Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pirri, Sardinia (Sardegna)--Week 7

Well, guess what. I lied. I don’t live in Cagliari anymore. I actually live in Pirri. Sorry. I didn’t realize this until I received mail for the previous occupant. This is how our address was written:

VCO3° Riva Villasanta 2
09134 Pirri

However, I have been getting the mail even when you said I lived in Cagliari, so I guess it doesn-t make that much difference. It’s probably like writing that you live on Claribel and then writing Modesto or something like that. Anyway, that’s my address.

Random thought, so I found that there is a way to change Microsoft Word type in English. It was something I already knew, but forgot about. Anyway, so now I have to reteach my hands where the ‘ is because I’m used to pressing a different button. It’s kind of funny. I will probably mix myself up.

Sorella Mura is a sister missionary who just went home…or should I say came home. Her parents aren’t members, but her grandparents are. She went to school somewhere up north. She didn’t know anyone and felt lonely. So her grandpa gave her the number of the bishop in her area. She joined the church and decided to serve a mission. She is originally from Cagliari, but she filled her papers out from up north. So she got called to the Italy Rome Mission (sound familiar?). (Oh, and I want you all to applaud that I found the () and ? sign because they are all in different locations on the keyboard, so I had to do it from memory back when I knew the American keyboard). She actually was called to serve in Sassari, which is another city on the island. So she came to Cagliari for Zone Conferences and from what I understand she even did an exchange here in Cagliari. She was able to teach her own parents. Cool huh. Anyway, she’s now finished her mission, and she has come home. I got to see her on Sunday and she came to English Class yesterday. It’s funny, because I remember seeing her the transfer before her last and asking for her dying missionary advice. And then I got called to her home city and can ask for advice any time I want. Yay! She’s awesome.

Miracle of the Week goes by the name of Anziano Pace. Now, please, understand that Pace in Italian means Peace. C makes a ch sound and you pronounce every vowel like in Spanish. Anziano Pace is the first greenie I have gotten to serve with since I was a greenie. The best way I can describe him is, think of the 19-year-old David Bjarnason in Japan. He’s awkwardly tall and enthusiastic. His Italian is horrid, but that doesn’t stop him for an instant. He talks to EVERYONE! We were on the bus and he started yelling (not yelling, but speaking loudly) across the bus to have a conversation with a gentleman. And from his conversation, the other three of us all got into conversations with different people. Okay, he reminds me of David, but he doesn’t look like David. A member in our ward said that when he smiles he looks like a Simpson’s character…and I agree. It’s so good watching his enthusiasm and seeing how everyone loves him even if what he says doesn’t make sense. Well, his grammar is all wrong, but he gets his point across. Anyway, he’s an example for me…and it’s kind of like I have my cousin with me.

We haven’t had a lot of good appointments this week…however this is the last week I’m going to say that. We’re going to find someone this week and we’re going to have a baptismal date by the end of the transfer. It doesn’t have to be about numbers for us to have faith that the numbers will come true. There have been people who have expected higher goals than only one baptismal date. Oh wait, that’s right, outside I say the goal is just for a date, inside the goal is to actually have a baptism. And it can totally happen. Next week you’re going to hear about more miracles. That’s a promise.

Because I didn’t want to leave you only with one miracle, I leave you with another. One potential investigator that I wasn’t sure if we would ever get to see has set an appointment with us for Friday. And then she saw the elders on the bus. It’s a sign, she’s golden. Hmm, she could be the baptism. It’s all possible.

Life is absolutely wonderful.

Oh, you wanted to hear about my companion. Sorella Hansen. I think I may have lied. She’s from American Fork. She’s great. We’re trying to help each other talk more on the bus. It’s one of those things that gets easier after you take the first step. People aren’t gonna come up to me if I don’t go up to them. God sends his prepared people to his prepared servants. We are working hard so that we can be instruments in the hands of the Lord.

Have a great week. Keep smiling:)


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Cagliari, Sardinia (Sardegna)--Week 6

I think the title of my mission should be the quote that I once read in Standing Before the Blood Tribunal. “It’s always darkest right before the dawn of a brand new day.” (Disclaimer: I don’t know if I quoted it exactly or even if that’s the real name of the book, but you know what book I’m talking about.

This week has been a week of pretty much everything. When I was younger I always wanted to be the type of person who is strong and could take anything that was thrown at me. My mission truly has shown me just how weak I am to the point where I am crying on my knees for help because I can’t do it anymore. And you know what, Satan likes to jab fingers at me too. It usually seems though that if my trials haven’t brought me to my knees, I’m not ready for a miracle.

So much to say…so much to say.

Thursday Sorella Mandalà went to the doctor. He prescribed two days of rest and a prescription like Ibuprofen. We did it. She still has a headache. Boh. We were going to go back to the doctor Monday, but we didn’t have time because transfer calls came Monday, and Sorella Mandalà is going to La Spezia (the longest trip possible for a Sorella Missionary).

Sunday we started a “Test” so to speak for a man named Carmine. The “test” is a quit smoking program. I have a lot of hope for him. However, we didn’t have a lot of time (with Italians you never are able to say everything you need to, and you never have enough time). We didn’t explain it very well and from what I understand he hasn’t been doing everything the test requires. He’s supposed to have continual support, but when I talked to his wife she said it was all up to him. We’re supposed to call him every day, but we forgot Monday (the first day!), and both of us will be leaving the city because of transfers (no I’m staying, but I can’t stay in Cagliari by myself). Anyway, I hope and pray for him. I know he can do it, but I also know that it is difficult. He came to English class yesterday, and he looked really down. And for that I think he is staying away from the cigarettes because if he was smoking, he wouldn’t be falling right now. Oh mama mia, I hope for him.

Okay, so we got transfer calls. Before we got transfer calls, I figured if Sorella Mandalà left I would be senior companion. The thought occurred to me that I could be put with someone younger than me in the mission with her being called senior, but I threw that thought out of my mind. I also thought of two sisters who I thought could come. My new companion will be Sorella Hansen. She is younger than me in the mission, and she is senior. I am way excited to be her companion. I love her to death, and we’re going to rock Cagliari, I promise. I can’t say that I’m 100 percent okay with being junior. Well, I will be okay, but the immediate feelings that overwhelmed me were that President doesn’t have faith in me. He doesn’t think I can handle being senior. I know that that’s not how it works, and that’s not how I’m supposed to think, but I’m still human. I still think the humanly thoughts. Don’t worry though. I love Sister Hansen, and like I said, we’re gonna rock Cagliari!

Yesterday we were going around saying goodbye…well…Sorella Mandalà was saying goodbye. We went to Clara’s house. Pino wasn’t there. After her, she decided to come with us because Sorella Mandalà needed to buy a suitcase because hers was broken. Oh, by the way, I’m pretty sure both of my suitcases are broken. However, I still use them. Anyway, because we actually bought a suitcase, Clara decided to come with us to the next person we wanted to say goodbye to.

We haven’t been able to get a hold of Queen for a while. We asked the elders in Oristano to talk to her aunt, but her aunt couldn’t get a hold of her either. We decided to stop by, and luckily we found her in her house. Apparently, she had thrown her phone away. She talked about how she was behind rent for four months. Her husband is in prison. They lived in darkness for a few weeks because she didn’t have money to pay for electricity. Her son is starving. She’s about ready to take away her life. Clara, who had decided to come in with us, set herself apart for a few seconds, and then approached Queen and put money in her hand. “It isn’t much.” She said. She didn’t even know Queen, but she knew us, and we know Queen. And Queen just started to cry.

As we were walking to the car, Sorella Mandalà asked how much money she had given. She had given 100 euro. This was money her mom had given her to buy something for herself. Not even her husband knew she had this money. And then Queen came running out because she had realized what she had just received. She hadn’t looked at the bill until after we left. She came to Clara and fell to her knees, and Clara tried to raise her up. I will never forget this. When we asked Clara later how she felt, she said she had felt peaceful.

Okay, transfers. There are six of us here in Cagliari, four elders and two sisters. Three of us came together this transfer, and the other three are all leaving this transfer. So all of us who are staying are relatively new and don’t know the city as well. Oh well. Anyway, one elder who is staying is training so he has to go to Rome to pick up his new companion.

It seemed we would all be leaving the city together because I can’t stay alone and the other elder who is staying can’t stay alone. I thought I was going to Sassari to be in a threesome with the sisters there because usually people leave from the Olbia boat. However, last night…I repeat…last night Anziano Soro came to me and said, “Did you know you were going on the boat too.” “No.” “And we’re leaving from Calgiari, not Olbia.”

Here’s the plan though: I go to Rome with Sorella Mandalà and three elders. I pick up my companion and the TWO of us come back to Calgiari. Everyone else who is going to the island will take the boat to Olbia. I won’t even be coming back with the other two elders coming to Calgiari because they will miss the Cagliari boat due to golden transfers (for the greenies). The Olbia boat always leaves at 10:30 whereas the Calgiari boat always leaves at 6:30. So there you go.

I will be a pro at this boat ride since I’ll basically have to do it alone with my companion who hasn’t done it yet…thus I’m the one with experience. Anyway, we don’t buy the tickets, but I’m pretty sure that they said it’s 100 euro for a cabin. So when you come to pick me up next year, keep that in mind. I don’t know if you want to spend that much to go to Cagliari, but I would love to introduce you to all of my friends. Oh, and we’re going to Livorno for sure. Anyway, that’s life.

Oh, you had questions for me to answer. There are machines where you put in your scheda for your camera and you can print photos. Usually you go to the person in the shop though. They put the scheda in a computer and then you choose which ones to print up. At the free place I couldn’t see a place to put in an SB cord (or whatever it’s called). Today I’m at an internet point so I’m going to be paying for my time here. I can’t see where the SB cord would go, but I feel like I’ve already been on the computer for too long so I don’t want to try today. Maybe some other day. And I haven’t been able to print pictures since Livorno. So…patience.

The washing machine came…tardy…but it came. Cook Italian? Me, cook? I do want to make pasta for you one day, but I have to learn how to make it first. Oooh, it would be fun to make lasagna from scratch…as in I make the pasta too:) But like I said, I have to learn how first.

No I don’t know Italian. Why do you think I’m still junior companion:) I’m getting better though. I can hold my own in a conversation. People have started complimenting me on my Italian. When they start insulting me, that’s when I’ll know I speak well.

I don’t have a sense of direction. President told me to help Sorella Hansen out with learning the city. So we’ll learn together. Yay! I know enough. I know how to get to church and…church is good. I can find my way to the other places. I’ll learn. I told Rafaele that I would probably ask him a lot of questions, and he told me I could. He lives in Quartu though. However, that’s good because a lot of our work is in Quartu. About grandma’s package, I’ll see if it’s in Rome when I go. If not, it might be there for Zone Conference.

Oh, and one of our elders is going to Livorno. That makes me happy. Did you know it’s Leghorn in English? Did I already tell you that?

Oh and there’s another story I want to tell you. Dang it, I need to get off the computer. Okay, really quickly and without drama. Elder Soro who is going to Livorno is half Italian. His grandparents live in Sassari, so when he did an exchange there, he was able to say hello. It’s cool because he didn’t learn Italian until the mission, so now he can talk to his grandparents. But now he’s going to Livorno so he can’t do that anymore. He also started teaching a cousin here in Cagliari.

Then there’s Sorella Mura, but I’ll have to tell you next week because I’ve already spent too long here. Ask me so I remember. Her story is more important anyway. Keep smiling:)


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cagliari, Sardinia (Sardegna)--Week 5

1. Aubry, Sorella Gadd, Alexandra, Sorella Barbiere

2. Aubry, Sister Barbiere, Sister Gadd at La California, Italy. "I think this picture shows our personalities very well."

3. Sorella Kenney, Aubry, Sorella Barbiere, Anziano Biondi, Anziano Litchfield

(Editor's note: These are some pictures Aubry sent us this last week taken when she was in Livorno, Italy. Still working on putting pictures into a blog!! Any advice on how to match the words with the pictures? This blog seems to have a mind of its own!!--Kate)

Today I left the apartment feeling happy. Why? I don’t know. Maybe it was because moments earlier I had seen a note in my planner that said “Happy Birthday Mom.” Or maybe it was because we were there when the postman came, so even though we don’t have a key for the mailbox, I was able to get a card from my mom. Or maybe it’s only because I’m a missionary, and it’s a beautiful day, and it’s time for me to be happy.

Yeah, I’m not sure what we’re going to do about the key either. The member who helped us move is coming over today to give us a new laundry machine, so I can tell him then. Oh, yeah, our laundry machine doesn’t work. I’m sorry, I’m not meaning to point out the bad things, they just keep slipping out. I actually think it was pretty funny. I tried to open the door to the laundry machine, but I couldn’t. Later I told the elders that so they would know why I stank if I stank. One of them had been in the apartment before me, so he told me he had opened the door and how to do it. So I felt very successful when I got the door open myself. But then I couldn’t get it to work. Neither could Sorella Mandalà. There you go. But we should be getting a laundry machine today. Hip hip hooray!

I’m really happy right now. Life as a missionari hasn’t really been going. Still, I have hope. The final weeks of the transfer always bring a miracle. These last couple weeks have been a little bit challenging, so I’m ready for my miracle.

I want to tell a story. I don’t want you to take it the wrong way. I am not complaining about my companion. This is a story about faith and learning. You know we’ve moved. Before we moved, we would normally take buses that arrived pretty often. We took Bus number 1 to the Church which I always thought was a bit odd. It basically took us all around Cagliari before the Church. However, my companion is very much willing to go the long way as long as she is sure that she can count on the bus to come. We are now very much closer to the Church. It’s maybe a five to ten minute bus ride, but we don’t know the bus, and it’s not written how often it comes.

Yesterday, we waited for probably a half an hour for the bus in order to get to English class, and it made us late. The thing is that the bus was late because after we got off the bus, we saw two other buses pass. So it’s obvious that there was a mix up somewhere. Anyway, so Sorella Mandalà wanted to take the secure way and take the bus number one, that would take us all around Caglari, and then at a certain spot we could take a different bus, bus M, that also runs pretty often to get home. Her way could take more than an hour if we end up waiting for the M bus and it could also possibly take just under an hour. If we ended up waiting for the QS bus for a half hour, it would still get us home quicker than the other two buses. Anyway, she suggested her idea right before English class, so I didn’t have time to argue with her. As time went on, I decided I didn’t want to argue with her, we’d just go her way.

But the spiritual thought didn’t end until 8:40! After the spiritual thought, all of the English class students mingle and talk and all of a sudden it was 9:10. I grumbled and groaned inside myself. An elder looked at me and said, “you want to go home.” I then confessed that I didn’t want to take the one (bus). His advice, talk to her. Italians are stubborn, but you have to be strong when you talk to them.

I thought about his advice as we walked to the bus stop. The idea occurred to me that maybe I wasn’t supposed to be learning patience like I previously thought. Maybe I have enough patience. Maybe I’m supposed to be learning to stand up for what I think is right. I said a silent prayer that the bus we wanted would arrive. I then talked to Sorella Mandalà. She was set in her ways. She didn’t know when the QS would pass and she didn’t want to wait for it. She then said that if it came before the 1 left, we could go run to the bus stop (because it was a different stop from the one). As soon as she said that, the bus we wanted started coming, and we ran and caught our bus. We asked the bus driver how often the bus comes and he said every 20 minutes. So we can take it from now on. I’m so happy. I’m learning how to state my opinion and be right. Yay!

Sorry, I talked a lot about a story that has nothing to do with missionari work…well it does because without companionship unity, you can’t teach.

Well, this week we only met with one investigator. How sad is that. Sorella Mandalà hasn’t been feeling well, and I haven’t really known how to help her. Anyway, I love all of our investigators. I really have grown fondness for a 13 year old girl Roberta. I claim her as my little sister and her dad said I could have her. So there you go. No, I don’t know how much she is progressing. Her dad is very set on her becoming a member. I just hope that she can gain a testimony before he forces anything on her. Right now he can’t because he’s not even a member. He works with the Anziani, but he’s great too. Okay, I really have to go.

Oh, I got a package from Grandma for Christmas and for my birthday and that’s it. I haven’t gotten anything more recent. The last package I got was from Becky for my birthday. Oh and tell Uncle David that this is the right email address. Sorry I don’t have time to respond to anything he said. I love you all. Keep smiling :)


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Cagliari, Sardinia (Sardegna)--Week 4

My, oh my, there’s so much to say. Okay, my companion scribbled out the address I had in my agenda. I made a point to check the address this morning, but I forgot. Here’s what I think it is.

Sorella Bjarnason
Vico 3° Riva Villasanta #2
09129, Calgiari

Okay, the #2 might be wrong. I know Vico 3 Riva Villasanta is right, and I'm still in Cagliari. Try number two or wait a week for me to make sure it's right. It's actually pretty important about the number because that's the building number. (Editor's Note--this is from a previous letter: Vico 3° Riva Villasanta Alberto 2. So she must be correct!!)

Okay, the earthquake. From what I understand the earthquake didn’t happen in Rome but near it. The cities it affected mostly were L’aquila and Terni. Both cities are only Elder cities…so I couldn’t have been there anyway. Shucks. There is an Elder here who just came from Rome. He has actually not been very happy here in Cagliari. Thus with the earthquake, he got more nostalgia because he wants to be in Rome to help out. Poverino. From what I understand, none of the members of the Church died. One of the branch presidents lost his home though. And someone said that it will take three years to reconstruct everything.

General Conference. I watched part of the Young Woman’s meeting in Italian and no, I didn’t understand anything. I really didn’t want to watch any of the sessions in Italian. Saturday evening we got to watch the morning session live. There was a couple watching it in English, so I could, too.

Sunday morning, however, when we were supposed to see the Saturday afternoon session, hardly anyone showed up. I admit I probably grumbled a bit because I didn’t want to watch it in Italian. However, dun dunna dun da, the elders from Oristano were with us. They can’t get the Priesthood session in Oristano, so they decided to spend the weekend with us…whereas the members would just come for the Priesthood session. Why does that help you ask? Anziano Loritz happens to be the Branch President in Oristano. So they said I could be in the room with him. Then Sorella Mandalà was able to ask the only other female in the building to be her companion. After the conference, I asked what was this rule that I did not understand? Why am I allowed to be in the room with a branch president? Apparently branch president missionaries have different rules than other missionaries. For example, they can visit single woman without having a man accompany them. So why does that make it okay for me? I think they made a rule up so that I could watch conference in English. It’s okay though because I didn’t understand until after I had already watched the conference.

And then more people showed up Sunday night when we watched the morning conference. And there was an American woman too. I never told her she was my companion, but she was, just the same. I never saw the afternoon session. I’ll have to wait for the Ensign. Oh, and you remember the Ensign from last conference that I said I knew some of the missionaries? I now know more of the missionaries shown. Three of the elders in my current district are in the Napoli photo.

Oh and I moved yesterday. So the address above is valid…if it’s right, of course. Mama mia, what an adventure! It’s over though. The Elders in our district are so good.

I love my new apartment! Why do we have two bathrooms? I’m still not sure, but it’s such a nice apartment. It’s smaller than the last one, but it’s nicer and more comfy and Happier, and I’m happy, and life is just full of skittles and rainbows. I literally woke up happy this morning!

Okay, 12 minutes left, what should I say…we haven’t done a lot with investigators recently. We had conference, and with moving, there just hasn’t been a lot of time for actual appointments. Friday we had interviews. I love President Acerson.

Sunday after conference, I got to talk a little with President Sanna, the district president for Sardegna. I told him how it was hard for me to talk, and how usually I just end up listening in appointments. He jumped right on that and said, “No, no no, you can’t do that. You have to talk.” He told me how he had served a mission in Catania, and his American companions would make him do the talking. So he stopped talking so that his companion had to talk. He’s so good. I love it here. I love the people.

I have no idea where my apartment is anymore. I just memorized the bus stop to get me to the other apartment. Now I have to relearn the city from a different perspective. I’m so excited for life!

Keep smiling:)


Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Cagliari, Sardinia (Sardegna)--Week 3

Life is great in Cagliari.

Queen is not getting baptized this week. She wants to get baptized after her husband gets out of prison. I wonder if maybe Heavenly Father wants to teach her a lesson on faith. Perhaps her husband won’t get out of prison until after she joins the Church. I love her son. He is so cute. And he offers me kisses without me asking for them. It’s not fair that children attack me with love when I’m a missionary. Children are kind of a dangerous zone for missionaries.

I love the people here. We are also teaching a 13 year old girl, Roberta. She is so cute.

Then there’s a couple, Pino and Clara. Okay, I am beginning to think that the name Pino is only reserved for men who are awesome. I only knew one other Pino in Livorno, and he was awesome.

I don’t really know what to say in addition. I should really start making a list of things to say of things that happen during the week.

Hey, it’s April Fool’s Day.

Last week as a district we went to…boh…I think it’s the Elephant Tower in English. When they said it in Italian I was very confused because I wasn’t sure what Elephants had to do with anything, and I didn’t know what a torre (tower) was. Anyway, basically we paid 4 euros to climb stairs and look at Cagliari. It was fun.

We haven’t moved yet. From what I understand, I think we will move next week. So be prepared to hear about our moving adventures next Wednesday…if it actually happens. Our moving day just keeps getting pushed back and back. I just hope that we move while Sorella Mandalà is still here. Having an Italian companion is great when there’s problems with the apartment. I can’t wait to move. Our apartment is huge, but it has a bad odor to it. And the shower never can decide whether it wants me to freeze or burn. I remember one day when I had finally gotten the water to the perfect temperature, but there wasn’t a lot of pressure. I figured it would be okay to just lift the nozzle straight up. Nope, it then turned cold on me. So I’m excited to move.

Oh, I can tell you an experience I had the other day. Okay, so I still have a hard time talking to people. Italian is still hard for me. Anyway, I was trying to do my part as a missionary though. (Interrupting the story for another story. Like I said last week, I write in Microsoft Word so that I don’t lose the email on the internet. Since I write in English, occasionally Word tries to change my words and I have to go back and erase. In the last sentence I wrote “missionary though.” It tried to change it to “missionari thug.” Ha ha ha, okay on with the other story).

There was a guy who sat in front of Sorella Mandalà and me, but turned so he wouldn’t have to face us. On his racket it said Miami. It looked like there were other English words on it, so I thought I’d ask if he ever went to Miami. Well, he didn’t understand me. This happens often. Then Sorella Mandalà jumps to the rescue, and I stay silent the rest of the conversation. You know, maybe this isn’t such a bad thing. Other people are good at talking, they just don’t know how to initiate. I’m better at initiating, but then I lose my words. Hey, maybe that’s why we travel in twos. Yay! Anyway, we invited him to English class.

Then he got off the bus and the girl behind us asked us about English class. And as Sorella Mandalà kept talking, the girl sounded as though she was interested in more than just English class. She was interested in learning about what we believed. She said she would come to Church on Sunday. Well, as you know, Sunday is a little different. So we gave her the schedule for General Conference. Ha! That’s another thing I could tell you about. Unfortunately the timer just came on to say that I have five minutes left so I’m just going to finish this and then say goodbye.

Well, yesterday was English class. None of the people from the bus came. However, at the end of the night, the guy I had talked to called the elders to tell them they couldn’t find the Church. But hey, at least they were serious about trying and we met up with him and his friend and the bus stop. Anyway, I have to go. Love you. Keep smiling:) Have a great week.