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Dec 30, 2011

Post Christmas

Well after we talked to you on Christmas eve we went to Vescovo's house and it was just as magical as we hoped.
And one of the many Christmas miracles was that
we did not have to eat fish!!!
Thank goodness he married a French woman!
So there was a giant turkey
and one of
his sons was wearing a vest and poofy shirt
so my and Slla Camp's dreams of a muppet Christmas Carol really did come true! minus the muppets...but there was a dog there too, it was really cute and like a miniature version of our old dog Laika.

So we gather 'round the table all of us and we are eating and laughing and
enjoying every moment
and then we sing Christmas hymns altogether and I was called upon to say the Christmas Prayer...again. So I am the official Christmas prayer sayer for the year and that's why I feel like it warrants capitalization. It was honestly the most Christmasy feeling Christmas ever...probably just because of the giant turkey, but it was great.
Sunday we woke up
and opened presents,
I was convinced Stefano
had gotten us some glass scultpture of the Colosseum or something,
but it ended up being a box of Christmas sweets and orange soda...It was a nice thought. Then we bitterly (just kidding) watched Slla Stebar open her presents and got ready to go.

We went to church and the night before bishop has asked two of us to give
talks and I had just given one and no one else really wanted to so I was like, we can do a musical number! But I didnt really take into account that a musical number would just replace the intermediate hymn and not actually the talking time so it gets to be time for church and we havent actually prepared anything because we had gone straight to bed and the anziani weren't there so we couldn't even tell them and the usual piano player was gone so it ended up Slla Camp on the piano and Slla Stebarand I (no musical training) singing Come, Come All Ye
Faithful. It was a hit. Old ladies were crying and young people were impressed and Alma filmed it to send to all the other Phillipinis that were gone for Christmas, we couldnt have asked for more. The main chorister was gone too and I cannot explain how much joy I got out of conducting a joyous chorus of Italians (and South Americans and French) singing GLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORIA. It. was. the. best.
And everyone gave us chocolate!
Actually, too much chocolate,
it's not sogreat anymore, haha.

Christmas plans fell through so we slept some (much needed)
and then I made sausage and scrambled eggs
for our American Breakfast.
Yesterday we got to teach a part member family. The
parents were baptized 3 years ago and the teenage daughter wasn't ever all that interested in changing her life. Well, back last transfer I was reading a little blurb about her that said she likes anime and wants to be an animator and I thought, Slla Stebar needs to come here. Well, she did and so we went over there with our "secret weapon" and it worked! They hit it off and now they want us to come back again as soon as possible and keep talking with her and showing her that you can be a member of the church and still be cool too.

Last night we found a really nice African man on the metro. He was helping some Chinese tourist find their way and after they got off I went and sat by him and asked him a little about himself and then if he had ever heard of the church and he said, "would you like to discuss it with me?" and I said, "Yes, I would." And he said, "Every morning we must wake
up and praise God for all he has done for us." I definitely agreed with that and then taught him about the Book of Mormon, he wants a copy of it and said to come by Saturday or Sunday. He works at an Embassy and is here with his wife and two kids!

We are still having lots of fun and seeing miracles always.
We have been talking to everyone about the new year and how each of us needs to decide now the things we will always do and the things we will never do. It started in study one day when I read a talk to the Young Women, I decided to make a list, and then my companions and now we are sharing the idea with members and some investigators because every new convert knows that when they get baptized they are commiting some very important things and as members there are things we need
to remember that we have already agreed too and also other things that will make us better people, for me, since I am going back into the "real world" soon I decided I willevery day read and pray, not spend too much time on Facebook, etc. etc. Not downloading music illegally. Those little things that we let slide, but really aren't doing us any good even if they aren't inherently evil. The idea is to make all that I have learned these past months something that sticks.

I think 2012 will be a good one, what about you?


Dec 23, 2011

There's no Place Like Rome For the Holidays...


Okay so from the pictures you can see that the baptism was off to a rough start,

the power went out right as church started so the water wasn't getting warm. Stefano was freaking out about whether or not the post baptism lunch would all work out, which of course it did because we have the Relief Society! And all worked out well there and everyone is fed even though this week we probably had 3 hours worth of phone conversation and discussion about lasagna...

I dont want to talk about it.

Then they took forever to change and the guy who baptized him wanted to have this big pep talk and so they locked themselves in the bathroom and we didn't hear from them for an hour or so.

Then we sang a beautiful arrangement of Come Thou Fount and the baptism song which everyone loved.

Then the man baptizing him, who is giant by the way, dramatically stepped down into the font and Stefano followed and it was the most dramatic baptism I have ever seen...

cant explain, I'll have to reenact it for you.

But he bore an amazing testimony after and is soooooooooooo happy,

he keeps saying, "why did I wait so long??"

He is great and EVERYONE stayed for the baptism,

it was truly the Baptism of the Year.

The baptism planning took up most of our week but there were also other nice encounters we had, like teaching Achmed this great Muslim guy who when talking about the Bible said, "the Bible cannot be from God because there are things in there you cannot share with your children, or read [at this point he turns to Fausto, a member we brought with us, with a "you will understand what I am saying look" ]in front of the women..."

We got Slla Camp's permesso,

I still haven't gotten mine, and probably never will.

We saw my favorite girl, Teresa who just loves us and gave us Napoletano Pizza, yum.

We all love the Joy to the World banner you sent

and are doing our best to share joy and peace in this time,

it doesn't feel like Christmas in a lot of ways, every day on a mission is like Christmas.

Okay, that sounds cheesy, but it's true in a way.

So Friday there was another strike, which means that things are running but only every once in a while so we bought McDonald and sat on the train tracks waiting.

Then we get on the train and we are super close to everyone and I end up (I am only telling you this because it's my companions' favorite story) pushed up against this gray haired guy with my back to him, facing Slla Camp. And he points to her tag and asks about the name of the church, and I wait for one of them to respond because I am not even facing him and have no room to move, but they didn't really hear so it was up to me and I turn and look up at him, inches away from his face, and begin to explain about our church. Apparently it looked hilarious from their point of views.

Okay, we are off to see Vatican Christmas decorations because I am going to talk to you in a few days anyway.

Merry Christmas to you all!!!


Sorella Laws

Dec 20, 2011

The Sorella Laws Tour of our Apartment

Buone Feste

Okay, I was getting pretty sad about coming home but now that I know that there is a FOOSBALL table in my room I guess I will be coming home in January! Though I imagine me trying to get over jetlag while Will and Caleb are battling. Do I have a bed still? after much thought and prayers and counseling with President, who just told me to make the decision myself, I decided to come home then.
He said that's when they had me to go home anyway.

So, you can start counting down,
I just don't want to hear about it :)
because as much as I love you,

I will NOT be counting down these last six weeks.

So sort of funny that you were confused about why I was with Slla Stebar, I guess I forgot to mention we did a scambio...which is now referred to the scambio-that-will-not-be-mentioned by me and Slla Camp because it seemed like everything went wrong. But turns out...In about two hours I will be officially companions with..

.BOTH Slla Camp and Slla Stebar. wooooo.

I am terrified, never say "I never want..." when you are on a mission, because I specifically decided I never want to be in a threesome and here we go, my last transfer as a final test. I'm sure it'll be great. We just need a new name because Laverne and Shirley are adding one more! But we have already written her a welcome song to the tune of "All I Ask of You". Transfer call made me sad though because I know the next time they call there'll be no news for me just "well, ciao."

When we got our transfer call we were washing windows

for a new/old investigator, new to us, but she knows missionaries from before. She is great, just really, really, busy with two kids and about four jobs she is balancing. People here are incredible, everyone is feeling the effects of the crisis and somepeople face it so well with a "well, let's get to work attitude".

And while we are stressing about how to fit three into an apartment for two (not that we can say that when all our Romanian friends are crammed 3-4 in a room without complaint, so I wont complain either) we are stressing even more about OUR BAPTISM THIS SUNDAY!

Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. Was that enough o's to show our excitement?
Well, we are excited and even better than that HE is excited. He just called us this morning and told us how he can't stop thinking about it and how he is just so excited and he told us we have to invite everyone. And he stopped drinking tea and he doesn't care that no one outside the church is supporting him because he knows it's true and what else matters??

We are starting to feel the Christmas spirit here, especially after the most Christmasy Zone Conference ever.

We got to go to the villa (mission home)

for lunch and

there were stockings hanging up for all of us!

We just adore Slla Kelly.

I brought the spirit more abundantly on the walk over there getting some of the other sorelle to join me in a joyous chorus of, "It's in the singing of a street corner choir it's going home and getting warm by the fire." and some joyous muppet inspired dancing...well, I find out later that Slla Camp was on the phone with Stefano who was on his way to a funeral for a friend of his and she is trying to console him but all she can hear is me singing and dancing in the background. Oops.

For part of Slla Kelly's training we reinacted the nativity and I was Mary, there are pictures on someone else's camera, but basically she came up to Slla Camp and I and was like "have any of you ever been Mary in the Nativity..." and we were like, um...Because all I could remember was that one picture from Christmas long ago and I think I was a sheep. Then she asked if we had ever been an angel and I was like, "Yeah, when I was seven or something" and well, she told Slla Camp she would have to be Mary and I say, "Um, she can't be Mary, she doesn't look Jewish at all." So I was Mary and Slla Camp was the angel.

She also talked about how each of us are innkeepers who get to decide if we are going to make room for Christ in our lives. I liked that a lot.

Zone Conference was also exciting because Anz Wright was in Rome getting a surgery and I saw Anz. Peideira who came to get his

We went to the First Presidency Christmas broadcast and that was so good too. I like how they talked about simplifying Christmas, I remember last year when I woke up and it was cold and there were no presents or cinnamon rolls and my first thought was,
"Santa isn't real
but my second thought was,
"I am so grateful for the blessings that aren't temporal"
for...myself, for lack of a better word, that I am me that I have a body created by God and a spirit created by God, that I was raised well and have a testimony and the power to overcome difficulties and find joy in almost any situation, that I am loved, even by people far, far, away and that I can feel that love even without physical manifestations of it. That as much as I LOVE presents (because I do) they aren't, of course, what really matters. That love is eternal and isn't constrained by time or space.

The festivities continued when we decided that we had to open ALL the presents because we didnt want Slla Stebar to feel left out,

so we were opening like four a day. And this picture shows the stress of being a missionary

and celebrating Christmas at the same time. haha.

There was also a Relief Society activity where we got put in charge of making the Christmas cards. They provided us with some white paper and stickers and we blew their minds, "Americans are always good at these kinds of things." Thank you, mom, for the scrapbooking skills. Meanwhile at the other table they were gluing pinecones to baskets and we still don't really know why.

After the activity there was a scuffle between a husband and wife who are getting separated and we went home with her for a while to talk and I felt like a Relief Society president and I am just so grateful that my capacity to love has grown from being awkwardly like, "um, i don't know how to help you" to learning that listening really isn't hard at all.

Well, Slla Camp and I just laugh and sing all the time and it's the best and everyone thinks we are nuts, but we've decided that we are just Italian. And Italian=passionate and they aren't phased when you start banging the table while you're teaching or waving your arms about. That's your heads up, you may want to invest in helmets before I come home. Or at least sturdy furniture.

Sunday I gave a talk and I felt like I wasn't prepared at all but it ended up going well, they called and asked me to talk about the Final Judgment, but I just focused on Repentance because that's the important thing, what we do to prepare for that day. I shared some thoughts from Anz. Christofferson's talk, that was a really good one.

For the baptism I came up with this sort of cool arrangement where we sing the words to the Baptism song from the primary to the tune of Come Thou Fount and then come in with the original words at "Jesus sought me when a stranger wandering from the fold of God". Because that's Stefano's story. He just felt one day that he needed to come back, he felt a "call" he said. We are just so glad we have been able to play some small part.

Tell Caleb to get a haircut, Ringo and give Molly a kiss for me. You know what they call babies here? Little meatballs. Like as a term of affection. Everythings about food.

Okay, Christmas is kind of up in the air, but I will call either Christmas Eve or Christmas day in the morning-ish...are you going to the Smiths? Will Zoe be there? Will Katie be there? We just got to figure out where we are going to be and if they have Skype, but they should. We are having dinner with the bishop. But I'll be seeing you soon anyway, so...maybe I don't need to call.

that was a joke. keep breathing.

I love you all, hear from you sooon.


Sorella Laws

i heard lion king came out in 3d...is it still in theatres? i am eating lion king chips right now...aka regular potato chips with a lion king toy inside.