Thursday, May 30, 2013

"Alohomora" - Opening Doors




I feel like there isn't much to update on this week... but I feel that way every week and then it takes me forever to write it all down, so we'll see about that, ha.

We've been doing a TON of less active work.  Any free time we have, we are going to find less actives and try to meet with them.  It 's been really cool because as we've set this goal as a whole district, we've seen a ton of miracles happening with the less actives.  It's really comforting to know that Heavenly Father is working with us to help us achieve our goals.

Welcome Back
One less active that we have been visiting is named Regiane.. she is from Brazil and moved to Sardegna about 4 years ago, but in a town about an hour away so she couldn't come to church.  She just moved to Cagliari, so now she can come back to church!  

We went and visited her this week and she told us all about her conversion story.  It was really fun for me to hear because I have tons of friends who served in Brazil, so it reminded me of how our missions are all just a part of a bigger mission.  

She was baptised when she was 15 and is the only member of her family.  She told us that she would love to serve a mission too!  We are working on getting her to come to church consistantly again first, hah, but it's a great goal to have.

Productive
Saturday was probably our most productive missionary day.  We gave away 4 copies of the Book of Mormon! IN ONE DAY! It was really cool. 

We had a lesson doing casa in casa in the morning (we had to explain the Restoration to her about 4 times until she figured out we were LDS missionaries... Sometimes people forget that there are any other religions than their own), but she said we could come back so that's cool.  

Then we went to Capoterra to find some less-actives and we met this guy named Giuseppe and had a great conversation with him.  He said he is going to come to church this Sunday!  He had a ton of questions and is really interested in the message, so speriamo-- bene per lui.  Anche abbiamo incontrato una donna... oops, English sorry.  

We met a woman from Algeria who speaks French, Arabic, a little Italian and a little English, so we brought her Books of Mormon in French and Arabic!  She was SO excited.  
Cool "Peace Sign" Flower in Capoterra
Capoterra
We loved visiting Capoterra... I'm hoping we go back to visit some more.  It's hard to get there, so we can only really go when it's our week to have the car.  (We share with the elders in Oristano.)  We had a lot of sucess there and the people are really nice (probably because they aren't sick of us yet like they are in Cagliari).  

THEN we got to finish the night with a Kebab at Fratello Vicedomani's restaurant, which is always my favorite.  He makes the best bread in the world.  Slla Nef and I are looking for apartments in Capoterra to move into because we love it so much.

Sunday one of the less actives we had been trying SEVERAL times to meet with came to church!!!  So we were really excited about that!  He said he felt bad for ditching us so many times, so he came to church--hah, whatever works right?  

Then we decided to try to see this other less-active family that we have really been wanting to see & they were HOME and they let us IN!  Another miracle.  Seriously though, because after 3 hours walking down the street and feeling like you are in "I Am Legend"-- aka, the last people alive in all of the city-- it's nice to have someone to let you in. So another miracle getting to have a lesson with them.
What "casa in casa" looks like Monday nights in Italy - Deserted

Helping Hands
Also we have been trying REALLY hard to find service opportunities. The Italian culture doesn't make it easy for people to accept service, so we really have to be forceful if we want to help anyone

(like grabbing-grocery-bags-out-of-old-ladies-hands-forceful.. Okay, so I haven't tried that yet, but we were getting desperate).  

Then on Sunday Sorella Pistida (hands down my favorite member--everyone knows it) asked us to come over and help her clean her house!!! YAY!  They are having a party at her house on Sunday for her granddaughter who is getting baptized (the Catholic way).  

She is a tiny, old Italian lady who can't reach anything, so we got to go help clean.  She kept calling Sorella Nef "Ladder" because she is so tall and can reach everything.  

While we were there four of her friends stopped by, so we were able to do some missionary work WHILE doing sevice.  Thank you Heavenly Father for answering prayers.  We talked about temple work with one of her friends for a while and then we left a Book of Mormon with Slla. Pistida to give to her friend, so that was cool.

How to Work
What I've been most grateful for this week is how Heavenly Father answers our prayers:  when our desires are aligned with his desires, the answer to those prayers fills us with joy.  

As we ask Heavenly Father to help us in specific ways with the work, that's when the work moves forward.  And as we study to know what we need to do and what we need to ask for, the work moves even faster and more effectively.  

Nothing makes a missionary happier than more work to do.  Seems weird, but it's true.   There is always work to do, but the hard part is knowing "how" we are supposed to do it, so I'm grateful that Heavenly Father has been opening little doors for us.  

Alohomora
Speaking of opening doors...I seem to have some magical power of making it happen. 

On more than one occasion have we found ourselves at a locked door that somehow opens at my command... whether its someone who happens to be driving out of the gate at that exact moment, or someone who walks up with keys and lets us in, or even a neighbor who walks on the balcony and asks if we want her to open it. It's become my specialty somehow.

Communque... hope all is well on your side of the world.  Cagliari is beautiful.  Really hard some days, but always beautiful.  I don't know why you'd want to serve anywhere else.  




(Actually I just thought of why:  We were watching The District movies for training and the sister missionaries serving in Texas have goals for like 20 refferals in a week and 6 new investigators.  I think I've had 10 referals and 6 new investigators my whole first two transfers.  

And now I am remembering that the sister missionary in The District reminds me of Jamie from "A Walk to Remember" and that didn't work out so well for her, so I realize that I'd still rather be me in Italy.. sorry Jamie)
With Love from Italy
Sorella O'Connor

Baptismal Font in a Cathedral in Cagliari -
 We also got to go into the crypt where they had a huge grim reaper painted on the ceiling... cool. 
P-days in Italy.

(Email Sent - May 29, 2013)


Friday, May 24, 2013

That's Alotta Pizza


Good Week
We had a really good week in Cagliari this week. Every week has been a good week lately. 

The work is really starting to pick up and I've learned a ton this week. We've seen some pretty incredible miracles, and I feel so blessed that the Lord is constantly reminding us that He is aiding us in this work.


Thursday: progress
Thursday we had another lesson with Felice!  He is our only progressing investigator, but he is doing so great.  We love meeting with him because he is always so happy to see us and is always so willing to hear our message and you can tell that he really is thinking about everything. 

He has an open and willing heart, and that's the best thing you could ask for. 

We talked about the Plan of Salvation with him and it went really well. He is so in tune with the spirit. We will have a lesson plan in mind, and before we can even introduce the topic he will basically start the lesson for us because his comments lead perfectly into the discussion. 

He just gets it.

Friday: Rosella and her Roses
Friday we had another lesson with another English course student named Rosella. She is the best. She has the cutest little apartment that is painted all yellow inside and has all of these Klimt paintings on the walls and this cute little balcony with tons of flowers. 

She told us that she loves spending time with the flowers and that she likes to talk to them. Me too Rosella. 

We taught her the Restoration and she was really interested.  Right now her motives aren't really to know the truth, just to know more about us...but we take any opportunity we get. 

She was talking to us about prayer and how she doesn't like to go to Mass or pray in church because she feels prayer should be more private and more of a personal relationship between her and God... Rosella...we agree!  

We invited her to read and pray about the Book of Mormon and she said she would, so we are excited to see where that takes her.

Saturday: brief discussion
Saturday was also a really good day.. we were treated to a cute, little lunch in Piazza Yenne at the Ristorante Italia where we had typical Sard dishes and I tried horse steak for the first time. 


(I try everything here.. if you had told Mom 10 years ago that I'd be eating horse, tomatoes, mushrooms, etc. one day, she would have never believed you).

Also we have the FUNNIEST story from Saturday haha.   So we are doing some ripassi (pass backs) and we get to this one door and a 16-year-old boy answers and kind of sticks his head out behind the door. It's obvious that he just woke up because his eyes are all sleepy and then he kind of looks embarassed and steps out from behind the door and he is in his navy blue armani underwear. 

We are all just standing there shocked and he says "Sorry I'm in my underwear."  

Slla. Cojan says, "Your mom said we could come back but maybe at another time.

and he says, "That's probably a good idea.

and as soon as he shuts the door, we had to RUN down the stairs to keep from laughing. Oh Italia. 

We laughed the whole rest of the day about this poor 16-year-old who answered the door in his briefs.  At the end of the day when Slla Cojan said "We are thankful for our experiences today." in her prayers we just kept laughing. awkward.

Sunday: attendance
Sunday was also THE BEST! because FELICE CAME TO CHURCH! WAHOO!  Seriously we were soo happy.  He said he had a good experience.  There are a lot of things new to him, so we are going to go over and answer more of his questions.  But the members were so excited that we had an investigator there and everyone came to say hi. yes yes yes.  

Also, we had a less active show up!  Her name is Regiane and she is from BRAZIL.  She has been living here for about 4 years, but just moved from Iglesias to Cagliari so she could come to church! She is great and we are going to visit her on Friday and help her to become active again. 

Then we went to pranzo at the Videdomanis house and he made us these GIANT pizzas. My favorite was the Kebab pizza. (Israel meets Italy). Then we helped to clean up aroud his yard and headed to another member's house for a little FHE.  


It was perfect because we spent the whole time talking about the ways they can do missionary work and they are going to reach out to some specific less actives. The Lord is really helping us to get this goal of having 400 active members in Sardegna!  

I felt really badly for the elders there, though, because The Floris were just talking about how sister missionaries are so much better then the elders.  

Anziano Walker has already been feeling underappreciated as an elder (he has never served with sisters before this transfer and he thinks everyone likes us better), so it didn't help.  

Then Anziano Mcintire asked what they could do, and Slla. Floris responded, "Work like the sisters." hah.  I felt bad for them because they really are great missionaries, but I also thought it was kind of funny because I know so many RMs that complain about sister missionaries haha.

Monday: Les Mis-treated
Monday we had DDM which is always really uplifting and encouraging. 

Then we did some less active search and ran into this guy who kept taking us around this giant piazza to meet all of his friends which was weird but funny hah.  Apparently all of his friends want to learn English.  Then he asked Sorella Nef out for ice cream hah. sorry.  

Then we had FHE with some members and one of the members heard how much I love Les Mis, so he secretly had it playing in the back when we came in haha.  It's hard to stay concentrated on your Italian with the 10th anniversary Les Mis cast singing in the background... but it's also the best kind of distraction, hah.

Tuesday: bribery
Tuesday was also really, really great.. one of those days where you come home with so much joy in your heart that you think you couldn't be happier.  

We ran by Felice's house in the morning and he wasn't there, so we left him a note and some peanut butter (bribing investigators is kosher... I asked) and just as we were about to leave he shows up! yay! 

Then we went to go have lunch at Christina's house, and we had a really incredible time with her.  She made us this really great pranzo with mushrooms, rice and gorgonzola cheese.  

She was telling us how she just got asked to do this new cooking show in Italy!  She deserves it, because she is amazing.  

Then she told us all about Sardinian history and pulled out these huge photo books with the coolest film photographs of old Sardinians from the early 1900s and another book with all the beaches of Sardegna, which makes me sad that I can't go to the beach as a missionary... (magari)  

Then we had a really touching spiritual thought and moment with her.  We all just love her so much, and we are excited to go back and see her again. 

Then we did some ex-simp search (ex-investigators,) and no one wanted to meet with us again but we ran into these cute barber shop guys.  

One was outside and the other was inside cutting someone's hair and the guy outside yelled, "Giuseppe! come meet the sorelle!"  

So he just left his client in the chair and chatted with us for about 5 min. I love Italians.

Week's end: guided  
There have just been so many moments this week where I have seen the Lord guiding us in a very direct way. Whether it has been to choose a certain scripture to share with a certain person, or whether it is to talk to someone specific about English course, or whether it is to make us miss the bus and stand in the rain for 15 min. so we can help an old lady without an umbrella... The Lord is guiding us.  

There is no greater happiness than knowing that you are doing the will of the Lord.  There is no greater joy.  Honestly.  

Joy
That is what I've learned this week... along with countless others.  But the most impressive thing the Lord taught me is that the Gospel brings joy, and because Heavenly Father loves us, he wants us to have that joy in our lives right now.

I love that Heavenly Father has blessed me to love these people, to feel a small part of how he feels for them.  

I am grateful he has given me enough love to do the things that are hard for me, like asking someone to repent, or come to church, or make a big sacrifice.. the love that comes from our Heavenly Father gives us strength to do hard things and as we do the things he asks us, he blesses us with more love, faith, and power.

I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY.  Today marks my 2-month mark in Cagliari! I love it more and more every day.

With love from Cagliari,
Sorella O'Connor

We Eat Pizza in Italy

We had a huge lightning storm last night.. so of course I got up in the middle of the night to take pictures. It was raining SO hard. Island weather.


(Email Sent - May 22, 2013)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Missionari Feste

This week was basically a big missionary party.. the weekend at least hah. 

Sono Americana
Best news of the week: Thursday a lady on the bus asked me if I was ITALIAN! I said "No, actually I'm American." and she said, "Really? You speak perfect Italian." 

Whoo Hoo!!

It doesn't even matter that everyone I told that story to told me that, in fact, I don't speak like an Italian; it made me happy. overjoyed, actually. 

Missionari Feste
Then Saturday we had ZONE CONFERENCE, which is a missionary's favorite part of the transfer. It's like a day back in the MTC where all we do is learn about the gospel and get pumped to work hard for the rest of the transfer. 
All the missionaries in Sardegna


It was sad because it is Sorella Cojan's last one and it was also the Kellys' last zone conference as well... sad day.  
Sorella Cojan with her "children"
(I don't really get it -- it's a missionary thing)

But I loved it because the sorelle from Sassari came down and stayed with us, and I got to see my MTC friends who are here in Sardegna as well.

Two of my favorite MTC friends 
- and Anziano Robinson photo bombing in the back

Showing Up
Sunday was probably my favorite day though. We had a huge district conference for all the members in Sardegna. It was really great to see the chapel filled with so many people. 

We even had an English course student show up. I went and talked to him after and his face was just lit up and he kept saying, "That was just SO GREAT". He was telling me who his favorite speakers were and afterwards we had a big pranzo all together and he stayed for that too! The Anziani are going to start working with him (we like to send the men to them to make sure their intentions are correct haha). 

Also two less-actives we have been working with showed up so that made me so happy. 

Missionary work is not just finding new people to teach but also getting the members involved with less active work. That is something we've been pushing, so it was great to get the members excited about it too. 

The Big Number: 400
Afterwards we met with the district president and all the missionaries in Sardegna, and he had us set a goal for how many more people we wanted to have active (baptisms and re-inactivations) by the end of June... the big number is 400 for the island of Sardegna.. right now we have about 200, so we are trying to DOUBLE our numbers in the next month. 

It is a huge goal but we are so excited about it. If we could get every member to bring someone back or invite their friends, we could get it to work. The branch president was really inspired, and so we are excited to get to work with this new goal. 

Mother's Day Call
Then I got to call you guys that night for Mother's Day, which was really cool. It was a little strange to be calling from Italy to my home computer... but it was really fun. It was hard for me to switch back to speaking Italian afterwards with the Locci family for dinner, haha. 

video
Three-Way Skype with Paige and Family

Land of Pizza
Monday we went and saw Gabe (He was an exchange student in Arizona). He's a great kid!  It was really fun talking to him. 

We invited him to come to English course, and he said he'd love to come and practice his English he learned in the US. 

We talked about how he misses In-N-Out and how he got fat in America from the fast food. I said, "Try being American living in the land of pizza and gelato!

We also had DDM on Monday so it really was three straight days of missionary training. We set goals on how we are going to accomplish our big 200 more goal. We want to work really hard with the members because thats where the magic happens. 

Tuesday kind of sucked because two people canceled on us, so let's just not talk about that haha. 

BUT, we did give away a Book of Mormon to our pizza guy! We stopped at an ex-simps house and she said come back in 20 min., so we said, "Let's go visit the pizza guy!" (He's never told me his name, but he teaches me Sard every week.) 

Sorella Cojan asked him what he had done that day and he said he was reading a book about Budism. I said, "Have you ever read the Book of Mormon?" and when he said no he was surprised to find out I had a free copy right there in my hand! Coincidence? Of course not. 

Love the Scriptures
I absolutely love being a missionary. I love being able to bear my testimony about the Book of Mormon.  Never have I loved a book so much in my life.  

It's crazy because I thought I had a strong testimony about the Book of Mormon before. But it's amazing how much stronger my faith has grown as I search for the answers to questions, and they are always found in the Book of Mormon. 

I love being able to see the change in the countenance of a person when I share a certain scripture and it touches their heart. 

Whenever it's hard here, I just think about why I am here and how much I love my Savior. I think about the missionaries in the Book of Mormon and how much more of a sacrifice this was for them, and what they endured because of their testimony of the Savior. 

When we grow in our testimony of the love of the Savior and use the atonement in our lives to turn our wills towards His, we will finder greater strength and comfort and ultimately a greater sense of happiness.  I am already so grateful for my mission. 

COMUNQUE! I hope all is well wherever in the world you are. 

With love from Cagliari,
Sorella O'Connor

(Email Sent -- May 15, 2013)

Errands of the Lord and Good Gelato


Ciao Ciao, 

But I want to tell you a little bit about this week because it was SO GREAT! 

So we picked up our new greenie on Thursday!  Her name is Sorella Nef and she was in the MTC with Paige.  
Paige and Sorella Nef

She told me Paige was her best friend in the MTC.  She's really nice. 

Threesome: Cojan - Nef - O'Connor

It's been a little weird getting used to having three missionaries. 

I feel it's pretty intimidating to have all of us on the bus together haha and when people walk past us on the street they hear: 
"Buon Giorno
"Buon Giorno
"Buon Giorno

Usually I'm in the back (not surprised are you?) and so I've become accustomed to just smiling and nodding because its just overkill any other way. 
We ran into my favorite English Course student on the bus and she demanded we take a picture... that's why its so blurry.  She kept petting my face and saying "bellina."

The great thing is now we don't have to give ALL our male investigators to the anziani!  It's really hard to find members to come to appointments with us, but with three sisters we can have solo appointments with men. 

Happy
So it's really perfect because we got this great new investigator from English course! 

His name is FELICE. Which means happy. Which is really fitting because I'm always so happy to meet with him. 

We've had two lessons with him already and he is really sensitive to the spirit and he loves reading the Book of Mormon. He is really open and I think that he is so ready for this.  It's really exciting to be meeting someone who is so touched by your teachings and is really excited to know more. 

Also, we have ANOTHER new investigator named Claudia!  She is great too!  She is an ex-investigator that we found doing area book one day.  She had no number or address in the book, but I saw a note from a sister who is serving in Rome right now, so we were able to call her and figure out where we could find Claudia's number.  

We got a hold of Claudia and she said she would love to start meeting with us again!  We had an appointment with her and she is also really ready and really prepared. 

She had already come to church in the past and had a great experience but her boss was a little disaproving.  Because work is so hard to find here in Cagliari (like impossible), it's really hard for people to put anything above the work priority.  

But we had our first lesson with her, and it went really well.  We talked about the Book of Mormon and she had some really good questions that we are going to talk about next time. 

Lost and Found
Not only with that, we've had a lot of cool experiences finding members this week.  There was Christina who we had tried to look for a couple of times and she was never home, and then last week we were able to visit her!   She is the cutest.  


It was such a treat to talk in English again and about American things.  (Christina is American and married to an Italian.)

I felt really bad though, because Sorella Cojan felt really left out of the conversation because she doesn't get American culture... So I have to work on that, especially since we have two Americans in our companionship now.  

Anyways, Christina was great and we are going back for lunch next week!  It was cool because she bore her testimony (in a roundabout way) about how the morals she learned as a child have really added to her life. 

Also, today we ran into another less active we had been looking for and she just stopped us at the bus stop and asked when the church was open.. we were like.. "umm what?" It was seriously perfect. 

Errands
I love being a missionary. It's definitely the hardest thing I'VE EVER DONE.. but I realize more and more every day that this is more than just my work or our work.  We are doing the errand of the Lord.  

When you see the miracles he gives you and the way that he provides for your needs, you realize that you are only doing a tiny, itty-bitty piece in this work.  But I'm grateful that I have this tiny piece here in Cagliari. 

I love these people...even when they don't love me just as much, hah.  

The other day we went to dinner at a member's house, and he just stood up and spent like five whole minutes thanking us for the work we are doing.  It's great to have examples like that; to think that I'm searching for the next Walter or Pierre Luigi (the two members at dinner).  

That's what keeps you going... and really good gelato. 

With love from Calgiari,
Sorella OConnor

May 4th:  Ashley and Ryan's Wedding, and Dad's Birthday
This was my saddest day, but also the day we saw tons of miracles. I kept joking that Heavenly Father was going to bless us a ton that day because he knew how sad I was going to be and he pulled through! 

These guys are called "Floppys"
Italy is OBSESSED with the Lakers haha, so I'm at home here. 
Anyways... Laker Floppy with a Book of Mormon



(Email Sent - May 8, 2013)

Four Investigators and a Funeral


I'm sorry the email is a day late.. Yesterday was Italian Labor day which means everything in the whole world is closed and no one is at home either. (I really don't know where they go on holidays.)  So we had to wait a day for shopping and email.

Getting a Greenie
Finished my first transfer! I'm staying in Cagliari with Sorella Cojan but we are getting ANOTHER greenie! I don't know who it is yet, but she flies in at 5 so we don't find out until the airport.  The assistants love keeping secrets from us.
Waiting for their new companions


Thursday was Mom's birthday and ANOTHER holiday in Italy... not sure which, but there was a huge Catholic procession down our street at 6:30 so that was fun to watch from the balcony where I run (in place) in the morning.

Baby Miracle
Friday was the BEST day. There is this potential investigator that had kind of dodged us and we saw her twice in the bus.  She asked us if we could come by the next day and we were ecstatic. Her name is Betsy and she is from Nigeria and has a cute little baby named Miracle.  

Coolest Couple
THEN we were doing casa in casa and the coolest couple let us in!  We stayed for a long time just chatting and sharing a little bit about the Book of Mormon and the importance of famlies in the church (they loved talking about their family) and then they set up a return apointment with us!  

Two more new investigators! I literally left the building, dancing and singing about my love for Italy. Sorella Cojan and I were SO happy because really they are the coolest couple. 

My Favorite
But as soon as we calmed down a little and checked our phone we got a message from the Relief Society president that one of my favorite less-actives we have been visiting had passed away. She was older and in the hospital and we used to go to FHE at her house on Mondays.  

We visited her while she was in the hospital, so I was really sad about it. She was my favorite because she would always hold my hand and tell me I was beautiful and that I spoke good Italian. 


Stubborn Child
Then Saturday, Betsy called and canceled on us again. Dang.  

and Sorella Cojan made me be senior companion all day.  It was the worst.  

She said "Okay, now you are my trainer and I'm the greenie that doesn't know anything.

and I said, "But I really AM a greenie that doesn't know anything!

Whenever I asked a question or her opinion she would shrug her shoulders and not say anything. I felt like one of those moms that pulls their stubborn children around the grocery store with one of those baby leashes.  

I hated it, but it helped me to really learn the city and be better at making decisions, because I hate making decisions.


Full of Hope
Sunday was the funeral for Sorella Meles and a TON of people came. Sorella Safina (RS President) said her Sorella Meles' daughter (non-member) had called and said how so many people had called her to compliment the funeral service. 

We had some really great talks and it was full of hope and not a lot of people (of other faiths) are used to funerals like that. We are hoping that it planted some good seeds.


Cooling Off
Monday we had the return apointment with Ritta and Antenello and we were SO excited.  We planned this GREAT lesson on the Plan of Salvation.  We went and they chatted with us for like 30 minutes and then they said we could share our message with them.  

I started and had only said two words when Antonello stopped and said, "By the way, we love having you visit and we'll listen to your message, but we have no intention of changing."  

They had a really bad experience in the past with some missionaries (from another faith) and they aren't open to wanting to change.  They let us give our lesson though, and it was really interesting. 

Before we started Ritta had expressed a lot of concerns about death, so we thought it was a really inspired lesson. They had lots of questions, but they seemed more out of curiosity.  

Keep Trying
Even though we were sad they didn't want to investigate further, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace and comfort to keep visiting them and keep trying. They invited us back over to pranzo, and they wanted to make sure we would still come see them.  

They just "don't want to hear about Jesus" (their words).  Sorella Cojan was REALLY upset for the next couple of days... 

and for dramatic effect as soon as we left the apartment there was a huge thunder/lighting storm. perfect timing right? 


Rain in Cagliari


Hope
Tuesday we took the missionaries leaving to the airport and we have one of the Sassari sisters with us, which is fun.  She served here before me with Sorella Cojan, so it was a good to have her here to help cheer up Sorella Cojan.  

I feel so bad because I have so much hope for them and was still pretty positive, and that didn't help her feelings.  It's been hard not to have a lot of investigators, and it makes you really feel like you are no help to the Lord and nothing gets you down like feeling you are a helpless missionary.  

Shout-Out
So thanks so much for all the support you give me.  I may have started to cry a little with what you told me about graduation...it's really a comfort to feel like someone is supporting you even if you aren't seeing immediate results.  (Note: Kaitlin's dad spoke at BYU Commencement and mentioned that she was serving a mission instead of graduating that day; the crowd responded with a long applause.)

Yesterday for PDAY they had this huge parade with all the Sards dressed up in traditional Sardanian clothing so it was cool to see that. 

Traditional Sard Dress in Cagliari Parade

And then at English course only one of my students showed up because of the holiday, but we had an INCREDIBLE lesson with him.  

Emotional
Our English lesson was on emotions and he was talking about how important emotions are and then for my spiritual thought I shared Alma 32:28.

 28 Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.

and talked about how the Holy Ghost speaks to us through our emotions, and how we can know the truth through the Holy Ghost. The spirit was so strong and he started to tear up. 

We are going to meet with him this week (he didn't set a date because Italians hate commitment), but we are really so excited because he is very open-minded and very sincere. It was probably one of the best moments of my mission so far in that lesson.

Okay no time. love you. Thanks for all the pictures! You are the BEST. 

 Ciao Ciao

(Email Sent - May 2, 2013)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A Horse, A Rabbit, and Female Dogs


Just wanted to start out with a big Happy Birthday Mom!  I'll celebrate by eating lots of lemons (they eat them like candy here... cut into small pieces and dipped in sugar... SO good.)

I don't have a ton of time, so here are the highlights from this week..

Filling the Pool 
I've been pretty bummed out by our lack of teaching pool lately, but I've been so blessed because I've received a lot of comfort in different ways, mostly by small miracles of teaching opportunities and through my personal studies.  

I've learned a lot about not looking to numbers for gratification and having faith in my calling.  I am learning about finding joy in knowing that I am following the Spirit and doing all that the Lord has asked me to do.

Small Miracles
One of these little miracles was on Thursday when we were doing casa in casa (door to door).  We started by doing a less active search, but she had moved so we decided to just do finding on the rest of the street. 

We were on the last door before lunch and this guy named Igor said, "Sure come on in!"  

Now, we aren't allowed to be alone with young adult men unless there are at least three males or one other female.  (That happens a lot and we just have to teach from the door.) 

But he said that his three other roommates were home so we got to go in!  They all go to the local university and they all participated in our lesson.  It was really fun and it made me feel like I was just teaching an apartment of boys from BYU, so I felt at home.  

We asked if we could come back to talk more and they said they couldn't set a specific time because its really rare that they are all together.

They said, "It's actually really amazing you found us all together right now because this never happens." (except they said it in Italian) Yeah, we know... it's a miracle.

Classy 
That night we had English course.  I teach the intermediate class and since there was only one guy, I couldn't teach alone.  So I stayed in the basic class with a member who teaches.  Her name is Catarina and she is one of my favorite members (she is half Italian, half American, so her English is really good).





Anyway, I was helping her teach the class and she was going over changing names and titles from masculine to feminine-- like actor to actress etc.  

They got on the subject of animals and she was trying to explain how some just have the same name like cat and others have different names like chicken and rooster.  

Then one of the students asked "How do you say the female version of a dog?"  

and I said, "It's just dog." 

and she said, "No, I know there is a name for it."  

I was confused and Catarina looked at me and said, "Sister, what is the name for a female dog?

and so I gasped because I realized what it was and I said, "I can't say it; it's a bad word."  

Ooops
But then, of course, no one would rest until they knew what it was, and so Catarina told them and then the chapel where we were teaching was filled with Italians practicing the pronunciation of "female dog" ... oops.

Girl Talk
Friday we had a great dinner with the Sanna Family (another one of my favorites).  They have a daughter my age who is getting married so we talked about wedding dresses, Gilmore Girls (THEY HAVE IT IN ITALIAN), and Pride and Prejudice.  

(No Translation Necessary)


I also learned that Buenos Aires is named after a church they have here in Sardegna.   (My parents served their missions in Argentina - My dad in Buenos Aires)  You'll have to do more research on that, but the church here is called Bonaria.  I won't argue.


Il Santuario di Nostra Signora di Bonaria


Sunday the office couple came to bring supplies to the island so we GOT OUR MAIL!!  I was so excited. MIRACLES.

Ooops ... Again
Monday I added another count to my Kiss Count.. oops..  Just some nice old man who told us he was the first investigator when Sardegna opened in the 70s!  Pretty cool, huh?

He lived close to the missionaries and he's just one of those "I'm Catholic and I don't intend on changing, but you guys are really nice."...

Weirdest Day
Yesterday was the weirdest day of my mission haha.  We got a referral of someone who ordered a BOM and DVD from the internet.

When we called to set up an appointment to give it to her, she said "Oh you are going to bring it to me? I thought it was just sent in the mail... nevermind."

But I said, "Sorella Cojan, we are going to bring it to her anyway."  So we did.  We had to take a train to get out there (I love train rides... the countryside here is incredible).

When we got to the train station, we had an hour to kill so we did more casa in casa.  The last door we knocked on the man let us teach him in his doorway.  We were explaining why we believe in resurrection instead of reincarnation and then this guy just starts riding down the street on a HUGE horse... like excuse me... you are distracting me from being able to teach this lesson.




Who rides a horse in the middle of the city?  But it was a great comedic relief haha. 

So we took the train to the city where this referral lives.  There is a member family there who invited us to pranzo at one-thirty and then they were going to drive us to the referral.

Call the Authorities
So we had another hour to do casa in casa ... The last door we knocked on this lady gets all mad and says, "Who gave you authority to come here and teach?!!"

and I'm thinking, "Ummm, God did?"

and my companion says, "Signora, it's legal; we have papers."

and she shouts, "I'm going to call the police and find out... wait there."

So we are like, "Umm, if you aren't interested, it's cool.  We can leave."  So we wait for a minute and then decide to leave.

She comes running out after us saying, "How can you have a clear conscious coming here asking everyone for money?"  

We are SO confused and say,  "We aren't asking for money."  

She was so mad that she didn't hear anything we were saying, so she just stormed away and we had to take a couple minutes to breathe and let the Spirit come back. haha. so weird, but so funny.

Tastes Like...Rabbit
For lunch we had RABBIT with the members... not too bad.  Mom, remember when you couldn't get me to eat steak? Well now I'm eating rabbit.

We dropped off the BOM to that lady and she was like "Wait, so are you JW?"

and we said "No, you ORDERED this from the internet and we are BRINGING it to you... We are another Church... the one you ordered this from."

Everyone thinks we are Jehovah's Witnesses and it makes Sorella Cojan really mad.


Beach = Heaven

Then we came back and did a less active search for a lady who lives by the BEACH.  It was heaven.. seriously.

I  was feeling a little homesick (the healthy kind, not the I want to go home kind, more just missing the comforts of home) and the salty air perked me right up.

 Sorella Cojan and I decided to do more casa in casa by the beach from now on haha.

Speaking of... Sunday we went to visit this really great member out in Villasimius and we got to drive by the most BEAUTIFUL coast.  Italy is really the most beautiful place I've ever seen.. I can't even describe it.

Heal My Heart
 But I'm glad Heavenly Father knows that beautiful beaches heal my heart and He sent me to Italy. It really does make everything better.

But like I said, even though the work is hard, I find a lot of comfort and strength knowing that I'm doing the will of the Lord.

Just this morning I was reading about Abinidi (Mosiah 12) and he didn't see ANY success... He ended his mission with his life and didn't see any of the effect that it had on Alma.  But he was faithful in doing what the Lord commanded him without the gratification of feeling like it was having an effect on anyone. 

Then I remembered that I was almost thrown in jail!  Let's think of all the disciples that have done that in their missions, and I was starting to feel REAL good about myself.

Forza Italia. Forza Missionary work. 

It's really the best. As hard as it is, I grow so much everyday, and everyday I am sincerely thankful to be here. I've changed so much, and I love knowing that I am working so closely with my Heavenly Father.

I love and miss you all.  Thank you for all of the letters.  It's raining today, so I think I'll be able to write back to everyone.

With love from Cagliari,

Sorella OConnor