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.

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."  

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 

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