Wednesday, January 1, 2014

One Christmas in Rome

So there it is.. my one and only Christmas in the mission. I'm kind of sad that I only get one now. This year was so much fun.

Monday for pday we got to go to a Christmas market in Piazza Navona, and I bought a little nativity set.  

That night we went to a family home evening with the Canzachi family, who is one of my favorite families.. Fratello Canzachi makes me laugh.. One thing about Italians is that they all seem to have a million cell phones. 

We've Got Your Number
Anziano Prieto asked Fratello Canzachi to tell him which numbers listed in the phone were actually his because there were so many.. turns out they were all his. One cell phone for at home, one he just keeps in the car so he doesn't forget, one for at work, etc., etc... so we had to change the names in the phone to "Fratello Canzachi's car phone, work phone, home phone," etc., etc. 

Here We Go a Caroling
Tuesday we went caroling again in the morning at Piazza Spagna and Piazza del Popolo and it was a really good time. This time we had ALL the missionaries from the Rome zone come which made it a lot louder and then we could step out as missionaries to stop and talk to the people who were listening. 

I felt impressed to stop this one family as they were walking away. Turns out they are from Greece and the dad just moved to Salt Lake City! When he found out we were Mormons he was like, "You've got to be kidding me! I live in Salt Lake and half the people in my company are Mormons."

You just can't get away from us, can you? 

Fish Fry
For Christmas Eve we went to a member's house for cena. The Christmas Eve tradition in Italy is fish... lots and lots of fish... Just the day before Sorella Wiltbank and I were talking about pickiness -- what we would eat and what we couldn't eat.  

Sorella Wiltbank said, "I can eat ANYTHING but fish."  So imagine our dismay when we showed up early to help prepare dinner with the family and Sorella Wiltbank is given on the job of spearing caviar (fish eggs) and spreading the salmon puree (like Mom used to do to veggies to hide it in things--like cake) on toast.  

Anziano Kasper got the worst of it though: battering up baby octopus and frying it in the pan... BABY OCTOPUS.  Not even just the legs or anything but the whole thing.. you just pop it in your mouth like popcorn.  

So Sorella Wiltbank is having a small mental breakdown because everything is fish: seafood salad, fried octopus, fish bread. The only things that don't look fishy are the fried mushrooms, fried cheese, and a fruit salad.  So we decided to fill up the plate with safe-looking things like oranges and fried cheese.

Then Sorella Wiltbank turns to me and says, "Sorella.. there is fish juice on the oranges."  

I'm just having flashbacks to when Mom and Paige used to make fun of me saying that I would go to China on my mission and have to eat weird seafood. You probably don't believe me, but I tried everything... even fish eggs, even fried octopus and even fried mushrooms.  

Okay, so I skipped on the seafood salad (which I don't really consider a salad because there is no lettuce involved, but who am I to argue?) 

Going to the Dogs
Sorella Wiltbank went into the bathroom to say a prayer and oh my, the Lord does answer prayers.  As we were sitting at the table the family's dog came and just stuck his head in her lap... yeah.  She fed her WHOLE dinner to the dog piece-by-piece.  So we are trying to keep from laughing, but it's impossible... she is feeding her fish food to the dog.  

So this sorella just turns and is like, "What are you guys laughing about?"  We have to think of SOMETHING to say, so Sorella Wiltbank says, "La sorella ha detto qualcosa buffa.... reguardo le mie scarpe." which means "The sister said something funny... about my shoes?" and she bought it.  

But even though we felt sick that night and several days after, it was still the best dinner appointment ever just because it was so much fun being together and laughing together.  We love this family.

we got to sleep in and open our packages together in the morning.  We were SO tired because our noisy Asian neighbors woke us up at 2 am when they were opening presents and SCREAMING for several hours... 

but we got to sleep an extra hour so, va bene.  Then we had pranzo with the Celestini family and it was SO GOOD.  

When we got there, Sorella Celestini's mom was making homemade lasagna and there was just this huge VAT of red sauce. So we ate lunch with their whole family which was really fun. They have 5 boys and one little daughter who is the youngest.  Their oldest son is on a mission in Scotland, so they really spoiled us.  

Afterwards, they asked us to share our most spiritual moments from our missions.  It was really beautiful for all of us missionaries to talk about the moments that are so special to us.  It was the strongest I've felt the Spirit in a while and of course we all cried.. anziani included. 

Three-way Call

Then we went to the church to skype and that was cool but also weird.  Sorry I was weird and stressed out because it wasn't working and I was on a time limit, but it was still cool to see everyone. 

OMG Farryn is pregnant and Scott's voice is too deep and thanks for the Christmas present reveal -- I've been thinking about it all week.  

Mary and Son

It's weird that we only have one skype and one general conference left.  Sorry I said I don't want to come home, haha.  I'm just having a slight mental breakdown because its all going SO fast. 

Three-day Holiday
The day after Christmas we had pranzo at the church with the anziani and we got to watch our two Christmas movies together! Despicable Me 2 (thanks Mom!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WE GOT IT!!) and Monsters Inc University.  

Sorella Wiltbank skyped her family and then we had another dinner appointment with the Fiorillo family.. all such good families. They are such a cute, young couple and we just talked about her conversion story and his reactivation story.  We got to share a really beautiful message about Jesus Christ. 

I'm so grateful for the incredible families here in Rome. They really made Christmas a home away from home this year.

Friday we got to see Giorgia and we committed her to quit smoking! So send some extra prayers her way.. She REALLY wants to get baptized, so we are working on some commandments to get her ready to be baptized the same day as her little brother (who is working with the anziani).  We love this family and getting to visit them. 

Still Time for a Miracle
Saturday was our miracle nothing day.  We got a bidone in the morning (someone who didn't show up to an appointment) and then the whole afternoon we had finding planned because everyone is gone for the holidays.  

But it just felt like we were doing a bunch of nothing because the buses weren't coming by and when they did come, there was no one on them to talk to.  So there was about 20 minutes left in the day and we were thinking about going home because there was NO ONE around.  

We saw this bus pass by and I thought, "I can't remember where this bus ends. Let's just take it because I know it doesn't go too far."  

So we got on the bus and we were the only ones on it.  I started joking with Sorella Wiltbank about how in Cagliari there were times I felt like Heavenly Father would send me weird places to get me out of the way.  

As we were talking about it, the bus arrived at the last stop and the bus driver got out for his break. I asked him a question about this strange noise we heard (it sounded like guns, but it was just fireworks). 

We got to talking and Sorella Wiltbank and I started teaching him.  The Spirit was super strong and we could just see that he was feeling it too.  His face started to light up.

While we were talking a young guy got on the bus, but he was listening to music. So we finished talking to the bus driver and got his info and then he had to get back to work. He started the bus and I sat next to the guy wearing headphones.  

Plan of Happiness
I handed him a pamphlet because I could tell he was kind of listening.. so then he started asking us how we came to have such strong faith in Jesus Christ.  We talked about the Book of Mormon and tried to leave one with him.  He didn't take it, but when we got off we saw him reading the Plan of Salvation pamphlet as he passed by on the bus.  

So we were freaking out so happy for the new phone number we got from the bus driver and the other guy we met.  The next morning we got a text from this guy at 2:00 am saying that he was interested in knowing more!!!!!  He got our number from the pamphlet and did some research online and now we have an appointment with him!

We have had SO many miracles this week. It's been so great to work with Sorella Wiltbank because we work well together.  When we teach together, it goes so smoothly. We have seen so many new potentials and gotten ahold of lots of ex-simps.  We just feel so blessed.  We are PRAYING to stay together a whole transfer here in Rome just because we really work well together and we are finding so many people to teach. 

We have another new investigator this week named Carlos.  He is a referral from the members and he is 9 years old.  He told his mom that he doesn't want to play soccer on Sunday because he wants to go to church.  The Lord is so good to us.  I love it here in Rome.  I could stay until the end of my mission and be okay with it. 


With love from Rome,

(Email Sent December 30, 2013)

No comments:

Post a Comment