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Wednesday, April 20, 2011


This will be a shorter email........so you can breathe deep and relax :)

It's Pasqua on Sunday!!!!
We had a miracle happen to us on Saturday. We live about a 10 minute walk from a trenino, a small ghettoish train that runs from the central station (Termini) out to the middle of nowhere. We were there on the platform and I started up a conversation with a woman beside me, and we continued talking after we got on the train. We exchanged numbers and she said that she was free on Sunday and we could meet up. I invited her to church and we decided to meet infront of Eurospin (grocery store) near the church to walk there together. (Its always a very nice surprise when people say they live near the church!). On Sunday, we waited infront of Eurospin and called her a few times and she didn't answer...then she called and said "I'll be there in a minute!" and she came! Her name is Mira and she is from Albania. She is AWESOME. We walked to church together and she was super involved in Relief Society (the lesson was on tithing and she talked about how important it is for parents to pay tithing to be a good example to their kids!!!) and she participated in Gospel principles and THEN she was mesmerized by the talks during sacrament meeting. They were on charity and gratitude. All of the members were super nice to her and she promised them all that she'd be back next Sunday. As we were walking her back to eurospin, she said, "I have a feeling that if I asked my Priest about this book (the Book of Mormon) that he would tell me bad things about it. I will just have to read it for myself and ask you to explain it to me." THEN she said, "I want you to meet my cousins, my sister, and a few of my friends. We need to meet up sometime this week and get a coffee and talk".
We went to find her house yesterday and she wasn't home, but she called us and said that she has another cousin she wants us to meet. She is great!!!! The Zone Leaders have challenged each companionship to set another baptismal date before Easter. We are still scratching away at the big pile of area book records we have, and we've only met a handful of them so far. We think Mira is our person. She is a miracle. While walking home from church, we could only marvel at how amazing that morning had been. The members are so incredible here.

Yesterday, while looking for Karol's house (a referral) we stopped a large man and asked him directions. He climbed into his truck and got out a map and missed the sidewalk on his way down and fell backwards. Good thing my feet are size 11. My left foot saved his life.

On Sunday, unbeknownest (sp?!?!?) to us, we spoke to the Pope's chef! She, Tiziana, is dating one of the members. Well, if we can't baptize the Pope just yet, we can sure baptize the chef! We are going to try setting up an appt to teach her. eheh.

On Friday, we were lost trying to find a member, Marcella. I looked in our phone and there was only one Marcella listed, so I called and it turned out to be someone else. She was so excited about our call that we set up an appt for the following day. We had no idea if she was a member or not. We looked up her address on the map and ....long story short, it was a miracle finding her house. Her street was like walking through the Harry Potter brick wall thing, like a hidden world. Anways, Marcella was waiting for us outside a big, abandoned building. Her first words were, "Don't be scared" and led us through the building which was full or trash and smelled terrible. She lives in one of the rooms. We sat at a makeshift table and while she talked, I couldnt help but feel overwhelmed at how blessed I am to have my life and all the things I have. She had surgery on her hand last year and it's all bent and useless because she couldnt afford to pay for the necessary physical therapy. Having had hand surgery myself, I encouraged her to just do daily hand exercises herself. Hopefully, she will be able to get some stiffness out and regain some use of her hand. I just wanted to wrap my arms around her and make her life alright. She is from Romania and has been a member for 6 years, and has been here for 4.
When we left, she begged us to not forget about her. We assured her that, "Ormai, siamo amiche!" We're friends, how could we forget about her? I want Lenora to meet her. We are excited that Pres. Kelly gave us permission to have Lenora join us for a couple of days. We are sure going to make her wish she'd served a mission :) haha.

I made a ginormous pot of soup and then.......Sorella Hashey mentioned that she doesn't like eating leftovers. I have sure had a lot of soup this past week.

In closing, I want to share a poem I really like.

Where shall I work today?

Master, where shall I work today?
My love flowed warm and free.
He pointed out a tiny spot
and said, "tend that for me".

I answered quickly, "Oh no, no there,
not anyone could see
no matter how well my work was done,
not that little spot for me".

When He spake He was not stern,
but He answered me tenderly,
"Little one, search that heart of thine,
are you working for them or for me?
Nazareth was just a little place,
and so was Galilee."

I am so thankful for the trust the Lord has placed in each of us to be His hands and help Him uplift and help those around us. I am grateful for all of you who have helped Him help me. Thank you.

Sorella Urban

Friday, April 15, 2011

First week in Rome 3!

There are fried pototoes all over my keyboard. This little kid (the son of the Nepalese man who owns this place) hopped from computer to computer and I had to rub tissue over my mouse because it was too slippery from his potato-pizza-fingers!

Well, I am in Rome 3!!! It really is not the prettiest part of the city, but it is different and interesting. On Thursday, Sorella Olsen and I passed by many of the members and friends to say goodbye. The young girls who come to english course gave me a painting of Mistretta. I made 50 banana cupcakes to give to the crazy 8 year olds. We stood outside of Francesca's door and she didn't open till I said "I came to say goodbye". She let us in and we had a lesson and then at the end, I told her I was being transferred. She cried and that's what started my day of being an emotional wreck. We went to Angela's work and said goodbye. We had a good dinner with Nino e Sonia and as we rolled and killed our joints walking downhill towards home, I saw that it was probably a blessing that that was my last dinner appointment and my last time walking down that steep hill. Rome 3 will give me time to "rest and recuperate" so that my body's not completely worn down when I leave.

Friday morning was my questura appointment and it all went very smoothly. We returned to Mistretta and had our last meal of apples and provola cheese. As we were descending the giant staircase, I had Sorella Olsen go in front of me because I was going slowly, taking my suitcase from one step to the next. I was about to start telling her the story of when Mom was at the airport and lost grip of her suitcase when my suitcase missed a ledge and, because it was too heavy to hold onto, it tumbled down the stairs as I yelled "Move!". Sorella Olsen was in the doorframe when the suitcase smashed against the door. We would have been headed to the hospital rather than Catania had she been run over by it. It was a miracle. And I am glad Sorella Olsen didn't take offense by my "insensitivity" of the gravity (graveness?) of the situation because I couldn't stop laughing for having just relived mom's experience.

We drove to Catania and picked up the Sorelle there and went to the bus station. Sorella Olsen started sinking in the fact that she'd be training the city and starting with a new companion, and she looked like I felt when I watched my trainer board the train in Florence to leave me behind. It's a scary thing! I know Sorella Olsen will and is doing an incredible job there with Sorella Tutt.

My prayers were answered- there was a bathroom on the bus, and I didn't even need it! For part of the trip, a large man was sitting next to me and the more he fell alseep, the more relaxed he became and his extra weight slowly invaded my space till I was squished against the window in my seat. I wouldn't have disturbed him but I got to the point that I felt that we were having way too much physical contact, especially as a missionary, so I pretended to need something in my bag and he woke up and collected himself into a smaller area. Besides my chubby ankles, the trip didn't seem 14 hours long. I arrived Friday morning and waiting on the curb for the Assistants. They soon showed up with Sorella Hashey and they dropped us off at our apartment and left. We set down our bags and then looked at eachother and said "Now what?".

Our apartment is newish and we have a new shower! It's big and brown tiled and on the 3rd floor. If you send something, please use the Piazza Carnaro address.
We have a microwave, a big living room that we never use, and it is all very nice. Too nice for a missionary, almost.
Our first day, we went out and found a grocery store to buy some water and toilet paper. The Elders had left NOTHING in the house, except for, strangely, a giant bag full of women hygiene products. haha. We met up with our Anziani, Acerson and Larcher, who live a few minutes walk away (in the old sisters apartment). They gave us some towels and sheets. We forgot to ask for blankets so we slept in our hoodies that night.

Sorella Hashey had spent a few days in Rome with the sisters of Rome 2, and they'd bought tickets to see the play "Beauty and the Beast" so we went to go see that later on Friday. It was reallllly good, and it was so fun to see Sorella Pickett. I haven't seen her since the MTC. She caught me up on how the work is in Rome 2. It's crazy that it's only been 4 months but they are working with a completely different group of people. They haven't been able to get a hold of Nelson, and Yolanda doesn't want to leave her companion. They're not teaching Gina anymore. My source of joy is that Sandra just got a calling in Relief Society!

We have spent alot of time working in area book. In fact, after email, we are going to the church to meet with the Anziani to organize records and split the inactives and new converts. It is strange and fun that none of us really know what we are doing. It is like the blind leading the blind. We are amazed at how much work there is here! We have found at least half a dozen people who have had baptismal dates in the past. There's so much potential here! On Friday night, we met Patrizia. She is AWESOME. She was supposed to be baptized on Sunday, but she still smokes, so we reset her baptism for May 7th. (Lenora, would you like to come for it? I will ask President about it and let you know.) She bore her testimony on Sunday, expressing her desire to recieve "revelation" ...which we have understood to mean that she is still waiting to recieve a testimony. We went to her house that night and explained that we know she has a testimony; we explained that we postponed her baptism not because she doesnt, but because she needs to stop smoking. She seemed happier at the fact that we reassured her that she has a testimony of the church. So far, she is one of the two investigators that we have met.
The ward looks fantastic. Everyone is very friendly and excited to have sorelle back in the ward. We were invited for lunch and.... had ciccoria! I thought I'd escaped that when I left Mistretta :)

We go running in the morning down a random street to get to know the area better. There are so many supermarkets here! It is a nice change to not have cows or dogs chasing us.

The other day, we were having language study on our balcony and I accidentally pushed my slipper under the railing and it floated down. We went down the stairs and realized that my slipper was behind a fence, someone else's part of the apartment. We didn't even know where to ring so we were trying to climb over the fence to reach it, but we decided to go upstairs and change into pants. On our way back up, we bumped into someone and I randomly told them my situation and she told which door to knock on. What a good thing it was to have asked her! We knocked and our landlady lived there! She retrieved my shoe...can you imagine if she and her husband had looked out the window and seen us stuck on the daggers of her fence? How embarassing.

Yesterday, ldsmail wasn't working. We went to Villa Borghese because Sorella Kelly had free tickets for all of us in the Rome Zone. We spent a few hours looking at alot of naked statues and then Sorella Hashey and I headed out first. There were a few people on these tandum bike things and we just couldn't resist, even in skirts. We rented one (they're little cart things that you sit next to eachother and peddle, and one has a steering while and a brake handle) and roamed the park. I had to use my left hand to grip my skirt closed between my knees and sorella hashey's peddles weren't working so she was in charge of the brake. We thought "imagine if the others knew what we were doing!" and then A. Larcher called to tell us we'd forgotten S. Hashey's coat in his backpack. It was the funniest thing. Me, bent awkwardly over, trying to peddle and stay modest, and sorella hashey stretched over to reach the brake - as we peddled closer to the museum, all the missionaries heads turned and soon cameras were pulled out. What surprised us was Sorella Kelly's reaction, "Where can I rent one?!".

Sorella Hashey is everything but trunky, and we are having alot of fun together. I helped her discover her love for lentils and prunes. She still eats pears instead of apples but I have a feeling that will change. A. Acerson and Larcher are very nice and always willing to help us, even giving us a map that had all of the pages of this zone ripped out. (We went out and bought one of our own).

It's great being back in Rome- It's so good to ride buses and the tram again- there are so many options of how to talk to!

Vi voglio bene!

Sorella Urban

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Transfer 10.......!!!

I guess I really have been called to the Rome Mission, seeing that I will have served more than half of my mission in Rome! To Sorella Sarah Hughes, my wonderful trainer: I am going to Rome 3!!! :) (she served there for 6 months, if I remember right). Rome 3 is known as the Sorella's Napoli(Naples), because it's the "ghetto" part of town. Yay!

Seeing that I have an appointment for my documents on Friday morning, I will not be leaving tonight but Friday night- taking a bus from Catania that evening and arriving in Rome on Saturday at some point. I think I will stop eating and drinking from tomorrow morning till when I get in Rome....do they have bathrooms on those buses?! Or maybe they'll do like what we experienced in Uzbekistan and they'll pull over and the men will use the left side of the bus and the women, the right. It will be a little uncomfortable being by myself (besides the Spirit, of course :) )
Rome 3 has been closed for the past transfer because it was broken into. The Sorelle returned home later than usual one night and they found their apartment a little messy but not much was taken- goes to show that whoever came was not there for material things but maybe expecting them to be home, which is really creepy. Becuase the Sorella are loved so much, Pres. Kelly is having the Anziani swap apartments with us. Oh, and my companion will be Sorella Hashey! She left the MTC the day I got there....so the two oldest Sorelle in the mission will be companions! It will be an awesome adventure being blown into the city (arriving into the city without recieving training from someone who's been there) and the Rome 3 Anziani will be A. Larcher, he is sort of new and from Germany, and A. Acerson, the son of my former Pres. Acerson :) We are both returning back to Utah on July 1st, and this is Sorella Hashey's last transfer.
Sorella Tutt, who's in Ladispoli right now, will be coming down to take my place. I am sad about leaving Mistretta and all of these amazing people.

However, ...ROME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Last preparation day we spent in Paterno'. Mom, did Mauro Trombetta ever call you? On our way to the comune, we stopped to take some pictures infront of a field of flowers and on old man stopped and walked over to us and offered to take our picture. He was so nice! He ended with "Oh, if I were younger, I'd court you longer!"
He pointed the way to the comune and when we arrived, another angel offered his assistance and took us to the right sportello (booth?) and they typed in different versions of names but nothing came up around the right year (it would have been easier if I had had some more info! It was embarassing when he asked basic dates, like Nonno's birth date, and I didn't know! Che figura.) Mauro Trombetta did come up and they gave us his address and the man told us to go back to our car and wait for him- he pulled up in his car and we followed him up to Mauro's apartment! There are the nicest people in Paterno'.
I really didn't know who this Mauro was; Mom had just said that she'd met him when she was down here,...so we rang and a man came out onto the balcony and called down to us and I introduced myself and asked if he knew an Emma Panebianco and he shook his head and was about to reenter his house when I said "Roma" and he turned around and looked at me again and then said, "Did you say Emma?!" He got the biggest smile on his face and waved us up.
It would have been less awkward if I'd known the story beforehand, but he told us that he'd met Mom more than 25 years ago when she was here doing genealogy work. He spoke with such admiration and respect of you, Mom. I was pretty puffed up with pride :) He and his wife, and 20 y.o. daughter, Chiara, had us stay for a lentil-soup-and-fried-egg-lunch and he shared with us some of his memories of Mom. We were short on time and when he walked us back to the car, we gave him a Book of Mormon and he gave us his word that we would read it gladly because he believes that it is our beliefs that made us into the "wonderful women" that we are and that Mom is. Yes, that's quite right :)

April Fools Day was uneventful, besides the fact that Sorella Olsen took forever in turning off the alarm at 6:19 and I started calling out "Sorella, ....Sorella....! SORELLA!" and for a split second I though, "Oh no, my companion is dead" but she jumped up and turned it off. What a scare!
No one played jokes on us.........................and after I had said my prayer and was getting into bed, I took a drink from my bedside water bottle and then ran to the bathroom and spit it out. Sorella Olsen had put salt in it. ah ah.

On Saturday morning during programming, I mentioned to S. Olsen that my face felt hot and funny. Later, we went to the Portera's for the Young Women broadcast and everyone welcomed me with a "What's wrong with your face?!"
I don't know what happened, but my face burned for a day and a half and then it turned all crusty and dry........so now I am peeling my face and my eyelids are swollen when I wake up. I was supposed to take alot of pictures these last few days.................. People have offered suggestions, "It's the sun!" but since when has the sun turned me into a shriveled raisin? We've not been in the sun!
We decorated notebooks with the 2 young women (our Englsih class girls couldn't make it at the last minute) and we watched a talk and a half because the signal wasn't working. We watched the Sat and Sun morning sessions of General Conference at the Portera's home with some of the members. We snacked on raisins we had brought, and the next morning, Antonio said "Sorella, the raisins you gave me yesterday had an explosive effect and I spent all morning in the bathroom!" Our response was "Well, you always tell us you're constipated by nature, so now you know what you can remedy it with". :) Oh, Antonio.
I had goosebumps the entire time P. Monson was talking about the Rome Temple. When he said that 85% of members live within a 200 km radius of a Temple, the members threw back their heads and sorella Portera said, "Magari!" (if only\I wish!) When the number of full time missionaries was announced, Antonio and Liria sobbed. Bless their heart. Antonio brought us pizza for breakfast again. Sorella Olsen asked me today if anyone has ever told him that the max of physical contact he can have with us is a handshake. I assured her that he has been told several times. His "handshake" just includes kissing our hands and patting our cheeks. If it were coming from anyone but Antonio, I'd reprove (?) him.

The mothers for the English class are upset about transfers "Who do we need to call to tell them you need to stay another month?" and they had the children present us each with a rose and a pair of pearl earrings. That day, we had discussed whether we should continue teaching the childrens course or whether we should stop. We decided to pray and figure it out that day whether it was a good use of our time or not, because we have been hoping to be invited into their families homes but nothing was coming out of it.........and Heavenly Father heard our prayers and for the first time, one of the mothers came up and asked us "When are you coming over?" (we are going tonight!) and while we were walking around the city, we spotted another one of the mom's on a balcony and we walked towards her and she invited us in and we had a really good talk with her at her kitchen table. We recieved our answer. We need to continue with the course, it just needed some patience. Now, the mom's trust us and we are starting to weasle our way into the homes. I am sure going to miss the little 8 year olds.

We FINALLY asked around and found a car wash. A moment in the history of the car-being-at-Mistretta. I think in the year it has been with the Sorella, this was the first time it's been washed. We promised ourselves to never park under the tree again (black berry things fall and stain the entire car) and we returned to the car the next day to find that a bird had had an antonio-raisin-experience all over the windshield and hood.

When we read scriptures with our investigators and members, we always say, "Let's read from this verse to this verse- one each" and we will start and read one each and then the person will start and read not just one verse but two, and then another couple, till the end of the chapter. It happens with everyone. Sorella Olsen pointed it out to me, "What do they not understand about uno a testa?" Bo. Maybe it's a Sicilian thing. Sometimes it gets a little hard for everyone else to stay focused because most everyone has bad eyesight and will strain and move the book around under the light to see the printing better and a few verses will take a good chunk of time.

This Saturday, we decided to do our language study at the castle fortress on the tip of Mistretta, and Sorella Olsen perched herself on a rock and started singing hymns. She wasn't singing that loud. A minute later, the phone rang and it was Daniele (the 24 y.o. member with a flirting problem). He asked if we were, by chance, at the castle. Knowing him too well, I said "Maybe" and he said that he was out on the balcony reading his scriptures when he heard someone singing hymns. We looked over the brick wall towards the city and we spotted Daniele on one of the house tops, waving his arms. How on earth he managed to hear her is a mystery. But it was really amusing that Sorella Olsen's voice was carrying over Mistretta.

We have found our favorite apple vendor. 4 kilos for 5 euro. We have bought 41.9 pounds of apples the past 5 days. We joked that we will prove that it is possible to gain weight off of apples. We also eat lentils for every lunch and dinner. They are delicious and even better with chick peas.

The white handbook says not to write General Authorities. Seeing that Elder Robert F. Orton is no longer on the Liahona fold out, is there any way of getting his address? I would enjoy writing him.

Angela is reading the Book of Mormon like crazy! We went to see her the other night and confronted her about the cup of coffee we'd seen on the kitchen counter. She knows she needs to stop drinking coffee because she can't expect Heavenly Father to bless her with what she is in need of if she doesn't show sacrifice and effort on her part.
Francesca showed up at English class and acted like nothing has happened. We went to find her the next day and we talked a little bit about Conference because we didn't know how much we could ask her about the situation. We don't want her to disappear off the planet again. Angela continues to be a supportive friend and good example to her.
We don't know what we can do more for Maria Purpari. She calls us her "Sorelline" and we feel like she doesn't take us seriously anymore. She likes our visits because we make her feel good and for our company, but she isn't acting. It's really sad and hard to drop someone, but we know that with her, at least she has the constant contact with her brothers who are members.
Salvatore Naro might get operated on this weekend, so now they have no excuse for not being able to make it to church every sunday from here on out! They are such good people. I've adopted them as my Sicilian parents.

It is hard leaving these people who have lives that are so broken and sad. I wish I could have done something more for them. I can only imagine what Heavenly Father feels when he sees us suffering but rejecting His outstretched hand of help and healing.
I am excited for Sorella Olsen to move on to her second companion and for her to be more the "senior" companion now because she will be training the city.
I am going to miss her and all of the experiences we have shared that have brought us very close. I packed my suitcase and had extra room so she is sending me with her sheets to take back home to her parents. I thanked her for the new bedding :)
I have 12 weeks left to serve the Lord full-time. I am so so so sooo excited to return to Rome and continue His work there. I am also looking forward to reading the conference talks. We are so blessed to have a living Prophet. We always ask people, "Would you want to hear what Moses had to say if he were on the earth?" That sure gets peoples attention :)

Sorella Urban

Monday, April 4, 2011

here in Paterno'!

We are in Paterno'!
Our exchanges in Siracusa have been cancelled because the Sorelle don't have the time to do them (even though we would be the ones traveling the longest distance....) So no Siracusa, which bummed us but President gave us permission to travel today because its a "good family cause". From what I've seen, the city is bigger than I imagined it to be. We are going to the comune in an hour because it closes early, and we are planning on hunting down some Panebianco parenti :) I will let you know how it goes next week.

Last Friday, we walked up the huge hill of Mistretta for our appointment with Vincenzo and Ignazio, two men we have been teaching for the past few months. They ride around in a fruit truck and the more we teach them, the better discounts they give us. Vincenzo can't read and Ignazio doesn't want to read the Book of Mormon to him outloud becuase he says he gets confused. (?!)
We read them a few paragraphs of the family proclamation and then we invited them to pray to find out for themselves if they can be with their wives and children for eternity. Ignazio was too self-conscious to say the prayer, and so we turned to Vincenzo and asked him. We went throught the steps but he kept saying he didn't know how to pray, so I helped him through a prayer and then we said amen and bought some fruit (at a very good price! :) )

We set up a return appointment and then each of us started munching on an apple as we walked back down the huge hill. Suddenly, we heard a mans voice from heaven saying "Caro Padre Celeste" (dear Heavenly Father) and I was confused for a split second and then we turned around and saw them in their truck- Ignazio was laughing and Vincenzo had the microphone at his mouth; there was a line of cars behind them because they drive really slowly. Vincenzo then continued to pray over the microphone as they waved and passed us.
It was one of the funniest moments of my mission. Vincenzo praying for all of Mistretta to hear. When I managed to stop laughing, I almost wanted to start crying because little things like this is what I am really going to miss. Being a missonary is wonderful. Obviously Vincenzo now gets the pattern of prayer :)

When we were creating our transfer vision (things we want to see happen by the end of the transfer), one of the things we desired was to see Rita and Salvatore Naro in church. They were baptized 2 years ago and were active for about 6 months. They haven't been to church since. Since I have been here, they have not been able to come because Salvatore has some health issues; he is uncomfortable dressed in a suit. One of the reasons they haven't come is because they feel a sense of abandonment on the members part. We see them about once a week because they live in Sant Agata. Out of the blue, President Portera called us on Friday morning that they were in Mistretta for Rita to have same-day surgery to remove something benign.
We changed our program and headed straight to the hospital- it was incredible to see how the members took them under their wing. We stopped in to see them 4 times that day- we brought them lunch and dinner, and every time we stopped in, a member was there visiting with them. Rita said what we've been waiting to hear, "If the man with the tractor doesn't come to our farm on Sunday, we will definitely be in church".

We went to see them on Saturday, and they still didn't know if the tractor man would come or not, but then they decided that the tractor man could show up without them, they'd come to church. It was so neat to see them take those steps to change their plans to put the Lord first in their lives.

On Sunday, there were 7 of us- the Naros picked up Isabella Purpari on their way to church. She hasn't been to church for a good 2 years. It was so good to see them there. We were few, but the Spirit was present and we all supported eachother with our presence. It hit me that it was the last Sunday of the transfer, because of Conference this weekend. The Naros came to church this transfer. I am continually amazed at the miracles Heavenly Father allows me to be a part of and to grow from. I have learned so much from these people. I am so proud of them and for everything they do to help eachother. Sorella Olsen and I have talks in church on the importance of strengthening our testimony daily. We split points to cover and I talked about the importance of daily scripture study and service. (before going to see Isabella for an appt, I was reading and came across a scripture that I felt I needed to share with her. It's Jacob 2:8; I shared it with Isabella and she flipped to it and had it highlighted. It fits her perfectly and I am grateful for the guidance of the Spirit in helping us find and learn things that would help the people we interact with.

It is hard knowing that this is most likely my last week in Mistretta. I've even grown to love the rambunctious 8 year olds. Transfer calls come on Saturday- Sorella Olsen thinks I'm going to Ragusa. I would love to remain in Sicilia, but Ladispoli would be neat too :) Jk. I would be happy even going to Puglia where the air smells like dead fish.
I have enjoyed sharing with the members that I am part Siciliana- they really get a kick out of having a missionary among them who's "one of them".

Yesterday started with a good laugh. When we go running, I take our house key off the key ring and run with it in my hand, and then when we get back to the apartment, I stick it on my desk and join it to the keyring right before personal study. I was drying my hair when the electricity went out, so we went outside, around the house to the basement, and flipped the switch back on. When I pulled out the keys is when I realized that it was 2 floors above us, sitting on my desk. I started laughing and told Sorella Olsen- she was dressed but in slipper, and my hair was all liony because it was half blow-dried and I was half dressed with my coat over. Our options were to either go to Pres Portera's house and get the spare key, or to climb. We put our brains together and found a ladder (6 ft) in the basement, and S. Olsen used it as a footstool and then somehow climbed the rest of the way to the second floor and pulled herself throught the bathroom window. We only had two women hanging out their windows watching us, calling out suggestions.

Since Sorella Olsen is in the process of writing her family about my cold heart, I feel I need to put in a word of defense.
We passed by Nino's one night to remind him of an evening that we are going out to do missionary work together, and he invited (invitations are more "you better or else") us to join them for dinner. He cut us each a big peice of homemade pizza and while I, who suffers from eating at night and not being able to sleep well, diligently chewed away and finished my pizza, S. Olsen cut off her crust, ate it, and then snuck the rest of the pizza onto the plate beside her. Injustice! I may have brought their attention to the fact, but they didn't stuff it down her throat like I was hoping.
So, I am completely justified in what I did yesterday at Maria Purpari's. She made us pasta al forno (you throw pasta with sauce and anything else you want into the oven to bake) and she served us up a heaping bowl of it. While she had her back turned, I quickly scraped some of mine onto S. Olsen's plate. She protested and called it to Maria's attention, but I got it off my plate and that's what matters. After the meal, S. Olsen told me she had had bad thoughts about me all during lunch. I think we are even now.

I am so excited for General Conference. There are four young women who come to English class, and we invited them to watch the Young Womens session with us and they want to come! So are the Naros and Isabella.... and the other night, we bumped into Luca Purpari (Isabellas brother) who is inactive and we just walked a block with him and parted and appartently that was enough for him to want to come back to church. He called P. Portera to let him know that he is reactivating himself and will be watching general conference with all of us this sunday. Good for him!
I received a package from Grandma Spalding and when I opened it up, I felt like I'd just had a shopping spree at Macey's. What colorful candy! I shared some with our English students and they are hooked on reeses.
I recieved an appointment to renew my permesso di soggiorno on the day it expired (phew!) and it is for next friday, which means that I will not be transferred when everyone else is. We might be in a threesome for a couple of days (unless I get to stay!).

The drive this morning was incredible, and blinding. What I don't understand is why I hadn't heard anything about Sicilia until I came here. It is heaven on earth. We stopped by the side of the road to press some poppies (I'm not sure if that is spelled correctly and I apologize if it's not) and hope to make bookmarks out of them.
We will be calling home in about a month- if Pres. Kelly does like P. Acerson did, then I will be able to call both Mom and Dad separately.

Angela is doing incredibly well. She is hooked on the Book of Mormon and reading it a wonderful pace. We did catch her drinking some coffee with her sister, and when confronted she said that she knows she shouldn't. In speaking with her we can see that she understands exactly what is expected of her, and she is taking the right steps. She expressed the desire to serve a mission at the Swiss Temple in the next year or two. I recieved a package of letters from Sorella Miller for the members here, and they all loved hearing from her. I hope I can keep in touch with them as much as I would like to. It is important to stay in touch and share our testimony with those who we have been blessed by having in our lives.

I never feel ready to leave a city when the time comes for it. Mistretta, as is Firenze and Roma 2, will always be a special place. I am thankful for the people I have met here, for their examples, and for the things I have taken from them. I'm also grateful for having served with Sorelle Miller, Riffaldi again, Jones, Squarcia, and Sorella Olsen. I have had more companions here than in my entire mission :) They are wonderful Sorelle and I have learned much from their examples. I am so thankful to be a missionary and to have the blessing of the peace the gospel brings. I am excited that it is warming up and that summer is coming, even though it means less layers and more shaving :)

Sorella Urban