Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A guest in the garden

BRRRRR... It has gotten cold here in Rome! I know it really isn't that bad, but it is humid and wet and very few places have heating so the only time we feel warm is when we take a shower. And when it rains in Rome, it pours! I am going to look for some boots today!
We've started teaching some more part member families, which is exciting! A lot of our work is in Prima Porta which is two hours away with public transport, and that makes it a little more difficult. They can only meet in the evenings, but then we have a problem because it takes us two hours to get home so we either get home much later than we are supposed to or we only have one appt at 6. Bah!

Highlights from this week:
Jane is my miracle girl! She is from Seychelles and we met her on a bus a few weeks ago. When we started talking to her, she told us that she is currently searching for a job and in the meantime, what she does for fun is she goes to random churches! That is just what we like to hear as missionaries. She is very religious and loves to pray, and invited her to come to church with us on Sunday. She hasn't been able to come yet but we met with her last Wednesday and will meet with her again today. We teach her in English and our first lesson with her was great. We gave her a Book of Mormon and a few other things to read and she was so excited. She liked the things that we told her and loved the way that we invited her to find out for herself and told us that that was just how she thought a church should be. I cannot wait to meet with her again and see what she thinks of what she has read. We would love to meet with her every day but she lives far out of the city which makes it more difficult.

I learned this week about how important it is to work with members! Well, I already believed it, but I was able to see what a difference it makes, rather than just believing it. We are still meeting with Yolanda from Ecuador and this time we brought a member with us. It was probably the best lesson we have had with her. We talked about tithing and our member, Sorella Tempesta, explained it much more clearly than we ever can and bore powerful testimony on her personal experience of the blessings of paying tithing. Not only that, but they seemed to get along great and so when Yolando is able to come to church in two weeks (when she stops working at her Sunday job), she will have a friend in church! Even better, Sorella Tempesta told us after what a good faith building experience it was for her. We need to find a member to bring to every appointment now!

Sometimes I feel so weak in my ability to teach in Italian or form close relationships with the people we work with, but that is okay. I can do the best I can and it will be enough. I think that one of the reasons that the Lord has given me these weaknesses and having a language barrier that keeps me from expressing everything as clearly as I want it to be or connecting better with the people, is so that I will be humble enough to seek help from the members. The Lord hasn't taken away all these weaknesses I have because He knows there is a better solution, and that is to involve the members. And because there is another solution, the Lord lets me keep my weaknesses for now rather than immediately turning them into strengths because it is a constant reminder of my dependency on Him. Humility!

Sometimes I wish I could just have all my righteous desires granted to me, that I could be the missionary I want to be and overcome the obstacles I face. But He obviously doesn't need that missionary right now, even if in my wisdom, I sure think it would help the work here! In His wisdom, I am enough at the moment and he lets me have the wonderful, more permanent growth that comes if the process is slow rather than immediate. I sure can't keep track of everything that I need to improve though! I come to the realization of one thing and then seem to forget it because another weakness quickly comes up behind it. Ah! Overwhelming! Where to start?

One thing I have been thinking about: I want to learn how to have a Christlike love for everyone, no more comparing myself to others, rather just being content with who I am and what I have, and being happy if other people have more or are better than me! Of course I think I have always wanted this, but I just don't know quite how to get there yet, to where I truly want to lift other people higher than myself in every way, including spiritually and socially.

Other random experiences. We have a rat friend in the garden! Our apartment is on ground level and has a little garden. When I got here, the other sisters were keeping worm cheese (specialty from Sardegna) out on the porch. I opened the window one day last week just in time to see something scurry away from the cheese. A few days later we had two neighbors knock on our door and complain about the cheese collecting "animals" and someone saw a "giant mouse" who runs into a hole (not there when I moved in) in the ground. We cleaned up the cheese but a few days after that, I opened the window to discover a rat walking around in the garden! He is really cute too! The neighbors still came and complained about the hole and how we should bury it for our own safety so sadly we did ;(

Also, I learned how to drive stick shift this last week in Rome! Every once in a while we borrow the car to drive to Prima Porta and when we got out there, someone canceled on us, so we took a little bit of time to teach me to drive the car. After just a few minutes I was out on the road, driving with other cars on narrow winding lanes! Its stressful but not as bad as I thought it would be to learn! I definitely need more practice though.

Gina our investigator told us that she went over to the home of someone else who used to come to English course and stopped. This woman is a little bit crazy, but Gina wanted to know why she stopped coming. She told Gina that it was because we (the missionaries) are trying to "steal her soul". Haha! Gina thought it was pretty funny too.

Thanks for the letters, I love them!

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