In the half hour Ive been here at the net cafe, 5 people have called and disrupted me, with the phone being on silent. growl.
Alots happened this week!
Wednesday: The plumber came and fixed our toilet. He left and with him, a bottle of SAskews face cleanser. We arent sure if he took it, because it doesnt make sense, and it is possible that things just disapparate. Maybe the mold we have around the house helps dissolve things. Oh, thats a funny story. The Marcucci (senior missionaries) came to check the safety of the house, to fix our light, etc, and I wish Id recorded their expressions when they saw how much mold we have in the house. It didnt help with Sorella Askew moving our beds away from the wall and revealing the black sections of wall- they said theyll get to it pronto, but....we are still waiting. I wonder how much the mold has to do with our cycle of not getting over our colds....?
I had the ...opportunity... to eat an entire fish for lunch. Yum. We went to the Tempesta family (an extremely odd couple in appearance but SOOO fun to be with- Brenda is 30, from Peru, (so shes short) and Livio is Italian and 45, and extremely tall)
We taught them the Plan of Happiness and somehow, which tends to happen a little too often, the discussion went off topic and before we knew it, Brenda was talking about dreams that she has. She has the capacity to see the future; her dreams come true, etc. Even her husband was nodding off, fighting sleep, and she went on and on and with each dream shed add "ok, this is the last one!" and off shed go again. I wish I could record all the stories we hear. They are so interesting and... so random. When we did make it out of their house, sleepy and full of fish, Sorella Askew and I had to lay on our beds for a minute to recover from what wed just gone through.
Gina said she spent three hours reading the Book of Mormon. YAY!
Friday: Zone Conferene. We spent all day in the church and it was really nice because I didnt have to translate and so this time I was able to pay attention and I got alot out of it. I took some notes that Ill share at the end. We also had President interviews and he told me that I will be transferred and theres nothing I can say that will change his mind ;)
Saturday: that night, at 20:30, we had half an hour before we could return home, and since we were next to the Fidene station, we decided to do finding on the train. We hurried to the station to find it completely empty, ....so .... we crossed over and were walking to the other platform when a man stopped us and told us that he had met missionaries a few months before and we talked about our beliefs and exchanged contact info. Thats what we got for being obedient and staying out till 21:00!
Domenica: After church, we went to Bens house. He is a member for 8 years and his wife isnt, and always is too busy to meet with us, so we went to trap her at home. They come from the Philippines and Ive decided that they are the most interesting people Ive ever met. Really, Sorella Askew and I went through a list of the people we know that come from the Philippines, and they are each unique. I adore them.
Anways, we sat down to eat and the table was set for 2- After lots of insisting, we got them to eat with us. One of the most awkward things is to eat and be watched. The lesson on the Restoration turned to her smoking addiction and how "at least twenty missionaries have taught me and nothings helped". Well. This time, its different ;)
VERYYY long story short (it was 4 hours to be exact) it boiled down to that she lacks the desire to stop smoking. We were very open and honest with her as she was with us, and she knows that she is the one keeping her family from being eternal at this point. Shes the only one who smokes, and they have 3 sons. "Teresa, if you had to choose between cigarettes or your family...?" Her reply, without hesitation, was "Cigarettes". And this was in front of Ben!
I had to control myself because I wanted to cry and then bang her head against the plate of rice. How sad! How selfish.
That experience has really made me reflect on my own life- with something else Pres Kelly shared in conference. What is keeping me out of celestial kingdom? Or, what is keeping me from enjoying the blessings that I could be if I were just willing to change or give up something that I do?
My respect for Ben skyrocketed. I can only imagine how hard it would be to love and serve someone whos like that. Their examples have taught me alot- how important it is to do our part.
Teresa gave us cake and we asked what the jellyish cream on the bottom of the cake was, and she doesnt speak english very well so we were guessing "plum? cream?" and she said, "No, egg!".
Egg? raw egg?
She sent the entire cake home with us (she disappeared into the kitchen for a minute and Ben begged us to take it, otherwise hed have to eat it, so we took it out of our love for him, definitely not because we were greedy). I think Teresa thinks missionaries starve or something. We resisted and argued, but we still managed to walk out of their house with 4 bags of food. I consider it a tender mercy that Sorella Askew eats just about everything. How wonderful to have a companion whos also a garbage disposal. Im not saying the food wasnt good, anzi, it was delicious, just too much. (Mamma, she sent us home with a kilo of castagne!)
The morning started early, at 1;30 am when Sorella Askews voice woke me up, "Sorellaaaa!". I turned on the light to see what was the matter- shed heard a mosquito. So, for the next half hour, we hunted around for a mosquito and never found him. Shes lucky she wasnt here in June and July when it was completely normal to have a dozen mosquitoes hovering around our ankles. When we got up at 6;30, she found a blood streak on the bed so she must have gotten him at some point in her wild flailing.
It rained. And rained again, and then some more after that.
We did some house (knocking on doors, ringing doorbells) and ... Im really going to miss these days. Standing in a puddle, leaning over to press my ear againt the mic, and struggling to hear the voice on the other end over the rain beating down on my umbrella.
Tuesday; we did some more house in the rain, and we were let in by an old couple. The Nonna asked us to wait for a moment and she disappeared, and when she returned, she had a hand full of coins to give us. "No, we dont want anything, we just want to share something with you!".......soon led us into the kitchen where we had to repeat, possible 47 times, that we didnt want a cup of coffee..... she didnt listen and got it all prepared and then acted shocked when we told her that we would do without the coffee. ay ay ay.
Across their house, we were let into another apt and this time, it was Daniela, a 35 y.o. Italian woman. She was getting ready for work but she let us into her kitchen and we talked about the restoration and she talked about alot of problems, and then we said a prayer and invited her to church and she said shell come, and the great thing is that we really believe she will come! I have a calendar where, every night when I write in my journal, I record "the miracle of the day" and Daniela was yesterdays miracle. What did I write on the calendar?: "Someone younger than ancient let us into their house".
We went to Yolandas last night to teach her, and she lives with another Equadorian family, and we introduced ourselves and then we were trying to hint to Yolanda to head towards her room where we could teach her the law of chastity, but the 19 young man asked us to stay so that he could hear the message. I love how we plan for each lesson, and the lessons never go as planned. We taught him about the Restoration- he doesnt believe in God because he has seen nothing to prove Him.
The Anziani were wonderful enough to come by and meet him, so we had another "joint" discussion and...it went really well. 19 y.o. Byron. He could go on a mission!
Very quickly, some things Ive been thinking about this week. Im just going to write it from out of my journal;
"....Teresa, it you had to choose between your family, Ben, and cigarettes..." before we could finish she crossed her arms decisively and said "cigarettes. I felt my heart break into two at her behavior. Ben was sitting right beside her. I told her to take a minute and really think about it before responding, but she kept shaking her head and saying "No, no. I love my family very much, but I need cigarettes. I cant stop smoking". I cant see how she could really say that if she really understood what the question meant.
It makes me realize how very important the commandments are- they really do come from a loving Heavenly Father who just wants the best for us, and has given us guidelines for our liberty and happiness.
From Pres Kelly:
"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God? In what sense is a person like a temple? how would I need to change to be more worthy to be called a temple of God? A temple becomes one when it is dedicated. It is not the house of the Lord until it is given unto Him. A temple is beautiful. Looking at it lifts and edifies. It is spotless and dignified. A temple is calm and still. Pease and quietness right within. A temple is a place of worthiness- no unclean thing can enter within. Engraved deeply into the wall of the temple are the words, "Holiness to the Lord". A temple is a house of service. Its whole purpose is to provide those things that are essential for the happiness of Gods children. A temple is built by sacrifice, and by diligent and patient labor. A temple is, above all, a house for God the Father, his Son, and the Holy Ghost. THe house of the Lord is a sacred place, worthy of their presence.
Am I dedicated to the Lord? Does my appeareance lift and edify? Am I peaceful and calm within? Is my mind and heart open only to worthy thoughts and feelings? Is "Holiness to the Lord" engraved upon my soul? Am I engaged in vital service to Gods children? Do I lift my eyes toward heaven? Am I willing to build myself by sacrifice, toil, and patience? Does the Spirit of God dwell in me? Am I becoming a temple of the Most High God?"
This is something Pres Kelly wrote when hed just returned home from his mission, and his Dad had just died.
Its really helping me reflect on where Im at in life and what I need to be doing.
SOOO many other experience and stories Id love to share! Oh well. Buona settimana!