Wednesday, September 21, 2011
And the news is in! Where will Sorella Askew be serving her last transfer......??
DUN DUN DUN DUN
The beautiful Sicilian city of Catania!!! A city in southern Sicily on the coast, at the base of the largest active volcano in Europe, Mt. Etna. Booyah!
I am just a little bit kind of sort of excited. YAY! SICILY!!! Wohooooo.
I leave tomorrow morning on a 10 hour train ride and arrive tomorrow night.
And who is my new companion? Well, it is actually a little tricky, I will have two companions! Sorella Buma who has been in Catania for 4 transfers and both Sorella LeCates and I are joining her. Sorella Buma will stick around with us for a few weeks, show us the city and the work, and then she will leave in the middle of the transfer and come up to Ladispoli. So, I will have two companions for the first two weeks and then just Sorella LeCates for the last few weeks. It will be so much fun! I already know Sorella LeCates, she started her mission in Rome and we did lots of Pdays together. She is from Alpine, UT and is a cute girl. Guess who is taking my spot with my darling Sorella Dall? Sorella Tutt!! She and I are following each other around, we have had pretty much all of the same companions in our mission and served in a lot of the same cities.
Oh how exciting transfer time is! Especially in Italy, where the mission is so big you can fly on an airplane from one city to the next! And I am finally going to Sicily! I have heard so much about this magical place from my other companions, I have heard about the amazing food (both quality and quantity), the beautiful country, the new language (they all speak Siciliano!! What??), and most of all the warm, generous, and quirky people. What an adventure it will be! Strange thing too, 98% of the population of Catania is Italian! What a change that will be from Rome and all the foreigners I have taught here. Ahh!
So, more than one year after arriving in Rome, 9 transfers later, I am leaving, headed back down south to finish my mission.
Oh what to say now? Rome will always have a very very special place in my heart. Its my home. I dont remember what it is like to be anywhere else, I am so accustumed to the people, the food, the metro system, the ruins, the churches, the permeating influence of the Vatican (I am sure that will still be in Catania, no worries!). I love it here. I love this city and this people.
And I especially loved Ostia. There is no better place than Ostia for contacting, talking to hundreds and hundreds of people each week from all around the world. Some of the most incredible experiences ever have I heard from the mouths of these members. They are a chosen people, they are firm and steadfast and when they talk of the gospel they are filled with the Spirit of God. I have learned more from these members and investigators than I have ever learned from anyone. They are a living example of how the restored gospel can make you into the extraordinary person that the Lord wants you to be.
Angela and Adriano, what treasures! They are both elect people; Angela with her absolute desire to follow the Lord no matter what the sacrifice and the great joy in her life that has come because of it. Adriano because of his brilliance and humility and kindness; so full of goodness and kindness!
What a privilege it was to know them and help them along their spiritual journey!
I am trying to think specifically of things I have learned in the last few transfers. Most of what I have learned I have already shared. I have learned to have the faith to get back up again every time I fall down. I learned of how extremely important fervent and specific prayers are. I have learned of having a vision and looking forward to the fruits of our labors. Sometimes we lose sight of the vision, of what its all about, and we have to remind ourselves. I have learned how infinite the Atonement is, how thoroughly it covers all of our weaknesses no matter what they are or how serious we perceive them to be, if we have faith and continue to repent and submit ourselves to His will. I learned to find much more joy in missionary work. Catholic priests, fig trees, rain, singing, lessons with Adriano, Miscia the next door neighbor cat, bruschetta, finding the one person who is searching in a crowd of people distracted by the world, baptisms, speaking Italian - all of these bring me joy! I learned discipline and overcoming the natural man. That takes a lot of work but its possible and its right. I have learned about listening to the Spirit and remembering and trusting in experiences from the past. I have started to figure out how to love God with all my heart, mind, mind, and strength and to work for Him and His glory. For some people like Angela, that comes naturally and easily. For some of us, it takes many years of discipline and good habits to come to know and love our Savior. I've come to an obvious but true conclusion that we reap the rewards according to how much work we put into it. Duh! If I expect great things, I must put in great effort. No laziness!!
I think I will finish here. I love you all, thanks for all your support. I know that this is the true restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that through it we can achieve all our dreams and become who we want to become. I know we must learn to trust Him enough to submit our will to Him.