Monday, April 7, 2014

Goodbye Roma, Hello Siracusa

Hey guys. SO I forgot my old planner with all the cool things that I wanted to tell you about.. ooops. sorry. 
Farewell visit to the Trevi 

Last week in Rome was really crazy.  It never really hit me that I was leaving.. still hasn't.  Sometimes I just feel like I'm on another scambio and that I'll be back in a day or two. The hardest thing was saying goodbye to all the members and the people I love.  

I love Rome 2 with all of my little heart. 

The beginning of the week was mostly spent with goodbyes and packing all of my things. It was so strange because I left a suitcase with all of my winter things that I am taking home.  I'll only be here 4 more months and I won't need winter clothes. I really can't believe how quickly time flies.  

My hardest goodbyes were definitely Carol, Jomar, Jerwin, and Luca... I had to say goodbye after English Course on Wed. night and it just about killed me.. 

Thank heavens for modern-day technology, right? 

Take the Train
Thursday we took the train ALL day down to Sicily. It was a long trip but really beautiful. The train follows the coast so we got to see the ocean all the way down.  

Then once it gets to the tip of the boot, they load the train onto a boat to take it across to Sicilia.  So we all got to get off the train and head up on deck to get fresh air and see the sea. 

It was also really fun because when you are on SUCH a long train ride (circa 12 ore) you make friends with everyone on the cabin and have really great gospel discussions (they can't really run away can they?) and we got some referrals for the other cities. 

Love at First Sight
So first off.. I LOVE Siracusa. Seriously it is SUCH a beautiful city. Way different than Rome. Like completely opposite. 

It's a little seaside town and there is this beautiful little island right off the coast.  I convinced Sorella Williams to go running with me in the mornings... So we run to the coast and back, and it is the most BEAUTIFUL view of the Mediterranean Sea. My life is a dream, I know. 

New Companions
Also I really love my roommates.  I've never lived with other sisters before, so it's really fun.. maybe too much fun.. I'm living with Sorella Rossell who was in the MTC with Paige and she is from Southern California and she plays the harp. 

Paige and Sorella Rossell in the MTC

Like she HAS a mini harp in our apartment and she said she is going to teach me how to play.  She is my STL companion this transfer so we already have all of our scambi planned out and it's going to be so fun. 

I may have not served in very many cities in my mission.. but with all of the scambi that I get to do with the sisters, I will have seen almost all of them. Her companion is Sorella Vickers.. It is her second transfer in the mission and she is on fire. 

Sorelle Vickers and Rossell with their Italian "little sisters" from the ward
(photo cred:  Sorella Rossell's blog)

She is 23 and from Idaho/Utah and is dating a football player and left to go serve a mission.  She is here because she had some really incredible genealogy experiences that led her to go on a mission.  It's crazy because in every area I've served in, I've left feeling like I was there for a certain person.. and coming here I feel like she is here for ME. 

I have had the strangest impressions over the last several days that I am here to work with Family History.  I know that sounds so strange.  But I just know it.  The mission has been talking a lot about using genealogy in finding, and we all feel like THAT is the thing that we have to use right now to help Sicily out.. because, being honest, it needs a LOT of help.  

Help Me
So Sorella Vickers is here to help ME with family history..  So I need you guys to help me out and send me some names and dates on Dad's side of the family..  Mom's side goes back really far, but I have nothing on Dad's side.  We started a family history class here in the church on Wednesdays, and it's still getting started, but it's going to be a huge tool here.  We just know it. 

My companion is great too, her name is Sorella Williams and she is from Canada.. She really wants to work hard and for me that's the best thing you could have in a companion. 

We have literally NO investigators right now.. so we are in for a lot of finding.  But for some reason, I am really excited about it.  I have never really been super passionate about finding.. because it's the longest and hardest thing about missionary work (reference Elder Holland's talk from this General Conference).  

Find and Seek
But at the same time, it has the potential to see the most miracles. I am really confident that we are going to see a lot of miracles down here.. I don't know how to describe how I know, but I just know. The other day I just couldn't wait to leave the house because I KNOW there is someone out there we are supposed to find.. we just have to FIND them. 

So I'll just end with a little story from this weekend. We had a full night of finding to do and so we walked outside and a bus passed by.  Here in Siracusa there are NO buses.. we walk everywhere (meno male) and so to see a bus stop at the bus stop was surprising.  So we decided to take it to wherever it went.  

Take the Bus
While on the bus I was talking to an old Sicilian man with no teeth and Sorella Williams waved at this lady who walked on and happens to be a less-active member.  She asked her if we could go to the church together and have a lesson.  So we went and shared a little thought on faith and then headed out. 

When we walked out the door there were three people just standing outside of the church looking really lost.  So we asked if we cold help them and they said "We are trying to get to Ortigia, could you help us get there?"  

We had just been planning to go to Ortigia, so we told them we could walk the 45 min walk with them.. Turned out they were there for a karate competition and were just going to be there for three days... 

We asked where they were from and they said it was a paesino in Lazio (a little town in the province of Lazio) but that the girl had recently moved to Rome.. She happens to be living in my old area!  (Backstory... I felt impressed to put Rome cards in my bag and told myself that that was crazy, so I didn't.. bad move.) 

Second Chances
So we got to talking and she told me that she is a lawyer and she defends delinquents. She said that most people judge her for defending these kids who have committed pretty serious crimes in their lives. 

But she said that she believes that everyone deserves to have a second chance:  that even though they have made serious mistakes, they should be able to start over in their lives.  

I just bore my testimony to her that that was the same message I was here to bring:  that Jesus Christ came to earth so that we all have that chance to repent.  It was a sweet experience and I left her with Rome's info and told her to call my companion when she gets back. 

Also conference was realllly great. I loved all of the talks. It's hard for me to pick favorites.  But Bednar and Holland were up there.. also Linda Reeves. So so so good. anyways I'm out of time as always. 

But I love love love you and you all need to take conference advice and study PMG and send me your studies. 

Siracusa is beautiful and I'm really excited to serve here. 

With love from La Sicilia,

Sorella O'Connor 

(Email Sent April 7, 2014)

No comments:

Post a Comment