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

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