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

Oct 30, 2011

Another full week...

At first I had typed another long week,
but I changed it to full, weeks are always the same length,
even if it doesn't feel like it!

Well, it has been an interesting week. Last night we had English course and their grammar is nearly better than mine these days. New people keep coming and they are always awesome. We have decided now to ask them what they want us to talk about for the spiritual thought (that we do at the end of each lesson) and had them write down questions on a piece of paper we got some good questions
that we are excited to answer.

I try not to get stressed out, but we had a few "everything is over!!" moments this week. Romeo and Corrado both didn't show up for their baptismal interviews. Then the bishopric rescheduled the baptisms without telling us. Corrado we did the interview and he passed, but then later we discovered there was one of the commandments he didn't understand and so we have to postpone again and go over that some more. Romeo has been unreachable because he is working essentially from 7am-10pm. No one came to church. etc. etc.

But with all these interviews we have gotten to spend some time with the Anziani from Gela, they get lonely too all alone out there.

And the Adams came to check out our apartment and do a little training.

Kate Adams (long story, she is sort of a missionary because her parents are here on missions and she came with them, so she is like a half-breed because she doesn't have to follow all the rules but can come into our apartment but also has an iphone and goes out with boys)

cut my hair as you can see from the pictures.

Gabriella LOVES us still.

We know because she tells us.

But we haven't seen her because she has been, really, really, sick and can't hardly move without getting massive headaches and we just wished we had the priesthood so we could go give her a blessing but instead we are in the process of arranging to get
two fratelli over there in the soon future.

And we have some new people in our lives who are cool. Mostly old men who we found ages ago but have finally picked up again. Then we had a life'changing Family Home Evening with Rita monday night. I don't know why we ever go over there thinking we are going to teach her. She told us crazy stories from her life. So many times where she nearly died. Her family left her for dead when they were travelling from one country to another because she had hurt her leg, but she kept walking and hitchhiked to one city from another until she FINALLY made it home.

Then she was pregnant and felt like she needed to go to
Italy, even though she was nine months pregnant she said she trusted God would get her there safe and she made it, even though half the people on the boat drowned when it started sinking. She prayed every day and never lost faith. And from that point on she told us how she has given her life to God. Despite EVERYTHING. All the hardships she has had and still has, she trusts God and never stops praying to be more like Christ.

I am not sure I have ever met a more consecrated person in my life. She is the most faith'filled person I know, and
she still always prays to be better.

Very different than another person we know who is convinced that God owes him because he has had a hard life, even though he is breaking just about every commandment and therefore cannot get blessings.

Still going strong over here,

though, don't you worry.

Especially after we listened to Pres. Eyring's talk to the Priesthood this morning. Wow.

"Great priesthood trainers have shown me how to build that strength: it is to form a habit of pushing on through the fatigue and fear that might make you think of quitting. The Lord’s great mentors have shown me that spiritual staying power comes from working past the point when others would have taken a rest."

When we are on the Lord's errand, we don't really have time for fatigue or fear or anything else that gets in the way. Mortality is so short, we have to spend our efforts, not worrying so much for temporal needs but building up our spirits for the eternities.

--But we still get 8 hours of sleep every night. It is amazing to me, how there is always that last push in us, always one thing more we can do when we think we are finished, and that one more thing is always worth it, and always a step above who we think we can be, to who He thinks we can be.

I don't know if we will ever really comprehend our potential in this life, but especially not if we don't even try.

God loves us, he wants to talk to us.

I love you all,

Sorella Laws

Oct 22, 2011

What a week!!

It feels like it has been a long time since I was sitting here writing you, because SO MUCH has happened. Right now I am eating gummi rats which seemed like a good idea, but probably isn't. Just to give you some background to this email.

So Wednesday and Thursday we saw Gabriella and she is so amazing.
She told us,
"you have saved my life"
and how she always feels so good when she comes to church and after we come by and talk with her. She has been searching her whole life for the true church to join. Super legit, etc. etc.

Except the member we took with us to a couple lessons is now telling us not to go see her and to give her space and not push her, etc. etc. To not talk to her about the church, but that SHE (this member) would keep in contact with her every day and invite her to things, etc. etc.

And I was like, wait, what? She talked to Slla Stebar for about 20 minutes--that's not an exaggeration, from 8:35-9, only a break for her to cut cake, she also gave us a ride home) straight about it ("I have to talk to her because you can't hide your facial expressions"-Slla Stebar). And basically told us we can't go see her...Even though she told us seeing us makes her very happy, and we are friends, and...since when can random people ban you from seeing someone you pretty much introduced them to? She told us we don't need to ask, to just come over whenever, that she feels so good around us and that she really hopes that this is the true church. She said that since she has met with us she has felt more allegra and has started putting things in order.

Meanwhile, this Slla is telling us we have to leave her be so she can get things in order. But this is what is helping!! We are used to members giving us advice and being helpful, but this is something that just doesn't make any sense whatsoever. She told us we couldn't watch the Restoration with her, that we need to watch another movie, that is more "subtle" and I said, "We already talked to her about it and she wants to see it." So as much as I have become a humble and meek servant of God there are some things that are just too hard to agree with because they are so completely wrong.

It is hard to believe that Sorella Stebar and I have been together almost a month now. It still feels like we aren't really companions, that we are just pretending still. And I always knew it was a bad idea to put old missionaries together, we are both sort of insane, for lack of a better word. We have an entire list of song titles we have come up with from things people have said or things that we have said that are just not normal enough for normal conversation.

The transfer has gone by really fast. I am trying not to think about it, but I am terrified I am going to get shipped out of Ragusa, I am far too in love with all these people (I know, that sounds familiar right?) but with two transfers left only

(ahhh, i want to be a missionary forever),
it is looking likely, but then there is the fact that SIX NEW SORELLE (out of 24 that will be in the mission) are coming in so I am not sure I am going to dodge training much longer, who knows what will happen!?!!!!???

Also, this was a week where EVERYONE was in love with us. There was this guy on the street that ran into me(literally) while he was passing and then starts to go into a store but instead turns around and goes,
"Ma, SEI BELLISSIMA! Where are you from?"
And then asks if I have a boyfriend, to which I said, without hesitating,
"Yes. In America."
"Oh, and do you have a boyfriend in Italy?"
I thought, what? Thats not how that works! But instead I said,
"I am a missionary. We are like nuns."
"But you will get married someday right?"
"Yes, the family is very important, it is part of God's plan for us"
"Good, because it would be a shame YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL."
And then he said,
"Okay, but I can come find you sometime, right?"
And I said,
"This is the address to the church, the services are Sunday morning."

And that was after the text from an investigator we haven't seen for a month or two but who we called the other day,
"I am faithful to God, but when I met you, I liked you.
Your eyes enchanted me."

But it is also hard to know, because here in
Italy they are just very honest when they see beautiful things.
And then the nine year old on the street who said, in English, "I love you!" as we passed. We try not to break hearts, but it's not easy.

I miss having a blonde companion. Usually the comments were never directed at me.
But we also have a lot of not-in-love (or at least we hope) men in our lives that are incredible.

The other day Slla Stebar was looking at her planner and said,
"I have never had appointments with so many men in my life.
Welcome to the mission of Sorella Laws."

We met this great guy Antonio who is a theater actor and just wants to help his family be connected with God. He is a real thinker and makes really intellectual comments while we are talking and is just so deep. And you know how I love deep people.
Then there is Carmelo who talks ridiculously fast and never lets us get a word in edge-wise.

"You speak so well, I always understand you, even on the phone."
"Thats because he doesn't let us say anything!"
Even when he was sick it was like, "
"Yeah, how--" "Yougottatellmewhatworksforyou,Idontknow,eightthirty,orearlier?"
"How about--"
"I just don't know, wait, tell me, go."

Basically it is amusing to try and watch my companion talk to him on the phone because on our side there are never quite complete sentences. And he is paranoid he can't come to church unless he wears a suit (not a probl
em, most people don't) and we ran into him in the park and he was like, "Not like this, its too sporty"

He was wearing jeans and a button-up shirt. I guess the standards are different here.. We have tried over and over to set something up with him but it has yet to work out, fingers crossed for tonight. Fingers also crossed that we don't catch whatever he had earlier.

And, there is Raposelli who we went by the other night to sing some songs with him. He does the most interesting versions of hymns and...JOHNNY CASH.
Raposelli: Johnny Cash, you can't touch him!
(sounds cooler in Italian).

We were singing hymns to his guitar accompianment and then he goes, "Do you know this one?" and next thing I know we are both singing
Folsom Prison Blues and Slla Stebar goes,
"wait, what? what is going on?"
because she is slightly less Johnny Cash literate and had no idea how we somehow both knew this song. The look on her face was priceless. But if I end up with lung cancer someday I am blaming Rapo.

We also got back in touch with Mara which was a miracle because she told us that the very day we called she was feeling sad and lonely and she agreed to meet us in the church, which she had never been to (she works almost 24/7 for an older lady and only has 6 hours off a week). We watched the Restoration film and she was very touched.

So the work is going better than ever, like, ever in my whole mission, but no one around here seems to believe us because they only see problems but we aren't letting that get us down.

And our shower is fixed so we are not taking bucket showers anymore (though I did appreciate the touch of 3rd world living)! And that was an exaggeration, we have some really incredible members here who are always willing to help us with lessons, namely Monia, the greatest ever and Tina. There is one plus to no one having jobs, more time for missionary work!!

Oh, and to explain the pictures

there was a bambini choir in church on Friday and though we thought it would never work, it worked! And all the families went home with a copy of the Book of Mormon and the l
latest Liahona all about the Book of Mormon.

Somehow we got put in charge of decor,

but I just told slla S to use her mad skills and it worked out grrrreat.

Other picture: Slla Palermo looking at my pictures. Or examining them for fingerprints, still not sure about that one.
She is in love with baby Molly.


Sorella Laws

p.s. Everyone, if you are waiting for a good time to write me DO IT NOW. Slla Stebar is way too popular and I need letters for these next two weeks so I have physical evidence of my equal popularity.
Via Michaelango Bounarotti 201


Just read a talk by Bednar while waiting for my comp to finish. It is about the dangers of virtual relationships replacing real ones.

“Hearken unto the words of the Lord, and ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever ye shall stand in need. Doubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him.

“Be wise in the days of your probation; strip yourselves of all uncleanness; ask not, that ye may consume it on your lusts, but ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation, but that ye will serve the true and living God” (Mormon 9:27–28).

As we heed that inspired counsel, we can and will be blessed to recognize and repel the attacks of the adversary—today and in the days that lie ahead. We can and will fulfill our foreordained responsibilities and contribute to the work of the Lord in all the world.

I testify that God lives and is our Heavenly Father. He is the Author of the plan of salvation. Jesus is the Christ, the Redeemer, whose body was bruised, broken, and torn for us as He offered the atoning sacrifice. He is resurrected; He lives; and He stands at the head of His Church in these latter days. To be “encircled about eternally in the arms of his love” (2 Nephi 1:15) will be a real and not a virtual experience.


i had to submit a miracle story to slla kelly, I'll send it to you to


Corrado Sambito is one of the many people I have taught on the mission that has been a living example how true conversion can change a person. His story is a series of miracles starting with when Sorella Lewis saw him on the street, another scruffy looking Italian man, but she felt prompted to go back and get his number. He has been carrying around that pass-a-long card for months now. His wife had died six months earlier and he was absolutely devastated. But he will tell you that the day he met Sorella Lewis and Sorella Ashman everything changed.

Teaching him went a little slowly at first, we called him when I first got to Ragusa and he wasn't always there when we set up appointments. His father didn't let him go to much school so he can't read that well, but he remembered everything we talked about. He started reading the opuscoli one page at a time, now he is reading the Book of Mormon, page by page. The first time we invited him to church he said he wanted to come, but that he had to work until noon. That Sunday he came, with five minutes left in sacrament meeting, dressed in his bright orange work clothes. "I thought for sure they weren't going to let me in, but then one of the brothers had me sit down, I will never forget that."

After a few weeks he started to get Sundays off and told us he would always come to church, but that he would never wear a tie because they really bother his neck. We said that was okay. Soon he was accepting all the commandments and wanting to pay tithing. He loves the last scene in the Restoration film where they show the baptism. He wanted to be baptized, but wasn't sure if he was ready. Sorella Lewis suggested he buy a white shirt, the next Sunday he showed up in a white shirt and neatly shaved.

On September 21, the "deadline for expecting a miracle" we invited him to be baptized. He said yes, of course, but that if there was a fee to pay he would just have to wait until his next paycheck. We told him it was free.

He drinks aqua frizzante now at dinner instead of wine, but that he would give up that too if we told him it was against the commandments. His friends try and buy him coffee and he always says, "No just orzo, I don't drink coffee because I am Mormon." He has told everyone he knows about the church and has introduced us to anyone who will listen. He has given up so much of his old lifestyle, including working on Sundays, because "I could go to other churches any day of the week, but this is the only church that interests me." Last Sunday, he even wore a tie.

In every single lesson he thanks us for helping him change his life. He always says,
"Non smetterò di dire mai, grazie a Gesu prima, e poi voi altri per avermi fatto conoscere questa nuova famiglia, e questa nuova vita."
We are all looking forward to the day that he is baptized and
really starts his new life.

Oct 12, 2011

Anothe epic week

Okay, so taking a step back to Wednesday
I had a dream that the testimoni di Geova came back to our house and were mad that I lied to them--hold on, did I tell you how JWs knocked on our door and that I was so taken aback that I told them to come back some other time even though we are very much not allowed to let people in our house and, um, we are full time missionaries for another church. Well I had this actually kind of scary dream I think as a result of guilt because I feel so bad I didnt just tell them we aren't interested.
Yes, missionary guilt.

Anyway, so Wednesday night I left all my clothes in the Anziani car and so Thursday I had to walk to Zone Conference in Slla LeCates clothes and some shoes I found in the closet and I managed to get my stuff and slip into the bathroom to change before too many people noticed, but it was yet another me entertaining the rest of the world moment, I meant to take a picture but didn't get around to it.

Zone Conference was amazing as usual.
President talked about how missionary life is not normal
and that there is a reason we only do it for a year or two because it is not normal but that we still have to do our best to follow all the rules and give it our all. It was just nice to hear someone acknowledge that what we do isnt easy. But then he also said that when he was set apart as mission president Pres. Eyring told him, "Your missionaries are lucky to be sent to a hard mission, because they are going to come back stronger and be prepared to lead the church."
He likened it to the early Saints,
"Utah was a bad place to grow food, but a good place to grow Saints."

I don't know why it has to be so hard for us to grow, but it is. I think about our investigators right now. Some of them are having a REALLY hard time. Example: We have one investigator who recently found out that her husband has been cheating on her...for 12 years...with her best friend... And she has always been a sweet, faithful person. And you wonder, why? Why do some people get the easy life and some people get the hard life? But we have to trust that God knows what we can become and that through the Atonement of Christ we can be HEALED not just from sin but from heartache. She is amazing by the way, we taught her the first three lessons three days in a row and she has been coming to church for a month now. She is the sweetest person I think I have ever met and I am completely in love with her. Her phone has been off but we are going to pass by her tonight with the talk:
The Atonement Covers All Pain.

We met with Rita a
new convert and she is having similar problems as the rest, just feeling hopeless with all her struggles in life. She is far from her family with no work and hardly any food. We decided to stop by her after we got back from Palermo and it was perfect timing because she was feeling extra sad, but we told her we know God loves her and it will work out in the end. I believe that every time we say it to someone, but it is hard to get them to really believe it. She still loves God and her son Destiny and somehow keeps up faith even though she told us it was too hard she still ended the lesson by bearing powerful testimony that God loves her. And Destiny greeted us with his usual growly-chomping noise.
We think he is part bear.

Then there is our boy Johnny, who also has had a hard life
and wants so badly to change but just doesn't know how. We had a few out of control lessons with him asking millions of questions, switching languages every few moments, and impersonating a machine gun (which ironically a machine gun impression happened again the next day in another lesson, I promise the people we teach are normal) but just yesterday, he finally had broken down completely and was just like,
"what do I have to do to be free again?"
and we told him and we read with him from a talk
about how no one is too far gone and
we brought him 6 cartons of grapefruit juice
so that he could stop smoking and he said he would do it.

Like you said mom, sometimes, and often,
it is the people who take some time that end up being the most fully converted. These people just need patience and love and although we start out as strangers that come into their life out of nowhere they become so important to us in a matter of moments.

Corrado, wow. He told us the first time we invited him to church that he would come to church but he would never wear a tie, because he has only worn a tie two days in his whole life and he doesn't like feeling strangled. We said that was okay. But, this Sunday, he showed up in a tie. On his own. And he is reading the Book of Mormon page by page, even though he can barely read because his dad didn't let him go to much school. He called us today because his daughter had another baby.

These people just blow my mind with their incrediblness.
I feel so lucky to know them. And if anyone knows the story of Paul-->Saul. ANYONE can change and become incredible.

On the way back from
Catania I talked to this awesome girl on the bus that looks like the Italian version of Babetta and was super cool and thought I was cool (which was a plus) and we talked about life, etc. We will be facebook friends someday.

In English Course we made them give us directions
to their favorite pizza places. We have tons of new fun people.

So, life is great!! I want to be a missionary forever.
I love you all.

Sorella Laws

Okay, let me explain some of these pictures.

Me, apparently directing and/or producing something
at the same time. Don't know what that was about but I am SURE it was important. And who ever was on the phone was probably confused.
You can take the Laws out of the film program for a year and a half
but that filmmaker face still shows up now and again.

Shout out to Slla Jenkins, because there should be some people you recognize in THESE photos (namely one amazing Peruvian Italian) and guess what, we went to
Palermo AGAIN. Always think of you cruising the streets, teaching the gospel, when I am there.

There is all the sorelle at Zone Conference. There are a lot of sorelle in Sicily.
We all love each other lots. As you can see.

Reunited with Anz. Avesani!! Him and Anz Perry are Zone Leaders, greatest thing ever, even if its not actually my zone. We are currently being led by Anz. Scotchi and Anz Knutson from the MTC (he's back again).

And this is the elephant that is HAUNTING us.
We first HEARD it when we were saying a prayer in the church.

"Um, was that an elephant during the closing prayer?"
"Yes, I believe it was...
remember how we aren't really in
Italy but
a mix between
South America and Africa?"
"Oh, yes, I remember now, jungle noises during lessons are normal."
"Good prayer though."
"Yeah, good prayer."

And then we saw it the next day...several times!
And it drove by twice during church. It is haunting us and we are afraid something bad might happen to us if we don't go to the Circus while it is in town...

Then we were surprisingly invited to Palermo on Monday even though we had just been to Zone Conference in Catania for a SUPER district meeting that was really the whole zone. But the Zone Leaders asked us if we wanted to come, it was mostly for people who hadn't had interviews and we already had, but we went anyway even though it meant 9 hours on a bus for 5 hours in Palermo, it was still pretty fun. And to link these two pictures together there is this quote,

"With Anz. Scotchi leading us and
an elephant following us we don't stand a chance."

This artsy shot of me walking down the street, look to your right, that fence is made out of bed frames. "How many beds does this guy go through?"

Palermo is a very special place, it is unfortunate we only spent a few hours there. Its very clean most of all.

And it actually just looks like Provo...

..except for the seaside.

Oct 6, 2011


Well, it has been a really crazy week,

but we just got back from

So that is awesome.
More on that momentarily.

And Slla Stebar and I celebrated our One Year Anniversary
(okay, she was celebrating her one year on a mission and I pointed out that I met her her first day and so now it is officially
a holiday for the both of us!)

Okay, this week is crazy because at one point we had
THREE baptismal dates,
but then we discovered a few problems with some of the commandments and we are going to have to move some things around.

But my/our motto for the transfer
(partially because Slla Stebar caught me saying in my sleep) i
"Non ci sono problemi" There are no problems!
No matter what happens.

Or however you would eloquently translate that

The past two weeks Slla S has pointed out several times that my English is become Italianified. Like that last sentence. I'm struggling. But it is okay. Back to me talking in my sleep, I was explaining to someone that they could come to Relief Society
"even if you are not a member of the Society."

Add to that, we have received a record number of "bidonnes" that is people who stand us up this week, because people just kept cancelling. One would cancel, we would set up another appointment and that person would cancel too! Over and over. We even double booked ourselves once on accident, but no worries, they both cancelled!!

And then, conference, the one thing you think you can count on, but what happens? We get to the church and it starts raining and we think, "Well that was lucky!" except for the fact that we were watching by sallelite and it kept cutting out! We thought "it'll come back for the prophet, it'll come back for the prophet!" Wrong.

Romeo laughed as I waved my arms about willing it to work, as if I was holding an antaena and when it cut out us and the three African men we were with sang hymns in the bad Italian that we speak until it would come on again, only to hear the crowd laugh at some wonderful Pres. Monson joke that we had missed. Awful. But we just downloaded them onto the mp3 player, along with all of Sunday afternoon session, because that was playing at 10pm and we missed it.

Conference was great though, wasn't it?? Pres. Utchdorf's talk to the Relief Society was SO wonderful and lovely and heart warming.
God loves us. Punto. Period.

The other bad news was that WE BROKE THE CHURCH. Okay, not really, but I went to close the garage door that is our church entryway and it slammed really hard and the next day we couldn't open it. Problem. But once again bishop saved us and got it fixed.
He has saved us a lot lately.

Mom! When you sent me that email about the man we met who didn't think he could change that he was too far gone, I couldn't remember who you were talking about, but then one night we were sitting in the park making phone calls and I scrolled through all the names and stopped on one and said, "johnny, be our miracle" because his phone is ALWAYS off. But he answered! And we went and saw him the next day! In his house with his girlfriend and it was really awesome.
Step by step we will help him change his life.

Like the photos?

Guess who hasnt cut her hair

since the mtc...yeah,

out of sheer laziness.

We wore normal clothes because it was a "hike"

but it was easier than our walk from Romeo's to the church,

which we trekked with him to get to conference.

And of course as we were hiking the volcano

many a Mordor reference was made.

This mission is full of nerds.

Everyone but me had lots of lava dust in their shoes,

mine were squeeky clean.
And my old comp Slla Lecates is in

After Conference we were on our way out when

Emily starting harassing us

(she started it, promise, haha).

You can see that Slla Stebar was the victim of beauty parlor.

This is why they don't let missionaries babysit.

Especially not the bishop's kids.

And this is a picture of us eating, guess what,


on top of a volcano (okay, not really the top).

Love you all, bye!!!

Sorella Laws