The owners of this internet cafe are engrossed in a wrestling match on t.v. 1) we arent supposed to watch t.v. so its a little distracting trying to write and block out the noise and 2) there are half naked men all over the screen. eheh. (this is how Italians laugh).
What a week!
I hit and passed my year mark on the 20th of January. Its been an incredible year. I have grown in both senses of the word :)
I have come to understand at a deeper level how perfect Heavenly Fathers plan is for our salvation and happiness. Ive met so many good people and learned from their failures and triumphs. I am also learning (I was just about to say patience, but then this man stuck his phonecall with his little girl on speaker phone and it is getting on my nerves, so Ill just say that patience is something that Im going to have to constantly work at) that happiness is a choice and not a consequence. The simple, basic things of the gospel are what protects us and our families.
Most of all, I understand better who I am and who Heavenly Father is, and what that means to me personally. I definitely have a better idea as to what I need to work on, what I want in an eternal companion, and what I need to learn and apply to raise a happy family. I know that reading scriptures as a family, having family home evening, and praying together are simple but so important. And, above all, I have come to appreciate and love my family more. I have been so blessed for the life Ive had so far, for having the Gospel, and I have hope in a brighter future.
I want to share a little experience that I really appreciate. On Monday, we were having personal study and the light started to flicker and went out. We had already gone through the hall and the classroom light to replace the lightbulb in our bedroom, so our next option would be taking the kitchen or bathroom light out. We were too engrossed in the our studies that we didnt get up till study was over; the washer machine was running but the fridge wasnt. It was all a little strange so we went outside into the basement and checked the fuse- nothing was wrong with it. We decided to wait a few hours before calling someone to come look at it. We started companionship study with a prayer and while I was praying I thought to myself "Why not?" so I asked Heavenly Father if He would fix the light so that we could avoid bothering Pres. Portera whos already busy as it is. Right after we finished singing a hymn, the light flickered on and stayed on. We both looked up and said "Grazie!" :) It was something trivial that could have been fixed with a small amount of effort, but He knew it was something that would make us happy, and He fixed the light for us. I love how much He watches out for us, and sometimes, we just need to ask for help. It can be something small and insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but its important to Him because its important to us. It gives me so much comfort and security knowing that we are not alone, and that we are being watched over by someone who loves us, and who is more than willing to help us out.
We return to our appartment usually from 13:30-16:30 to study the language and to have lunch. We ate a big lunch and just as we were getting settled in to study, I thought of calling Nino, who we had an appt to have dinner with that night. His first words were "Where are you?".
He thought we were coming over for lunch....and I didnt feel like telling him that it was actually dinner that we had been invited to, I said "We are on our way!" and I scrambled around and called to Sorella Olsen, "We are going to Ninos for lunch!". We booked it to Ninos while trying to keep our lunch down, ate crepes stuffed with the weed vegetable that everyone seems to feed us, and we had to eat quickly because Sonia, his daughter, wanted to take a nap. We were about to explode.
Angela, our investigator who we now want to set her 8th baptismal date for Feb 14th, has found a job in Reitano, a city (450 inhabitants) 20 min from Mistretta, so since we cant go to her place, we have now started stalking her at her parents place. I had met her parents once before and her father was the one Sorella Jones and I had spent at least 20 minutes kneeling on the floor, encouraging him to pray. Alot has changed in 3 visits. He still wont pray because he is upset with God, that bad things happen to good people. We somehow wormed our way into his heart and he invited us for Sunday lunch. Angela called us to make sure we were coming, because her Dad was so excited about it that hed be crushed if we didnt show up. We assured her we were looking forward to it too, and we even skippe breakfast because we knew what we would be facing.
He made us pasta alla carbonara- he took, no joke, 500 grams of butter and melted it with 500 grams of parmiggiano cheese and a bunch of stripped bacon and fried it all together. Then he added the cooked spaghetti and cracked a couple eggs over it and thankfully he cooked it a little more before serving us. I have to admit, it was really good, but all the grease sort of put a damper to it. I could feel my heart start to pump harder to get blood through my clogging veins. Then we ate some fried meat---
He is adorable. He reminds me of a gnome even though hes not too short. Maybe its his ears that stick out. And he has the brightest blue eyes that get all wide when I hiccup while talking, or Sorella Olsens stomach will growl (her stomach makes noise ALL THE TIME! It has now become our biggest disruption during lessons because we will try to ignore it but then start giggling as it goes on and on and everyone else starts to comment and look around. It is HILARIOUS.)
Anyways, Sorella Urban will stop thinking about how in love she is with the man and get on with the moral of the story.
I love Salvatore. He even gets a kick out of only speaking Sicilian and then testing my comprehension. As sad as I am that Im really never getting and good Italian practice (Firenze, I learned Spanish, in Rome, I learned Tagalog and Romanian) I am pleased that Im not as lost as I once was when the conversation is only in siciliano. Yo saccio picca picca! (I know a little bit)
Little by little, his heart is getting a little softer. We read Mosiah 24 with him last night; I love the Book of Mormon. There is no coincidence as to which stories are in it.
There is the Purpari family- alot can be said about them. Vito, the dad (in his late 50s) has been really down this week because of the situation at home with his kids and wife. We went to the Villa (he is the head gardener here and hopes to be able to work on the Temple grounds in Rome) and he expressed concerns for his family and the desires of his heart. What I would have given to just wrap my arms around him and cry with him. So much pain and suffering in that family. The worst part is that there doesnt need to be- they could be so much happier. We asked them to read the BoM as a family every night, and Vito has been, even when its just him who sits at the table and reads outloud because no one wants to join with him. He said, "We all find ourselves in love with something at some point, and right now, Im in love with the Book of Mormon. Heavenly Father has given me answers in something that Ive read every day this past week. I dont have the strength to go on, but I have found something in reading that has helped me get through the days."
Maria Purpari, Vitos sister, has known the church for a very long time. We decided to start teaching her son, Renzo, a less active, at her house so that we could "kill two birds with one stone" type of thing. We were really excited to find a copy of How Rare a Possession and to watch it with them. Sorella Olsen and I were all worked up at how great the lesson and spirit were going to be, and we got halfway through the movie and then- heard a deep, steady breathing. Maria was fast asleep.
Renzo woke her up and she watched the rest of it, but struggled through it all. Oh well. The great thing is that Renzo, at the end, turned to us and said "Ive never prayed to know if the Book of Mormon is true. That is what I need to do tonight."
I took care to not blink in the split second where Mom is in the pharmacy :)
We are going to the town where Vincenzo di Francesca was born to hunt out his living relatives for todays Pday activity. We got permission to take Liria with us- she is Antonios sister (the one who adores sorelle) and we are super happy she can come with us because shes really depressed and stays inside the house taking care of their dying mom. Zone conference got pushed back a week so we will hike Mt. Etna next week if it stops erupting.
(Its harder than I thought to write spiritual experiences when there are men in the background grunting and fighting!)
Oh! Two nights ago, when we had just left Maria and Renzo Purparis house, we were walking past the Mistretta jail and I looked up just in time to see an old woman get hit by a car. We dropped our umbrella and ran to her- within a minute there were quite a few people around us. It was dark and rainy and the poor driver woman couldnt be blamed. They wanted to move her and I advised against it but they wanted to another woman and I lifted her up and carried her to a nearby church and set her on the stairs. The only thing the poor grandma was worried about was her purse. In my mind I was thinking "And youre not worried about your skirt being up around your waist and a 14 y.o. boy carrying your legs?"
haha, just jk. She seemed ok and since there were so many people there, we slipped away and continued on our way to go find a lovely family from the area book, la famiglia Oddo. Mamma Oddo has a testimony about the BoM but wasnt baptized because she didnt want to be different from the rest of her family.
Two of her kids, ages 13 and 17, came to church on sunday :) There is much to do with them!
Ok, times up. So many stories to share still! Oh well. No old woman died this week :)
p.s. Lenora, while I was licking an envelope closed yesterday, I got a cut on my lip!