Write or send something to Sister Urban..

Sorella Urban is not longer in Italy...

Monday, September 27, 2010


Well................ another week has come and gone.

Saturday morning, after I made a gigantic batch of brownies for Marias baptism that night, we went to go do some house. We chose an apt building and when it came to Slla Riffaldis turn, she knocked and a young girl let us in and we met her mother, Jenny- they are from the Philippines and had just moved. They came to church the next day with us, and on Monday we taught the Restoration and invited Jenny to be baptized and she accepted. She is incredible!

Maria cancelled her baptism. Roberto found out that she was going to be baptized and flipped and so Maria wants to wait till he returns. The Zone Leaders put some unnecessary pressure on us, implying that if she werent baptized that night, we lacked faith or that we didnt try hard enough. We spoke with her and left at ease, so we are happy with how things are going. There are things we feel that we can help Maria work on. In the meantime, the zone leaders have been told to let companionships make and reach their own goals. Amen.

On Sunday night the assistants asked us what wed done that day. S Riffaldi replied "We went to a discoteca". They laughed and then changed the subject........its true. We spent Sunday afternoon at a restaurant\disco. It was a Peruvian festa of a member in our ward; we got 12 new contacts this week and half was from that festa! So it wasnt time wasted- but we did eat way too much.

We are finding mail at our home address- I can see how that applies to missionaries far from the mission home, but I would ask that you send mail to the Mission Office. Its less likely to get lost, and theres no need to get mail everyday. We pass the office often enough ;)

Grazie for the emails, letters, and prayers. Its a wonderful thing to know that I am not alone and never have to be. Christ suffered all so that he know how to succor his children- what reason we have to be at peace.

Sorella Urban

Saturday, September 18, 2010

This is Sorella Urban reporting

This will be short and Ill try to make it sweet ;)

Anthony, the Elders investigator, was baptized on Wednesday. To celebrate, I made brownies for the refreshment. Seeing that I didnt have enought butter, I substituted with peanut butter. It was a hit. At 10;30 that night, the Elders recieved a phone call from Anthonys Dad, Peter, who is not a member. Anthony is super allergic to peanuts, so they went over to him and he was basically paralyzed and struggling to breathe. They gave him a blessing and within a minute, he was doing better. OOps. Ooops. The youth in the church have given me a nickname, "Joey Killer".
I feel terrible, but listening to Peters testimony on the miracle made me think "Hey, maybe it was inspiration to add the PB! The Lord used the opportunity to show forth His power in the conversion process of Peter". So, now I dont feel so bad.

Marias getting baptized this Saturday. Keep your fingers crossed- thinks always come up that she cant make it to her appointments...............

Lenora- Elder Giorgino doesnt leave the MTC till October. Itd be really nice for him to recieve a package (hint hint).

Elder Ballard, Rasband, Causse, and Bishop Edgley made a quick surprise visit to Rome on Monday. The Rome Zone got together and they all spoke with the 20 of us on Monday afternoon, and gave us tips to what we can do better. Its incredible having a modern Apostle walk where Paul and Peter walked. That night, they met with members at the stake conference building. It was like a breath of fresh air to see Carla, Zia, Robe, and lots of other familiar faces. Elder Ballard encouraged the members to work and help the missionaries. Yay!

Sorella Askew is still alive and breathing ;) She reminds me ALOT of Joni! She has the prettiest eyes- one is green and ones brown. She already speaks Italian incredibly well and is super friendly and talkative. She is also a question machine- for which Im grateful to have Sorella Riffaldi because I definitely dont know all the answers to Italian grammar.

We have made a transfer vision, and we have set high goals. This transfer is going to be hard but with the potential of being incredible. There is alot to improve on, and its good having Sorella Askew.
For Pday, we are going to the colosseum and st. Peters, and then to the amazing Ottaviano pastry shop ;)

Thank you for your prayers- I sure need them.
Sorella Urban

Friday, September 10, 2010

Transfer 5

Sorella Riffaldi and I are staying together for this next transfer! We were expecting a call from President last Saturday but it never came...so we called the Assistants and they said that in our case, we had to wait for Pres to tell us. Did that make us anxious! We went over to the Villa to help Slla Kelly organize the death closet (when missionaries leave, they dump basically everything there of the clothes they dont want to take back) and she told us that we would be staying together. We squealed and hugged, and then she said "What do you think about a threesome?"

Sorella Riffaldi didnt have the best experience having 2 American companions while she was at the MTC in Spain, so shes a little nervous about "losing" me to another companion, especially an American.
She wanted to know our thoughts, and we shared with her some pros and cons of being in a threesome, but we were open and willing for whatever President felt was best.
He called us on Monday morning and asked if he could meet with me in the church, so we went and it was a scary moment when Pres closed the door behind me and SRs green face disappeared. The Assistants got her to believe that she was going away, which was very likely.
In short, Sorella Askew from Utah, is joining us tomorrow morning for a 5 week transfer. She has been in Italy for 6 weeks- this will be a good opportunity for SR to work on her English and for S Askew to continue learning Italian. I am:
curious- to see what a threesome will be like.
anxious- bc SR is MOST likely leaving me next transfer
worried- that SR wont take it well if S Askew eats the cheesecake I make. (SR hoards it- she even labels the aluminum foil cover with "Dont touch- private property".
happy- because its definitely going to be different.

We have moved things around to accomodate an extra body- the hours spent in the morning studying will be a little crowded, but that will just help us get to know eachother better ;)

Nelson was baptized and confirmed this past weekend! We only had one member from Rome 2 show up at his baptism. Although we were few in number, there was an incredible spirit there. Sorella Riffaldi did well on reading her written talk in English :) Im so proud of her. I feel like Mushu (from Mulan) seeing his "baby all grown up". Right before his baptism, the missionaries sang Abide with me tis eventide- Nelson had tears streaming down his face. He shared his testimony and could only repeat how happy he was that the missionaries taught him to pray. What an incredible blessing to be a part of seeing the changes for good that the gospel brings in someones life.
He is a member in Rome 1 now, but he called us yesterday, asking when hed see us again. The Anziani from R1 gave us permission to keep seeing him, and we are happy to oblige; I guess it can be considered "sharing" him. Hes just too good for one companionship to enjoy.

Last week I wrote that Bro Allen from the Missionary Department spoke with us at a fireside held at the Villa. One promise he made us was that each companionship had someone in their area book that could be baptized on Saturday, (Sept 4th (Buon Compleanno Papa!). Afterwards, we went through our area book and searched the people who had already been taught all the lessons and been to church at least 3 times. There was Jackie- we called her wanting to set up an appt with her (we call her every night, she is the one who lives with her boyfriend but cant stand him, and has asked us to pester her bc shes too lazy to be good and read\pray on her own free will) and before we could even say anything, she told us that shes going through a rough time right now and that she doesnt want us to contact her anymore, but that she will contact US when she is ready. ;(

We already knew that Maria didnt want to be baptized till after Roberto (her fiance) returns from his trip in a couple of months. Then, on the 2nd, the Zone Leaders called and asked how our work towards the "promised baptism" was coming. We told them that we had tried, but it really boils down to free agency. They encouraged us to keep trying and looking.
When we got off the phone with them, we felt a strong urge to call Maria and read her a verse from Mosiah about baptism. SR called her and shared the verse with her and Maria felt so good and we really felt the spirit strongly. SR asked her to consider getting baptized on Saturday. Maria really wanted to but she wasnt sure, bs shes torn between the love she has for God and the love she has for Roberto. We met with her the next morning, Friday, and she said that she was going to meet with Roberto right after our appt to talk to him about the idea of being baptized earlier. Very long story short, she talked to him and he said that "You can do whatever you want, but Im not happy with it. You should wait for me, but........you can do what you want" so thats exactly what she did. "Ok, I want to get baptized, so thats what Ill do". We were ECSTATIC.
THEN........she bumped into a ward member, and he told her that she shouldnt rush into baptism and that she could do it later this month, so she thought that was better in order to have time to invite people to her baptism. (why do some members get in the middle of things?!) so her baptism was set and announced in church for the 19th, but yesterday we met with her and got it changed to the 18th. We dont like the idea of having her wait a week to be confirmed.
When we met with her yesterday, the assistants lent us the car and we found Cappena (the city) without getting lost. It was incredible, but most incredible was that we finally met and talked with her mom, who adores missionaries and would get baptized if she werent "so old". She finds it hard to cross the barrier of tradition.
Marias family has so much potential. I compare her to Mom- Its my dream to teach and see an Italian family baptized, like Im returning the favor done by the Anziani who, so many years ago, found Mom and her family through door-to-door.

We left at 18:30 to get home in time for our dinner appt- we invited an office couple, the Burts, over for gnocchi alla gorgonzola, but .....SR took a wrong exit, and we got lost. Now, this isnt any normal "lost". We were lost for 2 1\2 hours. (Yes, we had to cancel dinner). It was incredible how incapable we were of finding our way home. It was like we had a shield over our eyes and couldnt use even the most basic sense of direction to orient ourselves.
Finally, we rolled down the window at this one stoplight and we asked a man on a motorino to point us in the direction of either Fidene, Porta di Roma, or Piazza Sempione (3 landmarks where we know where we are). He looked at his watch and then said, "Follow me" and for the next half hour, we followed him to Porta di Roma. We couldnt believe that he, who never having met us, would be willing to take the time and gas to help us find our way. It was incredible. The entire time we were following him we were saying "This man is wonderful. Its no coincidence that we got lost tonight. We were supposed to meet him". He gave us his card and he got our phone number, and we want to go see him tomorrow and take him a joyful message alone with some brownies. Incredible how the Lord puts people in our path.

Well. The Burts are coming over in a few minutes, so we need to sprint down the hill home. Thank you for your letters. Thank you for your prayers and support.
Sempre avanti!

Sorella Urban

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Being a missionary entails a variety of responsiblities, including decorating your companions planner. Sorella Riffaldi stripped me of mine and snuck in the kitchen to work her magic, and Im very happy with what she did with it. Seeing that we are eating a lot of yogurt this tranfer, she glued (theres this fly thats been driving us up the wall, and SR smacked it and it started buzzing around on her keyboard, and I handed her my planner and she finished it off. We horrayed victoriously and the few people in here started laughing. Im glad we are entertaining to some) the lid of a strawberry yogurt onto the front cover, and on the back she taped a section of map of the vatican city, where we got lost last pday.
Because decorating someones planner is not to be taken lightly, I cut pieces of a photocopy of our faces (NOO....we do NOT photocopy our faces at the Mission Office!) and my smashed nose and her swollen mouth fit nicely into a heartshaped front cover. I will have to send a picture.

The best thing about the week is that Nelsons getting baptized on Saturday!!! Sorella Riffaldi is practicing praying in English, and little by little, she adds in a new phrase here and there. We both will be giving talks at his baptism in English- we both hope not to butcher it.

Maria, the 20 who wants to marry Roberto (36) against her parents wishes, disappeared. We called and called and got super nervous- its never a good thing when someone preparing for baptism falls off the edge of the earth. We recieved a text from her late Saturday night, saying that she wasnt responding to our phonecalls because shes going through a rough time. Agh ;( We had never been out to her house because she lives out in the middle of nowhere, but we decided that it was time to go find her since she wasnt coming to us. We left Monday after district meeting, and we had sketchy directions- a train and a few buses later, we were instructed to walk "down down" to get to her apartment complex. Down translates to DOWN. It was the steepest, longest hill Ive ever seen. But, that didnt Sorella Riffaldi from spotting some ripe figs (having long legs comes with a price- I had to be the one to jump the pokey bush to reach up into the sticky brances for some figs) and I was picking some blackberries when SR screamed and raced away. She said "mouse mouse!" so I parted the bush and there was a giant rat. What mouse? Shed have been closer if shed said "cat". Id have sent it home to Lenora but it probably would have put up a struggle; there is a smashed rat on the sidewalk near our house, and every day it gets flatter and less hairy- its almost fossilized. Maybe I can peel that off the sidewalk and use it to patch a hole in our bathroom wall- its definitely stiff enough.

Where was I?

Oh! So, we came up to the apartment complex and before we even started looking at all the house names, I saw someoneo outside on a balcony- it was Maria! She spotted us and started at us, shocked. Then she ran inside and opened the door. She was so happy to see us- Roberto wanted a "break" and a combination of health problems has dampered her spirits, and she didnt want us to see her sad. She offered a beautiful opening prayer, thanking Heavenly Father for answering her request- that morning, shed asked Him to give her a sign that He loved her, and then we showed up- without knowing how to find her, etc. ;) We spent some time visiting with her, and then she took us on a tour of the city, Cappena. Its a beautiful little town- I dont know how I could ever be happy living back in Provo after seeing all the fantastic places others live in- crowded apartment buildings that teeter on the side of a canyon- every day would be an adventure, never knowing if your house would still be there after you returned from shopping.

At the end of Pday last week, we had the car so we went to Prima Porta to see Carolina, whos 16 and ready for baptism but doesnt see the need for it bc she was baptized when she was 5. We jumped over the fence like we usually do, and then at her door we heard lots of noise and laughter coming from inside. We rang and I was tempted to smash my face up close to the peep hole to give someone a pleasant surprise when they looked out, but I managed to control myself. The dog started barking and I saw that someone was looking at us from inside bc the little sunlight dot went dark.....stayed dark....no door opening.....and then it went back to light....but still no noise or answer from within. We rang again and I called Carolinas cell a few times, but she didnt pick up. It made us feel a little rubbed in the dirt, like wed been prese in giro (made fun of). All we could do was head back to the car and leave. We saw her yesterday, and she said that no one was home. Hmmm. Still.

We had guests this week! The Marcuccis are a senior couple from Colorado. They arrived a few weeks ago and theyve been called here as proselyting missionaries- while they learn the langauge, theyll be working in the office and along with us missionaries. They had to come over to check our apartment, so we invited them over for lunch on Friday, and it was funny how stressful it was prepare for guests. Id put away all of the extra utensils and plates bc its just us two- we had to hunt for four chairs and enough nutella cups to serve us. If Sorella Riffaldi is learning one thing from me, its to experience with cooking. Shes never strayed from a recipe before, so Im helping her discover the delights of throwing in randome ingredients and the suspense of how itll turn out. Its never a good idea to experiment when expecting company, so we did ;) And it turned out quite well! (We just made pasta with a sauce that we added random things to it, like sausuage rolls from a Philippino member and sugo from Sorella Salsiccia). They checked the house to make sure it was safe, and installed a carbon monoxide detector. We have a few shelves that are loose on their hinges, but it was easily fixed when I whipped out my Gerber. (Thanks Tommy!)

Oh! We had a sleepover on Sunday night with the Rome 1 Sorelle from Ladispoli. Brother and Sister Allen are here in Rome on vacation; Bro Allen is the head of the Missionary Department, and he spoke at the MTC while I was there. The Rome Zone is super lucky bc we were the only ones that were invited to the Villa (where President lives). It was more like a question\answer thing. It was amazing. I walked out of there wishing I could start the mission over. Theres so much work to be done and so much to improve on! He made us some astounding promises which we are striving to work towards- its all conditional. Sorella Riffaldi and I have a renewed determination to do better. We have about 10 days together- on Sunday, we will find out what changes the next transfer will bring. ay ay ay. I know that whatever happens will be good. I didnt want to leave Firenze or Sorella Nelson, but now I couldnt have asked for it to have been different. Whatever comes will bring its blessings and trials, and something to learn and master.
Sorella Jones and Buckholtz were probably hoping for a fun time together, but we got home with little time to spare, and the next morning, I had to prepare for the training I was giving and we had to write letters to the President, etc, so......I dont think they had too much fun being with us. Maybe theyll ask the Rome 3 sorelle to use their home next time. haha. One good thing was that we werent bothered by mosquitoes that night- they were all in the other room with our company!

We are teaching a new investigator, Yolanda. Shes a contact from the Assistents- we met with her on Friday and she is so nice. Shes from Equador and she is here alone, working to tirare avanti la famiglia...pull the family forward. She went with us to a baptism on Saturday, and she remembers that her parents were baptized into the Mormon church. !!! Its always a wonderful thing when the investigator has a friend or family member whos a member. We are excited about her potential.

The church bells are ringing and the Anziani will be here soon to do email, so we need to free up the computers. Im learning lots and hoping to remember it all, and at least apply a small percentage of it into my life. Journals are priceless. Are you keeping a journal? If not, start today.

Sorella Urban