Monday, December 2, 2013

Three Thanksgivings, Two Turkeys, One Lasagna

Happy Thanksgiving to all at home! 

I hope it was filled with Turkey and Gratitude.  

We are so blessed to be serving in Rome 2 because we have several American families here either as missionaries, working on the temple, or working with the government.. so we got 2 American Thanksgivings and 1 Italian Thanksgiving. 

Thanksgiving with the Rigby family

Thanksgiving with the Gilespie family (their daughter just got called to Milano) 

 Thanksgiving the Italian Way

It was the best. As I was sitting around the table eating a beautiful plate of homemade lasagna and I was thinking, "Why don't WE do this every year?"  So my new tradition is that I will always make a homemade Italian lasagna for Thanksgiving. 

Really I feel like I don't have much to say this week.  All of our investigators were super busy and most people canceled our appointments.  Because it was transfer week, we were helping a lot with that.  

Last Monday for pday we went to the mission home to help Sorella Waddoups set up the Christmas tree and just kind of hung out around home because we didn't have much time for anything else. 

Hard to Find
The shining moment of missionary work was our lesson with Carol.  We taught the gospel of Jesus Christ (in English.. so weird) and we invited her to be baptized and she said she is going to pray about it. yes.  She is one of those really prepared people who is honestly seeking for truth.. and those kinds of people are so hard to find. 

Just Don't Care
People told me that the problem with serving in Italy would be the traditions of (other religions)...  but in reality the problem is that most people have become uninterested in religion and have given up on spirituality.  

Most people we talk to just don't care about having God in their lives.. even if they believe in Him.  

Honest Seeker
So it's really incredible to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ to someone who is honestly seeking Jesus Christ in her life.  AND she comes to church every Sunday for ALL three meetings.  AND the RS president and her husband invited us all to their house tomorrow night, so we are really happy about that.  We have the best members.  So willing to help with our work.  Also she is going to bring Brazilian food to the Christmas party. yay. 

the sorelle with a member
(some are leaving for the holidays)

Making Conversation
I've really been trying to push myself and Sorella Foster and to do more finding and talk to more people. So we were on the bus and I made Sorella Foster sit in the seat facing the other way so that she could talk to the person in the chair across from her. 

Then this lady gets up to give her seat up for an old lady and comes to stand by me.. so I start talking to her and she is from this totally random country that I have never heard of and she invites us over Sunday night to her house! So we are excited about her. 

So last night we were doing more finding and I made a goal to have 3 really good conversations about the gospel before we got home. The first was with this sweet old man who told me that it was so beautiful to see people actually devoted to their religion instead of just going on Sunday and not really practicing throughout the week. 

Doesn't Look Good
The second was on the metro when there was this beer bottle that was knocked over and rolled down the aisle, so I stopped it with my foot and picked it up to throw it away.  Then I realized it probably looked bad for a missionary to be holding a giant empty beer bottle.. so I turned bright red as the people by me were watching me.  

So I just said, "I don't want people to think it's mine."  

One guy was like, "Yeah, that might not look too good.

and I said "Yeah, especially while I'm wearing this name tag with Jesus Christ's name on it."  

So this nice old man offered to throw it away so I wouldn't be embarrassed and the guy I had been talking to asked where I was from.  Turns out his family used to meet with the missionaries and invited them over for Thanksgiving and everything. so cool. 

Nice to Meet You
The last conversation was with a girl that had converted from Christianity to Islam.. so that was really interesting. That's what I love about being a missionary:  just talking to people.  People will tell you anything if you just ask.  I've met so many incredible people from just talking to them on the street, in the metro, in the train, anywhere really. 

I was re-reading the notes from the blessing I received when I got set apart, and it talks a lot about loving the people and just appreciating their lives. I have truly seen that blessing come to pass during my time here. I love being able to just talk to people, find out about their lives, the things they hold dear and the things they are searching for. 

And I love being able to bear my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ to them. 

I Get It
I love being a missionary. I love it I love it I love it. 

I finally get what everyone was talking about when they said there is just a joy you can't find anywhere else.  Sometimes I'm just walking down the street and I want to yell.. "I LOVE THIS!" because I do. I love living in Rome. I love learning about the gospel. I love seeing people change their lives to be in harmony with the teachings of Jesus Christ. I love it all. 

Like Paige said, I've been thinking a lot about people back home and the sadness and the hardships that have been going on in the lives of our friends.  

I was reading the talk from President Uchtdorf this week, "Come, Join with Us," and I was overcome with a sense of gratitude for the gospel and a realization that trials come to everyone.  

But with the gospel of Jesus Christ, they are made bearable.  Anything broken can be made whole through the Atonement.  Walking with the Savior every day prepares us to face the challenges that will come. 

Through scripture study and prayer we are blessed with a strength and a power that the world can never offer.  How blessed are we to be taught these principles?  How blessed are we to be given this strength and this courage and this hope?  How blessed are we for the love of Jesus Christ? 

Christmas is Coming...
I'm excited to be talking to you soon at Christmas.  President just sent us our Christmas guidelines.  I get one hour on any day from the 24th to the 26th, so we can just organize it with Paige.  

President said we aren't allowed to use member computers anymore for Skype, so I have to go find a cold, dark internet point where everyone will surely judge me for crying.  But I'm trying not to murmur. 

Also THANK YOU for the packages. I got the third one and I LOVE the letter advent calendar. genius. seriously. Sorella Foster had to physically restrain me from opening them all at once.  But she could not restrain me from eating the watermelon licorice. probably because I shared. 

Love you all. Thank you for your love and support. Happy Thanksgiving. 

With love from Rome,
Sorella O'Connor 

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