Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Promises Made to the Fathers

Happy Father's Day Dad! Sorry it's a day late.. but you know, mission rules and all. 


Vision Board
Every other Sunday the missionaries host an activity for the youth because the ward wants us really working together with them, strengthening them, and preparing them to serve missions.

Well yesterday we did an activity where we gave them all these long white sheets of papers and they had to decorate it and create a "vision board" of their lives.. where they are, where they want to go, and who they want to become. 





One of the greatest challenges for the youth is seeing the big picture.. realizing that the small choices you make now effect how your life will be later. We wanted to give them a vision of who they could become and help them see how their choices now impact whether or not they will reach those goals. It was really great activity and the youth (even the boys) loved it. 



Promises
As I was creating mine, I was thinking of all the influences in my life that have made me WANT to want these things in my life. & I thought of you, Dad. I remembered when I was really young, we had just come back from a wedding that wasn't in the temple. 

I remembered that you took both my hands in yours and made me PROMISE you that I would get married in the temple. I made that promise, even though I was so far away from making any sort of decision.. 

But your influence and your expectations for me have always pushed me to try for the best and to become better. Whether it was getting better grades to get into BYU, or buying me my first camera and telling me to go after my dreams, or making me learn how to jump start a car. 

Thanks, Dad. Ti voglio bene.


Prayers Pay Off
This week was a really good week for missionary work. We saw tons of miracles. I know it's because of all of your prayers on my behalf, so thanks you guys.

Tuesday we dubbed "middle part day" so the anziani had to come to DDM with middle parts. Poor elders.. serving in a city with 4 sisters, we really can get them to do anything.

Also, we had a lesson with Alsessandra! One of our English course students. She is one of my favorite students.. we always have really good conversations whenever we chat. She told me that she had really bad impressions of the church before, but since she has been coming and hearing our spiritual thoughts she has realized that we aren't like everything she has heard. 

She had so many good questions, the lesson went all over the place but it was good. She agreed to keep meeting with us so we are way excited about that.

Long Walk
Wednesday we felt impressed to go stop by a member's house, but they live WAY out of town... like over an hour on foot and it's like a million degrees right now and Sorella Williams hates the heat more than anything.. so she was not excited when I called this family and they said that we could come if we could make it in an hour. 

So we walk all the way over there and we share a really great spiritual thought from Elder Bednar's talk from conference (MY FAVORITE.. see also "In the Strength of the Lord") and afterwards they look outside and the dad says, 

"Hey.. my cousins are here... sisters can you just stay a couple of minutes?".. 

So we did and we briefly met this couple and they were nice and they started asking this member questions about the church and then they turn to us and said,

"Hey, would you guys like to come visit us sometime to tell us more about your church?"

... umm yes.. in fact we would. 

Late Dinner
So we got their information, on the way back we decided to stop at a less active's house and she lets us in and said, "We were just about to sit to dinner, would you like to stay?" 

and I say "No no no, we still have to get home on time."

... but you just can't say no to Italians for dinner so she made us stay promising it would only be ten minutes and then she would give us a ride home... which turned into 2 hours of dinner (which actually hadn't been cooked yet) salad, bread, then gelato... but that's just how it is.

So the anziani are calling us at 10 and are like "Ummm where are you guys?" and the members are like "Just pass the phone to us.. WE will tell them its our fault" haha I LOVE Italians.

Ya Welcum
Thursday we took a bus for 3 hours to RAGUSA for a scambio. Ragusa is like the promised land. I love it there. We met a cute Australian girl on the bus and she just came to Italy on holiday for fun by herself and she is staying on a farm outside of Ragusa and I want to be her when I get home - just travel the world. we gave her a mormon.org biglietto so she is going to get baptized. 

You're welcome, Australia. 

Also we had to sleep on the floor in Ragusa because they only have two beds. 

Sacrifices
Friday we headed back and I met this guy from the YEMEN who told me his whole story of how he had crazy dreams about Jesus and decided to convert to Christianity. Then his family tried to kill him and his best friend was killed while they were both trying to escape and he got baptized in Ghana. 

Now he is in Italy and trying to learn Italian and he showed me the huge scars from where they stabbed him. SO crazy. He is going to get baptized too. He said he wants to come to church.

I love Italy because I Love Italians and I love teaching Italians because you can just be so HONEST with them. 

Colpo D'aria
Also they hate air conditioning.. literally this week 2 members told me they were allergic to air conditioning. 

I DON'T GET IT. It's so hot. 




Signs are Everywhere
Also they take everything as a "sign." We are meeting with this sweet member, Giusy, and she is really sad because she and her fianc√© can't get married until he finds a job, but they are both getting older and she wants kids.  

She comes to our appointment and we are in the middle of the lesson when she pulls out a stuffed animal and says "Sorella, what does it mean?

and I'm like, "Uhh that some sad kid dropped his toy?

and she is like "I think God is trying to tell me something.

Then she got called to serve in the Primary on Sunday.. maybe she was right?

God Talks Today
Saturday we met with the members' cousins and it went SO well! They had all these questions about life after death and then in the middle the father looks at me and says, 

"I have a question.. God talked to Moses face-to-face, didn't he?" 

"Yes." 

"Well, then why won't God talk to prophets in our day?" 

I just started to tear up because in that moment I just had THE BIGGEST testimony of Thomas S. Monson as a prophet.. It was one of the coolest moments of my mission, testifying to him of living prophets. 

Before we even started the lesson they said, 

"We are coming to your church tomorrow. All our evangelical friends and our Jehovah's Witness friends keep trying to convince us to go but we never do.. I don't know why, we just like you guys".. 

So we are way excited about them. Enza and Emmanuelle. 

Lead Me Guide Me
Another cool story about them is that about a month ago while Rossell and I were on scambio, Williams and Vickers had been praying about where to do finding and they asked God to send them to someone who was prepared to get baptized.. 

When we went to their home on Saturday, Sorella Williams said "Oh my gosh, we knocked THIS door that day."

MIRACLES: but then they didn't come to church on Sunday. patzienza.

All Things Italians
Also I love Italian church because Fratello Conforto plays the piano cool, Rosario periodically hands me candy from different pockets in his camper vest during Sacrament Meeting, moms breastfeed in church, no one wants to turn the a/c on, everyone shares their stories about when they saw Jesus, and the simps (that come) love it.

I LOVE ITALY. The closer I get to coming home the more I get emotional about how much I love Italy, Italians, and the culture. I'm really going to miss it here. I'm really trying to enjoy every minute of it while I'm here, so that when I get home I can feel satisfied with all that I did and be at peace moving on to later phases of my life. 




The mission is the best thing that I've ever done.

With love from Siracusa.

Sorella O'Connor

(Email Sent June 16, 2014)

Countdown:  T - 7 Weeks

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