Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Pirri, Sardinia (Sardegna)--Week 24--Last Week

WALTER HAS A BAPTISMAL DATE!!!!! Last Friday I asked him if he was ready to set a date. He said maybe after watching General Conference. (We had planned to watch an old episode of General Conference Saturday night). He loved General Conference and enjoyed hearing the prophets words. Afterwords, I saw him talking to my companion. I could tell she was frustrated, and I wondered if maybe he was saying that he wasn't ready to set a date. So I entered the conversation and gave my bit of not waiting. After he left, I found out that he had decided on a date. He had decided on October 31st. Sorella Hansen wanted a date sooner. I probably would have sided with Walter if it weren't for the fact that his reasoning was messed up. He misunderstood the repentance process, and I felt like it was our job to clearly explain that he doesn't have to suffer for two months to be ready for baptism.

Sunday we had a lesson with him, his cousin Paolo, the Elders, and a new convert of two months, Giovanni. We retaught a third lesson emphasizing repentance and baptism. Elder Smith gave the baptismal invite for both of them, September 12th. You could tell Walter wasn't the happiest about the date, but he accepted it without argument. Paolo's reaction, “eh, okay.” I think Paolo only knows that if Walter is doing it, it must be something worth doing. He's great, but he doesn't think things through as thoroughly as Walter does.

Monday Walter told us a little more about his family situation. At least it sounds like he talks to his family every day...except I think that consists of his parents telling him how displeased they are with him. By becoming a member of our church he risks losing all his friends and possibly even his family. Right now he works for his dad. He said it is possible for him to lose his job when he becomes a member. I'm sad for him, but I don't think this will deter him. He is determined to keep moving forward.

We also had a great lesson with Enrica in church. She has changed a lot. Our first meeting she mentioned how we were a strict religion that did not allow smoking and drinking. This last time she said that there are many people who think they are free, but they aren't free. She looked at us and said we were more free. There's a new light in her eyes. She liked the church and how simple it was. I love Enrica! She is so great.

And our marching orders have arrived. Exactly what I predicted has happened. We got a baptismal date with Walter, and I'm getting transferred. My train leaves at 4:40. I'll go to Olbia and take the Olbia boat to Civitavecchia. And where am I headed from there? I want you to take a few seconds to guess. Remember, I'm in the Italy Rome Mission. Hey, I'll even write out all the choices, Sassari (but that's also on the island so you know it's not that). La Spezia, Prato, Pistoia, Firenze, Pescara, Rome 1, Rome 2, or Rome 3. Well, if you guessed Rome you're right. I'm going to Rome1! That's the WARD with the Vatican. Yeah, that's right, I'm going to a ward, not a branch. I'm also turning senior companion to Sister Swenson. Sister Swenson is in the same group as Sorella Hansen which means she has one transfer less than me and that we knew each other in the MTC. She's great. Sorella Hansen keeps saying I scored. She just came from Rome 1 and has already given me assignments.

Random note: I came to the mission with two watches and an alarm clock. Both watch bands are currently broken and the battery in the alarm clock has seemed to explode. Coincidence that this happens the transfer before I go senior. “Um, what time is it again?”

Another random note. The cost for the boat ride is 215.58 euro. I don't know if it's more expensive because it's from Olbia or if it inflated, or if it's just because it's tourist season. August is the month when everyone in Italy goes on vacation. That could have something to do with it, too. Still, that's a bit much. Oh, and Walter says that when I return he'll take us on a tour of Sardegna (I asked if this offer includes my parents, and he said yes). Dad you could probably try to talk to him because from what I understand, the dialect in Sardo is very close to Spanish. When you come, I really want you to try to talk to people. It will be awkward because I don't understand Sardo per nente, but if you can talk to them, that will be cool.

Okay, the queasiness in my stomach is mounting. I'm going to Rome! I'm going to get so lost! Pray that I'll know how to talk to priests and nuns because I am downright positive that I'm going to see a lot of them.

Oh, another story! Sunday we were doing chalk. I wanted to talk to someone, but no one wanted to talk to me. Finally a couple stopped and looked at our drawing. I started to explain, and they said they knew a little already. The man started talking about how it makes sense for there to be one right religion. I was excited. The things he was saying were true! He was golden! Then they said, “We're Jehovah's Witnesses.” I think a bullet hit my stomach. In the end, I wish I would have born my testimony more, but at the same time I think it all went well enough. They were nice. The man gave an analogy about how if there's two hundred meters, instead of everyone guessing, they should take a meter stick and measure it. He then said the measuring stick was the Bible. I let him talk it all through, and when he was done, I calmly told him we had another measuring stick. The wife asked, “Is it the Bible?” “It's the Holy Ghost.” Then they changed the subject. In the end they were really nice. I hope they found that we Mormons can be nice, too. I told them how people always ask if we're Jehovah's Witnesses, and they got a kick out of that. No one here likes Jehovah's Witnesses. Well, I didn't tell them that part.

Welp, I love you. Good luck with school. Pray for me in Rome. I'm a little more than nervous. Yesterday I asked for a blessing from my district leader. It was very sweet and simple. I just need to keep moving forward. Thanks for everything. Keep smiling:)

Love,
Aubry

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Pirri, Sardinia (Sardegna)--Week 23

No one has talked about us getting flu shots. The Swine Flu never really broke out over here.

I don’t really know what to say about Walter. This morning he sent us a message (in Italian obviously) “Good Morning Sisters now I know….Amen”. Sorella Hansen called him back. He’s talked to his family about the path he’s on. They are not happy. He was feeling discouraged and opened the Book of Mormon. He felt the spirit in strong dosage. He felt the need to have faith and to repent. Those are the first two principles of the gospel.

I don’t know how to describe him before now. He seems to understand things well, but then he says he wants more time. We had a great lesson with a member. At the end he said he realized one thing; he doesn’t want to get baptized for a while. Of all the things to learn, I didn’t think that was one of them, but to each his own.

Good news though! Paolo, Walter’s cousin, told Anziano Smith that he was getting baptized with Walter. (Anziano Smith has been working with Paolo). When Paolo came up, we asked, “So you’re gonna get baptized.” “Yes, when I’m prepared.” He cracks me up. I honestly want him to meet Leon. I think he and Leon would be best friends…if they spoke the same language. Tell Leon he needs to learn Italian.

Paolo keeps asking how long after baptism he has to wait until he can become a missionary. I tried to tell him once that he was too old, but he didn’t seem to accept that answer. It was funny, we were doing chalk. None of the missionaries was around the chalk though, but Paolo was. Some men walked by and Paolo shouts out, “Do you want to know what it means?” The men just looked at him and then walked away. Paolo is great.

Did I ever tell you about Enrica? We met her doing house. When we tried to repass, she was never at home. Finally, the day that we decided if she wasn’t home we’d give up, she WAS home. The lesson went well, but we couldn’t make our return appointment. Then it was hard to get hold of her. Well, this week we did! We had a great lesson. We tried to give her a Book of Mormon, and she said she didn’t want to take it. Finally she agreed to read the chapter, and then she’d give the Book of Mormon back to us at our next meeting. I was terrified. I knew that she was fragile, but we had to follow the spirit with her.

When we were planning on what to teach, we both had a blank in our minds. We didn’t feel like the second lesson was right. Finally, after we suggested a few ideas, Sorella Hansen asked if we could say a prayer. Before we had prayed, Sorella Hansen had shown me a list of chapters in the Book of Mormon that talk about the Savior. While we were praying, one of the chapters, Alma 36, came clearly in my mind. We decided to do our lesson on the Atonement. I don’t know that Alma 36 was as much the answer as what it led to, a lesson on the Atonement. Our first question was “What do you feel like your relationship is with Jesus Christ?” She looked at us puzzled and couldn't answer. “Do you believe in Jesus Christ?” I asked, hoping to get an easy answer to help her along. “Do you believe he existed?” She couldn’t answer. She said she was so confused, she couldn’t answer either way.

During the lesson, there came a time when Sorella Hansen started saying things that I wouldn’t have, but as soon as she said them, I knew it was what Enrica needed to hear. The words were too bold. “You do have faith because you are talking to us right now. You read some of the Book of Mormon. You may not realize it, but you do have faith.” Enrica is so confused, it’s obvious. But as we speak, she smiles and there is light in her eyes. At the end she said that we didn’t always have to go to her house. She could come to us some time. We set up an appointment in the church. Sadly to say, she couldn’t make it. However, I am excited for when she enters the church. She will feel the spirit. She made the comment about the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church. The buildings are great and spacious, but people can worship somewhere as simple as a home. She needs to come inside our building.

After the lesson, Sorella Hansen talked to me about the words she said. She said when she was done speaking, she recognized that she had talked for a while, but she didn’t remember what she had said. She said there was even a point where she felt clearly that she needed to stop and let her companion (me) speak. It was just a different experience. We knew what we did was right. We knew we had followed the spirit.

There is one elder who is going through a rough time. Sunday, President Espis called all us missionaries into his office. He wanted to tell us thank you for all the work we were doing. Our district leader wrote a letter to him saying we were willing to help out in any way possible. At the end of his thank you, President Espis turned to this elder who was having a rough time. He said, “We need you.” That just hit me so much. He could have said something like, “Is there anything we can do for you.” That’s what we’ve been trying to tell the missionary. Instead he pointed out that we need him. It made me think about the importance of needing people.

I once idolized the people who faced trouble all alone. They are so strong, I thought. Now I see things in a different light. Christ suffered alone so that we don’t have to. When we suffer all alone, we are depriving others of the opportunity to serve us. And how important is it to feel like someone needed you. When you walk around feeling like you just take up space, the space you take up feels like an emptiness in your soul. When one person serves another, they both feel loved and love for the other. Service serves both parties.

So here is my invite for the week. Let someone serve you this week. Let someone feel needed. Obviously there’s a balance. People shouldn’t walk around insisting that everyone serve them. The Kingdom of Heaven is made up of servants. An example of what you can do is call up someone who you think feels lonely. When you feel lonely, tell them that and ask if they will talk to you. I don’t know, maybe you can think of something better. It was just an idea.

Keep smiling:)

Love,
Aubry

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Pirri, Sardinia (Sardegna)--Week 22

I love your letters!! I am actually kind of amused that someone crashed into our tree. I can hear Leon's voice saying, "It's crying." And then I can see his sad face moping in what looks like a half smile but really isn't. I love Leon. Yeah, I feel bad for those teenagers. Hopefully they can get a taste of the repentance process and realized that there are things more important in their lives.

Lets see, in Jesus the Christ, I just read about the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. I feel like I'm cruising through it even if it is taking me more than a transfer to read it. I keep telling myself that I can only read it for a half hour and then I have to spend a half hour on other things like Preach my Gospel or the scriptures. However, I usually spend more like 40-45 minutes on Jesus the Christ. I love it.

I remember having the lesson in Relief Society about the Wentworth letter, but I have to admit to not paying attention very well. It's hard for me to focus in church sometimes. There are a thousand of things running through my mind so when I know that I don't have to comment, I let the Italian fly over my head. I need to do better.

This week can be summed up in one word: Walter. What? You don't know who Walter is? Come on, I thought you read every one of my emails. What do you mean I haven't mentioned him before? Reread last week's email, I clearly stated that I had an appointment at 4 on Monday. Why did you not read more into it and understand that that was who I was talking about?

Okay, I'm kidding. I know I sent you a letter last week and kind of described Walter a little, but I don't know if you've gotten it yet. Contact with Walter: Monday- appointment, we taught the first lesson. Tuesday: English class, of course Walter shows up. Wednesday: no contact. Thursday-appointment, we taught the 2nd. Friday- met in park and read 3Nephi 11 with him and his cousin. Saturday- Branch activity, Walter comes. Sunday- church and mostra later in the evening, Walter comes to both. Monday- lesson with Walter, we taught 3rd and invited to be baptized. Tuesday (yesterday)- English class and appointment before where we taught Pray always, Word of Wisdom and Law of Chastity. During that time we only saw two other investigators. We had lunch with Pino and Clara with some members. However, the members told us not to do a lesson. We had planned a spiritual thought, but they didn't give us time to share it. So really, our work has just been with Walter lately.

Okay, about the baptismal invite- we actually gave a soft invite last Thursday "When you know these things to be true, will you be baptized?" Looking back, he never really said yes, but he never said no. The answer yes was just written in his face. He already sees himself as one day becoming a member, but he wants to take his time. My companion and I wanted to set the date for August 22. However, from the beginning I didn't really like the date. See, I like it because it means he'll get baptized the Saturday before transfers. I don't like it because I feel like it's too soon and I don't want him to get baptized for us instead of for himself. When I brought this up to my companion, she said things like, "Well, he shouldn't wait. He knows it's true. He can do it." So now I'm torn between setting a date I feel is more for us than for him and being accused of having no faith.

When the day arrived, I didn't want to be the one to ask him. He has a better relationship with my companion. The lesson ended and my companion was bearing testimony. I figured I could bear testimony after her and throw the attention back to her to ask for the date. No, our member helped decide by interrupting my companion's testimony and introducing Mosiah 18. Fratello Lloyd, who's thankfully American and doesn't speak Italian, tried to give the invite himself. My companion looked at me and motioned for me to ask Walter. I tried to tell her that she could do it, but she didn't act. It's better that the invite comes from the missionaries, so I asked him. His face dropped when he heard the date.

He would have to be interviewed this weekend, and we haven't taught everything yet. We asked for a date, but we can't rush this. Walter is amazing. He will be baptized, I know he will, but I don't know if I will be here when he does. The end of the transfer is officially August 30, but transfers happen on the 27th, which means if I get transferred, I will leave the 26th. However, I won't know for two weeks, so I can't tell when it will be.

Today we have interviews with president. I am excited. I feel bad right now. I don't really have a reason. I'm trying, I haven't given up. I love Cagliari with all my heart, but I'm ready for a change. I've done two and a half transfers with the same companion. I love her, but I need change.

I really just want to set a date with Walter, a firm date that I believe he can do, and that he believes he can do, and then I want to leave. But, as always, I'll do what I'm asked to do. If I am asked to stay here more, I'll search for the energy to keep going. If I am asked to do a fourth with Sorella Hansen, we will go forth.

Satan never sleeps. I feel like Walter is progressing so quickly that all the devils are trying to beat upon me so that the work will stop. I wonder what they're doing to Walter. Oh, I already know. They are telling him he doesn't have time to read the scriptures or to pray. Those are simple things we can do to always stay near our Savior. And he won't forsake us.

Saturday is Festa di Lovoro. That's what we missionaries call the day that we stay inside and clean the apartment. August 15th is an actual holiday here in Italy, but I don't know what it is. From what I understand, nothing will be open anyway. That's why we stay inside and clean. Ooh, that's another thing that is fun about Italy. The month of August is so interesting because EVERYONE goes on holiday this month. These couple of weeks are when everyone goes on vacation. Thank goodness this internet place is still open:)

Well, I can't think of anything else to say.

Love,
Aubry

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Pirri, Sardinia (Sardegna)--Week 21

Editor's Note: Because I was on vacation, I missed sending a couple of letters. Hopefully, I am caught up now!! Enjoy!! (Kate)

August 5, 2009:

Well, this was not a boring week. Let’s see, last week I emailed late on Thursday morning, so let’s start Thursday afternoon. We decided to try Enrica one more time. We were doing house in her area two weeks ago. She answered and said we could come back. She just looked so sincere so we didn’t want to give up on her. However, we had already tried her again ten thousand times and she was never home. We decided that maybe we would give up if she wasn’t there. So we knocked. Her dad answered. He answered the last time to say she wasn’t there. This time he said she was home and asked us to come inside. So we sat down and he went to get her. He came back to say she’ll be a few minutes. Secretly I was hoping that she really did have an interest and that she wasn’t going to come down just to shoo us away. In the meantime, her dad started showing us pictures of the family. How cool! I cringed when I saw the picture of her sister’s baby’s baptism. Uh-oh. Catholic. Well, Enrica did come down. She was interested. She told us the things she did not like about the Catholic church and we explained how our church was different. She’s so great. Unfortunately she’s a bit hard to get a hold of so we haven’t been able to see her again. Still, I am way excited for her.

Then we had zone singing as a zone. Friday was zone conference. Our zone might be the most spread out because it covers all of Sardegna. So it’s easier if everyone comes to Cagliari the night before instead of traveling three to four hours in the morning. So they come in the early evening and we all sing together. If people stop to listen, a missionary breaks away to talk to him\her\them. I do my share of talking to people, but I think somewhere in the preexistence I signed up to talk to all uninterested people so there would be a better chance for others to talk to interested people. It didn’t go badly. Maybe I just need to have more faith. I give away tons of pamphlets, but usually the people aren’t really interested and it’s just my attempt to get truth into their homes.

Then Friday we had an awesome Zone Conference. Afterward, we had a Sister Conference. I guess there’s not enough money to group all the sisters together in Rome. So instead after every Zone Conference, Sorella Acerson gathers the sisters for a Sister Conference. Our Zone has the fewest sisters with only four. (Okay, Napoli is the fewest with none, but of the zones with sisters, our Sister Conference was the smallest). It was cool because it meant we could go get ice cream together and we got more one on one time with Sorella Acerson. She really is amazing. And Sorella Acerson said that she and President were staying in Cagliari until Sunday. So, if we had any appointments, we could invite them. Dun dun dun.

Saturday we had two appointments set up. One was with an older lady not progressing. One was with a 14 year old girl with whom we wanted to set a date. So, we decided to invite Sorella Acerson to the 14 year old girl. That was good anyway because Roberta lives with her dad. We needed a member anyway to be able to get in the house. Now, imagine, you are going to an appointment with the Mission President’s wife. What’s the worse thing that could happen? We got to the door and no one answered. So we called her. She was at a friend’s house and she lost track of the time. She didn’t even try to make the appointment. Her reaction was more like “Sorry you came all the way for nothing.”

I love Sorella Acerson. After Roberta we took Sorella Acerson to another investigator’s house who also wasn’t home. So we tried to track down a referral who also wasn’t home. And so we did house with the mission president’s wife. How many missionaries can say that? Well, none in this mission because Sorella Acerson said it was her first time doing house. She had been in on appointments before, but she had not done house. I love her though! She’s so great. Her Italian is probably marginally better than missionaries when they get out of the MTC, but she doesn’t let that stop her. She tries to talk to everyone. When we were doing house, there was one lady who let us in. Sorella Acerson did probably more talking than I did. She has such a sweet testimony and she will let it be shared. And you could tell that the lady who let us in wanted to hear Sorella Acerson’s words. It was amazing. In the end the lady didn’t want the gospel in her life, but it was a neat experience.

Sunday was good. In the evening we did mostra. Once again, my job is to talk to those who are not interested. There weren’t many people in the square anyway. I was trying to use my time wisely and not talk to old men, but in the end there was no one really to talk to except for old men. There was one in particular who had switched his position so as to face us. I could tell he wanted to talk to one of us. So, I decided to talk to him. Yes, he did want to talk to us. No, he was not elect. He wanted to tell me how stupid I was for believing in God. I felt trapped. I wanted to get out of the conversation, but I couldn’t see a way. So while my companion had a great potential, I got to get bashed at. As an after fact I realized maybe it was an answer to prayer. I’ve been praying for more faith to do this work. I can’t think of a better way to realize you have faith than having to stand for the truth against a modern day Korihor. Nothing he said meant anything to me. He said there’s no proof. I showed him the Book of Mormon. He said the pope doesn’t even believe. Well, it’s a good thing I don’t believe in the pope. He asked why would God allow suffering in the world. Because this life isn’t just about this life. This is just a tiny moment in the spectrum of eternity. Yes there is suffering, but if we endure it well we have eternal glory. His heart wasn’t open and there’s no way I can convince him if he won’t let the Holy Spirit into his heart.

That brings us to Monday. Monday morning we did service with two elders (the other two were in Sassari). Because we didn’t know where we were going, we met up with the elders and took the bus together. The time to get off was approaching. I noticed that my companion was still talking to someone. I figured, “no big deal. I can wait on the bus for her.” Well, the doors opened and Anziano Smith got off. I noticed that his companion Anziano Pace was trying to wrap up his conversation too. By this time, Sorella Hansen also started wrapping up. Somewhere in my mind I figured, “oh, it’s okay to get off. Anziano Smith is waiting for his companion too.” So I got off the bus. As Anziano Smith and I were waiting for our companions, the doors closed. Awkward. And the bus started taking my companion away. I started casually walking with Anziano Smith, but I couldn’t take it anymore. So I ran after the bus. Good news, I never lost sight of the bus. By the time that I just couldn’t run anymore and the bus was almost out of sight, the bus stopped at the bus stop. When I caught up to Sorella Hansen and Anziano Pace, Anziano Pace looked at me and asked, “Where’s my companion?” He apparently did not feel the need to run after the bus. And with reason, it didn’t take us long to meet back up with him. He then commented how he enjoyed his time being alone.

Then we did service all afternoon. The family wanted to feed us lunch, but we had to go because we had an appointment at four. By the time we got home, we had to quickly change back into missionary clothes and go to the appointment. So we decided to eat lunch afterward. We ate lunch about 6:30 That’s about the latest lunch I’ve ever eaten.

Then we have yesterday which really wasn’t all that noteworthy. We played jeopardy for review in English Class. I think everyone had fun, even Michela who came for the first time. What a day to be your first! The day of review!

Anyway, I am way out of time. Keep smiling:)

Love, Aubry

Thursday, July 30th:

First let me gasp in shock. Scott Lemmons and Cameron!!!!! That is so cool! Tomorrow is zone conference. Sorry about yesterday. We got to the computer to write emails home yesterday but myldsmail wasn’t working. After we had thoroughly established this and was on our way out of the internet point, our fearless zone leaders arrived. They had seen us walking this way and tried to call us, but they didn’t have service. So then they tried to track us down (but too late) to tell us that president said to do email at a different time. Oh well. What is fifty cents (which you have to pay for anything less than 10 minutes) to some excitement on the computer…finding out that none of the sites you can visit work aka lds.org.

To summarize the week, I have written a good and bad checklist.

Good: seeing the investigator you’re looking for in a square.
Bad: the investigator seeing you and getting up and walking away.

Good: getting an investigator to church.
Bad: the investigator saying she never wants to come to church again.

Bad: having low numbers for the week.
Good: having numbers that are higher than the previous week.

Good: having members in lessons with you.
Bad: when the member goes on her own subject for an hour before you can begin.

Good: members having trust in the missionaries.
Bad: members tell you every act of sin that happens in the branch.

Bad: having people on the street tell you that the people here just aren’t in our message.
Good: remembering when you first got your call to Italy and realizing that there are people here who are searching and the Lord is preparing people as we speak.

Sorella Jones said something in the MTC that I will never forget. She said, “God would not waste your time and His by sending you to a dead country.” Saturday we did mostra as a district. I just remember coming out of that feeling so down. I talked to a few people, but no one wanted to hear about the gospel. And people made that comment how people here aren’t receptive to hearing about other religions. I started to sink. And then I remembered that I was in Italy. No one can complain when they’re in paradise. Then I remembered how before the mission, people commented that there aren’t a lot of baptisms in Europe and I’m going into the heart of the Catholic church. I didn’t know what to expect, but I expected success. I’ve seen success. From day to day can be challenging, but my faith has not died.

Okay, lighter note…here’s another list of the week. What will men say to get us to enter house or car without a woman present.

Paolo (to come into house): “You’ll offend me.”
I think he had emotional issues so we’ll just let that one go.

Emiliano (to come into house): “I’m a doctor.” That’s great. We still can’t come in. “My friend’s coming.” That’s great. He’s a guy, we need a woman. “We can go to the balcony where everyone can see us.” Yes, but to get to the balcony we have to go into your house, which we can’t do. “Look, my friend is here, now can you come in?” No, he is not a woman. “We’re gay.” That was actually my favorite. Emailiano was talking in English and his friend Alessandro didn’t speak English. Alessandro smiled, but I don’t think he had a clue what Emiliano had just said. Emiliano then said, “He doesn’t speak English so we can say whatever we want. He’ll probably look up the word in a half hour.”

Gianni (to get a ride home so that we wouldn’t have to walk home at night): “I have long hair.” No that doesn’t work. “I can talk in a high pitched voice like a girl.” Okay we have to leave now.

I love Italy. Here on Sardegna you have some of the absolutely friendliest people.

One thing I’m learning is that there is a whole level of faith that I have not quite achieved. It’s a faith that brings power. Little by little I’m learning to unlock the door. And as the door opens more and more, more and more blessings poor out.

Keep smiling:)
Love, Aubry

July 22, 2009:

Remember last week when I stressed two years off of my life because we still didn’t know about transfers? Nothing changed in our companionship. I am still with Sorella Hansen and I am still in Cagliari. The zone leaders were waiting for a call. They finally called the assistants to find out that they wouldn’t receive a call. They were to find out via email. I feel bad for our district leader (although I don’t think he’s sad at all). He was here for one transfer, but he was the one who had to pack without any warning. He wanted to leave though, so I won’t have too much pity for him.

Well, it’s a new transfer. As I was thinking about what I wanted to write, I relaxed myself saying I could just review my planner to see what we’ve done this week. However, half of this week was in last transfer, thus I don’t have the right planner with me. Have no fear, I remember a few great things!

Let’s start with Thursday. We planned as a backup plan for service to go to Dolianova. And we ended up doing our backup plan because there wasn’t enough space for us in the bus to go to Anffas. At Dolianova, we did some house and then we wanted to stop by Sergio’s because he doesn’t always answer his phone. We met his brother Luigi who told us that he was in Florence. Then we called Sergio and he answered and told us the same thing.

In Dolianova there are three adult members. There’s an American woman who married an Italian. (The story how they met is actually entertaining. She was studying French and went to France. He spoke French but not English. She decided to invite him home in America for a week. Afterward the only thing to be done was to never see each other again. So they decided to get married. He didn’t speak English and she didn’t speak Italian and she spoke broken French. They lived in America until their kids were a little older and then moved to Italy). Then in Dolianova there is her son and his wife. And they have something like four kids, but they are all really young. And that’s it for active members of the church in Dolianova.

After we left Sergio’s we decided to visit the young Locci family. They were excited to have us over. Missionaries don’t usually do work in Dolianova. They said they were pretty well known and when we’re doing house we can use they’re name. I’m so excited. And, as it turns out, Sorella Locci (who grew up in Dolianova) knows Sergio’s younger brother Luigi! They went to elementary school together.

Afterward we waited for the bus. Okay, so the bus ride from Dolianova to Cagliari is about 45 minutes. The last and only bus that runs in the evening is supposed to stop by Dolianova at about 8:10. So usually getting home works at perfectly. We were at the bus stop pretty close to 8:00. We were totally good. 8:15 came around and I remembered that we usually wait a bit for this bus and I chided myself for being in such a rush to get to the bus stop. 8:20 came around and I thought the bus was a little late. 8:30 came and I started to wonder what we were going to do. What could we do? Shortly after we had left the Locci’s house, Fratello Locci had left for a meeting. Sorella Locci would have to stay alone with the kids until he returned. Was it even probable to ask for a ride? We’re talking a two-way trip for them that could be about an hour and a half. (Looking back maybe not so much because they could probably go faster in car than the bus, but the bus we take for Dolianova actually does go pretty quickly because it doesn’t have many stops in between Cagliari and Dolianova. Boh, I don’t know exactly). I wondered how probable it would be to get permission to spend the night with them if the bus didn’t come or if they would have to take us back no exception. 8:40 struck and my companion started making phone calls. I had two numbers, one for Brother Locci and one for his mom. Well, at this moment Brother Locci couldn’t do anything, so I gave her his mom’s number. It didn’t work. I don’t know if I copied it down wrong or if the number in the directory just isn’t right. So she called the elders to get young Sorella Locci’s number. Our fearless Anziano Stanfield said he would do it as soon as he got home.

And then the miracle happened. There was a girl who we had talked to a little about who was also waiting for the bus. She said her friend was coming to pick her up and she could give us a ride. She said that for her it wasn’t a big deal. The bus didn’t come, she could go home, but she felt badly for us because we didn’t have anywhere to go. Her name is Elisabeth and her friend is Sandra. Who knows where this door will lead. They gave us both their numbers. They seemed interested in English class, but then they couldn’t come yesterday. Well, we’ll see. I still won’t forget the miracle.

Ooh, and to finish the story, when we got home we squilloed the anziani to let them know we were home. Okay, a squillo is when you call someone and you let it ring only once. We do that so that the district knows we are safely home without having to actually use minutes. However, this was Thursday when transfers were happening. Our real district leader was probably still waiting for the boat at that time. Anziano Stanfield saw that we squilloed and called us back to see what we wanted. Then he said, “Oh and I was supposed to get that number for you.” Sorella Hansen then responded, “No, you don’t understand. We’re home now. We don’t need it anymore.” I am so glad that the elders have our back and if we get stranded in another city we can count on their help:)

Of course, miracle rides are growing less rare. Yesterday we were in Frutti D’oro. (I promise, we do do work in Cagliari too, it just seems we like going outside of Cagliari a lot lately). We were trying to find an inactive. Sorella Mandalà had showed me a street and had said Sorella Sacker lived down there. She didn’t tell me the name of the street though. That was over three months ago mind you. However, I decided to trust my memory and go in that area to look for the street. When we went to that area, a person told us the street was actually on the other side of Frutti D’oro. So we had a long walk ahead of us. As we were walking along the freeway, a couple stopped us and offered us a ride (in English). I know the name won’t mean anything to you, but it meant something to me. It was the trainer of Sorella Kenney. It was my grandma in the mission! The guy was just a friend (just thought I’d clarify). Anyway, they drove us right to the street. Well, she didn’t live at the address that was in the ward direction, so now we know we need to find out her address before we try again. See, even though things didn’t turn out how we planned, we still saw miracles and we still keep learning.

Okay, I want to talk a little about our district meeting we had on Monday. I love our district. Right now I’m the person who has been in Cagliari the longest. Everyone that came with me is gone (tear tear). However, I have a lot of hope for this transfer. Anziano Smith, our district leader, is amazing. The thing that strikes me the most is that he’s not your average outgoing missionary. I feel like he’s more like me in that he’s more reserved. However, that doesn’t stop him from doing the work and believing in the work. He talked about faith and how faith was going to lead us to success. I have to point out something he did, but as a preface, I’m not saying that this was good. As he was giving his training, there came a point when he muttered under his breath, “I don’t know what I’m doing.” His saying that really affected me because I knew what he was doing. He was saying the words and following the spirit to bring the district in Cagliari to a level of success. It made me realize just how much we can not doubt ourselves. See, I look at him and his successes and I think “He has nothing to doubt. He can do anything.” Knowing that, I can’t be a hypocrite and not apply that to myself. Satan wants us to doubt ourselves. I think this is Anziano Smith’s first time being district leader. I firmly believe that Cagliari needed him now. We are all slowly growing and improving. I needed to hear his words and so did my companion (I say that only because we’ve talked about it). And with the faith he’s brought here, I firmly believe my mission has changed. It keeps changing, don’t get me wrong. I feel like I keep getting better and better district leaders and districts. We are all improving together. I know it all starts now, but I feel like before I go home I will see Italy differently than when I came. It will start to grow faster and faster.

I didn’t see a lot of investigators since the last email because a lot of them couldn’t make appointments at the last minute and it just didn’t turn out. However, we keep moving forward. I know Cagliari will grow.

We have zone conference next Friday. Keep smiling:)
Love,
Aubry