I thought I didn't like fish? Sorella Hicks can't eat it otherwise she gets outwardly sick (throws-up). We were invited for dinner at a members house. We walked into the kitchen and, asking what was for dinner, she showed us what was in the blender, "Tuna, anchovies, and...." she cracked a few eggs and added them in. We had to pour this blend over roast. I think meal appointments is the only thing that's making me excited about only having a few weeks left. Freedom of choice of what goes into my mouth!!
On Friday morning, we joined up with the Anziani and went to a sisters house to do service. We swept her garage, raked leaves, and took out 3 stumps. Sorella Hicks one'handedly took out 2 of them. She is SO strong- I'm almost scared of being alone in the house with her. It's a good thing she doesn't have a temper. Back to the story: I never thought taking out stumps could be so fun. One by one, we broke two shovels and a pick. I'd been a little critical because I was thinking, "This sister should have the young men do this. We don't have time to do yard work, there are people out there who need us!" and breaking all her tools was an answer to my prayers because I hoped she'd think, "I'll never invite the missionaries over again!" ... On Sunday, she approached us and invited us over to eat at her place this coming week. Inside, I was like "What?!?!? We broke your tools! THREE tools! Didn't you get upset!??! You should ban us from your property! Invite the young men who aren't so destructive!!!" but she said, "It's a good thing those tools broke. They were ancient and I've been meaning to replace them for a long time." Mizzica. We accepted the invite on condition that she invite someone over for it.
While we were out one day it stormed and rained a lot, and when we came home, our beds were half soaked (we still sleep outside on the balcony). We hung up the sheets and........ a few hours later when I was putting my bed back together, I couldn't find my top sheet. It had blown away! The funny thing is that when we were leaving our apt this morning, we found it tucked into the stair railing. What a nice person whoever that was :) It definitely couldn't be the same person who came and rang on our doorbell at 6:35 this morning. A woman asked us what we did in the morning because we are loud. ?! loud? For one, sorella hicks and I don't even wear shoes in the apartment, and 2, at 6:30 in the morning, we are sleepily doing stretches on blankets on the living room floor for 30 minutes. And then, we shower and get ready. It's not like we have weights in the apartment! Needless to say, I was a little peeved, and it would have gone against my Urban nature to not say anything about the situation, so I (very sweetly) asked her, "While we're talking about noise level, you guys make a racket at night!" She scoffed. Ah! I need to show her the videos I have of the noise level at night from what we hear through our apartment! She lives on the floor beneath us with her boyfriend, and they are constantly at eachothers throats. I remember one night with Sorella Hashey that we thought someone needed to alart the police. It can get pretty intense. Comunque. She scoffed and walked away. Is that a sign of a guilty conscience?
I don't mean to make enemies with our neighbors, BUT.
Hmm. It sounds like I'm trying to justify myself. Well, I guess I am. I don't feel guilty about it, though. While I'm on the subject of sin, I'll add that I've been reprimanded by Anziano Larcher because I told Sorella Hicks, infront of him, that sometimes its okay to lie. Now, let me explain myself. I don't usually lie, but sometimes I do for the benefit of the person. (Ha, I can just see you all rolling your eyes and thinking that I'm missing the whole point of honesty, but hear me out!) For example, we went to Patrizia and Guido's house the other day. At church on Sunday, I'd spotted a pack of cigarettes in the bag. We were going with the intent of getting her to confess or confronting her about it. Thankfully, she confessed to it herself before too long, and then she and Guido started having a heated argument about who does what in the housework, etc. and that Guido needs to clean up the shower after he uses it and Patrizia is lame because she found a bump in her leg (a week ago she found a bump in her leg- when she doesn't know we are watching, she walks FINE and then when we approach her, she drags her leg behind her, takes baby steps, and moans. She reminds me so much of Nonna!!!! She claims that the doctor told her she needs to be on bed rest (?!) but, since she loves us so much, she will come to church for us. "No Patrizia, you come to church because you love Heavenly Father" I correct her, but she shakes her head and says, "I come for you Urban". Great. (where was I going with this story?) Oh! So, there they were fighting, and we got them to be quiet and I told them that we wanted them to do something every night before going to bed- to hold hands and pray. (Thank you Grandma and Grandpa for inspiring me!) This is where a righteous lie comes into play; "Patrizia, Guido, my family does this and it helps us feel more love for eachother, especially when we've had a disagreement". Now, that's not sinful, is it? Grandma and Grandpa are family! hehe. Well. As I'm trying to explain what I'm trying to get across, I'm realizing that I'm not explaining myself or my reasoning very well, so.......just forget it. Iìll explain why I think lying is ok during my homecoming talk.
Hmm. Maybe that wouldn't be the best setting or time for that.
Guido is awesome! We always ask him why he's not baptized yet, and he gave us a very impressive and admirable answer. "Accepting baptism means accepting God's commandments and doing my best is keeping them. Right now, I don't feel the strong desire to quit smoking or drinking coffee, so I don't want to make that commitment, expecially because I wouldn't be committed to keeping it." What a good example he is to Patrizia. He is the best non member to have present in lessons! Even though he doesn't want to be baptized, he is an active participant in church, reads the Book of Mormon every day, and is trying to collect from us every pamphlet ever made by the church. I love Guido. I would never have thought that he could make the changes he has in the time I've known him. He used to just be the "crazy brother" who sat in the kitchen and smoked in silence while we taught Patrizia. He has a sentencing at the end of June for something he did last summer while he was mentally sick, and we are really praying that he won't have go to back to jail to serve time.
Where to start about Odile? She is the one from Africa who we meet under her apartment because she has a roommate who doesn't like white people.
Well, last week, we went to teach her and she, like always, took 30 minutes just to come down. But, this time was different. She had the most blood shot eyes we've ever seen, and she was trembling and jumpy. She asked if we could just pray together because she wasn't well. We asked her what was wrong but she wouldn't tell us. We prayed and sat with her for a few minutes while she cried a little and then she asked us to leave so that she could spend some time with God. We offered that the Anziani could give her a blessing, and she said she'd think about it.
The next day, she called us and we met with her and the Anziani in church where they gave her a blessing. They asked her some questions to understand better what she was going through, but all she kept repeating was how she has to get better so that she can be closer to God. After the blessing, the Anziani left and we stayed and sang some hymns and ate cherries while we tried to talk with her and get her to open up because she usually is pretty open with us. We walked her home and then, half an hour later, she sent us a strange text about "maybe it would be better if we never see eachother again" and so I called her back and very-long-phone-conversation short, she explained how she always feels good when she is with us but then feels something negative afterwards. I tried explaining the Holy Ghost and the adversary but she wouldn't let me talk- she concluded that it was me who had an evil spirit and "please Urban, if we meet again, you need to purify yourself so that we can have harmony and sincerity between us". huh?
(maybe that's why I think it's okay to lie!) What is interesting is that Sorella Hicks and Anziano Larcher both have had the impression that her problem has something to do with drugs. Yesterday, we had an appt with her and we were prepared to go in and ask her if she's taking drugs, but she let us into her house and her roommate was there, and Odile was a completely different person. She was cheery and joking around, and she made us hot chocolate, omelet, and a tomato-onion-hot dog salad. We were a little nervous about her random lunch invite; Sorella Hicks was joking about how she was going to poison us. We got to her door and knocked, and a minute later, it creaked open and there was NO ONE behind it. Creepy. I asked if we could enter and there was no reply, so we walked in and we really thought our suspicions were confirmed.
Ah! I need to hurry and write the rest of my bullet points. On Wed night, while we were trying to fall asleep, there was a fire work show at the church next to our house. Sorella Hicks grew up selling fireworks and she said she has never seen or heard such big fireworks. Our balcony was trembling, and the fireworks were exploding right above the Elders apartment. We were laughing because A. Larcher ALWAYS complaing about not sleeping well because the train runs right under their house; the next day, we called them to ask how they'd slept, and he said "Like a baby!". I laughed and said, "No, really, how did you sleep?"
"I said, like a baby!"
Come to find out, the Anziani hadn't heard a thing. We had to show them the video for them to believe us. I cannot believe any human being in Rome was able to sleep through that.
Emiliano, the man who was baptized last year and fell away and then called me last week, came to church! It was SO nice to see him. He bore his testimony and thanked "A Sorella missionary for calling just to see how I was doing and to invite me to return to church."
When I found out I was being transferred here to Rome 3, I immediately thought of Emiliano and wondering if he was active. I know that he is one of the reasons I needed to serve here.
on Monday, we had 3 appointments that were cancelled back to back, but the miracle about it is that we met someone at every cancelled appointment. There's a reason for every change in plans, and it's fun and inspiring to figure out that reason whenever we find ourselves in that situation.
Last night, while we were teaching Alina, her ceiling was having a constant drip right ontop of Sorella Hicks. It was the funniest thing. I tried keeping a straight face while teaching gospel principles and waching Sorella Hicks out of the corner of my eyes as she wiped each drip from off her scriptures, arm, or head.
Agh! I have more to write but no time, so I will just end with this quote I like:
"...and so the Church moves on. It is carried on the shoulders of worthy members living ordinary lives among ordinary families, guided by the Holy Ghost and light of Christ, which is in them." Boyd K. Packer
It's true. It doesn't take a tag to move His work forward. We are all needed to help others find, accept, and enjoy the blessings that we have thanks to the gospel.
p.s. my glad these last few weeks is to eat as many fruits and vegetables as I can. They're definitely not as good as ones in Sicily, but far better that I'll be able to find in Provo :(
p.p.s. Address you can write to is
Piazza Carnaro, 20
00141 Rome, Italy
speaking of letters....... we are going to the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's today, so I don't think I'll be getting around to writing any today, or next week. There's just too much to do and see :) I hope today will be the last time that I set foot in the Sistine Chapel.