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.
wow.
 
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
 
 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Transfers!


The big news is transfers!! slla lecates is going to sicily!! she will be in catania, and my new companion will be slla hicks. i am now the queen of bari!!
lets do some highlights of this week
1. antonio is now the member who helps us in the lessons instead of the investigator. its amazing!! he is a beautiful butterfly!
2. annalisa the 16 year old girl is quickly becoming a bff. do yall remember how i always seemed to relate well to girls a few years younger? miriam and lindsay, laura weedman, etc. yeah she is also on the list 
3. orazio and maria are turning into beautiful flowers and preparing for baptism probably within the next month or 2. they just need to pray!!!
 
 
alright so sorry about that... but desperate times calls for desperate measures.
 
alright not that i am trunky AT ALL (actually the opposite) just for everyone's information i have been offered a job here in bari with a company that was started by one of the members, raffaella juan, (she is married to a mexican!) who has a translation company. they translate for all kinds of things, and right now they are working with the MTC to translate a series of DVDs called "the district" into italian. they want someone who is a native english speaker, and i told her that i want the job. the probability that i will be in italy for a long time is very high. man i miss you guys. its really hard for me to accept that we will be far away from each other, but for sure we appreciate each other more. i really love my family. i dont know if i ever told you all about when i was 16 and vince was on his mission or in college (in some way he had left home) and i realized that our family would never be the same again. i was in cold stone washing the dishes and it hit me! we would never all live in the same house again! and i started to cry. haha its really sad, but at the same time its just the way things are, and if we stayed at home forever we would be like Adam and Eve before the fall. it was a good life all together back in the day, and i love you all. so stay faithful to the covenants that we have all made in the temple (miriam soon) and we will all be together FOREVER!!!! mwahaha shout out to awesome parents who created such a bomb diggity place to live.
all my love
sorella ashman
 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Pay it forward


hey hotties!!! how are you??? this week has been off the chain. and i am slowly realizing that i LOVE american slang and how much i use it.... we feel so bad for the students in english course cuz they just dont quite get it..... wa wa its one of my fave american tradishes. we told them yesterday thats its totes norm to leave off the last syllable of a word when your with friends like just to be funny. haha poor kids... 
last wednesday was my birthday and it was exceptional!! we went to a chinese restaurant and it was DELISH!!!!! i was thrilled to have something other than pasta. (ps its not a joke. italians literally eat pasta EVERY MEAL. literally) anyway we had quite a few birthday miracles. one: orazio, the man who read 300 pages in the Book of Mormon called to set up an appointment with us and introduce us to his wife. and the biggest miracle of my mission!! (not really) ok so i kept telling sorella lecates how no one calls us without being contacted first. orazio was close. he called us when we had only seen him once but i kept saying sorella i know that someday someone is going to call us and say that they want to know more etc etc. well last sunday we met these two 17 year old girls at the park and they said they had to write a paper for school about religions etc etc and so they asked us some stuff. anyway wednesday night we were at a young adult activity. the phone rings. "pronto?" "si ciao, sono annalisa." "ciao anna lisa! come stai?" "bene bene. senti, volevo chiedere se ci possiamo verdere domani mattina?" TRANSLATION "yo, its annalisa. can we meet up tomorrow, homeslice?" UH YEAH!!!!! so our thursday morning was organized by the investigators... it was awesome. we first went to orazio's and met his wife. while we were waiting for her to come, he says, this woman is the best woman in the world. it was just a cute little comment for someone like orazio who is super cool. but he was totally right. right from the beginning maria was a DOLL. she is much younger than orazio (as is the trend here....) and LOVELY. anyway the lesson went great. orazio says the same thing over and over but its because he doesnt know what else to say and doesnt want to admit that he loves the message of the gospel. hes too cool. we taught them the plan of salvation and maria was like "wow i have never heard this before!" and we were like well NOW YOU KNOW!! so pray about it!! and read the Book of Mormon. and come to church! anyway, then orazio made me sing for them because he has a jazz studio and i told him i loved to sing jazz. so i sang and then we went to teach the girls. i was thinking that they were older than 17, at least 19, but they are very mature. annalisa and stefania when we got there, they had really done their research. they had a 2 page list of questions, everything from the black having the priesthood to tithing to whether we worship Joseph Smith. not your normal 17 year old... anyway the lesson was great. then we went to pick up the stereo system from the other chapel for the TALENT SHOW on friday!!! that afternoon we did the trial run and organized all the tables. we brought the tiny tables from all over the church in the chapel\ cultural hall and set up the atmosphere like a little restaurant. we were super tired and literally slla lecates and i did EVERYTHING. like the baptism. (see how this country needs help spiritually?) but all's well that ends well... we then had english course and after that my accompanist, francesco scarola came to do the trial run with me and everything went well.
 
friday was the big day. i knew that not everything was perfect but the goal was to get investigators there to introduce them to members and to strengthen our realtionships with the ward members. well the evening really served its purpose. it was INCREDIBLE. orazio and maria came, annalisa and stefania came, and tons of other investigators and less actives. i was happy with my performance. oh another fun fact, the MC fratello signorile, is 85 years old, reminds me a lot of gpa charlie (happy birthday to him ps!! i feel so bad that i didnt get anything written to him in time.... im a horrible person.....) and he made me be vice mc. so the whole time i got to sit on the stage with him. i felt like vanna white, or the chicks on the price is right, like the pretty face with the swarthy old man host. hahaha anyway it was fantastic. stressful in the preparation but in the end it went great. especially orazio and maria. :)
 
saturday we saw beatrice in the morning and WE HAD ANOTHER BAPTISM!!!! hahaha! the elders in our ward found a golden and i mean GOLDEN investigator, a man from the phillipines named jimmy. they started teaching him on the 23rd of august and he got baptized on the 10th of september. it was like an emergency baptism because he only came to church 2x and as a rule, one must come 3x before he can be baptized. jimmy so badly wanted to be baptized and was preparing for the 17th of september. so when jimmy dropped the bomb that he was going back to the phillipines because he couldnt find work here, the elders were pretty much destroyed. thank goodness for a huge miracle. the zone leader called them out of the blue to see how things were going. they explained the story and the zone leader said "call president and talk to him. in extreme cases, these people can be baptized!!" so they did. and he got baptized. and he is going back to the phillipines this week. it was AWESOME. one of the strongest testimonies i've ever heard. jimmy is the person that you think only the other missionaries find. (well technically its still true haha but i really feel involved. we are all a team here) but it really happened!! then he was confirmed on sunday and it was just beautiful. bari is exploding!!
 
sunday was september 11th and i wish that i had been more patriotic. the more i think about how i am probably going to live in italy for most of my life, the more i love the fact that i had the opportunity to grow up in america. i had so many experiences, i have travelled and learned how to be indepenent, i am educated and i have had many different jobs. i have more life experience than many people with twice my age, and i owe so much of it to my being american. with that said, i have no clue why i was so fortunate, and now its my turn to give back. i have been thinking so much about culture in these last few days and how we are the product of what is around us. its hard to explain. i think i was afraid of living in italy because i was afraid of losing my culture. but it doesnt have to be like that. i plan to live in italy so that i can pay it forward, keeping my culture and beliefs and adapting to the lifestyle that is presented to me. i fully intend to have an ital-american home. i love america and i am so grateful for the unity that we have as americans. once when i saw americans in ragusa it was instant friendship. they gave us their addresses and facebook accounts solely based on the fact that all four of us were american. i want to thank my father and grandfathers and all my other ancestors and relatives for the service that they provided in the defense of freedom. as much as i love italy and can't wait for the day that i have an italian passport, i will never not american. alright shout out over. i also love albanians, don't forget that, because sunday night we went to contact a referal from the zone leader. this woman is albanian and a lawyer!!! tight!!! but unfortunately in the end she couldnt make it to the appt. but we will see her soon.
 
monday was great. sunday night we set lots of goals of how we would improve this week. the last two weeks were hectic with 2 baptisms and the talent show. this week though, we are busting our buns. to monday we went to the less affluent zone called japigia, that at first i didnt like, but after this experience i changed my tune. we were looking for this less active family and we asked a woman for directions. this woman was FLY. she had like half he head shaved and she was wearing flowery leggings. pretty much she was awesome. she was SUPER nice and asked everyone on the street where it was. we thanked her and started to leave, then she called back to us and asked if we wanted a ride. so she took us. we talked in the car about who we were and i told her that to thank her, i wanted to give her a pamphlet. so i gave her a restoration pamphlet and then i asked for her phone number. she says "listen, im catholic." and i say "that's wonderful. we aren't here to change people's religion. we are here to share our message. if the people accept it, it will be them who change religion." she laughed and gave me her number. her name is carla. she has 2 kids and is divorced. she was awesome!! then we saw the valerio family, less actives who really really are trying to reactivate themselves, but are facing many difficulties. they are SUPER humble but everytime we go to their house, they insist on giving us something to eat and drink. fortunately, the relief society president yesterday announced to all the sisters that we are vegetarians :)  i was so happy and they couldnt cook their chicken for us.
 


yesterday morning, we killed a few investigators, did some house, and for the first time in a long time i was truly nervous to teach a lesson. we had another appointment with annalisa and stefania, and they are so special i didnt want to mess it up. it was strange, because if you know me, you know that im not shy and that i am confident, but i was literally nervous. i love these girls, and i really wanted to teach a good lesson. so we made a list of questions for them and the lesson really did go well. more or less we got to know the girls better and talked a LOT about marriage, because both of them (especially annalisa) have lost all their trust in marriage (remember though they are only 17...  haha) but we found out that they have seen a few problems with marriage and family life, but thank goodness they are so young because they are still moldable. the best part was when we were talking about what the purpose of the missionaries is, to baptize. stefania is 100% catholic she says, but annalisa really wants to believe the church. one of the questions on our list was "how can you know that the Church is true?" and she said, by attending it. THATS RIGHT BABY! and praying of course. i guess in the end i am just super grateful that i was born into a perfect family in the church in america. why? THAT IS THE QUESTION and i dont think that i will have an answer in this life, but let me just say, i thought that my mission was a sacrifice, and that i was showing to my Heavenly Father how grateful i was for all the things that He has given me by paying the tithing of my life by serving a mission. HA! think of how much more richly i can pay it forward if i dedicate my entire life to the advancing of this work. i picture myself in the future with the missionaries ALL THE TIME. as much as possible because i do want to have lots of kids.... but i see the missionaries at my house, i see myself at the lessons with them, in meetings with them, i see myself with a baby in my arms and another at my feet and the missionaries by my side. everyone says that we need to stay missionaries forever, but putting that into practice is hard sometimes (especially in UTAH!!) but if i stay here, i KNOW i will see miracles and i will always be a missionary. who ever would have thought, mom and dad, that when we got that letter for the foreign exchanges in 2003 that this would have come from it? haha its amazing. thank you thank you thank you for all the opportunities that you have given me. i really hope that the celestial kingdom is packed when we get there. and i hope that i have done ALL THAT I CAN DO to make it that way. i love you all. i love this work, and i love my Savior Jesus Christ.
all my love,
sorella ashman

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tanti Auguri a me!


(uncle heber voice) alrighty here now we're rolling alright now we're really rolling here!
obviously this was the best week in my mission.... it finally happened!  ok usually i go in chronological order, but i think today calls for a specail start with THE BAPTISM!!! (i wish there was an emoticon with a little smiley face in a baptismal font....)  this is the closest because its blue, like water. alright so the baptism was on saturday. i don't know how the missionaries in high-baptizing countries do it. we went to the church at 10 in the morning wearing grubby clothes because we had to clean the font before the baptism. it hasn't been used in a long time..... so we had in tow: our clean clothes, the baptismal clothes, our food for lunch, our makeup, shoes, books for studying, pretty much we were camping out in the church all day. well we got there and we started cleaning the font (see photo). then we had to fold all 40 of the programs and stamp all of the pamphlets for the massive crowd that we were expecting (the first convert baptism in 2 years!!) then we did our session of weekly planning where we plan the entire week. it takes forever. and we invited the elders to eat lunch with us (i made gnocchi that morning  nom nom nom) so then we had lunch and i was thinking maybe we should start filling the font now, but i dont want it to get cold. and i think i remember them saying that it takes two hours so there is no need now. at 4 pm (the baptism was at 630) sister lecates says "shouldnt we fill the font? i think they said it takes 4 hours."  "what?" so we run down stairs and start filling the font. the faucet has the water pressure of a drinking fountain. and the font is BIG. 15 minutes later, there was about an inch. we looked at each other. "grab a bucket sorella!" for the next hour and a half we then cominced to reinact the scene in fantasia when the brooms are filling up that room with water. let's say we were SWEATY and tired. i don't think that i ever realized what it meant when the missionaries talked about "filling the font." i just thought yeah you turn on the water. boom. no. it takes A LONG TIME to fill up a font. its almost as big as a jacuzzi. anyway all is well that ends well. literally the moment we said ok thats good, antonio appeared at the top of the stairs. whew. no one knew anything. but they were suspiscious about why the water was dirty and cold. i dunno! must have been the italian ghost....
anyway, we then all said a prayer together, and took some pics. then we went upstairs to see the crowd of people. i think there were probably 6 members there that weren't involved in the program and that's being generous. i sang "i like to look for rainbows whenever there is rain" that cute primary song and accompanied myself. its really sad, but next to our ward pianist i am the best pianist in the ward, so i had to play for the baptism, and we all know that i am not that great of a pianist, so it was really hard to play and sing together. but on the good side, no one else plays better than me so they can't say anything. anyway the baptism was awesome. i think the people that have to get baptized twice are the strongest members (ME!! hahah) but yeah he had to be baptized twice. the first time he didn't go quite under. fllo carlucci was pushing him under and saying "vai giu! vai giu!!" (get down, get down!!). after the baptism, antonio gave the sweetest testimony and it was great. the closing song was be still my soul. then we had to drain the font and clean it again. luckily this time a few of the young adults were hanging out with us. it took sooo long to drain the font!!! we were all hanging out forever. it took over an hour for the thing to finish, then we cleaned it and then we had to take all that stuff back home (we live about 20 minute walk from the church.) man it was a LOOOOONG day. luckily an investigator stopped us and gave us a ride.
the confermation was INCREDIBLE. i love confermations, and priesthood blessings in general. fllo curci the ward mission leader did the confermation. i love fllo curci. there was this wave of Spirit there. it was so thick you could have cut it with a knife. i really dont remember much of what was said in the blessing but when he said 'receive the Holy Ghost' it was beautiful.
alright so thats the big news. other things that have happened this week:
last thursday we had a lesson with michele. he is so funny. he really wants to be baptized but because of his back problems he literally thinks he will die. he promised to come to the baptism and to church and didn't come to either.  its so sad when people miss out on the blessings that they could have had.... we did the lesson with fllo curci and curci was saying that michele is one of God's elect. well i know that's true too but if michele doesnt start coming to church he is not living up to his electness potential!!!!
friday we went on a wild goose hunt in Disneyland to find the house of beatrice, this wonderful woman that we met a few weeks ago. it took forever, but eventually we found it. and the house is gorgeous. she then dished out two huge things of gelato, we took a bite and realized that it was coffee flavor so we had to decline, which is a lot harder than you think when you know this woman has nothing and it was almost like rejecting the widows mite because she won it playing a slot machine if you know what im saying. that night we saw antonio and watched how rare a posession and then we did a bit of street contacting. as we were heading home, i saw a man and i felt like i needed to talk to him. at that exact moment about 18 things happened. the light on the street corner turned green, so we needed to cross, he was coming the other way, walking very quickly and the phone rang. 'sorella!! go stop him!!' i yelled and slla lecates flipped out cuz she doesnt like to do street alone. so im trying to talk on the phone to the lady who is asking me a gagillion questions about the songs that i am going to sing at the concert on the 16th and im trying to be nice but she was seriously annoying me and im trying to stop this guy and slla lecates is just walking along an finally i got off the phone and i said 'excuse me!! we want to ask you something.' and it was obvious that we were following him. anyway we ended up talking to him for quite a long time... too long surely but i wanted him to know the message that we were offering. we talked a bit about our potential to become like God and he said he didn't want to become like God because he was content with things the way they were. and i said that was the stupidest thing i've ever heard and that we were there offering him a huge chocolate cake for free and he didn't want any. anyway, for some reason this approach really affected me. because i was sure that we were meant to talk to him, but in the end i have no clue why and i had a flash back of the hundereds, probably thousands by now, of people that i have talked to. the majority of people say no on the spot, a few people listen, a few of those people give you their phone numbers, and a few of those people become investigators, and very few of those become members. i felt really sad when we finally said goodbye to francesco because i was feeling like the ultimate missionaries ever in the Book of Mormon in mosia 28
Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soulshould perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble.
 And thus did the Spirit of the Lord work upon them, for they were the very vilest of sinners. And the Lord saw fit in his infinitemercy to spare them; nevertheless they suffered much anguish of soul because of their iniquities, suffering much and fearing that they should be cast off forever.
i was really thinking about these verses, and how badly i want to help these people! i want to take away their agency and make them be obedient but then slla lecates called me satan. then we went home and i cried. i have been having a lot of breakdowns lately. i think being it italy so long is doing stuff to me.
saturday-the baptism.
sunday the confermation. AND  a huge miracle. i dont know if you all remember our ex investigator andrea. he was amazing and then we couldnt find him again because he missed an appointment and he doesnt have a cell phone. anyway we were in relief society and the usher came in and called us. and there was ANDREA!!!! wahoo!!! he was asking us a bazillion questions about his friend paolo who was the person that introduced him to the missionaries and we were like ok andrea. calm down. hes not interested. anyhoo it was awesome to see him but then we found out that technically he is in the other ward so monday we passed him to the elders of the other ward. hes like a little christmas present for the elders with a bow and everything. also one of the primary kids shared his testimony and he said he wanted to be baptized by his mom. hahahaa. then we had lunch with the palermo family in adelfia. after lunch we came back and we did a test run with fllo scarola for the talent show on friday. it went well but i think i just have to sing somewhere over the rainbow because sadly the music that you sent me mama hasnt arrived yet  thank you so much and i will use it when it gets here but until then...birds fly over the rainbow...
on tuesday we saw fratello viscanti for the first time since the baptism. it was incredible. he was completely different. the gift of the Holy Ghost is soooo cool!!!! he carried himself in a completely different way. he was more confident more, calm, and had a different light about him. it was awesome. he was a beautiful butterfly!!! we made him write a letter to himself and it was beautiful. he wrote it on the computer so i think i will just have to print out a copy for myself and keep it forever!!! after we went to celebrate my birthday with a crazy but so sweet eternal investigator, titta. we went to get something to eat and as we were waiting for the food, there was a woman who came up to us and asked if we were mormon missionaries. long story short, she was the wife of the branch president in tirana albania!!! hahahahahahahaha i love albanians!!!! anyway it was super cool. she came here to visit her daughter who lives in bari for 19 years. but is not a member!!!! her dad is the branch pres.... sad. we gave her a family proc in albanian and i am going to write to my albanian friend from the MTC who is now in temple square and tell her. it was beautiful. when i finish the mission i am going to albania and israel. without fail.
today has been awesome. we did some shopping but i didnt get anything. just a gelato... then we went to  a chinese restaurant and it was awesome. :) i made a huge chocolate cake with ricotta inside. yummy!!
anyway i am super tired of writing because this is the second time we are here at the internet point. i love you and miss you all. i am old now!! we are all old. mortality is weird isnt it? its ok cuz we will all be together forever. and i get to design all your celestial houses ok?
all my love
sorella ashman