Wednesday, June 22, 2011

last week in Ragusa:-(

alright it has come... my last week in ragusa... and i accomplished one of my goals. what would that be? baptism? ( I WISH!!!!) completed the book of mormon? (not quite!) i got new italian glasses!!!! (come on this is me that we are talking about... i thought it was funny in vanessa's letter she said she is trying to dress more like me. i'm just obsessed with fashion i guess....one of my other goals is to get a pair of boots.....) but i had to get a pair to replace the ones that i lost a few months ago and i finally did it and they are beautiful. 

but for real speaking of goals this was a STELLAR week. we taught the most lessons i have ever taught in one week in my whole mission. it was awesome! but the thing is it's not like we worked any harder than usual. just some weeks we are supposed to learn some stuff and other weeks are supposed to teach some stuff. hahah.

last week we had the zone conference with elder texiera from portugal who is an area authority 70 here in europe. elder T was incredible!!!! also NEWS FOR VINCE!!! someone tell him please!!! portugal is the fastest baptizing country in europe now! i'm sure that's because vince went there. he really hammered in TALK TO EVERYYYYYONEEEEE. very spiritual and delightful. i translated the whole thing from english to italian for the non english speaking elders. it was awesome. i LOVE translating from english to italian. sadly that market is MUCH smaller than vice versa.... oh well! at the conference his wife challenged us ALL to read the book of mormon in 60 days. i was over half way, but i am happy to restart and i am still right on track. so cool the strength that comes from doing something together at a mission. 

saturday we had an awesome lesson with our investigators mary and emmanuel. at the end of the lesson we all knelt on the floor in a circle and our member, their friend, justice, said 'let us all hold hands' then he said the most poweful prayer i have ever heard! (this is the same justice that says DADDY-- open our brains and put your knowledge in!) this prayer he said, "daddy-- we are not beggars-- give to us so that we can give to others" email can't do it justice but i promise next phone call, i will do a smash bang impression. 

ok i am so close to out of time. i love you all and i am sorry this letter is lame. we have a ton of stuff to do today because tomorrow we have a huge ward activity. we turned the church into a movie theater. we are going to watch the testaments, and we have invited all of our investigators. 

i love you all. remind me to tell you about giorgio, aurora, radiza, fiorenza, and orazio. 
the Church is true and i rejoice in the priviledge to serve.
all my love,
sorella ashman

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

CHOCOLATE!

well today has already been fantastic. this morning we cleaned the house-- and i mean good like i pulled the washer away from the wall and mopped behind it. yeah we are talking deep. then the elders from gela came to pick us up to go to modica, which is my favorite city in sicily. parents if you remember the chocolate that i sent you in january, that was from modica. since i am going to be leaving ragusa and probably sicily in two weeks, i told the elders that we needed to go there before we left! we went and we ate tons of delicious chocolate and it was heavenly.
man when we think the miracles can't get any better.... last wednesday night we had just a bit of time when aurelia cancelled an appoitment. we decided to do house in via rimmaudo where we have some members. we did maybe 5 houses when we rang one and a super nice lady opened the door and we asked if we could come in. "oh yes come in come in!" she had no idea who we were. her daughter was home too. so we went in and sat down and explained what we did and what we could offer them and they were all excited about it! we asked the mom if she had work right now and she said no. (the economic crisis here is REALLLLLY bad ps.....) but she said "everyone is having a hard time with everything, so i can't complain." WOW! that was the first time i heard anyone say that answer! she was so great! and the daughter was eating it up.... so we got their phone number BUT the phone number doesn't work!! so we have to go by their house. we will go today. 
saturday night, we were walking down the street and there was a really pretty woman walking with two heavy looking shopping bags. we stopped and asked her if we could help and of course she said no but she asked us who we were and what we do etc etc and she gently set the bags down and started listening to us very intently. after a few minutes on the corner, we grabbed the bags and walked her home. she let us in where we got to know her a bit. her name is radiza, she is from romania and she has a 16 year old son. i really felt like she needed to hear something from the Book of Mormon, so we read 3 Nefi 11 together. I HAVE NEVER FELT A SPIRIT LIKE THAT BEFORE. holy cow, talk about being lead by the Spirit. i had no clue what we were going to teach her, but reading this chapter just filled her house with a sweetness like i can't explain. she told us we could come back the next day. so we did! again. there is something soooo special about radiza!! we have another appointment tonight.
every morning we do a practice approach. sister lewis or i pick someone on the street like "today i am a mom holding a baby" and then we talk to them as if it were real. well one time, we practiced with a character named 'daniela' and THAT DAY we had the EXACT approach that we made up that morning IN REAL LIFE. it was CRAZY. and cool. yesterday, we were walking down the street and there was a young man on the steps of a bank smoking. slla lewis had created this character a few weeks ago-- i could see it in my mind and i had to talk to him but i didnt want to cuz he was really cute and it scares me to talk to cute boys because it can be........ well...... distracting. i'll leave it at that.....  but i went over to talk to him. he was super nice! his name was stefano and he had a million questions. it was just like the approach that we made up. it was soooo weird. anyway, so we gave him a Joseph Smith pamphlet and got his number and we called him that day and he said he couldn't see us that day, but that he had read some of the pamphlet and it was very interesting and he was interesting in learning more. soooo cool!!! 
man the mission rocks.... thank you to everyone for everything. next week will be my last letter from ragusa.... so weird. i've been on my mission for over 7 months and have only been in one city.... i love it here but i am ready to see some other stuff :) 
i love the Church. and the Book of Mormon. man when i read it, i can't put it down!!!! and i don't like to read either.... 
i hope dad is doing well. i'm soo excited for his next letter! but no one send anything else to via buonarroti. i will be leaving here in 2 weeks, and i usually get letters in 10 days, so dont send anything else here just to be safe. 
i love you all
until next week, bacioni dalla siclia
sorella ashman

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

7 Month mark....

today is the 8th of june, the 10th of june is my 7 month in the mission (not it italy mind you. three weeks in the mtc....) and i am so grateful!! this is crazy how quick its passing. i'm almost halfway... and i still don't do anything right... hahahjkjk
well i will say this, this past week was the hardest week of the mission so far. soooo many people we talked to flat out rejected us. several investigators broke up with us, not a single investigator came to church, half of our lessons got cancelled (maybe more) and rapposelli who was my huge miracle, has completely fallen off a spiritual cliff. seems like vanessa was having sympathy pain for me, but just like she said, these moments pass and when we look back we see what God was trying to make of us. one of my favorite stories is about the silver smith, who pounds the nasty silverish lump, puts it in an incredibly hot furnace, pounds it some more and one man who was watching asks the silversmith when the silver is done, and the smith responds that he knows when it's done because he can see his image in the silver. how cute right?! 'he is like fuller's soap and a refiner's fire' 
anyway, in this moment i feel great. we just went to the GLOBAL FOODS store and spent 35 euro on ethnic food. this is my rebellious side that we all knew was there fighting against the endless plates of pasta with red sauce that i have eaten since i've been here...... hahahah we got thai rice and curry paste and pad thai noodles and fake meat made of soy :) i am so excited! 
things are going really well. i am learning sooooo much. i wish that i could have known this stuff when i got here... like we are looking for people with desire right? well desire for WHAT? people who want to know the truth can find truth wherever they look. muslims have truth, buddists have truth, cattholics have a lot of truth! but we want people who are looking for the TRUE CHURCH of JESUS CHRIST, like joseph smith. how is it possible that in 7 months i still haven't found one???? that is the question hahaha but i have 11 months left to find a million giuseppe smiths!!! 
ok let me tell you about ambus. we were walking down the street and there was a youngish looking african guy and we said hello to him and he asked us where we were from (in italian) and then we asked him and he was from Eritrea! (never heard of it before....) anyway he was so relieved to find someone who spoke english and so we were chatting and i asked him if he was muslim and he said 'no. i am a Christian' and i think i did a little victory dance because we aren't allowed to teach muslims because they could be killed if they convert.... anyhoo we got his digits and we called him the next day and he was so excited to hear from us and he said 'thank you so much for calling!' and we have an appointment tonight and he is so wonderful! i hope that he has a desire to find the Church of Jesus Christ. when i talked to him on the phone he asked me 'what are you and the sister doing now?' i told him we were out looking for people to teach, and he said 'oh that is so great! you are out spreading the word of God.' hahaha he got that right! ambus is wonderful and i can't wait to start teaching him tonight!!
we are trying to start working with the friend of a member, her name is claudia. she is a beautiful young woman from BRAZIL!!! (the member is also brazillian DAD....) but claudia is having a really hard time right now.... she has been in itlay for about 3 years, and she came here for her husband giuseppe. well about a month ago, giuseppe took his own life. now imagine this young woman. she gave up her whole life to come to this ridiculous little town in sicily where half the streets are half as small as they should be and everything dies for 3 hours in the middle of the day, and now she is here alone. she needs the gospel. preach my gospel says every injustice in this life can be set in order through the atonement of Jesus Christ, and i know that it is only through the atonement that she will be able to be completely healed. this poor poor girl.... we had an appointment on monday, but she had to go out of town to deal with some more stuff with her husband's death. let's remember to pray for her...
we were walking down the street. there was this old lady smoking on the corner outside of the tabacheria that was playing this gambling game scratch and win, where you have to watch the TV monitor and if your number comes up you win! so for some reason we started talking to her. she was so interesting. definitely someone with a good share of problems... we told her who we were and we asked her if she was interested in our message. she said she was busy at the moment, but when we explained that we could get her phone number and come by and see her, she lit right up and said 'perfetto!' her name is FIORENZA- first of all that's the most beautiful name ever. i am DEF naming one of my daughters enza in honor of fiorenza. so we went to see fiorenza. she is divorced with three? children and living with someone else. we asked her why she accepted our invitation and she said 'avevo bisogno' which means i had a need. she needed some spiritual food because her sould was hungered. it was so cool to hear that answer. i've never heard that one before, and we ask that question at every first lesson. very cool answer. then we went again, and she said she felt better when we were there. and when we asked her to pray to know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. we asked fiorenza, will you pray to know if JS is a prophet? she said 'yes of course. i want all the truths that are available' WOW!!!!!! how awesome!!!! maybe i didn't go 7 months without finding someone.... ;-) anyway i have 3 weeks left in Ragusa from today..... i am excited to see what other miracles are in store!
ok well i think this is long enough.... next week we have a mission conference with Juan Texiera of the 70!! i am sooo excited! his picture is in the Ensign just saying....
alright well more than ever i know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was restored trhough the modern prophet Joseph Smith, and i can't wait to find some more people that want to know that too. i hope that the sister who replaces me has some magic touch for baptizing and that all these people who are right on the edge and be lead all the way into the font... i LOVE being a missionary. LOVE LOVE LOVE it. and i thank my beautiful family and friends for everything!!
bacioni da siclia
sorella ashman