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Sorella Urban is not longer in Italy...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

the end of october?

Its the end of October. Lenoras leggings have become a part of my body. This keyboard is super weird, and there is Turkish music thats making my brain go all fuzzy. Turks may have good doner (kebab) but they definitely could use some help in the music department. The mosquitoes have become daddy-long legs. Sorella Askews reaction with a mosquito; If we are on a train or a bus, she will start blowing at it, squealing, and moving around. OR she will point to it and say "do you see it? DO YOU SEE IT?!" and..... all I can say is that its a really effective way in catching peoples attention. She cant kill them, so I sometimes drag myself off the chair and try to kill it- the sooner its gone the better for my sake, although I think everyone else gets pretty amused at watching S Askew dance around.
If we are at home, and Sorella Askew sees a window slightly open, shell wail and quickly bang it shut. THEN, when she sees anything in motion, shell call my attention to it and follow it with her beady eye until either I kill it, or till it disappears since I didnt get up to kill it.
Yesterdays theme was taking spiders out- Sorella Askew spots them as she lays in bed and then announces that theres a spider, which really translates to "Sorella Urban, youre needed in here to take this out!" so Ill go in with the mop and brush it off the ceiling and take it outside while she squeals and hops around, "I cant watch, I cant watch! SORELLA,...youre over my bed! Dont drop it!"
Dad- the tshirts you sent....are awesome. One question- is there a message youre sending me in giving me gigantic sizes? You always have, but seeing that its a touchy subject now, I was just wondering ;) Ah. The advantages are having extra blubber for the cold winter, and 2) not having to eat breakfast. Take last night for example. We went to a member family (the mother is inactive because she works) and we ate a Bolivian dish- beef, hot dog, tomatoes, and french fries all mixed together in a bowl with drippings. Add mayo and ketchup on top and - dinner! The amounts is what gets us. Plus, who eats such a heavy dinner that late right before going to bed?! EVERYONE DOES! Its crazy. Sorella Askew and I moaned and groaned up till when we got into bed. It was Maites birthday so we had birthday cake ontop of that. I wish it were just a matter of telling people "No thanks, Im full" but its just not that simple. I hear stories and people tell us of missionaries theyre upset with because they "didnt like what I fed them because they wouldnt eat a second helping". ah?

Va be. As long as I still fit into my two skirts, I really cant complain. Oh, thats other news I wanted to share- Sorella Askew hadnt noticed until I pointed out to her that I just wear two different skirts. She had noticed that I wear alot of gray, but she didnt realize that the gray is the same skirt. ha ;) So that made me happy. If my companion doesnt notice that I only have 2 skirts, then others wont notice, right?

On a train to Prima Porta, Sorella Askew started talking to a young woman from Seychelles (an Island off of India) and Jane said that she moved to Italy to.....drumroll please.... go to church.
Who moves to a country to go to church?
Apparently, Jane does.
SO. We are meeting with her at the church after doing email this morning.

(Theres an Indian man behind me in a telephone booth and ....its making me think of Tommy imitating our dentist in Kazakhstan. ah!)

The Turkish music got killed thanks to another Italian man who couldnt take it either.

The worm cheese has taken care of itself. It is still outside, and one morning while I was getting ready I thought, "how is it there are so many birds in our yard?" I peeked out and the worm cheese had made a giant bird feeder. Sorella Askew saw something scamper away so its not just feeding the birds. Im glad we can help feed the environment ;)

How is it that my emails are mostly about everything except the work?! I dont want you thinking that its because its lacking. No no. Yolanda is as wonderful as she ever has been- we meet with her on Saturdays and she agreed to meet with us yesterday for "just a little bit" and we made it in and out in 20 minutes. WOO HOO! We really want believe to see that having us over doesnt mean losing the entire day. We can do short lessons, as they should be, so that they dont feel exhausted and annoyed by the time we walk out. We invited her to be baptized and she choose the 23rd of Nov to pray about, and yesterday she told us that shed prayed and feels good about it but doesnt want a date because she wants to be sure of this step. We are so happy that she recognizes the importance and significance of baptism. Im so excited to continue working with her and watching her take the steps of faith and recieving personal revelation.

On Sunday night, we were able to watch the ground breaking video. It was so neat to sit among all the members and sit in awe as we looked at images of the Temple and listend to the Prophet. Pres Monson delayed his Sunday flight because he wanted to come to church, (he would have come to Roma 2!!!) but his doctor advised him not to so he stayed at the hotel and rested and then took off. I have to say, it was really tempting to peek at the ceremony. We were doing house in the Fidene area (where our apartment is) and if wed walked up to the top floor and looked out, Im pretty sure wed have been able to see the group gathered on the grounds. How wonderful it is to be in this area, within walking distance of the temple! Sorella Askew and I feel really strongly that there are people, an Italian family, waiting for the gospel in Fidene. We have been doing alot of house, and we have been invited in just once so far. They were an old couple who had us sit in their kitchen as they argued about the Catholic religion, while we taught about the Restoration in between their comments............Im not sure if we are going back.

We are working more and more with the members and its great to see that many of them are excited and willing to help us in teaching our investigators and them giving us referrals. YAY! I wish Id been better at helping the missionaries in Kaz and Armenia. Members really make the difference in missionary work.

Va bene. I think we.... are headed home because the plumber man is coming at some point to replace the tank AND hopefully he will look at our light fixture, which we cant figure out how it unscrews to replace the light bulb. We have an ancient ladder, but neither of us has the guts to go up to the top step :) Our house may be falling apart, but its still lovely and wonderful to have. Oh! Yesterday, as we were walking home, it started to rain again and so I whipped out our rainbow umbrella and for a stretch we started running to catch a bus, and suddenly it became alot harder to run, and I looked up and the umbrella had broken and was working more as a parachute. It was hilarious. I can only imagine what we must look like to others.

oK...off to go get Jane to come to the one and only church!

Vi voglio bene!
Sorella Urban

Friday, October 22, 2010

ive had 40 pdays and still havent found enough time to write letters

What a day! The Assistants and district leaders invited us to join them for a pday of sight seeing, so we left the apartment in the wee hours of the morning (at 8, but thats still early for a missionary!) and we went to St. Peters and waited in the piazza till the Pope came out in his little popsmobile and drove around the crowd and then spoke to us. What did he say? No clue. The second he came out and we got a picture of him, we headed out. Anz Hansen was the only one who could see him over the crowd; he is 6 "8, so we all handed him our cameras and he was in charge of snapping the pictures.

Then, we went around the corner to the Sistine Chapel. Last time I went was with Amber and Lenora a few years ago, so I was hoping that it wouldnt be as bad as I had remembered it, but it was. Its just such a long tour! So while the other missionaries were oohing and aahing at the pics and statues, I amused myself with looking at people and eavesdropping into conversations. Let me tell you- you can hear alot of interesting things like that! When we finally walked out of there, I felt less guilty because everyone else was exhausted. Yay for me. But I still may be the only one who lacks appreciation for art and history.

I saw the Acersons tonight!!! They flew in for the week to attend the ground-breaking of the Temple on Saturday. It was so good to see them, but they looked so....Americanized! Pres. Acerson was wearing flip flops- scandalous!

An embarassing moment of the week: we were at a members house (a single woman from the Philippines, the one who introduced us to Nelson) and we asked her what she was in need to hearing, and she said that she had lots of problems, so the first thing we did was ask her if she was paying her tithing. Its incredible how connected problems are with tithing- Ive seen time and time again, members who struggle and then it comes out that theyre not paying tithing. I think its in 3 Nephi 24...? that talks about tithing. Pay your tithing! The promise is true.
Where was I going iwth this? Oh! Well, for some reason we were talking about Beth being nosy (we have a good relationship with her) and I said something like her being an impicciona cicciona.... and Beth gripped her love handles and said I was right. Ah! I realized what Id said and wanted to die. Back in Kazakhstan, we had a neighbor who would come into the house and go through our fridge, so we got into the habit of calling her that (impicciona means nosy and cicciona means chubby) and it slipped out of my mouth from old habit. ahghhhaghahghag.

We took a trip down south! Sorella Askews permesso di soggiorno (which allows her to stay legally) was ready so we hopped onto a train on Monday afternoon and returned late last night (Tuesday). It was a quick trip and to the point- we arrived late on Mon night and had just enough time to make it to the Sorelles apartment. On Tuesday morning we went to the questura and it was ........closed till 3! What?! Id called BEFOREHAND to avoid this happening and theyd assured me that itd be open. While I was on the phone with the Elders, Sorella Askew went up the guards and sweetly apologized and asked them if anything could be done because our train was at 2. Ha. I guess Sorelle missionaries are charming to some (or at least Sorella Askew is) because they let us in and gave her the permesso! I cant believe how quickly it got done. And I waited in the questura up in Florence of 6 hours!. Im not complaining though. It really was a miracle that we didnt have to stay another day and spend today on a train.
We spent a few hours trudging throught the torrential rain in Toronto. It was wonderful to see the ocean- itd be a cute city to serve in, but ...Im guessing they eat lots of seafood.
On our way back, the ticket checker pointed out that our return ticket (which an office couple had bought with the church credit card the day before) was dated wrong and so it was invalid. Once again, I think charm kicked in and they told us we were good till Naples, but then we had to get off and buy an extension. So that is what we did- it was tempting to stay in Naples for an hour and go get the famous pizza everyone dies over, but we were wet and tired so we just hopped back onto the train and came home. It was a fun trip, but being home is best. I never thought Id see the south- its so neat! and SOOO different from Rome.

This morning in the metro station I got caught between some flapping doors and my watch broke ;( Id finally started to wear it again and poof. E morto. Thats why we have cell phones, right? They provide everything. Except an umbrella ;)

Oh! So I have this Gerber, a handy man tool that I carry everywhere with me, and today while we were going to go see the Pope, I realized that we would have to pass security. SOOO, me being as clever as I am, we walked down the tourist shops and ducked into one where a Chinese woman worked, and I explained that we wanted to see the Pope but I had a tool gadget that wasnt allowed. You should have seen her face. She looked like I was asking her to hide stolen items. PLUS, being an immigrant, I can understand how she was leary about the whole thing. Two American girls coming in and handing her a knife and asking her to babysit it. Ha, even as I write it it sounds too good. BUT, with the aid of the missionary tags, she said she could trust us to return and get it (implying that it probably was stolen) and we, of course, did. She was happy to see us ;)

We have hot water again! Our toilet still doesnt work, but that is what buckets are for ;)
Lenora, thank you for your coat. Im still slightly tramautized from how cold I was in Florence, so I wear it in and out of the apt, even when its not that cold. Its just comforting to know its something I have for when it does get cold :) Thank you.

Pres. Monson is arriving on Friday and it sounds like things are pretty busy at the temple site, getting it all prepared for the 500 people wholl be there on Saturday. 500? Why cant missionaries from the zone go? Itd just be 12 added souls. Well, even if we cant go, Im happy that we get to watch the whole thing on Sunday and get to see a picture of what the Temple will look like. Its so incredible. Sorella Askew and I feel very strongly that small little experience this week have pointed us to feel that Fidene (the zone we live in) is where we need to do our finding work. We have had alot more success knocking doors that either of us are used to. Success as in, people actually let us in to the door to hear what we are all about. We even got some return appts for this week! Sorella Askew and I are praying to find, teach, and baptize an Italian family this transfer :) I know that with the construction of the Temple, the mission, especially the Rome zone, is going to be seeing even more miracles. Ah! What an incredible thing to have a Temple being built here!!!!!

It has been a lot easier than I thought to have Sorella Riffaldi leave. I miss her, and Im grateful for all the experiences we shared. I know she is continuing to bless the lives of many, many people. She is serving in the same district with Anziano Larsen. THAT makes me jealous.

Well. There really is so much more to say. I wish I had time to share all the experiences I am having! I guess the thing thats stuck out to me these past few weeks working with the members is the importance of paying tithing. I am trying to faithfully record all this done so that one day, if I ever (heaven forbid) find myself questioning, Ill remember back to Beth and her incredible step of faith in choosing to put her trust in Heavenly Father.

Have a wonderful week. Thank you for all the letters and prayers coming my way- I appreciate them very much, even if Im not very faithful in responding.

Sorella Urban

transfer 6

1) I realized yesterday that Im a mamma missionaria! Alot of missionaries are into the family tree of a missionary, and ... Anziano Mickelsens my figlio. (I was the senior sorella or his first transfer, which makes me his mom). Im proud of him. He has the most amazing musical talent which makes it a little strange that he is getting transferred down to Sciacca tonight- we all thought hed stick around for the groundbreaking BUT ... missionaries arent invited. Last Thursday night, a member called to ask if we could confirm that the groundbreaking would be the 23rd. We told him we didnt have ANY idea what was going on with the temple, and then on Sunday.. they announced and confirmed! President Monson will be here in 10ish days! As sad as it is not being able to attend, how wonderful it is that its coming!!!! We hear rumors that it should be done June 2013. I think I know where Ill be June of 2013.

2) Sorella Riffaldi is headed to Siracusa, in Sicily. We are taking her to the bus station tonight where shell take off and arrive tomorrow morning at 8:00. Im sure going to miss her. Shell be in the same zone as Anz Larsen (from the MTC) and its KILLING me that I cant send a note with her for him. AHH! Itd be so easy to call up President and say, "Look. I PROMISE Im not romantically interested in him. Can I please just write him?!" but then the words come to mind "read the white handbook". Read the white handbook. Read the white handbook. No use asking President when I already know. Oh well. Therell be plenty of time to catch up later. Its just good to know that I might get to see or Anz Knuteson later on in the mission. President told me to expect staying in the Rome Zone for 5 or 6 transfers, which I would love.

3) I will not miss the humidity. I WILL miss nectarines over the winter. Its weird how things are changing- in this last transfer, Ive been drinking almost half a liter of milk everyday. Who am I? Since when do I drink mik? Mom, youll be proud of me. I make minestre- throw in some verza, peas, carrots and zucchini, etc etc, and then....I dont know how it happens, but it comes out to be a giant pot of hot soup. Sorella Riffaldi believes it to be a sign that Im going to have a huge family.

4) The Sorelle did exchanges from Monday evening to yesterday evening. We met up at Termini and I went with Sorella Bucholtz and Sorella Hansen to Ladispoli. Sorella Bucholtz is from Canada and dies tomorrow. Sorella Hansen is from Utah, shes wonderful, AND she is headed to Sicily tonight as well to be with ....Sorella Pickett!!!!!
Being in Ladispoli was wonderful. I really enjoyed doing scambi, and it was interesing to hear that all the sorelle were sort of dreading it, and they all enjoyed and needed it more than they thought.

We still dont have any baptismal dates or new investigators. We taught a first lesson to Diana, a contact we made on a bus last week,and she was all excited about coming to church the next day with her 8 year old son. We waited in the Piazza for them on Sunday morning to go together, and she nevers showed up and we called a few times but her phone was off. Last that evening, we recieved a text from her that begged us to leave her alone. ??? Oh dear.

Yolanda, a wonderful Equadorian woman we have been meeting with since August, had us come to her house on Sat morning and we felt like we had to teach about keeping the sabbath day holy. She works every Sunday because she is having a house built back home in Ecuador. We invited her to call and cancel work and come to church instead, and it was so touching and such an example to me when she took that step of faith and decided to do what we were asking her to. She called and cancelled work and came to church with us. What great faith in us and in the promises we made to her through the Spirit. I dont know if Id have done the same thing as she did if I were in her shoes. I really am learning so much more than what I am teaching to others.

Its an interesting thing to see missionaries die and the way they behave in their last few weeks as they come to a realization that their mission is about to come to an end. Sorella Bucholtz had 7 months left when I met her, and now......Im in her place. It seems like so long and its so short. Within a moment that day will be upon me, and Ill be looking back on my mission and wondering where the time went. I just hope that I can remember all the things that Ive learned and to apply them. Im trying to do my best to write down everything so that I can remember as I go back and read the things that I reflect on.

With all said and done, I think the thing that has been of greatest comfort and inspiration to me is knowing of the reality of Jesus Christs Atonement. I always underestimate the power and love of it, and the depth of it. He did not only suffer all pain and affliction, but he suffered every doubt, depression, worry, etc. I sometimes feel close to tears thinking of Sorella Riffaldi leaving and how different things will be, and then I am reminded of Heavenly Fathers tender mercy of allowing us to stay together this past transfer. She could have easily been transferred 5 weeks ago, but He knew what I was in need of and let me have it, simply because He loves me.

I am overwhelmed with how many things I am learning and coming to understand at a new and deeper level. Its true that the closer you come to Christ, the more inadequate and stained you feel. I have so far to go. I have so much to improve on, and what great comfort it is that He doesnt expect me to reach perfection in this life. All He wants is diligent effort and impegno. Whats even better is that He has given us things to help us along the way. How many people can say they know they have a Prophet, a Moses, on the earth, who speaks with God. Ah! What amazing blessings. Im amazed at His constant love and patience, and that He continues and always has poured out blessings even when Im ungrateful and unappreciative.

Thank you for your love, your prayers, your letters and emails, and your efforts in serving others and trying to lighten the load of a fellow traveler. We are all searching for happiness- why not help others find some?

Sorella Urban



We hunted down Maria. We have had the car so we went and camped out at her doorstep and found her! Shes been ignoring us because she is stressed with things. At least we know whats going on now. Baptism is out of the question for now.

Jenny and Erica are wonderful. They live super close to our house, so we stop by whenever. I love how comfortable they are with us. Theyve been sick the past week so we sat on their bed and they were in pajamas and it was just....comfy. They are making progress and we hope to see a baptism soon. We just need to get them to church 2 more times!

Conference was wonderful and I got to sit with Zia and Roberto for part of it ;) I cant wait to get it in the Liahona so I can read and study the things said, because I didnt get many notes in. What a blessing it is to have modern day revelation and inspired leaders who help us along our way.

The three of us had dinner last night with President and Sorella Kelly. "Transfer calls" came a little early for us ;) Sorella Riffaldi is going South, and Sorella Askew and I will stay together. This coming transfer is longer than most and will go to the 5 of Dec, and then President said Ill be transferred. Sardegna? ;) I dont think so. He hinted about me remaining in the Rome Zone for around 6 transfers. I dont mind at all- the Temples being built in Rome, theres work to do!

Sorry Im not writing much- we are meeting up with Sorella Riffaldis parents now.
Vi voglio bene,

Sorella Urban

Friday, October 1, 2010


Ciao tutti,

I have 15 minutes left. Where does the time go? And why cant computers all work normally? Eh. At least I get to use a computer. I still count my blessings...even though it takes me some time to realize how much Im blessed with.

This past week I pulled out my winter clothes and the second I put on a blue sweater I bought in Firenze, it brought back a ton of memories of my first transfer. Wow. I think its my favorite sweater. I had to buy it with the money of a friend of the Acersons because I didnt have a single euro, and I wore it everyway bc it was the only thing I had. How much I have now! And how scarily easy it is to overlook all the things I have and wish for more. I was seriously humbled that first transfer. I almost wish I were living it again. Im so grateful for all the things I have, ESPECIALLY for Heavenly Fathers patience with me.

Whats happened this week? Maria has disappeared off the planet. We havent been able to reach her since we saw her the day the cancelled her baptism. We went to find her in the city yesterday, and miraculously, we found the house but no one was home, and then we got chased out by this super crabby woman. Theres no reason to be so mean. Just seeing our tags gets the weirdest reactions out of some people, like we are out to damage the world or something.

Last night, we were getting ready to write in our journals (Id just made mexican chef salad so we were all in good spirits) we decided to go see the colosseum at night: Its something S Askew has wanted to see; so we stuck our tags back on and hopped into the car and away we went! We didnt think leaving our house in pajamas would be a problem....till we parked next to the colosseum and realized that we had to get out to take some pictures. SOOO if you do see any pictures that Im in shorts with my sunday shoes...please dont make any comments ;)

While driving back home, the GPS confused us and I ended up driving contro mano, on a one way street, for 2 kilometers. AHHH! The entire time, we were basically trying to muffle blood-curdling screams as I tried to get to the end of the road where we could try to merge with the right traffic. When we got home, I had to take a pillow and scream into it to let it out of my system, and then I was able to return back to normal. Sorella Riffaldi still has a glazed look to her eyes.

President Kelly has asked me to organize scambi with the Sorelle. The Elders go on exchanges every few weeks, and he wants us to start doing them. Yay!

Nelson has the Aaronic priesthood and is preparing to recieve the Melchizedek Priesthood. (Just writing that makes me want to take a spelling class back at school).

S Askew wants to see alot of things here in Rome, so we are headed out to go see some stuff. Too bad the Assistants left us the car for the entire week because they are done in Sicily ;) We just found out that a member from there is arriving in Termini in a few hours, and they asked us to go pick her up so we will do that and maybe she will want to go around with us.

Before I end- last Saturday, we spent the day with some Romanian women we met at their 7 day adventist church and we watched 7 people get baptized, and then we had a meal together in the basement. We have ALOT of things in common concerning religion. They do baptism by immersion too, ...just that the bishop gets down in the water WITH HIS SUIT!

General Conference weekend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We will be spending all day saturday and sunday at the stake center, Roma 1, so Carla and Zia- you better be there! ;)

Lenoras coming to ITALY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Dads arriving soon, and Pres Kelly gave permission to see them. Sorella Riffaldis parents are coming next pday, A Askew saw her uncle last saturday, and I hope to see mom and dad for a bit before the end of the transfer. We found out that therell be need for another threesome next transfer, but Im pretty sure (and praying) that its not us. S Riffaldi is DYING to leave Rome. She has been here for a little too long.
As for the worm cheese (YES, we still have it). Anyone want it? S Askew wont even get near it. haha.

Ok. I have lots more Id like to write but seeing this scattered enough, maybe Ill add a pic or two and send this on its way.

Vi voglio bene!