Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I love my new companion!

My new companion, my trainee and "daughter" in the mission is Sorella Giordano! She is Italian and is from Cuneo, close to Torino. Actually, she comes from a little village outside Cuneo. I have seen the pictures and it is gorgeous. I want to tell you a little bit about my companion because she is incredible.
She is 24 and joined the church just a year and a half ago. One of her friends that she grew up with joined the church just a few months before her and introduced her to the church as well. She owned a pub and smoked and was Catholic when she started going to church and meeting with the missionaries. She found that the LDS Church was the answer to many of the things she didn't agree with in the Catholic church and stopped smoking and joined the church a few months later. Her parents were not very happy. They were pretty upset as well when they found out that she wanted to go on a mission and her sister was so angry that she didn't even say goodbye before Sorella Giordano left. Because of her situation at home, she has permission to call home for a few minutes every few weeks.
And yet here she is, full of energy and excitement and enthusiasm! She is wonderful, I don't think I am doing anything to help train her, she already knows what to do and is a much better missionary than me. She talks to people around her, she teaches with power and testimony and has great desire to make a huge difference. She is kind and polite (much more than me, haha) and considerate, she always smiles. She makes my bed in the morning, sets out my cereal bowl with milk and cereal, and wont go to sleep until I am ready for bed. She is positive and filled with faith and also very Italian. I love it. I am learning the language (she doesn't speak much English, although sometimes we spend an hour at lunch speaking English so she can learn) and all sorts of new vocabulary. She talks a lot during lessons and makes friends easily with people. The members here already love her, especially because she is Italian and a new convert and has a lot of courage to come on a mission despite her family situation. Her story has already helped our investigators and I am convinced that with her here in Ladispoli, miracles are going to happen with these people. There are so many times when people we teach tell us that we dont understand what it is like because we were born into our church. Finally, here is a sister who can say, "actually, I know exactly what it is like. I was Catholic and I joined this faith just a year and a half ago." I am so lucky to have her as a companion!

This week has been so busy!! And yet it has gone by so fast. I remember that my first week in the mission dragged on forever. I don't know what Sorella Giordano would say if you asked her, but it has flown by for me at least! We have had a lot of appointments with investigators and less actives and members, and we are redoing English course publicity to get some new students, restarting the class on Saturday. Now I will take over the intermediate class and a member from the branch will teach basic.

On Thursday morning, Sorella Tutt woke up at 4:30 in the morning to get to the Rome train station in time for her to catch a bus to Sicily. I immediately picked up Sorella Giordano. The first thing she said to me was that she had a sore throat because the place she slept in was cold and it was "colpa d'aria". Haha, it made me laugh really hard because "colpa d'aria" is an Italian belief that cold air makes you sick, and all of us missionaries laugh because the Italians are so stuck on how we always have to wear a scarf so we don't get colpa d'aria. And it was just wonderfully Italian how that was the first thing my Italian companion said to me as we met. Anyways, we dropped her stuff off at home and ran off for a full day of appointments, not even able to stop at home for lunch or language study. We got home at 9:30 and I was exhausted from a full day of speaking Italian (explaining every thing that we going on to her because she was brand new) and work.

On Friday, we spent most of the day planning and me explaining our investigators and less actives and members of Ladispoli. Sorella Giordano has lots of good ideas for what we can do to help get some baptisms. We led a branch activity that night where we and the ward missionaries gave some trainings. It was fun because as each member entered, we gave them a tag and a mission call. The goal was to increase their excitement in missionary work and I hope it helped!
Together we have met with Giovanni and Rita and Lillian and Ignazia and Arcangelo and Sorella Giordano's personal conversion story and background has helped with every single one. We both feel that Giovanni is getting really really close to baptism (he came to church again on Sunday) and want to set another date with him again.
We met a new less active (the daughter of a member who is our age and i didn't even know she existed) and as she drove us home from an FHE, we asked her straight up why she doesn't come to church and we hope to work with her more. We had dinner and a lesson with the nonmember daughter and granddaughter of a member and it went really well and they have invited us to come back. Fabulous. We stopped by last night to bring them Book of Mormon reading calenders and hope to work with them more and make them investigators. Her name is Ilaria and her daughter is Benedetta.

One funny story. One member family is obsessed with the temple that is being built in Rome. They copied the image of the design of the temple and put in on their wall, their pens, mugs, grocery bags, keychains and they even made stickers which they gave us! WOW!

Sorella Giordano and I are trying to figure out what we can do to avoid the Jehovah's Witnesses that have swamped the town of Ladispoli. They are EVERYWHERE! We try knocking on doors and people tell us that we already came by earlier in the day (it wasn't us....). We might start working out in some smaller towns or in the country.

I am working on turning my thoughts to be more Christ-like. I am working on not focusing on myself as much, especially if I am tired or feel frustrated because we are "wasting" our time with someone (what a terrible way to think!). I know that one way we face opposition in this life is that we have a hard time focusing our thoughts on great things. But if we can focus on the vision and work towards it (aka, FAITH), how much good we can do and how much joy we can feel!

Thank you! I love the support I have from home! I am especially grateful for my very very supportive family.

Sorella Askew

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