Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Livorno, Italy--Week 15

Copy conference is the conference that zone leaders have when they get together in Rome once every transfer.

Tell everyone that I said Hi back. Well...everyone except for...just kidding, tell everyone. Even the people who don't know me. Okay, that might be overdoing it.

Okay, about me...because everyone wants to know about me...because I'm special. Well, I can't really honestly say that this has been a good week. However, I can say that I'm in a very great mood and thus the world is happy and I love my mission, I love my savior, my companions, most of my district, and my mission president. Life is wonderful!

You'll never guess what rule I had a problem with this week. Never. Or at least I would never have. It was the rule about how to handle children. We're basically supposed to avoid them, which I'm pretty good at. However, when they are so darling and cute and climb into your lap what do you do? Honestly I've always wondered if I had capacity to be a good mom because I'm not very good with children. However there are two girls in our branch who have melted my heart. Well, and there are other kids in the branch too who also melt my heart, but it's something I never would have expected. Anyway, I like kids.

Yesterday we had mission conference. President Oaks (of the missions in Eastern Europe I think) came to the zone conferences during my first transfer. When he came, Sorella Kenney told the story of how they found Ally. President Oaks liked that story and told it to other missions. He recited the story yesterday and asked how things were progressing with that girl. Sorella Gadd responded that Ally has a beautiful family. That's not saying anything, but it's revealing that we are neglecting our jobs as missionaries. Finding Ally was a miracle. We cannot lose faith that there might be a bigger reason for why we are still friends. I'm tired of us not taking it anywhere.

Last planning session, we basically scrapped half of our investigators and decided to make a bigger effort on finding new ones. It's kind of made me feel down, but it's making me realize that I need to be a better missionary.

Anyway, about missionary conference. President Oaks came who is first cousins with Elder Oaks of the Twelve who also came along with his wife. We got to shake his hand. He knows where Modesto is...so beware. He said some things that...well...put some things in place for me. This month has been full of 3 month conferences, zone conference and now missionary conference. It's all been stacked up for me and not one thing has been better than another. However, just being in the presence of an apostle might have knocked some more stones in my heart into place to make me a better missionary.

And plus the fact that one of our zone leaders said he thinks I'm leaving next transfer didn't exactly make me leap for joy. I kind of feel like I have two weeks left to right any wrongs and to leave my print on Livorno. When I came to Livorno I figured it didn't matter. I couldn't speak the language and I have a difficult last name. It's okay if the people forget me. Now I've given my heart to so many people, I don't want them to forget me. Even if they just remember me as the quiet girl with the difficult last name, I don't want to just be a ghost, the shadow to two trios.

Anyway, so I want to be better. That's the continuing goal. Something I didn't tell you last week but that I meant to was a dream I had. I had a dream that I got my call changed to Kiev, Ukraine. There were three others who got their call changed, but they had been studying Russian before hand. As for me, I was expected to know both Russian and Italian. Maybe the dream means nothing, but I take it to mean that I wasn't only sent here to speak Italian. I was sent here also to speak in Russian.

Yesterday on the metro in Rome, a lady sat next to me. I asked her a question and she said she didn't understand. It seemed to me like she wanted to use the excuse that she was a foreigner and didn't understand Italian. I asked where she was from. She replied Ukraine. I then struggled to talk to her in Russian. She was very happy. Seeing me struggle, she told me that she spoke Italian very well and we could also speak in Italian. Well, we kind of had a conversation in both Italian and Russian. I know the gift of tongues was at work because half the time I didn't know which language I was hearing, but I was understanding. I didn't get her information or anything. I got carried away and didn't realize we arrived at the train station and I had to leave in a rush. (I had to get home:)

Today I got my permesso di sogiorno. I know that doesn't mean much to you, but it means I am now legal to live here in Italy. Yay! Livorno, from what I understand, works a lot quicker than most other cities. Sorella Gadd who started in Florence hasn't even had her second appointment yet, and I'm finished and she's a transfer ahead of me. Anyway, at the questura this morning (the questura is the government building we went to get the permesso), I talked with a lady from Maldovia who also spoke Russian.

But going back to Ukrainians, I was thinking about my dream. There's a temple announced in Ukraine too. I don't know if they've already started building it or not or how far along they are. Still, I know that Ukraine is moving forward too. I can still love the Russian people as well as the Italian people. The work is the same no matter where you go. The church is true and we are here to bring Heavenly Father's children to Christ.

Well, I hope I've said everything I wanted to say. I love my mission. I need to do better, but I love it. I am grateful to be born of goodly parents who taught me to love. Love is a valuable thing. Thank you for everything and keep smiling:)

Love,
Aubry

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Livorno, Italy--Week 14

I don't really know what to write. I'm tired. Maybe there's something wrong with me, but I'm not telling you that because you'll worry. I'm on a mission and everything will be all right. As for me being tired, I'm tired every night before going to bed. That's probably a good thing. I'm a missionary. If I wasn't tired that would mean there was something wrong.

I don't really want to talk about anything important. I just want to ramble on. Sorry. Lenny was supposed to have an appointment with us on Saturday. He canceled saying he didn't feel well. He didn't come to church. We stopped by his house on Sunday and apparently he was drinking with some of his friends over. We were supposed to have an appointment with him yesterday, but President Acerson wanted to change interviews to the morning. When we asked Lenny if we could meet in the church he came up with excuses.

Ally I think is out of town. I want to teach her family but we haven't found time to stop by. I'm sad.

Lucy is actually a really happy story. We were inviting people to come to our branch's Valentine's Day party. I suggested Lucy. So Sorella Gadd called her. At that time we thought we were going to go to Lenny's, so Sorella Gadd told her that we actually wouldn't be there for the full time. When Lucy didn't show up in the beginning I thought she wouldn't come. However, for some reason I couldn't let it go. The entire time I kept mentioning her name, not really hoping, but not forgetting. She did come and she brought her husband. The miracle happened when Fratello Nicot met her husband's eyes. They both looked at each other asking, “What are you doing here?” Apparently they work together. They along with their wives became engaged in a long conversation. It was great because it gave Sorella Nicot and Lucy a chance to meet and exchange information. Yay! And then I got to have a conversation in Russian with Lucy. I really have lost all my Russian, but I'm starting to get it back, especially with this practice. I understand her mostly, but it's hard to respond. She came again to English class where we talked in Russian some more. It was fun because as people passed they would stop and shriek “Is that Russian?” Yay!

Another miracle: Sunday night we did zone singing. There came a point in time when everyone on the front row except for me was out talking to people. I saw a woman standing alone. My choice was either to talk to her or join the back row. So I went to talk to her. I started talking and instantly she responded that she was a foreigner. I asked where she was from. Ukraine! I then proceeded to talk to her in broken Russian and broken Italian. I don't think she really understood, but she decided that I was a good person. I wanted to get her address, but apparently she worked for an older lady and we wouldn't be able to meet with her. So I gave her the articles of faith in Italian because that was all that I had in my pocket. As I left I said, “Dasvidanya.”

Anziano Reshke heard me and asked if that was Ukrainian. I replied it was Russian. He then asked if I wanted a Ukrainian Book of Mormon. The excitement in my eyes I think gave me away because I'm not entirely sure how the conversation went on from there. Finally he told me to chase down the woman while he went to get the book. And so that's what happened. I chased her down while he got his Book of Mormon. He then told me that the night before going to bed he had a thought that he should put a Ukrainian Book of Mormon in his bag. I hope she reads it. Hope is all I can do right now.

We don't have all our fun stuff on Thursdays. We had interviews yesterday and we're still not sure if Mission Conference will be next Monday or Tuesday. We will most likely still have P-day on Wednesday as normal, but there is a chance it could get changed. So warning to you if you don't receive an email on Wednesday and warning that you might receive one early. We still have no idea how next week will go. I have not received any birthday packages yet, but I am waiting patiently.

I love President Acerson. Life is great. Oh, I've been having a craving to listen to Messenger's of Light. Since I have my cassette player, I could listen to my cassette if you sent it to me. From what I understand of the rules it should be okay. We're allowed to listen to EFY music. It's not EFY but it's missionary.

All right, I think that's it. Good bye. Keep smiling:)

Love,
Aubry

Monday, February 16, 2009

Livorno, Italy--Week 13

This morning we were studying in Preach My Gospel chapter 9 as a companionship. We all decided that we needed to talk to everyone. Then Sorella Barbiere pointed out, “But today is P-day.” I guess P-day is a day to help us prepare for doing missionary work. There's no harm in getting contacts on P-day.

My birthday went really well. There's nothing in La California. I knew there probably wouldn't be. I went for the road trip and to get a picture next to the sign. I went for the story. If you ask me, I had fun. If you ask my companions, they might just tell you that I'm crazy. And Lucy is such a nice girl. After she dropped us off she told us that she would go to FHE the next day because she didn't have anything else to do. I wasn't there because I went to Rome with Sorella Gadd for my 3 month conference. But I heard that she did go to Family Night and she even brought a friend. However, she didn't come to English Class so I haven't seen her since Wednesday.

More about my birthday: The zone leaders returned from copy conference that night. We had an appointment together with a family. Coming back from Rome, the elders had a package for me. Guess what it was! Grandma's Christmas package! Ta da! I got it ON my birthday. Afterwards the Sorelle from La Spezia came down and stayed the night with us because Sorella Hawkey had to go to 3 month conference too. So her companion stayed with Sorella Barbiere. Sorella Gadd is actually a transfer ahead of us, but her group was small enough that they combined with us for the three month conference. So it was a little weird to be the only one at the conference who had their companion with them. It was still fun.

Okay, I have a homework assignment for you to do. Look up on the internet to see pictures of Livorno February 6, 2009. Then note that I was not in Livorno because I was in Rome for the conference. You've been praying for me again haven't you! Nothing exciting is ever going to happen to me if you keep praying for my safety! It was interesting. We were in the middle of the conference and the assistants were teaching. President came in and they tried to turn the time over to him. He started, but then he said that he felt a little distracted because he just received a call that said that Livorno was flooded. By the time we got home that night, all the water had drained and the biggest problem was at the station. The underpass, which is what we use to get from platform to platform, was all flooded in so they put gravel along the tracks so that people could walk across the tracks. And the zone leaders were nice enough to arrange for a couple to pick us up from the station so we wouldn't have to walk home late at night.

I still want to teach Ally. All throughout our three month conference I thought about her. I want to teach her family. Her dad has stopped drinking for the time so I think the time to bring them together is now. I just don't know how to do it. “Just keep swimming.”

Oh and last night I dyed my hair. This is why: Sorella Barbiere dyed her hair last week, but it didn't turn out the way she wanted it to. Zone conference is tomorrow and she want to look special for it. She and Sorella Gadd are getting their hair cut today. Sorella Barbiere wanted to get her hair right beforehand. So, as she is talking about her hair, she decided she wanted to put highlights into my hair. I said she could. However, as we were looking at hair products, we couldn't find just the highlights. So she asked if she could just dye my hair. So we did. Mine's not permanent, it will fade in a few weeks. And honestly it's really close to the same shade of brown that I already have. I asked Sorella Gadd if she thinks anyone will notice. She said if anyone does, it will be a girl. We'll see.

I think that's it. I love you! Keep smiling:)

Love,
Aubry

PS Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Livorno, Italy--Week 12

There is a la California here in Italy. The story behind it seems like it could be fictitious, and right now I don't have time to explain it. Anyway, my companions said I could do whatever I wanted for my birthday. I don't know. I'm a very indecisive person. However, it occurred to me that this might be the only opportunity I'd have to convince my companions to go to California. But we don't know how to get there or how long it takes. So I asked my English class what they knew. After class, Liliya said that she had nothing to do tomorrow (today) and she would be willing to take us by car. There you go! She has now turned herself into a potential investigator. All she wants in return is that we speak only in English. Great! I can explain the gospel in English. Of course it's P-day, so if we don't get around to a spiritual thought I don't have to feel guilty. But if you're hanging out with missionaries...I mean...religion is bound to get out. I'm excited.

This morning, my companions decorated the apartment while I was in the shower. I don't notice things, so I walked right by the decorations without saying anything. Probably about ten minutes later I walked into the kitchen to find breakfast made for me. (I actually had smelled the food earlier, but I wasn't sure how to react, so I didn't say anything). I said thank you for breakfast and they said, “yeah and we decorated too.” I looked around. Sure enough, they had decorated. And now my companions know why I get lost so easily. I'm blind and don't notice things. It was fun though.

Sorella Acerson called to wish me happy birthday. She said, “I have a surprise for you” and then I heard an Italian rendition of “Happy Birthday” sung by a bunch of Elders. Right now it's copy conference so all the Zone Leaders were in Rome. Yep, that's right, I got sung to by all the zone leaders. It's dang good that I couldn't see any of them otherwise I would have turned oh so red.

Ooh, so I have to tell you the schedule for the month of February. This Thursday and Friday I have my three month conference in Rome. Next Thursday is Zone Conference. The next Thursday we have interviews. The next Thursday all of the missionaries are headed to Rome for a mission conference with Elder Oaks...the Elder Oaks! Each of these times it's possible for me to receive mail, but unfortunately they all occur the day after P-day so I can't tell you if I've received anything until a week passes. And let's face it, I forget to remember sometimes.

Oh yeah, my new companion. Sorella Gadd is amazing. I'm learning a lot from her in a good way. In other words I'm learning from example and not experience. As far as me speaking as well as her in a month...it's possible but not probable. She studied for two years before the mission. And she spoke a lot more Italian in her area. In Livorno I can get away with speaking a lot of English. But I shouldn't. Oh well. I just have to keep trying.

I love our new district. Every companionship had a change. I'm excited for this transfer. It's going to be a great transfer and we WILL see success...even if it's not who we expected. I love you very much. Keep smiling:)

Love,
Aubry