is a young woman whose husband is an active member, and she had cancelled a baptismal date because she felt pressured into it, and she decided to get baptized tomorrow night before the Acersons leave!!!
This morning we spent at the Villa (where the Mission President lives) collecting leaves and going through what is known as the "death closet". Its a room in the attic full of clothes that departing missionaries have left behind, and by the things we sorted today, the clothes date back a few hundred years, no joke. What could have been a very fun and distracting experience (2 sisters in a room full of ugly clothes and a camera is not a good combo) turned out to just be a few hours of hurried sorting.......ending in a phonecall to the Assistants, informing them that they had about 500 kilos of clothes to take from the 3rd floor to the van and drop off somewhere. President and Sorella Acerson left us in the house to go pick up the new President, the Kellys. The missionaries in Rome 2 are meeting at the Villa at 5:00 to sing them the Mission Hymn. That meants that Slla Riffaldi and I should probably change out of our tennis shoes and shorts........(we feel a little out of place looking so sweaty and gross with our tags on, and people who regularly see us give us a startled look when we salute them and they cant place us bc they dont recognize us out of our skirts).
Tomorrow, Florence will be in the Milan Mission, and Catania will be in mine :) I am so happy that I got the chance to serve there- what a gorgeous place Tuscany is! If I moved here, it would be there. (Part of that would be to check up on Laurent every now and then)
Drowney (the lizard in preservation) is going to be buried today, jar and all. We have decided hes o nasty to look at it, and gives us quite a start when we walk out into our garden and see his body framed against the sunset. On Monday night, Slla Riffaldi went out to collect laundry, and she called me out and pointed to the floor and asked what a gray ball in the corner was and I picked
it up and it was a baby bird that must have fallen out of its nest, (or failed at flying, but we will give him the benefit of the doubt). Night was coming so we put him in a padded box and put him in the bathroom. We turned on a portable heater and made the bathroom an incubator in hopes of saving him. I wasnt very motherly in prying his mouth open, but we got him to drink and eat some mashed beans, and I am happy to say that after a few nightly visits to feed him, we found him alert and chirping in the morning. We put him outside and he started calling out and his mom arrived, and little by little, he twittered away into the next garden. Slla Riffaldi named him Fallen (do you see the pattern....a drowned lizard named Drowney...?)
Yesterday was a festa and we found ourselves waiting for a bus for more than 40 minutes. We would have walked but we didnt know the way, so we sat and waited.........and then we decided to pray and ask for His help in getting us to our next appt (we had 5 scheduled and we were set on making it to all of them!). After waiting for a few minutes, we decided to walk and find the streets where there was a bus stop. We had just walked to the next street when we stopped to ask someone where the next stop was when the bus we needed came around the corner. We ran and made it- and were rewarded by a possible new investigator and a lunch of shrimp and pumpkin. Sorella Riffaldi, knowing my love for seafood (I even had to rip the legs off the shrimp and then crack them open!) even shelled a few for me and stuck them on my plate. I think she was hoping I would protest or kick her from under the table, but I was able to refrain myself (or maybe the table was so low that I couldnt really have full use of my legs) and happily crunch away on the shrimp without gagging once.
This experience is one of many simple ways that prove to me that Heavenly Father hears our prayers. We were hoping for a bus to come but we took action to get there on our own two feet, and thats when we were blessed. Faith leads us to action, and often times we dont recieve a witness "until after the trial of our faith".
Yesterday, we met with an ex-investigator, which means that the missionaries had been in contact with her at some point in the last few years but had never been able to make progress with her. It was our second appt with a woman from Ethiopia; her name is Senait. She hadnt been in the city but had made the journey so that she didnt have to cancel on us- what an awesome investigator!
We taught the Resoration and watched the Joseph Smith movie (the 20 min one) and she asked us several questions that tie into the Plan of Salvation, so we are headed back there next week, and she said that she would definitely pray to know for herself if the message that we share is true. Si!!!
In finding another ex-investigator with whom we managed to set up an appt, Katerina, we found ourselves in the middle of nowhere, at the edge of a gypsy camp. While we were calling Katerina to verify her address (we still dont know if she is a gypsy, bc we found her address but its part of the camp.....) some kids started grouping up and walking towards us..........so we headed out quite quickly. It reminded me alot of Kazkhstan and the people at the bazaars who send their kids after tourists :S (Katerina ended up not even being home--- I am making a list of goals I want to implement once theyre applicable, and one of them is to ALWAYS BE ON TIME or to call and cancel an appt if I cant make it. Its astounding how simple of a thing it is and its really not that painful, but it happens one too many times. It would really save time and effort if we recieved warning about cancelled appts, ......but I am not complaining :) At least we had appts in the first place, right?
(Tommy, Andrea Rocrea (sp?) says ciao- I think he said he served in Milano at the same time you did).
I have a favor to ask of you recipients :) Can someone send me a pumpkin pie recipe, like one that is from scratch (like down-to-the-pumpkin scratch)? Lenora- do you or Tommy know what happened to my camera card from the green camera that broke in Spain? I hope someone has it bc it has pics from Italy and the Madrid Temple trip.
When I came down to Rome for my 1 1-2 month conference, there was a man who was studying to be a priest, and he asked us to call him Deacon. He joined us for lunch and for testimony meeting- he grew up in the U.S. but is from the Philippines, and has been studying to be a priest for the past 4 years, and he is 2 months away from finishing. Guess what? He cancelled his become-a-priest date! (Im not sure how it all works, but he cancelled it!!!) and the Anziani are teaching him!!! 4 years of studying and then a brief experience with the Holy Ghost and thats what it does to you! Amazing. Just amazing.
I need to wrap up. (From having nothing to say, I sure can blabber a lot). I love you all and thank you for your prayers and support. Its almost eyebrow-raising how much Ive been blessed with by having amazing companions- there is much to learn and grow from each one of them. I am so grateful for the Gospel. Hearing small remarks that people say that they probably dont even think twice about really make all the difference, like a woman in gospel principles sharing a short testimony of how happy she has been since the Elders have been teaching her, and that she wants to be baptized into the church bc she feels so good now. Ahhhh.
P.s. On this happy note, I wanted to add that on the way to one of our appts, we passed a discoteca (how do you say this in English?! a dance room?) and we glimpsed a sign that said it was an Evangelist church! We could see arms waving around and heard alot of singing and drums, and we imagined what it would be like to have church like that. Wow. It made me think of the time when some Evangelists came and knocked on our door when we had first moved to the U.S., and Lenora stood outside while they prayed for her salvation (eheheh!). The lady who we were checking up on is a referral from SLC that the Slle have been leaving notes for in her mailbox but she has never called us.... we knocked and heard someone come up to the door but even speaking through the door, there was no response. We left a note in her key hole and walked the block and then snuck upstairs to see if she had removed it but it was still there. Somtimes we feel like secret agents .......