Sunday, October 13, 2013

Loving the Rain in Rome

It has been raining ALL week and Sorella Foster and I love it.  Except for the fact that we both got colds this week.  

I happen to over exaggerate much more than she does though.  I didn't even know that she was sick, and I'm walking down the street muttering "I'm going to die" and that's just me.  We are feeling much better, except that I still can't hear out of my right ear just yet.  This too shall pass.  

But sickness aside, we had a really great week of miracles.  I realized last week that I've been stressing myself out WAY too much about not being perfect and still not knowing everything yet about the members, the ward, the city, the investigators, etc. piano piano.  As I've slowed down to count the things we ARE doing right, we have seen many miracles as we have been seeking to do the Lord's work. 

Wednesday Sorella Foster and I rented segways in Villa Borghese for her birthday pday.  It was honestly one of the funnest things I've done in Italy. 

Can I Please Kiss You?
Okay so I forgot to mention this last week, but one morning our appointment canceled and so we had to figure out where we could do some finding instead.  As Sister Foster said the prayer, I felt impressed to go to a certain park that we had never been to before.  We talked to just about everyone in the park and on the way out we started talking to this lady about English Course and how we are missionaries.  

She says, "You are American!  Can I please kiss you?

and I'm like, "Yeah sure, why not?"   

Then she says, "Please can you come to my house and meet with me and my daughter?!

and we are like,  "Umm yeah, we can't right now because we have an appointment but we can meet another day."  

Awkward Lesson
So we exchange numbers and she called US Wednesday night to meet them Thursday afternoon.  So I  thought,  "Wow, miracle!  This is who we came to find."   Turned out to be one of the most awkward appointments ever, hah.   

Basically the mom wanted us to come over to make friends with her daughter so she would come to our FREE English course and then she wouldn't have to pay her English teacher.  She kept trying to feed us Italian Twinkies, that I hate, so I made Sorella Foster put them in her purse. 

Sister Wives
We also went to see the Ukranian girlfriend of a less-active member who we want to start meeting with because she has been reading the Book of Mormon.  Well one thing led to another, and she convinced us to let her do our hair.  Sorella Foster and I came out looking like "sister wives" with strange braids in ever which way. 

Yes I took pictures.  No I will not send them to you. 

Mean Mother
On the way home that night, I turned to Sister Foster and I said, "Go talk to that girl at the bus stop."

  (I'm a mean mother... I say things like, "If you don't talk to them, they will NEVER hear about the gospel." which works because she is really shy but has a big conscious like I do.)  

So we start talking to her and she said, "Yeah, I know who you are.  Is Bishop Celestini still the bishop?"   

We were so surprised because a lot of people don't know who we are and still think Mormons are the same as Amish people out here.   Turns out she is a less-active member that was baptized by my MTC teacher!  We exchanged numbers and she said we could start meeting with her. 

Best Lesson
On Friday we had the BEST lesson on my mission.  We have these really great investigators named Angelo and Graziella who were found by my trainer Sorella Cojan a year ago. We went in to teach the Plan of Salvation because she had a lot of questions about life after death.  

The last time I was there we were just with the Graziella, and she asked some questions about justice and mercy that went along with an article in the last Liahona (that I just happened to have in my purse).  So I left it with her to read.  

This time I asked if she had a chance to read the article and she pulled out the magazine and said, "Yeah, but I have some questions... What is a deacon?"  

She had read the WHOLE magazine and she had some questions about the priesthood.   We explained that to her and she was so excited about the idea of priesthood power and how it works.  Then we taught them about the Plan of Salvation and the Spirit was really strong.  

The husband opened up to us about some experiences that he has had with the Holy Ghost and some legit dreams he had after he met the sisters the first time a year ago.  They are SO prepared and so ready.  

Sorella Foster and I had been practicing the baptismal invite, and I really wanted her to do her first one with them, but she was so nervous.  So we were sitting there and I'm nodding at her to extend the baptismal commitment.   She is shaking her head "no" and I'm shaking my head "yes", and I'm not budging.  

It must have looked so strange BUT she did it! and they said they are going to pray about it! for the 24th of November.  

THEN he asked if there were any scriptures in the Book of Mormon he could read about BAPTISM.  I said "YES, in fact there ARE."  So we left them with a chapter to read and the wife just kept talking about the peace she feels when we are there.  I was literally dancing home. 

Saturday was Sorella Foster's BIRTHDAY, so we got to see Conference for her birthday--which is the best birthday present.  It was a good day. 

General Conference
Conference was SO good. so so so good.  I tried to pick my three favorite talks and it was really hard.

 BUT I loved Elder Dube.  Seriously so cute. and so powerful.  

Also I loved Elder Bednar talk on Tithing, but mostly for the part about the blessings that we receive from obedience:  it's not always something huge like a new job or a bonus, but it's the strength to work harder or the faith to get through something.  Most of the time the blessings are easy to overlook but eternally significant to our growth.  

Then of course President Monson was great to hear.  You can just feel so much love when he talks.   It continually confirms to me that he is a prophet of the Lord and a representative of Jesus Christ on the earth today.  How grateful I am for that knowledge. 

Great Potential
We have a great new potential.  I saw this girl with bright purple hair and thought, "I HAVE to talk to her!"  She is really cool.  She and her boyfriend want to meet with us, and she said she is coming to English Course tonight. 

Sunday I hit 8 months in the mission, which is so weird. so weird.  But we had ANOTHER big miracle.  We have this really cute 18-year-old investigator named Flavia who had a baptismal date for the week Sorella Caramia and Sorella Omer left (the sisters before us).   It's been REALLY hard for us to meet with her because she lives far away and she just changed schools. 

 I have really wanted to meet with her and see where she is at, so I called to see if she was coming to Conference.  She said she would come, so we were HOPING that we would be able to have a lesson with her in between the sessions.  

That morning we said a prayer after our studies and I asked Heavenly Father that we would be able to have a lesson with Flavia that day.  Two seconds after we said "amen" the phone rang and it was Flavia!  She and one of the member girls were just hanging at the church during priesthood session, and they wanted to know if we could go for a lesson!  & it was such a good lesson.  

She is so ready.  We just need to help her know she is ready.  

Then in between the afternoon and evening sessions, we had an English Course student show up early to see the conference (we invited everyone to come).  We were able to have another lesson with her with the members there.  So we were so busy Sorella Foster and I didn't even think about lunch... ooops. 

Yesterday I got really really really sick in the morning.  I had to call Sorella Waddoups, and she told me that we had to stay inside at least for the morning and then see how I was after lunch.  I was bummed because I felt bad staying inside during proselyting time, but we had a lot to catch up on at home so it was okay.  We learned about the power of prayer for Sorella Foster's 12-week training.  Then after lunch, I said "Basta!  We are going out," and so we did.  

But ALL of our options fell through... literally all of them.  

Best Service
So we passed by this 85-year-old member, who is the cutest, because we always ask if we can help her around her house since she can't walk.. at all..  And she is seriously a hoarder (like worse then they show on tv) so it's hard for her to get around her house.  

She always says, "The best service you can do for me is find people to teach.  I really want to give you referrals but everyone I know is dead, so maybe you could knock the doors at my building?"  

So we did all 15 stories and we have 2 people that said to come back.. then on the way home we gave away 2 copies of the Book of Mormon and had a random street lesson with this lady at our bus stop by our house. doing work. 

Okay, so I'm out of time.  BUT I just want to say how much I love being a missionary.  I was kind of a downer last week, because I has having a really rough time.  I'm so grateful for the ways that the Lord works with us as missionaries and how closely I can see his hand in my life.  

The mission is the most emotionally challenging thing I've ever done, but it has brought growth and testimony in my life that I didn't know was possible.  

I know that the Savior lives.  I know He truly does love us.  

As we come to recognize and see that love that He has for us, the easier it is for us to follow Him with faith.  As we exercise that faith, He draws ever nearer to us and we can feel more profoundly that love. 

I know that this is His gospel.  I know it.  And I'm so grateful that as a missionary I have the best and sometimes strangest opportunities to share that testimony. 

With Love from Italy,
Sorella O'Connor

P.S. I almost forgot--They are changing my pday to Monday.. so you'll hear from me soon. 

(Email Sent - October 9, 2013)

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