Sunday, August 7, 2011

pool of money

whew! it's been a long week. we have been battling the same battles that we battle everyday in missionary life- obedience vs. rigidity, kind vs. flirtatious, proactive vs. stressed etc. i have been thinking a lot about the things that i need to imporve as a missionary and just how challenging this city of bari has been for me. my first transfer here is almost over and there are many changes coming. when you aren't training a new missionary it is much easier to get lax with the rules, which i kinda hope that i train again this coming transfer because it keeps you on your toes. it's very tiring though because you have to do EVERYTHING and make every decision. well almost. every once in a while you say, 'sorella, i can't make 20 phone calls today. you get to be senior companion!' and you make her do it. but at the same time i would love to be junior companion again :) things were great back then.... maybe that's why i fell in love with sorella zeller. she spoke italian like a pro and the work was very evenly divided... anyway. this transfer there are big changes coming to bari! we are getting another companionship of sorelle!!! so i personally think that sister lecates and i won't be companions anymore but that we will be still together in the house. we'll see what president decides to do. this is a great thing becuase it means that there are more sisters in the mission now. we get the call on saturday to tell us what happens.... last wednesday we did a lesson with a man named orazio. the lesson was so interesting because he was saying that he wasn't interested AS HE WAS READING THE BOOK OF MORMON and he kept asking us questions and he said 'wow, who knows how much more there is to learn about this, how deep this goes.' and he was like 'why am i still listening to you?' and yet he continued to listen.... he was such an interesting person, and it can't have been an accident that we found him. we were doing house in a zone where we had never been before and i was feeling so good! (this was the same day we got the seven names of that man's children the 18th of july monday) we had passed by this house number 1 because we thought it was a business and we are not allowed to knock businesses. so we did the whole street and as we were leaving i said 'no that is just an excuse to be lazy because this person will probably reject us too' so i rang him and he was super nice, then we did this lesson last week and now who knows! the saddest part about missionary work is agency. because God sets up this awesome miracles, it's like a movie! all the things that just 'work out' and then we as missionaries try and do our part and then! the peopl CHOOSE to not accept the thousand dollar bill that we are handing to them. yeah. sad.
that night we taught nicola who is so wonderful and nice and then we all went to pizza! us and nico and the elders and it was great because anziano pedreira who was with me in sicily was also there and it was just wonderful.
last thursday we taught antonio. he will not be ready for his baptism on saturday, BUT we told him to pray for a new date. and i think he will do it. he hasn't been keeping commitments and its breaking my heart, but we finally figured out why! because i had told him that he would need permission from his wife before he could be baptized (which is the rule) but then we talked to the bishop and he said that since they are legally separated. boh! anyway he seems relieved because he really wants to be baptized. that afternoon, we met an old man who gave us two oranges and i tried to pay him but he wouldn't accept money (we didn't have any anyway) and then like 20 minutes later we saw him again and he gave us five euro! we told him we couldn't accept it and fought for like 5 minutes to give it back but he wouldn't hear of it. i hope God blesses him for trying to do something good. even if it technically is against the rules. we bought a gelato.
friday we taught a lesson to a beautiful young woman named gabriella. she is a very firm catholic, but she is also a student who has a colse friend who is a member. we gave her a Book of Mormon and she said she would read it happily but she also said that she has no intention of changing her religion. i've heard that so many times you'd think that i would accept it. but i can't. i just have to keep trying because if these people would realize what they are missing out on!! it's like we members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are all having a big party catered by Cold Stone and we are swimming in a big pool of spiritual money and we invite people to come and they don't want to!!!! itìs RIDICULOUS! oh well. i will do my part and SOMEDAY SOMEDAY one of the HUNDREDS of people that i talk to will canonball into the pool of spiritual money while eating a gotta have it size ice cream with brownies and whipped cream. someday.
saturday was interesting. about a week earlier we met this man named benvenuto, which means 'WELCOME!' yeah weird. we had tried to see him friday and he just didn't show up, so when i called him and i was like 'yoyoyoyo where you at man?' he was like 'sorry i'm with my son. i'll come tomorrow morning. peace' and i was like 'uh.... ok thanks for the notice!' anyway we reorganized the next morning so that we could see him and then he like didn't show up! so i called him. he said he wouldn't ben able to make it and hung up but then i was like 'no. he wants this.' sometimes we have to force people to realize it, just like when i went on the ferris wheel when i was five and i was sooo scared. but then it was the best thing ever!! so maybe i was a brat, but this work that we have it too important. i called him back and i was like 'look. we reorganized the morning so that we could see you. we know that this message is important for you and we would really love to be able to share it with you.' he was like 'ok' HA! so he came to the church and we did a little lesson. this man is smart. he said he has a million questions that the catholic church insists are 'mysteries of God' and i said we don't believe in those. he asked us how mary could be a virgin and still give birth, how the earth was created, and how can we have agency if we say 'thy will be done' GREAT quesions. i don't know about mary, but the other two we have the answers! anyhoo it was a decent lesson.
sunday was great. we had lunch with the valentini family who made us an all vegeterian smorgasbord. they are great. then we sucked all the information that we could out of them, about less actives mostly. they know everything. then we had a miracle that night. the perini family is a gorgeous family, but they have been inactive for a while. we have passed by their house or called them at least once a week every week that i have been here. we have only ever seen them once though. the wife is avoiding us. the poor husband is suffering because the love of his life has officially rejected the thing that's the most important to him. and it breaks his and my heart because this family is STUNNING. they are both young and attractive and they have one daughter who is truly a spoiled little princess full of energy. well there is an active member who lives behind them, but her palazzo is connected to the courtyard. so we buzzed in to this active member who let us in to the courtyard, and boom. there was the husband and the daughter. if there had been the wife, she would have made some excuse for not letting us come in. the daughter, however said, OH! le sorelle!! then she asked us to do a family home evening. so we said 'OK!' so we FINALLY got into the house of the infamous perini family. they are gorgeous. the wife was less than enthusiastic but you could feel the relief of the husband. things went well except we hadn't prepared anything and so i was really going off the cuff and i was kinda nervous because i love these people so much. anyway, this was just one step in a long and difficult process of getting silvia perini to need the gospel in her life again.
things with antonio are going much better now that he knows that doesn't have to talk to his wife. i don't know if that is a good thing, but he has promised to memorize 1 nefi 3:7. i secretly hope that he gets baptized on my birthday.
anyway i apologize for how nasty my hair looks in the pictures. i decided that i want to grow it out again, like it was in high school, so i evened it out from the asymmetrical and now its just in an awkward not long enough to be shoudler length, not short enough to be cute ugly phase. good thing im a missionary!
just so you know i have received several letters from dad and one from trisha and i am super grateful. to dad i want to say, thank you for being so strong and doing everything for your family. i knew it would be hard this long distance thing but you are so awesome for making this sacrifice. thank you thank you thank you for giving me the perfect life. i can't believe how incredibly blessed i have been. shame on me for ever complaining that this mission is challenging!!!! and in the moments that i think that, i think of the talk of elder holland that says that if we are going to be worthy of what the Father wants to give us, we have to pass through our own personal Gethsemane. the mild little things that i suffer can't even come close so i will try to endure it well. :) i love this gospel and swimming in the pool of spiritual money with my gorgeous family.
all my love
sorella ashman

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