Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Construction progress on the Italy Rome Temple

Catholic priests, prayers, and baptisms


I'll start with an Angela update. We see her almost every day (she absolutely loves it when we come over to her house and teach her, she soaks it all up) and she is still doing great and working towards her August 6 baptismal date.

Angela updates:
She came to church and her daughter Sofia went to primary and loved it! She was the only little kid in primary so she had one-on-one play time with the primary teacher and it was great. The next day we went over to their house and they had Sofia's primary artwork (pictures of Jesus and the church and temple) glued on their door. Hooray! In the middle of church, Angela leaned over to me and pointed to one of the elder's investigators, Riccardo, and said, "I know him!" Afterwards, Angela immediately went to talk to him. I walked by just in time to hear her say, "..and you need to come to church every Sunday..." Sorella Olsen told me afterwards about how Angela had taken it upon herself to tell Riccardo (who just met the missionaries a few days before) everything he needed to do: read the Book of Mormon, pray to know if it is true, come to church every Sunday, etc.
Angela has also decided that she has a personal role in Adriano's conversion. Angela has started specifically praying for Adriano, that he may prepare himself to be baptized with her on August 6 and understand the truth. It is hilarious! Angela's husband drove all of us, including Adriano to a baptism in another part of Rome on Saturday. As we got in the car, one of the first things that Angela said to us was "I am not drinking tea, coffee, or wine" and she turns to Adriano and explains to him, "I didn't know that tea was bad for you but apparently it was revealed to the prophet Joseph Smith". I love it!
Angela really is incredible, I love watching how her life has changed, simply because she read the Book of Mormon and understood immediately that it was true. She was explaining to us yesterday about how much more she understands about the purpose of trials in our life. She explained that she has gone through some really hard trials and how she used to wonder about the justice of it all- how can people who don't care at all about God sometimes live such easy lives while those who have faith and live their lives according to His commandments are given severe trials? She explained to us that she finally understands now that she is being tested and tried and it all makes so much more sense because of the Book of Mormon and the things we teach her. It truly is incredible because I don't think we ever specifically talked about the purpose of difficulty and the injustice in this life with her. Rather, from the things she has learned about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, she had put it together all by herself. To me, the purpose of trials and how to face them is one of the most beautiful gifts we have because of the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation. It was a very neat experience to watch someone else come to the same conclusions and understanding of something that I have a very strong personal conviction of. Wow!

So the other good news is the progress we have seen in Adriano! He is now reading the Book of Mormon every day and preparing to be baptized on August 6 with Angela! He is fascinating to work with because he has such a rational mind and difficulty in trusting the feelings from the Spirit. But in just a month we have seen great changes in him. He has gone from being very incredulous and telling us that it would be a waste of time for us to meet with him, to believing and desiring to be baptized. He told us this week that he feels in his heart that the Book of Mormon is true and that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world,even if he can't explain it rationally. As he reads the Book of Mormon, he tells us that it has taken on much more meaning for him. Passages that he has read before now have much greater significance to him. We are so excited for him! Adriano, who has frequented the Church on and off for 10 years, is finally having his heart softened!

One of the highlights this week was on Monday as we rode the metro through Rome to go to our missionary district meeting. I happened to talk to two Catholic priests, one on the way there and one on the way back!
The first one immediately started telling me about how sorry he was for me that I wasn't apart of the Catholic Church (haha) and how all Prostestants have ruined everything. He lectured me for a little bit about Peter being the rock on which the church is built and how the Catholic Church is the only true church in the world. I tried to explain a little bit about our idea of apostasy and restoration but he quickly shut me down and told me that was ridiculous. As he got off the metro, he said to me, "God bless you and may he help you find the truth".
The second Catholic priest was a little nicer, he was studying for his PhD in theology. I explained a little bit to him about the Book of Mormon but when I showed him the picture of Christ appearing in the Americas, he laughed out loud and interrogated, "Where is your proof? Where are the witnesses?" I tried to explain to him how the Book itself was a proof and a witness but he just continued to laugh. We then discussed for a few minutes about saints and why we dont pray to saints ("have you ever asked a friend to pray for you? It's like the same thing" he told me). As I was about to get off the metro, he still had the Book of Mormon in his hand. He asked me, "is this a gift?" I asked him, "will you read it?" He said sure, so I left him with the Book of Mormon. The next day we got a phone call from him, he wanted to meet up with us again and we set up an appointment for Thursday. We are a little wary that he just wants to convert us or prove us wrong, but we will see how it turns out! I am excited!
President Kelly challenged us to come up with an idea of how we can find more joy in missionary work and I determined that I need to talk to more Catholic priests. Its fascinating!

I have been learned a lot about prayer this week. Sorella Olsen and I have started praying together much more often, before and after lessons we now say a quick prayer together. We have seen many great things happen; we are still working hard just as we were before, but I notice how Heavenly Father sends us directly more often to the right people as we come before him humbly in prayer. One day this week we prayed on the street just before we started doing some finding. Right after, Sorella Olsen chose the street to walk down and I chose the house and we were led directly to Monica. The first door we rang, 20-something year old Monica opened up and told us that she didnt believe in God and wasn't interested. We begged her to give us just 5 minutes and she hesitated, we begged for 3 and she let us in. In three minutes, Sorella Olsen and I shared the story of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. We have never ever taught so well together, our words were seamed together flawlessly, switching back and forth with who was talking. We opened up the Book of Mormon to the pictures in the front (we love using the pictures in the front of the Book of Mormon!) and Monica said, "Wow, I have chills!" The Spirit was so strong! At the end, she eagerly accepted a Book of Mormon and agreed to read. She wasl leaving the next morning to go on vacation for a month and we will see her when she comes back. It was a very spiritual experience.

One last thought on the subject of prayer. We are reading the Book of Mormon together as a mission and I have noticed how much the first few chapters of the Book of Mormon teach us about prayer. Through prayer, we have visions, dreams, revelation. The Lord can soften our heart through prayer. He can fill our heart with joy. He can give us great power and strength. Also, He teaches us how to pray. We need to express much thanks and gratitude and pray very specifically such as Nephi, expressing our faith and testimony to God, even when He already knows our heart.
I want to leave my testimony that I know that prayer is real. I know that through faith-filled prayers, miracles happen. I see in the Book of Mormon and I see it in my life.

Love you!
Sorella Askew

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Angela the Miracle

The work is going so well here in Ostia, Angela is still going strong. I will start off with some wonderful things that Angela our miracle said or did this week.

She came to church on Sunday, arriving early to stay for all three hours with her husband (Angelo, haha. Angelo and Angela) and 3 year-old daughter, Sofia. Sofia screamed for the first ten minutes because she didnt want to go to Primary (can't blame her, there was only one other kid there and he was 10!) and she wanted to be with her dad. But once we calmed her down and went to Relief Society with her, everything went well.
Things that happened during Angela's first church experience:
She leaned over to Sorella Olsen during Relief Society and whispered, "I brought my tithing, who do I give it to?" We hadn't even talked to her about tithing yet!!
During Sacrament Meeting, Angela whispered, "You can feel the Spirit like air here!"
Our gospel principles teacher asked for examples of people with great faith. Members listed off some examples from the Old Testament like Moses or Noah. Angela raises her hand and says, "Nephi. Nephi was a huge example of faith. He had enough faith to build a boat even when his brothers mocked him and to cross the ocean to the Promised Land". Way to go Angela for pulling out some Book of Mormon examples!
She introduced herself to the bishop. The first thing she says to him? "Hi, I am Angela. Will you baptize me?" (she decided that she wanted Bishop to baptize her)
She invited ALL of the members to her baptism.
When we asked her how she felt after church, she responded, "in paradise"

We taught her about tithing after Sunday and as soon as we told her that we wanted to talk about tithing, she said, "Oh, what a wonderful gift from God!" She loves the concept of tithing and already has a strong testimony of it.

In talking about the Book of Mormon, she asked us, "So, are you telling me that not everyone immediately feels the Spirit of this Book?" She was very surprised.
Angela told us about how the Book of Mormon has helped her to understand the world better now. She gave an example: she used to think that a certain church was a Satanic cult but thanks to the Book of Mormon, she now realizes that they too have pieces of the truth and are trying to do what is right but are just a little misled.

She is incredible!!! Every appointment we have with Angela just seems strange, as if it couldn't possibly be so easy to teach and baptize a person. I've been thinking about some of my past experiences from the beginning of the mission. I remember in the MTC a year ago, I had a very specific impression that my role as a missionary was to come to Italy and bring these people the Book of Mormon. I felt that one of the most important things I could do was convince people to read this Book and that the Book would do the converting, not me. That is exactly what happened with Angela, it was literally a fulfillment of this impression in the MTC. All we had to do for her was convince her to read the Book of Mormon. She was so completely prepared beforehand, we didnt do a thing!

Okay, other than Angela, good things are happening!
We participated in ward counsel last week and we told them about how we are teaching Adriano. Everyone in ward council knows him because he has been coming on and off to church for years. After talking to them for a few minutes about him, we casually announced that he had a baptismal date. Our bishop's jaw dropped and he said, "WHAT? In 2013?" We responded, "Nope, July 30th!" Haha, they couldnt believe it! We decided together to do a ward council fast with Adriano and met after church as leaders of the ward with Adriano to pray and conclude the fast. Bishop asked Adriano about his experience with fasting and Adriano explained in front of all 10-15 of us.
While he was fasting the day before, he went on a walk and meditated. He asked if the Book of Mormon was true and he had the impression that he simply needed to read the Book if he wanted to know if it was true! Before we had chosen specifc chapters scattered throughout the book for him to read but now we are helping him to start from the beginning. With every verse or paragraph he reads, he analyzes and has to understand every word. He is extremely detail-oriented and it is a good thing but it might take him 5 years to read it We hope not!
A member, Sorella Battistini, shared her experience with Adriano and I think it helped him a lot. She listened to the missionaries and recognized that it was a good thing but still had her doubts and wasn't fully convinced. They invited her to baptized and she told them of her doubts but decided to take a step in the dark and move forward with faith. Her testimony of the Church came day by day after she was baptized until today she knows with certainty that it is true, and is now currently serving as the Relief Society president. Sometimes that is what faith is. It is not blind, we have evidence and clear reasons why we choose to believe. BUT, it IS trusting in the feelings that we have enough to move forward in faith without certainty. And then, after the trial of our faith we receive the sure witness.

Random things from this week:
We ate a very fancy meal with a member last night: spaghetti with mussels!
We met a Lebanese man who used to be a Catholic priest. He has started reading the Book of Mormon as well and because of how sensitive to the Spirit he is, I think he is going to have an experience like Angela!
There is a man sitting next to us at the internet point with his headphones on and "singing" (more like repeating over and over the phrase "always on the run". Is this from a famous song??)
We taught a lesson in the Piazza right outside Vatican City (I could have thrown a rock and hit the Vatican from where we were sitted, teaching)

Funny story:
We have an investigator who we have to be a little careful with. He always thanks us profusely and tells us what an honor it is that we teach him. Last time we saw him he said, "This is such an honor, I dont know how to thank you. I want to kiss you but I cant!". We told him that he can thank us instead by reading the Book of Mormon and praying.

I think that is all!! Zone conference tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wanna hear a great story??


I have a wonderful story for you this week. A straight-up, missionary-classic, outright miracle experience. Are you ready?

It starts on June 28th, 2011. I woke up and thought, "hey, its my birthday, I think I will ask Heavenly Father for a birthday wish." I knelt down to pray and asked Him for a birthday present, a "miracle". I thought it was kind of funny, asking God for a birthday present, haha. That day came and passed as a normal day, I didn't at first recognize my "birthday present" from Heavenly Father. We talked to lots of people on the street and got a few phone numbers like usual. One was a woman named Angela. We were walking to an appointment and we passed her on the street, close to where our church in Ostia is. We said simply, "buongiorno" as we do to many people we pass, but Anglela stopped immediately in her tracks. Not quite sure what to do next, we awkwardly introduced ourselves as missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the first thing she said was "Amo Gesu!" (I love Jesus!) She was in a hurry and we were in a hurry, but she left us with her address and phone number and told us to come over anytime to her house. For the next week we referred to her as the "Amo Gesu" woman!

A few days later we stopped by her house and talked with her a little bit about our message, leaving her a Book of Mormon and inviting her to read from it. Angela is Ukranian, she has lived in Italy for 11 years, married an Italian, and has a 3 year old daughter named Sofia. She has these intense blue eyes and kind of wacky, short blond hair and is always dressed in a nightgown when we go over. She is also very religious, and she told us all about how 15 years ago she came to know Jesus when she first went to the Evangelical Church. I remember we read from the introduction of the Book of Mormon with her and there is a part that talks about how if you gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon, you will also know by the same power that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the kingdom of God on the earth. She After reading the introduction, we asked her what she thought about it and she told us that she really liked the last paragraph because she "had never thought of her Evangelical church as the kingdom of God on the earth" and "how true and neat that is!". Sorella Olsen and I laughed, she missed the whole point! Well, we invited her to read and to pray about the Book of Mormon and set up a return appointment.

We went back a few days later and she hadn't read anything yet, but we taught her the Restoration. We really liked her because she immediately had a lot of love and respect for us as missionaries of Jesus Christ, and with tears in her eyes told us about how she has been praying for us because she knows how hard it must be to walk around with a nametag and have people mock and persecute us. How sweet of her! At the end, something strange happened. Sorella Olsen and I hadn't talked about it together before and it hadn't even crossed my mind; but at the very end of the lesson I thought suddenly, "baptismal invite!" and before I could think about if it was the right thing to do, it seemed to just spill out of my mouth. I asked, "When you receive an answer to your prayers and you feel that these things are true, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized?" She stared at me, probably a little shocked, and responded, "But I have already been baptized." We reiterated the idea of the Restoration that we had just taught and the restoration of the proper Priesthood authority to do baptisms and asked her again. Her response? "vediamo"- "we'll see"

We called her on Wednesday for an appointment the next day and the first thing she said to us on the phone was "Ho letto il libro. Vengo in chiesa" (I read the book, I am coming to church.) We thought to ourselves, that's nice, she started reading and wants to come to church, and then promptly forgot about it.

The next time we saw her was on Thursday, July 7. We met up with her outside her house so that we could walk together to a fireside with a few members. We asked her how she was doing and what she did that day. She responded,
"I read all day long"
"Really, what did you read?"
"The Book of Mormon and the pamphlets you gave me"
At this point, Sorella Olsen and I already started glancing at each other, thinking "all day long? wow, that's wonderful!"
"Great, Angela! What did you think?"
In a very matter of fact way, Angela responded,
"I decided to be baptized,"
and literally turned on her heel and started talking to a friend on the street, leaving us staring behind her with our mouths open.

Was she serious? We had no idea how to respond, and I guess we started giggling nervously/excitedly because when Angela turned back towards us, she said "Ridete", like "go ahead and laugh".
As we came to our senses a little bit, we started asking her questions. But how? Why? What did you learn? How did you reach this decision?
She explained to us how she started reading the Book of Mormon a few days before and she said she felt the Spirit with that Book in a way that she had never felt it before. Never in all her years going to the evangelical church (and she was a pretty hard core evangelical church). She couldn't put the Book down, it was so fascinating and she was so intrigued by it. She told us that she read all about the Restoration in the pamphlet we left and it just felt so right and made so much sense. She explained how she knew something was missing from her church, and now she finally understood what it was. She remembered that we had talked about how she needed to be baptized and she told us that she realized her baptism before wasn't valid and that she needed to baptized by someone with the authority. Still shell-shocked and fumbling on our words (we were never taught how to respond to this, haha), we asked,
"So, you believe the Book of Mormon is true?"
She answered, once again very matter-of-factly, "Of course I do"

Then she continued to tell us about how she was telling all of her friends about the Book of Mormon and it was a shame that we gave her one in Ukrainian because she wanted copies in Italian that she could give away to everyone. Ahhh!! That is an absolute dream for any missionary!
At the fireside, she told the other members about how she met us and how at first she thought we were a little strange, preaching to her and leaving her books to read. It was hilarious the way that she described it to them "And then they told me, 'you need to be baptized' and I said 'no, i am already baptized' and they told me again 'no, you need to be baptized!'" Haha, we weren't quite that abrupt! But then she told them about how she read the Book and she understand why.
As we walked back with her, we asked, "How does August 6 sound for your baptism?" and she said "perfect." August 6th it is!

The following days have been a dream. Every time we see Angela, we realize that it is all real, she really did gain a powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon immediately and she really is willing to do whatever she needs to to be baptized.
She is already talking with all her friends and giving away Books of Mormon and every time we see her, she tells us about how she is inviting EVERYONE she knows to her baptism. She told us that we need to come with her to her old church and talk to her pastor and the congregation and tell them about the things we teach. She prays fervently every day that she may find other people who will be baptized with her on August 6th. In talking about converting others, she said, "first, my congregation at the evangelical church. next, the world". Haha, WOW! She brought us to her neighbor a few days ago and with us described the Book of Mormon and the joy it brings.

She told us that she felt such joy when she first learned about the Savior 15 years ago and now she feels that same joy but more profoundly. She accepts everything we teach her and is trying to memorize everything. We taught the plan of salvation and she had studied the pamphlet before. We asked her,
"Where did we live before this life?"
She immediately blurted out, "Vita Preterrena" Perfect! NO ONE we teach remembers what it is called, not even the members remember, and we hadn't even taught it to her yet!
She is bright, smart, committed and extremely enthusiastic. It is absolutely incredible, a complete miracle. She couldn't come to church last week because she already had another commitment and was devastated. She cant wait to come this Sunday and come to know the other members of the church. She told someone, "all these years I have lived right around the corner from your church and I never even knew it"

The work is going so well right now, we have three baptismal dates, and another investigator who surely will be baptized although wants to take his time. We had an incredible lesson with Adriano on the Atonement. This guy, who is brilliant and very well educated, learned about the infiniteness of the Atonement and how completely it applied to his life. It was fascinating watching him talk with a member about it,
"So you are telling me that the Atonement covers even our sicknesses and pains that don't come from sin?"
"And it applies to everyone who ever lived and who ever will live?"
"That is just fascinating!" Haha, nice response, Adriano. We are trying to help him make this "fascinating" knowledge more personal to him.

The things we take for granted, the knowledge that we have, truly is incredible.

It has been a wonderful week. My testimony of prayer and of being led by the Spirit is increasing tremendously. I don't know how else to describe it. Just like Angela, I too know that the Book of Mormon is true, it changes lives, and that this is the one true Church of Jesus Christ, with the restored priesthood authority on the earth. There is great joy that comes in this knowledge and I know that with our faith and ONLY with our faith, miracles happen.

Love you!
Sorella Askew

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Wonderful week with lots of special experiences. I love being a missionary, there is nothing like it and as I strive to fill my heart with gratitude, I feel more and more lucky to be apart of the things that happen every day here. I will never ever have an opportunity like this again, every day we go out and talk to dozens of people about prophets and the Book of Mormon and learn their own beliefs and hopes and fears. There is something remarkable about that moment we share with a stranger, and its easy to forget how incredible it is that we get to do it day after day. What a blessing, I am sad to think of a time when I have to take off my badge and how my chance to have this calling and authority is so short compared to the rest of our life! I also am glad I have this time to learn how to be grateful and what I need to do to fill my heart with gratitude (lots of prayer!) because I know that if I can face life with humility and a grateful attitude, everything will be okay!

Okay, I want to start off telling about the "testimonies" of three of our investigators this week because they have either made me laugh or they have been very inspiring.

Testimony 1: Maria Grazia came to my birthday party last week where we taught about the Book of Mormon and Moroni's promise. Two of the members bore powerful testimonies on the Book of Mormon and the church. One talked about how she didnt know anything about the church and someone gave her a Book of Mormon and told her to read it, starting with a prayer. She immediately went home and kneeled down to pray with the Book of Mormon in her hand and before she could even start, she was filled with a feeling and a warmth that she had never before experienced and knew without a doubt that the Book of Mormon was true. She hadnt even prayed or opened the book.

After two very spiritual stories like this, Maria Grazia spoke up.

"I first knew about the church 15 years ago"

(I am thinking to myself, she did?? I didnt know that, thats cool!)

"Yes, when I first met the evangelical church 15 years ago, my life was changed"

Oh no! She continued for another five minutes to bear her testimony on the evangelical church, haha.

Testimony 2: On Saturday we taught a lesson with Tonino (a member's brother we have started teaching a few weeks ago) and his friend Giorgio. The next day, Teresa Saieva (Tonino's member sister) told us what happened after we left. They talked for a few minutes about how they were impressed with us, and then Giorgio started complaining about how all religions are just politics. Teresa described to us how Tonino totally defended us, saying

"Giorgio, look at those girls, they are so pure! How can you say its about politics? You know what you need to do? You need to go pray about it. Thats right, you need to go pray and ask God if its right. That's what you need to do"

Tonino our investigator was bearing his testimony!! Go Tonino! We had no idea that what we had told him really sunk in.

Testimony 3: Antonella, our investigator who has disappeared for the last month, the one that we love but always tells us no (Will you pray to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet? NO!), came back! She came with us to a family home evening where we watched the Restoration film (the story of Joseph Smith). It was with 3 investigators and one member, and afterwards we talked together about our thoughts on the film. The first time we met with Antonella we talked with her about Joseph Smith. When we asked her what she thought, she told us it seemed like a "favola", a made-up fairy tale. This week, after the Restoration film, Antonella spoke up. She shared her thoughts with the other two investigators on how Joseph Smith must have been inspired because he grew up on a farm and yet produced a book like the Book of Mormon. What?? Where did that come from! Yay, Antonella!

So now we have other good news! In the past 3 days, we have been able to set two baptismal dates! One with 20 year old Italian stylish Tea and the other with 35 year old very brilliant and kind of geeky but absolutely awesome Adriano.

We met with Tea after church on Sunday and we talked about how things were going for her. She told us that she had stopped drinking coffee (HUGE obstacle last time we saw her a few weeks ago) and she was really trying to give up wine as well. Last week she went to a party and had two small glasses but then decided that was all and didnt feel like anymore.

We asked, "How do you feel about baptism?" (she has come to church every week for two months and takes copious notes and says the prayer in Relief Society and Gospel Principles. she got in a fight with her member friend last week and STILL came to church anyways)

Tea responds, "Terrified"


"Because I know what a huge commitment it is, I would literally be changing my life and I want to be absolutely sure. I know that once I get baptized, I cant look back. I can't be baptized and then drink a cup of coffee every once in a while. But I am so scared of messing up."

She told us about how she feels like she is being pulled in two directions, one towards the world and worldy things and the other towards the church and spiritual things and she recognizes that she can't hold on to both of them. But she really likes to go out dancing and partying and she knows she will have to give up drinking if she decides to be baptized.

It was incredible to see this 20 year old Italian girl, always wearing skinny jeans and tank tops, with long curly hair and huge blue eyes and absolutely gorgeous, striving to put her life in harmony with the gospel because she feels that it is true. She is incredible, you would never guess by looking at her that she would ever want to live in line with the commandments, but she surprises us everytime we see her with her commitment and her wisdom.

"When would you like to set a date?"

"Next March"

"How about October?"


Date number 2: Adriano

He has known the church for 12 years and is already good friends with all the members but has a hard time with faith and commitment. He cannot see himself baptized for two reasons:

1. The way we approach faith (voler credere), you have to want to believe at the beginning. He thinks you should never want to believe in something.

2. "what if the prophet says something I dont agree with? I will not follow him"

We helped him to understand that we would never baptize him before he gained the conviction that the prophet comes from God and that his counsel and words are directly from God for our benefit. He doubts he will change his mind but is willing to set a date as a goal and try. July 30 and we will talk in a few days about it.

Another cool thing as I have been trying to reflect on seeking after and listening to the Spirit. On Sunday night we were in Ostia Antica and trying to talk to people on the streets. We got 10 flat out immediate rejections in a row, and we went to the train station to start going back to where we live. There were two benches at the station. We passed the first one (a woman and a man with scraggly long hair) and went to the second and started talking to the woman there. The entire time, I kept thinking, " We need to go talk to that first couple". We talked to the woman for a minute but she obviously didnt really want to talk to us. I told Sorella Olsen, "I think we should go talk to two on the first bench" and we did.

We talked for a minute and introduced ourselves as missionaries from this church, well known as the mormons. The woman responded with a smile, "interesting..." She then told us about how all her life she would talk to the priests and the nuns about what she believed and they always told her "thats just like what the mormons believe. you are like a mormon!" and she was always fascinated by the mormons but never really looked into what they believed. The train came and we left our number and she promised to call. A clear impression from the Spirit, she was prepared!

Ferdinando is making great progress. We found out that he smokes, but as soon as he told us, he said, "I know my body is a temple of God and smoking is bad for it". We taught the word of wisdom and committed him to stop smoking. He has reduced his smoking from one pack a day to one cigarette a day and he came to church again!

One other great thing we have started doing thanks to the inspiration of the general authority Elder Texiera is street prayers. We teach all sorts of mini lessons every day as we meet and talk to people on the streets, trains, and buses, but we never prayed with them before. Now we started praying with people if the situation is appropriate and it ALWAYS brings a very strong Spirit. Right before we leave we ask if we can leave them with a prayer and then pray specifically for them by name. It was been incredible watching how touched people are. One woman, Maria, we met at a birthday party last Wednesday and after talked to her about the church, we started getting up to go. Sorella Olsen and I were a little hesitant and not sure if we wanted to pray because it was a birthday party out in an open park. There was a member there with us who had also born a powerful witness of the truthfulness of the church. We decided to pray and so the four of us gathered around in our chairs and I crouched, closing our circle, and offered the prayer, praying specifically for her needs. Immediately afterwards she got up and walked away because she was crying. She was so touched by the prayer and gave us her number, telling us that she would go home and read the Book of Mormon that we left with her. It was a very spiritual experience.

I have lots more to say but no time.

I will finish with a funny story.

We met with our investigator Maria Grazia, the one who has serious depression and is very angry with the world and especially Italy. We sing for her every time and she always tells us she likes our voices but hates our hymns ("they are so boring"), haha. We met with her and she says to us right away, "Sorelle, you will not guess what happened yesterday. I went to the municipal in Ostia and made a poster and protested. I wasnt getting any attention so I called up Carlo (her ex husband who is a member of the church but inactive) and with his help we climbed up the scaffolding of the building."

They yelled and protested until the police came. She was very disappointed that she only got 30 seconds on the TV for the daily news.

Love you lots!

Sorella Askew