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Jul 20, 2011

aother week in Ragusa

Well, still here with the heat and the hills.
I am including a picture so you can know how picturesque Ragusa is.

Though you cant see how hilly it is.

Romeo continues to be amazing and our very favorite person in the world. He is such an example. He was telling us how he needs a job so that he can send money back home to his family and because he doesn't like just sitting at home because he feels useless. We said, "maybe we will ask who is building the new church" and he said, "if it was for the church of God I would work for free" he is the most amazing person I have ever met. When we talked about tithing he said, "10% is not too much for God." He get its. We are sad because his friend Ali got shipped to Agrigento, two hours away, and we miss him. We also really hope that doesn't happen to Romeo too.

Yesterday we had an interesting lesson in the rec room of the psychiatric ward. We were teaching these two way awesome guys who were listening intently and asking good questions, while around us was a lady making statements about Babylon and asking questions. Other people kept coming and going past our table, sitting down for a little and asking for pamphlets (which I was handing out like candy, reassuring them they were free, as Slla Lewis continued on with the lesson). Then this lady comes out of nowhere and starts telling me all about how much she loves Jesus and asking me to read her passages from the Bible and telling me how great I am because I love Jesus as much as she does she was really great, her attitude was contagious, very upbeat and cheerful, we still dont know if she was visiting or a patient herself.
It was a marvelous experience.

We taught this other guy who said "Hm, so you baptize in this church? I will think about it and let you know" Then he got up and left, who knows if we will ever hear from him again.

I bought a coat today because they are all on sale, I will tell you this much, when Slla Lewis saw it she said,
"Its like Cruella DeVil meets Juno"
and let you use your imaginations. It will probably go with
that purse you found at grandma's house.
We also bought shirts with phrases in Sicilian on them.

Aurora and Salvatore came to church!!
We were super excited for them and everyone in the ward was super excited.

We also went to a soccer game that was our ward against Siracusa and we killed them (we only could stay for the first half, but we were far ahead). Some of the highlights were Joseph, our wise African friend, who is super tall and skinny and was wearing a jersey that said, "Francesco" and all the women in the crowd going,
"wait, did we just score" Yes. "...WOO!"

And our ward mission leader stretching adamantly before the game started. And the sunset that looked super cool (see picture).

We also had a fun lesson where we asked to meet one of our friends in church and then he brought three people with him and it was a party. But they could only stay for 10 minutes and then they had to leave. But they didn't tell us that, so we started a movie and five minutes later they all got up and left. Nothing surprises me anymore.

Everyone is dying in the heat and most everyone has moved to the beach, but things are still going really well and we are teaching wonderful, wonderful people from all over the world.

Saturday we are going to the Anziani's baptism in Gela...if we find a ride. We are supposed to be in charge of the musical number, so hopefully we get a ride. There are only 6 members in Gela and most of them cant go, so it is going to be a very small ceremony. And Tuesday we are going all the way to
Palermo for Zone Conference, so we will be doing a bit of travelling these next few days which is always fun.

To answer your question mom,
In what way WASN'T Christ an example of service?
I love how often he was headed somewhere and someone would say "you need to come over here and heal this person" and he would leave whatever he was doing and go to them. He never said, "Hold on, I am on my way to teach and heal other people, I really can't". He was always doing good things and he even took time out of his good deed doing to help people.
I think sometimes we get so caught up in the good things we need to do that we forget that we are always blessed for helping others and that the other things will fall into place.

One of the Sorelle in
Bari told a story about how she told the Anziani she couldn't help them with a lesson because she had to make lunch for her kids and get some things ready before she had to go to work, but at the last minute she changed her mind and told them she would come. Afterwards she said she still had time to do everything she needed and she had a testimony of putting God, and his children, first,
even before other good things like family.

Also, his service was great because he did all he could to help people help themselves. When he fed the 5,000 he took what a little boy had and blessed it and then they were able to feed everyone...together. No one wants to just be handed charity (okay, maybe sometimes we do) we want to contribute to our own self-reliance. When we serve we need to work with the person we are serving, side-by-side.
That is also how we strengthen relationships.

I love you all buckets and buckets!!

Sorella Laws

Jul 15, 2011

bouna sera!!!

HELLO FAMILY. and Friends.
Where do I begin.
Oh, maybe with the fact that ROMEO

(pictured here in not exceptional lighting)

I just made him take a picture with us--we really wanted to see him today and he said he couldnt and then, of course, we see him standing outside the internet point!! So we got to talk to him anyway.

Talk about a win-win.
He is SO great.

Anyway, the date is 5 Aug. He wants to make sure that he is sure but he said he really feels like he is on the right path. We have the best lessons, he asks the best questions, and he is hilarious and super nice and he is our favourite person in the world right now. AND he says the best prayers. He is one of the most sincere people I have ever met in my life. He quotes scriptures...in his prayers, that is how legit he is.

I think he knows more about faith than I do.
"Everlasting Father, sink these things into our memories. Forgive us of our sins because the Bible says though their sins be as scarlet they shall be as snow. We pray thee Lord to bless these sisters with strength as they do thy work. Help them find people they can convert to thy word"
He is the most beautiful soul I have ever encountered.

I never thought I would have to say this at this point in my mission but...I am struggling with the language...
Teaching in English is SO HARD.
haha, not really, but I have a large headache most of the time and struggle with switching back and forth and sometimes I just want to say things in Italian. The Italians speak some English and the Africans speak some Italian and it always switches back and forth and its beautiful and confusing and all kinds of things.

Today we went to a german grocery store called lidl and I found marshmallows and more importantly PEACHY-Os. You know, roadtrips and camping trips and family fun and them all melting together in the bag sometimes when they got left in the car, but mostly we would eat them all before that. I am eating them right now. I bought apple ones too. :) A nice relief because last time I bought something I thought was apple it ended up being mint...you just never know around here.

Oh, and this other picture...that is my brain exploding
after eating a cannoli.
yeah, they're good.

We are teaching so many great people,
I dont even know where to begin and making friends everywhere we go. We got six new investigators this last week, which is a lot. And if they arent interested they are always willing to tell us where the best cannoli/foccacia (which is nothing like Barese foccacia, btw) is.

But there is also Mara who is a Romanian bidante (a person who helps an elderly person), who at first said she couldnt get Sunday off to come to church, but now she is really, trying.

And Aurora and Salvatore who didnt come to church because he works until 5am Sunday morning, we talked to him about how God really would bless him if he came and he would feel spiritually energized. We said, "We know its hard.." and he replied, "No, its not hard. I can do it." Which is an awesome step! He has a real desire to know and she reads everything and takes copious notes and asks questions.

They are married and adorably in love, we have talked about temple marriage so they can see the real blessings and
how baptism is the first step.

And others that are equally great, but I am too tired to explain. And Sunday I was translating again and I forgot to get up and conduct the music because I was trying to figure out why Romeos headpiece didnt work and I was like, "why arent they blessing the sacrament yet?" and it was, because we hadnt sang the sacramental hymn...
because no one was leading.

Luckily I did remember to get up when it was my turn to speak. Now I understand why when Slla Foote came to
Bari she said,
"Sundays are a lot less stressful here."

Earlier today the ward mission leader saw us and pulled up on his motorcycle and told us the bishop wanted us to do something and I decided I really love small towns because you get to see the same people over and over. Okay, I have killed the computer twice since writing this so maybe I should end it soon.

I love you! I love you! I love youuuu.
Thats all Ive got to say, until I find a way... [/beatles]

Okay, I should probably quote a scripture or an apostle now.

Or maybe Romeo,
"The Lord is always with us."

Thats all there is too it.

Love, Sorella Laws

ps. if you were wondering, its reeeeeeeeeeeeally hot.
and there are a loooooooooot of hills.
but its still like

Jul 6, 2011

Where do I even begin......

SO MUCH has happened this week.

First of all there are some pictures from my last night in Bari and the Panzarot-festa with mostly all my favorite people in Bari (trane francesco and silvio and all them who couldnt come).

We played some soccer...I only lasted about 5 minutes after a few failed attempts at trying to kick in sandals and a skirt without scandalizing or hurting anyone.

Slla Johnson on the other hand is a pro

(they had to come up from Taranto to babysit Slla LeCates after I left).

Not pictured is me dominating at basketball.

Finally got a picture with Raffaele after many refusals and HIS EYES ARE CLOSED. So dont put it on the blog because he will see it, but I am sending it to you so you can know one of the most helpful members in the world who helped us will about a billion lessons.

Anz. Reyes and I finally parted ways after six months together,
thats him on the train to Rome with Anz Tingey who is "dying" aka restarting life, Anz. Reyes is going up to Pescara...ironically where Antonia is for the summer, maybe theyll run into each other!

The night before the 4th there were fireworks!! I dont know what they were celebrating or if it was all for us, but it was pretty special.

The next day after district meeting we had hamburgers and watermelon and potato chips. I only got a picture of the aftermath, but my district is AWESOME. There is just four of us, the Anziani from Gela (Holland and Peidiera--i dont know if thats the right spelling) and we are all awesome.

And I love the graffiti in English, this one is particularly endearing because the street sign, "Sacro Cuore" Means sacred heart.

Okay, now we will close the chapter of Bari. Thursday morning me and Anz. Holland said goodbye to our small fan club, got on a bus and away we went. I wont mention how every once in a while there is this awful ache in my heart for a few minutes when I think about the people back there or how Anz. Holland and I spent 15 minutes during our bbq talking about HOW GREAT Bari and all the people there are.

because for the most part I am...


Seriously. I told Slla Lewis (Yes, our names confuse people because they are so similar) that it is like Disneyland of mission life.
People talk to us, the fruit is even better, people .
I feel like I am serving a completely different mission.

1. The terrain is completely different and full of hills and I almost have shin'splits. Seriously, no matter where you are, its a hill...or stairs . 2. The streets are cobblestone and the houses/apartments are adorable!

Sunday was great because we are in charge of both the music and translating (there are several members from Africa who speak little Italian) and underqualified for both, but I get a kick out of translating--though I was translating for one of our investigators and it was hard not to add in little things like,
"when he said that he was talking about..." haha.

It was fast and testimony meeting and I am sitting there and then one of the members slaps me on the shoulder as he walked by so I went up and translated for him into Italian while the adorable child in his arms was trying to steal my name tag.
Does it get much better than that?

I am not sure.
And its beautiful also because I already feel like I know these people after 3 transfers with Slla Foote and how much she loved them, I loved them before I even got here.

My companion I can describe easily, she is EXACTLY like the girl from Enchanted. EXACTLY. just blonde hair instead of red.
She is very loving and very brave.

And we have seen miracles.

Like, Romeo, who...no joke...we met on his balcony.
He is from
Nigeria and is AMAZING. We couldnt go in because he only lives with men so they set up chairs outside the house and then we showed him where the church is and the next time we saw him he was already reading the Book of Mormon and the pamphlet we left him. He has a sweet friend named Ali from Chad, but he is Muslim so we dont know if we can teach him.

And speak of the devil, Romeo is in this internet point, and he says hi!

We met with a lady who hasnt been to church in years and she told us how she wants to have a testimony, she just doesnt and didnt feel like she ever did. Another example of someone who was just waiting to be asked. We told her we wanted to visit her and start over and
help her find her faith.

And we taught a sweet family the other day, a lady who helped us try and find an address that didnt end up exisiting.
She is so cute
(Basically I use cute and/or awesome to describe everyone, but its true)

and there was a boy there who we were talking to first
(she was solving problems upstairs, it was sort of flooding)
and we told him how the BoM is like an adventure story of the prophets and missionaries and he started reading it,
afterwards HE explained it to her.
We asked her if she would be baptized when she received an answer and she said yes.

Today we met with some awesome girls from America that we found because one of them walked by and said "bless you" when Slla L sneezed and I said, "parli inglese?" and we started talking in English. They are both really cool but shipping out in the next couple weeks.

And those are just the people we have met since I have been here, there are a sack of other awesome people they have been working with too.

Did I mention its NOT AS HOT HERE?
Dont get me wrong, its hot,
but its a bit off from the sea so its not so humid.
I havent had cannoli yet but I had some other really good little cake thing that Slla Lewis handed me when I showed up.
Slla Stebar was there too. I am just following her around her mission.

I have already had one proposal since I have been here.
An old man with a high-pitched voice who is always by the window with an adorable Romanian girl that works for him.

Sparodic email full of spelling errors I am sure.

But I love you all.

Endlessly. x sempre.
Have fun.
Be good.

Sorella Laws

Jul 1, 2011

and the winner is.....


Yep, apparently I am destined to know all the same people as Sorella Foote and Jenkys. Am I excited to hit up the island and live among the Sicilians? Of course. Though I am a little concerned because the first thing everyone has said is, "Its really hot there."
Which concerns me, because its hot HERE.

My new companion is Slla Lewis, shes been here for two transfers and thats all I know about her.

Add Image
Am I sad to leave?


Did I cry the last Sunday in church?

Maybe a little.

I dont know what to say because I think the pictures say it all.

I love these people.

And always will.

And maybe they love me

at least a little bit ;)

What do you think?

Slla LeCates told Massimo that he had to smile in this photo, ha.

Bishop was like,

"it has been a while since someone who is investigating the church actually showed up at 9 oclock dressed in a suit".

Silvio came to church too and was like, "why didnt you tell me to dress up?" which I feel bad about, but hey, Hard Rock is pretty classy, right?

For Helping Hands we cleaned up garbage at a park.
I got to go to Taranto to do scambi with Slla Hansen which was fun. We taught a really sweet lady who right now works taking care of an old man who is...
not the most delightful company.

The highlight of the scambio for everyone else
(Slla Hansen, and the Anziani) was when we were running down from the apartment to the Anzianis car (they were going to give us a ride to the chruch) and
I...got into the wrong car. Yep, I just let myself into the back of a car with two men in it that was stopped in traffic.

The driver turns and goes, "Sta sbagliando, sta sbagliando!"
Which is, you are making a mistake.
And at first I was like, "what are you talking about, Anziano.."
until I realized I was in the wrong car and I ran around to the other car
where everyone was laughing/shocked
that they actually just witnessed that.
We also knocked on some doors which is a little sketch
now that its summer time because people come to the door...
not fully clothed. Ha.

There was another festa Saturday we spent most of it talking to our buddies mass/silvio/gianluca/francesco individually
but I did take a moment to bust a move
(dont worry, it was just one, a single move so it wasnt inappropriate)
with Fllo Curci.

Last night when I said goodbye Vescovo said I need to come back so that we can go dancing and party with the GANs.

Are you saving your pennies?

Of course I got called to one of the most expensive missions to return to.

We went to visit Francesca and it was her birthday and she showed us tons of cool stuff about UFOs, you know, flying saucer videos and all kinds of research. I definitely feel more informed.

She wanted us to go visit her neighbor,
but we couldnt find her, these boys were helping us try and find the number and then they asked who we were looking for and he was like, "thats my mom!" but she was at work, so hopefully they will get to go see her,
because he was super nice and cute.

That adorable family in the picture?

The couple and little girl that pretty much look American.
They have the CUTEST kid,
she was singing "Tomorrow" in Italian in the back of the car
when we were driving from Adelfia to

There have been a lot of almost-tear filled goodbyes

with everyone that I have been visiting/teaching/loving

these past six months.

I have learned SO much from the people here.

Its like the hymn,
"each life that touches ours for good"

people touch our lives in little ways and we need to
take the opportunity to do the same for other people.

There is a lady who doesnt go to church anymore
but she always asks us about all the members.
She wants someone to come find her.
We need to think about who we can go find.
There are members that live right across the street from her,
what could we do in 30 minutes
to help reach out to someone that we just havent done
because we havent thought about it?

Tomorrow is a ten hour bus ride and then onward to Cannoli
and Africans and old people that only speak Sicilian.

Sorry the emails are getting shorter,
its because the missionary is getting tireder.

But I still love you endlessly,

Sorella Laws