HAPPY BIRTHDAY MIRIAM!!!!!!!! you are legal!!!! go vote!!! yay!!! i am so happy for you. i love you!
last thursday i learned that marinella lagattolla is by far the best member i have ever had at a lesson. she has been baptized for three weeks and she is perfect!!! we went with her to teach daniele, the man who we found doing house a few weeks ago. the lesson was incredible. INCREDIBLE marinella's testimony was the icing on the cake. at first when we came over he was like "yeah you know i am happy to have you here, but i just invited you for politeness." bla bla bla anyway so we tell him about the restoration and he loved it. i told him how the Spirit works and that he might get goose bumps or feel warmth etc etc and he was like "thats interesting!" like in a good way. anyway the lesson was awesome. when we invited him to be baptized he said he would think about. we gave him the Book of Mormon and he said that he would devour it. it loves to read. he also said that in one week he was going into retirement and then he would be free to dedicate himself to our message. sweet! he is obsessed with his grandkids. his house is wallpapered with their pictures. anyway it was a perfect lesson, and we are going to invite him to be baptized on december 31.
friday morning the other sorelle got a phone call from a member whose girlfriend was supposed to get baptized this weekend. he told them that they needed to do the baptism the next day!!! AAAAAHHH!!! it was exciting but there was a lot to get done. that afternoon we saw jared, the african who is a rebel that could be killed if he goes back to africa. he left to go back yesterday because his mom cries so much and begs him to come home. we also found out that his name is GERALD not jared. thanks nigerian accent..... anyway this lesson was out of this world. we talked about baptism with him. we asked him why he loved infant baptism and he explained about how when a child starts young than he shall not depart from it, that scripture. and i was like you're right. and thats why we bless our babies and teach people to have big families. but what is baptism for? remission of sins and making a covenant with God. a baby doesn't need it. anyway more stuff like that, then out of nowhere he asks where is your church? are there any black people? does your preacher speak english? so we answer his questions. he then said "i think i am beginning to be interested in your church. it must be a very good church." i think my mouth just dropped. from the first lesson him yelling at us to not teach about joseph smith or the book of mormon, to this. WOW. anyway so we knew he was leaving to go to africa and it is a huge risk. we gave him a present. a book of mormon. i don't know how he took it because we wrapped it and told him to open it by himself. i told him though that this gift is the most important thing that we could ever give him. he was sooooo grateful for the gift. i was like wait til you see what it is before you thank us. haha.
that evening we had an AWESOME fhe with sorella magno (the 75 year old is getting married) and maria pia who is sooooo close!!! we talked about forgiving ourselves. it was a great lesson. fllo curci didnt really get it, but he is a man. the older ladies were eating it up though. when fllo curci gave us a ride home he was talking about how husband is such an ugly word compared marito. its true. then curci was like hu hu hu husaband. its so ugly! (yes he speaks some english) it was really funny.
saturday was soooo fun. we did one of my favorite things in the world: BLOOD DRIVE!!!! it will probably keep me from donating blood for 5 years in america but i hope not.... it was sooo fun because there were so many members there. anziano mickelsen and i ALWAYS talk about italian grammar and that day was no exception. we were talking about the subjuntive tense and he actually has this little book allll about subjuntive. we were reading some together and the other members were listening then we got on this huge discussion about the subjunctive and it was almost like who wants to be a millionaire because phone calls were made and things were discussed before we realized the final answer. (anz mickelsen and i were RIGHT!!!) anyway the entire waiting room was involved. it was fun. the nurse who took my blood asked a million questions about us and she asked if we missionaries were dating. hahaha italians always like to know about things related to "love". soooo many people want to know our point of view on cohabitation etc etc. anyway then we went home finally and then we had the much anticipated meeting with michele sciacovelli (sha ko velli) to set his baptismal date. alright this lesson was super difficult for several reasons. before we got there, i got phone call from a member who is a plumber who wanted to go over and do some stuff at our house. i told him he could come get the keys from me at fllo curci's house. he said that was fine. also, we had to hurry to get to the baptism and we had to call the mission pres to get permission to ride with fllo curci and michele in the car because slla curci didnt feel like coming. so all of that had to be dealt with while we were trying to set a baptismal date. anyway let's just be grateful that michele is already elect. one of the first things that he said was that he wanted to get baptized and get batized soon. so we were like well that makes it easy. how about december 10th? he said "of course!" alright thats done! elect people make missionary work too easy. i love elect people. well the member plumber came to get the keys from me, then when he brought them back, i told him to bring our cake that we had made because otherwise we wouldnt have made it to church in time. then we got in curci's fiat 600 and went to the baptism. michele LOVED it. it was a very special baptism. this young woman, stefania, sang with the stake choir back in september and has been coming to church and intstitute ever since. her bf is a member, and the strongest family in bari lives in the palazzo with them, so it was inevitable. this week she is in swizzerland to do baptisms for the dead at the temple!
sunday there was another baptism!! hahah!! it wasn't a convert baptism though it was the daughter of the bishop of the other ward. it was beautiful, especially becase the little girl sang!!! it was sooo cute. her name is jasmine so you can see the cake they made her :)
monday was interesting...last wednesday, the bishop gave us a referal for a family of ex investigators. he said he tought it might be time for them again. it was great because i had also felt like that a while ago when i saw their names in the area book. anyway we used our faith and we set our goal for this week at 8 new investigators (the average is 2) because we wanted this family. they would have been 5. so we got on a bus and we went to adelfia. we rang the citofono and the young daughter said her mom wasnt home and that we couldnt come in. so we went to the relief society president's house. surprise! she let us in and then asked if we wanted her to come with us to go and visit another family of ex investigators and i was like sure! so this family i had heard about them- ameli and marco- they seem like they are already members. they are AMAZING. i don't know why they ever stopped taking the lessons. anyway it was nice time with them, we shared a spiritual thought, then we went back to the first family. this time slla iacovelli rang the citofono and the mom was home but she said she didnt want to talk to us. she convinced her to see us. this woman was angry. she said that she had been tricked and cheated by certain members of the church and she didn't want to have anything to do with the mormons. well i wish that i could say that by the time we left she had agreed to baptism, but fortunately our Heavenly Father works line upon line, precept upon precept. she did soften up a lot by the time we left and when we asked if we could pray, she said of course and knelt right down. i am not sure why we were supposed to go there, but i am glad we did. the bus ride home was fun. i like to sit in the front. its kinda like mr. toad's wild ride because you see these obstacles and you're about to hit them, and at the last second you just barely squeek past. anyway i talked to the bus driver all the way home. he was great. and he was super against praying to statues.
tuesday we saw michele again. we got to learn a lot more stuff about him. friday his book comes out and he has asked me to speak at the premier about how he has changed his life etc etc. anyway i asked how it happened that he changed his life so much. he told us that he was illiterate when he went into prison, but that in prison your ONLY contact with the outside world is through letters. (i thought hmm sounds familiar!! hahhaa jk mission is not prison!) but he started writing and something strange happened when he wrote-- he felt better. then he started reading, then he started devouring all these books. he got a diploma in prison and he is now going to school for another. he is just the coolest person ever. and now he has found God and he is so happy. he said the FUNNIEST thing in the world. ok catholics here think its like a sin or something if your parents dont baptize their kids, then there are the other catholic ordinances. anyway he was like "now if i tell you this, don't be scandalized." curci said "nothing can scandalize me" then michele said "I NEVER GOT BAPTIZED. I HAVE NEVER DONE THE CRESIMA OR CONFESION" i busted out laughing. and i said "even better!" hahahhaahah!! he laughed too. then curci explained that it doesnt matter if someone is baptized 100 times in another church. anyway that lesson was great. when we started he was like "i'll say the prayer!" he has never prayed before. it was soooooo cute!! he got a little choked up. the afternoon we proposed a baptismal date for maria pia for january 7 and we talked about all her concerns about baptism. she said she would think about it. she also asked when we are leaving. she wants to do it when i am here. i love her. she kinda reminds me of gramma dorothy. anyway she is gonna get baptized.
ok a few random things:
christmas phone call will be happening on the 26 if that is ok with everyone. since christmas is sunday, they are giving us the 26 as our day off. i want to do skype. it will be the morning for you guys. let me know
i was actually quite glad to hear about grandma norene. sister kelly called me last night. i do wish that i could have seen her another time, but i am glad that she was such a great example to us all. she really changed many lives.
my address is
via giulio petroni 99-B
i hope thanksgiving is great. if there is ever a moment of silence maybe if someone needs to say a spiritual thought or something i would like to share something with the whole family. if this can be read i would appreciate it. i am so grateful to be a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. i am so grateful for all of the undeserved yet ever present blessings that my Savior provides for me everyday. i am grateful for agency and i am grateful for plans that don't go the way that i thought they should. when that happens, it means that He has something even better in mind. i am so grateful for my eternal family and especially for my wonderful and self sacrificing parents. i am grateful for the constant exmaple of my great grandmother Norene, and i am grateful that she has been released from her period of trial and has enetered into the joy of the Lord. today, however, i am grateful overall for one thing: the Book of Mormon. it has changed my life. i know that if anyone wants to be happier they need to read the Book of Mormon DAILY. i am not sure why this is my message for you all, but i want us all to put in a more effort to read and study to Book of Mormon. i am grateful to Joseph Smith who gave his life because he knew it was true. i know all of it is true, from Kolob to faith, from the temple ordinances to church attendance. the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the way, and there is no other way save in and through Jesus Christ. this is His church. this is His work, and the Book of Mormon is His book. in the name of Jesus Christ amen.