Saturday, July 27, 2013

Regina di Cagliari

Reporting here from Cagliari.

Thats right. 6 more weeks here in Cagliari with Sorella Nef!

Just in Case
We were freaking out all week because everyone thought I was leaving, so I got pictures with tons of people and bought all my souvenirs and a suitcase just in case.  

We took these pictures because I thought I was leaving.

 English Course Students

Saturday morning they called us first, which we thought meant there would be changes... so Sorella Waddoups asked how we were feeling... 

and I said, "Nervous
and she said, "Well don't be, because you are both staying put.  Now get back to work".  YES. 
It was actually a bittersweet moment.. slightly bitter because I've been here for over 4 months, and it feels like my mission is going so fast.  I want to see so much of Italy and I'm afraid I won't be able to serve all the places I want to serve. (It's true.. I won't.)  

BUT so sweet because I love Cagliari.  I love our investigators and I love the members in the branch.  
Mostra Sunday night and the Secci family came to help!

Plus, since Sorella Nef and I have already been together two transfers in Cagliari, we don't have to figure anything out.  We don't have to get used to anything.  

Power Couple
We can just be a power couple this transfer and get work done.  We are really excited about that. We have both grown so much this last transfer and learned SO much and now we get to apply it to our work here in Cagliari and hopefully see a lot of growth.
It felt like such a LONG week this week because we were just waiting to find out what would be happening.  It's really hard to plan when you have no idea where you'll be the next week.  But we saw some pretty cool little miracles this week.
We went to go visit this lady named Adele who has met with the missionaries in the past.  We aren't really sure how able she is at comprehending the lessons, but we still felt like we needed to stop by and just say, 'hi."  

Love of God
When we got there she was getting ready for some friends who were coming down to visit her from Sassari.  She invited us in anyways and we were able to have a little lesson with her about the love of God.  She thinks that "God is evil because he sent his son to suffer and what kind of parent would do that.?"  As we explained to her that Heavenly Father sacrificed his son so that we would all have the chance of returning to him, I had a great sense of our Heavenly Father's love for us:

As imperfect as we are and as often as we reject that gift of the atonement, Heavenly Father planned this for us so that we would have the chance to really change and have the true happiness that can only come from accepting the atonement. Jesus Christ loved us enough to submit his will to offer us the same gift.  

As we were teaching her, the friends rang the doorbell!  They came in and we were able to explain to them a little bit about who we were and why we were there.  The mom was SUPER interested in our message, especially about how families can be together forever.  So we gave her the number of the sisters in Sassari, and she said she wants to meet with them!
Let us In
Also that night we got to meet with Rita and Paolo.. a couple that we've been trying to meet with since Sorella cojan and I were here together in my first transfer.  They have never been home when we stopped by, but they live close by so we try them often.  BUT THEY WERE HOME and we were able to teach them with their daughter and granddaughter there.  We gave Paolo a Book of Mormon and as we were leaving, he was just flipping through the pages... coolest feeling. Speriamo bene.
Friday we had the weirdest day. We got a number of a lady who lives outside of Cagliari, and we set an appointment to meet her on Friday and asked the anziani to drive us there. We get all the way there and she doesn't answer.  We call her and she says, "Oh sorry, I'm not there... I'm, ummm, at my dad's house?"  That's what we like to call a "bidone." (google translate says: "a dud") haha

Why are We Here?
So we were like, "Why are we supposed to be here in Sinnai?" Just then we get a call from the assistants with ANOTHER referral! For a lady who lives in Sestu, which we also have to take a car to get to.  

So we thought, "This is it! We need to go find HER!"  

So we call this lady to see if we can drop by and she says, 
"Oh I actually don't have time to meet with you.  I just thought the book would come in the mail." 

So I said, "Okay, we will just be the mailman and come drop it off in your mailbox."  

So that's what we did.  I still have no idea why we were sent all over the place, BUT there is a Book of Mormon somewhere in Sestu sitting on top of a row of mailboxes with a handwritten testimony inside.
Faith in Action
Saturday we had a miracle with a less-active we have been working with from Brazil.  She hasn't been able to come to Church because her job just calls her in when they need her, and they usually need her on Sundays.  Right now in Italy it's REALLY hard to find work...especially in Sardegna.  So it's kind of a sticky situation.  

We met with her again on Saturday and we had asked HER to prepare a spiritual thought for US.

She said, "First I have to tell you some good news: Sunday they called me in to work, and at the end of the day I said I had to quit because I can't work Sundays anymore.  The next day I went and saw an old employer and she offered me a steady full-time job where I don't have to work weekends!!!!!!" MIRACLE. 

Then her thought was on faith. Perfect. It's funny, because I wasn't surprised.  It's just like "Of course... of course...Heavenly Father always provides."
Pig for Pranzo
Sunday we got to go to Fratello Vicedomanis house for pranzo which was really fun because he got another pig for us.  Also he invited the tourist family that was at church because it was their last week in Sardegna.  

(Quick story:  They are from the United States but the mom is originally from Sardegna.  She met her husband at BYU, and then while she was on her mission he surprised her by learning Italian on cd in his car... cute.  So they have been here for a couple weeks visiting her family) 

It was really funny because the husband and Fratello Vicedomani were exchanging bad companion stories... like really, really bad.  Like the kind of companion who carries a flute with him at all times to play in the street kind-of-bad.  Like shouting, "PENTITEVI, PENTITEVI!" ("repent ye, repent ye") while walking through the public areas kind-of-bad.
Help From the Other Side
Monday's miracle was with another referral from  We've been by their house like 20 times and no one is ever there.  The mom was there once, but it was the daughter that had asked for the Book of Mormon.  

This time the mom answered again but invited us in to learn a little more about who we were.  We had an incredible lesson with her.  We started asking about why religion was important in her life, and she told us about how her mom died when she was just a young mother.  She shared how hard it was for her because of their relationship and how she had needed her mother's help.

She talked about how religion helps her to feel close to her mom.  We testified that the Book of Mormon talks about the Plan of Salvation; it tells us where her mom is and how she can get to see her and again and live together as a family.  

She said she really wants to read the book but her poor eyesight makes it impossible.  So we suggested that she read it together with her daughter.  She said that we can come back to talk to her daughter and try to start meeting with them.  

It was such a cool feeling. So often I feel like family members who have passed on are working so hard to get their family members to find us and to accept us. I am often reminded that we are not the only ones doing this work.
Lucky Day
Yesterday, however, was the best day of all.  We met with Maria Rita and Giuseppina and they commited to a BAPTISMAL DATE!  August 18th is the lucky day!  They are so ready.  They just don't know how ready they are, so we are going to help them know.  

We wanted to have a lesson where we didn't teach anything new, just a review of everything that we have talked about, and then explain why it's important for them to know, how they can know, and what they will do when they know. 

It was perfect because we were able to clear everything up and see how we can help them develop their faith. The most important thing is that they have a desire to know. That's something that we can never provide.  We can teach all we want and invite all we want and testify all that we want... but if they don't have a desire to know then no real conversion can take place.  That's what we have been working on with them.  We want to make sure they are really converted.  

Truly Converted
We have been working with a lot of less-actives and it's so sad to see how they never really understood the covenant that they were making or the changes they were promising to make.  People who had been baptized without really having that desire to receive the blessings that it brings. Sorella Nef and I have studied a lot about what it means to be converted.. and to really make sure that our hearts are where they need to be. 

Heart in the Right Place
We have learned a lot about how if you don't have your heart in the right place, it doesn't matter if you are doing all the right things... if you are keeping all the commandments. If you don't have that charity, it means nothing. 

Charity, that love for the Savior and love for his children, is the thing that changes you--it was allows you to really be changed. If you have no real desire to accept the gospel, to show faith in Jesus Christ, and to continually repent and change your entire life, then following the commandments will never help you to make those changes. 

We read two talks this week "The Fourth Missionary" and "Following Christ to Victory" and it really put into perspective the importance of making sure that our investigators are making real changes based on real desires and to make sure that as missionaries we are really giving our hearts to the work. 

Never Easy
Missionary work is never easy. never. It's hard work all day all the time.  Sometimes you really don't want to think about leaving the apartment when it's 37 degrees and all your appointments fell through and you know that people are going to reject you for the next 6 hours.  

But... if you go out anyways because you love the Lord and you want to do his work and you want to change your heart to maybe one day enjoy doing those things.. then Heavenly Father is able to change you.  

If you do all those things with a grudge in your heart the whole time... wishing and wanting to be at the beach or back at home or watching a movie... then that sacrifice will make no difference and we will never find the real reward of that sacrifice.
I have seen myself change so much. I feel so grateful that Heavenly Father is teaching me every day and changing my nature and helping me to see the purpose of life. 

I have been so much happier on my mission as I've come to know my Heavenly Father better and been able to see that eternal perspective. 

I am grateful to be here in Cagliari doing his work. Im grateful to be taking the small steps to really become converted myself.  I am so grateful for the chance to be an instrument in the Lord's hand... even if I'm not always a very good one.. I'm grateful that he is able to accomplish his work with me anyway.
With love from Cagliari,
Sorella O'Connor

. Last district photo with Anziano Ostler! (We are all staying except for him.  We were very surprised about that because this was his first transfer on the Island)

I have a favorite graffiti artist here in Cagliari.  I'm collecting different photos of his work and praying that I find him and teach him the gospel.

(Email Sent - July 24, 2013)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Kinder Egg Predictions

I'm getting really freaked out this week ahh.   I started to realize that this could be my last pday in Cagliari.  

Every District meeting before transfers we do "Kinder egg predictions."  They have these hollow chocolate eggs with toys inside, and we guess what is going to happen the next transfer based on what toy we got. 
Buying Kinder Eggs

I've already been kind of nervous that I'll leave Cagliari, and then I got this little flying dragon toy in my egg.   Now everyone is sure that I'll be leaving and I'm still not so sure how I feel about it haha.   

Streets of Cagliari

I've come to love Cagliari so much; I really feel at home here now.  We've got some great investigators, and I really feel like the work is starting to move forward in Cagliari (despite the summer vacations everyone takes to the beach).  

with Fratello Locci (Ward Mission Leader) and family

I love all the branch members and I know all the bus schedules... But Heavenly Father tends so move us just as we start to feel comfortable.  

We find out on Saturday and usually people leave Tuesday afternoon from Cagliari because we have to take a plane, but we will see!  Sorella Nef and I really hope that I'll do one more transfer here!

One of the biggest reasons I want to stay is to see Maria Rita and Giuseppina get baptized.  But as much I want them to be progressing quickly, I feel like the Lord keeps saying "piano piano"  (slowly). 

 For example, I had done the math and I realized that if they were able to come to church EVERY WEEK and we met with them like every day they could be baptized on this Sunday.  With my fear of leaving, I had decided I wanted it to happen.  
Maria Rita and Giuseppina

Sorella Nef and I went to our appointment with them and had this goal in mind for them.  We were determined to commit them to a date (something we've tried at least two times previously and it never seems to work), and there were just all these weird things that happened.  

Like Francesco (EC student) showed up to our lesson again!  Just wandering in the park.  So it felt weird to commit them to a specific date with him just sitting in on our lesson, but I still wanted to try it, so I extended the commitment.  

Making a Statement
They kind of just sat there for a minute and then said, "Capito" in a way which means, "Yeah, I understand."  Then I realized that I had said the question in such a way that it sounded like a statement. 

So instead of 
"Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone with the authority of God?"

 I said, "You WILL follow the example of Jesus Christ..."

 and I could feel Heavenly Father just chuckling in heaven saying, 

"Slow down Sorella O'Connor.  This isn't about your timing:  what you want or when you want it.  It's about what is right for them when I sait's right for them". 

Lesson learned.  (Then it ended up that date wouldn't have worked anyway because they had problems come up with some documents and weren't able to attend church on Sunday.)

This week I've really come to the terms AGAIN that this mission isn't about ME.  I wanted to come on a mission and accomplish all these grand things: 

I wanted to feel the joy of seeing someone I helped get baptized.  
I wanted to feel like I was a great teacher, able to convince people that the church was true.  
I wanted people to remember me as the missionary that helped them know the truth or the missionary that helped them come back to church or the missionary that began teaching their family.  
I wanted to be the ward members' favorite missionary and just change the way everything works. 

It's Not About Me
However the Lord has kindly reminded me that this isn't MY work, it's HIS work.  These are His children.  

My role isn't to bring people to me.  It isn't for me to feel the joy that comes to them when they receive these great blessings; my role is to bring people to Him.   

My role is to help people rely on the help of their Heavenly Father.  My role is to help people strengthen their relationship with God and to help them be self-reliant in their faith. 

That's where the real joy in this service comes from.  I am grateful for that reminder, and it really helped me to have comfort about possibly leaving Cagliari next week: just remembering that I really wanted to come on a mission to serve my Heavenly Father, to help people come to Him.  

The Lord will call us where He calls us, and as long as we are focused on his work then we can be the instruments that He needs us to be.

Not much else to update on.. just some really cool little things:

Like how we got three referrals from Mormon.Org!  Unheard of.
Or how Sorella Nef and I got to translate for some American tourist kids in Primary this week. 
Or how I got a kiss on the hand from a sweet 68-year-old man with Down Syndrome. 
Or how one morning we miraculously had three lessons in the space of three hours.  (That's more than we get in most full day's work). 

Primary Children with Missionary Drawings

Missionary work in Italy is hard, but it is oh so sweet.  Every day I love my calling as a missionary more and more--the opportunity I have to communicate so directly with Heavenly Father.  I know that He loves us and that He is always with us.  I know that as we sincerely seek him, He will always be there.  

Attitude of Gratitude
I am grateful for the knowledge of his restored church.  I am grateful for the gifts of the priesthood.  I am grateful for a living prophet who teaches us how we can strengthen our relationship with our Heavenly Father.  

Above all, I am grateful for the sacrifice of the Savior and his love for us.  I am grateful he has provided us a way to feel the joy that only comes from living the gospel and from having faith in his power.

With love from Cagliari (maybe for the last time)
Sorella O'Connor

(Email Sent - July 17, 2013)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Meet the President

I feel like it was just p-day and then I was thinking about everything that has happened since last p-day, and it feels like its been a whole month.  We had a REALLY busy week this week.


American as Apple Pie
Wednesday we had a 4th of July party with our English course students.  Sorella Nef and I thought it would be cute to make apple pies... which then took up the WHOLE pday and we didn't have time to go grocery shopping. dang it.  But they loved the pies and it was a lot of fun.  Also they somehow got us to sing the national anthem. rough.

Thursday I got the letters (mom) sent me from Nat and I told Sorella Nef about their goal for 100 OYMs (open your mouth!) every day.  So we made a goal to start talking to WAY more people than our original goals and we found a lot of people who were really interested.. not to meet with us again, unfortunately.  But we planted some really good seeds.  

We also had a lot of time to talk to all these people because ALL of our lessons canceled on us that day (which turned out to be a trend for the rest of the week... which looks like it might be a trend for all of the summer... such is the life on the Island).  But then Sorella Winward and I had our leadership training meeting with President Waddoups that night which was really cool.

First Impressions:
LOVE HIM.  He is SO humble.  I had heard that he was president of the Utah Senate or something (politics are hard).   Being called to be the mission president in Rome right now is a really big responsibility with all these changes and the temple coming soon, so I thought he would be really confident with a strong personality.  

He's definitely not like that (in a really good way).  He is very quiet and very thoughtful and very calm...  but also really funny when he wants to be.  He is so humble.  He was talking about how he got into politics, and the way he told the story made it sound like it was just an accident and he just got lucky.  I really like him a lot; he is simple and kind and really caring.  You can tell he is the kind of person who completely relies on the Lord and gives all credit to Him.

See a video featuring President Waddoups HERE

Friday was ZONE CONFERENCE!  Always so great to have a moment for your own spiritual recharging.  Sorella Winward and I did a destramento with the other two ZLs and it was really great.  

I doubt anyone else learned anything, but I learned a ton about goal setting and planning so at least it was great for me. 

Also we had a big pot luck and we (Sorella Nef and I) were assigned to bring a main dish, so I made some Sard pasta and it was so good (bragging).  We had a quasi food challenge with the anziani who also made pasta and it was agreed that ours was way better.  Even Presidente Caravagna (best cook on the island) said it was "Buonissimo"... highest honors.  So I have perfected sugo.  At least there is that, right?!

The Plan
Saturday we had a really great lesson with Marie Rita and Giuseppina.  We brought Sorella Saffina with us who is the RS president and we talked about the Plan of Salvation.  

It was cool because we were in the park and Francesco just showed up again (EC student who randomly showed up at our last lesson).  He is great, but he likes to interrupt a lot so when we started to talk about eternal marriage, Sorella Saffina was able to keep him busy while we finished the lesson with Marie Rita and Giuseppina. 

Life After
We started talking about the Spirit World and they asked, "Are there lots of people there?" and "Will we be able to see our relatives?" Then they shared a really cool experience about their mom/grandma who right before she died started talking about seeing all these people and how there was so much light and how she could see her mom.  

So we just went with it, haha (not sure how apostate we were) but we were like "Yeah, she is there now learning about the same plan we are teaching you here."  Anyway, we invited them to Church and they said they would come! 

Rush In
Also Sorella Saffina bore a really great testimony about her conversion story which really helped them a lot... BUT we were trying really hard to set a baptismal date for them, and she kind of ruined it by saying "I investigated the Church for nine months and I think it's really dumb when people rush in and get baptized".. so we held off again.

That night we had another mostra at Piazza Yenne!  I talked to about a million people, and no one I talked to was interested.  But Sorella Nef and Anziano Walker found some good potentials.  

Mostras are really fun because you never know what will happen.  Like this old crazy guy came up to the table and kinda yelled at me about not being genuine and how the pope is better than me because I just do this for the money and he doesn't, which I thought was funny.  

Also this guy that looked like Harry Potter came up and asked if he could take a picture and I thought, "Cool, free publicity!"  Sure why not? and then he came up really close to my face and took like 20 headshots. awkward. super awkward because we were all posing for the picture and then he does these weird head shots haha funny though.


Happiest day ever.  

Also there was a German tourist who came and asked me to translate for her. bahaha. I was super nervous because there are three other people who speak perfect Italian and English, and she asked me to do it.  Then I thought, "I can't even make it up, because all these people will know that I don't know what I'm talking about."

But when Maria Rita and Guiseppina showed up, I got to pass her off to one of them after Relief Society haha.  We were so happy they came. 


It was Fast Sunday and they loved everyone's testimonies (which is a miracle because we all know how those meetings can sometimes go).  

Afterwards, Maria Rita said, "I feel so happy here; everyone just loves each other.  I just love this."  Sorella Nef and I were just staring at each other like, 


and then a ton of the Relief Society sisters came up to chat with them.   Sorella Pistida starts talking to Giuseppina and asks, "How did you hear about the Church" and they said they had met us in the park and  that we've been meeting to learn about it.   

Fist Pumps
Sorella P turns to look at me, points at them and says "ehhhhh!" in a really excited "Way to go!" kind of way.  Then she turns to them and says, 

"Listen to what they say; they will bring you to God." and points to the ceiling. So funny. Then as we were all leaving Marie Rita and Giuseppina were like "Bye, see you next week!" to all the sisters, and Sorella Nef and I were doing internal fist pumps.

Also we got a refferal from! on my 5-month birthday.  It was the best present ever.  We NEVER get those. NEVER!  So we went and saw this girl and she said we could come back to talk about the LDM. (Book of Mormon) YES!

Then Monday and Tuesday the sorelle from Sassari came again for a scambi! (exchange).  We literally had no food and they ate all my Special K bars that I found at the expensive store.  (Then I remembered how when we were little Mom used to say, "No crying about food.")  haha

But we had a good scambi with them.  I had to give up our dinner appointment with the Sanna family, though, which was a huge sacrifice for me because I love them.  I let Sorella Nef go with Sorella Winward.  

Stopped in our Tracks
But, we had two less-active lessons--which we hadn't planned--literal miracle from just walking down the street.  One guy stopped and said, "Hey, I got baptized into your Church." and we talked a long time with him and got all his info so that was cool.  

Then two minutes later this guy stops us again and says "Hey are you Mormon?  My uncle is Mormon and he lives right there.  You should go visit him."  Ummm, okay.  

Perfect timing too because it was actually the son (who is also a member) and he said his dad had just passed away.  So we were able to talk about the Plan of Salvation and read the scriptures with him. really cool.

My Comp
The girls left Yesterday and we were just exhausted from hosting all week. I love the other sisters a ton but I'm also really glad to be with Sorella Nef.  We get along really well and I realized how we are both just really in tune with each other.  Plus she makes me laugh, and she is super smart.  

Every day I learn something new about Mozart or battleships or baking or something.  A fountain of knowledge she is.  I hope we stay one more together in Cagliari.  Crazy that we get transfer calls a week from Saturday.  It's going by so fast!

Work for the Dead
Today we had a nice relaxing pday. We went to the COOLEST cemetery by the Bonaria Church. Sorella Nef's mom sent her pics so we went to check it out and we are obsessed.  

I took my film camera and used a whole roll.  I can't wait to see them. They have the coolest old sculptures and we had the whole place to ourselves.  It reminded me of the scene from Phantom of the Opera when she is in the graveyard... So of course I had to sing the song.  

Then we went shopping because EVERYTHING is on sale.. literally every store has to get rid of ALL of it's merchandise. yayy for us. I wasn't too bad. I have a suitcase to think about.

Another week alive and well.  I read a great talk from Elder Cook (Read it HERE) from the last conference this morning.  It really reminded me about why I am here and strengthened my testimony of the peace that comes from the gospel.  

We ask people to make a lot of changes in their lives.  But ultimately those changes bring a greater peace than the world could ever provide. Then I read Helaman Chapter Five this morning about the Lamanites in the clouds of darkness.   As soon as they repented they were filled with an unspeakable joy and the Holy Ghost as a pillar of fire.  

I've felt that unspeakable joy, and that's what I am here to share.  

I am so grateful to be a missionary.  It's really hot and sweaty and everyone is at the beach and some days everyone cancels on us.  But Marie Rita and Giuseppina came to Church.. and they felt that peace, and they were so happy, and it makes it so worth it. It makes everything worth it.  

We are so blessed to have that in our lives, and I feel so blessed to be able to bear testimony of that joy and to help others make the changes to have that in their lives as well.

With love from Cagliari,
Sorella O'Connor

(Email Sent - July 10, 2013)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Cinque Mesi - Five Months!

Oh hey there time...where have you gone?

I just realized I'll be hitting my five-month mark this week, and I'm still slightly freaking out about not being adjusted to missionary life.  I have a pressing feeling (that you aren't supposed to get used to); one that you have to work on the whole 18 months.  Oh wait... that's what everyone told me would happen, huh?

Anyway, it was kind of a slow week here in Cagliari.  Some pretty cool things, but for the most part it felt like "giriamo in tondo"--we were going in circles.

The cool things that happened this week:
Sorella Nef and I have been running every day (a whole mile through the Italian suburbs) and my pasta pouch is slowly disappearing--which makes me the happiest girl on the Island.  (Simple pleasures right?  Plus I know you ALL want to hear sister missionary weight-gain stories... really though, a couple people have asked me about it.. haha)  So I seem to have survived the "first transfer curse".

One of our English course students came up to me and Sorella Nef on Thursday and gave us each a little gift.. melted my heart.  My present was a cute necklace. Have I mentioned how much I love English course?  

Today we are throwing a 4th of July party.  Yay America!

Friday we spent the day in Carbonia!  I introduced Sorella Nef to the tuna can-sized train through the countryside.  

We planned to visit a couple people who ended up living all the way across town, so we spent a good 45 minutes just walking there (with no one on the streets to really stop and talk to). 

But when we were almost there, we said "Hi" to these cute ladies gardening.  About a minute later I thought to go back and talk to them, but I talked myself out of it because I thought it would be totally weird to go back and introduce myself (bad missionary moment).  

Since the less active we wanted to visit had moved, we started walking back and luckily one of the ladies was still out I thought "Okay this is my chance."  I asked her directions (my favorite street stopping approach.  Everyone is so willing to help here that they'll stop at least to help out and then you can move into the fact that you're a missionary.. tutto quanto...) and we got to talking and her friend came out to help too, and we ended up having a lesson with them outside of their house!  Really sweet ladies. 

They were really interested to know why two Americans were in their small town to talk to people about Jesus and a living prophet on the earth.  Also they gave us a bag of plums from their garden as we left! (talk about "fruits of our labors"...)  

Strong Testimonies
Then we met up with the anziani for a dinner appointment with some members.  I am always so impressed with the members and the sacrifices they make and the hardships that they go through being the only members in their city.  The 12-year-old daughter told me that she isn't allowed over at some of her friends' houses because she is a Mormon.  Their 14-year-old son was telling us some of the mean things people say to them at school.  

I am just so impressed with their strong testimonies of the truthfulness of the gospel and their endurance through those trials and even more difficult ones with their extended family.

Internet Search
Saturday we met Maria Rita and Giuseppina in the park for a lesson.  We got really nervous when Marie Rita started out by saying, "I did some research about your Church on the internet." (because we all know people have lovely things to say about the Mormons on the internet.)  

But then she started asking about the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity, and she told us right off that she has no problems with them and she keeps them anyways... it was really cool.  

Then she said "Yeah, some people were saying some pretty bad things about your church; I just don't get why everyone has to bash other people's faiths."  which was a great introduction to the First Vision and why Joseph Smith had been searching for the truth... way perfect.

Also we have been doing a lot of finding in the park, and the other day we met this man who spent a good 30 minutes talking to us in English about all of his health problems.  He was really excited to find someone to speak English with, hah.  At the end, when his wife and friends were begging him to leave, I said this Italian phrase "magari" which kind of means "I wish" and he was so happy that he gave me a couple pats on the forehead. Yeah...I don't really know why either.

Sad Day
Sunday was happy and sad. Sad because we invited five people to come to Church (three of which promised they would come) none of which actually came.  I basically sat staring at our phone all of church because a less-active asked us to escort her in when she got there so she wouldn't be alone.  

Happy Day
But it was also happy because we were able to see the Missionary Broadcast!  Presidente Sanna (one of my favorite families on the planet) brought us the broadcast in English!!!!  It was SO good. so so good.  It got us really excited to go out and keep working.   

Unfortunately, it also made me realize how useless casa en casa and street contacting have been, so I don't have much motivation to do that anymore, hah, oops.  But it's always great to have a reminder about why the work is so important. I definitely needed a little bit of a boost of that kind. 

Presents and a Party
Afterwards we went to check on the less active who didn't come to church!  (Just a nice friendly reminder, hah.)  So we had a little lesson about faith with her and then she gave us a bag of potatoes to take home. (more presents -- & people say missionary work is hard.)

Yesterday we had a mini birthday party with Maria Rita and Giuseppina!  We didn't want to plan a specific lesson because we really wanted to show her that care about her personally -- not just as a number to be met or a goal to be completed.  It was really great, and it made her very happy because she had no other plans for her birthday.  

Then we had another appointment with Sebastiano last night (our other investigator), BUT he stood us up. So sad.  We actually brought the anziani with us because Sorella Nef and I had a feeling that we should pass him over to them.  His wife seems a little uncomfortable having us over, so we thought maybe it was the American girl issue.  

Right before the lesson while we were driving up there, neither of us were feeling very good about the lesson we had planned.  Then it turned out that he was busy and his wife asked us to come another day. 

Going in Circles
So we had extra time to do finding.  There was an ex-investigator we wanted to try, but we got really lost and ended up in the middle of nowhere joking about how Heavenly Father knew we weren't prepared so he was just getting us out of the way for a while.  

Then after some good chastisement on my part during my studies this morning, I realized He was right.   I haven't been dedicating myself to the work as fully as I could be and that we really do just go in circles without the guidance of the Spirit.  The guidance of the Spirit comes from that diligence and that desire and that sacrifice to really do your best and work your hardest every moment of every day.  

I have realized that here on the mission Heavenly Father is never subtle: He's either with us or He's not.   And when He's not, you aren't doing anything.  You end up walking in circles through deserted neighborhoods and almost off the edge of a that's what I'll be working on this week..

Lots to do and a long way to go.

With love from Cagliari,
Sorella OConnor

(Kaitlin - 2012)

(Email Sent July 3, 2013)

Baked Goods and Baby Walking

It's been a really good week here in Cagliari.  The weeks are moving faster and faster and I'm starting to feel like so much of my mission has passed by already... 

Then I remember I still have a year left and I calm down just a little.  We've had a ton of work to do here in Cagliari, which has been great.  That's what makes the time fly.

To Market, To Market
One really fun thing we discovered last week was the local market.  We've been doing all of our shopping at a mini grocery store, but we decided to be adventurous and try this market and it was SO cool... There are just tons and tons of venders all selling their fresh fruits, veggies, meats, cheeses, breads, and of course Sard dolcis (sweets/pastries).  
At the Meat Market

We went a little crazy and bought a kilo of every kind of fruit available and then it was all spoiled by Sunday... So now we know not to get so much at once, hah, but we are definitely becoming regulars at the market.

 'ello, 'ello
Thursday we had English Course and I told them all the story of when I opened my mission call, and they all said they want to look up the video on YouTube haha.  

Kaitlin Opening her Mission Call

I love teaching English Course because most Italians have learned their English from Brits, so whenever someone tries to speak with us in English it's always in a British accent... troppo carino. (too cute)

Also the Church is hosting these really beautiful concerts every Thursday for the next four weeks.  The first one was this last week and a ton of people came so that is really cool.  It's great to start getting the members more involved in the work.

Chapel in Cagliari

Rain, Rain... 
Saturday we had planned to meet Marie Ritta and Giuseppina.. pretty sure I told you about them last week.   So the mom, Giuseppina, has a fatty crush on Dallin haha.   I showed her my picture book and everytime there was a picture of Dallin, she had to point him out and tell me that he's "molto bello." -- even in big group pictures, haha.  So if you don't find anyone in America, Dallin....

Anyway, we wanted to meet with them in the park by our house and for some strange reason it RAINED that morning--out of NO WHERE--and JUST in the morning.  So they called and canceled, even when we tried to meet them at the Church or their house. sad.  

Too Good To Be True
But later that day we were at the bus stop and I handed this lady an English Course handout, and she said she wasn't interested and walked away.  But then five minutes later she came back and said, 

"Scusate, credete in Gesu Cristo?"  which means, "Excuse me do you guys believe in Jesus Christ?"  

So we said, "No" and kept walking... 

NOT.   We got all excited and she got on the bus with us, and we talked for ten minutes or so about the Church and our beliefs.  

She is one of the only Catholics I've talked to that doesn't focus on worshiping the Madonna.  I almost fell over. and she gave us her PHONE NUMBER!  

Sorella Nef and I were just all smiles for the rest of the day.  She kept saying things like "I just want a change in my life" 

Yeah, we can help with that.  No one wants to change their lives just like that... too good to be true. 

Really though, it was too good to be true... the number doesn't work, I called the other day... andiamo avanti  (and on we go...)

Displaying Faith
Sunday we did a Mostra in Piazza Yenne!  It was my first mostra.  We brought these big displays of the Rome Temple and just tried stopping people in the street for two hours.  It wasn't really successful, but it was a lot of fun.  I mostly just talked to old people. What else is new?  But old people are really nice, so I don't mind.  

We did meet three young TJs who were asking us a ton of questions (all the typical TJ questions like "What is the name of God?" and "The Book of Revelations says don't add to the Bible")  

But then the discussion turned into questions of real interest.  We gave them each their own copy of the Book of Mormon and then their dad came and they left... 

30 minutes later they came back with the books and we were so sad (we blame the dad), but the girl asked if she could keep a pamphlet about the Restoration. Speriamo Bene. (hoping for the best)
Competing Displays:  "Dio" means "God" and "io" means "I" or "Me".  
This billboard says, "10 million Italians live fine without the "D"-- God."

Goodnight Katerina
I also met this guy named Walter, and he wasn't interested in the Church but we talked about English Course for a little bit.  He ended up calling yesterday and asking me out for coffee.  I had to explain that, 

1. I don't drink coffee.
2. I can't go on dates as a missionary.  

He was like, "Okay, but can I call you later?" ... and I said, "WHY?" and he said "I just want to hear from you"... creepy.  Anyways I said, "No" and so he said that he's coming to English Course... yayy.  

Then yesterday he sent me this text: "Buonanotte Katerina, da Valter"  --Katerina is the Italian version of Kaitlin-- (Also Italians won't rest until you tell them your REAL name.  I've got to tell them it's just Sorella next time.)  Anyway, someone's got to tell Walter that sister missionaries aren't fond of goodnight texts... I'm so embarassed.

Brownies or Bust
As far as work goes, Monday was a bust because we had DDM and then I had to do a FIVE HOUR integration course for my permesso, which is five hours of watching videos where they explain Italian laws about things like not doing drugs. 

But we did get some good advice from the anziani about finding ideas.  They just sat us down, looked at us and said, 

"BROWNIES. We are just going to make brownies every day. That way when someone says they don't want to let us in we'll just say, 'but we made BROWNIES'..."  brilliant. Vediamo (we''ll see).  

They also thought of starting a dog walking service and a baby walking service because Italians LOVE dogs and babies.  

It's a guarantee that someone will stop to pet your dog or talk to your baby if you take them in public.  I didn't get to hear the missionary broadcast, so I have no idea what is in the new program... but I wouldn't be surprised if dog/baby walking or brownies are included.

Let Them Eat Cake 
Which is NO JOKE... just about everyone we talk to who has met with the missionaries in that past ALWAYS mentions what type of baked goods that the missionaries brought them--Elders and Sisters. 

We've met at LEAST five people in the last while who have mentioned, "Oh yeah, I know the missionaries, they brought me a cake!"  They don't remember anything about the lessons, but they remember the cake. 

We went and saw a less-active member yesterday--another miracle.  I've been trying to see her since Day One when I got here, and she was magically at home and let us in yesterday!  

We had a lesson with her and her sister (a non-member who might start meeting with us!).  It was incredible.   She told us her whole story of conversion--which is an amazing story-- she was baptized at like 8 months pregnant. Cool.  Anyway, at the end of the lesson she said, "So I should probably come back to Church, yeah?"  And we were like, "Ummm, yeah."  So she is COMING!  And her sister wants to start coming in July.

(We asked if there was anything we could do for them and they said "Make muffins."  The sister missionary from before made them muffins.)  

THEN we headed to our meeting with Sebastiano!  He is someone that Sorella Cojan and I met doing casa, and Slla. Nef and I had passed by and had another lesson with him.  He's been reading a TON from the Book of Mormon!  

We came in and he said, "So I read this chapter about not baptizing babies" and we were like... "Ummm, what?"  Took us a second to catch up.   

There was a little paper inside of the Book of Mormon we gave him about common questions and answers with scripture references.  He's read a ton of them already.  We had a really great lesson about faith in Jesus Christ.  (We are having to go out of order with him, but it's seriously inspired.)   

He said he'll be baptized when he knows it's true!  He accepted every commitment we gave him (there were like 5... yeah a lot) and we are just amazed.  It was one of the best days of my mission so far.

High on (missionary) Life
I feel like I'm finally hitting my "runners' high" version of the mission marathon. The days are going by like nothing and I am just so happy to be a missionary.  

I really hope that I stay in Cagliari at least one more transfer (Let's be honest; they've probably forgotten I'm on this Island) --just because we have so many cool things happening right now.
With (much) love from Cagliari,
Sorella O'Connor

(Email Sent - June 26, 2013)