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Feb 24, 2011


So I knew coming on a mission meant changing lives,
but I didnt realize just how much that would include.

Example: I just taught Sorella Foote how to send pictures in an email.
She can memorize almost anything, but didnt know how to use a computer until I came along. Ha, but seriously, at least one or two of my talents are coming in handy. And we all benefit because now there are more pictures!!

Also, just got your envelope with the Valentines. I dont know why everything takes so long, because Slla Footes moms stuff always comes in like a week. I think it may be because of two things: Jesus stickers and she writes whats in it in Italian ("ropa e caramelle" [which would be stuff and candy]) so that might be the secret to success for anyone who wants to send packages. I loved the picture though!! You are all adorable. I havent had time to read all the notes yet, but thank you!!!

Transfer calls came and went and everything is staying the same!!
Our entire district of 10 and the other Sorelle in the zone.
All the same. Which we are happy about.
I was talking to president the other day and he was like I enjoyed your last letter (I had put "dont transfer us" in the subject line) He said he wasnt planning on splitting up the dream team
(ok, not his exact words, but he did say we were a good team)

Elda continues to be fantastic. We taught her in her dorm room on Monday and it was so weird. I feel like college life was SUCH a long time ago for me. She is so so so so lovely. She just wants to know everything and has tons of questions and we cant teach her fast enough.

So Bari has these magical places
that they didnt have that many of in Ladispoli.
Its called a Panificio.
In these places they sell bread and cookies.
Really, really good cookies.
And really delicious bread.
In short, its a happy thing to pass by them now and again (and again).

Another person we are excited about is Valentina she is 11 and last Sunday attacked Slla Foote saying
"i want to be baptized, i want to be baptized!
" and we were like, "um, okay, thats why we are here"
her aunt brings her to church every week. Her mom used to be a member and her dad never was, but they are okay with her getting baptized as long as she shows dedication to it.
So we are going to start teaching her this week. Yay!

English class continues to be our weekly entertainment.
So yesterday the guy that looks like Rays Brother (Everybody Loves Raymond) did a mime impression and I laughed SO hard.
Then he did it again because Slla Foote didnt see the first time.
SO Hilarious.

He just sits there and only says one or two things a class, but that makes it even better. I wish I could explain how funny people are when English is not their first language.
Im sure they all think the same about me when I speak Italian.
We had an English fast the other day where we didnt speak English for 24 hours. We should probably do it more. I still get off the phone with people sometimes and feel like I have no idea what is going on,
makes things fun though.

We were working on rhymes and tried to get them to write poetry and Julio (thats what we call him) hands me a poem that made absolutely no sense and he is one of the ones that is the best at English. I cant remember what it said something about
"you are the girl of my dreams never seen b4"
He lived in England for 9 years. We are pretty sure that none of them know whats going on most of the time.
Now I know how our MTC teachers felt. ha.

We had a crazy lesson the other day with one of our students from English Course we brought a newer member and then he (the member) was talking about how he always does the cross before he prays and we were like, "actually usually we dont do that" but it all ended up okay in the end.

And we helped make a pinata for a bambini activity because this member asked us to show her how and then we just ended up paper mache(ing) a box and it doesnt look like anything.
This week has just been a little strange all around, ha.
But good, as usual.

Also, just got an email from Anz. Mauldwin saying him and Anz. Healey are going to be companions again.
Is someone pulling my leg??
These are my Anziani from the MTC...
I cant imagine them being together in Italy.


Heres a little glimpse of home life. There arent any free outlets in the kitchen so Slla Foote was making banana bread in the hallway.

In the hallway is also our office. AKA an ironing board and a cell phone. Pretty much I watch Slla Foote do things and take pictures, but I did get her a chair after I took the picture.

The family we had dinner with on Sunday and the Anziani, poor Fllo Santoro got cut out of the picture, but his wife said it didnt matter, ha!
Slla Santoro is the gospel principles teacher, they are all awesome.
The Anziani are okay too.

This is the really small door that we go through to teach Teresa.

This is our grandma cart we get groceries in that we prepped with phamplets of the Plan of Salvation, just in case!

Me. Holding a giant meat platter.
Thanks Panino King.
We had to eat pieces of everything that ended up on that plate.

And then the sandwiches we got from him a few days later.

Us outside a castle in Old Bari.
Some of us are better at jumping than others...

Oh and we may or may not be doing a photoshoot today,
but there will be evidence of that later.

all my loving,

Sorella Laws


Feb 16, 2011

I miei amati fratelli e sorelle


I'll be honest. I felt like I was struggling a little the week before this. Things were just hard and I felt like I wasn't a good missionary. But then I remember all the times we talked about in the MTC how negative feelings don't come from God, even if they were the kind of negative feelings that make you want to be better, it still wasn't healthy. Because I was hung up on things like not talking to someone or not asking for a referral etc. etc.

I was thinking, am I even doing any good? am I helping the work here at all? I know all the things I need to do to be the best missionary and yet somehow I cant keep track of all of them at the same time. And then I got on my knees and said, Heavenly Father, I need a miracle. I need to know if anyone here even wants this gospel, this knowledge of eternity, this happiness. And right after I wrote that last email we went and did some shopping. We were on our way home and this girl on the bus goes, "Excuse me, were you talking about Jesus? I would like to hear more about that."

And Sorella Foote goes, "Um, yes!!" And all the sudden she is asking us about everything. And we switch numbers and set up an appointment. Then we have an amazing first lesson. We start with a prayer and afterwards she goes, "I just felt something inside" and I said, "that is the Holy Ghost. We feel these feelings of confirmation when something is right. When something is from God" And she nodded and then we taught her the Restoration. We gave her a Book of Mormon in Albanian. She asked "Why don't more people know about this book??" She would have come to church with us, but she said she wanted to come when we had the normal meetings so she is coming this week. We are meeting with her right after this and hopefully setting a baptismal date.

Then we are in the elevator and all the sudden we are talking to one of our neighbors about life after death. She was cynical asked us why we came on missions we said, "because we have a beautiful message to share" she said, "you all say that, is that something they tell you to say?" We said, no its just true. And all the sudden I am baring testimony of the Plan of Salvation and how God has a plan for each of us and that there is a life after death, because I just know. And she said she was impressed that we were answering questions that the priest she talked to couldn't answer, she said we could come teach her sometime, but we haven't been able to yet because she is never home.

Friday we got bidonned (stood up) but only after we had gone all the way to Adelfia so Sor. Iacovelli felt really bad and told us she would make us some hot chocolate. A young man came over and was showing her some machine she had ordered. We were laughing because he was trying to be the smooth salesman, but one part got stuck and he was like, "Um, do you have a knife?" Then he was going off about coffee and Sor. I kept saying how she didn't drink coffee and he was like, "this is really good, its only a little bit like coffee" and they were going back and forth. Then he goes out to his car to get something and she says we have to teach him the Word of Wisdom so he comes back and gives her something and she goes "now we want to give you something, sit down" and all the sudden we are talking about God and he tells us how many of his family members got cancer and once again we were testifying about life after death and he was like, "I hope so"

Then Sor. I calls a friend upstairs and we go to her and she is super catholic but said she was looking at other churches because the catholic church seems to be falling apart. And we talked to her about the temple and how families can be together forever. She has an adorable daughter and husband. The little girl loved me and before I knew it I was on the floor playing with a toy kitchen set.

With the Gravinas our last lesson got hijacked by Grazia, we tried to talk about putting the things of the Lord first but she always goes off about how her life is so hard and how she doesn't have time and she doesn't have everything that we want. We bore sincere testimony and promised her that she could have the things that she wanted (a united family, peace, security) if she would read and pray everyday. She took it as us saying that she doesn't do the things that she was supposed to, but I could tell that at least for a minute she was touched. And then Giacomo said "thank you for the things that you said" at the end when she wasn't listening. He came to Stake Conference by himself, during it Sor Foote asked, "Do you know this church is true?" "Yes." "Do you still want to get baptized?" "Yes" But he still doesn't feel ready and we are pretty sure its because his wife isn't supporting him. But he is so legit and sincere.

Before I forget, Jenkies, I love you, thanks for all the emails. You were a good step-mom. And that thing you said about just telling yourself you can do things and doing them? Just what I needed when I got that email.

Another fun story: The other day TJ missionaries stopped us and started talking to us on the street, they asked where we were from and we said United States and all the sudden they go, wait, your not from our church and we both realized at the same time and just started laughing. As we were walking away Sorella Foote goes, "Oh man, even the TJs think we are TJs!!" This is a common problem for us.

And meanwhile we have made friends with busdrivers and I have developed an addiction for cornetti (croissants) with Nutella. We bought too much chocolate when we got drug at IPERCOOP (the super grocery store) and I have a cold, of course, because being healthy is just not the way I roll (I promise Ive been taking vitamins).


Sorella Foote was my Valentine this year (and also her mom who sent us Sees candy! Thanks, Sister Foote!!) so I littered her area with inspiring pink post-it notes while she was in the shower.

THANK YOU to all of the beautiful Relief Society for the pile of Valentines. It was delightful.

We spent our valentines day (ironically) talking to/teaching lonely men with hopeless love lives and eating treats with the Anziani (who also have hopeless love lives, ha!) during district meeting. Not too shabby

One of the men the Anziani are working with brought us Focaccia and delicious chocolate, so all-in-all one of the better Valentines Days Ive had. ,)

During district meeting we were trying to ask the Anziani who one of the members name was and Sorella Foote goes, "I don't know, we just call them Lipgloss and Spaghetti" So now everyone knows we don't know peoples names. And there is rumors that the Anziani are getting pulled out of Bari next transfer (a week) so we are going to be in big trouble, ha!

Can you believe its been SIX MONTHS!?? I cant. Only a year left, better get to work..

Sorella Laws

Feb 9, 2011

Ciao Ciao

Hello everyone,

So Bari is known for its Foccaccia and the other day we bought SUPER Foccaccia that was twice as tall as the normal kind and we tried to eat it while walking home and we probably looked like fools, but, it happens.

The work is good. We had lunch with a girl from English Course and she is SO cool. She made us foccaccia and deep fried pizza dough )Yes, it was good. Her motto is If someone else can do it, she can do it too. She makes earrings and teaches math and does just about anything else you can imagine. We are going to challenge her to try and live like a member of the church for a month. To read and pray and to keep all the commandments and see if she notices a difference.

We wanted to show Tonia the Restoration film but she didn't have a DVD player so we went and got one from the church. So I am walking around all sketchy and it looks like I stole a DVD player from someone and then we end up not having time to watch it because we were talking before and all the sudden we are off topic and she is talking about how she just wants to go to Africa and hug and kiss all the children there and give them shoes and Sorella Foote just starts laughing while I )who was sitting across from her, luckily try to keep a straight face.

Lots of our lessons go that way these days, we start out talking about Jesus and end up in Africa or why
Francesca really hates Bari or other things.

We had lunch with a family on Sunday and they were hilarious. There was a grandma that had to be like 4 feet tall and she was doing everything, running around and making lunch and hitting her grandson when he tried to steal her cookies.
I cant explain, but she belongs in a Pixar movie.

The other day we went to teach a lady who was less active, her son was on the computer and didn't want to participate. At the end of the lesson I asked him what he was composing. He took out the headphones and it turns out it was a rendition of one of the hymns. We were surprised, turns out someone made him be in choir when he used to come to church and he didn't want to but then he fell in love with music. He says he doesn't come to church because he works late Saturday night
but that he knows it is a lame excuse.

I still love our English course.
They are all so down to earth. We have talked about what makes us happy and what we would do with a million euro and they are always like, :Money cant buy happiness: etc. etc. And we are like, c,mon live a little! Ha, but they are really great.
I just want to be best friends with all of them.

We ran into our friend the Panino King on the street he was with some guy who looked 10 years younger than him and they were going to get a coffee, Panion King goes, Me and Francesco here and °Francesco° goes, °Antonio° and he goes, °oh, right, Antonio° Francesco-
Antonio did not look amused.
I laughed really hard once we were around the corner.

I don't know, my mind is kind of blank right now as I try to write this email, I cant remember anything.
But we have been busy, of course.
And eating good food.
And meeting the best, craziest people.


We like panzarotti, deep fried calzones essentially.
They are delicious. and a Bari classic.

and sometimes we eat healthy too.

and sometimes our less'actives make us take a cup of water and cookies and fruit with us when we leave.

Oh, I forgot to mention our dear friend Ludo, that's us teaching her the Plan of Salvation while sitting on the floor.

This is the passage we have shared with our members, lessactives, and investigators this week. I think its good for all of us to remember its from a talk by President Uchtdorf

The things we hope for are often future events.

If only we could look beyond the horizon of mortality into what awaits us beyond this life. Is it possible to imagine a more glorious future than the one prepared for us by our Heavenly Father?

Because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we need not fear, for we will live forever, never to taste of death again.

Because of His infinite Atonement, we can be cleansed of sin and stand pure and holy before the judgment bar.

The Savior is the Author of our Salvation.

And what kind of existence can we hope for?

Those who come unto Christ, repent of their sins, and live in faith will reside forever in peace. Think of the worth of this eternal gift. Surrounded by those we love, we will know the meaning of ultimate joy as we progress in knowledge and in happiness.

No matter how bleak the chapter of our lives may look today, because of the life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we may hope and be assured that the ending of the book of our lives

will exceed our grandest expectations.

“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man,

the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

The things we hope in sustain us during our daily walk. They uphold us through trials, temptations, and sorrow. Everyone has experienced discouragement and difficulty. Indeed, there are times when the darkness may seem unbearable. It is in these times that the divine principles of the restored gospel we hope in can uphold us and carry us until, once again, we walk in the light.

We hope in Jesus the Christ, in the goodness of God, in the manifestations of the Holy Spirit, in the knowledge that prayers are heard and answered. Because God has been faithful and kept His promises in the past, we can hope with confidence that God will keep His promises to us in the present and in the future. In times of distress, we can hold tightly to the hope that things will “work together for [our] good” as we follow the counsel of God’s prophets.

This type of hope in God, His goodness, and His power refreshes us with courage during difficult challenges and gives strength to those who feel threatened by enclosing walls of fear, doubt, and despair

Love you,

Sorella Laws

Feb 2, 2011

Everyone in Bari is Crazy

the subject line may sound like an exaggeration or overstatement.
I am happy to say that it is not.

First of all there is our beloved English course.
Okay, so there are some normal people in there. But there is also this guy who never moves a muscle in his face and then says one profound statement each class.
He reminds me of the brother on I Love Raymond.

And there is "Ninja Turtle" who we refer to as such because we don't know his name and he has a green puffy jacket and matching green puffy gloves. He was telling us all about our horoscopes.
"You are a Gemini!
Oh, you should start a business"

Last night we talked about our fears and these two older men were like,
"Nothing. I am fearless"
And well, it helps that everything is a little bit funnier coming from them who don't speak the language perfectly.

Less Active work is tough because Francesca doesn't want to go to church because she hates Bari and everyone sounds like they are from Bari and she hates it. She has read all this stuff about the second coming of Jesus Christ and talked forever about everything under the sun except for what we wanted to talk about.

And we went to a GANS (young adult) activity where they wouldn't let us leave because they'd made a cake for Anz. Avesanis birthday, but we ended up leaving the Anziani there and getting a ride home with Jennifer and Giuseppe who said
we didn't look like we were from Utah,
which we took to be a quite nice compliment. ;)

And we went by this contact where all we knew was that her name was Angela. We knock on the door and she says,
"Come in, did you bring Angela?"
And we were like, um, you are Angela...And then we had a long discussion and apparently there are three Angelas involved in some sort of thing, but we decided to just stop trying to understand and taught a good lesson to her and her husband at the end of it all.
And then there is the "Panino King".

Do you remember when I was vegetarian? I sure don't.
So we decide to stop in this tiny grocery store on the way home for baking soda (we made cookies for our neighbors) and all the sudden this guy is like,
"I know the missionaries!!"
And apparently he had known the missionaries and they used to come by and he would make them huge sandwiches. Next thing we know he is showing us how he makes giant meat plates and he is feeding us everything. Like he wrapped raw ham around some crackers and spritzed lemon juice and pepper on it and put it on a tiny plate and made us eat it.

THEN we had to eat Boar.

We ate lard...
Just straight up lard...
well, on a cracker.
But still.
In broken English:
"My friends. This, this is special"
and then some cheese that costs 40 euro a kilo and some other cheese that may or may not have had wine in it (oops).
And he kept feeding us, passing it over the counter on these little porcelain plates/spoons and we of course had to eat it and I thought I was going to die and Sorella Foote thought she was going to die and THEN he gives us sauce "for your lunch tomorrow".

It. was. intense.

He said we had to come back Monday so we did and he made us sandwiches that were actually really good with Salami and fresh mozzarella and peppers and, of course, lemon juice. We took a fantastic picture, but it was on Sorella Footes camera so sadly no good visuals.
We are so sick of meat though.
We also made friends with Enzo at a bar when we asked for directions and he wanted to give us coffee and showed us all these pictures of his family.

We have knocked some doors and we keep getting responses like,
"We're not interested, but you two are lovely"
That or they think we are 15 years old.
There have been people that we have tried to go by that we were afraid we wouldn't get through the doors, but there was always someone to open up the door for us just in time.
We felt like spies, or like we were in a video game.

And the seven year old we are teaching who know everything about everything and reads all the time and uses huge words. She makes us laugh. On the ride back she and I looked through this clothes magazine and she would be like,

"this is SO pretty, do you like this?"
and I would say, "Not really"
because it would be a pair of jeans or a shirt with Minnie Mouse on it entirely in sequins and then I would be like,
"I like that"
pointing to the one normal jacket in the whole thing.
And then she would be like "
Hm, after the mission, would you like to get married?"
"Yes, I would"
"And how many children would you like to have?"
"Probably 3 or 4"
"I would like to have six. All girls."

Before dinner her mom was teasing her about how all the boys like her and she didn't like any of them
"What about Giuseppe?"
"We are separated"
"Oh, why?"
"We talked about it and we decided to separate"
. She is a gem.
Wise beyond her years.

Right now the guy next to us is singing.
It just doesn't end.
And its so lovely, I love them all so much

And there is our dear Antonia who came to church on Sunday.
We waited outside for her to come
and then she was like,
"You waited for me!!"
And we were like, of course.

We have been teaching her with F.llo Carlucci and he is a gem.
Okay, he makes it so not everyone in Bari is crazy.

He is a classic gentleman, reminds me of Saul from Oceans 11 and he wears his wife's wedding ring on his pinky finger next to his. He told us how when his wife was dying she said that she was sorry she never listened before and that she wanted to see the missionaries, but they only had a chance to teach her once and then she lost her voice and passed away.
He loves her so much.

He is so classy and wears blue striped ties with blue striped shirts and always knows exactly what to say to Antonia because he was Catholic before and he knows how it goes and how its a hard change and he is friends with her and can be super blunt.
It is the best.

For all of you who are wondering, I am happy and healthy.

Sorella Foote and I even went running in the morning. There are always people running around this track near our house and
because we had this awful
"Oh wow, we are fat moment"

(it might have had something to with with the fact that we tried to make cookies without baking soda and it didn't work so we just ate the cookie dough--but don't worry the ones we made with baking soda didn't really work either, baking in Italy is a challenge.

Also, all the pasta/pizza/chocolate MIGHT be catching up to me)
So we are getting ourselves in shape, not to mention all the extra walking we do from always being lost. And we just had an adventure at the market where we bought about ten kili of fruits and vegetables. It was crazy.

There were fish that were still moving.
I was not happy about that, but the fruit is good, we have all these bags around our feet because we just got it and I have already eaten
a pear and a plum.

You are all beautiful people
I love you. I miss you.

But these people here sure do need me.
People don't realize true and eternal happiness is staring them straight in the face in the form of
two American girls who look like they are 12.

But we still try.

Because some things you just cant give up on.
un bacio,
Sorella Laws

Sorella Foote trying to hear a phone call.
I thought it looked funny.

And us.
The Dream Team.