Wednesday, January 25, 2012

just another week...

well the big news first: I AM STAYING IN BARI!!! its almost
unbelievable. my sixth transfer!! its very rare for that to happen.
three is average, four is pretty normal, five is kinda a lot, six
doesnt happen, etc etc. anyway there has only been one other sister in
the mission since president kelly got here that did six transfers in
one city. i have been on my mission for almost 15 months and i am
still in my 2nd city. hahaha and i am staying with slla sobeck. weird
to do three transfers with one companion too but i love her.
the highlights of the week:
friday we started teaching the bishops mom. :) her voice is soooooooo
low. you know when we play hand and foot and the black three goes
"BYE" in the deep scary voice? thats how her voice is. its so cute!
haha then friday night we went to a book presentation for michele the
ex mafia. he hasnt been meeting with us for a few weeks and you can
see the light that is out of his eyes. its sad. he was supposed to get
baptized in december, but he let his fears take over him and  he
missed out on a huge opportunity. now he is dying spiritually. its
breaking my heart.
saturday was awesome. first we made pancakes for breakfast with
daniele, slla magno, and SURPRISE!! daniele's GORGEOUS daughter and
perfect son in law and their THREE count em THREE gorgeous children!!!
we were planning to fix a baptismal date that day, but with his whole
family there who we had never met before, we thought it more opportune
to introduce them to the church a little. we invited them for sunday
and they were supposed to come, but their 6 year old daughter had a
fever. anyway it was an awesome lesson, and they are an awesome
family. and they are all going to be sealed in the temple some day.
then we went to see antonia di benardo who fell and broke her foot.
she is not doing too good... that even we did a bomb lesson with pia
and catia, and they are moving right along. :)
sunday was wonderful. daniele came for the first time!! saturday night
we were thinking that we could conceivable have 7-10 people in church.
when the sacrament started we had one!! hahaha i literally giggled
during the passing of the sacrament. by the end of sacrament meeting
we had 3 people there haha anyway it was great.
monday we passed by daniele's house, then went to see pasqua the
bishops mom but she wasnt there, then we had a nice huge FHE with us,
slla magno, the curcis, the costanzos, the lagattollas, and maria pia.
it was really fun and there was tasty treats :) MP is so happy these
days. she announced to the costanzos who are not members that she got
baptized!!! she said it like she was 5. it was cute. during the FHE
however, we found out that one of the elders is having some health
problems, and that he would be going to the hospital the next day...
yesterday was the most roller coaster day ever. first in the morning
it was AWESOME. i felt very strongly that slla sobeck needed to invite
him to be baptized. i have done 8739247392649278 baptismal invites by
now. she never had. so we started by bearing our testimonies about why
we were on our missions. it was the first time i cried during a lesson
for a while... then slla sobeck told him that we have been praying
about a date for his baptism and we wanted to propose march 3. we
asked him when you receive the answer that these things are true will
you prepare yourself to be baptized on this day? (thank you PMG) and
he said, yes, as long as he had received the answer. anyway it was
amazing. then we went to see antonia who broke her foot again.... she
is super depressed. then during lunch we found out that anziano
pedreira was in the hospital, that he had lost about 90% of the vision
in his right eye, and they needed to do a CAT scan. we starting
fasting right away. the mission pres called me and asked me to go and
see him if we had time but not to cancel our appointments. well we had
appointments back to back, so we didnt actually get to go see him
yesterday but we went today.... man its really sad. he hasnt told his
family and he told us today that he didnt even talk to his family on
christmas so he didnt want to call and be like hey merry late
christmas i am in the hospital. ugh he is so strong he makes me want
to be better. i feel like a big waste of space compared to him. he is
from uraguay and he has been a member for like 2 years, one of which
he has spent as a full time missionary. his mom has cancer and is not
doing too well so he said he didnt want to make things worse at home.
anyway just keep anziano pedreira in your prayers..... i am really sad
about him.
so ups and downs all over the place. some people making huge leaps of
progress, some regressing, its just all under His control. i am sooooo
happy to be a missionary at this moment. i know that i am here for a
reason. i am so grateful for me eternal family and i love you all. i
am looking forward to my last transfer in bari, and then i will
probably go to rome!! keep up the good work.
all my love
sorella ashman

Thursday, January 5, 2012

another nipote!!

oh dear oh my heck oh dear oh my heck oh dear oh my heck
niiiiiiiiiiiiice one!!!! i am so happy to be the zia of three little
babies!!! congratulations billy joel and jvc and i am planning to get
a dalmatian when i get home so i can contribute to the third
generation also.
this week has been a time for much reflection. i have 5 months left.
that is no time. NONE. i have the approx same time left that my little
companion has been on her mission. i have seen soooo many miracles. on
sunday we will see two more baptisms and at the end of february/
beginning of march another. bari has just exploded in these last few
months. why? i just keep asking myself that. why did i go 7 months at
ragusa working so hard and stressing myself out and being sooooo
obedient and not being able to see anyone get baptized? and why (even
bigger question) was IIIIIIII of all people chosen to witness this
beautiful period of fruitfulness here in bari? i have learned so much
in the last year, and i want to share a few things:
1. LOVE. what is it? i thought i knew how to teach people with love at
the beginning of my mission. i had no idea the love i could have for
these people. its hard as a missionary because we have goals and
numbers. they teach you to love and not think of people as numbers but
its kinda impossible. so i decided to stop caring about the numbers
and just planning well and planning according to the NEEDS of the
investigator. what happened? the numbers went up. we had more work.
and i feel myself making a difference- leaving a mark on this place,
and having a huge mark left on me. i am excited for you guys to meet
the new me. :)
2. THE SPIRIT. what is it? its ANY good thing. moroni 7:13-- anything
that inviteth and inticeth to do good. ever wondered if that prompting
was really a prompting? it probably is. and you know what-- if you
EVER start to make a decision that isn't right, you won't get too far
before a million red flags pop up. so just get some guts and do it!
when teaching a lesson, the Spirit works through you when you LOVE the
investigator. i have gotten so intent on listening to the investigator
that i will tell all the other people to be quiet during the lesson.
it's like "ssssshh!!! he speaks!!" anytime the investigtor is talking.
no one is allowed to interrupt. haha (keep in mind-- this is italy and
italians LOOOOVE to interrupt....) i feel the Spirit guide the lesson.
i want to share a very important lesson that i leared on monday. it
was one of the best and worst days of my mission.
starting saturday, i new that i was about to get tosillitis. (PS
getting my tonsills removed in JUNE. i am tired of this!!) on monday
my tonillitis was in full swing. last week we met the nice ladies at
the hospital, and monday we had planned to go see one of them. well
she wasn't available. so good thing we had plans B and C!! plan B we
were really excited about. we were going to see the spagnolettis and
work with the husband of a long time member. we called fixed the
appointment all good. a little while later the sister calls and askes
if we can come earlier becuase when her husband gets home then she has
to cook etc etc. i was like wait he isnt going to be there? what do
you think we are coming for? we want you two to get sealed! not just
have FHE. so lets put the situation in perspective here. i was super
sick, we had spent the ENTIRE day deep cleaning the house (as a
mission activity, every new years everyone does it) and i was just
feeling like junk. so i hang up the phone and yell "well we cant go to
their house" to slla sobeck who was in the other room and then i just
started to cry. so what do you do when you are crying and you don't
want anyone to know? you take a shower. so i go take a shower and cry
and i'm talking to Heavenly Father and saying i am so tired of
scheduling everyone's lives and dealing with all of this. now we have
to see remo and he thinks he is a lost cause. he isnt reading the Book
of Mormon etc etc. and then i had the sweetest revelation. "hillary,
all of this was in the plan. you are supposed to see remo today. you
are making a difference in his life. this is just part of the plan. "
wow. that's the Spirit. that was so cool. so we went and it was
amazing. we really broke some barriers. i had no idea what to teach.
so we made a plan and didnt teach any of it. we taught him about the
Book of Mormon, that it is the only obstacle that he has to overcome.
he has obviously never received a testimony of it or else he would
have been baptized a long time ago. but before we left he asked what
he should read. we assigned him 1 nefi 8.  it was a long day....

back to the reflections of the new year
3. OBEDIENCE. rules change according to the culture and situation. the
eternal truths of God do not. what are these eternal truths? LOVE ONE
ANOTHER and FOLLOW THE SPIRIT. they aren't very different these two
truths. use your heart, not just your head.

other things i have been thinking about/ goals
i am going to run a marathon at the end of 2012
i don't know what is going to happen in the future, but i know that
Heavenely Father will help me
my mission has become not easy but very very enjoyable. it is always
challenging, but i look forward to the challenges. they spice things
i am going to read the Book of Mormon twice in 2012
and i have a long list of new year's resolutions that i wrote in my

ok so those are the reflections for this year.

highlights of this week:
last thursday we had an intense lesson with michele in which fllo
curci invited him to be baptized next week. he freaked out. i called
him the next day and told him that he needed to be baptized when he
was ready. he thanked me. then we went to valentina's house then that
afternoon we taught daniele who we are going to set a date with to be
baptized in february. he is feeling the Spirit so much. a few weeks
ago, i felt something amazing happen. his wife died two years ago. the
other day (i never cry DURING lessons) i felt impressed to tell him
and i promised him that his wife was waiting for this. and when i said
that i cried. she was there. it was not possible to deny it. she was
there. i wish i could have seen her. it was the coolest thing, i have
never felt that before, not even at the temple. anyway since that day
he is really getting convinced. he said that he feels calm when he
reads the Book of Mormon. thats called a testimony! yay!

saturday was new years eve. we saw daniele that morning and we had
planned to do a baptismal date with him. we practiced like 8 times
that morning because slla sobeck is going to do this one. then we went
and it wasn't right!! i was so sad because i want him to get baptized,
but his son in law's dad passed away and so he had to go the funeral
and he was just super out of it, but we followed the Spirit and talked
about death and what happens after etc etc. it was great. we had to be
in at 6 pm and thats when i started feeling the tonsillitis coming on.
i decided to design some dream bedrooms for the other sisters. i have
been missing my prismacolors..... but i have a set of 12 pencils from
ikea that daniele bought us for christmas hahaha

sunday was another big time spiritual day. we went to the hospital to
visit the bishops dad. he is NOT doing well. but for some reason, he
keeps insisting that we go because he wants his dad to get baptized
(the stake president AND the bishop both insist because they are
brothers and their parents are not members... weird) so we went not
knowing beforehand what we should do. so i thought well what do i like
to do when i'm sick? watch movies. there was no TV, so i thought i
could read him a story. we only had the Bible, so i read about Jesus
walking on the water. and the Spirit came! it is a much longer story
than that but i'll keep it simple for now. then we decided to go past
slla valenti's house. she is 88. she walks to church every sunday and
she is super kicking. anyway that was a great lesson because her non
member daughter was there and WE got taught by her. as i watched the
bishop's mom with her husband i thought about the emotion between a
husband and wife. its completely foreign to me. so i asked fllo curci
who was with us what it feels like. its like a family member but you
have different parents and so that makes it feel like a frienship? or
something totally different? i dont know! i dont know what its like!
so when we went to slla valenti's i was still thinking about that a
little and her daughter is divorced so we just talked about marriage a
lot. it was VERY interesting. i loved it.

yesterday english course was sooooo funny. one of the students emidio
asks the randomest questions. and so he asked about the verb "to crow"
and then tommaso said "you are the secret english digger!" hahahah!!!
and emidio told francesco "you are english like the sisters!" anyway
english course is always agood laugh. mom i will take you to english
course in june. then we went to get a pizza with daniele :) he said
that being in our presence is an honor. he is so cute. i put a picture
of him. thats at his house when he bought us breakfast before we went
to ikea last week.

anyway things are going great. too great. this isnt even a mission.
it's just one success after another. its because you guys have been
praying havent you?? thank you all.

all my love
sorella ashman