Saturday, April 5, 2014

Farewell Roma

I thought about only writing this email in Italian and making you guys google translate it and seeing what you think happened this week. but that sounds kind of mean.. so I decided against it.  
(Editor: and then she does it.... ha)

Ma io so che voi volete sapere se io sono stata transferita, e quello è il notizio più importante, quindi vi dirò in italiano. abbiamo ricevuta la chiamata sabato.. ed io sono stata transferita a siracusa!! cioè... la Sicilia. io so che era tropo di chiedervi di pragare per me di andare in sicilia... me Dio risponde alle preghiere. 

(roughly translated: "I know that you want to know if I have been transferred, and that's the most important news, so I will tell you in Italian. We received the call Saturday .. and I was transferred to Syracuse! I mean ... Sicily.  I know that I asked you last week to pray for me to go to Sicily ... 
God answers prayers.)

So that is really exciting.. but I'm also pretty nervous about it.  Missionary life here in Rome is pretty cushy... we are always busy and have lots of work to do.. but I heard that the work there is a LOT slower so I'm going to have to do a lot more finding.. I've almost forgotten how to do programmed finding. 

But that's the big news for the week.. Also Jerwin's baptism!  We have had SO many baptisms here in Rome and it's been so cool to see the young adult group here growing so fast.  Jerwin's baptism was definitely my highlight of the week. 

brothers:  Jerwin and Jomar

If we had investigator superlatives for my mission, he would be voted: 
"Most Affected by the Atonement of Jesus Christ". 

I cannot tell you the changes I have seen him make since he has been coming to church and meeting with the missionaries. Watching him bear his testimony in his cute suit and tie was just one of the sweetest moments on my mission. 

With Love to Rome
Serving in Rome 2 has been great, I'm pretty sad about leaving, just because these people have become some of my best friends and it's really hard to leave all of them, 

Sorella Salsiccia 
(baptized in the 70s - one of the first members in Rome) 

(our investigator getting baptized the week after General Conference)

Famiglia Valle

but Heavenly Father has given me sweet confirmations that I've done what I came to do here and that there is still a lot for me to do down in Siracusa. 

Weekly Rundown:
Monday I made Sorella W go with me to EATALY.. like I know it's a grocery store.. but it's so beautiful I almost cried. 

I only bought the shopping bags because I'm poor but it was a really beautiful experience anyway.

Be Not Afraid
Tuesday we went on another scambio, and I headed over to Rome 1 with Sorella Spencer. We were doing finding on the bus and there was this family we started talking to and we asked the little boy what his name was and he said  "mi chiamo Luca, e ho paura del diavolo" which translated means, "My name is Luca and I'm afraid of the devil"... cute kid.

If I Only Had A Brain
Wed morning we did a service project.. and since Italians think sisters can't really do any manual labor, they had me and Sorella Spencer cutting big sticks into little sticks.. and we talked a lot about crazy food people eat in Italy.. and this member asks if I've ever eaten cow brain and I'm like "umm, no" because who eats that?

He said "Ohhh sister it's so good you have to try it" 

So after the service project they bring out Pizza Bianca and this member goes inside and brings out a tupperware of cow brains in an olive oil sauce.. and he is like "Sorella.. eat.. it's good.. put it on your pizza" and everyone is watching me so I'm like.. "yeah.. why not?"

.. so I eat this COW BRAIN and everyone is looking at me like "omg she really did it" and then they say "Just kidding.. it's melanzana" (eggplant I think in English) mean tricks. 

Cultural Cuisine
Thursday we made a lasagna for a less active family who have had some hard trials.. and the lasagna was so gross I think we might have made things worse.. but the husband came to church on Sunday and brought us marble carvings that "he made with his own hands."  We are pretty sure that he didn't make them but it was sweet of him anyway. 

But seriously.. we made this lasagna and I don't know how but it turned out like an American lasagna.. so it really is a cultural thing I think.. 

I also met a Russian boy on the bus and I was trying to talk to him but he only spoke Russian so It was hard. I tried to tell him I had ancestors from Russia and he didn't understand, so I pulled out the only Russian word I know: "babushka" and that was it.

Friday.. we had a buca from Mia.. this girl we found doing area book, so that was sad... but then we met a sweet Philippine woman named Emma and she told us about how she lost her husband at sea and we just said a prayer with her in the middle of the street.  We are going to help her move out of her house. 

I know I'm just running through ALL the really cool things we did, and I wish I could really explain everything that happened.. but I love little experiences like this.. where Heavenly Father just sends us to comfort people, and to help them. 

Best Day
Saturday was Jerwin's baptism! best day of the week. Sorella Millet was asked to give the talk, but she didn't translate it into Italian so as she stands up to give her talk she asked me to come up to translate. It was really scary because 80% of the people there speak both English and Italian and so everyone knew if I messed up. Nice reminder that I still have a long way to go in learning Italian.

Sunday we had pranzo at the Steurers and we brought Jesse, one of our English Course student that has been meeting with us and came to church with us, and it was a really good time. 

(photos from the Steurers)

We really have the best set of missionaries here so it was great to get everyone together one last Sunday before we all go our separate ways with transfers.

Farewell Roma
I love Rome 2. It's seriously been the best place to serve and I'm so happy that I got to stay so long here. I love the ward here. That's the hardest thing to leave. 

As I was getting up to say my leaving testimony, I had all these things I wanted to say about all the changes I've seen in the ward:  babies being born, marriages, baptisms, and all the things that I was privileged to see in the last 7 months.. but as I got up to speak I had the slightest impression that this last testimony wasn't about me or the things I had seen, but my testimony is of the Savior, and that I didn't need to take away from his day. 

So that's what I did:  I just gave a simple testimony of the Savior.. and even though I have seen and experienced so much here, it all really just revolves around the Savior and his atonement. I am so grateful for changes and growth and new beginnings, and I'm so grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ. 

Hello Sicilia
I'm really sad to leave everything here.. but I'm really excited to be with Sorella Williams in Siracusa..

(Sorella Williams is from Canada and I got to do some scambi with her because she served here in Rome 1 for 4 transfers.. she is the same group as Sorella Foster and I'll be living with Sorella Rossell, Paige's friend from the MTC, and her greenie. fun)

Also Bishops Gilespie's mom came up to me on Sunday and said "I hope your sister is doing okay after her accident" and I'm like wait, what?! and she said "Oh you didn't hear?" and pulls up a picture of Paige in a NECK BRACE.  

So I'm glad all is well because I've been freaking out a little.

Also thanks for all the news at home. Lots of love and prayers are on their way for baby Holland.  Also FARRYN IS HAVING A GIRL!  

I'm really glad you told me because I was betting hard core on it being a boy and almost sent her baby boy things in the mail. Happy birthday Farryn :) Love you long time. 

Okay, well I'm off for my last pday in ROME.

With love from Rome,
Sorella O'Connor 

(Email Sent - March 31, 2014)

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