Sunday, September 8, 2013

All Roads Lead to ....

Although you guys already KNOW that. Not so much of a surprise...  
(One of the members in Cagliari sent us a message beforehand about the transfer.)
Going Green
But the biggest surprise is that I'LL BE TRAINING. 
I know. 
What are they thinking? 
I don't know. 
I've been super stressed out because I've only ever served in one city (and a small one at that) and now I'll be taking the place of two of the best sorelle here in Rome and training. I know nothing of Rome, but I've got to figure it out fast because apparently we have a ton of investigators and some are getting baptized this month.
Gotta Have Faith
I am very excited for the chance I have to now serve here in Rome.  Honestly... I'm really nervous to come to a new city and train at the same time... but I've had a lot of studies centered on Faith lately that have helped me to remember why I'm here and whose work I'm doing.  
I know this next transfer won't be easy, but I am grateful for the comfort that Heavenly Father has given me and the assurance that it will all work out as I continue to try my best, be obedient, and just work hard. 
The Cure
This morning coming to the internet point, I was feeling really overwhelmed about my new area and trying to remember everything and just as I was thinking all of this a woman came and sat next to me.  
We started talking and I told her a little bit about our church and was able to give her a Restoration pamphlet.  She has no immediate interest to meet with us, but somehow that little experience gave me comfort... It reminded me that whenever things get hard or overwhelming, the one cure is really to forget about yourself and go to work.  Missionary work is the best cure for anything. 
Sweet Summer Fruits
The work in Cagliari is going well too.  We finally got a new baptismal date for Maria Rita and Giuseppina which was my ONE wish before leaving Cagliari.  They want to be baptized together the second week of October.  
I'm really sad that I'll miss it, but I'm so grateful that I had that time to work with them and to prepare them.  Marie Rita told me how much she has seen her life change since she met us and Giuseppina said it was a the best summer she has had, meeting with us. 
God really does allow us to see fruits of our labors.  Even if they seem small, they are oh so sweet. 
People That I Love
Piece of My Heart
Leaving Cagliari was really hard, just because I have spent all of my mission there and I have given so much of my heart to those people.   
But I'm excited for the chance to have that same love for the people here in Rome.  I just need a lot of prayers coming my way & a lot of help from the Lord... 
but I know he qualifies those he calls and I am no exception.
I had a really great last week in Cagliari.  For my birthday on Thursday, we had a nice full day.  Sorella Nef and I planned a movie night with Maria Rita and Giuseppina and some members.  We went to the church to watch the Restoration film and eat cake.  

Birthdays on the mission are the best because you realize just how much the day isn't really about you.  
One of the sweetest moments on my mission so far was when, after watching the film, all the members bore their testimony of Joseph Smith as a prophet of God.  I got really emotional as I bore my testimony to Maria Rita and Giuseppina, because I realized that all I really want is for them to have the same knowledge and to be blessed the way I have been from this knowledge.  

Afterwards we went to Sorella Saffina's house where she and her daughter had made me another cake.  It was really great because her daughter is handicapped and has a special teacher who comes to help her and we were able to have a small lesson with her teacher as well.   

 That makes three for my birthday-- one from the pizza place too.  

Also, another small miracle: in the morning we were on the bus and I started talking to this lady and telling her who we were and asked if she had interest for us to come tell her more.. and she was like

 "Oh, I've already been baptized in your church, but I really would love it if you would come visit me again."  

So weird.  There aren't that many members in Cagliari, and the meno attivi (less-actives) that we DO find don't normally want to see us.  So we (I mean Sorella Nef and her new companion) will be working with her.
Goal Met - Artists Meet
Friday we decided to go by the studio of that graffiti artist again because we were close by and he was THERE!  I've been saying since my first transfer that I wanted to find and give a Book of Mormon to the man who does the whale graffiti around Cagliari... and Thursday I met my goal!  So cool.  

We went in and he gave me a tour of his studio and then I told him a little about who we were and he said he has seen missionaries before but none of them ever gave him a Book of Mormon!  (He also said he probably wouldn't read it... but I gave it to him anyways... just in case.)  

Then we had a dinner with two families from the ward which was really fun.  It felt like I was back at home having a serrata with the Brambilas, Bergquists and Harpers.. but all in Italian.  We all just made fun of each other and talked about missions, and it was cool to bear my testimony to the kids about how amazing a mission is..because it is.
Transfer Call
Saturday was the big transfer call day.  We were in a lesson with Maria Rita and Giuseppina when we got the big news. 

I'm going to ROMA 2.  

Seriously I feel so blessed. It's where all the sisters dream of serving.  Then I asked who my companion would be and he said he didn't know.  

I was like, "Seriously you guys haven't thought that far ahead yet?" (in my mind) 

and he said, "BECAUSE SHE IS STILL IN AMERICA"... what?! 
I'm still really scared.  I pick her up from the Villa tomorrow. Pray for me.  

Doubling Up
In other big news, they are DOUBLING the missionaries in Cagliari:  4 Sorelle and 4 Anziani!  

So Crazy.  Also... there is going to be a big conference with Anziano Ballard to split Rome into 2 stakes (one of which Sardegna will join) and ALL the missionaries are coming and a ton of members too!  So I get to see them all here in Rome on the 15th!  (It's not where Martina Sanna lives, but it's really close to her so I hope to see her often). SO exciting!
In other big news... one of our meno attivis we work with tried out for Italian Idol and made it to the next round! Sometime this month you can find her video online.. exhibition Erica Loi--Italian Idol.  She sings Beyonce. yeah. the best.
See You Soon Then...
The last couple days were really sad, saying goodbye to everyone. Especially the Sanna family.  When they found out I was leaving Fratello and Sorella Sanna started balling.. which then in turn made me cry.  I love the branch so much. so so much. But I'm glad I'll see them soon. 

Everyone has offered to host me if I ever come back to Sardegna, so there is that too.  It was weird flying out and saying goodbye to my beloved island, but I'm glad I'm here in Rome too. It's such an incredible city.  I'll be preaching where Peter and Paul taught.  I often ask Heavenly Father just why he blesses me so much.
More People...

That I Love!!!

Starting New
It feels a little like I am starting a new mission, just because it's so different here.  But the mission is always the same.  It's the same work no matter where you are.  

I've heard tons of people talk about the blessings of the mission and how incredible it is, but it wasn't until i left Cagliari that I realized that I knew it too.  I've never felt so full of love and gratitude for the gospel.  

You Just Know
There is a quote at the beginning of  "Our Search for Happiness" when Anziano Ballard talks about his mission in England.  One day he was walking home and it just hit him that he knew.  He knew Jesus Christ loved him.  He knew that the church is true and that it brings us closer to Him.  He had believed it all his life, but there comes a point when you realize that you just know.  You know just as strongly as if the Savior was standing in front of you telling you the same thing.  

It's hard to describe, but this week I realized that I too know.  I don't know everything.  But I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior.  I know that He knows me and He loves me.  I know that this is His church here on earth and I know he wants all of God's children to have that same knowledge.
True Convert
I love being a missionary. They aren't lying when they say you find yourself when you lose yourself in His work.  I've seen a lot of changes in a lot of people since I've been here,  but the biggest change I've seen has been in myself.  I've become the true convert. & I can't thank my Heavenly Father enough for that knowledge.
With love from ROME,
Sorella O'Connor

(Email Sent - September 4, 2013)

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