What a week full of experiences! Where do I start?
While we were at Giuseppina Oddos house weeks ago, Sorella Olsen had commented on one of her house decorations and Giuseppina gave it to her. It was a glass orb with flowers inside, and Pina said she didn't really want to keep it because one day it will break and the water inside would stink up the house.
We had it on our desk for a couple of weeks and then we finally decided to just throw it away. We usually put the trash in the car and then stop at the dumpster on our way out of Mistretta. While I was swinging the trash bag into the bin, the bag dropped and the orb broke and splashed water all over Sorella Olsens legs. The smelliest water. We wailed and groaned as we drove to Palermo because it smelled so bad. It was sooo funny.
We drove to Palermo for DDM this past Monday, and since we had always seen parking space infront of the church, we asked the Elders if we could pick them up and they show us the way to the church. We did so but when we got to church, we circled the block a few times and couldn't find anything. The Anziani got out and we took off again to look for something. A minute later, they called us and said "Hurry back, we found a spot!" So we came back around and as I crossed the busy intersection, I couldn't see any spot for the car but the Anziani kept beckoning us forward...so we went forward...and blocked both lanes of traffic..."You need to parallel park!". Thanks Anziani, that came a little late. So somehow I managed to double park and we waited for a woman to come outside the pharmacy to take her spot. We waited and waited, and then she finally came out and while she was backing out into the street, she hit a car and that car hit a car which hit another car. I wish I had taken a picture. It was one of the most stressful and funny moments I have had yet. The four Anziani on the curb were all gaping. I guess in Palermo it's a normal thing to hit cars, because no one got out to assess the damage or anything. We finally parked, cheered, (a fruit vendor helped us and then joined in the moment of triumph) and we had DDM. I think that's the last time we are driving all the way to the church.
On our way out of Palermo, we stopped to buy some fruit and Sorella Olsen almost lost her skirt. She must have forgotten to zip it after using the restroom :)
As for losing skirts at fruit stands: yesterday morning we were buying some fruit and all of a sudden I felt my skirt walking away and I jerked around and there was a kid with his hand wrapped around the hem of my skirt and he was trying to walk away with it! His Dad was standing next to him and not looking nearly as alarmed as I was feeling. I literally had to fight the kid off of my skirt! What was the Dad thinking?! What was he not thinking? I turned to see Sorella Olsens reaction and she had missed the whole thing! Too bad she was the only one- everyone else was staring at me and giggling. Sorella Olsen and I are wearing leggings under our skirt from now on.
Sorella Olsen has been having strange dreams about me and Lenora. One was of me smoking and then drinking egg yolk through the cigaretta as a delicious finale. She dreamed that Lenora and Andrew got sealed at the Temple...why does she have good dreams about L and not about me?
On Friday, we were invited to Francesca's for dinner. She doesn't really know how to cook but she managed well. Because she doesn't have a stove, she and Pietro (her husband that is almost an ex) came over and dropped off the lasagna for us to put in the oven. Pietro gave us a kilo of ricotta, so we made a lot of cannoli this week and delivered them to all the members and contacts :) They said they'd be back in 30 min. An hour passed. We sat in the kitchen and stared at the lasagna and were sooo tempted to just go ahead and have the dinner party without them. They finally showed up and all of us went together to Francesca's. Daniele came, too. (Daniele is a Purpari, he's the 24 y.o. who is a little messed up from drugs but now he's on the right path) ...Daniele doesn't like Francesca, he actually goes through terrible phases of being flirty with us. He is in one of those phases right now and it really tries my patience because it's remarkably easy to be annoyed with someone. BUT I try to keep in mind how much he has been through and it makes looking at him more bearable. Anyways, where was I? Oh, so Francesca is going through a divorce with Pietro, even though he is still obviously very much in love with her and she says that he is not and that she has forgiven him for some mistakes he has made in the past, etc. She has a crush on Daniele and that dinner was her talking and flirting with him the entire hour infront of her ex husband. We felt terrible for Pietro. We had been meaning to speak with Francesca concerning the matter for a long time, so we went to see her a few days later and talked about it. It is so sad and it breaks my heart. Pietro did make dumb mistakes but he has repented and wants to be a better person, and he would give everything to Francesca if she needed it, and she doesn't recognize how much sacrifice he puts in to caring for her! We told her a story of Sorella Olsen's friend who didn't appreciate her boyfriend until he was gone, and then she regretted what she had had but lost. It makes me think of they many wonderful people who are at my side that I don't appreciate as much as I should. I'm learning alot from Francesca- we want to help her have direction in life, but she is set on not doing anything until God tells her what she needs to do and to "show" her who she has to marry. He doesn't work like that, Francesca! He will never deprive us of our free agency. Ay.
Well, we ate a huge dinner that Friday night and then, while Sorella Olsen was saying the closing prayer;
"Thank you for Francesca, Daniele, and Peitro.........." and Pietro said "and you too!" so she added, "and for us" and then she said "Thank you that Francesca found a house" and Francesca, really loudly, said "GRAZIE PADRE!!" Sorella Olsen remained quiet and then started let out a stifled snort\laugh, regained her composure, and managed to finish the prayer.
It's something that takes a little getting used to, having people chime into a prayer you're saying.
She offered us something she'd been eating for dinner and I, wisely, declined, but Sorella Olsen asked "What is it?" and got as a response "Eat it and then I'll tell you" which is immediately a red flag, but Sorella Olsen took a bite and I inspected it closely and said "Liver?" to which she nodded. Sorella Olsen said it tasted ok till I said that. Sorry!
But who eats something with that kind of response "Eat it and then I'll tell you"?!
Sorella Olsen has learned her lesson :)
It snowed a little bit here in Mistretta, so the city shut down and we had church at our house. Maria Purpari came to church, and even though he was really late, so did Pasquale! He is under Mistretta arrest, so that was the first time he'd been to church. Vito Purpari gave the talk, and the entire time I was trying really hard to focus on what he was saying but it was really hard to follow....
and then later that afternoon we went back to Maria's house and she said she enjoyed church, "but what in the world was Vito trying to say?!"
We started laughing because we were wondering if it was just us that thought his talk had had no point to it. Cute Vito.
Maria Purpari has been our miracle of the week. Ever since her son got stuck up north and the church helped him return to Mistretta, she has been very humble and open towards us. We have been planning to do a "frank lesson" with her for a very long time, but each time we went it seemed like the wrong timing, etc. but then we finally recognized that it was the adversary who didn't want her to have this lesson, so we headed over to her house even though we were on a time crunch, prayed on her doorstep for His help, and then we went in and Sorella Olsen sang, we said a prayer, and the first thing that came out of her mouth was "I hope one day to feel ready and worthy enough to join your church." It was such a huge help to us that she was the one to bring up the subject of baptism, and it led right into a great discussion with her. She didn't want to set a baptismal date, but she is praying, reading, and keeping the commitments we leave with her. We feel like she will be baptized this month. She's known the missionaries for years and had a baptismal date in 1966- it's time.
Sorella Olsen recieved a package from home with socks in it for us. Neither of us wanted to choose and after some loving arguing as to which socks I wanted, Sorella Olsen stuck them behind her back and had me choose a hand.
My right or your right?
Greaaattt. Um, my right.
She showed me the socks she had in her left hand and then said "Oh, darn it!" because she did have a preference even though she said she didn't! These are the types of arguments we deal with together :)
Back to Giuseppina Oddo- she is the one we found in the area book and she had had a bap date with the Anziani a few years ago, and then the set a bap date with us the first appt we had together but then called it all off, saying her husband didn't want us to come over and talk about religion.
Well, we have been getting mixed messages from her and we don't believe that the husband is the problem, so we went over and chatted a minute and then we asked when we could come back and she mouthed something about her husband being upset, so we asked her if we could speak directly to him to clear things up. He was staring out the window and only responding "I'm not here!" so we turned back to Giuseppina and told her that until we heard a definite "No, you can't come" come out of his mouth, we would still be coming over. We started sharing our testimonies as to how the gospel has blessed our family and how we know that it can only benefit theirs; she started crying and he walked out, and then out came the real underlying problem. They've always struggled financially and have always recieved help, but they're not willing to put in the effort to improve their situation. Pres. Portera gave us some food to take to them and we did, and Giuseppina's main concern was if we had been seen coming in. She really worries about what the neighbors might say about them. As much as we can understand that it might be a little embarassing on one's part to have to recieve help from others, we are sorry that she is so preoccupied with what others think that it really is a stumbling block. Her oldest kids could do odds and ends to earn money and help the family, but they don't want to and neither does Giusppina want to have to get a job that seems menial. :(. It is sad.
We also taught the plan of Salvation to the Scarito family, and the mom wasn't very excited about getting the chance to spend eternity with her family.
It is hard to see the narrow mindedness of some of the people here. We are so lucky to have the gospel in our lives, for the perspective that it gives us, and for the hope that we have in being able to be forgiven and enjoying the gift of eternity with our loved ones.
I'm sorry this is such a scattered email.
We are going to spend Pday in Palermo today. The Anziani thought they would be funny and played a prank on us last week, so we are going to brain storm on our way over there and see if we can get them back. We know where they live now. eheh.
oh! I forgot to add that when Maria Purpari returned home after church, she found her ex husband on her roof, ready to break the glass because he hadnt seen her around, thought that she had falled down the stairs, and was dead. haha! She has a pretty decent ex husband for checking up on her!
Next Tuesday we are going to Catania for zone conference. My Sorella Riffaldi is in Sardegna now so I won't get to see her.
Va bono. Have a wonferful week, and appreciate those around you! And don't be too prideful!
(How's that for my spiritual thought?)
p.s. Our english classes for the elementary students is slowly improving. Sorella Olsen and I still want to have kids of our own, so that's a plus.