Monday, August 12, 2013

Little Miracles Coming Our Way

We have had a busy week here in Cagliari.  Despite not having any investigators, we still find lots of things to do and lots of little miracles coming our way.

Not going to lie, I was pretty sad about Maria Rita. I felt the Lord's comforting spirit and the reassurance that He was still working with her even though we weren't, but at first I didn't really want to accept that comfort.  

 Moses 7:44 -  "And as Enoch saw this, he had bitterness of soul, and wept over his brethren, and said unto the heavens: I will refuse to be comforted but the Lord said unto Enoch: Lift up your heart, and be glad; and look."

I let myself get really down about it... even though I knew we hadn't done anything wrong and even though I kind of knew that Heavenly Father wanted her to have some time to think and recognize the changes she had made since she met us. 

Despite the comfort the Lord was trying to give me, I let myself get really down about it which kept us from working with the Spirit.  I also had some trouble sleeping so I asked the anziani for a blessing.  I still haven't been sleeping well, but after that blessing I felt an immediate change.  

It was like it took away all of the darkness that I let build up inside, and I was excited to get back to work despite the fact that we had no one to teach.

Sardegna from the plane

The Capi conference in Rome really helped me.  It helped me to remember the things we had been taught at our Zone conferences and to apply them again.  It also helped me to widen my perspective. 

I've only worked here in Cagliari and we haven't seen a lot of "immediate" success.  When we lost all our investigators, it felt like the end of the world.  

But getting to talk to the other missionaries and getting to see a lot of my friends from the MTC or other missionaries who left Cagliari helped me to see a bigger picture and realize that we are all doing the same work.  

 Also it was a TON of fun. I got to spend the whole PDAY in ROME!

The Colosseum

The Pantheon

Rome Temple Construction Progress

My first experience with a Roman drinking fountain -- 
across from "la chiesa della bocca della verità" DREAMS COME TRUE

It was a dream come true.  I got to see almost everything that I wanted to see.  My favorite was definitely the Trevi fountain. 
A coin in the fountain means you will return to Rome someday

Unreal. I loved loved loved Rome.  Also we got gelato.  Plus the Conference was way fun.  We all stayed the night at the Villa (Apparently its one of the LAST mission homes.  They are trying to get rid of them all and just have apartments like up in Milan)  It was the first ever Capi conference with SISTER MISSIONARIES, so that's pretty cool too.

They were so happy to have us back!

It was a short trip (left Wednesday morning and got back Thursday night), but I was happy to be back in Cagliari.  Felt like coming home.  Since then we have seen some really cool miracles here in Cagliari.  No new investigators... but little miracles that have shown me that the Lord is still guiding us to do his will.

Referral for Fresh Nover
One really cool story happened at the airport on the way back from Capi Conference.  I was way pumped up to do missionary work again, and I was determined to find someone to talk to.  I ended up talking with this lady from HUNGARY about the church and about why we were here as missionaries. 

ALSO she is from the same city where Aimee is serving right now!  I was able to get her contact information and I am sending it to Aimee to go and meet with her and teach her the gospel!  I was so excited about it... she was really nice and seemed really interested.

 She kept saying little things that made me think, "Oh my goodness you are SO ready for this!like, 

"I don't know why, but I feel like there are some people we are really supposed to meet: people who have a special message for us, and if we take the time to find out what that message is and apply it to our lives we will be blessed for it. No meeting is a coincidence"

... So I'm excited to send Aimee her contact information.
Kaitlin and Fresh Nover - who is serving in Hungary

Planting Oxnard?
I was also able to have a lesson with the man sitting by me on the plane (not from Cagliari) but planted some good seeds with him.  I don't know who I have become... just the kind of person that asks if we can say a prayer with the man sitting next to us on the plane (also he has a strawberry factory in Oxnard California... Ironic right?)

Out of the Way
There have been other little things too.. like one day Sorella Nef and I got ANOTHER referral from, but this lady lives outside of Cagliari.  Turns out the anziani had an appointment in the same city the next day, so they were able to take us!  

She wasn't home and her phone was off, so we decided to do casa in casa.  It was in a gated community and everyone was kind of freaking out, so we thought it best to leave and go try and find a less-active member in the city.  Turned out it wasn't the same city that we thought it was--we were in a little suburb city. So we tried to walk back to the main city and Sorella Nef and I got completely lost and there was absolutely NO ONE around...

 I was joking again about how Heavenly Father sometimes just wants us to get out of the way... but also that whenever we get lost we end up finding someone.  

Then we decided to stop at a tabacheria to get some water and there was a man in the parking lot and he came up to US and starting talking because he used to meet with missionaries in the past! We were able to get his number and pass it to the anziani!  

Contacting the Cat Lady
Then we KEPT walking until we found another little suburb town (remember that its about 40 degrees Celsius /104 F in the middle of the day) and we decided to do some casa in casa again. No one really wanted to listen and then we got to this one house with like 10 different cat beds and bowls of food outside. 

"Yes! a crazy cat lady!"

We rang the doorbell and this cute young girl came out and we introduced ourselves and told her, 

"We have a message about the restored church of Jesus Christ," and she's like, "Okay, dimi (tell me)."

But she didn't seem interested at all... She started filling the cat bowls and we start talking, but she wasn't paying any attention. So we stopped our mini Restoration lesson, and I just start asking her about her cats. 

Turns out she has 22 CATS! 22! and they ALL have names. and she has a dog. 

So we start talking about that and how she got all these cats and why she likes animals so much and how hard it is for her to take care of the cats and then she really started warming up to us. We ended up giving her a Book of Mormon and she seemed excited to read it. 

She said she has NO time to meet with us in the summer (no surprise), but we can come back in the winter.  She said she wants to start reading the Book of Mormon at night. (She seemed like she MEANT it). 

I asked if we could leave her with a prayer, and of course I asked God to bless her cats.  After the prayer, she had little tears in her eyes and she gave us both a big hug and a cheek kiss (it's normal. I love it) and we were on our way.

Run Ins with Romanians
We have seen lots of other little miracles. Like running into members that just need to vent. Or running into tourists and planting seeds. 

I met this cute Romanian family who I had seen a couple times before. They were here on vacation for three weeks and the daughter heard me speaking in English to a Swedish tourist on the bus.  After we got off, I went to talk to them because I had seen them a couple of times before and they had been staring at us on the bus. 

The mom had worked here in Italy for a couple years and the daughter spoke English, so we got to talk to them in both languages, haha.  I gave them a Plan of Salvation pamphlet and told them to look up the missionaries in Romania, and we exchanged emails with the daughter.

We found Harry Potter in the cupboard under the stairs... 
We have a return appointment for tomorrow.

Right Place Right Time
We have been really busy working with less actives too. It stinks because if you look at our numbers you would think that we just sit inside all day and make cookies, but the real satisfaction of being a missionary doesn't come from numbers.  It comes from realizing that the Lord has placed you in the right place at the right time to do HIS will. 

I've learned a lot about the need to be a humble missionary and a humble servant--to not worry about what others think because our numbers are low, despite our work and our desire to find people to teach, and to just realize that I am always on the errand of the Lord... and that He is guiding us to do HIS will. 

He has given me a lot of comfort through prayer and study and small miracles. We are happy missionaries and we are working hard!

ALSO, I almost forgot the best miracle of all. Sorella Nef and I were out getting gelato with a less-active sister, and we got a CALL from MARIA RITA!  She and Giuseppina want to see us on Thursday! 

I didn't even feel surprised when I saw her number calling. It was like Heavenly father was telling me, "I've been trying to tell you ALL this time not to worry about it."  I felt like such a scema.* 

But we are really happy to be able to see them. Hopefully we can figure out what's going on and help them with their concerns. She did say she has been reading some things on the church website, so that's really good.  

Thank you for all of your prayers for her. It's really the biggest blessing ever. (Also it was probably good she didn't come to church on Sunday because there was this pazzo ("wild") guy who kept muttering and laughing under his breath behind us in Sunday School).

It's really hot here--like REALLY hot. But we are really excited about our work and we are happy. We have a scambi in Sassari this week,  so we are excited about that too!

Thanks for all of the updates! I love hearing from you. I'm glad you all are enjoying your summer. 

Mom, I'm so jealous you are visiting all the church historic sites and that Kelsey gets to do EFY still. I miss it haha, but I guess a mission in Rome is pretty cool.

With Love from Cagliari,
Sorella OConnor

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