Friday, March 29, 2013

Where in the World is.... Sorella O'Connor?

We traveled all day Tuesday and got to Rome mid-day on Wednesday.  The plane ride was great. I met some Italians on one of the planes, and they helped me practice my Italian which was cool.

First Stop: The Rome Temple!!

(Thanks Grandma for the advice about rain boots)

 When we got to Rome, the assistants and the president picked us up at the airport and then they took us to see the temple!  It looks like it's coming along.  They are just starting to put the granite on the outside.  
It's absolutely huge and it's in the middle of the city, so everyone who ever drives on the highway will be able to see it.  It's going to be seriously so beautiful. 

President and Sister Kelly

After that we arrived at the villa (mission home) where we brought all of our bags in and had some dinner that Sorella Kelly made for us.  Afterwards they gave us some inital information and then showed us this cute slideshow of all the missionaries in the different areas.  After that, they gave all of us "golden envelopes" which had our first area and our trainer's name inside.  

Where in the World is.... Cagliari?

We took turns watching each of the 24 of us opening our "calls." Not going to lie, I was shocked to open mine to Cagliari... They told us that 5 sisters would be staying in Rome, 2 in Bari, and 1 in Sardegna. I saw Cagliari and thought, "Where in the world is that?" and then one of the assistants got really excited and said "You are going to SARDEGNA!"  He had served here for a long time, so he told me all about it and got me so excited.

We stayed at the villa that night and everyone took off to their destinations the next day.  The other two elders going to Sardegna and I went on splits for the next day because we had to fly out to Sardegna on Friday.  

Playing Charades

I stayed in Rome with three native Italians, which gave me a little bit of a culture shock as we played charades with every word I didn't know. I talked to a lot of people on the bus, and everyone is so nice and patient with my poor Italian.  It actually helped me talk to more people because everyone was working together to help translate what I was saying.  

I helped to teach a lesson that night and the sister I was with said "WILL YOU BE MY COMPANION?" which made me happy because I didn't think that she liked me that much hah.  

The culture here is so funny to watch.. I think people are yelling and mad at each other all the time, but that's just how they talk.

Then I got to fly to Cagliari! I was so excited to finally get here... The day before we had to do a lot of stuff at the mission office, and there were a ton of people there that were leaving and they kept telling me how great it is.  I'm seriously so lucky to be here.  It's a perfect place to start because everyone speaks really clearly and pretty slowly. There is a Sardi dialect but they never use it with us as missionaries.  

I live in the ghetto of the city... The first couple of days I wondered why it was such a tourist town, because I had never seen the nice part.  We went to the nice part of the city the other day for a lesson and I fell in love. It's probably best that I stay away because I get distracted easily by the cute clothes.  

My French Mother (trainer)

I get excited about: pizza  She gets excited about: planning

My companion is great!  She is French but speaks really great English. She speaks even better Italian. She helps me a lot and she is really dedicated to the work, so she sets a great example.  She expects a lot of me which is good because it gets me out of my comfort zone and helps me to grow.  She has a feeling that I'll be training in two transfers, so I've really got to learn quickly.  

Everyone compliments me on my good Italian, but I know they are just being nice because Sorella Cojan has to tell me that they are complimenting me.  

"House to House"

Most of our effective contacting is by bus. We take the bus everywhere. The other main way we find is casa in casa which is going door to door (or doorbell to doorbell).  

All the Italians live in apartments, so if the apartment door is open, we can start at the top and just go all the way down.  But if not, then we stand outside and ring every doorbell until they say "chi è" which means, "Who is it?" and we tell them we are missionaries and they say no thank you. But at least they are nice about it.

So one day all of our apointments fell through, so we had like four hours of finding to do which is the worst news ever. It was like my second or third day here, so I was just exhausted and the days seemed to drag on FOREVER.  

Pick a Door, Any Door

After about a million rejections, we were looking for a less active lady.  We got into the apartment, but she wasn't there.  So we were at the top of this building and Sorella Cojan said "Pick a door."....  There was one plain one and one with a million plants, so I picked the plant lady.  

She answered and proceded to let us in and gave us a tour of her tiny little house. I thought she must just be lonely because all I understood was that her husband had died.  At the end, Sorella Cojan told me that she kept saying the same things over and over again and kept kissing the pass-along card we gave her... It was a nice relief just to have someone let me in and by the end Sorella Cojan said that she was asking us to move in with her. 

The Lord's Work

After about a million more houses, I was feeling pretty distraught.  I couldn't help wonder what in the world was I doing here in Italy trying to tell people in three sentences that I want to teach them about Jesus Christ.  We didn't know what else to do, so we said a prayer asking for guidance... 

Afterwards we started walking and I thought, "Heavenly Father... I'm here... in Italy... just walking the streets in the middle of the night with an hour to go... Please just tell me what you want me to do."  

After my little prayer, Sorella Cojan turned to a house that I had noticed and wanted to stop there.  The girl inside was really excited to see us and said that her mom takes the english class that we teach here.  She said she would love to have us come back!  

Afterwards I had a thought to turn onto a street, and we did and we ran into a man who we ended up teaching in the middle of the street!  He took the Book of Mormon and we got his number to call back.

Then we ran into another girl who gave us her number and asked if we could bring her a Book of Mormon in Russian! 

It was a little miracle in my life and reminded me whose work we are doing.  It reminded me why I am here and that Heavenly Father is always aware of us and our needs.

A Golden ...... Guy

Just yesterday we were waiting at a bus stop, after more casa in casa, and a man walked up to us and started asking questions.  He told us he was looking for the truth and so I was thinking, "This guy is golden!"

Then he goes on to say, "It only makes sense that God would bring me two beautiful girls to bring it to me because he knows I wouldn't listen to ugly girls."  Sorella Cojan's face turned to stone.  

He said things like "Why does God make ugly people?" and "I am looking for a woman in my life." and "You are two very beautiful girls."  So looks like well be passing him to the elders and see how badly he wants the truth then, haha.

Shut the Front Door!

Okay I have 5 more min!  I forgot a funny story...  That night that I was having a hard time.. right before the prayer, we were doing casa in casa and this one guy got SO MAD when he saw us at the door... He started yelling in Italian and chased us out of the building.  

We stood across the street and watched him try and slam the door to the building about 20 times (no exaggeration), trying to make sure we couldn't get back in.  I just stood there and looked him in the eye each time he opened it and tried to close it again.

Also I had to give my testimony in the branch on Sunday. We have a really cute little branch and a cool little chapel.  I really want to work on getting the ward involved in missionary work so we can do more teaching and less finding.  We only have one progressing right now.  

Relief Society was the best though.  I kept thinking people were arguing with the teacher but Sorella Cojan said it wasn't arguing; it was just them answering the question.  Everyone interrupts each other and it's so funny.  

I miss you all! The mission is hard, but just like anything else, once you get through the first four days it gets easier.  I'm starting to get used to the place.. I know the bus schedule and my Italian is improving a lot. 

Where We Live

Where We Study

Where I get Ready 
(I have my own bathroom! Score!)

Where We Walk

I eat pasta everyday, but I've actually lost weight here...(they don't have mint brownies... that's probably why).  Sorella Cojan, in her French way, told me "you know if you keep going like this you are going to gain a lot of weight" so I said okay fine we can skip the pizza tonight... 

Cooking with Kait

We cook a lot on our own and Sorella Cojan is really healthy.  Oh yeah, we walk a TON hah I got my first Italian blister! Yay... but really this place is great.. I'm loving the city a lot. I'm learning a ton and it seems like there is a new adventure every day.. 

There are so many little things that I want to write home about but never have the time. We talk to a lot of crazy people which is funny...

But everyone is seriously so nice and don't worry about safety because I feel so safe here. It reminds me a lot of Israel in some ways so it makes me very happy to be here. I love you all so much! 

(Email sent March 27, 2013)

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