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Sep 23, 2011

Still in Disneyland

Don't worry, I am still in Disneyland,
though it will be a little less so without my Disney princess companion. But, guess who is coming...

I don't think you can.
I thought it was a joke when Slla Kelly called
and told me. I am going to be with...SORELLA STEBAR. The very Slla Stebar that I have ranted and raved about for, well, almost forever, who since the MTC has been in and out of my mission life with regular consistancy in all kinds of wonderful ways.

AKA. The best.
Even better because I was sort of terrified
I was going to have to train and I don't know if I should be trusted with the upbringing of a fresh young missionary.

I was looking at the last email and it looks like it got cut off, I dont remember what all else I said, but I remember saying something like, "Sorry this is so short, but I am on the computer in the church and everyone else is playing in the other room, which is selfish I know, but I want to join them."

It ended up being a super fun day. Slla Lewis beat everyone at Sorry (I am so proud) and then I mastered a duet on the piano that I of course butchered when we filmed it so the mastery that once was is not captured. And the Anziani dropped us off just as the last bus to Ragusa (because there are only three a day) was pulling away, and the bus driver let us on mercifully.
It was an epic sort of moment.

Forgot the camera cord, so no pictures, even worse I misplaced my battery charger, I know I have another one at home, but I dont know where. I am hoping I find it when I unpack my winter stuff, because it is getting cold here already! It changes throughout the day but we left the house the other morning in a HUGE rainstorm. Two mornings actually, it has been crazy, I need to find some boots that dont have holes in them. :)

We set a baptismal date today with Corrado!
Because he started talking about how he wanted to be baptized and wanted to watch the part in the Restoration where they have a baptism at the end over and over again.

He is amazing.
He has completely changed.
Sunday he came to church in a white shirt and was clean-cut. He keeps telling us how his life has been completely turned around. He invites everyone he knows to come listen and now his friend is super interested too and SHE wants to be baptized, she just doesn't know if she can come to church because of work.

With Aurelio we haven't really said anything,
the bishop wants to do an interview to get to know him,
we dont really know the situation still and are trying to figure out a good way to bring it up. Corado is really sad that Slla L is leaving but he is excited to meet Slla Stebar so it should be good.

Things are exciting here in Ragusa!
We met up with Salvatore again and he wants to be baptized still,
he said at the end of October, but we didn't the date "officially" he still needs to come to church! But he really loves how he feels and he also has been inviting everyone he knows to hear about the church.

And why do they want to be baptized?
Because they FEEL it, we aren't doing anything here.
We just teach and invite and teach and invite and people say,
"I dont know why but I like this"
It is SO real, it's incredible.

Everyone is sad to see Slla Lewis go,
but it means that we have been VERY busy teaching like crazy because everyone wanted to see her in the last couple days.
I am so tired, but so happy.
We just walked down the street with our arms around each other, because everything just feels so perfect right now.

Did I tell you about the beautiful perfect family of our favorite (one of them) sandwich man? Because they are perfect and beautiful and so warm and inviting and we just love them but they both work allll the time so we can't see them much.

Lorenc the husband was like,
"I really like what you are telling me, but I am not sure how to tell my wife about it, I know she will like it too, I just got to think about how to present it, but we really like these things you have explained about the family." and then a few days later he tells us that he talked to her and that we can come over the next day and when we get there she says, "I love your church! I used to go in Albania" and he was like, "I had no idea!" and then they started arguing...about how great we are. Her: These people are incredible, you will see when we go to church. Him: I know, that's why I wanted to meet with them. Her: No, you don't even understand... etc. It was hilarious and wonderful.

And I have met my new favorite thing, Gassosa,
it is like Sprite but BETTER.

There are so many wonderful things that I will have to explain next week because Slla Lewis is leaving tomorrow early and we have no time today for anything.

but I love you loooooooooooooooooooads,

Sorella Laws

Sep 18, 2011


Okay, bad news,
I may have lost my magical photo uploading thing,
I need to find it!

Because we took some awesome photos

today with some old greek ruins

they are delightful.

We are with the Anziani

from Gela and Agrigento, in Agrigento.

This week we have seen tons of miracles
like the old man who walked up to us,
"Are you Mormons?
I used to come to church, I think I'll come again"

or the other old man who talks our ear off,
but is really interested.
Or the old man in the hospital where Slla Palermo is
who just broke down and started crying and asked us
what he needs to do to follow Christ

(p.s.everyone cried this week,
we just kept making people cry...
and then we cried in ward council)

Slla Lecates told me she wanted to help convert an old Sicilian man, I told her it would never happen because I had heard they were stubborn.
I am starting to think maybe I was wrong.

They are amazing.
Everyone is amazing

We are friends with this Adventist man who is incredible. A
ll he wants to talk about is the Bible
and he studies it all day long,
he is amazing.
And Anz. Franceschini is doing a class
on the New Testament so he came and loved it.

We met an Australian
who became our friend and made me miss KELSIE,
amore mio, and Bree.

Again we feel like celebrities because everyone knows us
or knows someone who knows us
and Ragusa has this amazing small town feel to it.
And we are really good friends with the sandwich truck guys.
And the crazy thing is that TRANSFERS are coming up.
We get the call this Saturday
and I dont believe it but we are kind of hoping nothing changes,
because we are waiting for some people
to come back from their vacations
and it would just be sad to not see them again.

But that is kind of how mission life is,

you fall in love,

and they tear you away,

over and over and over.


Okay, I am being dramatic.

All my love,

Sorella Laws

Sep 11, 2011

we were moving mountains long before we knew we could


Well, I forgot my thingamajig, so no pictures this week, but as always there are stories.

Like the other day we had a family night with the Sorontinos who have the greatest children ever (4 of them, all fun and well-behaved) and there 6 year old son who conducted, "Good evening and welcome to this Family Night, we will sing hymn number 114 and then the prayer will be offered by Sofia" He's good.

During the lesson he kept coming up to me and whispering in my ear "are you going to stay for dinner?" "I dont know, what are you having?" then he would go over to his mom and ask, she would tell him, and he would come back and tell me. This happened a few times. He was pretty excited to have us there, though he ended up falling asleep at the dinner table, tortilla in hand. Meanwhile Fllo Sorontino recounted the hilarious story of how they met, he was looking for a job because he was engaged to someone else!

We are actually 4/4 for meals this week because everyone has invited us over for lunch and dinner. I dont think I can keep it up though, I feel like there is a balloon in my stomach. Luckily it is a balloon that tasted really good. Like pasta and more pasta and salad and chicken with this really good milk sauce.

Random, do they have cooking cream in the states, I think its 23% fat.

Sunday we helped in the Nursery, i.e. crowd control. We have to keep the kids from beating each other with colored pencils. And they all just want to sit in our laps because they are sooo tired by the last hour, but we can't :( so the members in there have 50 kids hanging off them and we just sit there (okay, not 50, 5).

That was only after I translated and directed the music in sacrament meeting and then taught the English Sunday School class. Which was a delight because Isaac pretty much took it away talked about how great the Holy Ghost is. And we talked about how people talked in tongues in the bible and how God is great.
I love Africans.

Sunday after church we went home and snagged a nap, it felt well deserved. Did I mention we had FIVE INVESTIGATORS in church!? Happy days! Corado is still just as amazing and we had an amazing lesson with his son last night, they love the church and how it is a big "family" that they really want to be a part off. Romeo came too and told his boss that he had to go to church. Yay!! Sundays are a lot less restful here on the mission, so I hope you are all taking advantage of the day of rest.

The bishop makes fun of us because we are always sitting in the church waiting for someone to come when he comes to the church, but people do come! We have had some good lessons lately, and like usual,
I just love everyone so much.

We spend our service hours on Friday making meatballs. Which sounds easy, right? Wrong. It was a battle between us and hot grease, I wont tell you how many casualties there were. They were well appreciated, however. We also washed Slla Marataro's windows, which was an adventure. She made us this delicious egg, cheese pizza.

We also visited Slla Palermo in the hospital, but only after some nuns directed us to the WRONG hospital (how Italian does that last phrase sound?) and we searched every single floor and asked everyone where she was (and made lots of friends) and it turns out she was in another hospital all along and we went later with some members.

Now a spirtual thought from Mary: "We have to be happy every day so that Satan will be sad." This is coming from the lady with problems back home in Africa, no money, in a country where she doesn't like the food, etc. etc. But I agree.
We have to be happy.
There is far more good in the world than bad.

Okay, so not too much excitement, mostly this week was just the usual, with a lot more good food. more adventures and pictures next week.

Love, love, love,
Sorella Laws

Sep 4, 2011

Greeting from The Luckiest Missionary in the World

In the picture from last week it's not a gold skirt, silly. They are genie pants, of course. From Israel. The magical traveling genie pants. Traveling pants. It's an idea we came up with all on our own.

I don't know if I mentioned when we went to Taormina we were told to go tagless and blend in. It was weird, like loosing my identity a bit, I managed to tell everyone we encountered that we were missionaries anyway.

Speaking of fashion I also forgot to mention that the green skirt you made me is also a crowd pleaser, the amazement came from everyone, "there are pockets in your skirt!!" "If I had to wear a skirt I would wear one like that." I guess the Anziani dont realize that with their suits they have 5 times as many pockets as anyone and that they wouldnt look good in a skirt, no matter how many pockets it has.

So, why am I the luckiest thing in the world?
SO many reasons.

Also sorry if the pictures are ultra gross
but I feel like every missionary has to have their

"look at this gross thing I saw/happened to me"
and I want you all to have the full effect.

It was while I was in Siracusa so Slla Stebar kepts going,

"ew, gross!!" and then taking pictures.

But as you can see in another picture

I am rubbing my arms because they are just so baby soft smooth now! Even my elbows, who ever has soft elbows? Well, I do.
My legs/feet are still in the process of shedding,
It is really quite ridiculous.

Sunday about a billion people (5) said they would come to church, as in SATURDAY we talked to them and they said, yes, yes, I am coming!
And how many showed up? None.

And one of the members got ticked because we asked him to give someone a ride who ended up not wanting to come and somehow everyone ended up offended and I just wanted to cry
(which doesn't happen often)
because I was sad enough no one came
and just what I needed was an angry member on top of all that
who asked us to never ask him for help again.

But I was sitting there as the sacrament was being passed and I just had an overwhelming feeling that God loved me and he was so proud of what I was doing even though the results aren't always tangible. Because we had done everything we could, we had made calls, gotten rides, made sure everyone knew how and where and what and why, but sometimes, things come up that are out of everyone's control.

And sometimes people just choose not to do what they say they will. Which stinks, but agency is just that great that
we put up with everything that goes along with it.

Okay, so that doesn't sound all so lucky, does it...BUT! We met the greatest most fabulous person everrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Friday after we finished scambi we went and made cookies for the boys at the communita and then we thought, okay, what now...because with scambi(exchange) nightly planning did not get done. So we went to visit Park Boys.

And they were their usual selves. Pablo was there without the dogs so they so arent even a good excuse anymore. And I was like, "okay, this isnt productive" but I didnt feel like we could leave and then Carmello shows up with Pablo's(his brother) dogs. We start talking and he says, "Oh I am very catholic, I am one of the pallbearers in the St, John the Baptist procession on Monday" and then all the sudden he is telling us all the things he doesnt like about the catholic church, how the priests are paid and dont have families and how some things they teach aren't from the Bible, and then he is sitting down next to us on the bench and we are explaining Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and how our church is organized and he says, "So your church is like ours, but purer."

And he said the things every missionary wants to hear,
"I will read this book." "I pray every day"
"I will tell all my friends about this and see if they are interested"
"when can I meet with you"
and "I don't work on Saturday or Sunday."
and as he left, "you can call me whenever,
it won't bother me."

While we were talking to him this man and his little boy walked up and he excused himself to go talk to them, when he came back he told us how they are from Africa and the mom work all day long and how he just loves the whole family, especially the little boy and how he is not racist. Which is just icing on the cake since 20% of our ward is African with little babies running around.

So we had an appointment for yesterday but he couldn't come because he was taking his brothers dogs to the vet
(thats the problem with charitable people)
but he was like, "when can I see you???"

And he was super upset that he accidentally slept through church and when he woke up he realized he didnt have a tie and we explained of course he could come without a tie. And his name pretty much means candy so it couldnt get much better.

We got permission to go and watch the procession on Monday

and we saw him and I yelled and waved and then I actually got a video of him waving back, which of course we just love.

Slla Stebar's mom sends her my blog posts sometimes and she asked me how I always end up teaching 30-something year old men.
I dont know,
but the same day she said that we found another one.

We also saw Corado at the procession walking along with his arm in a sling and we were confused as to what happened but we saw him yesterday and he. is. amazing. He is not the best at reading but the is going through the pamphlets word by word, paragraph by paragraph really trying to understand and he always tells us how since he met us something has changed and how he really wants to change and follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, he usually works on Sunday so it's a mini blessing in disguise that he broke his arm because now he can come and he is so excited to come.

He used to always bring all his friends with him to lessons, we never knew how many people would show up, but the past couple of times we have been able to meet with just him and he has such a sweet, gentle spirit, he brings us watermelon and comes with all the pamplets and his reading glasses ready to learn. He always tells us to be patient with him because he is slow but he really wants to understand and to be baptized when he knows.

Of course we are patient, because we love him to death.

Right before the procession we went by Ziu Pinu, our favourite sandwich truck and two of them were just sitting outside at the table and we sat down and started talking and two of the workers, from Albania were very interested, one of them has a big family and we told him about how important the family was, etc, and he was very interested.

Ziu Pinu (sicilian for Uncle Pino) is the eccentric sandwich man that is always in his bright orange shirt and refers to himself in third person and drinks Tabasco sauce.

There are something that are just so Sicilian.

He calls Slla L "gioia (joy)" and is always excited to see us. We are glad he is back because he took his truck and went to the seaside for the summer, but he came back Friday.

Oh, and the best part of the procession...No joke.
The tuba player in the marching band
was smoking.

The past little while when I have been praying I have asked Heavenly Father to send us someone who really wants to meet with us, who really wants these things. And we have found them. Because all the sudden everyone wants to meet with us and is making appointments with us, even people we don't know, like when we tried to call a lady we met in the park and a man answered and he said, "She's at work, but I know where your church is, I'll come meet you there when I am not working" and we were like, "Um, okay" we still don't know who this person is, but we will find out tomorrow. So even though we still get stood up a lot there are miracles everywhere..

Not to mention I was very sad because it is fig season and there are none in Ragusa and I was thinking, of course, I am in the one city in Italy without figs. And I resigned myself to the fact that you can't have everything, but guess what, you can. Corado brought us figs last night and I said, "My favourite!!!" and he said, "Oh, really?
Ill go get you more, five minutes"

so he left his pamphlets and glasses (see picture) and went and got more. I dont know if I have ever met anyone more tender hearted.

Ragusa is more and more like Disneyland...the day of San Giovanni there were fireworks...the night before, the night of and...THE MORNING OF. Yes, fireworks...in broad daylight.

And there were booths run by old men selling stale candy and not stale nuts and sausages and I even saw cotton candy. And everyone waves at us and we pose for pictures.

I wake up and do aerobics to Prince of Eygpt and..did I mention they gave us DVD players to use for companionship study? They are fabulous and makes my job as senior comp way easier because we can watch and discuss, not to mention the user guide is written in...not quite english, such as "Avoid of Thunder."
"Put not near water source or vase nearby." etc.

We also devote 10-15 minutes to singing because we are trying to sing our way through the hymn book before the transfer ends).
So every day starts out great.
And we meet new fantastic people every day
some who want to be our friends
and some who want us to get lost
but it is always a pleasure.

And Carmello sent us a text telling us we are wonderful. And the African babies never cease to be adorable even if they come close to hitting us in the face with objects on a regular basis.

I am just so very, very happy. And its because no matter what afflictions I have or what comes our way there is always someone to love and I wouldnt trade anything for those moments of seeing people's eyes light up as they realize they have found something
they have been looking for their whole lives.
Faith and love change lives,
they can even change human nature if we let them.

I love you all.
Always have. Always will.
Sorella Laws


do you like our matching 3 euro dresses?

we are VERY unified.

even if she falls asleep while i am talking to her. ;)

also a picture of us picking MULBERRIES.

i have never known what a mulberry was before
except that awesome band Mulberry Drive.

and a member of our ward is running for mayor.

and that cute little jacket is thanks to clothing exchange during our companionship exchange.

woohoo! it totally didnt fit slla Stebar,
but fits me,
thanks Slla Stebar's mom.

Sep 2, 2011

Greetings from the Zombie Missionary

So this week has been nothing short of full of adventure.

We got dumped hardcore by some investigators
but we have been finding new ones too!

Salvatore wants to be baptized and then got super busy (guess what, this happens ALL THE TIME). And in August everyone goes on holiday so a lot of people are in-and-out see you in September kind of deals, but luckily we are all but done with August and it'll be home free. Until you know, the next festa. :)

Romeo was doing great and then hasn't come to church the past couple weeks...

But we met up with the member that we are supposed to visit teach and she was super awesome and nice and is a cook at a local cafe. We went over Friday night and got to know her a little bit and then she invited us for lunch the next day and it was so very delicious!! So simple, meatballs, but instead of meat she used bread. So we ate deep fried bread in this delicious tomato and onion sauce, so simple, so good. Changed my life a litt.

That same day we waiting in the hot sun for an hour for a bus that never cme and then when we finally got to Comiso
everyone bidonned us! Yay!

But we met some cool old men in the park and this other younger guy and when we got back (to our other park) we actually had a good conversation with Pablo (aka ParkBoy2) despite the fact that it went back, more than a few times and the fact that he wants to marry Slla L (and has affectionately named her Barbie, you can imagine how she feels about that

"Barbie and (turning to me) Sailor Moon"

"Sailor Moon is blonde too" "Oh, um."

But after the sun went down and everyone else had left we said a prayer with him and as we were walking home we saw all these younger boys sitting on the stairs and I had the thought, "we should give them some pass-a-long cards" so I took some out of my pocket, little did I know...We pass by and one goes, "Are you Evanglists? What are those? Give me one." So we gave them ones and then he goes, "We got the same one, he got a different one!" Next thing we know we are handing out everything we have, "You like reading? "Yes" And we gave them all our pamphlets too.

Then he was asking, "Do you do scouts?
I am a scout!"
It was a funny little scene that was the perfect end to the day.

Sunday no investigators came to church but we got to sing songs with the Nursery kids. We taught them the motions to the songs because their teachers didnt grow up in the church so they don't know them.

So, I am sure you are intrigued by the title of this email, well, you will be happy to know that the rash that plagued me is gone
and in it's place...
Zombie skin.

Which, needless to say was a HUGE hit at Zone Conference. I felt so popular because everyone wanted to know what the in the world had happened to me. As you can see I even posed for pictures. The Sorelle were full of sympathy "Sorella, that stinks doesn't it?" "Its not so bad I guess..." "No, its got to be hard for you" "Yeah, but it could be worse.." "No, its hard, admit that it's hard."

and the Anziani were impressed

and appalled at the same time.

Anziano Medina was teaching everyone Zombie defense and his last words to Slla Stebar were, "Don't let her bite you" And no one wanted to stand down wind from me for fear of getting skin flakes on them. Disgusting, I know. But this is the life. The picture of my feet pretty much sums it all up.

But no worries because after a week or so I willl be a completely new woman! Though I do feel like these sorts of situations are supposed to be reserved for people serving on remote islands
or in 3rd world countries.
Italy is so glamourous.

Now I am in Siracusa and it is great we met a cool guy on a motorcycle it was one of those where you pass by and think "We should have talked to him" and then you have to man up and turn back around and strike up a conversation. At one point he said, "Shouldn't there be one true church on the earth?" and that same line from the Joseph Smith movie just came into my head and I said,
"yes, exactly."

He said if we left him with a Book of Mormon he would read it so I had him read the promise in Moroni right there on the street and then he was like, "Of course, that makes sense." and

I love being with Slla Stebar

because she is just my bestest buddy and has been since we met those many moons ago.

Also on the way to Zone Conference I met this wonderful lady on the bus who after I explained it to her said she would love a copy of the Book of Mormon and that of course she would read it and so I told her the Sorelle would stop by and bring her one and she said how she just couldn't find a church that was true and was trying so hard to get close to God and she was getting teary eyed and
I just loved her so much.

She was wonderful.
There are beautiful people all over

Pictures with people, my "dad" Anziano Christensen

who was my 1st district leader is heading home at the end of this transfer

and I sent him off with a list of good music to help him
reassimilate into the world, though

I actually cant remember most things I used to listen to.
And I never know what order the pictures actually load in, but most of them need no explanation or are probably better
if you make up your own.

I want you to all know I love you. I read a story in the Liahona today about how a missionary's mom said, "I will fast and pray for you and you do your part". So I want you all to know that I feel it. I can feel the prayers asking for my strength and success and I can feel the love being sent from across the sea and I want you to know that I,

to the best of my ability,
am doing my part.
Its not easy, its not supposed to be,
but its so wonderful.

Today we ran into some missionaries for another church and they stopped us and wanted to swap pamphlets and we talked about how we are here for a year and a half and then they go home and one said, "Yes, your families need you" in a sort of
"what are you doing here" kind of way,

which we get that a lot people with the attitude "if family is so important to your church what are you doing away from them, not calling them, not being with them on Christmas, etc. etc."

But the design is perfect and I am not sure I would have learned this much love and appreciation for the people close to me without all these experiences and 1.5 years is such a small moment when we understand that families are forever.

And with some of you I feel closer than ever before.

per sempre e sempre.

Sorella Laws

This series shows how when you take a picture with 3 people,

it soon becomes everyone in the room.

Behind the scenes of these smiling pictures was
Anz. Banks coaching us on our smiles, "
No, more open, more open!"
The assistents really do make us such better missionaries.