Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Craziest Week and THE BEST NEWS!

I honestly don't know where to begin. SO much has happened this week. 

First of all, I'm happy crying because I just got an email from Marie Rita and SHE IS GETTING BAPTIZED ON SUNDAY! I am SO happy. I can't believe it. 

Kaitlin with Maria Rita in Cagliari

When Sorella Nef came to stay with us she said that Maria Rita still needed to take some time to think about it (which is what happened when I was there), so I was pretty bummed about it... and then I got on my email today and she had written me saying that she is getting baptized THIS WEEKEND! 

 I'm sad neither Sorella Nef nor I will be there but I am SO grateful for the sisters in Cagliari who have been helping her to make the decision. My heart is going to burst. so happy. 

In other less exciting news, we have had such a busy week.  Because Sorella Foster is new in the country, we had the pleasure of figuring out her whole permesso approval process.  Well.. knowing me and my sense of direction, you can probably begin to guess what happened... 

SO.  We get the directions to get to the questura, where we do her fingerprints, and we leave with plenty of time to spare.. wanting to get there early and have room for mistakes to be made.  

Mistake Number One:  
We get on the bus and I realize that we are taking it in the WRONG direction.
SO we had to get off the stop and go to the other side of the street and wait 20 MORE minutes to catch the bus going the other way.  We are waiting at this bus stop and I'm getting antsy... 

SO this homeless guy with no teeth comes up and starts trying to talk to us in English and he starts repeating 


all while dancing in the street and I'm watching the cars trying to swerve out of his way. 

SO now my patience has all gone out the window because I'm afraid we are going to be late because this bus isn't coming... BUT it does come and we finally get to the next stop where we need to get the next bus.. BUT by the time it comes there are only 10 minutes before her appointment starts.

SO I'm anxious, and the bus comes, and it's FULL of people... 

SO we squeeze ourselves on and it starts slugging down the street and I'm thinking, "We could walk faster then this."  

Mistake Number Two:  
This is a bad thought to have because we get to the first stop and I think, "Oh I'm pretty sure this is it, and if it's not we can definitely walk to the next one.

SO we do get off and I see that it's the right street, so I'm thinking we can run from here.  But then I notice on the sign that there are 8 stops on this street. We need the LAST one and we got off at the FIRST one. 

SO we turn to get back on the bus and it's already gone.  

SO Sorella Foster and I think, "Okay, let's try and walk and see how far it is."  By this time, we are already five minutes late and we are walking fast down this tiny dirt road and cars are honking at us because there is no sidewalk and it's super dangerous.  By this point I just want to cry because I'm thinking we will never get there and Sorella Foster is going to get deported and it's all my fault. 

SO about two bus stops later, I am thinking there is no way we will get there at this rate and it would be better to stop and wait for a bus because if we don't stop a bus could pass us.  

Magic Rome Bus
BUT I'm realizing that no buses have passed at all and we are already about a half hour late.  Then over the hill we see a bus coming and I'm thinking "This is it... This is where we are going to be saved by the bus!"  (Which I had already thought three other times at the three other bus stops where I thought all hope had been lost, and it didn't come, so we kept going.)  

BUT this is going to be the bus that saves us... until I see the big "DEPOSITO" sign on the front, which means it won't stop for us... 

BUT I'm too stubborn and anxious. 

SO I decide I'm going to try and wave it down anyway. 

SO I tell Sorella Foster to make the saddest face she can, and I start waving at this bus driving to stop and HE DOES!  He says "Can't you see the sign says it's 'deposito'?" and I just start begging "I know, but we just have to go to the end of the street.  Please just take us to the end of the street." and HE LETS US ON!  

I start explaining that we have to get to the questura and he says, "But it's 3:00, and it closes at 3:00."  I said "Well we are going to try anyway."  

He shakes his head and laughs at me but keeps going, and I see him deny all the other people at the other stops as we go straight to the bus station at the end of the road.  (There were no other busses passing because there had been an accident and no one could get through.) 

Let Us In!
SO he tells us how to get to the questura and Sorella Foster and I start RUNNING there.  We get there about five minutes after 3:00 (and 35 min late for our appointment) and I BEG the military guys to let us in... and they DO!  

It was the biggest miracle... we made it. we made it. Then we passed out in the chairs for two hours, waiting for our turn, because we were the last people on the list. 

BUT even an bigger blessing was that because we were the last ones on the list, we were able to talk with everyone else who was waiting there.  We invited this CUTE Russian girl that looks like LC (Lauren Conrad) to come to English Course after the questura and she did!  

Turns out she lives in our neighborhood by the church, so we rode all the way back to the church together.  She stayed for English course and we got to share with her the message of the Restoration and why we are here.  It was really cool.  miracles miracles. 

Second Chances
Other Miracles:  I met a man from GENOVA who said that he met with the missionaries there in the 70's, and it made me think of Paige serving there NOW.  Small World.  What are the chances? 

We met this lady named Giuseppina in the park the second or third week of last transfer and we taught her the Restoration and gave her a Book of Mormon.  She gave us her number and we were super excited about her.. but every time we called it said the number was wrong (which happens a lot).  So we were way bummed because she seemed so excited.  

Anyway, this week she showed up to English Course!  I was SO excited to see her.  We figured out that we had written down her number wrong!  (Don't let greenies take down numbers.)  Anyway, we got her right number and talked about seeing her this next week. 

Then Saturday she CALLS US and asks when church is because she wants to come. THIS NEVER HAPPENS. NEVER.  We were bouncing up and down. MIRACLES. 

Miracle Day
About that day (the questura/english course day) Sorella Foster said: "Today was such a miracle day. It sucked, but it was a miracle day." ... Also out of nowhere she said, "I find it hard to look people in the face when they don't have teeth." me too, sorella.

Another Miracle:  We got Giorgia to commit to a baptismal date!  It was the best lesson--probably one of the most inspired lessons on my mission.  We are hoping she'll be ready by the 24th of November. that's the goal.  

She is one of those people who KNOWS it's true.  She reads the scriptures and feels the spirit so strongly and has had so many witnesses.  It's just about getting her to take that step forward and giving up some of the things holding her back from having all of the blessings that the gospel has to give.  So it was a huge miracle to get her to accept a date. 

Thursday we had CAPI CONFERENCE which was so good.  All the Sister Training Leaders and Zone Leaders from the mission came up for a big training meeting with President, and it was such a good conference.  Honestly, it was just what I needed.  I got to see a couple friends from the MTC and we had a big sleepover at the villa and we got to eat Cafe Rio (kind of) for dinner.  

Put in our Path
Also, as we were traveling to the villa from the station, I met this CUTE couple on the subway and started telling them who we were (it's hard to miss 15 elders in white shirts and ties and 5 sisters in long skirts) and they said they MIGHT be interested. 

I know it's just a "might," but it was one of those encounters where afterwards you know you were supposed to meet them.  

Also they live by the temple, so I explained to them why the temple is so important and how families can be together forever.  It just feels so good to share that testimony.  It feels so good just to tell people.  I don't know how to explain it.  

Even when people don't accept our message or want to see us again or anything.. it just feels good to tell them what Heavenly Father wants them to know and to give them a chance to accept those truths. 

We encountered so many miracle people this week: a less-active who called us out of the blue who wants to come back to church (baptized at 15 and is now 40), the niece of one of our members accepted the invitation for the sisters to come to her house for the first time in years of her uncle trying to convince her, and other families we meet on the street who you just know Heavenly Father has put in your path. 

Keep Out of our Path
We are pretty sure this is blood running down the gutter in the street.

And now about the people I'm pretty sure Heavenly Father DID NOT put in our path:

One day Sorella Foster and I were doing finding in the park and she gave an English Course card to a man from Bangladesh.. and he was super creepy.  He started following us and we were eventually able to ditch him by getting on the subway.  

BUT he showed up with two friends to English Course.  The same night two Romanian prostitutes also came... so we had to make a deal with the elders that we would take the prostitutes if they would take the guys from Bangladesh.  

Afterwards, Anziano Teichert (grandson of Minerva Tiechert.. cool huh Mom?) comes up to us and says "Those guys are dumb as rocks.. not husband material."  Sorella Foster explains how they followed us after she gave them the English Course card and he just responds "....your fault".  which is true.  

Blessed are the Dumb and Naive
We are dumb and naive sometimes and need lots of extra protection because I just think everyone wants to know more about Jesus Christ, when in fact they do not.  

Take the other night for example. We were coming home from a dinner appointment with a member and we were on the bus going towards home.  I see this guy driving alongside the bus and he is waving at us.. so I wave back thinking maybe it's someone from EC or something.  

We get to the bus stop and start walking home when the same car pulls over and the guy rolls down the window and says, "So you made it back all right."  I'm trying to think of where I know him from because he doesn't seem familiar. So I just nod and he says "sei bellissima" and then I realize I definitely don't know him.  

He asks for my number and I say that I can't go out with him because he is creepy and old and balding .... oh, and "I'm a missionary.... but you can  come to church if you like."  I give him a card with directions, forgetting that our number is also written on the card... dumb dumb dumb.  Then he asks if he can call me after my mission, and I just say "Buona Serra" and walk away...  

But all yesterday we got creepy calls from a private number and when we picked up no one said anything..  Our bishop said next time he calls to give him the phone or if the number shows up on the display to give it to him.  Somehow it makes us feel safer.  But don't worry Mom... no "Taken" stuff here.  We are all good.  Bishop's got our back. 

I had to translate for two hours of church yesterday. yuck. 

I'm out of time. But I love you guys and I LOVE being a missionary.. and don't remind me that I'm half-way done this week because I'm kind of freaking out inside.  It's going so fast.  Every day is seriously an adventure.  I love it so much here in Rome.  I can't believe how blessed I am. 

With love from Rome,
Sorella O'Connor

Peruvian Food

At the Vatican

The last of the gelato until Spring (most shops close for Winter)

(Email Sent - October 28, 2013)

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