Sunday, July 24, 2011

YAY YAY YAY! and some pics from Bari!

hey hey hey!
this week my companion and i did not speak any english!! i wrote last week that i would start at my 9 month mark, but we decided to start at our 8 month mark instead. this means that i will not speak english for TEN MONTHS. awesome. its going really well.

ok so last thursday was rough. just one of those days where everything goes poorly but you feel it. most days in the mission things go crazy bad and you laugh and you keep going. but no. this day we were pretty upset. we spent the whole morning in Loseto where we met a really nice lady who subsequently rejected our pants off, then we came home pretty... uh... tired. we had lunch and then we went out to do it all over again then we had a huge miracle. that afternoon we were waiting for the bus to come to take us to do house where we had planned. and we waited. and waited. and waited. it was so hot i literally felt like our health would have been at risk if we walked as far as we wanted to go, though technically it would have been possible. then when i was really losing my patience this...attractive... young man came running up. 'buona sera' i said not thinking anything. 'hi' he said. and then i heard the voice in my mind 'talk to him' so in english i said 'what's your name?' 'marco' he asked if the 22 had passed and then he started asking a bunch of questions about who we were and what we do etc etc.... it was awesome. then the bus came, we all got on together and we explained to him in english a bit of the plan of salvation. he didn't have any words and I LOVE IT when people are speachless because it means they have understood the outrageous things that we claim as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. we say the biggest things of all religions, and we can show that they are true! all it takes is a prayer! so i told this to marco and it was just such a cool contact. now it gets even better. that day we met him was exactly the day before he left to go to montenegro (where he is actually from----right by albania....) he said he will be back on september 7. happy birthday! we are going to give him a Book of Mormon for my birthday. then he is going to get baptized and go on a mission and be the first apostle from montenegro!

friday was even more challenging because we literally had nothing planned and nothing planable except house or street. i'll just leave this day alone cuz it was bad hahaha

saturday was great because the other ward had a baptism! it was the first baptism i've seen in italy. that afternoon we had an appointment with francesco who we met my first day in bari, but he never showed up... however! this guy walked past i said 'yo yo yo sup sup sup' (jk i said 'buon giorno!') and he totally stopped dead in his tracks. he was all confused by this wonderful feeling of warmth that we know as 'THE SPIRIT'. we talked and when we asked if he would be interested to learn more he said....'un attimo. one moment please' again speachless! my favorite! he said yes and the poor kid was so confused because he is soooo catholic but he really got slapped across the face by the Spirit and he liked it! so he gave us his phone number and we are going to see him saturday.

sunday was great. it was sunday! we went to lunch at the puglisi family and they have two AWESOME golden labs but no kids. the food was great and we even called them the day before to tell them we are vegetarians! it was wonderful.

monday was one of those days that nothing went right and yet you still feel great. like most days. actually something really fun happened on monday. i think it was a week ago that we made a contact with some guy named giuseppe who gave us the number of some other guy named giuseppe. well we had set up an appointment with the second giuseppe and he called to tell us that couldn't make it! i thought that was so nice. in fact, he is super nice. i have never seen him in my life, but just from the phone i can tell he is a good guy. i asked him how old he is and he is thirty. we have an appointment tonight. referals are a cool thing. in preach my gospel it says to ask everyone for names of people who could be interested in our message. so while we were doing house on monday i asked an old guy if any of his kids would be interested in our message since he wasn't. he then gave us the name of all SEVEN of his children. he told us to look them up in the phone book. i knew that would happen someday. out of all seven of his kids i am sure that at least one will be receptive. there is a reason why we went to that man's house.

yesterday was yet another day with no lessons (unless you count english course where we explained the entire organization of the Church in english) hahaha poor english course students. after english course, our italian tutor tommaso helped us with our italian. he is the nicest man i have ever met. i really want to teach him the gospel.

we have a lot of new ideas of how to do missionary work here in bari because so far, we haven't seen much success except antonio who even he is cooling down a bit, but no worries, i know he will be fine. he is the HUMBLEST man i have ever met. two quotes are in my mind now 'if you do what you've repeatedly done, you'll get what you've repeatedly gotten' and elder texiera at the last zone conference said 'we are not here to maintain the status quo' things are changing here in bari. we are really going to start some new things. we are going to have a talent show and we are really working more with the members. bari needed a facelift. or rather needs. four transfers ago, the sisters here got blown in (which means that they both came new at the same time) which means basically we have started from nothing 6 months ago. and this takes a lot of work and time. but i know if the Lord sees fit to let me stay here long enough, i will see a lot of improvements in the beautiful city of bari. i love it here. it really stretches me and makes me rely on the Lord. i know there are baptisms to be had here and by george, they are going to be had!! i love you all, keep being awesome.
all my love
sorella ashman






Tuesday, July 12, 2011

BARIBARIBARIBARIBARIBARIBARIBARIBARIBARIBARI!!

I LOVE THIS PLACE. i didnt realize how much i missed living in a first world country for 7 months.... i think the ferry to sicily is actually a time machine that takes you back in time at least 200 years. which makes it a really charming and quaint place to live for 7 months :) but BARI. bari is off the charts!!!! its a big city right on the beach and almost everyone has all their teeth. its amazing. (i dont know if i told you all the story about the less active in catania that said the dentist had pulled out two of his teeth at the last visit and that he was going in again to get another removed. i just thought, 'pulling all your teeth out of your head is not the answer!!!' but i digress...) i love it. i love it. i LOVE it! i have always been more of a city girl, even though i found out that i love hiking and camping when i lost 150 pounds, i still feel most at home in the city. i love hearing the mopeds squeal past the window at 2 am. ragusa was alseep by 9, earlier than the missionaries. i love bari. and there is a university here, the ward is huge, the members are SUPER on top of things and friendly, the weather is great, the city is totally flat, the streets are normal sized, the air smells like oregon in the morning, our church building used to be a night club, there are two elders in the ward with us who are AWESOME, there are a bunch of young single adults so they have tons of activities, and we have already seen a bunch of miracles. wow. i didn't think things got any better. now let's just be realisitc here. the food (so far) is not as good as ragusa. but ragusa has the best food of anywhere i have ever been in my life.... and we do not have nearly as many investigators, but that is changing quickly. but as far as a place to live, i could live in bari for the rest of my life. i love it here. 
so last wednesday we went to catania with the two heaviest suitcases i have ever carried in my life. i have been witness of many transfers now, and no one has ever had a suitcase to top mine. i might be sending some stuff home... we stayed in catania excited to hear where everyone was going, and then the next morning i got on a bus to bari with elder bradshaw and he and i were companions for 10 hours. he has only been out one transfer so i told him about all the miracles i have seen in the field like mose and aurelia and he just listened and said 'WOAH THAT IS SO AWESOME SISTER!!' and i taught him a little bit of italian and it was just pretty much an enjoyable but LONG trip on the bus. when we got to bari (over an hour late) we saw this gorgeous group of missionaries. and i met sorella lecates again! i met her in the MTC but i left before she did. she is wonderful. she is from highland, ut and she has strawberry blond hair and we all know how i feel about redheads. (remember when i dyed my hair red for 5 years?) the next day we went to adelfia which is a little suburb of ragusa and we did some house and met a man named giovanni. he first started talking to us in german and then we told him we were american and he spoke english! (not that great but yeah) so anyway we got his phone number and set up an appointment for the next day because he was going to be in bari and so we called fratello valentini to come to lesson with us. at first he said no and then he called us back like two minutes later and said, ok i'll come. and so we taught the lesson. and it went great. :) then on sunday (fast sunday!) fllo valentini bore his testimony about how grateful he was to have come to the lesson with us etc.
(remember all the great stuff i said about bari? well i take it all back. i just used the 'bathroom' here at the internet point.)
then that night i had set up a meeting with rita, the member from ragusa who is apparently here in bari somewhere but hasnt been coming to church. so we rode the bus (ps it was POURING rain) to the station for some reason, because i felt like we should even though rita had already told me that she wouldn't be able to make it. i don't know i just kept thinking maybe her plans had changed but i just wanted to go to the station. so we were standing there and basically as soon as we got there we had to turn back around and go home but as we were waiting in the downpour there was a normal looking guy standing next to us and he was kinda looking at us curiously so i asked him how he was and introduced myself and then we started talking. he asked us if we needed a ride and i declined. i don't remember much about what i said, but i do remember telling him that my prayers are always answered when i ask for something with faith and he said, 'really?' and i said yes! he said he doesn't like the catholic priests etc etc and since the bus was late, i kept talking to him. we talked about the priesthood, and how a 12 year old boy can have it and how he could too! he asked if there was a place where we meet, and so i invited him to church the next morning. he said he would come. and the bus pulled up. i thought about getting his phone number but something inside me said that if he really wants to come, he will be there. before sunday school, i had literally not even thought about antonio and one of the ward members came up and said that we had a contact in church. and there was antonio, smiling from ear to ear in a suit and tie. he had already been to quorum and apparently he had some common relatives with one of the members. sunday school went well and then sacrament was great. it was fast sunday so it was extra cool. i asked him how he liked church and he said he felt at home and that he was super happy to be there. the next day i called him and again he said that he loved church that it was 'meraviglioso' and we set up an appt for friday. he is a professor and has been grading his students exams all week long and so he has been tired, but he was very happy to set  up the appointment and he hinted at coming to church again.
this kind of thing doesnt happen. i still am not quite sure that this is real. like did we really find a super elect? or is something going to go terribly wrong? when we see him friday we are going to invite him to be baptized. and we will see how it goes but i mean the fact that we went to the station for no reason, that he was there too and then he came to church in a suit and tie?? i dunno seems suspiciously perfect. technically he lives in the boundaries of the other ward, but i couldn't care less where he lives or where he goes to church as long as he goes. i am so grateful that i got to be part of this!! i LOVE bari!
 
other than that, a lot of the work here is in need of a facelift. we are pretty much starting fresh, but i seriously talk to EVERYONE which scares the pants off of slla lecates but its good for her. mwahaha last night i had a funny moment. i was laying in my bed and the thought came to my mind when linz mim and i were playing mash and i said 'my. life. is. PERFEEECT!!!' and last night i was laying in bed on the dino bespread with the fresh air drifting in the window and i was thinking 'my. life. is PERFEEEECT!!!!' and i am sooo grateful. i'm almost at 8 months in the mission and i now have decided that when i get to the 9 month mark, i am no longer speaking english. so in a month my letters are going to be exciting since it will be the only time i speak english.
keep on praying and write me!
 
via luigi einaudi 25
70125 Bari BR Italia
 
this work is true. guess what? i found the answer to happiness. its in mosiah 2:41. ora vorrei che voi considerate lo stato benedetto e felice di colui che obbedisce ai commandamenti di Dio. i don't know what it says in english, but it says that the key to happiness is OBEDIENCE. it's true, i just wish that i had learned that a long time ago. i love you all. thank you for your support and help. special thank you to vanessa and ryan!
all my love
sorella ashman