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Dec 1, 2011

happy Holidays....

Okay, my mind is a little bit exploded because I got an email from Jenkies, Kelsie, Babzy, Diana, AND Angela AND my mom. Wow, love. And you are all crazy amazing and doing awesome things that make me proud. And what on earth RAVEN is on a mission??

And I have to freak out for a second about Babetta's capstone because the stills look AMAZING. Do the caps really do it? I am not sure, let's try this UH. MAZE. ING. I'm so proud of you and your legitness. Sei tu fossi un uomo ti sposero subito. Slla Camp thought you got the actress from Gossip Girl--or did you? ha. IT LOOKS SO COOL. the end. I have cool friends.

And thank you family for the season's greetings. I love when mom makes everyone write me :) I thought it was funny that you mentioned Christmas in Rome as a once'in'a'lifetime thing, because don't you remember I was here last year? Ha. But it's great, the Chinese stores are full of fake christmas trees and Nativities are everywhere and we've got Gladys Knight to sing to us, but somehow I still haven't eaten chesnuts roasting on an open fire! But we've got all of December still for that...and January.

Also, tell the Lathen's hi for me and thanks for the support. I don't have loads of time for writing people back...being in ROME and all. ;) but I'm going to try and get a postcard their way.

No pictures again this week because the charger still hasn't come and we just haven't been on the ball with it these weeks, but you will have to carefully follow my great descriptions to follow, but this week was a good one. Just kidding we have a few from the museum last week,

me and man's best friend and then pointing to...

I dont even know, something on an ancient map of Italy or Sicily...I'm either pointing at Bari or Ragusa probably.

Wednesday night we were at the Buccolini's for dinner and we talked about the first principles and ordanainces of the gospel, faith, repentance, baptism, and the holy ghost, and enduring to the end! Fabrizio even though he comes to church every week didn't know what baptism is for or the sacrament so we got that cleared up and committed them to pray--which he still won't.

Then on Thursday we went to the mission office to make some programs and then during lunch we watched the mormon.org video of Brandon Flowers, the guy from the Killers--really cool you should all go watch it. and I got some new music on my ipod...Lord of the Rings Return of the King has been playing almost nonstop in our house along with EFY 2009 and 2010. The Anziani were making programs for our activity and afterwards we had to go straight to the church so we grabbed some McDonalds and wished each other a Happy Thanksgiving. And then these American kids came up to us! It turned out to be American day afterall because on the way back while we were walking through Termini (the main station) I overhear this guy saying in a perfect nerdy voice as he walks by, "Oh, I understand, I also at first found Tolkien a touch dry, but--" and I waited for him to pass and bust out laughing.

Then to English Course where some amazingness happened because Slla Camp and are were rocking Advanced...aka...two middle aged men that come and we were talking to them and well, I am talking to Andrea about bridges and building roads from Napoli to Milan or something like that and trying to explain the difference between American and Italian style, which was hard because no one believes me that I don't remember what America is even like anymore--whenever we run into Americans I am like, um, what....because I don't know how to communicate in anything but broken Italian or English as a Second Language. Anyway, meanwhile Slla Camp is talking to Stefano about how he WANTS TO JOIN THE CHURCH. And I am trying to pay attention to bridges, but really listening in to their conversation.

Friday we went to the activity and Greta the five year old tried to run away with all our programs and throw them all over the floor. And then the sound for the DVD wasn't working and no one really came and everyone was concerned that it was a complete disaster...Except for...the Brownies. We made brownies and they were a huge hit and now all the members love us even more than ever. That was easy.

Saturday we went and saw Maria and she asked how we celebrated Thanksgiving and I said we didn't because you can't celebrate Thanksgiving not in America because it's about family and eating turkey and mashed potatoes and we are waaay too lazy for that.

That night we saw Dimitri at Alinna's house and had a big Romanian party because her mom joined in and her mom is hilarious and next thing we know she is telling about giving birth and all kinds of crazy stories. She makes us laugh a lot. And we are all crammed in a little room and it's just so cozy. We saw them the next night too and Alinna's mom comes home with this cart they use for groceries (we call them the granny cart, I think I've sent a picture before) and she just starts pulling all these things out of it, clothes, a nativity scene (that she is pulling out piece by piece amongst other things, a candle, cowboy boots...I dont even know how to explain how wonderful it was. Meanwhile we are teaching and Alinna is explaining every story in the picture book to us (so I guess, we weren't actually teaching--like usual). And Davide, her son is shooting us with pieces of the Plan of Salvation.

Sunday...The Primary Program. I am SO sorry we don't have pictures, but use your imaginations a moment...

It's 9:30, when church is supposed to start. One child is there, the primary presidentessa's daughter. Slowly more come, but the presidentessa is in a panic, where are the children? Her 1st counselor is on the phone, calling moms. By the second half of them have shown up, some are refusing because they are scared, one girl is crying in the corner. Jackie (who we thought was Francios, but isnt) is holding a baby, coaching them on their voices, and doing Brijet's hair all at once. The poster with the theme "I know the scriptures are true" gets hung up. There are cheribum on the corners--are we in Rome? Enter a lady we don't know, but she's got a big smile...The Stake Primary Presidentessa. She is there to support the children. She gather's them together for a pep talk and then, with Willy Wonka-esqe flair pulls out a scripture marker for each of them, one by one. But it gets better--there is one for each of the leaders too and even for the Sorelle! The children are filled with more courage--or at least their leaders are. Jackie tells them they can sing with out the words, they try, it doesn't work. I agree to hold up the posterboard so the audience can't see it, but they can. The compromise is made.

Jackie gets emotional when they practice I Love to See the Temple, he just loves the song so much. Presidentessa is trying to not get upset about the people who haven't showed up. Slla Camp fearlessly mans the piano despite the toddler who has come in with the accompianment on the other end, nothing I can do because we aren't supposed to pick up children.

In the last moment one of the mom's shows up with...bonnets! Yes! We are all pioneers! I don't know how scriptures inspired pioneer attire but they were adorable. The leaders are wearing them too. Sacrament starts and they are using their scripture markers, not to mark scriptures but to color the programs. Everything goes well until they start to sing a song from the hymn book, but no one has books. They get passed around, but not to Jackie the fearless director, so I dart over and grab him one and he is conducting and flipping pages at the same time because it had started without him and he is shaking, but it all turned out good.

Oh, and don't worry about my end of things, I held those poster boards real good.

Jackie gets up and bares his testimony of music and children and we are wondering, since when do 16 year olds like this exist? It's a hit, everyone is touched and love it.

After church we play foosball with Brijeet and Carmela. Brijeet kills us repeatedly as she fights her nine year old desire to be fair but also always win. Meanwhile she is singing "I've got a feeling that tonight's gonna be a good night" and she taught me some good tips. We decided we have got to practice before we play with her again.

Monday. We teach Stefano for the first time and these is an amazing story that takes up most of our lives now, but I don't even really know how to explain. There is just this connection there that no one really knows why and he has known the church for 24 years and said that lots of missionaries have told him to get baptized but that when he heard it from us he finally really felt it and felt the authority and power in our words. The Anziani taught him a couple times but we and he and them eventually all felt that we needed to teach him. And now he is always talking about how he is getting baptized, but he wants to finish the Book of Mormon first so he is reading about 30 pages a day, sometimes more and we will see when he finishes. We are reading it along with him in our personal study and talk about what he has read each time we see him, along with whatever we are teaching him and he says that he is just feeling it all so much more powerfully than he ever has and that he will get baptized in January.

Then we went and saw Fernada and Gabriela, two members, and I look up on the wall and see a picture of Gabriella's baptism and she is with four missionaries and I know all of them. with Anziani Reyes and Cardiff and Sorelle Zeller and Hansen ALL of whom I served with in one way or another so that was kind of cool for me, because I felt even more of a connection to her, through that, in a way and she said she wants to come back and I asked her how she felt on her baptism and promised her through repentance she can always feel that clean and pure. They didn't know we were coming (miscommunication) but they were so happy to see us and they are just great.

Then we had some time so we tried to stop by Miriam's cousins and they weren't there, but I remembered I had written down an ex'investigator that lived on the same street so I thought, well, let's pop by, I couldn't remember anything about her and her name wasn't on the door, but the door was open so we got in and I was like "maybe its too late" but Slla Camp was like, "No, people eat dinner at this time." so I rang the thing and she comes to the door and I was like, "Um, we're new, but are you Teresa?" and she said yes and let us in and her and her roommate (because turns out she's a student) are incredible. Her roommate came in and was super interested and we talked a little bit and got an appointment to go back Friday! Yay! I love young people. They are both SO cool. And it was just all so inspired we showed up at the right time.

Yesterday we thought we were going to die because we ate at 3 with Stefano (he brought lasagna) and then at 6ish Alinna asks if we can come over for a bit so we do--she had made cake and wanted to share it with us!--so we ate that and then we were talking with everyone in her household, including her husband who usually runs away from us! and then she brings out some soup, meanwhile I've drank about 5 glasses of grape soda because it keeps getting refilled. There was a hilarious moment where her mom was convinced it was wine and refused to drink it. And she brings out some soup...we I eat really fast because we got to go so of course she brings out another bowl of soup. And now we are in trouble because what are we late for? A dinner appointment. Usually I am concious of our appearance to the public but I was at the busstop doing football hops, jogging in place, and stretching side to side trying to make room for the pasta that I knew was coming and I slept awful last night because I was SO FULL. it was all tasty though. I'm still full. I think I wrote the other day about how we had three appointments for dinner lunch and dinner, but I think this lunch dinner dinner tops that.

Sounds like your holidays are a little boring without me, don't worry, I'll make sure the not holiday season is an absolute riot.

I love you all. My advice for the week: Just do it.

A JW tried to convince me yesterday we can't listen to our hearts because of some scripture in Jeremiah, but guess what. I think they're wrong. You gotta be true to your heart.
(not that Mulan is more factual than the Old Testament, but we've got to make our own interpretations sometimes)

But if you feel you should do something, do it, because unless it's breaking the commandments or the law what's the worst that could happen.

Also, our motto for the week is Truth Matters. thanks to a letter from Babetta ages back and a quote from a View From the Bridge.

Hope you enjoyed. this week was a good one and the next will be too.

Con troppo amore dal cuore,

Sorella Laws

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