Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Water, water, water!

PHOTO: Cristian (our investigator) and Natalia (a member).

Hello! It was a good week, lots of water related news and activities.

1. We went three days without water in our apartment last week! There was a problem with one of the tubes (although we didnt know what was going on at the time) and no water was making it to our apartment. That means no showers, no flushing the toilet, no water in the sinks to cook or wash our hands with. Nothing! A member in our ward works as a plumber so he sent his team of workers out to our apartment, but after a full day of three plumbers working in our apartment, they couldnt figure out what was wrong. They went home on Friday with the promise to come back on Monday (what? we will have to wait until Monday?) The mission office sent in another plumber Friday night who couldnt help us either and then finally our landlord sent a plumber on Saturday who fixed it in 10 minutes. Haha, what was everyone else doing??
We survived though for the three days without water. We ran to the church at 6:30 in the morning to wash our hair and brought back buckets of water for cooking and toilet flushing. We got to know several of our neighbors a little better as well when we went and asked them if we could fill up our water buckets at their apartment. The mission office wanted to move us out of our apartment to live with the sorelle in Rome 2 for a few days but we told them no :) We would much rather live without water than waste all the time traveling to and from Ladispoli to work!
It was a hilarious experience and we made a tape which I will attach.

2. I am being transferred! Tomorrow I am moving to Ostia, which is really close to Ladispoli, just one prostelyting zone over and about 15 miles down the beach. Its a town on the coast just outside of Rome, like Ladispoli, although our apartment is actually between Ostia and Rome, right on the Tiber river (this is why I can categorize this news with "water"). It is also not an apartment but a house and one of the nicest in the mission, wohoo! They just bought it for the elders a few months ago although they are kicking the elders out and putting in the sisters. My companion will be Sorella Olsen and she is coming all the way from Sicily where she is currently serving with my last companion Sorella Tutt. I've met her once and she is wonderful, I am so excited to serve with her! This will be her fourth transfer in the mission but she studied Italian before and already speaks really well.
Also, we are opening up the city to sisters! That means that right now there is only one set of elders serving in Ostia and no sisters but both me and Sorella Olsen will be brand new to the city! This is kind of like what Sorella Tutt and I did with Ladispoli, except in Ostia there aren't any sister missionaries serving there right now. I am thrilled!!!! I LOVE being blown into a city with no prior mindsets or limits. Everything is new and we can make it just how we want it to be.
Also, it will be great fun because I will still be in the same district as Sorella Giordano. That means that every Monday when we gather together as a district of 8 missionaries in Rome to have a meeting, I will get to see her and hear about the wonderful people in Ladispoli. YAY!

3. Okay, last point having to do with water.... how have we been preparing people for the waters of baptism... aka, hows the work in Ladispoli!
The biggest news of this week was that on Sunday, the branch of Ladispoli became a ward!! We had a ton of people from the stake there and there wasnt enough room in the chapel so we set in the hallway and listened in. It was also a great Sunday because a less active family I have been working with from the beginning, the Del Core family, finally came to church!! They are some of my favorite people in Ladispoli, the mom who talks A TON and is just hilarious and half her face is paralyzed so she looks find of funny when she talks and is 50 but dresses like she is 20 and is friends with half the town of Ladispoli and loves us and has a testimony but tells us she is too lazy to come to church. We have spent many Sunday mornings calling them or knocking on their door to wake them up but they've never made it. And FINALLY, my last Sunday, they make it to church!!! What a wonderful surprise! Sorella Del Core walks in late to Relief Society and announces to everyone, "buongiorno" right in the middle of the lesson. And then the rest of the church she repeats to us "did you see? I made it to church today!" because she was so proud of herself. Haha, I love that family.
Also, our investigator Cristian had told us before that he wasnt coming to church because he had to go to Rome with his mom, but instead he wanders in right before sacrament meeting because he was "taking a walk in the neighborhood and decided to stop by". He is a little strange but it is awesome that he came. I sat by him during church though and he was way distracted, talking to the people around him and asking questions. Good fun :)
So.... the big news about the changes in Ladispoli. The new bishop is going to be Giacomo Armillei, exactly who we hoped it would be! Giacomo is only 29 and just barely married but he is INCREDIBLE and way focused on missionary work. Also, we got a new ward mission leader, Diego Marchetti, who is only 26 and awesome. I am so happy to leave Ladispoli and missionary work here in such good hands.

I wish I had more time to reflect on my experiences in Ladispoli. I love this city, I love this ward and our investigators. I will miss them all.
Giovanni who is golden, just a little scatterbrained, but wants so much to do the right thing
Arcangelo who stopped smoking finally and is really close to baptism! Its been almost two weeks that he hasnt smoked (that is HUGE for him) and we tried to set a baptismal date with him but he refuses. He has been coming to church for years and reads the scriptures and likes the church, but he puts on this front and pretends to not really care. It has been so neat to watch him progress and the miracle of him not smoking
Tiziana and her family.
Cristian who has come to EVERY church activity since we met him a few weeks ago and is already good friends with the members. I've never met someone who immediately became as involved as him.
Lilian and her three kids from Nigeria who so desperately need our love and support. She wants so much to follow God but has faced so many hard things in her life and opposition
So many others. All the people that we have talked to on buses and trains. All our friends in the stores.
Especially my english course students, I will miss them so much! Some of them are people who started coming from the beginning with Sorella Tutt and I first arrived. Especially Raffaella and Carmine, the cute couple. I gave them a Book of Mormon as a parting gift with a note and some of my favorite parts highlighted and Raffaella was really grateful. Who knows, maybe she will start reading again and remember the feelings she had!

I learned in Ladispoli about choosing joy and enthusiam, even when you are tired and discouraged. I learned about thinking of others and working for the Lord instead of working for my own personal satisfaction and blessings and success. I learned so much from my two companions and love them dearly. It has been so hard and so wonderful, even if it is impossible to see in the moment. I am so grateful I could serve here!

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