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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.

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