Thursday, March 26, 2009

Missionary Pictures

Aubry with her first companion.

Aubry with her Mission President and his wife.

Cagliari, Sardinia (Sardegna)--Week 2

Okay, that’s so cool that dad gets to baptize that man.

We actually have a baptismal date. I don’t really know what to say. I feel like my companion made the date for too soon, but when I tried to tell her that, she got really upset. I didn’t mean for it to be an argument, but she and I are very different. Anyway, so I hope all goes well.

Our investigator’s name is Queen. Her husband is in prison for reasons I still don’t understand. They are both from Nigeria and I think it has something to do with their immigration. Anyway, he got baptized as a Catholic in prison. She wanted to belong to the same Church as he belongs to. However, when she visited him in prison, he told her to follow her heart. So it seems that if she does get baptized, he will probably follow her as soon as he gets out of prison. And we’re all praying that that happens soon.

I really liked my journal entry yesterday. It went something like this:
Yesterday- zone conference, set a baptismal date for Queen, talked with two potential investigators, came home to find our apartment door open. Today- DDM, appointment with Adele and Patrizia, appointment with Giovanna who became a new investigator, English class.

And then I went on to explain a little more about Queen and the apartment door. My days are becoming so much more busy as well as my nights so I haven’t had time to write in my journal as often as I would have liked. It’s good though, it makes me feel like a missionary.

Don’t worry about the door. I don’t think I shut it very well that morning and so the wind blew it open. We had the elders check it out before we entered ourselves and nothing was missing or out of order. We live on the top floor and so it’s not like people would have noticed anyway or have any reason to go up and check out our apartment. Plus the door to the building is always locked. Heavenly Father is looking out for us, even when we make mistakes. One minute left. Bye.


P.S. I still love my companion. I still am overjoyed to be here in Cagliari. It is so beautiful here, and I love the people with all my heart. I still have to get to know them better, but I do love them.

Okay, here is my current address.

Sorella Bjarnason
Via Arrigo Boito 26
09129, Cagliari

However, I don’t remember if I told you that I’m supposed to move this month. We had zone conference on Monday and one of the elders from Sassari said that they have been saying this for three months, though. Still, I wouldn’t recommend writing to this address because I really hope we move this month. Wow, that’s only six days…time flies!

Today I was talking to one of my zone leaders and he surprised me by saying he has the address for our new apartment. So, here it goes,

Sorella Bjarnason
Vico 3° Riva Villasanta Alberto 2

He said he doesn’t know what the area code is so just write Cagliari on the third line and of course Italy on the fourth line.

Love, Aubry

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cagliari, Sardinia (Sardegna)--Week 1

My life is a dream. I am the happiest I’ve been on my mission. Okay, but before I explain why, I need to clear up about my trip to Sardegna.

I didn’t mean to lie about the boat ride. A member in my branch in Livorno told me it takes nine hours but I think he was talking about from some place to Cagliari. It wasn’t actually that long for me. Okay, so I took a train to Rome for four hours. However, the city I needed was Civitavechia. However, as a missionary I can never travel by myself. Thus, I had to wait in Rome for everyone else that was traveling to the Island and then I would backtrack to Civitavechia. When I was on the train going to Rome, we met some people who were from the Island of Molta (or however its spelled…don’t pay attention to any of my spelling). When I told them where I was going, they said I needed to get off the train right there instead of going to Rome. Then I had to explain that I needed to go to Rome to pick up my companions. Anyway, so I got to Rome about 12 noon. I had to wait in Rome until about 6:30. My temporary companion was Sorella Chevalier who is now in Sassari. She was serving in Rome previously so there came a point when she took me to see a Church that was near the station.

Anyway, from Rome to Civitavechia it’s about an hour and a half to two hours…I was too tired to care. We got on the boat sometime around 9, but it didn’t start leaving until about 11. We slept on the boat and woke up around 5. So that’s about a six hour trip maybe? Then we had to be off the boat by 6ish. We arrived in Olbia in which the other Sassari elders joined us (and helped us with luggage). Then there came an intersection where the Sassari missionaries switched trains and Sorella Mandalà came aboard our train. This train was about four hours long. We arrived in Calgiari about 2:30ish Friday.

However, before you pity me, note that one of our traveling companions was Anziano Brewster. He came to be a new Zone Leader for Sardegna. As such, he got to make the trip again on Monday for copy conference in Rome. So I made the trip once, he gets to make it three times. He wasn’t thrilled.

So, you know that I was worried about Sorella Mandalà. Well, I’ll tell you. The moment I met her, something seemed to click. I understand her accent perfectly. No, I don’t understand everything she says, but I do understand a lot. And I have to say that I love, love, LOVE Sorella Mandalà! She is the companion I’ve always wanted…with the exception that she doesn’t speak English. She’s exactly the companion I needed. She loves the work. She wants to do her best. She wants to follow the rules and aims for exact obedience. There is a talk each missionary is given called 12 Keys of Faith. She asked if we could work on one key each week. Isn’t she awesome?!! This week we are working on not complaining…but mind you I have nothing to complain about anyway.

And the work is blossoming here in Calgliari. Here is another proof of how amazing Sorella Mandalà is. In this last week (a week mind you) I have given more lessons to investigators than I have in the last three transfers. I’m not counting spiritual thoughts. I’m talking about the lessons that Preach My Gospel has outlined for investigators. I don’t know what happened, but it didn’t seem like we ever really taught investigators in Livorno. In Livorno it seemed the method of teaching was befriending people and hoping they would eventually listen. Here every appointment we went to it was for a lesson. Yes, there were a couple of appointments that we had planned to teach, but never got around to it. But I really like Sorella Mandalà’s method. And it seems to be effective because we have around 13 investigators. And Sorella Mandalà is all about splitting the lessons up so I’m actually teaching! It’s not like I only have to say one little piece, I’m actually involved in the lessons…well…

Okay, so I don’t really know if Sardegna is just different from Livorno or what. Since coming here it feels like now I’m in Italy whereas before I was in another part of America where everyone happened to speak English. No, but for reals, Cagliari is beautiful. And the people are different here, too. I think it’s a difference between the north and the south because Sorella Mandalà is very different from Sorella Barbiere. Mama mia, I’ve never heard so much yelling in my life. (Sorella Mandalà says “mama mia” a lot). No, not yelling, just raised voices. It’s so funny! Italians here just seem to talk over each other, and they appear to be furious, but a second later you realize that they are not. Sometimes it seems like Sorella Mandalà is arguing with people, but then as they depart, they say that they enjoyed having this conversation…as though to them we were politely telling our point of view. There is one thing for sure, I will never ever be able to be Italian. It’s funny because I understand that it’s just their culture, but I can’t talk in the furious manner that they seem to. I love it though. I LOVE Italians.

Okay, and I have to tell you another reason why I needed Sorella Mandalà. I’ve apologized a couple of times for not talking a lot. In Italian (obviously) this is how she replied: “You are shy. I love you for who you are. People should love you for who you are. They shouldn’t love you for who you think they want you to be. You don’t have to change.” She is very adamant about this. She doesn’t talk ill about any of her previous companions. Everything is positive. She insists that she has learned something from everyone. She’s the type of companion that I want to be. And she’s Italian! For shopping, she takes me to the market. Last week we bought horse meat. It’s such a different experience than going to a German store that we went to in Livorno.

Okay, and I’m emailing from a library, and so it’s free. It’s also timed. So, with six minutes left I’m going to send this and then try to add stuff later…but it might take me six minutes to send this so this might be all you get. Also, I was writing in a word processor that was Italian, so it may have changed things (like it put a space between understand). It made writing a little difficult. Life is great though. Thanks for everything. I love you. I love my mission. I’m going to see miracles! Keep smiling:)


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Livorno, Italy--Week 17

No, I have not received your package yet. I don't have access to Rome very often. Sorry. I am getting transferred, and so I'll be in Rome for a few hours tomorrow. Hopefully, I'll be able to make my way to the office and receive my mail. If not, I'm sorry. I'll have to wait for zone conference.

Okay, so I just told you I'm getting transferred. I want you to take the next ten seconds and guess where I'm going. But don't take longer than ten seconds because I doubt it will cross your mind. I'm not going to Rome, and I doubt you have studied the map of Italy to see all the possibilities like I have. Well, if you guessed the island you were right. I'm going to Sardegna! Specifically I'm going to Cagliary. Gl makes a sound that I still don't really know how to say so I've already kind of given up. It's something like a y sound so it would be pronounced Calyari...kind of. Anyway, everyone tells me I get to learn a new language there. That's a pity because I never learned Italian to begin with. (It's a joke because Sards have a thick accent).

When thinking of my future companions, I decided there was one sister who I absolutely could not be companions with. Never make that decision because that's when Heavenly Father decides to give you the challenge of proving yourself wrong. Sorella Mandala doesn't speak any English at all. And she's from Sicily, which has a different accent also. Other than that, I don't know much about her. I've heard that she's a hard worker, for which I'm grateful. The reason I didn't want to be her companion was solely because I don't know her, and she doesn't speak English...really it's all just fear. However, since learning she would be my companion, everyone has told me that they think we'll get along well. (The only problem will be understanding each other...aaaaaaaaahhhh).

So my voyage to Cagliary is fun and exciting. There's only one city north of Livorno that has sisters that would be a longer voyage. As in the trip from Livorno, to Cagliary is the second longest trip a sister missionary could make. First, I get to take a four hour train to Rome. From Rome I take a bus (I don't know how long) to a place that I didn't really understand...maybe the old fortress? From there I take a 10 hour boat ride to Sassari in Sardegna. Then I take a bus or something to Cagliary which is on the other side of the island mind you. I leave tomorrow morning and I'll get there Friday afternoon...I think. I guess I can tell you more after I actually make the voyage and am not just going off of what other people have said. However, Sorella Barbiere served in Sassari, so she knows the trip very well.

I want to keep this short but I have a few things I want to say. First off, I love Ally. However, this week I realized something. The miracle of the missionaries finding her wasn't as much a miracle of finding her as it was of finding her mother. Her mother is the one with interest. Her mother has had the missionaries over before. She was the one who recognized the name tag on the bus and told Ally to talk to the sister missionaries. And she feels our spirit. It's sad to go, but she became an investigator last week.

Another miracle. I haven't seen much of Lucy lately. However, when I found out I was getting transferred, I called her and invited her specifically to come to English class so she could say goodbye. We haven't seen much of each other, but she told me that if I ever came back to Italy, I could come and stay with her. I marveled at this. She doesn't know me very well, but she is still so willing to be helpful for me. And then the words of Elder Wilson (one of our zone leaders) came to me. The people we meet who help us are disciples of Christ. They are serving servants of the Lord. She may not know me, but somewhere inside of her she recognizes that in helping me she is serving the Lord. Okay, it may not be that dramatic, but it made me realize that the people here in Italy have great potential. Italy is going to blossom. I don't know if I'll be here when it happens, but I will at least see the beginning because it's happening now. People are turning to their Savior and are thinking beyond traditions.

Oh, and today Italians talked me into getting highlights. However, they put so many in that it almost seems like I dyed my hair again. This time it's noticeable. I am a redhead now. I don't know exactly how I feel about that, but it's happened.

Well, I know this church is true. I'll tell you more about Sardegna after I go there. Keep smiling:)


Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Livorno, Italy--Week 16

The story of Ally: As Sorella Kenney and Sorella McKinnon were leaving one day, Sorella McKinnon said she would bring a German Book of Mormon. However, she realized it wasn't German, it was in Romanian. She decided to take it with her anyway even though it seemed like it was a silly thing to do. As they were waiting for the bus going home, it was rainy and cold. They hopped on a bus that wasn't theirs just to get out of the cold. A girl approached them asking if they spoke English. They replied that they did. She said that she was from Romania. So they gave her the Book of Mormon and invited her to English class.

Ally mixed up the days and came on Thursday rather than Tuesday. Thursday is transfer day, so Sorella McKinnon was already in her new city and Sorella Kenney was in Rome picking me up. However, the Elders still had FHE like we do every Thursday and told Ally that English class was on Tuesday. The following Tuesday I met her and shortly thereafter we started meeting with her. So the miracle of finding her happened with Sorella McKinnon. Sorella McKinnon was asked to give the continuing story in mission conference, but she was transferred and didn't know the continuing story.

What is the continuing story? Ally isn't progressing because we haven't been inviting her to progress. We stop by and end up talking and have to go before giving a spiritual thought sometimes. Last time I was frustrated because she gave us tiramisu that we found out had coffee in it after we had eaten it. I thought it was a great time to teach about the word of wisdom, but my companions disagreed, and I don't really want to think about that incident anymore so please don't ask me.

I have not received any packages. However, I did get a call from the office that said that I did receive a package that cost something like 12 euro that I'm going to have to reimburse the office. I don't know who it's from.

Yes I remember the gem show. One does not forget a gem show.

Really this week doesn't have very much news. We had a casa aperta (open house\church) on Saturday. Everyone says it went well, but I still wish that more people had shown up. The only people who came were really just members and investigators; but it was a good experience for both so I should be content.

One of our Elders is going home. I can't remember why that was important for me to tell you, but there you go. Oh, I remember. He gave the spiritual thought in English class yesterday. At the end he bore his testimony and told them that the missionaries have a special message that is what they are looking for. It was a really nice testimony and hopefully touched a few people.

Transfers happen next Thursday, not tomorrow. My companions are under the impression that emails can be shorter when we're being transferred so I might not have a lot of time to write next week. There's a ton of things that could happen. We know one of us is leaving because one sister is leaving and four are coming so the number of sister missionaries will be even again. I've been in Livorno the longest, so I figure there's a good chance that I will leave. There's also a chance that Sorella Barbiere could train, which would mean both me and Sorella Gadd could leave. However, Sorella Barbiere could also train in a different city and I could remain with Sorella Gadd in Livorno. So basically we feel like anything could happen.

I'm pretty sure President is going to be mixing up a bunch of companionships this round. There's a lot of sisters who have stayed in a place for too long and four sisters coming in means four trainers. I'm okay for this next transfer, but the transfer after, there will be more sisters younger than me in the mission than older. That's what happens when the group just below you has twice as many as your group. Aaah! I'm still brand new to the field, I promise. I don't know anything...especially since I've been in two threesomes where there hasn't been anything for me to do because I'm always the odd man out. I don't know how to be anything else.

Anyway, anything could happen. Right now especially I would stop sending things to Livorno. And well, I'll let you know next week what my destiny is.

I wish I could tell you more fun stories. Honestly I don't know where the time goes. Right now it seems like we're going through a type of slump. But have no fear. I have faith that Livorno will flourish even without me. (It's not like I've done much for it). Next transfer I'm going to see a baptism. At least I can hope.

We're going to the American base today for P'day. I'm excited.