Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pirri, Sardinia (Sardegna)--Week 11

Wow, there is much too much to say. Saturday was a day to describe all in itself. Here was the plan for the day, in the morning we were planning for Manuella, in the afternoon we had planned Giuseppe and Golam. If any of those did not work out, we would do finding.

In the morning we called Manuella. She had told us to call her that morning and she would say if we could meet. Well, the answer was no. So off we went to an area where we have been doing house. The first thing we decided to do was to check on a woman that Sorella Hansen had talked to when we were on an Exchange with the other sisters. The lady let us in and we taught a second lesson (Plan of Salvation). And she became an investigator. She is so interested! I am so excited!

In the afternoon Giuseppe did not show up, so we did some bus. I talked to a couple of women, but they all seemed very involved in their own religions. I’m not really good at pushing when they don’t seem interested. Then, when it was time for Golam, he wasn’t there. So I called. He said he was still at work, but if we were willing to wait, he would come. (We decided we would meet in a…what do you call it? A square?) So we had some time.

And here is where the day really took us through a loop. We saw an old man we had seen last Sunday. We knew he liked to talk a lot, but he was waving at us, so we had to go and talk to him. As we were talking, I was looking around because I wanted to find Golam when he showed up. As I was looking around, someone else waved to me. It was a guy named Gioveed who comes to our English class. I pointed him out to Sorella Hansen, and he decided to come over. Now I’m a little frazzled because Sorella Hansen starts talking to Gioveed which leaves me to talk to the old man Ignazio, but I’m still trying to look around for Golam!

And then finally Golam shows up. Of course I want to talk to him, but Ignazio gets this book and puts it right in front of me and does not allow me to talk to Golam and Sorella Hansen is still talking to Gioveed. And I don’t know what to do because the person we’re ignoring is the person with whom we have an appointment. Oh weird and random. Gioveed is from Afghanistan. Golam is from Bangladesh. However, Gioveed said SOMETHING to Golam in a different language and Golam responded. Sorella Hansen and I are very curious as to know what language that was and what they said. Anyway, after a few more minutes of basically being ignored, Golam says he has to return to work. I try and set up a new appointment, but both his English and his Italian is broken, so I don’t really accomplish this. Plus, I don’t know what religion Golam is. We are not allowed to teach Muslims so there’s a chance that we can’t even teach him! Shortly after Golam left, Gioveed saw the person he was waiting for and left. That left us both with the onward talking Ignazio, who, by the way, did not come to the baptism even though we invited him!

Golam was a man who we met at a bus stop. Sorella Hansen started talking to him, but when we got on the bus, she entered somewhere else leaving me to talk to him. He said he was looking for work, and I told him how we pay for our missions. He didn’t understand how we could do that. I told him that this Church meant everything to me. So he was curious to know more, that’s why we set up the appointment in the first place.

Back to Saturday: so after we finally said goodbye to Ignazio, we started our trek homeward. Then I saw someone who I thought was an investigator. I made Sorella Hansen come with me to follow to see if it was her. I still think it was, but then she got distracted by a lot of friends, and I decided not to stalk her anymore. Then I saw another contact who I had seen on the bus before. Her name is Lisa. I invited her to a baptism and she asked when we had Church. So I told her! And then three creepy men stopped Sorella Hansen to talk about how we were missionaries.

So basically Saturday was nothing of what we expected it to be. It was just so crazy. Sad news, Lisa did not come to Church, nor did she come to the baptism. When I called her she seemed really sad. She could easily be bipolar, but I did not just say that.

Another great event this week was our meeting with Adelle. I love Adelle. My lesson with her was the first lesson I had here in Cagliari with Sorella Mandalà. Adelle always makes me feel good and she always talks about how she feels like there are angels with us when we speak. Anyway, when we were talking with her, she said that this last Saturday as she was coming back to Cagliari, a young man with the same tag that we have helped her with her luggage. She was very happy. We talked to our elders about it. Apparently Elder Brewster said that he saw her and thought he should help, and then his companion Anziano Sponseller just jumped up and helped her. She’s never come to any Church activity, so they didn’t know that she was our investigator. However, we told her that we might have a baptism this Saturday, and if there is one she wants to come. I love her!

Okay, so I’ve talked about several baptisms, I should probably explain. Last Sunday the elders baptized a man from Peru. His wife and kids were all members, but slightly inactive. Now he’s a member, so I hope their activity will grow! Yay! This Saturday those same elders hope to baptize one of their investigators. It’s still not for sure though…which kind of makes me wonder if it will happen because it’s so late. Hey, but I’m praying! Then the other elders said they might have a baptism this Sunday! Baptisms everywhere! Cagliari is growing. No, none of these are my investigators, but that’s okay. Cagliari is growing and that makes me happy...and we have investigators who are progressing! We think.

Oh, transfers happen next week. Everyone thinks I’m going, but for different reasons. I think Anziano Sponseller is just tired of me. Anziano Brewster said that we came in together so we have to leave together. (We came in as three: Anziano Pittson dies this transfer and Anziano Brewster will probably leave because he’s a zone leader and he can’t die with his companion). Anziano Pittson just joined the band wagon because everyone else said I was leaving. Sorella Hansen just wanted to write something crazy. Anziano Pace actually said I was staying, I think. Then there’s Katiuscia, the former Sorella Mura who says that I’m leaving because I have to turn senior companion. Well there you have it. This might be my last week in Cagliari. I haven’t been here for very long, but still almost everyone thinks I’m leaving. Sadness!

Yay for Jon! I suppose he probably does not want to wait for me to get home to get married. I guess that’s okay. Make sure you give him a big hug for me!

This week I read this…I don’t know what it is. We’ll call it a story. I read a story about an Elder called The Letter of Elder Ricciardi. Elder Ricciardi was an elder from La Spezia (who knows, I could go there!). He was just so amazing. He had a motto of “I fear no man.” That’s so good. I remember after reading 7 Habits for Highly Effective Teens I made the modo for myself “Continue as though you know no fear.” I know no one knows that because I never really put that motto into effect. Well, I have a new resolution to put that motto back into effect. (Now does my missionary scripture of Isaiah 41:10 make sense?) So that’s the goal. Another goal I have for this week is to be more humble. In the past I just kind of brushed humility aside because if you say you’re humble, you aren’t. However, I think it’s time that I actually admit that you can work on being humble. So that’s my goal.

I read a talk this morning called “Beware of Pride” by President Benson. It is so good. In the past when I read it, it actually lifted me up. I thought, “Hey, I’m doing pretty good at not being prideful.” This morning when I read it, I noticed pride in pretty much everything I do. So I have a long way to go. Piano piano. As long as we’re moving in the right direction, it doesn’t matter how fast we’re moving. We’ll get there.

Love,
Aubry

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pirri, Sardinia (Sardegna)--Week 10

I received a package from Grandma for Easter. We had District Conference Sunday. District Conference is the equivalent for stake conference, but for branches instead of wards. So, President Acerson and his wife came to Sardinia for that and they brought mail. Don’t worry though, interviews are next week, so there is still a chance that he could bring more packages then, but for now I just got Grandma’s Easter package. Oh and I got your card and another conference talk. I appreciate the talks, don’t get me wrong, but I hope you know that we will eventually get the Ensign. I especially liked the last talk you sent on how the members need to be missionaries. It kind of put more into perspective of what my role is.

Dad asked if I did a lot of houses, or if I found people in other ways. We do do house, but I haven’t seen a ton of success. The place I’ve probably seen the most success has been on the bus or during a mostra. Member referrals are great, but we don’t get a ton of them.

Stories of the week. Thursday night after an appointment, we were taking the bus home. I decided to pull out my dictionary so I could use my time wisely. A black lady entered the bus. I tend to look at black ladies a lot lately because I’m always hoping that I’ll run into Queen (more on Queen in the following story). We met eye contact and she got all excited. “Oh how are you?” She said as she sat next to me. Then seeing that my face was a bit confused she asked, “Do you remember me?” Trying to be honest I replied that I didn’t. She then said something about how it had been a year ago. When I told her I hadn’t been in Italy for that long, she got all embarrassed, but I got excited. “So the person you thought I was, did she have a tag like this.” “Yes, yes, and I’ve been to your church here in Quartu.” Well, that was kind of sad because the church isn’t in Quartu anymore. I think it was more than a year ago. Anyway, her name is Sandra. I asked for her number and she gave it and said to write down “Crazy Sandra.” I just wrote Sandra. Anyway, I invited her to church but she didn’t come. I’m not really all that discouraged because it happens all the time. She came to me, I figure that means she’s gold, I just need to spend more time on getting her to realize that. Anyway, I used the number to call to invite her to church, so I know the number is correct. She is not going to slip away from me. Mua ha ha. Okay, I’m not really a creepy missionary, I promise.

Queen! Sunday at District Conference a member sat down next to us. She then got up and asked if it was okay if a family sat next to us. Certainly. A woman holding the hand of a boy started walking towards us. I didn’t recognize the girl, but the boy was…Cassidy? I then looked up and there was Queen! The other woman was her cousin. And then her aunt was here too. Her aunt and cousin are both members. Her aunt lives in Oristano. Her cousin did live in Oristano, but I think she lives with Queen now. She’s alive! She’s well! We have an appointment with her tonight. And now she’ll have more motivation to come to church because her cousin will be coming every week. Yay!

I can just imagine some elders in Nigeria being sad that some of their converts or members decided to move to Italy. But here in Italy we are more than grateful to receive these wonderful children of God. Apparently their whole family joined the church in Nigeria. I don’t know how long ago this was. But still, it’s good for Queen because it means this isn’t just some random church for her. She has family that are members! I already knew that, but it just seemed more real getting to meet her aunt and so forth.

And since we’re talking about people from Nigeria, I have one more story. Sorella Hansen wanted to go through old schedas and find old investigators that we couldn’t figure out why they were dropped. She came to the scheda of a girl called Susan. Susan is from Nigeria but she is married to an Italian. Scratch that, I’m not sure, but I’m pretty sure they are not married. However, she always refers to him as her husband so we will refer to him as such as we go on. Mama mia, I am down right positive she could write her story and it would sell by the millions. That’s the type of story she has. She and her husband lived with his mom. She calls his mom a witch. Because Susan is black, the mom doesn’t think she’s worth anything. She wants to control her life. At one point it sounded as though she had made claims that Susan had beaten her. Her goal was to get Susan sent back to Nigeria, but keep her son here in Italy. Susan, can’t take her son to Nigeria because he has Italian blood. I don’t really understand all of the legalities. However, eventually Susan got herself out of that apartment and she now lives in her own apartment with TWO kids. Apparently on the birth certificate of her little girl, she put her father’s name instead of her husbands. That way there is no way her husband can take her away from her. I’m still confused as to whether her husband lives with her. From what I understand, she is more than willing to let anyone come to her house. However, she will never go back to her mother in law’s place because she knows she will not be able to leave. Susan quotes her father in saying something like “If you never do anything to hurt another human being, then you do not need to be afraid of anything.” She knows she has done nothing wrong, and so she is willing to fight the world to be able to keep her children. As we were walking out of that apartment, Sorella Hansen made the comment, “The only way we can really help her is the gospel, the peace that she will be able to find.” Anyway, I’m really excited to get to know her better and for her to come to church. We just met with her yesterday, so we haven’t talked much about church. However, I’m excited for her to get to know Queen and other members is our ward. I want her to see that not all Italians are like her mother in law.

This week I had a dream that I got sent home. Why? Because they were told in the mission that they needed to cut back on sisters and I wasn’t needed. The other two sisters who came in with me were far better missionaries. When I came home, everyone was excited that I was home, but I felt like trash. I don’t like these dreams. June 3 I will have been on my mission for 9 months. I still feel like I’m at the beginning. I keep trying to tell myself that I am deep in it. It’s time for me to understand a bit better of what I’m doing. Time just goes by so quickly. There is no set time that everything will click. We all just move along making sure that we are at least moving in the right direction. Some people take more time than others. That’s true with missionaries as well as with investigators. Sometimes I just have to tell myself that some people require more time and effort spent of them for them to come to a realization of their importance to Heavenly Father. Heavenly Father loves each of his children. He wants each of us to return to him. He knows who’s ready to hear the gospel. He knows the process that each need to go through before they can accept his gospel. He is with us in everything we do. It’s hard to see sometimes because we think we’re acting on the spirit and nothing turns up. I am far from having all the answers. I just know that we need to keep having faith because that is the only way we will succeed.

There’s going to be a baptism this Sunday. He’s the dad of a part member family that the zone leaders have been working with. I’m just really excited to be able to invite everyone to the baptism.

I am going to have a baptismal date within the next few weeks. I don’t know who it is yet, but we are going to get a baptismal date soon. There are a couple of never-ending investigators that need to get committed. Italy is going to grow. It will happen!

I love this church. I love that this gospel is one of peace. I love knowing that Heavenly Father cares about each of us. The work will go forth. There are good people all around us. Keep smiling:)

Love,
Aubry

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pirri, Sardinia (Sardegna)--Week 9

Okay, this week. Well, I don’t really know what to say because I just talked to you. Don’t worry, I’ll find things. Medlars! Do you know what a medlar is? So we were at the district president’s house for lunch. As you know a meal with Italians comes in courses. When the fruit course arrived, I saw a type of fruit I had never seen before. I saw the president’s daughter take one, peel it, and eat it. I decided I wanted to do the same. I then debated with myself whether I wanted to ask what type of fruit this was or act like I already knew. Then my companion asked so I decided it was okay to admit that I had never seen it before. They were surprised because they said it could grow in California since we have relatively the same climate. Anyway, the fruit is called nespola. When we got home we decided to look in the dictionary. In English a nespola is a medlar. Thank you dictionary. Anyway, they are really good. They are tangy like an orange, but they resemble an apricot more.

The other day we were in a more impoverished part of town. My companion exclaimed “non e vero.” I looked up and saw that there was part of the cement in the building which had been chiseled so that you could see right into the kitchen. Part of me wanted to take a picture just because it’s so crazy. Well, I didn’t have my camera, but also I thought that if that were me, I wouldn’t want foreigners taking pictures of my messed up home and sending them throughout the world. Anyway, the next time you feel bad, just remember that all of the walls of your home are intact.

If you were wondering why we were in that part of town, I’ll tell you. The elders gave us a referral for a woman who lived in that area. It’s strange. She stood us up when I was with Sorella Mandalà. Then she hung up on an Anziano after he had called. For all intents and purposes, I should have given up, but I told Sorella Hansen about her and we decided to give her another chance. However, she stood us up two more times. After the second with Sorella Hansen, Sorella Hansen looked at other buildings around the area and decided that there was a future investigator there. I think she’s right. I think the reason I didn’t want to give up on her was so that I could lead Sorella Hansen to that area and we could both decide that we need to do a house there. So that’s the plan.

Oh, how often do you talk with the Heidorns? Miles Heidorn served in Quartu! Okay, a little story. Once upon a time there was a branch in Cagliari and a branch in Quartu. Then one day they closed down the branch in Quartu and the missionaries in Cagliari worked in both areas. Anyway, true story: I have schedas with Elder Heidorn’s name on it. And there’s an inactive sister in our branch who remembers him and I think is his friend on facebook. She asked me if he was married to an Italian. I have no idea, I never knew him that well. Anyway, if you happen to see him, ask if there’s anyone he wants me to say hi to. And also ask him which other cities he served.

Today we had a meeting for a service we’re gonna start on. Yes, I’m well aware of the fact that this meeting occurred on my P-day. And the ward has asked us to help clean the church later today also during our P-day hours. I get to make up the hours later, but I honestly am not sure when we’re gonna have time to make up hours. The times we are the most free are when we will be on an exchange with the sisters from Sassari. Why do they have to come this week? I blame our capi zone. Sorry, I know why they’re coming this week. It’s because this Sunday we have District Conference, so they’re coming down anyway. District Conference is like Stake Conference except with branches instead of wards. It’s all good though. We will find time to do everything and we will find things do while we are on our exchanges.

Life is great. I’m doing well. Only two people showed up to our English class yesterday. It seems our class keeps getting smaller. However, the two that came are rocks. I’m pretty sure they’ll keep coming. Hopefully more people come, but if not we’ll have a blast the four of us and these two students will learn English well!

I think that’s all I wanted to say. We’re going to have a baptism date by the end of the transfer. No, we don’t have anyone in mind yet, but it’s going to happen. It so is going to happen. We just need to find this person.

Love,
Aubry

Monday, May 11, 2009

Pirri, Sardinia (Sardegna)--Week 8

Oh, that’s right, if I forget to say anything to you, I can just wait to tell you on Sunday. Breathe, yes! The pressure is off. Okay, so Sunday I will be calling at about 7:30pm here in Italy. That is 10:30 am your time. I repeat, I am calling home at 10:30am. Be ready. Yes, you are still 9 hours behind us. Italy does Daylight Savings also. I remember that week, and the depression of losing an hour. Groan. Anyway, it’s kind of funny. My companion is calling her family in Utah the hour before me, so we’re both calling home at 10:30. Isn’t that cool? Anyway, I think this district is not going to be as relaxed as my last district. The rule is 45 minutes and I’m pretty sure we’ll have to stick to that. There is a hope of trying to get two phones running. If that is a success, then I might call earlier. As it is, I’m the last person to call. Thanks for living in California and having church later in the day. It made it easy for me. I told them I could call from 4 to 9. I’m pretty sure I’ll be the one buying the phone card and we’ll just use my phone card. I’ll have to call from the church. Anyway, be flexible, but as of right now plan on 10:30.

The week! The week has actually gone pretty well. We have had a lot of appointments. And we have more appointments this week. Sorella Hansen is great and talks to everyone. It’s good because it motivates me to talk to more people. Ooh, story time. So yesterday I sat next to a girl on the bus. She was listening to music and studying. I decided it wasn’t a good time to distract her. She finished studying and just sat there listening to music. I turned to her and asked if she had an exam. She didn’t flinch at all and didn’t even acknowledge my presence. I was going to turn around with hurt and failure, but then I noticed a little girl behind me with her face pressed up against the seat. I said “Ciao” and that started a conversation with her and her mom. Well, it didn’t lead to the gospel like it should have, but that little girl made my day. I couldn’t stop thinking about her all the time. And I did tell her I was a missionary, so at least her mom now has seen a good impression of our church. I hope the next time she meets missionaries she will want to learn more. And I am sorry that I didn’t twist the conversation like I should have.

Today we hiked Devil’s Saddle as a district for our P-day activity. I would be more than willing to do it again with you when you come to Cagliari…if we can…that’s a year away. I should stop worrying about that. Anyway, I’m a bit tired and can’t think of what has happened this week. But my endorphins are running and I am happy. We kind of got lost on the mountain or something. We ended up following Anziano Sponseller through not-so-paved paths. But we all made it alive…even though I still think it would have been easier if we had just make a sled and ridden down the mountain instead of trotting and falling down it. It was a lot of fun. And it was beautiful! Oh, Devil’s Saddle is a mountain that looks like a horse’s saddle.

The other week, the anziani asked about worm cheese to be eaten at zone conference. It feels like I’ve already told you this, but in case I haven’t, I’ll just tell you now. Anyway, we won’t be able to eat worm cheese because it’s not the right season. All of the worms are dead. Some of the anziani have had some of the cheese without the worms, but one said he didn’t like it very much. Anyway, so I don’t know if I’ll get to try some without the worms, but apparently I just have to wait about two months for the worms to get into season. I can totally stay here in Sardegna another transfer.

Do you realize I’ve gotten a new companion every transfer? It’s time for me to have two transfers in a row without a change. Do you think it’s possible? People also call me fortunate because I’ve already had two Italian companions. I told Sorella Hansen that one of my biggest fears was training an Italian. She seemed to think it would be incredible if I had another Italian because some sisters don’t even get to serve with one. Yes, but most sisters don’t fear serving with Italians and thus there’s the difference! But I’m not afraid. Not anymore at least.

I can’t remember if there was any part of the voyage that I wanted to tell you and forgot. We traveled just the two of us. We made it safely. Oh! We did a J-Dub scambi. Way back when we arrived in Civitavechia (after the boat ride to the mainland) two of the anziani and Sorella Mandalà didn’t want to travel to Rome and then retravel to Livorno. So those three decided to set out directly for Livorno (where Sorella Mandalà would meet her companion) which left me with Anziano Manwaring. So I traveled from Civitavechia to Rome with Anziano Manwaring. I don’t know if the people knew what they were doing when they okayed this plan, but oh well. The rule is that sisters don’t travel by themselves, but elders can occasionally.

Carmine started smoking again. He used the excuse that it was because Sorella Mandalà left. It’s just an excuse though, because I kept calling him after Sorella Mandalà left. If he really started again because she wasn’t here, then I’d bet he only stopped because he wanted to satisfy her but only intended on quitting for the short term. It’s sad. I don’t really know what to do honestly.

Pictures…sorry…you’ll just have to wait because I have no idea when I’ll be able to get pictures to you. I’m sorry. Oh, and way back earlier when I said J-Dub scambi, scambi means exchange. So whenever we split up so there is one elder and one sister or something awkward like that (2 elders one sister, 2 sisters one elder etc.) we call it a J-Dub Scambi.

Mama mia I am tired. Oh, I’m red! That’s what I get for going hiking without sunblock. Welp, this will be a fun week.

No, the swine flu has not hit Italy as far as I know. I do have a testimony of garlic, but I probably won’t open myself to ridicule until I actually feel sick and need it. However, I felt really informed because you told me about that school in Sacramento getting closed. There’s an elder here who has lived in Mexico but is more recently from Arizona and his parents haven’t really told him anything about it.

I love people. Okay, I’ll talk to you on Sunday because I’m too tired to think of anything else exciting that has happened. May 1st we missed the great celebration because we had an appointment. But then the lady didn’t open the door, and when we called later she said her cittofono has problems and she doesn’t like answering the phone if she doesn’t know who it is. So why doesn’t she put us in her phone? Boh! We have an appointment tonight with her. If she doesn’t answer us again, this will be the third strike and we’ll figure she really isn’t interested…which will be sad because the elders that found her said she’s really cool.

Well, I love you. Thanks for all you do. We have zone conference tomorrow, so Sunday I can tell you if I received any packages. Keep smiling:)

Love,
Aubry