Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Pescara--Week 2

First off, I would like to apologize for panicking. Do you want to know what happened? All of the new letters got transferred here, so they weren't in my old account. Then in this account they weren't marked as new. So they didn't stand out and I thought I got nothing. Welp, I'm just a little slow. Unfortunately, I spent a lot of time pouting and working with photos that now I don't have a lot of time. Well, my current companion isn't done yet, so maybe I can take more time. Hee hee.

MY address.

Sorella Aubry Bjarnason
Viale Marconi 316
65100 Pescara
Italy

I think it's really cool that Dad is speaking in the 2nd Ward. I love my family. I think we are all so great.

Pescara is wayyyyy different than Rome. It's smaller. There's no metro. And it's by the sea. It's more like Livorno than anything else. However, from what I understand, the billboards are worse. Don't get me wrong, there's horrible billboards in all of Italy. But apparently Pescara takes it one step further.

The other day we had an exciting moment as they changed a poster by the bus stop. I was curious as to what the next thing would be. Then my companion said, "What kind of pornography will they put up?" That's when I remembered that we were in Italy. We both held our breaths to see. A car! Safe! It was an advertisement for a car. This week our eyes and hearts are safe. There's one poster that I really like. It advertises a perfume called Eternity, and there's a picture of a family. I just want to put something about our church right next to it, but I don't think I can.

My world completely changed this week. I hope I have enough time to tell the story. We start Sunday. Sunday was good. An investigator and his inactive wife came to church. Unfortunately we didn't have time to talk to them. Then there was an old investigator who Sorella Ritter didn't know who said she wanted us to come over to resolve her doubts. I think she's preparing herself to get baptized.

Then Monday came. (Monday was what changed my world). Our district leader forgot to tell us that the zone leaders were coming to our DDM. Well, we found it out when we saw then waiting in front of our church. Anyway, they had been instructed by two general authorities on this new way to start teaching people. It's amazing! It comes from Preach My Gospel! So why haven't we been using it? Well, I always thought that because Italy's culture was different that we just let stuff slide. No! It's so amazing! I wish they had come out with this approach much sooner. It would have helped with so many investigators. Anyway, so this approach is bold. You tell the people directly why you are there. And you bring up baptism the first night. It's great!

Then our ZLs decide to make a competition this week between the districts. I don't like competitions. They don't motivate me. However, I realized that I needed to take this competition as an opportunity to give it all I got.

We were originally excited because we had an appointment Monday night with a potential family. And we were going to use this approach and it was going to be beautiful. Well, we went, and the wife wasn't there. And all of a sudden the husband seemed less interested. We were torn to pieces. Day one and we had nothing! But, on our way home, we got a phone call from Lorella. "Who's Lorella?" I ask Sorella Ritter. "I don't know." So I answered.

"Hi I speak English," she says. "The sisters used to come all the time. I don't know why they stopped." "Can we come tomorrow?" Sorella Ritter mentioned a red flag dinging at the name of Lorella, so I searched for her scheda. Dun dun dun. Lorella loves to talk. The missionaries stopped going there because they could never talk about the gospel. Apparently Sorella Crandall had told Sister Ritter, "Don't answer the phone because you will love her but she won't let you teach her." Welp, it was an appointment and we were desperate. I was scared out of my mind, but I was determined to go. (Scared because I am not that great at taking control of a conversation).

First thing she says, "Yeah, my family is worried that I'm changing religions. But I'm not changing religions. I've told all the girls, I don't want to change. I just like to talk to you." Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. But I didn't let the panic show. Just kept going. Go through the steps. Step one, set up the atmosphere. Step 2 pray. Step 3 ask questions to get to know what they expect from your visits...etc. and like this I went on. There were a couple of times that I wanted to skip steps because I thought that they would be awkward. However, thanks to the competition, I didn't. We needed points, and we could only get the points if we did every step. Step 7 talk about baptism. And so we did. And do you know what she said. "I am a grown woman, if I want to change religions, I can." She changed. In one lesson she changed. She now has a different view of what these "girls" are. Oh my goodness I am such a different missionary than I was a week ago. And the future is bright.

Well, I should get going. I love you so much. Thank you so much for all you have done for me. Keep smiling:)

Love,
Aubry

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pescara--Week 1

Transfers happened Thursday. Thus, I am writing from Pescara. Address! Well...my address is

Viale Marconi 316

I don't have the area code though. Which means I will look for it.

To get to Pescara, we take a bus. Apparently usually it takes 3 hours. With traffic it can be 4 hours, and occasionally people have gotten there in 2 and a half. It's a nice bus ride. It costs 15 euro though. I guess that's less than if you want to go to Sardegna. The boat ride can be over 200 euro during the summer. Summer just isn't the time to do tours in Italy. Oh well, we do what we can.

Oh, we don't have dryers here in Italy. I never watch my clothes go around in the dryer. In fact, we have a washing machine in our apartment. So we do our laundry during the week because it has to be done while we're home (ie studies, lunch, planning), and there's only one so it wouldn't make sense for us to spend our whole P-day washing clothes. It's how we do it in Italy.

Okay, miracle of the week. I was on the bus, fresh new in Pescara. I see a guy sitting down in a chair. He has earrings in diverse places and seems like the opposite type of guy that would be interested in the gospel. So, yeah, probably not the type of person I should talk to. But, I notice that he's kind of looking at me out of the corner of his eye, and I'm looking at him out of the corner of my eye. I get the feeling he wants to talk to me, and I want to talk to him, but I don't know what to say. And at some point he realizes that I'm not going to talk to him. So he becomes inspired to read a pamphlet. First, I think, oh he's reading. It's better not to talk to him. Then I realize what he's reading: religious material from a different religion. Oh, he really DOES want to talk to me.

"You like religious stuff," I said thinking I could offer him something way better. "Yeah," he replies, unsure, and then continues, "Where's your church?" So I gave him a pamphlet with our address and ask for his number to give to the elders. (I still didn't trust him at this point). But yeah, he gave me his number and address, fully knowing I was going to give it to the elders.

He didn't go to church because of work. However, the elders met with him on Monday. From what I understand it went well. They told him that they teach to baptize. He told them that he was searching for the truth, and if he gets an answer, he will get baptized.

I saw him again on the bus today. He told me he met with the elders, and he'll meet them again on Friday. His name's Eddy, and he's from Brazil. He'll get baptized.

And...well...as far as OUR work goes...don't worry. We'll find people. This is going to be a great transfer. Tonight we're going to do a repass of family that Sorella Ritter and her companion found before I got here. It's a family, they're going to get baptized. Don't you worry.

Welp, gotta go. I love you so much. Keep smiling:)

Love,
Aubry

Monday, February 15, 2010

Rome-- Week 23

Okay, there is way too much that I want to say, and I feel on nerves because…dun da da da…I’m getting transferred. This is a stressful transfer. It’s not a “companion watch me as I pack away my life.” It’s a “Companion let’s race who can be done packing first so that we can start cleaning up our lives so that the church can sell our apartment.” Okay, it’s not exactly like that…but you get the point.

I think when I left Livorno, I called a few people and then we spent most of our P-day satisfying Sorella Barbiere’s desires. When I left Cagliari, once again I tried to call a few investigators, and that’s it. Here in Rome…it’s a little more intense. There are more members that I’m attached to. There are more investigators that care. Well, and there’s the fact that the investigators have to switch to Elders. So there’s a lot of systematizing that has to happen.

I’m going to Pescara and Sorella Tramacchi is going to Prato. My new companion will be Sorella Ritter. She served in Ladispoli when I first came to Rome. Ladispoli is in the Rome 1 district, so I know her really well. We’re going to have a blast.

First person I called: Marco Antonio. Then he called Monica and apparently she cried. If you want a person to pray for, pray for Monica Quispe Llatas. Monica is going through a rough time. She runs from work to work to work. In a normal day she leaves the house at 7, comes home for a half hour at lunch, and then a half hour around 8:30, and then comes home maybe around 2ish. She only works half day on Saturday, and Sunday really is her day of rest. She’s the Primary president and last Sunday was…I don’t really want to talk about it. Marco Antonio has said he won’t come to church ever again, and he only came last Sunday to chew people out. And now he’s trying to convince Monica to drop her calling. He jokes about starting his own church. And now they are losing the sisters from their ward. I give you permission to pray for her.

There’s a lot about this week. Right now I can’t think. I had a good birthday and I ruined a lot of the surprises people made for me. First, my companion set up an appointment with a member. But I told her to set up an appointment with an investigator. So she had to cancel the one with the member, and we rescheduled for Saturday. Then Marco Antonio wanted to meet with us Saturday, but we couldn’t. Then Sunday, but we couldn’t because of another appointment. Now that we’re leaving, today he and Monica took us and the elders that are leaving to a Chinese Restaurant.

We had English class on my birthday. A student made me a cake. I told him to wait until the end so that we could share with everyone. Then my district leader told me to tell him to keep it short because they had a surprise for me for after the English class left. They bought me pizza.

Welp, I keep telling everyone that I’m coming back in the summer. So, it’s settled. A lot of people have asked that I go to find them. So, I think when you come, we won’t have time to see anything. We’ll just go from one meal to the next to the next. Italians don’t let you say no. And they don’t let you just pass by. If you stop by, they have to give you something.

Oh, and about the ecard. Maybe I'll watch it next week. Right now I don't feel up to it. It got sent to me again because I never looked at it.

Welp, I’m a nervous wreck. It’s so weird getting blown out. If I survive until next week then I can survive through anything. Anzi, it’s tonight I’m worried most about. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh! Okay, pray for me. Keep smiling:)

Love,
Aubry

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Rome-- Week 22

Today is Wednesday. I had to go get my fingerprints for my permesso di sogiorno. The place we were supposed to go was pretty much on the opposite side of Rome in the middle of nowhere. My appointment was at 8:30. We decided to wake up at 6 and be out the door by 6:30. Unfortunately, I realized last night that I still hadn't got everything I needed. I needed four photos and photocopies of a few things.

I didn't sleep well last night because I was so nervous of getting there on time. Plan: take the metro, switch metros, then take a train. Well, this is what actually happened. I woke up and thought that maybe there would be a photo booth at a certain metro stop, not the one closest to us. So we began with a bus. Fortunately for me there was a photo booth. I got my photos and we took the metro and then the other metro. However, when we got to the train station we realized we had just missed the only train that would get me to the Questura before my appointment. Recalculate. So we took a bus and then another bus and then we walked. What about the photocopies? They weren't even needed.

Both the ladies I talked to looked at me puzzled because I was getting a permesso di sogiorno for only the end of March. Welp, we do what we can to remain legal. I hope I get it before I go home. They say it could be done within a month.

Did you hear two missionaries died in Romania. There are Romanians in our ward who are pretty sad about that. There was a missionary who served in Romania who was on tour with his parents in our ward Sunday. The Romanians in our ward were so happy to be able to see a missionary who spoke their language. It was kind of cool.

I already sent you the stuff about Italy becoming two missions. Some people who are currently serving in the Rome mission will end up getting changed into the Milan mission. Could you imagine getting transferred into a different mission? Strange. Of course, it doesn't affect me. It just means when we go to visit Livorno, we'll be in a different mission.

Marco Antonio might lose his job. I don't know what will happen. I don't know if they'll end up going back to Peru. They're permesso di sogiorno expires soon and I know Monica wants to go back. I hope you get to meet them.

Last big news is Cristina. Cristina is currently engaged to the bishop's son. The bishop's son is currently inactive and not obeying the commandments. Cristina has already heard a bunch of the discussions from the missionaries up north. (She's from the north). Now she wants to get baptized and she wants to help the bishop's son change his life. His name's Mauro.

Apparently Mauro had a girlfriend in the past who he introduced to the gospel. She joined and then left him for someone who actually lived the gospel. However, if Cristina tried to do the same thing, he would be more distraught. So, everyone thinks that she will be the key to get him reactivated. She's doing her part. She's so great. She wants to get married in the church. Being close to the Salerno family, she knows a lot of the commandments already and has already committed herself to live them.

Yesterday we asked her to start thinking about a baptismal date. She said she's just waiting to go through all the lessons so that she knows all she needs to. We explained that that won't take very long. So the question is is she ready to be baptized now? Or does she want to wait for Mauro to get his act in order so he can baptize her. She's no dummy. If he doesn't come around, she'll get baptized for herself. I have every confidence that when she names the date, it will be the best date for her and her family. She said she'll pray and tell us at our next appointment, next Tuesday. From our end, it's happening rather quickly. We met her a week ago last Sunday. But she is prepared. She's amazing and wants what's best.

That's all my big news. Keep smiling:)

Love,
Aubry