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.
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 mormon.org 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 mormon.org. 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.
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.
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.
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,
. 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)