About the Blogger. Photography. Film Reviews. Contact Me.

Aug 22, 2011

To Every Thing, Turn, Turn, Turn....

Thats a song by the Byrds, but also
a scripture so it's appropriate for all occasions.

So like the champion I am I...deleted all the pictures off one of my camera cards. Yeah, pretty sad, because it had the adorable video of us singing to our teachers in the mtc, but I think about 5 other cameras captured it so it should be okay and all the important pictures are stored in email/blogs, but it was still kind of sad, because you never know. I hit "format card" while fiddling with my camera and then it did that ominous bar going across the screen and everything was gone
. wah, wahhhh.

But there is the "hard core" picture we took after deep cleaning day with all our junk we threw out and some pizzas we ran out and grabbed for celebrating (conveniently there is a pizza place next door).
I don't know if you can tell but
I am rocking...the. most. comfortable. pants. ever.

Mom, remember how before my mission I told you all I ever wanted was some of those super comfy soccer pants that don't seem to exist anywhere but on the legs of soccer players? Well, I found some in our "death closet" i.e. the abandoned wear of missionaries gone by.

Best discovery ever. Besides of course all the 90s styled skirts and blazers we found. Every six months in the mission we have deep cleaning August 15th is a holiday where everyone goes to the beach so no one is around and then Jan. 1st is when we had the other one.

We dont have any carpets here, but if we did I would've called Borus.
Who is sitting by me in internet today? Our good friend from the middle east, and he just asked me to translate someone else's bad english so he could respond to them in equally bad english...Oh how I wish I could read that conversation. He just said, "you were sick" and pointed to my face. Have I mentioned how sweet he is?

Well, I debated whether I was going to mention this because I dont want to worry you, mom, but...

the rash exploded over my ENTIRE body and I became this hideous red thing, a cross between Clifford and a Dalmatian and I had to go to this Italian doctor and get a shot and then I was forbidden to go out in the sun by Dr. Dahl so my companion and I were once again...quarantined in the house for a few days. And we have been entertained by wondering what my skin will look like every new day because it is always a surpise.

Before this we escaped and had some lessons on Thursday and yesterday we escaped again. Sunday we went to church for an hour but I was so uncomfortable we had to leave. So it's better, but it is in this awful stage where (do not continue if things like dead skin gross you out) my skin is falling off everywhere.

To the point where it is comical. I was trying to clean off a dvd and every time I did more little flakes would get on it...gross, right? My companion calls me the winter
wonderland, or a leper. But the worst part is my face, I look like an old man with a 5 o clock shadow. it's all white and I cannot actually move my face all the way and we walk around jumping from shade to shade so as to not expose it to anything and I am SO GROSS.

Not to mention it itches like crazy, it didnt itch, oddly enough when it was just a rash. It's like the end of a bad sunburn...on my ENTIRE body. No where is spared. I am on antihistamines or however you spell it and patiently waiting because I know this too shall pass (even though we still don't know what caused it) but last night I stubbed my toe and skin came off and at that point I started looking for a camera because, really? Can't I have one part of my body function normally? Not even the toe, I do such a thorough job.

Mostly I feel bad for my companion. I try hard not to complain, but it's not always easy.
But I am still, not yet as Job because I have all you and more and I am not even as bad as a leper and even though my face is ugly people still talk to me. and even love me. Today we get to see Romeo, we havent seen him in ages, but he called to make sure I am alive, everyone has been so nice about all this. Slla Puglisi took us to her doctor and Emiliano called to make sure I was okay and bishop gave me a blessing with the usual "these things are helping you become a better person and a better daughter of God."

and the Anziani kept calling and asking what they could do.
I think of the song/scripture that goes, "the Son of God has descended below all things, art thou greater?" No. Not even close.

And I have been thinking a lot about the scriptures and why it is so important that we read them every day (because it is hard for people to develop and then keep up that habit) and I realized that when we read the scriptures we really come to know God. And how He works. And how many times does he have to tell us that His ways are not our ways and He knows better than us before it'll stick?
Probably a few more times.
But it is true.

I get frustrated, because I am doing his work so why doesn't he just heal me so I can go do it or protect me from all these bizarre illnesses?
He knows what we need better than we do. He can see the big picture, the whole maze when we can only see the wall. He knows what He is doing and he is VERY aware.

Now for a game I like to play called, where were you a year ago? A YEAR AGO...I was set apart by President Lathen as A MISSIONARY!

My family and Zoe (AH YOU ARE GETTING MARRIED THIS WEEKEND! I wanted to write you but dont have time but a million congratulations and it is going to be the best ever and I am so there in Spirit and don't get scared and be in love) and Sybil were there and gave me good advice that I still think about, along with other advice I got from people that day. And afterwards, we ate ice cream? I remember wanting to eat ice cream but I can't remember if we actually did.

Earlier in the day I had this frantic need to call everyone and tell them exactly how I felt about them and I remember sitting in my room--that hadn't really changed since Freshman year, with those blue walls and the puppy posters, like you said mom, among obscure remakes of Hamlet posters and my Nimbus 2000) and being like, "I should have organized this better..." (sorry, mom).

And I was thinking of all the things I should have done that it was too late for now and then I just felt calm, because I knew everything would be taken care of and that I was doing the right thing. And guess what. A year later I STILL feel that way. I am doing the right thing and I am so happy about it.
So even though I didn't imagine a year ago that at this point in time I would be sitting on the side of a 200 year old tub (okay, it's probably not that old) having conversations on the telephone in which I tried to describe in very specific (because "pretty small" doesn't cut it with Dr. Dahl) terms about rashes and other inexplicable medical conditions that somehow I manged to make explainable or that I would meet so many beautiful people not just from Italy but ALL over the world.

That I would absolutely love all my companions even though they are nothing like me. That nearly all my closest friends would get married and I would only be a little sad. That the things I thought I knew were not even a particle of the things I know now about God, life, love, and human interactions...That the things the scriptures say about loosing yourself to find yourself are completely true.

And it feels like just yesterday. I just barely hugged my college girl squad goodbye and walked into the MTC yesterday.

It does not feel like August because it actually hasn't been that hot which doesn't help with the whole, time has no meaning anymore thing. But I like it. It's like floating around in space where all that matters is how many people you help each day.

Now I know why missionaries never want to leave.

Sorella Laws

just saw the update on lds.org for the jerusalem set for the new church movie...oh, drool, it is gorgeous.
babetta, you need to start talking to VanDubs about how great I am and how much I deserve a job with church media when I get back...more details on this plan to follow...Which reminds me I had a crazy dream that I was home and Brad Barber called me because I was somehow still working for him? and he was like, "I am in Ragusa!" and I was like, "oh, I just left. I don't actually know why I am home, I wasn't done yet." and then I went and organized some things for First Look,
just like the good old days.

mom, i dont even remember what my talks where about, is there anything good in them you could send me so i could remember? just a few notes or something.

Good Morning Ragusa

I am once again on the computer that doesnt like to read my photo card so I will have to ask my pretty companion to transfer some for me. We will see how generous she feels.

My dear ones, where do I begin? I will give you a play-by-play of Friday to start.

We wake up, it is a good day. Every friday morning we have weekly planning which sometimes is nearly the death of me. Fllo Skanchy, if you are still following this all that brainwashing in the MTC has worn off because I still cannot grasp the beauty of planning. I know that it is SO important of missionary work, I could give discourses on the importance, but as for doing it myself. Oh man, it is hard.
I am just an eternally spontaneous soul.

Notwithstanding, I still put in my 6.5 hours a week planning. But only because I love these people. So we do that. We go out at 3 because we always do service at a community...um, charity? A place for boys under 18 to go and live. So, like an orphanage, but most of them are teenagers. And they all sing and dance as they scrub the floors...No, wait, that's another story. Actually they all make fun of each other as they blend up tomatos for pasta sauce. Or we teach them Italian/English. Anyway, this Friday they werent there! Which was actually a BIG relief because we hadnt made the programs for the baptism yet.

So we go and make them here at our internet point (or rather I make them as Slla L has a engaging conversation with an Evangelist preacher who is awesome) and they turn out looking SHARP, of course. Daniele rides up on his motorcycle and takes the file off to print it, we go home and get the flowers (that an investigator had given us, but we decided to arrange as a decoration) and we listen to the song from Inception a couple times and then skip off to the church to meet Romeo.

We get to the chruch, get hymns playing over the sound system (we enlistened MoTab and Paul Cardall for the occassion). Emiliano comes and saves the day because none of the actual members know how to work the equipment but between the two of us we figured it out.
It was going to be a perfect production.

But as any producer knows, nothing works perfectly the first time.

So then we start wondering...Because Romeo's phone had been off all day and he was supposed to come at 6.30 and he wasn't there yet (7.00) so Daniele goes by his house. He is not there.

People show up, we don't know what to say to them. Then we get a call from Daniele, he had found Romeo on Via Roma and we talked to him on the phone.
He's not coming.

Stranded at the Drive-In from Grease starts going through my head.

So he talked to his family Thursday night (RIGHT after we had talked to him and everything was GO) at his sister said he didnt need to get baptized because he had already been baptized and what was he doing, etc. etc. etc. And his phone broke so he couldnt call us (sounds like a joke right? No. Very real). So he was confused and we were sad but we told him we were glad he was taking things seriously and I said, "well, lets have a fireside!" and next thing we know Anz. Franceschini is explaining with eloquence the Book of Mormon in Italian and Slla. L is watching Finding Faith in Christ with the English speakers.

We did splits so I could be with the Italians and she could be with the Africans and Corado and his gang show up and next thing I know its over and everyone is hugging and taking pictures and best friends and I have no idea how it all happened.
Nothing like a not-baptism to bring everyone together.

The next day we go and see Romeo and he ISN'T there, so we sit down on the steps and start writing a note and start talking to Sheriff (his roommate, "Its like police in America, right?") instead.

And then Romeo shows up! ("I tried to call you." of course...) and he throws himself down on the stairs all tired because he now works LITERALLY all day. And we are like, "Romeo, what is going on?" and he says, "I just need some time. Maybe a few days. I need to pray. I need to BEG God to give me this answer." And we agreed and then he goes, "Don't worry! I am not backing out on you. I was the one that asked to be baptized, remember? You didn't ask me."
So we are not too worried about him.
He will turn out okay.

Meanwhile, life is progressing along nicely and we are finding "those that will receive 'us'" that is, the people that want to listen. Salvo With the Glasses and Corado both think we are angels "but not in a creepy way, but there is something about them" and the members at the lessons say things like,
"Of course! They are bringing you the gospel of Christ."

And they want to see us and want to come to church and that really makes all the difference. Trying to force spiritual growth is like trying to force a plant to grow. Doesnt work.

We also met a man on the street Saturday night who came to church Sunday morning and we are meeting with him tonight. That was a nice little miracle. "Talking to everyone" really works.

Things are going amazingly well with the work. Which is probably why I had an allergic reaction to something (we still don't know what in tarnation--what is a tarnation anyway?--it was) and my body is covered in hives...I'm okay, though. Promise. I just have an itchy head...and neck.
Slla Lewis can tell you what places has the best food in Ragusa, I can tell you which Farmacias (in three different cities in Italy) have the nicest people.

Monday we had to mop out the baptismal "font" (a collapsable tub) we tried not to be sad that it didnt even get used.

Yesterday we had a really great lesson with Mary, Christian and Samuel were climbing all over me and I did my best to stay as out of the way as possible, they are just SO adorable. I love african babies (cliche I know, go ahead and call me Angie). But as missionaries because of legal things we have a billion and a half rules about children so we can't hug them or let them sit on our lap or anything and it is SO sad because I just want to cuddle all of the adorable children in the ward, because right now there are TONS of babies in the ward..Just babies everywhere. SO cute...
and I am not even a baby person.

Speaking of rules and how wonderfully obedient we are...The other day we walked along Andrea's car because he was alone and we couldn't get in, so we followed him to his house as he drove slowly.

And we also had an interesting lesson where one of our investigators told us that our church doesn't do anything for the needy and we tried not to get too upset (because he knows lots about the church he just likes to get us riled up). I wanted to direct him here.. http://www.providentliving.org/ but he just wants someone to help him immigrate to America. The Church is even more legit than I ever gave it credit for, I can tell you after 9 months reading years and years of Church magazines and Church News. I didn't even realize.

Have I told you lately that I love you?

It's always true. Don't you worry.

more infinito,
Sorella Laws

email me pictures!!! everyone. i love me some pictures. and Slla Leqwis has a billion and twelve adorable nieces so I need something to oogle over too.
oogle is sort of a gross word.


Today we had a little adventure in Modica where they make
chocolate without fat.

So its kind of crumbly instead of creamy, sounds weird, but it is actually REALLY good. All flavor, none of the other stuff, and they make all kinds of flavors, everything from cinnamon chocolate to peppers to banana and anything else.

We went to get granita

and I asked if I could have half blackberry and half chocolate and the man told me they didnt go together, I reassured him I knew what I was doing but in the end he compromised and gave me half in one cup and half in another.

I love Italians.

Pictures of people we love!


his glasses make his eyes look goofy. ;)

The REAL Omo. We went to see her finally and it
ended up being her birthday!

So she took a picture with us and gave us a meat pie.
We gave her a Book of Mormon.
Not a bad exchange.

Ester and Justice.

Dont you LOVE her hair...thing?

And the ragazzi at the communita.

We are sad because they got shipped to Lecce. But we went and said goodbye Sunday night.

Aug 5, 2011

Let my people go.......

Dear beloved people of my soul,
I will tell you there is one thing I really like about Italians, they have a million affectionate nicknames for each other.
Never have I been called,
"beautiful" "treasure" "love" so much in my life.

And often conversations on the phone end with "a huge kiss" This culture is something fantastic. Also this
week people kept asking if they could set us up with people they know, "no. we don't date while we are on a mission!"

Though, this week Karim made me teach him how to say,
"I do not want to talk to you"
and "you cannot come into my house"
in English. Those were literally the first things he wanted to learn how to say, then I told him he needed to be nicer.
So ALMOST everyone here is full of love.

Also, a big fatty thank you to the dear people in my life, the Zone Leaders came to our district meeting and brought...a pkg from diana, a letter from babz, a postcard from jmaggleB, gummi bears from slla foote, AND a letter from Milan from Slla Williams AND Slla Mullen who I predicted would be companions and they totally were so I want to say THANK YOU (mostly to those first three because the others aren't reading this).

And that I felt totally spoiled, because at this point in my mission you are supposed to all forget I exist. p.s. JP, got a letter from you a bit ago and no idea what your address is (because i threw the envelope away, like a champ, without thinking about it). so...responding is unpossible at this moment in time. but, i still love you, you're all grown up and going to grad school!

In Diana's pkg was the entire Prince of Egypt soundtrack and....

the genie pants

so we may or may not have danced around all night
(all night being from 9.45-10.15)

to such compelling lyrics as



and those same lyrics may or may not be going through my head right now as I type this (to give you some background as to the soundtrack for this letter...and some background for those photos...)

ANGELA! You are home, I love you! Get me her address too!

Also, Sybil, I saw the pictures of the in-laws-to-be,
are you sure she didn't just hire actors to pose in photos with her?
I think we are getting punk'd.

Also, my mom told me she texted you "ho" are we sure it was an accident or is some sisterly-tension developing?
Who is winning the weight competition?

Now on to the big news from Ragusa...ROMEO. Oh boy, was there ever drama. So the rule (its a very good rule that I totally support) is that an investigator has to come to church 3 times before they can get baptized. So he HAD to come this Sunday. And then...the people doing his documents (cioe, the agency that is helping him so he can be legal) said they all had to come help work on the house, but ESPECIALLY Romeo because he is a painter and they needed painting done.

When were they doing it?
He begged, and asked, and explained how important it was for him to go to church and they still said no. And it wasn't a paid thing, it was like "you owe us for helping you out" so he couldn't get out of it. Sad, right? We saw him the night before and we told him we would have to push the baptism back a week and he was SO sad. He said he would ask one more time for them to let him go
(let my people gooo)
and so Sunday morning we waited...everyone was asking about him. Finally we called and he said, "I am already at the house" (it wasn't even in Ragusa so there was no escaping) and we were sad. So I called President and explained the situation and...
Because President was like,
"he sounds incredible" and we were like YES he is.

But the best part of all was telling Romeo. Monday was his interview so we showed up with the Anziani and we were talking a little and then we said, "Romeo, we want to tell you that you can still get baptized on Friday, if you promise to come to church for the rest of your life (more or less) and he said, "Of course I will come to church!" like that was the most certain thing in the world.

And then he got this smile, the only proper way to describe it is Paul Newman's "old Luke smile"* and we asked him how he felt about still getting baptized on Friday and he said, with that soft smile, "I am very happy". Slla Lewis and I were more like,
and a little less reverent. Anz. Holland did the interview and when they were done he said,
"that changed my life, his answers were perfect."
we did a mock interview Saturday and asked him the 8 questions and when we asked him if he believes in God, in Christ, the church really was restored by Joseph Smith and that there is a prophet today and what does it mean he said,
I don't know how to answer that, it means everything.
And he told us some beautiful, tragic stories about his past that have gotten him to the point where he is today and he just deserves this SO MUCH. He is the best person I have ever met.
He is living such a good life, it is incredible.

And, if it could get any better, nearly ALL our investigators said they would come to the baptism! Then they will see and feel the importance of making this covenant for themselves, and see how happy he is. Because our explaining it only does so much good.

Mom, you will get a kick out of this, almost all our investigators right now are 20-30ish year old men trying to find themselves...

I will refer to them with affectionate nick-names because 75% of them are named Salvatore (which gets REAL confusing when you are teaching them about their Salvatore Jesus Christ)

There is park boy who loves his dog and is literally always at the park with his dog. And his friend we met yesterday. Who is also always at the park with his dog. I mean...these people REALLY love dogs, they give me and Heather a run for our money.

So ParkBoy was the one who told us the first time, "You can talk to me but I am never coming to church" the VERY NEXT time we see him, "I need to come to church with you sometime." He is brilliant. He thinks there is no hope or love in the world, but when we told him about the Restoration there was this look in his eyes. That look that they get that tells you they are actually listening and feeling the things the Spirit is saying to them. In some ways it is great because we can pass by him whenever we are on our way somewhere, on the other hand he is convinced he doesn't have time (yes, the person who spends at least 3 hours at a dog park every day has no time--oh and don't worry he walked us through his day, he wakes up, feeds himself, feeds the dog, takes the dog out, eats lunch, takes a nap, showers, takes the dog out, goes home, eats, feed the dog, goes to bed and THEN he tells us we have no time to read either and we just stared at him) to actually meet with us.

But he is coming to the baptism!
And he said he would come to church sometime. One piece at a time. He has a lot of problems with the Catholic church and said he thinks the current Pope looks like the devil. We told him he was crazy. Bashing other churches and trying to ask us out are always conversations we try and redirect as quickly as possible...Also discussions about America.

Then there is another friend who looks exactly like Jamison Dayton (seriously, aviators, nice car, clothing style, arms, everything) who we had a family night at the Magrograssis! Will I ever tire of her amazing Brasilian-Italian? No. She is the most amazing person I have ever met, I wish I had her fearlessness and kindness and Fllo Magrograssi is so calm and collected and explains things perfectly.

So ItalianJamison loves everything about the church,
but right now is just...in neuteral.

Then there is Johnny. We met him at the bus station in Comiso because he ran up to us with a Jehovah's Witness pamphlet and said, "I dont understand this, explain it to me!" And we said we couldnt explain that, but that we could explain something else and started talking to him and he had SO many questions and wants to change his life but doesn't feel like he can because he cant stop smoking and he has done too many things in his past and he just says, "how can I ever change" and it is so sad and beautiful but we explained to him that the Atonement is real, that repentance is real, not just something made up to make us feel good, but that we can really be free from our sins.

Seriously, people tell us everything.
It is wonderful.
You meet people on the street and next thing you know they are kissing you and telling you what they like and don't like about just about everything. And almost everyone, tragically, has lost hope. Either they think God doesn't exist or they think they are not worthy of God's love or they think that all they can do is try and worship God in their own way because there is no church that isn't full of corruption, but...
It. Is. Not. True.

Like he did in the Bible and throughout history, 200 years ago God called a prophet again. The Church Christ established with the apostles when he was here on the earth was lost after the apostles were killed. The authority and power that had been given to those men was not passed on. But it was restored through angels to a young Joseph Smith and we have the power of God on the earth today and a true Church we can go to and be edified and
make covenants with the Lord that make us his people.
He loves us. He. Does. Not. Abandon. His. Children.
That is what I know.

I wish I had more time to tell you about the other incredible people we have found and taught this week, can you tell by this email that we are a little bit more on fire than usual? We have so many wonderful people in our lives right now, who are just SEARCHING for something more. And we have what they want! That is a great feeling. Transfer calls are Saturday but there is no worry about that. Me and my Disney princess companion have at least another go together, I am convinced.
Is there a word in any language to explain how much love I have?
It is like an Italian cheese pizza after a day o
f walking up and down hills.

So much love, un bacione,
Sorella Laws

*If you did not get this reference PROMISE me you will go find a copy of Cool Hand Luke and watch it before I get back so we can be friends. Dad, I love you for raising me up right with healthy doses of
Paul Newman and Bob Dylan and Les Mis.

Oh, I forgot to tell you that I meant to be right?
found my soul mate with a baby tiger that
totally matched my jacket,

so it must be

I just need to ask Gucci where he lives.

And that train station in Ragusa?

Completely deserted, but we waited there for half an hour. Waiting for Omo. Omo is a woman we met on a bus who gave us her number.

When we called, a man answered. He said his name was Omo.
Okay, maybe a family name, right?
Well, he told us he wasn't married. We asked if he wanted a copy of the Book of Mormon. He said yes, so we thought, well, this is weird, but we will meet up with him anyway. He told us what street he was on and that he was at the train station. We had no idea where the train station is, but we finally found it and after waiting and lots of "where are you?" phone calls he says he is in McDonalds.
Well, the ghetto train station in Ragusa has no McDonalds,
so then Slla L says, "what city are you in?"

Palermo...as in, that Palermo that is 4 hours away.
Somehow, a man with the same name living in another city ended up with this phone.

We still dont get it. Luckily we ran into Real-Omo today and she gave us her new number, because she had lost her phone.
I am not making this stuff up.

And that is only my 2nd Cannoli.

Okay, you are sick of me by now, but my comp is still writing and there are just so many stories from this week.

So we told Danny our Ward Mission Leader that Romeo wasnt coming to church because he had been kidnapped and then after church we had a meeting and we were talking about how we could get people to the baptism and he said,

"What was that word you taught me this morning?"
"Kidnap?" "Yes, do that."

A picture of me with Rita and Destiny!
At the top of the old part of Ragusa.

And a picture of all my onions I put on Sis. Lewis's plate because...

I love that she makes thai curry but I just can't bring myself to do onions, so instead I said, "and they're happy to meet you!"

And other pictures....

she has taken of me by pretty places.

Italy is really quite gorgeous.

I also got to meet Isaac, one of Slla Footes very favorite people in the world. He is so great because he was
telling us how we don't have to worry
because God will take care of everything.

Aug 1, 2011

Oh the people you will meet

First I want everyone reading this to know that I am looking at the Middle-Eastern version of Napoleon Dynamite right now.
I love
internet points.

Second of all, Zoe and Casey are so totally gorgeous and in love,
I loved the pictures.

This week has been an adventure.

Thursday night we walked past this art shop and I paused for a moment and thought, "that's a cool place" then we noticed that Ester and Federico that we had just tried to see were sitting inside. So we went in. And who were they chatting with. A philosopher of grand proportion! He told us not to worry that he had already read the whole Book of Mormon and that he had a subscription to the Liahona (the church's magazine translated into Italian) and reads it every month. We were like, oh, that is a good sign...

Not exactly. He proceeds to tell us how he created himself. As in, he believes he WILLED "an egg from his mother and a sperm from his father to come together" and thus, created himself. I have heard a lot of interesting there-is-no-God theories, but that might top them all.
Yes, he does wear large glasses and smoke cigars.

Friday we taught a man from Africa (one of the countries where they speak French not English, I dont remember where though) and we showed him all the general authorities and he told us the church needed to have more diversity. He points to the one African member of the 70s and said, "this is the only man of another race that I see." and I said, "wrong, because (pointing to different people) he is from France, he is from Portugal, he is Japanese, Chinese, half of them are from South America...Those are all different 'races'" He knows the answers he just likes to harass us because he can't actually go to church here because he is in Italy on a religious visa, for another church, so if he comes to our church he could get sent home.

Saturday...BAPTISM at the sea.

It was beautiful.

the Anziani were on top of the world

and Christian was super excited and nervous at the same time.

the branch members (all 12 or so of them) were so excited,
they havent had a baptism in Gela for 4 years.

We walked out onto the beach

and the Branch Presidents wife Slla Pasqualina just hugged me for a few minutes. Then we went back and Slla Lewis and I sang Joseph Smiths First Prayer in English and Italian because it is Christians favorite.

It also started an hour and a half late so we got home super late (and when I say super late I mean after 9:30). The members who gave us a ride, the Magrograssi's (sidenote: their name means skinny-fats) consists of Slla who is Brasilian and speaks a hilarious blend of Italian and Brasilian (so being with the Portugese Sisters in the MTC really paid off).

She is so lovely and so lively and was singing Once There Was a Snowman to her baby (adorable with thick curly hair) in Portugese. Her husband is calm and in control and corrects every other mistake she makes with the language and was completely patient even though we got lost on the way there and on the way back.

On the way back he was like, "we should say a prayer." and as his wife is praying (in a mix of two lanuages) and he is driving I look to the left and the side of the road is ON FIRE. You know, just some everyday side of the road fire...And I felt like it could have been the Second Coming right then and there and of course we were late getting home. But he is probably the safest driver I know and we got home almost by bedtime and Pres. still somehow thinks we are good missionaries (which we are, we just have to call him sometimes because we get into extraordinary circumstances).

Sunday Romeo came to church and was talking in Sunday School and he started his statement with, "As a new member of this church.." he already feels like a member! Its so perfect. Translating was its usual adventure, no one was at the pulpit and I said, "and now we are going to sing the closing hymn, number..." and Romeo just looks at me and goes, "Now you are making stuff up." and I was like,
"Well, even if they didnt say it, thats what we are doing."

Also, if anyone from my study abroad group is reading this...I met Anziano DeRuvo (our branch president in Siena)'s mom. Small world, eh? She was in Ragusa visiting.

Yesterday was ZONE CONFERENCE. In Palermo. Which meant a 4 hour drive with the Franceschinis. It was quite the leg, and President decided that we are not going to be a part of the Palermo zone anymore because Catania is only 2 hours away. Palermo, by the way, is crazy, no one was heeding traffic laws and there were sacks of garbage everywhere.

But it was good to see some old friends from my first district

and the Sorelle and of course it was uplifting and inspiring and we got back in time to stop by Romeo and talk with him for a bit about prophets. I talked to president about him and how much we love him. He is a very special human being. He found some work, which is good, but he also told us he would never work on Sunday! Woohoo.

I including these pictures to show you that I am not joking when I say there are hills here.

My calves...huge. Luckily its actually been cool here, We wore a sweater in the evenings, but today its pretty hot again.
was very grateful for the break though.
And grateful to be in Ragusa
instead of some other places.

Also, RITA is back. This beautiful african sister of ours who Slla Foote found,taught,baptized. She has the strongest testimony I have EVER heard. We went to visit her and we were near tears (even me, I should note that Slla Lewis is always near tears, she is way more tender than me). Her husband just got enough to pay for her dowry (yes, dowry) so he should be coming soon from Nigeria to be with her!
You know what that means?

Slla Lewis and I are planning a wedding...party.

K, well, I LOVE YOU ALL. Hope you all.

Sorella Laws

one last thought:
“Our promised blessings are beyond measure,” President Thomas S. Monson declares. “Though the storm clouds may gather, though the rains may pour down upon us, our knowledge of the gospel and our love of our Heavenly Father and of our Savior will comfort and sustain us and bring joy to our hearts as we walk uprightly and keep the commandments.
There will be nothing in this world that can defeat us.
My beloved brothers and sisters, fear not.
Be of good cheer.
The future is as bright as your faith.”