Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Week of Surprises


That was probably my biggest surprise of the week.  So happy for you kid.  I really hope Shalee wants to be my friend when I get back.  So happy for you guys.  Really wish I could be there for the wedding. 

Second surprise:  We got a call Monday night that we would have two guests staying with us this week. Two sisters had to come up for doctors' appointments and needed a place to stay, so we have had them recovering at our house this week. 

One of them is from Australia and I found myself doing that thing that Mom does where she starts copying a person's accent when she is with them for too long.  Sorella Wiltbank keeps catching me when I do it. ooops.  I wish I really did have an Aussie accent. 

Third surprise:  We found out Friday night that Kasper had to be transferred.  There was an emergency in another city, so they had to do transfers a week early.  We were all really bummed--mostly because Jomar's baptism was scheduled for the next week.  So they pulled some strings and changed the baptism to Sunday so that Kasper could be there.  

saying goodbye to Anz. Kasper

He was super sad to go because he has been here 8 months.  It just scared me because you never know when you have to leave and everyone is talking to me like I'm leaving next week and I probably am but still it makes me sad to think about it and it made me even more sad to see Kasper have to get up and go.. but missionary life goes on. 

Rain Delay
Monday it rained all day again so we stayed inside for pday. hurrah. 

Entertaining themselves - Italian mustaches

And then we had an appointment that night that got canceled because it was raining so hard that it eroded a hill that blocked off the street.  Same thing with the train tracks, so we couldn't even get into Centro if we wanted.  But we got to do some finding in the rain and found a couple cool contacts so that was nice. 

Real Intent
Tuesday we had a lesson with Simon, a man we found at the train station, and we were passing him off to the anziani and it was a really good lesson. He is a really spiritual guy, one of the ones who really takes what we are saying seriously and has that real intent. 

At the end I got to extend the baptismal invite, which is just one of the best experiences to do as a missionary.  

It's Just That Easy
We also had dinner with the Canzachi family and Carol.. they are the best at missionary work.. 

We get there and Fratello Canzachi isn't home yet, but as soon as he walks in the door he says "Sisters, come with me.. No, not you elders.. just the sisters."  

He takes us upstairs to his neighbors' apartment and introduces us and says, "We want to come back sometime and show you a little film.. okay? bye!"  

And I'm like, really though, it's just that easy to do missionary work. 

Wednesday we went and saw Patrizia at the crazy home like we do once a transfer.  She asked me if I was pregnant, so that was cool, and then she started stroking my hair and telling me I'm beautiful, so that was weird.  

We also had English course and our lesson was on FHE.  We had Luca in our group and he told us that he wants to do FHE with his family and he wants to study the Book of Mormon with his family in the future--so that made my day. 
Luca and the sorelle

One Year
Thursday was a day of no special importance and I don't want to talk about it being the anniversary of anything.  I'm sad that people keep asking me how long I've been on my mission and I now have to say one year.  They all have to tell me that I'm going home like tomorrow.  So we didn't celebrate or anything.  I'm like those old people that don't celebrate birthdays because they make you sad.  

February 6, 2013

So instead we went to two ward correlation meetings (Rome 2 and Rome 6) and on the way home with the elders, all 6 of us were practicing synchronized whistling.. (and people think missionaries don't know how to have fun).  

Also we had a lesson with Maria and she talked for 15 minutes straight, then kept interrupting to tell us about why she thinks Padre Pio is an apostle.  So we have to drop her.  Italians love Padre Pio. 

Friday I left for a scambi in Rome 3, which was fun because Sorella Furlanich is serving there too so I got to see her again (we were in the MTC together). 

 I was with Sorella Patterson, and she is really cute and has Mom's same hair color.  

Making People Happy
We were at the bus stop when this lady walks up to us and says, "You know, it's my birthday."  

So we say, "Happy Birthday!" and ask her if she is doing anything to celebrate.  

She says, "No, I'll probably have lunch with friends or something on Sunday, but I'm just going home right now."  

So we are feeling super bad for this old Italian lady that kind of looks like Mad-Eye Moody from HP, and so I say the first thing that comes to my mind which happens to be "Hey, do you want us to sing Happy Birthday to you?" and she said "Yes.

So we did. and I think it made her happy. and that's what missionary work is about: making people happy. 

To All Nations
Saturday morning we continued our scambi and visited one of their new investigators who lives in an African refugee camp. I love teaching Africans because this guy pulls out the Book of Mormon and says, 

"I know this book is true. I just know it it.  I just want to understand it.  I have a lot of questions, but I know it's true". 

We also visited the neighbor in the camp who is a member and she has these two little girls and they keep trying to jump into our arms.  Satan knows that the hardest rule for me is not to hold babies and so he tries to tempt me with cute African toddlers.  

So we switch back at lunch and we have to get McDonalds at the train station because we don't have time to stop anywhere else, and we run into this lady who starts speaking to us in English.  

So we teach her the Restoration in the McDonalds, and I love being a missionary because you can just do that.  She called us "Mormoncine" and said that Mormons are cute and don't look like witches like she thought and she said she was going to come to church. 

We also taught Shadi, our investigator from Iran and she has read up to Helaman in the Book of Mormon, but doesn't understand any of it.  So we are working on the basics with her... starting with God and Jesus Christ.  It's just tough because she is reading in Persian, so we have no idea what part she is really at.  We'll figure it out.  

We also had a lesson with a Catholic priest from Zambia and that was probably the coolest lesson of the week.  He was really touched by the idea of authority (probably because we mentioned it in almost every sentence) and our testimony of Jesus Christ.  

He is such a cool, humble guy and I learned so much just from his testimony of Jesus Christ and his love for Him.  Can't wait to go to that baptism. 

Sunday was Jomar's baptism!  

It was such a great Sunday.  Shadi came to church and stayed all three hours and didn't understand a word.. but she still stayed.  

Don't Eat the Glue Sticks
We had to teach the Primary.  They planned it all out for us, but the kids started smooshing glue sticks and saying it looked like mozzarella--and that's why I love Italy because everything ties back to mozzarella.  

Then we went back to the Canzachi's friends' house to show them the Restoration movie.  It's always interesting teaching with members, mostly because Italians like to yell at each other and it doesn't always bring the best spirit, but at the end everyone is still friends.  So we are working on that too. 

But back to Jomar.  He is the coolest guy and he and Carol are best friends.  It was cool to think about how much they have grown together going through this process.  I love the spirit that is at baptisms.

He told us that he cried after our musical number and then again after he was baptized. such a sweet guy. 

Sorella Wiltbank, Jomar, Kaitlin, Carol
So that is my week.  I'm sorry if I sound a little grumpy; I just kind of am a little.  But I remember when I was set apart that my blessing said that every week I need to bear my testimony; probably because when I bear my testimony I'm not so grumpy.. I'm a lot more thankful. 

I could never put into words really how much I love Italy, how much I love these people, how much I love this work. I know that it's all true.  

I am grateful that Heavenly Father has blessed me with so many experiences to strengthen my testimony and to teach me what's most important in life.  

Even though I'm sad that I only have 6 months left, I'm grateful for the time I still have here, and throughout my life, to serve my Heavenly Father.  

I am grateful for a life full of love and service and the understanding of my purpose and the true nature of our Heavenly Father.  I've grown in ways I didn't know that I needed and my Father in Heaven has blessed me so incredibly. 

With Love from Rome,
Sorella O'Connor  

(Email Sent February 10, 2014)

progress on the temple

All four buildings: apartments, temple, visitors' center, chapel

reflection on the polished granite

Travertine Marble and Roman Brick accent on the Visitors Center

Each piece is carved to create the uniquely curved shape of the Rome temple.

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