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.