Wednesday, September 15, 2010

First week in Rome

I am in Rome and I love it! There is so much to tell, I hardly know where to start.
An elder from my district in Taranto was also being transferred to my new district in Rome (he was being an assistant to the president), and there was a girl in southern Italy who was coming to Rome to serve a 3 month mission, so all three of us made the 6 hour drive together. We got lost once we got into Rome though and spent another hour on the phone with missionaries in Rome trying to figure out how to get to the mission villa! The "villa" is the mission home, where the mission president and his wife live. We finally made it and I was able to meet and talk with Sorella Jones, who was headed down to Taranto to take my spot with Sorella Stevenson. I was so glad I got to tell her about my wonderful city of Taranto and get her excited to serve there!

We then drove to the mission office and met my new companions, Sorella Urban and Sorella Riffaldi!! They are amazing! They have been serving together in Rome for two transfers already but were both so excited to have me join them. Sorella Riffladi is Italian, from Milan, and this is her fourth transfer, meaning she has been in the mission for 5 months. Sorella Urban is half Italian and half American and has lived in Italy on and off growing up, so her Italian is incredible too. Sor. Riffaldi understands a fair amount of english but rarely speaks it, and luckily we have Sorella Urban to translate for us if we cant understand each other. They are both incredible missionaries, I heard a lot of good things about them before coming to Rome and they are all true! Sorella Riffaldi has a gift for teaching, she can explain things so clearly, and has a way with people. Sorella Urban is the same, she is extremely personable and an incredible missionary in the way that she gets things done! Whatever needs to happen, she finds a way to make it happen. They are both gifted missionaries and work together in unity and love. We are quite the combination of missionaries, the three of us! If anyone knows the color personality test, then that will help explain things because we are each solidly distinct colors. Sorella Riffladi is a yellow, a people-person who likes to have fun, Sorella Urban is a red, a natural born leader with high drive and motivation, and I am a blue, someone who is all about feelings and emotion! Haha! Makes for some good times!

The work here is so different than Taranto too! We did a lot of finding work (which I love, I love talking to random people) in Taranto, but here in Rome, our time is filled with appointments. I sort of miss being able to do finding work all the time, because here we are usually running (often literally running) to the next appointment. But I love this too, it is exciting to witness the success they are having. This ward had a baptism the day before I arrived and there is another baptism this Saturday. There a lot of people that we are teaching and working with, I am still trying to learn who all of them are!

I'll explain a little bit about some of my favorite people that we are working with. Rome is also different from Taranto in that there are A LOT of immigrants and a lot of the people we work with are from the Philippines or from Central/South America. On Saturday we had a lesson with Josue from El Salvador. He is 21 and this was the first time that we have met with him and he was awesome! He was really interested and open to what we had to say and seemed excited to meet with us and come to church. He is a really bright kid too and we get to meet with him tonight.
There is another woman Erika and her beautiful three children from Peru who we started teaching. When we showed up at her house, her daughter Giorgia who is 8 was carrying around the Book of Mormon and so excited to tell us about how they have been reading together! Erika tells us she really likes reading and always wants to keep reading to find out what happens next. We taught them the beautiful story of the restoration and they sat around together as a family, listening. Giorgia was so attentive the whole time, and even the 5 year old stayed for most of it! They are incredible and I am so excited to teach them about the happiness that they can have together!

Another amazing experience. We found out on Saturday that Elder M. Russell Ballard was coming to Rome with three other general authorities, Elders Causse, Rasband, and Bishop Edgly, to talk with people about the temple, and they wanted to speak to us! On Monday they met with the missionaries just in the Rome zone (it was too expensive to bring in all the missionaries in the Rome mission) and talked to the 20-25 of us for an hour in the church! Elder Ballard talked about how we need to become master teachers as missionaries, how a lot of how people use their agency depends on how we present our message, and how we need to practice together. He also said that we should ask members if we can come to their home and teach their family and then ask the members to critique us so that we can be better. It was wonderful. On Monday night, he spoke to the entire Rome stake and talked about member missionary work and what the members can do to help the missionaries! It was so precious to me to hear, its hard to explain. But it is something near and dear to my heart, something I am working so hard for, and to hear an Apostle of the Lord teach specifically to Rome about how missionaries and members can work together was incredible. I was feeling pretty emotional! I cant wait to begin implementing what he is saying. Once again, that was something I really learned in Taranto, how important it is to work with the members in the area. And I've only been to church once here in Rome, but I have already met several solid solid families who are willing to help us out. Wohoo!

Other fun things? Hmm. I am now in the same zone as an elder from my MTC district, Anziano Mickelsen. He is doing great, already baptizing people and giving blessings in Italian and taking charge to get things done. Another elder from my MTC district, Anziano Parry, is in our zone. We had a fun little reunion at the meeting with Elder Ballard. He is doing great and loving life. We dont know still when the temple will be started here in Rome. We think it will be very soon.
We are going sightseeing today for Pday. The colosseum and St. Peters basilica. Sweet!!
We dont usually have time for language study, we are so busy. We leave in the morning and dont come back until night time sometimes! We just pack a lunch and keep going! Rome is pretty and big and hilly. I live in NE Rome on the outskirts in an area called Fidene.
I am so excited for this transfer, we have some great goals we are working for!

Love you all!
Sorella Askew

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