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Jun 22, 2011

Alright, so the last time I spelled Salam wrong, thanks Dad

Hi, its me, your Sorella!!

Right now I am in Taranto

because we are on SCAMBI with Slla Hansen

and I am stoked about it

because she is legit

and its like a mini-mission vacation.

Where we still work really hard, of course. Okay, this week has been full of so many miracles I dont even know where to begin and I am not sure I even have the time to explain.

First of all and least important of all I played Taboo with the GANs

in ITALIAN and I felt super legit because I wasnt even the worst at it.
And it was great to get to know them all better.

All the missionaries in the zone came Wednesday night

so they could be on time for Zone Conference in the morning

and we all ate panzarotti as you can see in the pictures.

The Sorelle came earlier so we could spend preparation day together

and we did today too.

Sorella Hansen and Johnson are SUPER cool.
I need to mention that Sorella Hansen healed me because I have a MILLION knots in my back and she pushed REALLY HARD on them and they, I dont know, released? Dispersed? Dissipated? And the next two days my back was SO sore and I couldnt move,
BUT my chest pain went away.

Zone Conference was amazing.
Elder Teixeira came and blew our minds. He made me cry as he told us stories from when he was a
mission president in Brasil.

All the sorelle (all 4) were in the front row and
we were just crying and he was crying
and it was so powerful and I dont even remember most of the stories
but it was amazing.

And He had us get up (me and Slla Lecates) and practice teaching him which was a little scary, but also not at all and during lunch I talked to his wife and she is such a peach and I wish I could tell you all about it but I have to write an intense presidents letter because he asked me what
I think about staying or going when really he should just decide
because I have no idea!!

Of course I want to stay but who knows what else is out there...

Anyway, Elder Teixeira inspired us to make the goals "irrelevant" that we can set goals and then meet them and then raise the bar,
just like you do when you are practicing for the high jump.

And if its not working, maybe we have to jump differently. It was amazing.
President Kelly said something that has stuck with me,
"We will do things that will surprise others but in our heart
we knew we could them."
That is the secret.

The quite confidence in ourselves, but more than that, in the Lord.

I love the people here.
Right now we are doing some lessons with Francesco (english course) and Silvio (friend who now comes to English course) and Gianluca (atheist) and they are all amazing.

We also have Giuseppe who is super legit and its magical.
I dont know what else to say but that this week was magical and I wish I had more time to explain and also transfer calls are Saturday so next week I will have the update about my new fate.

Enjoy the pictures.

LOVE YOU Sorella Laws

Jun 15, 2011


Italian is getting old, I am moving on to Hebrew...And Barese.

Anyway, this week has been splendid.
Dont worry, but there is, in fact, another thing wrong with my body, ha. I think you are right mom, that its got to be related to the acid reflux, because it feels the same as in 7th grade. But I have been eating the same as I usually do, healthier even (maybe thats the problem...I need to eat worse!) but it could be the stress, also, I am thinking that I never actually had bronchitis, but that it was the same thing there too, only I dont know what finally made it go away.

So I called Dr. Dahl and it was kind of hilarious because he goes,
"Is this SISTER LAWS?"
And I go, "Yes, its me the Sister Laws of a million illnesses"
him: "they should write a book about you."
"Yeah. maybe we'll make a movie someday"

he thinks either I pulled a muscle (which I dont think it is, because I havent done a thing, though it does feel really sore). And he said I am not a candidate for a heart attack (though I might be now after reading that my cousin is getting married at EIGHTEEN YEARS OF AGE ;) that almost stopped my heart)

But he also suggested I start taking the medicine at night instead of in the morning. Mostly I have been trying not to laugh too much or twist at all. Everyone here is far too preoccupied and giving me different advice and Anziano Reyes thinks I need to just stop stressing out.
I promise I am not really a stresscase.

We taught a lesson Saturday night and I was super out of it and afterwards Raffaele was like, "you need to go to bed" so I did...eventually. Monday afternoon and Tuesday were spent
sleeping and listening to General Conference.

I think I need to write a thank you note to Elder Holland for being a part of my entire mission (he was the 1st fireside we had in the MTC and Ive listened to his last talk a million times because he is just so tender). And luckily I have a stuffed tiger to keep me company.

Anziano Knutson from the MTC is my district leader again and I was explaining how I have this weird thing going on and no one knows what it is and he goes, "well, that sounds familiar."
still waiting to have an illness-free transfer.
So I am always grabbing my heart and I am either like an old lady or a dramatic black and white movie star, take your pick.
I probably need to eat more tums but they are so gross.

On to things that will interest people not in the medical field.

Saturday was a dance party for the stake and it was awesome. The members are so cute and we gave Francesco and his friends a tour of the church and talked a little bit.
They were like, "you have got to convert our friend, he is atheist"
so we are working on that.

He was like, "I only believe in concrete things"
and I was like, "I see God in everything around us."
and he was like, "whats the point in believing in
something that doesnt exist?"
and I said, "God exists, you can have faith in him."

And he knows it. He was like,
"I just cant believe,
I am not made that way."
I told him anyone can believe and
he said he would like to try, so we will see.

We have had a lot of good lessons lately.
Teaching Slla Puglisi is so cool because she is so honest.
She will be like, "I dont believe in God so its not worth following all these rules" and I was like,
"Yeah, its not worth it if its not true, that is why you need to find out if its true or not. Because if God really does exist and there really are all these blessings waiting for you, it IS worth it."

I love her like crazy. There are some people here that just have a direct connection to your heart. Most of them make you love them, but there are a few that are really exceptional. She is one of them. And by the end she was saying thank you and how we need to call ahead next time so she can find a time where she has more time and her kids are out of school now so we want to teach them all together. Because her little girl is ADORABLE.

Massimo is coming to church on Sunday!
and hopefully forever.
Right now Taranto Sorelle are here and spending the night
before our huge conference tomorrow with ELDER TEIXIARA.
So legit. Anziano Reyes (English is not his native language) was like,
"We have all got to look sharpy!"
"Yes, sharp."
Which is hard these days but I will see what I can do ;)

Oh, Sunday I gave a talk in church
(in Bitonto where we are treating like princesses)
on the tree of life and I talked about how NOTHING can separate us from the love of God.

For those of you who know the story of Lehis vision of the tree of life (if not go read 1 Nephi 8 in the
Book of Mormon) we know that the path to the tree (or the love of God) is straight and narrow and goes through some darkness, but it is a straight shot. There are things off to the side, people mocking and rivers and other danger, but there arent stumblingblocks or hurdles, or pits or anything ON THE PATH.
Its all off to the side.

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

No fault, shortcoming, sin, other person, nothing.
Nothing can separate us from the love of God.

Also, special thanks to Babzy for sending that scripture in her letter to me, can I call you Hachi?
'Cause you are my inspiration.

If you are ever feeling down, just go read the words of Paul in the New Testament.Well, we've got to sciamanin

Until next time,

I am blowing kisses

across the sea full of amore,

Sorella Laws

Jun 9, 2011

One Word: Humidity

Wow. We havent taken hardly any pictures lately.
Maybe because we are so tired all the time. Ha.

This is one from the "Singles Ward"

and then me and Antonia...Italians almost never smile in photos.

But luckily I have some extra pictures from Poglinano with our buddies.

It even amazes me how happy I look in the pictures.

I dont know if I have ever been this happy before

or felt such a wide range of emotions.

Real emotions.

Well, we are trucking right along here in Ol Bari. We have gotten a lot of bidonnes (trash bin, aka stood up) but I like to think we have made the best of the situations we have been given.

Thursday: Was festa. And everyone was like, "Sorella, its a festa" and so no one wanted to see us, except good Old Francesca who never lets us down. So we spent some time with her and she said she would draw a picture for me which is awesome. She is sooo talented. And she showed us pictures of when she was younger and she was so adorable too. All the members have pictures of them at church activities years and years ago and its great to see what everyone used to look like and how they have been friends for so long. Francesca is a beautiful, beautiful soul. When we come I'll have to take you to meet her. Shes taught me so much about patience and love and gratitude
that I have the capacity to overcome my fears.

Yesterday in English course we talked for like half and hour afterwards answering their questions like, "does the Pope exist for you?" to which I said, of course he exists he is alive and an important leader in the world. And if we love Mormon more than Jesus and the usual series of unfortunate misconceptions that run around. Its so funny because you could tell some of them had been wondering these things for months and months and suddenly it all came out because
one person asked one question.

And this is why we have to open our mouths and explain the truths, because people dont know and they want to know.

Things are going well with Nella, she was supposed to come to church but was sick and we havent been able to see her for a while, she sure does love us though. And we have finally tracked down Vanna again who was like, "you shouldve come by sooner!" even though she was never home and never answered her phone, ha.

I love her and her family SO MUCH. We are going to see them tomorrow. We keep trekking to Jaipiga every day which is a 45 minute walk each way, its great, but also tiring.

Especially because we have officially hit summer and from the moment you get out of the shower you are not ever dry again. Its so great because now we arent the only ones in skirts.

Saturday we had this incredible Family Night that consisted of the Costanzos, Antonia, and Maria Pia (an investigator of the Anziani in the other ward). Slla Magno and the Curcis were also present. Slla Magno gave a stirring presentation about the Millenium. Which we were against at first because its a bit random and involves a lot of interpreting of those books at the end of the Bible but it went well because everyone of the people there are a bit pessimistic and now they have something to look forward to and we sang When He Comes Again (is that what its called in English?) Which was extra special because none of them could sing it and Fllo Curci was dramatically waving his arm
trying to keep everyone in time.
Have I ever told you how much I LOVE these people?
It almost hurts.

Sunday three college students from Utah came because one of them had served with the son of some of the members (who tragically died shortly after coming home from his mission) and I got to do a bit of translating again for this cool girl who goes to USU and I never even asked her what her name was but they were all legit and had backpacked around with like three shirts and a pair of shorts.

Then we saw Antonia again and she told us how she loves to be with us and her family drives her nuts because they just use her for stuff
(but we know she really does love them)

And those are the highlights.
Will you all do me a favor? Will you promise me that you will read this talk? Its only two pages and it is quite seriously life changing.
Read it. Every one of you.
Here's a taste:

So if you have problems in your life, don’t assume there is something wrong with you. Struggling with those problems is at the very core of life’s purpose. As we draw close to God, He will show us our weaknesses and through them make us wiser, stronger. If you’re seeing more of your weaknesses, that just might mean you’re moving nearer to God, not farther away.

Love you all, always and forever,

Sorella Laws

Jun 1, 2011

Bari Tales

First of all, THANK YOU ALL who wrote me a birthday letter.
It was much appreciated and much loved. Dont worry, I will continue to accept presents and birthday affection for the next month...Until Christmas, even.

I guess I should have told you to save some of those pictures because I dont have any for you this week.

Greetings from the long lost land of Bari. I have some good updates. The other night I was able to touch my toes for the first time in...ever? I am not sure I have ever touched my toes before.
Second, being senior companion has pretty much
turned me into a nut case.
But I do deep abdominal breathing several times a day when no one is looking and am
learning still more profoundly what it means to rely on the Lord.

It. is. hot.
Not every day, but its getting up there
and last night all our English course students told us that we will die if we go out in the afternoon when its full on summertime and that we could do what the Chinese tourists do and walk around
with umbrellas to block out the sun.
I am not above that.
And I think I will have to wear the same three outfits for the entire summer because suddenly my wonderful cardigans are useless. But the Anziani wear the same thing everyday anyway.

My companion is latose intolerant which means eating gelato and panzarotti has become a lot less fun and she is also one of those whole-wheat kind of girls.
So, between that and walking all over like we have been my health is unfortunately taking a turn for the better.
Morale is low however. ;)
It is amazing also how hard it is to try and explain all of these peoples lives to her, but its good to have a fresh perspective on everything.

But there is Massimo and we sat him down and asked if he really wants to know. We have asked him to think and pray about baptism and to read and pray and he does not really seem to have grasped the idea of learning through pray and through the spirit.

He has a lot of faith in Christ and he agrees with all the principles we teach he is just holding back from making that spiritual leap he needs to make. I think he is a little scared, but I dont know why. He always throws the conversation in a different direction with random questions when we start really feeling the Spirit in our lessons.

I pulled out the picture of Jesus
knocking on the door without the handle and I told him Christ was just waiting for him to ask where the truth is. He said he would pray and I said when he received an answer what would he do? And he said, first, I would tell you. And then? And then...The Church is here.

So here is to praying that he really does ask in faith so that he gets an answer and that he will overcome laziness and get to church this Sunday.

And not all hope is lost with Antonia who finally is letting people come by again and is happy about it. We taught her the other day with Fllo Curci and she actually wanted to come to church again! Yayyy.

Then we are teaching a Romanian lady, Christina who went to go live with one of the members and now he doesnt really want us to see her? We dont really know what is going on there so we need to figure that one out.

Nella is doing great, the only problem is that her house is always CRAZY with five new people coming and going at all times. So the Spirit is sometimes lacking. But she always kisses us and tells us we are her hope. We just need to get her to go to a members house to teach her so she can talks with us openly, because she kind of shuts down whenever someone comes in, but she told us how she prayed and she heard a voice that said, "Dont cry anymore, its time to act."
We have an appointment with her tonight and her husband
wants to feed us panzarotti again.

We have had some really neat experiences working with members! We went by the Santoros and talked about the Restoration and blessings we have because of it and how they could have missionary experiences just like their son who is on a mission and they told us that he had challenged them to find a family to take to church before the end of the month. They were actually fasting that night when we showed up! Which was total inspiration because I thought of it out of nowhere to go see them.

And Sorella Magno is always asking for another Book of Mormon to give away, she is the best.

Have I told you about the stubborn man in the flowershop who thinks he cant have faith? We are still working on him too.

And we had a beautiful lesson with Slla Puglisi who also thinks there is no faith to be had and we invited her to just pray and ask like King Lamoni did. "O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day."

Domenica we had a "singles ward" with all the youth in the stake. It was great and we got to spend time with all the lovely GANs and sang hymns together and ate meatballs and french fries. etc.

Not to mention a great fireside that included a beautiful reminder that the Lion King is really all about the Plan of Salvation
(I could write a 20 page thesis on it for you).

Francesco was supposed to come but didnt because he drank a cold beer the night before and he had a stomach ache for two days. We were like, "thats why we keep telling you to not drink beer" I should make a list of all the excuses people give us for not coming to things, it is incredible.

Yesterday English Course told us that a tree fell down in Switzerland a couple years ago and cut out ALL the power in Italy, which is sad but also made me laugh really hard, because it just goes to show what one little tree can do.

Thats about that because I am really hungry and we really need to clean our house. I am pretty sure the focaccieria across the street is saying, sorellla, sorelllllla, vieni qua, hurry because I could close at any moment.

Okay, my companion is still typpity typing away so I will tell you another story. So Thursday we had canceled English Course, because the Anziani wanted to try doing it Wednesday and then it didnt really work, so I thought,
"I wonder if people will come anyway"
and then didnt really think about it again, but we showed up anyway because Christina Giullani and Slla Spagnoletti wanted help with a young women song (for some reason they are singing a song in English and none of them know how it goes and once again I am behind the piano even though I shouldnt be) and then some people showed up so we taught the adorable mother and daughter that always come and
talked about families and temples and life.

And then there was this other student guy was there playing some scales on the piano and I then I started practicing the song and started singing it to him and I was like,
"do you know what its talking about? We believe in God and we trust Him." and he was like, "yeah."

And the power of music is powerful. I love playing the hymns as the English Course students walk in because they are always like, "these are great, you are amazing." But its most definitely not me and my one-hand-at-a-time-plunking-out-the-melody piano playing skills.

"A song of the righteous is a prayer unto me."

Love ya,
Sorella Laws

I am Sorella Laws and everyone I loved and grew up with is getting married/already married.