Wednesday, December 22, 2010

3 days until Christmas!

Christmas is in 3 days and we are excited!! So far, no appointments lined up for Christmas Eve or Christmas (our members are a little disconnected from the missionaries and most of them live really far away which will be impossible to get there on Christmas), but we have a couple of things going on! First, Sorella Zeller from Rome 3 will be joining us today through Monday so we will get to spend Christmas together in three. That will make it fun! Then, on Christmas Eve we are calling home to our families and having Christmas lunch at the mission home with the other missionaries serving in Rome. Hopefully we will also go caroling that day. On Christmas, we have permission to sleep in (wohoo!) and watch a movie. We arent quite sure what the guidelines are for that, what movie it will be, or where we are going to watch this movie, but it will be awesome.

Good week here in Rome!
On Saturday, we went to the Romanian 7th day Adventist church with our Evangelical friends Ramona and Yonika to watch Ramona play the organ for their Christmas choir concert. Then, we took them and a whole bunch of their friends (like 5 other people) to our ward Christmas party! The contrast was hilarious. The Evangelicals have this huge beautiful church and the choir was beautiful and dressed formally and sang like angels. Then our church isn't really a church, its a building that we rent out, and the party included a small Christmas program at the beginning that was just chaos, it was ridiculously loud and it included this funky disorganized dance by the teenagers all wearing Santa hats and the choir was just a last minute mix of women from the relief society. I loved it!!! I was a little stressed at first that it was so ridiculously loud and disorganized, but I think they liked it too :)
We also had Carolina and Alessandra come (other investigators) and lots of inactives and several members brought friends. It was a blast! There is so much love in this ward, I will really miss it when I leave Rome.

I've been giving away stacks of Christmas pass along cards this week, I make it a game to pass all of them out before Christmas. Its funny seeing people's reactions. They can call the card and get a free Christmas DVD, I hope that of all the cards we give away, at least one person will call! At least it helps people recognize us as a church and the Spirit we try to bring. One of my favorites was a woman we offered the card to and she said, "are you a testimoni di geova (Jehovahs Witness)?" "Nope." "Okay, then I'll accept it." I really like the Jehovah's Witnesses that we meet, they are very nice, but I never realized how difficult they make our mission here in Italy. Because they have been around for so long and a lot of people are really sick of them and don't like them, we have to fight to get away from the image of being a JW. There are a lot of people that think we are JWs and dont give us a chance to explain differently. Phew, its tough work, but we are trying!

We did a lot of finding work this week because a lot of people are busy this time of year. One night we were waiting at a bus stop and there was one other man there. I convinced Sorella Pickett that we should sing a Christmas song to him. She didn't want to because she thought it was really awkward, but I asked him if we could sing and she was stuck :) It was hilarious, he loved it!
We talked to one great girl this week on the bus, Tange, a student at the university here. She was really open to us and said we could meet again in January after the holidays and her exams were over.

Merry Christmas! I am trying to remember Christ more than I have before this season. I am so grateful for his sacrifice of mercy, that He understands every pain and sickness we experience and helps us through it all. Thanks to Him we have hope for the future!

Sorella Askew

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