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Friday, November 5, 2010

I LOVE letters. and Yolanda

Why did I choose that as my theme? Because I LOVE letters. um um um. They make me happy when skies are gray......(I should learn the song sometime). Thank you for all the emails- its funny how some weeks all the emails are short and this week they are all super long and juicy. I cant wait to print them all out and soak them all in on the bus to the mercato or at some other point.
Its good having a companion who eats just about everything. I miss cooking, so now its a good balance- I cook, and she eats whatever it is. Even experiments. This morning I made sausages and hashbrowns for breakfast, and it made me think of Marmota (mamma) and wishing I could make her some hashbrowns.

What a week its been! Yolanda is wonderful. Shes the contact from the Anziani that we have been meeting with about weekly since August. The day after we met her she came with us to a baptism; a few weeks ago, we taught her about keeping the sabbath day holy and she called her boss and cancelled work for that coming sunday and came to church with us. Yesterday, we got a member to come with us to our appt with her and it went great. We taught the law of tithing and Yolanda and Brenda clicked and chattered off in Spanish and it really makes a difference working with the members.We used M&Ms to teach the principle of tithing (giving her 10, asking for one back, and then pouring them out into her hands that they spill all over). Really, its just a matter of time before shes baptized. She wants to be baptized but, like with alot of people, they want to be more sure and more knowledgeable of the gospel before they take that step. She works for a Lazio soccer player who is moving in a couple of weeks, which will leave her without a job on Sundays (an answer to OUR prayers but definitely not to hers) and we are all praying that she will find a way to make ends meet without working on Sundays. She is such an incredible example of faith. Im not sure if I would do what she does, or accept our invites as readily as she does. The Spirit is what makes the difference. If I were her I definitely wouldnt put my trust in two young missionaries who promise me that things will work out if I would just not go to work this sunday, etc, but we know the Spirit has carried our words to her heart, just as is promised. How wonderful it is that we, that I, dont have to depend on my abilities to help someone accept the Gospel. I am just an instrument, but the Spirit is really the only thing that brings about conversion, accompanied by faith and action.

Last Pday, we met with Jane, our bus friend who moved to Italy to just go to church. She recognized a difference in us and she kept commenting on how she felt really good with us, and we pointed out that it was the Spirit and it was hers to be had with baptism and following Gods commandments- she happily accepted a Book of Mormon. She lives really far away which is the only thing keeping us from seeing her everyday, but we might see her today- yay!

Oh OH OH. So. Theres this family. the Zuccheroso family- Mamma Z. was baptized a few years ago, and then her daughter, Gloria was in March with Sorella Riffaldi. When I got here, we met with her at least 2 a week .......then she turned 18 and disappeared with school starting back up, etc. WELL. Glorias 18 and has an older brother who isnt completely all there; we have tried meeting with him but Mamma and Gloria discourage us, saying that its not the right time. Anyways, the reason Im writing all this is because Gloria, Mamma, and brother are EXACTLY ALIKE. When I say, exactly, I mean exactly. Sense of humor. laugh, giggle, snort, LOOKS (yes, ones male, but they still look really similar) and just about everything else. Whenever we call, the Papa answers the phone and he sounds exactly like the rest of them so it was Sorella Riffaldis and my goal to meet him.

A few weeks ago, we had a plate of leftover cake and we thought of how we could pass by before turning in for the night, and so we called the Zuccherosos and the Papa answered and said that no one was home, and just as he was about the click and end the convo, I said "We have a plate of cake and we want to bring it by" and he paused and thought, and Im sure his stomach growled, and then he consented to having us stop by.
Sorella Askew and I were SOO excited at finally getting the chance to meet him. We race-walked to their apartment and we buzzed and he clicked it open and we hopped onto the elevator to go up to the 8th floor....and then, I realized that I had to record this historic moment for Sorella Riffaldi seeing that she wasnt there, and so I took out my camera and starteda video and kept my hand down at my side, hoping my aim was good enough to record the Papa. The door opened and I nearly died with eagerness, and then......Fabbio opened up. I started at him in shock for a second, and then I asked if Papa was home and he said he wasnt. Fabbio (the brother) has been the one to answer the phone the whole time, and we thought it was the father! I cant describe how my heart sorrowed within me as the realization hit. 5 months of wanting to meet this Papa Zuccheroso and I had to accept the bleak fact that I may not ever get to meet him- I handed over the cake (this time a little grudgingly, haha) and then.......said goodnight and left. Back in the elevator I watched the video, thinking to myself "at least I got a video of Fabbio so I can tell stories about them back at home" but as I watched the 2 minute video, to my horror, I realized that my aim was TERRIBLE and for 2 whole minutes of video, I recorded his stomach and his lower 2 double chins. Wail!

I hope you understand a little of how painful that was BUT one of the many tender mercies I recieve was fulfilling my goal - we randomly passed by last week (random visits arent peoples favorite, I dont know why we keep doing them) and guess who opened the door?!?!?!?!?!!? Papa Zuccheroso!!! But we had to verify with mamma Z. because he doesnt look, talk, or act like the rest of them! How does that work?! He actually seems normal, and that he really, very possibly, could be a police officer as the rest of the family claims him to be. WOW.

One of my english students, Patrizia, is an immigrant from up North somewhere (Poland? Is Poland North of Italy?) and she isnt very normal, but she is super talkative. (shes the one who told me, infront of the class and Sorella Riffaldi, that she didnt like S. Riffaldi and didnt care to even learn her name). When she comes to class, the lesson ends up being just her talking about her health problems. For the sake of the rest of the students, Im releives when she doesnt come to class, but when its just us 2, its good talking to her and realizing how differently minds work. About a month ago, she fell while she was walking down the stairs from English class, and she sat down and seemed fine when her son came to pick her up.
Gina, the wonderful, young Romanian woman we teach before english classes (who, by the way, is reading the book of mormon and praying and just needs to decide to come to church!) went to Patrizias house one day to clean for her and Patrizia told her to stay away from us because we are soul-robbers. Gina told us this last week, and just laughed about it. Ah! It is a little funny, but how said! Patrizia took her falling down the stairs as a sign that she needs to stay away from us. She thinks it sucks away her integrity and virtue to come to English class when she has no interest in joining the church, and that we set some sort of curse on people who dont get baptized. :( Thats Patrizia. The one who I recorded reciting a poem she wrote for me because she loved me, (or she used to!) ...I wish I could call Patrizia and just talk to her. I miss her.

La famiglia Duran is a member family who lives right down our hill- mamma Duran is inactive and has been for a really long time because she works on Sundays. We go to their house for dinner about once a week, and a few days ago, I made Mexican Chef Salad for them and they loved it. So much in fact, that they insisted on keeping the leftover tacos (a whole box) and thousand island ;) haha. I love them. My list for people I need to have Lenora meet next summer is growing, but theyre first on my Roma 2 list. We told Mamma Duran that we want to start seeing just her and she agreed to it and so we will start seeing her regularly on Saturdays- they need to be ready for when the Temple is done in a couple of years. She easily could get work off on Sundays or swap shifts with someone, she just lacks the courage or the desire to do so, and we are going to crank up our efforts in helping them prepare to recieve the blessings in the Temple.
We have continued to do door-to-door in the Fidene area (near our house) and we have a few return appts with some families. They probably dont know it, but we are planning on returning. When they use "Nows not a good time" I think they mean to say theyre not interested, but we can play dumb Americans who just take it to mean, "Ok, when is good for us to come by?" They sound flustered for a minute and then tell us to come back another evening, and thats when we ask "What time?" hehe.
While doing house the other night, we met a man in the stairwell that is athiest and has seen Elders before, but after talking for a minute, he told us to come by and meet his family because "Sorelle missionaries are better" -Those were his words, not ours!
So that is where we are going tonight, to go find Mario and his little Italian family ;)
In my planner of things I wanted to include I wrote "...ram...". Im not sure what that means and I just wrote it last night! OH! Its "rain". My handwriting is seriously getting worse by the transfer. Rain...what to write about the rain?
Other than its raining alot and Ive only broken 2 umbrellas (its the wind thats too strong!) and.......its a wonderful thing to come home and be wet and chilled and to shake off our wet layers and huddle around the space heater for a minute and then start putting on all our dry layers while we talk about the day and laugh. I love it. Im really going to miss it. Jeri wrote me that shed give anything to relive even the worst day of her mission. Ah- I know what she means and Im still a missionary. Its true that dogs are a missionarys worst nightmare (prob not the worst, but close). We ring doorbells and the microphone will come on and theyll ask who it is and we cant talk over the yapping and barking. The flashlight comes most in handy walking down the fidene street at night - someone could fertilize a ranch with the amount of dog droppings\ piles we play hopscotch avoiding.
WIth it being the month of Thanksgiving, Im trying even more to be more aware of how blessed I am for the life Ive lived so far, for my family, friends, experiences, people Im meeting everyday and learning from, etc. So many things to be grateful for! Even annoying dogs- it makes me appreciate silence all the more.

Grazie for your prayers, love, support, smiles, rain you send this way, etc.
Oh, some of you asked what I did for Halloween. We spent it waiting for a bus that ended up coming so late that by the time we found the members apartment, we had to turn around and head back to make it home in time. We did see a few trick or treaters, though.

Buona settimana!

Sorella Urban

wise tip: always keep an umbrella handy.

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