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Monday, June 27, 2011

tithing, tumor, and a traumatic toothy grin later...

Last week I wrote that Guido got super upset over the law of tithing and told Patrizia he'd never come to church again. Patrizia called us a few days later and told us that they'd gone to the bank to check their balance. The banker informed them that their car payment this month isn't due because they'd accidentally charged them double the payment last month. Patrizia and Guido walked out marveling at this miracle and knowing that it is the Lord's doing.
We went to their house and asked them to retell us again what happened, and Guido said, "I changed my mind. I'm coming to church. Tithing still doesn't sit well with me but I'm seeing that it really does come from God, and I can't let something small and stupid stop my progression towards Christ". YAYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!
He has his sentencing on the 27th and we will all do a fast that things will go well (aka that he won't have to go to prison!). Guido just can't go to prison.

They were in church on Sunday and we walked Patrizia out (actually, we were recording a video of her because she drags her leg behind her (she has a little bump in her leg that she things is a tumor and all of a sudden it's extremily painful, etc) and when she got into the car, Guido accidentally went in reverse, crunched the car behind them (mind you, this is infront of a lot of members who are leaving church) and patrizia yelled "Guido!" and then...the car slowly drove away. We just about died. Especially because we were so lucky to get it on video!!!

We had dinner the other night with the Anziani at our ward mission leaders house, the Vardeu family. I felt like I was sitting with the RM family (the mom who cooks a ton). The lasagna alone had to be lifted by the two men of the family to get it to the table. And that was only first course. It was refreshing being with a family who gets along!

For Fathers day, we woke up early and made french toast that we doorbell-ditched at the Anziani's door. The Bishop called me and asked me if I'd speak during sacrament meeting (only missionaries would say yes to being asked the morning of!) and my topic was compassion, so I geared it toward the needs of the ward- home and visiting teaching. If everyone did their home and visiting teaching, there would be no need for us to do reactivation. It would save the missionaries so much time, and every member would be close knit and active. I want to always be a faithful visiting teacher!

At the training conference we had with Anziano Texiera from the Presidency, he reminded us that "The Lord never prepares someone alone". So, we went to visit Alina, a new convert, and we made it an effort to speak with a man who lives in their kitchen (this house has 3 different families who live in different rooms but share the kitchen and bathroom). His name is Marian, and yesterday we took him a Book of Mormon in Romanian with a dedica (we write on the cover and personalize it to him with our testimonies) and when we asked him if he'd read Alma 32 for homework, he said, "If I'm going to read this, I might as well start from the beginning". Marian is so neat! His family is in Romania and he is here by himself working. He is Luciano's smoking "buddy"... that will change :)
In the other room, lives another Romanian man with his girlfriend, Dana. Alina invited us over to watch the Restoration with them, but Dana had to shower and get ready for work, so we taught Alina instead. When Dana was stepping out the door, we saluted her and ... although she had a dress on, she was standing in the light and .... she was naked! She left for work like that!!!!!!!!!!! Ontop of that, we went to a new convert family last night and she was naked under her dress too! I guess it's the summer heat that makes people go crazy and forget basic ....social skills? (what would it even be called?!)

Because Sorella Hicks isn't feeling up to going sightseeing today, we invited the Burts, the Valentines (office couples) and the Kelly's to join us for dinner tonight. Sorella Kelly said she is excited to see our apartment. AGHHH. Last time we had the Burts over, Elder Burt asked me "Do you get splinters in your rear when you use the toilet?" I asked him what he meant and he said "While you were out, I inspected your bathroom (?!?! I wouldn't inspect YOUR bathroom if you invited me over!) and noticed that there's wood exposed on your toilet seat."
Sister Valentine doesn't like Italian, and seeing that neither does S. Hicks....she's making us all hamburgers. I feel like I'm already half in America- I heard a lawn mower this morning!

Sorella Hicks and I have made the goal this week to not say anything negative. Can I just tell you how hard that is?!?! I am failing miserably, especially when it comes to men. Whenever we want to say something negative, we replace it with "Bless his soul". There are alot of "bless his soul's" being said on my part! Monday was a particularly frustrating day (concerning men) and it was only noon when we were waiting to cross a street when a man turned to us and said "Oooh, look at you beautiful women". Before I knew it I said "Non si dovrebbe comportare cosi (One shouldn't behave like that)" and he looked a little surprised and asked me to repeat so I did, and then he said "Well, then what am I supposed to do when I see beautiful women like you?" I said (with a piercing stare and my arms crossed and my nose flared) "you can smile if you want, but that's it. You shouldn't say anything or do anything else. Nothing. Understood?" Poor guy. He wasn't even that bad and I just took it out on him. Maybe the world would see a difference if every woman would set a man straight every time he did whistle or say something inappropriate.

At zone conference, A. Texiera told us that it was possible to have 21 lessons a week. We set 23 as our goal, and on Sunday, to start our week off right, we fasted that we can reach our weekly goals. We know it's possible- and we decided to not return to our apartment for lunch or language. Just in our first day (monday) we beat the number of lessons taught in ALL of last week. Yesterday we had a pretty good day too, and we are confident that as we continue to push on, we will be able to see 23 goals by Sunday night. I even cancelled sister exchanges because I felt that all of the sister companionships should make this the goal to end the transfer strong.

On Monday, while I was talking to a woman on a bus about the plan of salvation, Sorella Hicks was trying to talk to her neighbor who, after a minute, stood up and went to the very back of the bus. Poor Sorella Hicks! And even when we wait for the trains, I always get the nice people who are willing to swap numbers with me and she is always rejected. It makes me feel super guilty, but...maybe rejection is helping her become stronger? Boh. She takes it really well though, and we just laugh about it.

We got a CD player this week and the only CD we have in the house is the soundtrack of Aladdin :)
Patrizia is still smoking.........................she has an appt to speak with Bishop and we think that that will really help her. We can't think of anything else that we can do that we haven't tried that will help her.
If Guido goes to jail, I'm moving to Italy so that I can go visit him every day and bring him treats. My heart will rip out if he has to go.
Maria Huarcaya is still on track for her baptism at the end of August- she is just so busy at work that we can never teach her!
Luciano joined us for a family prayer last night! I have found that people can't refuse you when you say, "Can we say a prayer for the health and protection of your family and friends?"

Oh! I can't believe I was about to forget to write about Sunday's adventure!!! After district meeting on Monday, after rebuking the man at the crosswalk, we went to go find a mother and daughter who haven't been to church in a month. The mom is 83 and her daughter, Palma, is mentally handicapped and super loving. When we arrived (without an appt), Palma let us in and the mom was in the kitchen eating lunch with her son, Mario (who's 50 and he's the one who never went to school, never has had a job, and stays in his room and listens to American music). Granny (I dont want to keep repeating "the mom") was super nervous and upset over how busy she is, that when her son said something about the pasta being too cooked, she grabbed a knife off the table and held it to his throat and S-C-R-E-A-M-E-D. I was standing right next to them and I didn't do anything because Mario didn't even break his rhythm of eating pasta- I guess it's nothing out of the ordinary for him.

I asked if we could share a short message with them and she picked up screaming (I really mean screaming) about how much she had to do around the house. She grabbed my arm and dragged me into her bedroom, sat down on her bed, pulled off her shoe, and stuck her foot out infront of me. "See that nail? It hurts! I can't do anything anymore. I am old. I am tired! (In my mind I was thinking, please, please don't ask me to touch it) and she breathed again and ordered, "Touch it!". I hesitated and she said, "touch it, I washed!" so I reached out a finger and felt her nail. Good thing S. Hicks was behind me. I think I would have started laughing. I asked her again if we could help her with anything, and if we could simply just say a prayer together. She raised her voice again so I raised my voice so that she could hear me and said (with righteous anger but lovingly) "There is always time for God. If you don't have time for God, repent" and she shut up and followed me into the living room and said "Make it short". So S. Hicks and I kneeled down and I said the prayer and included "Help them make time to let Christ back into their lives" and when we said amen, both Granny and Palma were sobbing. They want to come to church but it's too hard for them to come if someone doesn't give them a ride, so we are working on that.

Next week I want to write about the "30 lessons\talents from the mission" for my final letter. I am so excited that Billy Hashey is getting baptized in 10 days! There is SOOO much to still do. The work is going on wonderfully and I continue to see miracles day after day. I am soooo happy and grateful to be here.

Vi voglio bene!
Sorella Urban

p.s. Oops. How do I always forget a spiritual thought...who am I?!
DC 130:2 Is a verse I came across in my personal study yesterday, and I really like it.
"And that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be couples with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy".

I always knew we would carry on our relationships, but it clicked better with reading this, that the friendships, relationships, and bonds we make with our friends, family, and neighbors will continue and be even more wonderful because we will be in a different state of glory. I am so grateful for all of the wonderful people that I have met and continue to meet. They have made a difference for good in my life, as have all of you. Grazie

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