Friday, December 23, 2011

buon natale di nuovo!

well i am now in my 10th transfer...... my fifth in bari. it was a great week, but i forgot to bring my agenda, so i don't remember everything that happened so i can't do the weekly run down :( saweeee.... (that reminded me of GWAMAAA AWNT MAWIIIII WEW AW YOU?????!!! hahahaha dad!!)
i just remember saturday night was soooo fun. we called our fave investigator daniele and asked if he had plans. he said no so we invited him to come to our ward activity to go and visit at an old folks home. he said he would like to come! daniele is like 60 something, super funny. reminds me a lot of dad actually. anyway so this was kinda his first exposure to the church so we were a little nervous. anyway it went well.... hahaha ok let's just put it this way. he ended up being a taxi for us and slla curci who has alzheimer's who hardly ever leaves the house, and maria pia our investigator who is getting baptized in january who is 74 years old. we were laughing cuz he had to drive us all around the whole city of bari all night and sit in the old folks home with a bunch of people he doesn't know. but the bishop and him totally hit it off. anyway i felt bad and he was like "i'm going to kill you both" hahahaha!!! he is soooo funny. but it was actually all good. he is so good humored. he was very accomadating and i told him that the Lord would bless him for his service to us. anyway, he loves us so much that i don't think we could ever do him wrong. he gave us huge warm scarves for christmas. we are giving him a picture of.... us. and one of the temple hahah
anyway sunday we went to bitonto and i learned some doctrine that will blow your minds. how many wise men were there? and who were they? there are some guesses!! i will let you all know when i get home ;)
this week was a little off because one of the elders in my district went home!! yeah in a bad way..... anyway we are praying for him and his ex companion. it was sad because he got here and then he left within 3 days so..... anyway. pray for him too.
anyway that's about all i can do for today. i am super antsy to talk at you all. 10 am. monday. be there.
thank you for all of your love and support. sorry if my letter is lame today. i am a little internet point trunky. and i am just too excited about christmas!! i am doing great, even though i am chubby. ;) i miss you all, i love you all. i am so grateful for this season to remember my Savoir. the other day we ran into some american JW missionaries. they were like "did you know that Jesus wasnt born on december 25?" i was like "yeah, but i don't there is anything wrong with celebrating the birth of our Savior. whether we do it in april or december, i am happy to do it!" anyway i meant it. i wrote a christmas poem and everything this year! (but its in italian) i will talk to you all on monday.
buon natale!!!

tu sei brutto!!

well it has been another exceptional week. lots of good things happening. i couldn't ask for more. last friday was the ward talent show. i sang last, not because i planned to be the closer, it just happened that way, but it went really well. i sang our old friend "the stars and the moon" and "lullaby" i have them both on video. people liked them both. i dedicated "lullaby" to you, mom, and everyone thought it was so tender. anyway there were probably about 100 people. most non members because one of the members is a music teacher so all his students performed and they had all their families there. it was just really fun.
saturday morning we taught michele about sacrament meeting. it must have done its trick because the next day he came and stayed for all of sacrament meeting. then we worked with the future missionary carmen. then we went home and slla magno called and asked if we had a spare minute that afternoon. i said that we had a spare minnute in 45 minutes. she said ok ok come then! so we went over to her house. as we walked we got the phone call from slla kelly that we were going to be together for another transfer in bari (no big shock there...) when we got there, slla magno said she was gonna give us a treat. so she goes into the kitchen and comes back with two huge mountains of tiramisu (mormon style) it was sooooo good. now keep in mind we had JUST eaten lunch. then we found out why she wanted us to come over--- she wants us to teach her how it play the piano!! hahaha she is 75 years old. she is so cute. then we had to book it cuz we had to catch the bus to go see the costanzo family. i LOVE the costanzos. they have been investigators for a looooong time. we are trying to decided whether we want to focus on them. i am thinking yes. anyway so we read a story with them that's called "you are special" it is soooo great. they also have a special needs son, so it was great. well after the lesson, they were like "ok let's eat a little snack and then we will go" so they pull out a family size bag of potato chips. then a two liter bottle of coke. then a 2 kilo bag of taralli (they are kinda like chips). then a whole bunch of focaccia (which is like a bread pizza hybrid). they said that they didn't want any left overs!!! i was DYING and you guys know i can pack it in.... then they brought out the cookies!!!! i was about to cry. then we all got in their teeny car and they drove us through the crazy italian streets, and i almost thought i was gonna be sick. anyway then we had a lesson with valentina, our twelve year old who is getting baptized on jan 8th and then we had to walk home for an hour. it was great :)
sunday was fun. church was good, michele, maria pia and valentina were all there. then we realized that we didn't have a lunch appointment... we were kinda loitering around in the church cuz we were looking for someone to take us. not because we want a free meal but becuase its really important that we spend time with the members... anyway so we told the bishop that we needed somewhere to go and he made me call his parents in law and ask if we could eat with them. they said yes so we went to their house and it was great. i LOVE the bishop. before we left the church he was asking us all about our work and stuff. he is very happy with the work that we are doing. the food was incredibly good. we had penne pasta with cauliflower. it was sooo good. then bishop took us home and we went to choir practice and then we watched the first presidency christmas devotional. I LOVED THAT JESUS MOVIE!!!!!!! did you guys watch it???!! it was sooooo good. i just went on to see them again...
monday a huge miracle happened: our ex investigator gerald who is the african rebel spy, called us from africa!!! it was incredible. i can't believe how much of an impact the little things that we do has on people.... for lunch we had a potluck with the anziani and carmen and then we filled out her mission papers!!! the afternoon we had three awesome lessons: first the costantino family, then valentina, then maria pia. maria pia was telling us how she is ready, she is already making the necessary changes in her life. she is ready to fast, to drink decaf coffee (we are still working on this, but its a step in the right direction... lol) and she said "i had had a testimony without realizing it..." AHHH!!! all it took was our fast.... and the Lord's help hahah.
yesterday was interesting..... we woke up at like 5 to go do slla sobeck's fingerprinting but we didnt get to do it. we just hung out with the anziani.... then we walked around in bari vecchia for a few minutes because we were already there... then we saw michele and read 3 nefi 17. the Spirit was so thick you could have cut it with a knife!! it was great. he said he felt it. as we walked up to the church this old man saw us and said we were beautiful and michele was like "yeah and im ugly" and the old man said "yeah you're ugly!" and he hit him. hahahaha!!!  then we had lunch and then we had an interesting experience. i called angelo around 3:30 and he said he needed us to come right now. so we left the house and went to the bus stop. he works about 30 minutes away on foot, but 5 on the bus. well. we waited for the bus. i was freaking out cuz he said he needed us. we waited for over 30 minutes for the bus. we got to angelo's at 4:15. i dont know why that had to happen?! all day i was thinking, why couldn't we have gotten there when we wanted to? tba... ;) anyway so he was not doing well. he has brochitis and was feeling super sad. we told him we would walk him to the doctor's office and then we made a detour at his friend gabriela's house. she was super nice, but as we sat down i saw the clock. it was 4:45 and we had an appointment at 5. so i said sorry to be rude but we have to leave... anyway we left about 5 or 6 minutes later. then we had a very important lesson with remo lassandro, the husband of a long time member. we asked him what he ever does for God in his life. he didnt have an answer. we told him that prayer is the foundation of everything. anyway it was a good lesson. then we went to the church and sat in on the relief society doctrine study class, then we had english course. :)
things are going great here. i am sooo happy to be in bari and have all this work. pray for michele sciacovelli. we really want him to get baptized on new years eve.... so symbolic!!
love you all
sorella ashman

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Alma the younger lives again!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MIRIAM!!!!!!!! you are legal!!!! go vote!!! yay!!! i am so happy for you. i love you!
last thursday i learned that marinella lagattolla is by far the best member i have ever had at a lesson. she has been baptized for three weeks and she is perfect!!! we went with her to teach daniele, the man who we found doing house a few weeks ago. the lesson was incredible. INCREDIBLE marinella's testimony was the icing on the cake. at first when we came over he was like "yeah you know i am happy to have you here, but i just invited you for politeness." bla bla bla anyway so we tell him about the restoration and he loved it. i told him how the Spirit works and that he might get goose bumps or feel warmth etc etc and he was like "thats interesting!" like in a good way. anyway the lesson was awesome. when we invited him to be baptized he said he would think about. we gave him the Book of Mormon and he said that he would devour it. it loves to read. he also said that in one week he was going into retirement and then he would be free to dedicate himself to our message. sweet! he is obsessed with his grandkids. his house is wallpapered with their pictures. anyway it was a perfect lesson, and we are going to invite him to be baptized on december 31.
friday morning the other sorelle got a phone call from a member whose girlfriend was supposed to get baptized this weekend. he told them that they needed to do the baptism the next day!!! AAAAAHHH!!! it was exciting but there was a lot to get done. that afternoon we saw jared, the african who is a rebel that could be killed if he goes back to africa. he left to go back yesterday because his mom cries so much and begs him to come home. we also found out that his name is GERALD not jared. thanks nigerian accent..... anyway this lesson was out of this world. we talked about baptism with him. we asked him why he loved infant baptism and he explained about how when a child starts young than he shall not depart from it, that scripture. and i was like you're right. and thats why we bless our babies and teach people to have big families. but what is baptism for? remission of sins and making a covenant with God. a baby doesn't need it. anyway more stuff like that, then out of nowhere he asks where is your church? are there any black people? does your preacher speak english? so we answer his questions. he then said "i think i am beginning to be interested in your church. it must be a very good church." i think my mouth just dropped. from the first lesson him yelling at us to not teach about joseph smith or the book of mormon, to this. WOW. anyway so we knew he was leaving to go to africa and it is a huge risk. we gave him a present. a book of mormon. i don't know how he took it because we wrapped it and told him to open it by himself. i told him though that this gift is the most important thing that we could ever give him. he was sooooo grateful for the gift. i was like wait til you see what it is before you thank us. haha.
that evening we had an AWESOME fhe with sorella magno (the 75 year old is getting married) and maria pia who is sooooo close!!! we talked about forgiving ourselves. it was a great lesson. fllo curci didnt really get it, but he is a man. the older ladies were eating it up though. when fllo curci gave us a ride home he was talking about how husband is such an ugly word compared marito. its true. then curci was like hu hu hu husaband. its so ugly! (yes he speaks some english) it was really funny.
saturday was soooo fun. we did one of my favorite things in the world: BLOOD DRIVE!!!! it will probably keep me from donating blood for 5 years in america but i hope not.... it was sooo fun because there were so many members there. anziano mickelsen and i ALWAYS talk about italian grammar and that day was no exception. we were talking about the subjuntive tense and he actually has this little book allll about subjuntive. we were reading some together and the other members were listening then we got on this huge discussion about the subjunctive and it was almost like who wants to be a millionaire because phone calls were made and things were discussed before we realized the final answer. (anz mickelsen and i were RIGHT!!!) anyway the entire waiting room was involved. it was fun. the nurse who took my blood asked a million questions about us and she asked if we missionaries were dating. hahaha italians always like to know about things related to "love". soooo many people want to know our point of view on cohabitation etc etc. anyway then we went home finally and then we had the much anticipated meeting with michele sciacovelli (sha ko velli) to set his baptismal date. alright this lesson was super difficult for several reasons. before we got there, i got phone call from a member who is a plumber who wanted to go over and do some stuff at our house. i told him he could come get the keys from me at fllo curci's house. he said that was fine. also, we had to hurry to get to the baptism and we had to call the mission pres to get permission to ride with fllo curci and michele in the car because slla curci didnt feel like coming. so all of that had to be dealt with while we were trying to set a baptismal date. anyway let's just be grateful that michele is already elect. one of the first things that he said was that he wanted to get baptized and get batized soon. so we were like well that makes it easy. how about december 10th? he said "of course!" alright thats done! elect people make missionary work too easy. i love elect people. well the member plumber came to get the keys from me, then when he brought them back, i told him to bring our cake that we had made because otherwise we wouldnt have made it to church in time. then we got in curci's fiat 600 and went to the baptism. michele LOVED it. it was a very special baptism. this young woman, stefania, sang with the stake choir back in september and has been coming to church and intstitute ever since. her bf is a member, and the strongest family in bari lives in the palazzo with them, so it was inevitable. this week she is in swizzerland to do baptisms for the dead at the temple!
sunday there was another baptism!! hahah!! it wasn't a convert baptism though it was the daughter of the bishop of the other ward. it was beautiful, especially becase the little girl sang!!! it was sooo cute. her name is jasmine so you can see the cake they made her :)

monday was interesting...last wednesday, the bishop gave us a referal for a family of ex investigators. he said he tought it might be time for them again. it was great because i had also felt like that a while ago when i saw their names in the area book. anyway we used our faith and we set our goal for this week at 8 new investigators (the average is 2) because we wanted this family. they would have been 5. so we got on a bus and we went to adelfia. we rang the citofono and the young daughter said her mom wasnt home and that we couldnt come in. so we went to the relief society president's house. surprise! she let us in and then asked if we wanted her to come with us to go and visit another family of ex investigators and i was like sure! so this family i had heard about them- ameli and marco- they seem like they are already members. they are AMAZING. i don't know why they ever stopped taking the lessons. anyway it was nice time with them, we shared a spiritual thought, then we went back to the first family. this time slla iacovelli rang the citofono and the mom was home but she said she didnt want to talk to us. she convinced her to see us. this woman was angry. she said that she had been tricked and cheated by certain members of the church and she didn't want to have anything to do with the mormons. well i wish that i could say that by the time we left she had agreed to baptism, but fortunately our Heavenly Father works line upon line, precept upon precept. she did soften up a lot by the time we left and when we asked if we could pray, she said of course and knelt right down. i am not sure why we were supposed to go there, but i am glad we did. the bus ride home was fun. i like to sit in the front. its kinda like mr. toad's wild ride because you see these obstacles and you're about to hit them, and at the last second you just barely squeek past. anyway i talked to the bus driver all the way home. he was great. and he was super against praying to statues.
tuesday we saw michele again. we got to learn a lot more stuff about him. friday his book comes out and he has asked me to speak at the premier about how he has changed his life etc etc. anyway i asked how it happened that he changed his life so much. he told us that he was illiterate when he went into prison, but that in prison your ONLY contact with the outside world is through letters. (i thought hmm sounds familiar!! hahhaa jk mission is not prison!) but he started writing and something strange happened when he wrote-- he felt better. then he started reading, then he started devouring all these books. he got a diploma in prison and he is now going to school for another. he is just the coolest person ever. and now he has found God and he is so happy. he said the FUNNIEST thing in the world. ok catholics here think its like a sin or something if your parents dont baptize their kids, then there are the other catholic ordinances. anyway he was like "now if i tell you this, don't be scandalized." curci said "nothing can scandalize me" then michele said "I NEVER GOT BAPTIZED. I HAVE NEVER DONE THE CRESIMA OR CONFESION" i busted out laughing. and i said "even better!" hahahhaahah!! he laughed too. then curci explained that it doesnt matter if someone is baptized 100 times in another church. anyway that lesson was great. when we started he was like "i'll say the prayer!" he has never prayed before. it was soooooo cute!! he got a little choked up. the afternoon we proposed a baptismal date for maria pia for january 7 and we talked about all her concerns about baptism. she said she would think about it. she also asked when we are leaving. she wants to do it when i am here. i love her. she kinda reminds me of gramma dorothy. anyway she is gonna get baptized.
ok a few random things:
christmas phone call will be happening on the 26 if that is ok with everyone. since christmas is sunday, they are giving us the 26 as our day off. i want to do skype. it will be the morning for you guys. let me know
i was actually quite glad to hear about grandma norene. sister kelly called me last night. i do wish that i could have seen her another time, but i am glad that she was such a great example to us all. she really changed many lives.
my address is
via giulio petroni 99-B
70124 bari
i hope thanksgiving is great. if there is ever a moment of silence maybe if someone needs to say a spiritual thought or something i would like to share something with the whole family. if this can be read i would appreciate it. i am so grateful to be a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. i am so grateful for all of the undeserved yet ever present blessings that my Savior provides for me everyday. i am grateful for agency and i am grateful for plans that don't go the way that i thought they should. when that happens, it means that He has something even better in mind. i am so grateful for my eternal family and especially for my wonderful and self sacrificing parents. i am grateful for the constant exmaple of my great grandmother Norene, and i am grateful that she has been released from her period of trial and has enetered into the joy of the Lord. today, however, i am grateful overall for one thing: the Book of Mormon. it has changed my life. i know that if anyone wants to be happier they need to read the Book of Mormon DAILY. i am not sure why this is my message for you all, but i want us all to put in a more effort to read and study to Book of Mormon. i am grateful to Joseph Smith who gave his life because he knew it was true. i know all of it is true, from Kolob to faith, from the temple ordinances to church attendance. the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the way, and there is no other way save in and through Jesus Christ. this is His church. this is His work, and the Book of Mormon is His book. in the name of Jesus Christ amen.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

double baptisms!

yes it was very nice to talk to you all last week. i am glad that the funeral went well. i havent really talked to anyone here about it cuz i dont seem to be able to without crying! hahaha but yesterday during a lesson it came out and not that i didnt cry, it just seemed to be the right thing to say. anyway we are putting the cart before the horse.
last week was CRAZY. monday was halloween, and i found out about janelle. tuesday we moved. wednesday was p-day. thursday was a disaster.... ok so slla johnson who was serving in the city next to us called taranto and her comp stayed with us cuz sis johnson had to go to sicily in the morning and sister olsen couldnt stay alone. so thursday morning johnson had to take the bus at 8:15. except that the bus actually left at 8. we got to the bus station at 8:07. which is cutting it close even for the 8:15 but we would have made it. anyway we then had a crisis and didnt know what to do, so we called president and he with the assistents arranged a flight for sis johnson from bari to rome to catania. then we had to find someone to give her a ride to the airport. as we were standing at the bus station in the middle of the crisis, my phone rings. it was annalisa. she told me that they didnt want to take the lessons anymore but that they still wanted to be friends. i was pretty much destroyed when she said that. we cant really have 'friends' here.... its like investigators or nothing.... anyway that was a rough morning hahahah we then had to teach two lessons. good thing there were four sisters though because we did splits and went to teach the two lessons at one time!!! i saw orazio and maria with sis johnson and we watched some of the testaments. it was awesome. i cried. maybe because i was so stressed about everything. then we had to get sis johnson to the airport. orazio and maria took her. they are the best. then we went home and finished everything, cuz the house was still a disaster. then we went to the station to get our new companions. i didnt know who mine was going to be so when i met sister sobeck i was pleasantly surprised. i had to break my italian fast though. i didnt speak english for 4 months!! im just sayin. she looks just like my roommate hillary when i was alaska. she is a super hard worker and she asks lots of good questions and she is the best little greeny you could ever hope for. i love her. we went to get a gelato and then when we got home we ate spaghetti with tomato sauce that i had been cooking ALL DAY. it was delish.
friday we kicked butt. we taught four lessons in one evening. the new house is a miracle because its so close to everything!!! the time we spent to walk to and from the old house is the time it takes to teach a lesson. one of our new investigators is anna. she is an older woman who owns a shoe shop. she bought us orzo and sister sobeck loved it!! jkjkjk she hated it. she made her niece listen to our lesson too. she was like 'come here! sit down and listen! this is important!' hahah it was awesome. then we saw angelo and marinella, then maria pia and we asked her to think about getting baptized around christmas. then we saw fllo costantino and his mom who is literally insane. she has the biggest crush on me that anyone has ever had. she likes me more that giulio. she gave us some whole wheat pasta and sauce to cook at home and she made us eat a bunch of cookies bla bla bla. then we went to the store to grab some milk and the anziani were there!!! it was awesome. another plus of this transfer is that my firstborn son, anziano pedreira is now in my ward. we served together in sicily when he was born, and i was SOOOOO happy to see him i almost didnt believe he was coming.  i love the anziani.
saturday was great. we waited at home for the anziani to come get some things they had left, and 'we'll be there in 10 minutes' turned into an hour. then sister olsen from taranto called and said that her comp left her camera at our house and that if we could take it to a member's house that morning their bishop was in bari and would go get it. so we went to the valentinis house to give them the camera and there was this cute little couple there who are basically living my dream (except they are both american) but they are missionaries in sicily. they both served their missions in italy and then they wanted to come on a mission so they just decided to go to italy and then from there they worked everything out. so they were pretty awesome. then we saw angelo and marinella and we gave them sone presents for their baptism. a tie for angelo and some earrings and a hair clip for marinella. she wore them both to the baptism. we all got matching earrings. :) then we gave them a huge carton of orzo. they were soooo happy with the gifts. then we had to go back home. we ate curry and then we did another hour of study because greenies have to study for an extra hour everyday for the first two transfers. then we finished all the prep for the baptism and then we were going to go to fllo curci's house and lo and behold, there he was! so we walked him home and talked to his wife for a little. she is not doing well. she has alzheimers. anyway he thought it would be a good idea to visit his friends. so we went and we taught them and it was awesome!! sister sobeck shared a beautiful testimony and i told them all about my decision to go on a mission which wasnt easy. i included a teeny bit of giulio in my story and then after the lesson fllo curci started grilling me about my love life and i ran away (literally). he always invades my personal life. hahaha
sunday was the best of times and the worst of times. the fast and testimony meeting was off the charts. there is never a pause in the meeting. i bore my testimony TO angelo and marinella about when i went to the sacred grove. it was seriously one of the best fast and testimonies i have ever been to. after church i found out some really heavy news. we went to lunch with the juan family. i LOVE slla juan she is the one that is supposed to give me job when i finish my mission. anyway, as we were on our way, i asked who her husband was riding with because he wasnt with us in the car. she told me that her husband wasnt living at their house and that they were separated right now. and i was shocked. heres the thing. in sacrament i noticed that they never talked to each other, rather they talked to the kids. and they never sat by each other. but seriously. lots of people here are obsessed with their kids. when i found that out it the hardest thing ever. anyway she is planning on moving to america with the kids. she asked if we have any divorced relatives and i was like well my grandparents, but it was a loooooong time ago, but sister sobecks parents got divorced a month ago. i hate divorce. anyway that sucked. and i am still heartbroken. we have been praying for them every prayer.... well then we had to go to the happiest thing in the world. i ironed their clothes, then we went to the church. the other sorelle were there and were already filling up the font (bless them). anyway angelo and marinella arrived and they got dressed. there also happened to be stake choir practice. guess what angelo did? he just went right up and started singing with the choir! it was sooooo cute!!! hahaha the baptismal service itself was great. it was wonderful. i sang 'i believe in christ' with slla hicks. the talks were wonderful and when they got baptized they were so happy!!!! 
marinella literally laughed she was so happy. it was the best. but even better, their testimonies after their baptism. WOWOWOWOW. marinella is ready to be a relief society teacher. here's the thing. she doesnt talk a ton, so i didn't know all that was in her. but the Spirit really did His work and she GOT it.
monday was fun. i forgot that the greenies have to get their visas and what not. i forgot when you train you also agree to that.... hahah oh well. anyway so we ran around all morning doing immigration stuff. it was all worth it though when this man sneezed reallyREALLY loud and then yelled MADONNA MIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! when i get home i will reinact it for you. then we got gelato after we finished. then we went home for 30 minutes, then we saw my favorite african jared! it was a BOMB lesson. we read acts 17 and talked about having a personal relationship with God. then i felt like i needed to ask him about baptism. so asked him what he thought about baptism. and he said that all babies are born with original sin and they needed to be baptized bla bla bla. then the Spirit worked Its magic. instead saying NO ITS NOT LIKE THAT i said 'jared would you be willing to hear a different point of view?' he said yes. then i explained things as they are, that  Eve chose to eat the fruit knowing that there was no other way. and i asked him to pray about it. last time we asked him to pray about why we met. he did and he doesnt know why yet, but he knows that it is for a reason. after the lesson we had a fun experience. we were going to visit some less actives. i had fixed the appointment but when i called to confirm, they cancelled. i felt like we should go anyway. then there was this young man who looked like he really wanted to talk to us so i opened my big fat mouth. he was so cute, he was from iran. we ended up taking the same bus and talked the whole time. then we got off and i didnt know exactly what to do. sister sobeck was like 'what are we supposed to do now?' and i was like 'lets get on this bus' so we got on and there was this man who really wanted to talk to us. so we talked to him. he said he wanted to come to church. he is a person who is truly truly searching. then i dont know why, but i invited him to come to the FHE that we were doing at fllo curci's house. he came!!!! hahaha it was awesome!! then he had to go. then we did the fhe we had planned with angelo and a less active family. it went well.
yesterday i fell into simpatizzante love. nicola. the one that looks like giulio. if all investigators were like him, the world would be a better place. anyway we taught him after english course and it went really well. we started teaching the restoration and it didnt feel right. but i didnt know what to teach him so i was praying please please let me know what i need to say!!! and then my 'companion' (we were doing splits) said 'how often do you pray?' just out of nowhere. and it just went all uphill from there. he said the closing prayer and he asked the the things he doesnt know can be revealed to him as soon as possible. anyway it was awesome. life is just awesome.
congratulations vanessa and jeffereson!!!!! i wanna know what names you are thinking of!!! i have a long list. ok everyone this letter is tooching long. sorry. hope you enjoy. the church is true. i am a witness that it works :) hahaha
all my love
sorella ashman

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


well things are going great. i wanna stay here forever. and i might do it. being with sorella hicks makes me feel like a huge sinner though because she is perfect. and i am realizing more and more the spiritual cancer that i have had without ever knowing it. its great to have someone different than you because you even each other out. she is seriously the best. she is quite, tidy and simple. have any of those words ever been used to describe me? uuuuuuh.... yeah i didnt think so. i was such a horrible child. im so sorry. not that i am much better now...
anyway i want to start by telling you all about the story that i am writing. while we were reading the Book of Mormon the other day, i had the thought i my writing skills must be going down the tubes, even though i was a pretty good writer (in english and italian) when i was a student. so i decided that i wanted to write a story. its not just a two page fun story, its already 10 pages by hand and its just getting started. i think it will be like 40 pages. not a novel but you know. anyway, its about me and what will happen if i stay in italy. miriam comes to visit and run a half marathon with me. at the very beginning for about a paragraph life is perfect with me and my hot husband and then my friend carmen (a member here) comes to our house because she got kicked out of hers and then the story goes from there and all the problems that happen. anyway yesterday slla hicks was sick so we sat at home all morning. she slept and i wrote the story. (i also have a weiner dog in the story hahahaha!!!) anyway as im writing it, i am seeing myself, as selfish and distracted as i am, and also seeing that im not always right. i read the story to slla hicks and im thinking that ive created all these problems for myslef in the story and when i finished reading what i have so far she says "poor husband" and i was like "poor husband???" then i realized that she was right and i was a selfish pig. hahahaha when i get home i will type it and translate it in english.
last thursday there was an awesome huge miracle. we had a lesson with angelo our new little love. fllo curci got there before us, and they had talked about how he needs to quite smoking. then the Spirit overcame him and he said, "fine i dont smoke anymore" and he threw his lighter and cigarettes in the garbage. now dont get too excited because he has smoked since then, BUT very very little and not for the last two days. he was smoking three packs a day, and though he didnt quite go 100% he is now smoke free :) that afternoon we saw annalisa and stefania and we talked about the restaurazione, but they had so many questions about.... well lets just say "the law of chastity"...... i told them next time we see them, we are teaching the law of chastity and they can ask us whatever questions they want. one of the questions they had was "isnt it sad for you to know that when you are in love with a person you cant share that love fully?" i almost slapped them across the face. THE WORLD HAS NO IDEA WHAT LOVE IS!!!!!!!!!! after their lesson we saw grazia and gianni. they are a lovely couple (she is GORGIOARMANI!!!!!!) she has been separated from her husband for a while and gianni is her new boy. they live together, but grazia is having problems with him and she is scared because she was already separated from her husband and doesnt want to be separated again. anyway gianni is younger than her and she basically feels like his mom. but grazia is an ex investigator and she is smart because she knows that the answer to their problems is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. good girl. we have to work a lot with them....
friday we saw orazio and maria and we taught them the word of wisdom. they are not ripe yet. we set a date with them and i know that we needed to set it, but it might have been to show them (and me!) that this is real and that they need to be baptized. the lesson went well, but they still dont have a testimony of the Church so they weren't convinced about the word of wisdom.... hahaha that night we had a big fat party. slla magno, the most perfect person on the planet, organized this awesome activity at her house with 4 investigators (antonia dibenardo, maria pia montone, alessandro, and then another friend of sis magno)  and it was just the bees knees. she even made focaccia (mom, dad and mim do you remember focaccia??? that delicious salty bread???? in bari its a little different, but you get the idea)  we talked about faith. there was a really good discussion, lead of course by fllo curci. when you guys meet him man o man..... he is a character. he is awesome.
saturday was awesome. slla hicks was kinda sick so we didnt do much the morning, then the afternoon we saw jared, who is our new african investigator. he is AWESOME. the first time we saw him, he was all hung up on joseph smith. so we planned a lesson with no joseph (even though it was hard for me because a HUGE part of my testimony is about JS especailly since i went to the sacred grove) anyway so we talked about the resurrection of Jesus Christ and then he was like "this is what you all need to preach. dont talk about joseph smith blah blah blah" and i said "im sorry jared, but have we said one thing about joesph smith today? our message is about Jesus Christ, and joesph smith is a part of it, but its really about Christ." BOOM! anyway then we talked all about prayer and we left him the commitment to pray to God and ask Him why we met each other. then that night there was a baptism. giuseppe dabbicco, who is the boyfriend of a member. the baptism was incredible. the girlfriend was sooooooooo happy. she gave a talk and she bawled the whole time. it was so cute. he had to get baptized twice, just like me. but man the Spirit was strong!!!! then after the baptism, fllo curci asked me to share my testimony so i did and then the baptism just happened to happen the same day as the ward dance party. now here's the thing, everyone was saying that missionaries can't dance, but its not written anywhere ANYWHERE that we cant... anyway... i think we can. so we did. and it was the most fun i have had in my WHOLE mission. and i am NOT just saying that. i spent the whole night twirling around the daughter of one of the investigators and feeling supremely momish. it was wonderful. and then one of the other little girls came and wanted to dance too and i had one little baby on each hand and it was sooooo fun.
sunday ROCKED!!!! it was POURING rain alllllll day (its weird for me that there is enough water in the air that it can rain all day... hahaha in henderhole if it rains, it rains for 30 minutes and thats it.) angelo and his beautiful wife came to church!!! they loved it. she was thrilled that he went to church and they said they are coming to our church from now on. his wife's name is marinella. she is sooo different from him, but we all know now how i feel about having your compliment. :) after we had a huge lunch with the puglisi family and it just so happened that the girlfriend of the guy who got baptized on saturday is the granddaughter of a member who lives in ragusa, who is married to the father of another member here in bari (she is a widow and he a widower) yeah its a really complicated family tree, but long story short, a couple from ragusa was here too and i was SOOOOO happy to see them. i LOVE them. and we all had lunch together. it was bomb. then we tried to do a bunch of stuff but nothing was going well, so we just went to the young single adult activity and it was wonderful.
monday was awesome. we taught angelo and his wife together. she is sooo great!! i cant stop saying how much i love her. then we went to see titta. she could have a whole book herself.... ill save it for another time. then we spent the whole afternoon with angela cafagno. she is a member that was baptized 7 years ago. she is my favorite person in bari. i'll just be honest. we went with her to see slla lassandro and her husband who never got baptized even though she was a member when they got married. there is still hope!!!!! then we had fhe with antonio at slla magno's house. antonio told us that sunday night he was out until 5 am at the discoteca. i was a little shocked. and i told him that that's not really something you do on sunday!!! but i was too hard on him and i felt bad. i know he's just a baby, but i felt partly responsible because i must not have taught him well enough.... but its all good, i just hope he didnt drink anything. that night as we were walking, we saw a huge stack of board games in the garbage!!!!!! so of course i took the harry potter game--- never used!!!!!!! and its in italian. haha!
yesterday we stayed at home in the morning cuz sis hicks was dying (by dying i mean still sick). i wrote the story and she died. then that afternoon, we saw fllo costantino, who is less active, and his mom who is not a member. he is so cute, he needs some love because he has no friends in the ward. his siblings are active but they all live in other cities. and we found out that his home teachers never come. so thats no good. anyway, then we saw angelo again. he says he wants to see us as often as we want to come :) it was an ok lesson. i wish marinella had been there, but she was sick. anyway it was good.... then we taught english course and fllo curci walked us to the church and as we walked i told him about how i am rebellious and i used to fight a lot with my parents and that i dont trust some people and he loved it. he loves hearing things about people, especially their weaknesses. he says it is a very big problem as he smiles from ear to ear. hahaha english course was great. we taught the students how to play baseball and football and we decided that next week we are going to have a kickball game.
ok that is about it.... i hope the letter is good, we are kind of in a rush. also sis hicks doesnt take as long as i do....
about the end of my mission..... :(:(:(:(:( my release date as of now is june 1 2012. i might extend but probably not, since i already got an extra transfer in the field. start looking at flights. i dont care who comes. you can all come if you want to!! lodging and food i am sure will not be problems. we will stay with members. they wouldnt have it any other way. and i think we do 15 days or so? its all up to you. you should arrive on the 31st of may though. and we'll go to sicily :)
thank you so much for everything. shout out to vanessa jr. and aunt janelle for her birthday!!!! ya hoo!!!! tanti auguri bella!!!
i love you all i miss you like crazy.....
all my love
sorella ashman

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Almost 11 months :-/ che strano...

yeah it seems impossible but its true, in a month, i will have been on the mission for a YEAR!!! its so weird!!!
to be honest, i have been incredibly confused these last few days and weeks about what i want to do. i know i dont need to worry to much about what happens after the mission, but at the same time its hard for me to NOT think about it when there is the possibility for such huge changes in my life. i was pretty much convinced on italy until dad sent me his last letter with pictures of the house on spring court pond which i love so much. its like i won the price is right. all of this could be yours!!! but instead its like im choosing to live in a tiny little box with no central heating or cooling surrounded by thousands of people on all sides in a foreign country. slla hicks and i started a list of the pros of living in italy. its coming along quite.... slowly. so far we have vespas and bidets. ok im just kidding. the real reason i would do it would be to help the Church. because like we all know from my big fat greek wedding women are the neck. its really us that are in charge. and the Church in italy needs help!!! and the house where i live in the end isnt important. what happens inside the walls of my home is. oh and if i do end up living in italy, vanessa, i wont leave america without spending much time with you. (that goes for everyone, but she expressly asked so i had to calm her fears.) ok i dont need to or want to think about it anymore.
this week was AWESOME. seriously one of the best weeks i have had in the mission so far. last wednesday we had corrolation and then the bishop came and asked if we would go to visit an ex simpatizzante who needed a blessing. her name is antonia and she has been suffering from depression. she was taught by my mom, sister foote, who was also born in ragusa, then transfered to bari. funny huh. anyway she was supposed to get baptized but doesnt like the decima, and its hard because she isnt 100% mentally stable. she has medication etc so she is pretty good, but her depression is really bad. she needs our love!!!! and we are gonna give it to her gosh darn it!!! anyhoo the lesson went well even though it was completely unplanned.
thursday we had another miracle lesson, quite similar to the one with antonia with another ex investigator, an older single woman, named maria pia, who also was supposed to get baptized but doesnt like the decima and has depression. strange. we want them to get baptized the same day. anyway, its really nice being the missionaries who get to reap where the others sewed. i havnet been able to do it that much. let me explain- when you first meet an investigator, you need to teach them the basics, and you need to teach them all of the things that in preach my gospel. yes you teach them to their needs but at the same time, you are preparing them for baptism. you are preparing them for the baptismal interview. when someone has already had the baptismal interview and passed, they know their stuff enough that you can pretty much teach them whatever. so with both maria pia and antonia, its really about them. not about what we need to teach from preach my gospel and its really nice. most of my mission has been finding and teaching. when sister foote left ragusa, literally every single investigator changed. then i was there for another 6 months, and when i left every investigator was one that i had had a part in finding. when i got here they had one investigator, with whom i still haven't had a lesson, and so again, these people that we are teaching are people that i have had a part in finding. now that we have reopened the doors with maria pia and antonia, its great. the other missionaries did all the hard work. thank you sister foote and anziano knutsen!!! ok that was a long tangent, but now you get to see inside the missionaries' minds. that afternoon we ate in a restaurant for lunch hahaha just because i felt like it and it was really close to our house. it was sooooooooooo good. mom (and whoever else) when you come, we are there. then we taught english course, and then we had a lesson with annalisa and stefania!! the teenagers (van they are 16 and 17--youngissimo) this lesson was DA BOMB. (thank you again toonchic. actually in italy when you say something is a bomb, its a good thing. ahahah so you are right it was italian slang that was influencing me. and yes counting in english is still much easier. thats strange) anyway. stefania told us that she was reading the BOM and her dad asked her what she was doing, and so she told him and he told her that he and her mom had sutdied with the missionaries in the past!!! woah!!! then she told us that she had prayed truly and sincerely to know if the BOM was true, and she said she didnt get any answer. but they both said that they still dont think its true because of the plates. ba. anyway we analized their questions and their prayers and then we all knelt in a circle and prayed together to know if the Book of Mormon was true. well im convinced. i dont know if they felt it, but literally i felt a tingle come over me- yet again- saying that it was true. its amazing.

friday we planned and then we went to see another old woman ex investigator, maria simone. she is great. i love her. she is super sarcastic and frank. she hasn't had a baptismal date like the other two, so we are starting from almost the beginning, but she said that our visit really made her happy and she wants us to come again. she has been friends with one of the most faithful members for 40 years. that evening, we went to see the valerio family. they have been inactive for about 25 years, but they are now coming back to church because they know they messed up going inactive. they have six children who are all baptized and inactive. if we could get them to regain their testimonies fully, they could revolutionize the ward. this meeting was really lovely because we just happened to see sister santoro who is sis valerio's visiting teacher and we all went together. sis valerio opened right up with sis santoro and they were talking about how she doesnt have the faith to pay tithing how that is what keeps them from coming to Church and going to the temple, and many other things. it was really good because if we want to help these people we need to know them. if they think that we are just missionaries who come and go they wont open up, but if we go with their visiting teacher bing bing bing!! i won the price is right again.
saturday we went to see beatrice and silvia, and yet again, they havent read anything and they dont believe that the Book of Mormon can help them. anyhoo we discovered yet another problem, its not enough that beatrice destroyed the house, that she works 12 hours a day, and that silvia has no work. now we find out that beatrices son is verbally abusive because his father and grandfather also were and that he yells at both his mother and sister and demands that they do things for him when and how he asks. they both said its unlivable at their house. i don't know what else to do, besides get the members involved. but its hard because beatrice never has time. anyway in the end it went really well. silvia requested that we pray. haha i love prayer requests. then we went to lunch at orazio and maria's house. it was sooooo good. she made spaghetti with clams. she knows how to cook this one. then we went to watch conference and after we went to get a panzerotto with the young adults :)
sunday was the best day of my life. the morning we went to see titta in the hospital. i want to have a skin disease so i can stay in the dermatology department. its seriously like a hotel. ok its ugly and im sure the food isnt great, but you stay for free, you can go for a walk and they have vending machines and big trees. the hospital here is a whole other animal. its sooo weird. then we went to watch conference. brother desantis brought us lunch in the church so we ate there and then we lived in the church. it was awesome. about 20 minutes before the last session started, angelo walks  in (the miracle from last week that accepted his baptismal date immediately) he came and sat next to me, and about half way through, he had to use the bathroom. then he never came back...... we were worried that we had lost him. but dont worry, youll see what happens. in the end, the thing that was super awesome was that for the evening session orazio, maria, antonia, mariapia, and angelo all came!!!!!!!!! 5 investigators in church!! the most ive ever had. :) plus i learned a TON of things. i think my fave talk was the first of the whole thing. elder scott talking about how scriptures learned by memory are our true friends.
monday was great. we had district meeting and then we ate lasagna with the anziani from the libertà ward because we needed to teach a lesson together with them. so after we ate, then we went to the train station to teach jared, a young man from nigeria (ok probably about 33-35 years old) he was great. he loves the Bible and when we told him about joseph smith, he was like "i dont need to know him. he is not important. do not preach the word of joseph smith. you need to preach the word of Jesus Christ." he was a little confused. but just the same he was super. we are going to see him again. then we got gelato to celebrate. then we had an appointment with angelo. we didnt know if he had completely dropped off the face of the earth or if he just wasnt feeling well or what. so i called. he apologized for his behavior. he said that he hasnt been in a church for 10 years, and he freaked out. anyway he was busy but we fixed the appointment for the next day. we then decided to visit the oldest member of the ward, slla valenti. 89 years old and still walks to church every sunday with no problems. she got out all her pictures from when she was baptized and the letters that the missionaries wrote her etc etc. we were there for an hour. hahaha then we left because we had another appt at 6 with this guy we had met on the street and fixed the appt. on the street. we figured he wouldnt come, and he didnt. but then all of our back ups weren't working out, but fllo costantino was in my mind. he is a single older man who is a bit strange but super nice. he lives with his mom and has no friends. i called him. he said he could come to the church right now! it was sweet. so he came and we did a FHE with him and he was all happy. then he gave us a huge bag of cookies and walked us home.
yesterday was off the charts. started out with orazio and maria. they are the greatest! we asked them a bunch of questions to understand the journey that they have made so far. orazio has come leaps and bounds. maria hasnt touched a page of the BOM but she feels the Spirit so strong, and she keeps asking and thinking about the restoration film. anyway one of the quesitons was "do you feel like you have come closer to Christ since we have been meeting together?" maria says "a little" orazio says "i refuse to answer. the answer is too obvious." HAHAHA!!! I LOVED that answer. orazio is such a tough guy. anyway, we were dying to get a baptismal date with them. its been a long time. i dont think i've ever had an investigator for so long without fixing a date or dropping them. we told them that we think they are much closer to Christ and that they could be ready to be baptized on october 22. all four of their eyes popped out of their heads. but they said they would pray about it. i dont know why, but the Spirit really told me that that is the day. i was going on total faith then because we had chosen that day a long time ago, and they aren't ready right now. in fact, the first thing that orazio did when we got there was show us these two HUGE barrels of wine that they are making. and maybe it won't work out for that day, but i know that i did what the Spirit told me to do. then we saw angelo. he is an angelo. he is soooo wonderful. we saw him with fllo curci and it was great. he is going to come to church again on sunday and try. he said he shouldnt have run away from his fears, but he should have faced them. so sunday he is going to face them. the afternoon we saw maria pia and it was perfect. she is super sweet. she told us the story of how she found the church. the ex wife of her dead son is a member. her name is sabrina and she lives in rimini (near fano where i lived in 2004!) sabrina told her to go to the church and viola! she came. that was 2 years ago.... anyway we read the BOM with her, we told her that she is ready for baptism whenever she feels ready. then we had a huge miracle. there was a bus at 6:20 at her house that would take us home by 6:30 and then it takes 20 minutes to walk to church for english course. well at 6:15 we were at the stop. at 6:35 it still hadnt come. we were chatting with an ex investigator that we saw there and then we lost all hope and decided to run to the church (it would take about 50 minutes on foot walking). we started running and then we heard a whistle. the ex simp was signaling that the bus was coming!!! i saw the bus and i thought "there is no way" but thanks to adrenaline, as the bus passed the busstop (literally running at full speed) i pounded on the door and he let us on. we got to the church 1 minute late. it was fun. after english course, we saw antonio, who is a joyous treasure.
whew. it was a great week. thats all i have for you today. ok except i bought a scarf with the pope on it. hahahahahahaha
i love bari, i love italy, i love being a missionary. the work is the best its ever been. thank you for your letters and support.
all my love
sorella sh

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

There can be miracles when you believe

sister hicks is incredible. she is so much like trisha its uncanny. she told me a story yesterday about how she yelled at her little sisters ex boyfriend because he wasnt being respectful to her sister and i just thought that trisha would have done the same thing, always in defense of her little ducklings. i LOVE sister hicks. shes also a lot like my other home girl kayla wilcox.  we work really well together. every night before we go to sleep we tell each other how much we love each other. its really been a gift from God to have her. she works sooo hard and her testimony is beautiful and she LOVES EVERYONE. she is..... undescribable. i am so grateful for her.
anyway thanks to the arrival of this angel from oklahoma, we have had MIRACLES already. the day of the transfer sister lecates went to catania at 8 am and i was left with the sisters from taranto. we talked to a ton of people that day and it was great. slla lecates and i didn't do as much as i would have liked of street contacting. that morning then we had our weekly meeting with fllo curci to start to work with him to teach his friends. this is the program that we are doing with the members. we picked two families with which we want to work closely. one is curci, the other is puglisi. we have already started with curci and will start next week with puglisi. curci gave us a list of names and we trusted in the revelations that would come and we prayed and we picked two people. it was cool because the person that slla lecates picked was my second choice and vice versa. so we are sure that we picked the right ones. then two days ago, curci called me and said that he just happened to run into both of them in the street. he was all surprised like "sisters! you really did receive revelation!" hahaha it was cool though. after that we had lunch and then when we went out again, we did a bunch of street. we talked to this older man named angelo, and didnt think anything of it (to be continued!!) then we went to curci's again for a lesson with these ex investigators who we think its finally the right time! grazia and gianni. but because they were late to pick us up we literally had 15  minutes to do a lesson. but in the end it went really well. then we literally ran to the bus stop to go to the station to pick up slla hicks!!!!! on the bus there was a young girl named estelle whose father is french and she happily told us that she was the lead ballerina in the nutcracker and invited us to come. she was super spunky and super excited to meet americans. haha her babysitter said she wanted to come to church.... let's hope so. then we picked up sister hicks and the news elders (THERE IS AN ALBANIAN!!!!!!!!) and got gelato and went home.
friday we had a lesson with antonio, then with annalisa and stefania. that lesson was a BOMB. it was awesome. stefania said the opening prayer, annalisa the closing. that prayer of annalisa was incredible. she speaks with God so tenderly. she always admits to Him that it had been a long time and she asks for forgiveness. italians are so mushy. i love it. then we had another MIRACLE!!! a few months ago, we contacted a woman doing house named lucia who was friends with the bishops wife 30 years ago. well we organized things with the bishops wife and we took a risk and we went to find lucia. she was there. and she was soooooo happy to see slla mongelli. she gave her her phone number and it was just beautiful. i wanted to sing reunited and it feels so goooooood.... then we went to see a less active family, the valerios. they are so wonderful. they always feed us. and it just so happens that one of the people on the list that fllo curci gave us is a really close friend of theirs, so we talked to them about setting up an appointment. they were all in favor. then we had the long walk home and got to know each other better.
saturday we saw orazio and maria and it was AWESOME. we talked about prayer and then fllo valentini gave maria a blessing because she was in a vespa accident last week. after that we tried to see beatrice, but she wasnt home, so we decided to visit sister avantario instead. she is a widow since march and has a lot of health problems. she is sooooo sweet and needs some love. after lunch we saw annalisa and stefania in the park to help annalisa with her english homework. this girl is SMART. then they walked us to the bus stop and annalisa asks "what will we do in the celestial kingdom?" and i told her that we become like God. her homework was to read romans 8 which says
 16 The Spirit itself beareth awitness with our bspirit, that we are the cchildren of God:
 17 And if children, then heirs; aheirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we bsuffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
basically that we become like Christ and i was telling her that God isnt some unknowable being and its not blasphemous to think that we can be like Him. He is a resurrected man. and we will be resurrected and can become like Him. somehow, her mind connected this to Him being a father. and somehow her mind connected that to a mother. she asked " does God have a wife?" and i said "does he have a son? i dont see how he can have a son without a wife." woah! minds were blown. really it was a very sweet moment. the Spirit testified that it was true. and we all felt it there at the bus stop. then we went to go and visit titta (an eternal investigator) at the hosptial. but as we were walking, i saw a man in a clothing store and even though we already almost AN HOUR LATE, the Spirit told me to talk to him, and i promised myself that i would never be so rushed that i ignored the promptings of the Spirit. so we waltzed right into the store introduced oursleves and starting getting to know this man. he instantly said that he knew who we were and that he had a Book of Mormon. we talked about his family and he said he knew that what we taught was true. he had studied previously with the missionaries, and the only thing that was missing from him was the time. then slla hicks bares this testimony about how she wants this happiness of the eternal family for him. he says "i know. its just a question of time." so sad. and yet so common. then we saw titta in the hospital. this was an incredible experience. i was fasting for trisha this day so i think i was feeling the Spirit even more strongly than normal. socialized health care is different, let's just say that. the hospital here is like a university in america, because in america a dermatologist has a private practice. here there is a dermatology building at the campus of the hospital. and neurology, psychology, etc etc. VERY different. but anyway it was fun to see titta. she seemed happier than ever before. she had her hair all done up and her make up. titta is about 45/50 but has the mind of the 11 year old. she is a treasure. we went and sat down on the bed with her. she was asking us a bunch of questions and then she saw the Book of Mormon, and she says "lets read the Book of Mormon!" "ok titta!" so chapter 17 of 3 nefi came to my mind. its about Christ healing the people and blessing the children in america. we read it all together and the Spirit was incredible. two young american girls in a hospital with this woman who is like a child. that chapter is amazing. we read it and then we kept talking. about 15 minutes later, she says, i want to read it now. so titta read the chapter to us. it was amzing. i couldn't hold back my tears when she read
 13 And it came to pass that when they had all been brought, and Jesus stood in the midst, he commanded the multitude that they should akneel down upon the ground.
 14 And it came to pass that when they had knelt upon the ground, Jesus groaned within himself, and said: Father, I am atroubledbecause of the wickedness of the people of the house of Israel.
 15 And when he had said these words, he himself also aknelt upon the earth; and behold he bprayed unto the Father, and the things which he prayed cannot be written, and the multitude did bear record who heard him.
 16 And after this manner do they bear record: The aeye hath never seen, neither hath the ear heard, before, so great and marvelous things as we saw and heard Jesus speak unto the Father;
 17 And no atongue can speak, neither can there be written by any man, neither can the hearts of men conceive so great and marvelous things as we both saw and heard Jesus speak; and no one can conceive of the joy which filled our souls at the time we heard him pray for us unto the Father.
 18 And it came to pass that when Jesus had made an end of praying unto the Father, he arose; but so great was the ajoy of the multitude that they were overcome.
 19 And it came to pass that Jesus spake unto them, and bade them arise.
 20 And they arose from the earth, and he said unto them: Blessed are ye because of your faith. And anow behold, my joy is full.
 21 And when he had said these words, he awept, and the multitude bare record of it, and he took their little children, one by one, and bblessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them.
 22 And when he had done this he wept again;
 23 And he spake unto the multitude, and said unto them: Behold your little ones.
sunday was another cry baby day for me. we had stake conference. i sang in the choir and i think the fact that i was fasting really made me sensitive. the stake president started by telling us to realx. to just let the Spirit speak to us. we sang praise to the man for the opening hymn and AGAIN my testimony of joseph smith was strengthened. when the stake president gave his talk, he talked about angels. he quoted d&c 84:85 and he talked about one of the sisters in our ward, slla magno, who personally has sent 10s of thousands of names to the temple. she really is an angel. grazia and gianni and annalisa and stefania came to the conference and it was another miracle.
ok i think i say everytime that this is the biggest miracle that i have ever seen in the mission, but this time it really is. do you remember the man angelo that we met thursday during transfers? well we set up an appt for monday afternoon. i wasnt expecting anything. i was actually a bit sceptical. well sister hicks said the opening prayer and it all started from there. the Spirit was already strong. angelo had tears in his eyes. then we started asking a few questions about him and he opened right up. this man has had FOUR heart attacks and the most recent, he said he knew he was dying and as he was dying he drove himself to the university-- i mean hospital. somehow he lived. he doesnt know why. but he knows that the pope doesnt have his answers. he said already from the beginning he was feeling the Spirit. we were 20 minutes late, and in general it would have stressed him our but he felt so calm and peaceful with us that he didnt care. then we talked about how the gospel has been restored and how he now has the opportunity to see the changes in his life and restart (even though he is 70) and she said he wants to. so we told him that if he will prepared himself to be baptized by someone who holds the restored priesthood of God on october 29, that he will have more blessings than he has ever had before. he said he cant wait, and he hopes that his wife will see it to. then he said the closing prayer, and when he finished he says "what is this warmth that i am feeling? i dont understand, its like a pressure but its good." it was so awesome. SOOO AWESOME!!!! so pretty much we are being blessed for some reason and finding all the elect people in bari.... i am so grateful!!
yesterday, angelo called and said that he was reading the Book of Mormon and he was super confused that someone was commanded to kill someone else.... hahaha anyway he is reading the Book of Mormon. then we followed the Spirit and got on a bus and as we were on this bus, i thought i need to talk to someone. and there was a woman who reminded me of my gorgeous mother. i really wanted to talk to her, but there was a lady sitting across from her. just as i thought that, the lady got off the bus, and i swooped. turns out this woman is the aunt of one of the members!!! haahahaa it was awesome. we did a lot of house yesterday morning..... then in the afternoon we were kinda going around with nothing and we saw this young man and we stopped him and turns out HE was supposed to get baptized two years ago, and he asked if we could have a family home evening with the desantis family. he is practically a member, but just didnt actually get in the water.... who knows why.... but we will find out. miracle after miracle family.... then we started teaching temple prep to one of the members, angela, who wants to go to the temp. she is 27 and she is amazing. she really really wants me to live here. she asked me to be her escort when she goes to the temple. she said i have changed her life. i dont know how, but she can think whatever she wants haha. and then we had english course which was awesome because a ton of students came!!! including two ex student/ ex investigators. after course we were outside and a very young and scared looking girl came up and started asking us about some nun house. long story short, she is a guest there and we helped her find it, but she came from napoli by herself and we gave her our phone number and told her to call us because she for sure is going to be lonely. she was super cute and reminded me of me in 2009....
anyway thats it for this week.  happy bday shout out to the best mom ever. your shoes are FAB!!!!! and i love the st. francis painting, i want one too!!!! miriam good luck with college everything. i know you will be the best fotografer EVER!!! and yes mom send me the package. i was wondering when it would come!!! but put a picture of Jesus on it and its sure to arrive.
k all my love
sorella ashman