alright well last thursday was the day of all days. the culminating event of my mission thus far. it was the 11th of august, one day after my 9 month mark. we had a lesson with antonio. we read 3 nefi 11 together and then talked about Jesus Christs love for us. we then asked him a few of the questions for the baptismal interview and he said the thing that i have been waiting to hear. i asked him what repentance was and he answered correctly and then i asked if he felt like he had repented and he got teared up and said that the life he was living now was much different from the life he was living previously. and then we told him that he was ready and that we wanted to set another baptismal date. he looked like a kid on Christmas eve. we set the date for september 3rd (happy birthday to me!) and then we asked him to say the prayer. we all knealt down and finally antonio said the most heartfelt prayer. he could barely speak. he prayed that he would be ready for his baptism and that he could get through the prayer despite his emotions. the Spirit was so thick, you could have cut it with a knife. it was awesome!! i have waited 9 months for that. it was worth it. he is getting baptized. (how many times have i said that now...) but seriously.
friday was.... yeah. i will just say that it ended on a good note. we had no plans so we created one! we prayed about it and we felt good. after several attempts to find less actives, i was on edge of despair, and i said ok sorella, how many doors can we knock with the time we have left? we did more than 50! and i know that nothing we do is wasted, but pretty much it was no after no after no. oh well. no cold stone for them!! there was one guy that came out of his house and he was talking to us for a few minutes and he said that he had been to church about 40 years ago and i asked him what happened and he said nothing and i told him that we were sent there so that he could have another opportunity to have the joy of the gospel in his life. i told him that if he says no to us again that day it would be like closing the door on the blessings that God wants to give him. he said no. (i'm a very bold missionary, but it's the only chance i have to say things like this so i'm taking advantage of every opportunity.) then we finally stopped doing house and we stopped by the church where the elders were playing soccer and we talked to few members for a minute and then we passed by another less active who was home but wouldn't let us in. we were heading home very much.... well.... saddened. at the street corner we were waiting for the light to turn green and i was so frustrated and i was just thinking, 'why doens't anyone want this?????????!!!!!!!' i raised my hands and Book of Mormon in the air and yelled PENTITEVI E VENITE A CRISTO!!! which means repent ye! and come unto Christ!!!! i didn't think anything of it, but there was a guy in his car with the window down. he was watching us like we were aliens and then i realized that he had heard me yell and i busted out laughing. his light turned green and i waved as he drove away. great day.
saturday was great. we again had no plans but we knew that someone needed us. it was the same feeling we had had friday. so we tried our best to interpret the Spirit and we looked through the member book and both felt really good about going to the house of the relief society president. we took the bus about 20 minutes to get there and as we were looking for her house, we ran into fllo carlucci who lives in the same town. then we stopped by their house, and they were leaving but we did get to talk to them for a few seconds. i think that it was helpful for her. she was super happy to see us. then we went to see the last family that lives in the same town triggiano, the ramunni family. (great last name!!) the ramunnis are INCREDIBLE. the mom is soooo sweet and the dad is amazing. he went to byu so he speaks perfect english and even like an american. fllo ramunni has muscular distrophy and his daughter has autism and even though he has trouble walking, he can't help his wife tend to their children, and he has a lot of trouble transitioning between sitting and standing, he ALWAYS has a nice word and smile. i want to be like fllo ramunni. he is truly my role model. when we left our spiritual thought, he cried and thanked us for coming. he also studied vocal performance at byu and he is a wonderful bass. he asked me to sing for them so i sang one of the italian hymns. that afternoon we had a lesson with andrea our investigator who was so absorbed in the restoration film that i thought he might ask to watch it again. maybe on repeat or like me when i used to watch the wedding planner every night. the lesson went ok... i'll just say that when choosing a member, choose wisely. then we had another lesson with angela who is soooo sweet. the poor woman!! her really old mom and literally crazy boyfriend.... during the lesson, her boyfriend comes in with this toy parrot and takes the battery out of the clock and then with the battery in the parrot he yells at it 'non funziona!' then the parrot yells back, 'non funziona non funziona!' and angela just shakes her head.
sunday was GREAT. antonio gave the prayer in sunday school and it was wonderful. maybe it shouldn't be this way but it is, the members judge the missionaries by how well the investigators do. and he did great. good little kid. and then for lunch we went to an activity for the young single adults. it was miraculous. there were some 80 ysa and it was the most beautiful thing i've ever seen. that evening we went to try to see anna mola again. she wasn't home this time, but we are going to go again on friday. i refuse to give up on her!
monday was a holiday here. it's called feragosto and its just the excuse to close everything and go to the beach. well we had an awesome holiday and all the missionaries in the mission were at home to deep clean the house! it was beautiful. we rearranged everything and it was great. the highlight of the day was when we were moving this little book shelf that was much too heavy. we then realized that it had a chest FULL of BOOKS!!!! there were two huge Bibles and a book about siena!!! i endulged in the picuture book from siena, which is still hands down my favorite city in italy. then we found this cd that has a jazz version of i know Heavenly Father loves me sung by some awesome black girl. it's great.
yesterday was another long day. i was all stressed out for some reason (really not sure why...) but it happens. we had a lesson with antonio in the morning that was less than ideal. fllo curci the ward mission leader came and literally (i am not exaggerating) talked for 45 minutes and then we had to go. we didn't get to say anything. antonio talked a little, but the point of the lesson was to open him right up and help him clean himself out spiritually before his baptism. well, apparently curci did that because around 1 curci popped his head into the meeting we were having with the other missionaries and he said that they had just finished and that they knew everything. poor poor antonio. (our lesson started at 10) i hope hope hope that curci didn't ruin everything. we'll see.... then that afternoon andrea didn't show up to his lesson. we waited for 30 minutes and the member that was with us was like 'do you have enough faith sisters?' and sister lecates was like 'yeah i have faith, but he has agency!' hahaha so he never showed up. so we decided to repass the lukewarm people that we had found doing house friday and this guy, this doctor was so nice and i am not exactly sure what his deal is but he said he would call us. we'll see. then we did some more house! then something wonderful happened. there was a woman out side on her balcony. let's imagine this scene together
woman-what do you want?
me- we are missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints, and we are here to share our message of Jesus Christ with you.
woman- i don't want to hear your message. im not interested in any message.
me- are you sure? we know this message is of great value and will be helpful to you.
woman- i am not interested in any message!!
me-ok please excuse us. we don't wanted to bother you.
woman- well you are bothering me so go away.
me- ok have a great night. (we start to walk around to the other side to talk to the other people)
woman- where are you going?
me- to take our message to the other people
woman- there is no one else here
me- in this whole palazzo, there is no one else?
woman- no, now go away
me- well i want to make sure. we have permission to do this work ma'am so we are going to do it
woman- you have no permission! this is private property and you need to leave!
me- we have permission but fine.
so we went to gate where there was the little intercom. no one answered. we left handouts in all the mailboxes. as we left i felt a very strong love and at the same time saddness for this unhappy woman. Heavenly Father knows her and loves her. He wants her to be happy and gave her the chance for real happiness, and she yelled at it to go away. we are going back there. Christ said, the healthy need no physician. we are here to heal the spiritually ill and this woman needs help to overcome this illness. i hope and pray that she will have her heart softened so that we can speak with her the next time.
all is well here in bari. i love you all and pray for you. thank you for everything.
all my love