Saturday, April 5, 2014

Mission Tour


I counted up an estimate of how much travel time was spent for this mission tour. 26.. at least. 26 hours of planes, trains, buses, metros, vans, ferries, etc., etc. for 4 days. It was a long week but a lot of fun.

Didn't get much work done. But a lot of fun.

first off I LOVE all the baby Holland photos. I pray for her a lot & I am so excited to meet her.  Keep the photos coming. I just love her already.

Also HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Zoe and Nick and Lani who all had birthdays this week. 

Vi Voglio Bene. Tanti Auguri.

Okay.. all the things that happened this week. 

So we helped this lady from Pompei carry her groceries to her house and she lives right behind the church and she said,

"I always hear you singing on Sunday and I always wanted to know if I could come in.

So we invited her and her daughter to church on sunday and they said they would come.. they didn't come.. but I thought it was a cool little experience.

We started meeting with this cute 17-year-old girl this week. Her mom is Italian and her dad is Nigerian but grew up in London so she speaks Italian and English perfectly.  The young men in the ward are already going crazy over her. 

Also the anziani asked her if her dad is Alex Boye because he is Nigerian but actually from London. He isn't her dad in case you were wondering.

On Wednesday we had to get EVERYONE to the mission conference in Rome. on a strike day. talk about utter madness. We had to get everyone on the metro going towards the Rome 1 chapel BY 8:30 because they told us ALL metros would STOP at 8:30.

So we are way stressed out and everyone gets separated and we get on the metro AT 8:30... 
BUT we had to switch metro lines to get to the Rome 1 chapel.. so now we feel we have no hope.

We get to terminal and RUN to the A line to try to get the last metro towards the church... 
and it is PACKED 
and everyone is yelling 
and gypsies are stealing things 
and we are like "There is NO way we are getting on in time"

But somehow they have a ton of metros passing right before it closes to get everyone out 
and we squeeze our way to the front 
and we say to ourselves 
"the ONLY way we are going to get on is if the train stops with the door RIGHT in front of us."

We are all hanging on to each other because if not someone is going to fall into the metro line and die 
and we all say a prayer in our hearts 
and the metro door stops RIGHT in front of us. 
baby miracles. 

Then we are sardined onto the train 
and people are crying because they are claustrophobic 
and the man facing Sorella Wiltbank is going to throw up on her 
and they creepy old man behind me is using all of this as an excuse to get handsy 
and I'm thinking "This is my life".. 

Eventually it starts to empty and we see that miraculously we all happened to get on the same metro.. all the missionaries. literally all of us. so that was cute.

Then we get to Rome 1 and I get to see ALL my missionaries in the upper part of the mission and some that I haven't seen since my first and second transfers.  

Then I left poor Sorella Wiltbank in charge of all the scambios because we had to get in the van and head to Catania.  Sorry Sorella Wiltbank.  But she was really positive and she is one of the best missionaries ever, so I knew she could do it.

Road Trip
We had a 12-hour car drive in front of us and you would think...

"... That sounds GREAT.. driving down to Southern Italy and stopping for pizza in Napoli and sharing mission stories." 

until you realize that's how sisters would plan a road trip... 

The elders think...

"We don't have TIME to stop in Napoli... no stops.. 12 hours.. no stops..

We convince them to stop for pizza, not in Napoli, but close enough to make the sisters happy to eat Napoli pizza and the elders happy enough to not get an hour off track... and that makes them happy. 

But then I had to suffer through 12 hours of bad music.  Alex Boye and acapella groups singing primary songs and "noodles on my back" (I now hate acapella groups, primary songs, AND noodles on my back)... anyways.. not so glamorous, but beautiful views and long games of "would you rather".

Ferry Ride from Reggio Calabria to Messina

We also got to take the ferry over to Messina and it was BEAUTIFUL. We got up on deck and you could see all the stars and all the lights on the coast of Sicily.  We get off the ferry and start the drive to Catania and we see LAVA coming down from Mount Etna. and finally we make it to the hotel and crash.

View from the hotel

Thursday we had a really great conference with Anziano Kearen. Literally sent from heaven. He spent the whole time thanking us for all the hard work we are doing and telling us that we are doing a great job.. it was like FINALLY someone appreciates us. It was a great pick me up and he talked about all the things we need to be doing to keep improving. 

He Wants Us Home
He talked a lot about Faith, Action, & Testimony... One of the things that struck out to me the most was how often he talked about God being our Heavenly Father and how much he wants us home... and as we strengthen our OWN testimony of that, every aspect of our work will improve. 

It was a really inspired conference and it answered a lot of my prayers. I wish I could have taken better notes but I had to translate for one of the Italian sisters.

I got to see SORELLA MIKESELL. The first time in my WHOLE mission we have seen each other. It was the happiest reunion from the MTC. 

Kaitlin and Sorella Mikesall

Reunited MTC District Missionaries

Holy Canolli
After the conference we did finding together and Sorella Wiltbank made a list of all the Sicilian things I had to try before I left.. so we went out to do finding and try and find a conolo. 

(Most of finding in Italy is based around food.. because people always want to help.. and they all want to tell you where the best food is.. so it's the best opening question on the street.) 

We found this little bakery and at the table inside are 3 other sister missionaries and these two couples... The two couples are like "Hey are these your friends? We want to buy them a conolo!" 


So we sit down with our canolli and talk about the gospel and they offer to take us on a tour of Catania, but its almost nine and we have to walk to the hotel.  NONE of us have phones so we have to stick together because none of us know anything.  So we say thanks anyways and baci them goodnight. 

And these are ALL the reasons you should pray that I get sent to Catania next okay?

Friday we had a capi conference with all the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders and it was also a really great conference. Anziano Kearen is one of the best teachers and he just let us ask questions and gave really good advice on how we can help the other missionaries and how we can receive answers for our own questions. 

He helped us take what we learned from the conference and really apply it by making goals and following through.  It was really helpful.  He just thanked us. a lot. and we needed it.  We all left happy. 

Then we hopped on a plane back and we ALL got window seats on different rows and so that means we all got to talk to the people next to us and the whole back of the plane wants to get baptized now.

Then Saturday morning we had to leave the house at 6 AM to get to the bust station at 7 AM to take Sorella Pace back to Pescara because she didn't have a companion OR a phone. 

On the three-hour bus ride BACK I started talking to this girl next to me and we had a really great conversation about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon.  So even though I was DEAD tired and wanted to sleep the whole way back, it was a really good reminder to ALWAYS do finding and to always share your testimony.

 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear." 
(1 Peter 3:15)

Be Ready Always
Also speaking of always being ready to bear testimony... 3 min before sacrament meeting Fratello Vardeu comes up to me and says, 

"By the way, you and Sorella Wiltbank are going to be our first speakers today.." 

So I talked about always being ready to bear testimony.  How we promised at baptism to always be witness in all times in and things and in all places () ("witness" =  "testimony" in Italian) and it reminded me of how when I was set apart it mentioned that I needed to bear my testimony when I write home to my family.

Reason of the Hope
I know its true you guys. I just know it.  I marvel that God would allow me to partake in this great work and to obtain a testimony myself, to really become converted by the gospel of Jesus Christ and to let it be the basis of how I want to live my life. 

I know what it means that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored. I know that only in the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do we really understand the role of Jesus Christ and the crucial role He plays in the Father's plan of happiness for his children. 

I know that God is our father and we are his children. I know that through Jesus Christ we have the power to change, become better, and to grow in happiness and in knowledge and understanding. I am grateful for the eternal perspective that I have been taught through as a missionary. 

It's true you guys. It's all true.

So that's what happened here this week.  Lots of growth and lots of fun memories 

and lots of good food. 



Pray for Sicily. (but I'm totes staying in Rome.) 
Give Holland kisses for me!

With love from Rome,
Sorella O'Connor 

(Email Sent - March 24, 2014)

No comments:

Post a Comment