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Sep 7, 2010

Day 21 - Love, Tears, and Goodbyes

Ciao carissima famiglia (and friends)!!

How much do I love you all? I cannot even begin to explain. I thought I was good at loving before, but the more I study our Savior the more I realize what real love is. He sacrificed everything he had and suffered for our sins. For us and for people he knew wouldn't accept Him and he still did it. Not only that, but he continues to plead for us with the Father so that we can return to live with Him despite our imperfections?

Do I sound like a missionary? Good. Because that's all I want to be right now.

Though I am suuuuper bummed because they are making a New Testament movie and I totally could have put my Syrian blood to good use, but alas, I am here. It's funny because the only websites we can get to are email and lds.org and mormon.org but I find ways to get distracted by those too.

Okay, here we go. What a week.

I forgot to mention that last week I got to teach "investigators" in Italian with Sor. Mullen. And guess what! I told them the great-gramps story about tithing and how it blessed his life. IN ITALIAN. I rock! And, I want dad to know that that story has already come in handy. Hooray!

TRC this week (no idea what TRC stands for, but we go and teach people) was great. We got two guys who spoke crazy fast Italian and were joking around with us the whole time. Really fun. I was kind of in a funk when we got out, even though it went really well and Anz. Barnes, Anz. Knutson and I are on fire teaching together. But Fratello Skanchy looks at all of us and goes, "do we all need a hug??" and go to embrace everyone and I sort of glare and walk off to Sor. Mullen who was luckily near-by to hug her. Because, as we know, hugging Elders even though they're the only ones I ever see, is not allowed. And then I was sad and felt un-loved but I remembered the scripture in 2 Nephi something something that says, "I am encircled about in the arms of his love forever." (ish) and I was like, well, at least I've got a Savior who is always hugging me...metaphorically. So I decided to stop being mopey about it. And then Anz. Parker came up and shook my hand and I got semi-emotional and was like, "Thank you for shaking my hand!" And he was like, "Um, do I not usually shake your hand?" And then I had to explain that I was feeling a lack of physical connection and he took my hand in both his hands and gave me one of those good, ol'fashion Joseph Smith-like handshakes and goes, "I don't know if I can shake your hand with two hands, but I am." Turns out sometimes it's little things that really matter. And this was one of them.

Another hilarious exercise was when we pretended to be investigators for each other. We had to approach people at bus stops/at the park. Well, Anz. Barnes was hard on me and I approached him with everything I had, "How do you feel about your family..How would you feel if you lost one" and He goes, "Well, there's always more children to be had. More wives to find...I mean she cooks for me, but there's always McDonalds." At which point I stared at him, opened-mouthed. Then the tables turned though, and I pretended to be a teenage girl and was like, "Hi! Yes, I love church we have a rock band at church that my boyfriend plays in, oh my gosh you would TOTALLY be friends! Yeah, I know about prophets, like that movies Prince of Egypt. Oh man the music in that is so MMM! Good!" and on and on and on and everyone else was finished and watching and laughing and Anz. Barnes's face was like, "Oh boy..." But he did really well actually.

Speaking of love...Sorella Swensen always leaves us love notes after she teaches us. Frat. Sk. does not. We sometimes tease us that he doesn't love us as much (which he obviously does, because we can never get him to leave when his shift is over) and so he spends time trying to think of ways to make it up to us. But then he continues to threaten us in Italian all the time. It's okay though, because the other day he told me I needed to figure out how to get places because when I'm in Italy and I get a companion who doesn't know the city blah-blah so I went off in Italian (with some English) about how it's not MY fault all the buildings there look the same and it's an awkward labyrinth like thing where you usually can't see the outside world. And that was kind of fun. By the way, I already talk like a crazy Italian--with my ENTIRE body and hands flying everywhere. Watch out for when I get back.

Speaking of Sorella Swensen, she forced us all to express our feelings in Italian yesterday. And it was amazing. We all made each other cry. There is something about being hindered...Having to resort to the simplest of statements to express yourself that make everything you say SO powerful. She always makes us cry...In a good way. I had a progress review and I went in with no intention of talking about anything...Because I didn't feel like anything was bothering me and she got me to spill every thought and feeling in my soul. It was powerful. She's good at what she does. She makes all the Anziani cry too. We love her to death. And we love her love notes.

The Anziani are continuing to take care of me and love me and refill my water glass. Which is good. It's sort of special being a Sister here, people don't take you for granted because you're so small in number. We got an awesome pep talk from the branch president about how great and special we are. He made me cry too.

Um, I'm a bit sad because I had to send Sor. Mullen on her way today. I walked her downstairs with her luggage at 4:30am to meet her Anziani. And we embraced wonderfully and I felt like a mother because I am SO happy to send her off to Milan to teach our lovely Italian people. We decided that it is good we aren't going to the same missions, divide and conquer and what-not.

The MTC is a bit less boisterous without the influence of 9 extra Italian speakers, our numbers have been cut in half. Don't worry though, I sent them off well by forcing everyone to attend a Italian Family Home Evening that I planned. We sang a hymn that is only in the Italian hymn book and then we all went around and shared our gratitude for one another/gave advice/bore testimony of this gospel and the importance of the work we are doing. Some of the Anziani even brought treats. Then we sang God Be With You Til We Meet Again which made Sor. Mullen cry like crazy. It was SO good. So good to stand together crammed in a classroom and sing our hearts out in Italian and look up every once and a while and realize that even though we'd only been together a few weeks and even though I don't know most of their first names or where they lived before this, we know that we love each other and we love the Italian people and that...Well, that's about all we need. Then all the Anziani shook me warmly by the hand and off they went. I have to tell you all...Italy is in good hands. And everyone thanked me for forcing them to attend my FHE. Ha!

I love it here. Sometimes I don't. When everyone else was getting ready to leave I wanted to go too. But Frat. Skanchy (who was actually talking to someone else) said, "Maybe you're not here to learn Italian and maybe you're not here to learn the scriptures, maybe you're here to help bring others unto Christ." and that sort of changed my perspective on everything. There are people everywhere with needs, not just in Italy.

I love you. I love you. I pray for you (and I pray a lot these days, so that's saying something). Use dearelder.com it's free!!

Con tutto l'amore nel mio cuore,

Sorella Laws

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