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 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?"
"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 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 looking at my pictures. Or examining them for fingerprints, still not sure about that one.
She is in love with baby Molly.
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
EXPECT A MIRACLE.
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.