Another week come and gone and they aren't lying when they say it goes by fast. We have been SO busy here in Rome. Here is my little update from this week:
Time for a Trim
It is a law in Italy that parrucchieri (barbers) can't be open on Monday; and since pday is now Monday, President gave the missionaries permission to get their hair cut on other days as long as we do missionary work while doing it (obvi).
Anyway... so there is this less-active member who cuts the missionaries' hair for free.. Can you see where this is going? oh no... oh yes.
So you know that scene in Roman Holiday where Audrey Hepburn goes to the parrucchieri and is like "OFF. Cut it all off!" (gasp from Mom) ... well.. I didn't do that. ha.
We go to see this less-active man and his girlfriend is washing my hair and telling me all SORTS of things that I don't think Artan wants me to know. People seem to just trust missionaries and we end up knowing everyone's secrets--like how she thought she was pregnant and that she wants to leave him because he wouldn't be a good father and that they were trying to start a family and oh my gosh it goes on and on.
... Just a Trim
Then Artan comes to cut my hair and he holds about SIX INCHES between his fingers and says, "So about here, right?" I freak out , "ARTAN.. NO.. POCCO POCCO!!" and he says, "è brutto sorella" and I'm like, "Yeah, I know but just the ends PLEASE!!"
... so I set Sorella Foster on guard to watch him and he ends up cutting off about that much anyway. But he does it sneakily.. like "I'm just making it even... It's longer on this side." blah blah blah...
So he has me looking down to make it even in the back and what not, and just before he tells me I can look he says, "Don't cry sorella"... good sign right?
One of the anziani said Artan told him once, "I listen to what they want and then I make adjustments."... so I got a "modern" haircut as he says.. it will grow right?
I'm sure it will get gloriously long by next summer. Lessons you learn in Italy. It's okay really...
I didn't cry.
"Don't cry Sorella"
Still long in the back
My "modern" Italian haircut
One of the members was looking at my photos from before the mission and she said something along the lines of "Wow Sorella, you were so glamorous... Good thing we keep feeding you. You can't be this pretty and serve a mission. The Lord needs to protect you." He's protecting me a little too much if you ask me.
Take the Show on the Road
Anyway, so that was funny. kind of. Also we had zone conference this week which was fun. Sorella Merrenda and I did an addestramento on "teach when you find, find when you teach" and how to use the Restoration pamphlet. I think it went well. President said he is going to take us on the road with him.
Also, we got a referral for someone who lives by the Colloseo, so we had an excuse to go there this week. It was fun. The tourist people were trying to sell us tickets to go in and I got to say
"No thanks, we live here.. We are just going to see a friend."
We had a lesson with a new investigator this week. She is the niece of one of our members and she said she is going to start reading the Book of Mormon, so we are way excited about meeting with her.
We have another new investigator: that lady that we met in Villa Ada park came to English Course and now we have an appointment this week with her and she brought us chocolate. so we like her too.
Also I got no mail at zone conference so you guys are in trouble.
Lost in Translation
We went to a Halloween/birthday party for a member, and I really wanted to dress up as "the Holy Ghost" and wear a sheet and put lots of holes in it.. But then I realized that the translation in italian is just "lo spirito santo" and it wouldn't make any sense to why I was wearing a sheet with holes in it.. It was a nice idea.
Hate to Give Her Up
Also I got to go on a scambio this week! So we have this incredible investigator named Flavia. She is 18 and she is Peruvian and SO cute. She has so much desire that on Sundays she takes a train from Bracciano to Rome, which takes an hour and a half (at least). She has an aunt in our ward so she has been coming here. But it was getting really hard to see her because she has school on Saturdays now and she can't make it out for lessons.
So we decided to do a scambio with the sorelle in Ladispoli (because that's actually the area where she lives). She hasn't wanted to go to that ward and meet with those sisters because she doesn't know them. It was perfect because I went with one of the sisters to visit her so that she would know someone and be able to go to church and meet with them there. I was sad about it because she is SO golden and knows it's true and you hate giving that kind of investigator up.. but it was for the best.
We had the BEST lesson with her about baptism and the Holy Ghost and how she can receive an answer to her prayers about baptism. We also brought a member who lives in the same tiny city.. and it was so perfect. I'm so sad to give her over... BUT that night she called me and she said that she was thinking about everything we taught her and she had the impression she should be baptized on her birthday!
She was calling to ask how she can know if that was a prompting of the Holy Ghost or not, and I'm like "YES IT IS! IT IS! DO IT!".
Then I remembered an impression that I had as I was thinking about how to teach her: I was wondering why Heavenly Father wouldn't just give her a clear "yes" like he had with other questions before. (She has had several really cool experiences with the Holy Ghost and receiving revelation.) I had the impression that we were teaching her a pattern for the rest of her life: she needed to learn how to search, ponder, pray, and then recognize the small promptings of the spirit and go ahead with faith. So we did a fast with her yesterday and it's going so well.
Filled With the Spirit
I love being a missionary. There were several moments this week where I just was filled with the spirit, making me so grateful for the work I was doing. The first was on a the train ride to see Flavia. We started talking to the two old men in front of us, then the two ladies in the aisle next to us started asking questions. Then I realized that everyone in our compartment was turned around and listening to us.
The second moment was with members in an FHE teaching about "the power of one": how Abinadi courageously bore his testimony, and from that testimony Alma was converted.. and from Alma came the conversions at the Waters of Mormon. His son and the sons of Mosiah went on to convert others.. and then before you know it, a whole Lamanite nation was converted and millions of people today are still being converted because of their words. Yet Abinadi died not knowing his testimony had changed anyone. (Read Abinidi's story in Mosiah)
The last special moment was while we were teaching Flavia. This RM sister was explaining what it means to "take on the name of Christ" and she gave the example of our missionary name tags--how we are constant representatives of Jesus Christ. Three different experiences, but the feelings were the same.
Small Part in a Great Work
I am so grateful to be a missionary: grateful for the chance I have to share my testimony every day with complete strangers, grateful that my small testimony can help others have the desire to change-- like Flavia and Maria Rita (who was baptized Sunday). The lyrics of a Fleet Foxes Song come to my mind:
I am just a small part in a great work, and I'm grateful that I can play that small part with a bunch of other small parts to complete a great work. The work that changes hearts and changes lives and helps imperfect people to find a perfect happiness.. and in return we become changed ourselves.
I love wearing this name tag.. it's the best. I know it's hard.. and I'm not lying about that because it is.. but it's also so beautiful and I'm so happy that it is so hard because it has taught me so much about what is really important to me: who I want to be and how I can build my life on the gospel of Jesus Christ and how I can forever be a part of his work. I love it I love it I love it.
Also we are going to the Sistine chapel today, so that's pretty cool too. Rome is the best. Missions are the best. The gospel is true.
(Email Sent - November 4, 2013)