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

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