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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

how is it gia natale?!?!

I can kick myself for forgetting my plannner- Id made a list of things I HAD to include in todays email. Ill do my best without it.

This morning we woke up early and ... put on JEANS!... walked to Ninos house and went together to his land patch. We cleared out pokey weeds and I "mowed" the lawn with a scythe. I loved it. Reminded me of Kazakhstan. Ill try attaching some pics at the end. Its been a good morning. Its my first time wearing jeans in the mission, and its quite comforting that I can still fit into them.

I had a disturbing dream that I was with Lenora and she kept complaining about her weight and I remember getting really annoyed because she didnt seem to notice that I should have been the one complaining. Haha. Apparently Lenoras been having crabby dreams about me, and Im starting to have dreams about her where I get upset. Lenora, Lenora

I cant believe I dont have my planner! I cant remember what I did yesterday, how am I supposed to remember whats happened since last Wed?!

Ok. Last Wed, we left Catania and Sorella Riffaldi and I headed back to Mistretta. Luckily, ALOT of the snow has melted and is almost gone, so we dont risk breaking our necks every time we leave the house.

Its great being back with SR. She loves Mistretta and Im starting to fear because she might convince President to take my spot and I get kicked down to her spot in Siracusa ;) The members love seeing an Italian sorella.

Guess what? Angela is getting baptized the 30th!!!! This is her 6th baptismal date but she really is going through with it this time. We really feel it. She feels it, too. I asked her why she thinks shes going to go thru with it this time, and she said that while she was sitting there, listing to us teaching her parents last week, it hit her that she cant keep putting it off. Shes taken steps to observing the law of chastity so she should be ready for her 3rd interview on Friday. She has been out of work for more than a year, and the past few days she ran out of wood; the members are WONDERFUL. They got together and pooled some money and bought lots of groceries for her and went to the forest and cut wood. Angela was in tears when they delivered it all last night. Sorella Riffaldi and I were at the point where we were clearing out our own kitchen shelves to donate to the cause but the members wouldnt have it. I love them, they are so incredibly generous and humble.

At church, we Sorelle teach young womens (the daughter of Pres. Portera) and then we teach primary (the other 2 daughters of Pres. Portera). They are putting on a Christmas program tonight at our house. I decided to make brownies for it last night, seeing that we thought wed be spending all of PDAY doing yard work, ... our oven doesnt have degrees on it. I have no idea how Sorella Miller baked banana bread, but something weird happened to the brownies and smoked our house out. So, I think even the wall paper has a permanent smell of charcoal. Maybe if I continually burn food, the members will get sick of it and decide to stop using our house for activities....now, thats an idea :) This past Sunday, as church finished and I was walking out towards the car, Francesa pulled me aside and told me my slip was showing. Slla Jones then says, "Oh yeah, I noticed when you got up to play for sacrament but I forgot to tell you". I had my skirt tucked up and my slip showing for ALL of church. All of it. Nevermind that we had a member of the stake there. Nevermind that I get up 2 during church to go to the piano. mamma mia. che figura.

Monday stands out in my mind for some reason. We decided to take the train from Santo Stefano (half hour from our house, where church is) to Palermo to have a district meeting with the Anziani and Zone Leaders. Thank goodness we left early:

9:00 am: leave house

9:05 fill up on gas

9:07 left gas station

9:07.15 heard strange noise

9:07.20 pulled to the side of the autostrada

9:08 our front tire was propio flat

9:09 finished laughing and very slowlyyyy drove the car to a gravel road

9:15 realized that neither of us knew how to change a tire. Decided to pray to get revelation in hopes of being enlightened on how to change a tire.

9:18 no vision on how car mechanics worked...so we called up Antonio and he came over and fixed the tire :) We love Antonio. He loves us.

10:00 left gravel road.

10:02 Got pulled over by police. Handed over my UT license. They looked at it, whispered to eachother, and handed it back.

10:07 I started breathing again

10:08 not more than 200 meters later, I got pulled over again by 2 other policeman. This time, they asked me to point out where my name was on the license and DOB.

10:15 Sorella Riffaldi snapped a picture of me talking to the policeman

10:16 One officer told us we needed to teach about Christ to the other.

10:17 Took off again. SR and I were soo tempted to just turn back and head home and lock ourselves in for the day. We feared what else was in store for us.

We got to the station and the next train to Palermo wasnt leaving for another 2 hours. The Anziani asked us to drive there. We did, and I have to say this. I thought driving in Armenia was bad. There is NOTHING that compares to how Sicilians drive. I dont think I should be allowed to drive for at least a year once I get back to the U.S. I dont think any officer would take my excuse of having served here as being an excuse for my bad driving.

Somehow, we missed the toll highway and we took the street that got us home at 18:30. DDM ended up being a 9-6 trip. The waste of time was painful. Im pushing towards doing DDM twice a month, not every week. We can do it over the phone if we really needed to. Otherwise, its not worth the time or the cost.

Yesterday, we had an appointment to go meet and teach for the first time a man that Sorella Miller and I had met doing house about an hour from Mistretta, in Sant Agata. We finally made it to the right street after parking the car and making it on foot, and then I called him up and asked him where he was, and he said he was at 171 on Via Nazionale. I told him we were there, and he said he was there too. He wasnt, so I jokingly said "Well, there are two streets with the same name. How are we going to find you?"

Turns out we were on the right street at the right number, just in the wrong city.

We got back in the car and drove about 20 min to the right city, and this time, he was at 171. He was the only one home so we stood at the door and taught him a few principles and we want to go back with a member, Renzo.

Renzo has been inactive for a super long time but in the time Ive been here, hes been to church every sunday and he comes to institute and Sorella Miller and I felt really good about him being the possible next branch president. Guess what? Pres Portera pulled us aside last night and said that he feels like Renzo is being prepared to the next church leader here. YAY!!!

English class is fun. Daniele, (24 y.o. young man who served a mission in Milano for 2 months and then returned to Mistretta, the nephew of Antonino and the brother of Beatrice, the 18 y.o. with 2 kids) insisted and insisted that we eat the pringles hed brought. I finally ate one to silence him but he kept at it so I had to be a little "firm" with him and then ....... he left our house and came back with a huge poinsetta for us. It is strange and something I need to get used to having people in our house. We came home and were putting our shopping away while institute was going and we were in the kitchen trying to eat something and Daniele KEPT knocking on the door and poking his head in to ask the most random questions. Finally, I had to tell him to stop asking questions and to leave us alone till English class started in an hour. He seemed to understand until there came a knock at the door no more than two minutes later.

I have to try a little harder to love Daniele than I have to with Angela :)

I just love it here. Its awesome. And times running out so I need to attach some pics.

I really had thought Id have time to write everyone Christmas letters and find a place to develop pics to send, but somehow Natale has snuck up on me. Oh well. Know that I love you all and that Im thankful for all of you and your examples.

Carla cant come down till the first week of January, so I have to call Pres today and ask him if SR can remain till after Angelas baptism on the 30th, then we will drive to Catania and spend New Years there. From what Ive heard, they launch fireworks from every balcony. Im excited to not get a wink of sleep that night! And then.... Slla Squarcia a few days later, so I think Ill just be in a threesome with the Catania Sorelle.

Now we are going to head home and get out of our muddy jeans and get the house ready for tonights program. We dont have a christmas tree, but thats ok- Sorella Riffaldi and I are going to have stockings :) maybe we will end up having to use our tights, but thats ok- theyre longer and stretchier- even better. Too bad Dad wont be around to fill them with oranges :)

I have to be honest- Im really not that excited about Christmas phone calls because Im really not sure what to say.......so please be the ones to talk or ask questions if you want to hear about anything in particular. I can just see it as being the same phonecall I made from the airport where I had just too much to say that I couldnt say anything.

I love you all. Buon Natale. Isnt it wonderful having faith in Jesus Christ- knowing that he was born to die so that we might live with our families for eternity? Heavenly Fathers plan is so detailed and perfect. It continues to astound me. Im so grateful for the people He has put in my path- Im learning alot.

2010 has been an incredible year. 2011 can be even better. Lets all set goals that will make us stretch and grow.

Sorella Urban

p.s. can someone fwd this to amanda miller?

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