Saturday, December 28, 2013

Buon Natale

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDMA!  Eighty is great....y

Well not much to say about this week, because I'll be talking to you in two days!  I got the okay-go to do it Christmas day at 6:00,  so I will see you all there!  Sorry, Dad, that I had to cut you off on the phone.  I felt really bad, but we are only supposed to make a quick call and I knew I would stay up and chat past my bedtime if not. 

Last pday with Sorella Foster - at the Forum

It has been a crazy busy week--getting Sorella Foster ready to go and helping Sorella Wiltbank settled in.  I feel so bad that she had to leave the week before Christmas.. President owes us BIG time.  

My Twin
But I adore her and we work REALLY well together and agree on everything.  It's so funny, because we really are like the same person... and we look really similar.. and we have similar mannerisms, so everyone thinks we are twins.  Heavenly Father is being funny with me because the other day I was thinking about how all of my companions have been really different from me.  

I was wondering if I would ever serve with someone who is similar to me or thinks the same way I do, and then he sent me Sorella Wiltbank.  We are creepily similar.  I feel like I'm talking to myself sometimes, and she feels the same way... obviously. 

Monday we had an FHE with Carol and the Teodosi family, and it was so much fun.  We had pizza and joked about how Italians pronounce Albuquerque "alber-koo-key" and then we taught a lesson about following the prophet and it was a beautiful experience for us to all share our testimonies about living-day prophets.  

We asked bishop to share his testimony about how he has felt the Lord sustain him in his new calling as a bishop and it was a beautiful testimony.  I love serving with the saints here in Italy.  They are an incredible example of dedication and sacrifice for the gospel.  They have taught me so much about love, family, and the blessings of a Christ-centered life. 
Teodosi Family

The Word
Tuesday we taught Carol the Word of Wisdom.  It was really great because she was a ballerina for 20 years so she has a really strong testimony of living a healthy lifestyle.  Sorella Foster made me laugh because she said if I have taught her one thing it's the importance of eating healthy... I know you don't believe me Mom... 

She said that she had always looked at the what not to do part of the Word of Wisdom and not the "what should you do" part.  I even got her to eat broccoli AND LIKE IT.  So it was sweet hearing Sorella Foster bear her testimony of me teaching her the principles of the Word of Wisdom, haha. 

An Angel 
Wednesday I got my new companion!  She is an angel sent from heaven to me right now.  She is such a good missionary.  So dedicated and so ready to work, and she has been such a good example to me.  I just realized that she is my first companion (other then my trainer) that has had a companion other than me.  

Sorella Nef had me and Sorella Cojan one transfer and then Sorella Foster has only had we all did missionary work according to how I was taught by Sorella Cojan.  So it's been cool to see a new perspective and get new ideas.  I know we are going to see a lot of miracles here together this next transfer.  I'M PRAYING President doesn't split us up and the start of the next real transfer, because it's just been going really well.

The Law

We also got to teach the Law of Chastity this week from the talk of Elder Bednar.. which I love. When we taught Carol she said that no one has ever been able to explain the WHY of the Law of Chastity.  

Everyone says "because it's a sin" and that's it.. but studying it from the Plan of Salvation has taught me so much and made me so grateful for those commandments growing up and a greater understanding of why.  I've had a huge love for the Plan of Salvation since coming on my mission and I've been so grateful for the added knowledge that it gives me.  

The Plan
I met a tourist family on the metro the other day and chatted a little about the mission and who we were.  I happened to put an English Plan of Salvation pamphlet in my bag, so I gave it to them and bore my testimony of the blessings it has brought me.  I was so embarrassed when I almost started to cry because I just really meant it.  

That knowledge has blessed me so much and given me so much direction, and I'm so happy to give others the chance to know it too.  That's what makes missionary work worth it:  when you WANT to share that knowledge...when you want others to be happy and you want to help them find that happiness. 

A Different Christmas
I've been thinking a lot about Christmas lately.. obviously because it's Christmas... and how all the RMs I've talked to have said that Christmas on the mission was their best Christmas.  

I've been feeling guilty because honestly the Christmas season hasn't felt much different to me than other days, so I wanted to know what was wrong with me.  Why wasn't I feeling more of the Christmas spirit like everyone said I should?  and I decided it's just because here on the mission every day is Christ-centered.  Every day we are thinking of Him and sharing our testimony of him. 

I have loved being able to go to the Spanish Steps to sing Christmas carols and help others remember Him too.  I have learned so much about what it means to live a Christ-centered life... when every day you do what you do for Him because you love Him.  

I can't say enough good things about serving a mission.  Yeah it's hard to be away from home, and yes I miss sleeping in, dryers, and Bon Iver... but serving a mission has been the best thing I've ever decided to do. 

The Change
It has changed me in ways I didn't know I needed to be changed.. and I know I say that alot.. because it's true.  I'm grateful for the joy in missionary work and the people I've met and the spirit I've felt.  

The church is true.  It just is.  I just know it.  

And I know that others are looking for a Christ-centered life.  They are looking to change even if they dont know it.  So with the Lord's help, I hope to find those people and just give them the chance to feel the abiding love of the Savior Jesus Christ every day of the year. 

BUON NATALE!  See you soon.  Thank you for your prayers, your love, your support and your letters.  It means the world to me to know that there are people over there in America rooting for me. 

Vi voglio un mondo do bene.

With love from Rome,
Sorella O'Connor 

Roman rooftops

Missionary work is very tiring

(Email Sent - December 23, 2013)

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