Monday, March 19, 2012

its a good life so why ya'll trippin-be sure to check out the pics

ROME IS CRAZY. i LOVE rome. i felt like bari was home and so much more like las vegas. rome is so trafficky and chaotic its awesome!! i really firmly stick to my love for big cities. there is so much more diversity, opportunity, openness, possibilty. i love big cities. ok a little rundown of what has happened so far. 
last wednesday we ran around like chickens with our heads cut off saying many goodbyes to my beloved barese people. it was intense. thursday morning i packed a bunch more and then at 11 daniele came to take us to the station. we loaded our HUGE bags in the car and then up and down a million flights of stairs in the train station. i thought daniele was going to have a heart attack cuz he insisted on being a strong man but he is 65 years old and he smoked for like 35 years. we are young and healthy and hauling the bags isnt that big of a deal. anyway. we got there and then we had to wait for the other missionaries to come from rome. my little baby sister sobeck was waiting for her GREENIE. yes she is training. the good part is, her greenie is italian, so the language for her is no problem. then we said good bye to all the bari missionaries and went to our train. we went back over to wait for our train and daniele said he was going to leave before the train arrived or else he was going to cry. so i had to say bye to him and i cried of course. when our train got there, angelo, who had come to send me off, helped us get our bags on the train and all of the sudden.... the train started pulling away WITH ANGELO STILL ONBOARD!!!! hahaha!!! he got off at the next stop and then went back to bari. it was only about 15 minutes. hahahaha sister fidler and i traveled first class because there was a promotion for woman's day-two for one! so we rode first class from bari to rome. when i got to rome, we found out that we didnt have a working cell phone and that our apartment wasnt ready for us. so we stayed the first night in ladispoli, a little town just outside rome, with the sorelle there. then the nest day, we went to the apartment where the anziani live and we cleaned the whole day so that it was livable for us to stay there while we waited for our real apartment. they said it should be ready within a week, so we are hoping that any day we can move in to our REAL apartment, which is supposedly really nice and on the top floor! and closer to the church. 
rome is alllllll about public transport. its soooo easy to get around and super fun going on trains and metros and buses all over the place. rome is ENORMOUS. we take a train for 20 minutes and we are still in rome. it takes like over an hour in the train to cross the whole city. that did not happen in bari. just sayin. 
anyway saturday we did an orientation with the anziani so they could show us around and tell us how to get to the church etc etc. then sunday we went to church!!!! it was sooo fun and there were several non members there. first we met a boy named lane who is bill's CLONE. he was even wearing the same shoes. except his teeth had a tiny gap. but he was wearing flat front tan pants with a striped sweater and he stood with his hands in his pockets, was very well mannered and had curry sandy brown hair. he was missing glasses..... but yeah anyway he is a military brat and his rents live in germany. his gf is a member also in germany (but she is a member) and he is in rome going to school. it was his first time in church and he is probably going to get baptized really soon. there was also pablo, who is the boyfriend of a member and they have a son. he has been an investigator for 2 years, and we think his time has come!! we were supposed to have a meeting tonight, but we dont have a phone to call and confirm and she didnt call the anziani, so we'll have to see him sunday. there was also a guy named fausto who is the boyfriend of a member from BRAZIL! dad she wants you to email her, but i forgot to bring her email address with me... im bad. anyway we got his number and as soon as we have a PHONE we will be seeing them.... anyway the ward is AWESOME. its soooo multicultural. there are people from romania, LOTS of south americans, a japanese family, an egyptian sister, an ex jew from england, three american families and my favorite person ever, ex anziano scotchi!! and his fam who are from moldovia. we served together in sicily. its crazy that i am in his ward now haha anyway there were a TON of visitors in the ward this week from america. so we taught sunday school in english. i was sooo impressed with all the kids, the visitors and the normal members alike. it was a really great lesson thanks to them. after church we had a huge potluck. it is a 2nd sunday tradition of this ward and i was ok with it. :) then we went with a young single adult sister and ez anziano scotchi to the hospital to visit a sister who has cancer. she was soooo sweet. and it was so fun to do missionary work with anz scotchi again. 
monday we had our first lesson with a family of members, the goumba family from the central african republic, but they have been in italy for over 30 years. christine and her sister odette have been members for over 25 years, and christine has two kids, marlena and stefano. this family is AWESOME. i was so impressed with christine in relief society. she gave the most amazing comments. man... and i was translating for this visiting sister from SEATTLE!!! she was very nice. the kids are the basically ideal. stefano is 18 and preparing for a mission, and marlena wants to go. we asked them to pray for someone that we could teach and that we would check back with them on sunday. it was a big adventure getting there. since niether of us know anything, we had the help of a very nice lady named monia and we did end up finding the house. then they even fed us! it was really good :) 
yesterday we went on a bunch of wild goose chases. our strategy so far for finding is that we want to get some less actives reactive and then have them invite their friends, this way we get to reactivate AND baptize. so we chose some less actives that we wanted to go visit and we went looking for them. well we didn't find THEM but we talked to lots of people. we gave out lots of passalong cards, but got zero phone numbers. the afternoon we needed to go find the cousin of some recent converts in germany who referred this family. we spent about 2 hours finding the house just to find out that the address was wrong... we talked to tons of people and still hadnt gotten any phone numbers. anyway then we had to go teach english course and we were feeling a little.... yeah but we kept going and kept smiling. on our last bus that took us to the church this lady started asking a bunch of questions and then i asked her for her phone number and she gave it to me!!!! it was the best thing ever!!! when we got off the bus we danced a little. it was a huge success. 

anyway things are going great. today we ate at the hard rock cafe. it was so weird! i was supremely uncomfortable when a linkin park song came on, but other than that and the ridiculously high prices, it was very fun. 

i know that there are people ready in this city. alma 13: 24 says so, and i feel like we are going to see lots of success, we just need to find it. sister miles is an incredible companion, maybe my favorite. best for last! (dont put that on my blog!!) she looks exactly like cousin sara, like EXACTLY. she is awesome. 

if you want to send me anything not electronic, send it to the mission home for now. we dont have an apt and i dont know how long we will be in this one. 
sorella ashman 
italy rome mission
piazza carnaro 20
00141 roma italia

ok i thinks thats all for this week. i hope that pablo has a baptismal date but this time next week. dad if you want to email me something in portuguese for paola, that would be MOST appreciated. thank you!! 

vanessa what are you going to name the baby??!?!?!?

all my love

sorella ashman

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Eternal City

alright everyone the big news this week: TRANSFERS.

well i would say guess where i am going, but i will just tell you. i am in the rome mission and havent served in rome yet, so i am going to ROME. just saying it feels good. i am going to the eternal city, and i am going to finish my mission there, just like paolo. i am incredibly excited. i already wish i could stay there longer. i only have three months left. :( i hate this!!! why can't italy be closer... well the catch with my transfer is that i am going to be opening the city with my new companion sorella miles. opening means that there are no sisters in the city. there is no work there. like when you get transfered you go into the work that already exists. when you open you just.... go! it is a big honor to be opening. i have wanted to open for my entire mission so i am thrilled to have this chance. i am so looking forward to it. i will be serving in the rome 1 ward, which awesomely is the ward of one of my very favorite people in the world, ex-anziano scotchi who i served with in sicily for 4 transfers.
i got a letter from trisha telling me that i need to come to alaska and i have every intention of doing that asap. man the mission is the worst thing ever!! you fall in love with everything and then you have to leave it!! just like going to alaska was a horrible choice for the same reason. i also got a card from dad sent some strange address.... ah!! i can't except that this is for real you guys!! you know how i feel about the spring pond ct. house!!!! anyway, i had a dream that might be the answer to my prayers. i dreamt that i was living in the OK corral with lindsay and we were both going to UNLV and i was working at a restaurant on the strip and we were super happy because i realized how close the little house is to down town vegas. it might be the answer. will someone ax lindsay what her plans are?
anyway this week has been AWESOME!!! apart from the much desired though not much needed shopping that i did last week... things have just been amazing. i have been being smothered with love. when people find out that i am leaving... well its been a bit overwhelming the love that i have felt. its going to be really hard to leave this place. i have lived here for over 8 months....
last friday we had a fun adventure... we decided to try and be healthy and we went running in the morning. when we came back, i put the key in the door and tried to turn it. didnt work. all the other sorelle tried. nothing. then we realized that i had used the wrong of two almost identical keys. since we had taken the keys of the other sorelle i didnt realize that there was one right and one wrong. so there was nothing we could do. we called a couple peeps and found a member who was available at 2 pm. it was 7 am. we didnt really want to wait all that time, so when he called back and said that he would be able to come sooner, we decided to wait for him. but when could we do for two hours? so we went over to slla magno's house. we were starving and she gave us some cookies. ha. italian breakfast.... anyway we hung out there. i read her preach my gospel and the other sorelle slept on her couch. haha. anyway, fllo papagallo (10 bucks to whoever knows what that means!!) saved us and we thanked him by giving him a glass of pear juice. then we had a huge delicious lunch with anna, our investigator with a shoe shop. it was delicious. pasta al forno, fish and wine. jk i didnt drink any, though it was there!! then we went and stopped by the love of my life albanian mariana's house. ok this lady is HILARIOUS. we didnt have an appt so we just  dropped in. when we got there, she had just gotten out of the shower. she was like hold on hold on!!!! im naked!!! (she was wearing a robe.) so we sat down in the kitchen while she got dressed but she came out like a few minutes later and she was like "am i wearing underwear???" and she flashed open her robe and she was definitely wearing underwear. hahaha she is CRAZY. but i think all albanians have that really loud funny sense of humor. i love them. anyway, she is sooo funny, but she is also sooo smart and soooo attentive. she loves reading the book of mormon, but she especially loves when i read it to her. haha so we read some together, then we had an appointment in the church with this guy we had met the day before. his name was nicola. we set the appt up right on the street! i was so excited!! then he didnt show up or call. meh. then we went to get some din din with annalisa lorusso and angela cafagno, and then the four of us went to daniele's for a lesson.
saturday we saw luigi. he is doing good, but a little slower than when he first started. he hasnt understood the need to come to church....but the cool thing is that we gave him a few little hw assignments, and he did them all. we had to each make a list of positive attributes of our parents. he doesnt get along too well with them, so we encouraged him to think of the positive things. mom and dad, i will show you the list i made someday. but its in italian so you wont know what it says haha! it seemed to be a good exercise. he is reading the BOM and praying, but not coming to church or living the WOW. that afternoon we had a breaking point lesson with daniele. we asked him why he has to go to his wife's grave on sundays and if he dedicate another day to her and sunday to the Lord. it was a VERY intense lesson. the Spirit was super strong. we talked a lot about his potenital and how he is living below it when he doesnt follow the commandments. that he is worth more that what he is giving himself. he said that he was very confused and needed to pray. we also started a fast together. that evening we went to see slla avantario. she is soooo sweet. she is pretty old, in poor health but so wonderful. we watched finding faith in christ with her and cried. it was great.
sunday was pivitol for daniele. if he came to church it means that he had choosen the Lord over his wife. if he didnt.... yeah. so we were in sunday school and... in walks daniele. where the fuschia sweater that he knows i love. man it was intense. i gave my testimony in sac meeting and i cried. i took tons of pics with everyone. we wanted to ask daniele what had happened, but he had to leave after church got out. that evening after church we found out. the costanzo family called and said they were at the park so we decided to go and invited daniele too. he came. he was still fasting. after the costanzos left, we talked to  daniele about his experience with the fast. he said that he hardly slept because he was decided whether to go to see his wife's grave to go to church and in the end he felt like he needed to go to church. HALLELUJAH. he listened to the Spirit!!! it was incredible. he said we are disrupting his life, but because of us, he feels like he is living again. it was the sweetest meeting ever.
monday we had district meeting and then we went to lunch with angelo and marinella at a restaurant! it was sooo good and mom you and i have a date there!!! yum yum (the picture of the meatballs is not from this restaurant). that night we had FHE at the valentinis house (mom they want us to stay at their house and i would take them up on that offer) the coolest thing happened. we had planned to talk about profets and we had also mentioned that we would have liked to watch the testaments. guess what fllo valentini said when we got there? "we thought we should talk about profets and we wanted to watch a clip from the movie the testaments" uh. COOL! so anyway it was a good meeting. daniele is never himself around men though. its weird. men, maybe you have some insight? is this like a male territory thing? hmmm... whatever. it was a good lesson.
yesterday was a great day. we saw antonio, the 5 year old in the 59 year old body, and then we had lunch at slla magno's house, then we saw valentina the 12 year old new convert. she is AMAZING. she was bearing her testimony up one side and down the other to her friend. then we had english course, and i gave my closing remarks and cried!! was NOT expecting that. but they are just soo wonderful. i love the english course students. a few of them cried too!! haha. then we went to a restaurant that i have been wanting to go to for 8 months. thats the picture of the meatballs. IT WAS INCREDIBLE. but expensive, but daniele payed for everything. he is such a brat and spoils us so much. there were at least 10 different appetizers. it was soooooooo good. (mom we are also going there when you come).
today we had a huge awesome miracle!! we walked past this beautiful african woman and she smiled so big. i smiled back and kept walking. "are you seriously just going to walk past? she just recognized you for what you are. go back" said the Spirit. so i said "im going to look back. if she is still watching us, i know thats the sign that this is true." i turned around. she was staring at us as if begging us to tell her who we were. so i yelled at sorella sobeck. "hey hold up!" turned around and introduced myself. her name was julie. i gave her a pass along card, told her to call us whenever, and then her bus came and picked her up. two minutes later there she was. she said that she got off the bus to come and talk to us becuase she knew that God put us in the right place at the right time. so we walked with her for a few minutes and we just happened to be right by angelo's salon. we invited her to meet our dear friend. she said she would love to. we went in, taught a lesson. set an appointment for tomorrow and she said the closing prayer. she said she knew that God put us there for a reason. woah.
miracles happen.
all my love
sorella ashman

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

oops i forgot the pictures! here they are

Best Week Ever!

pic 1. wild fishes!!!
pic 2. please notice the unreal color of the water.
pic 3. the good shepard
pic 4. power missionaries
pic 5. the brady bunch

alright everyone, when you think live can't get worse, it can. when
you think life can't get better, it can!! it was an exceptional week.
last thursday we had a fun lesson with antonia dibenardo, who is an
older woman who broke her foot who has been investigating the church
for a long time and was supposed to get baptized about a year ago. her
friend anna was there, and anna starts the conversation by saying "i
know you guys need to say the prayer. i know you want to talk about
Jesus. I know everything." thats better in italian... IO SO TUTTO. it
was so funny. so now me and slla sobeck always say IO SO TUTTO. after
that we went to the church to have our lesson with luigi. we talked
about baptism and we asked him to pray for a baptismal date. he was
like "ok then when we meet again next tuesday i'll tell you." haha!
just like it was the most normal thing in the world. he doesnt even
know how cool he is. the funny part is that he speaks english really
well so if he ever came across my blog somehow he could read all of
this. usually i dont worry about the investigators reading my blog,
more like other people cuz all the investigators speak italian. but
luigi speaks super well. he comes to english course and we call him
louis. anyway he is perfect. he is already ready. after english course
there was an elders quorum party and luigi stayed after to play ping
pong and he stayed longer than us and became bff with lots of the

friday we saw remo, the husband of a lifetime member, and the first
thing he said was "i havent read anything this week, and i did it on
purpose because i dont want you to get the wrong idea. i have no
intention of changing." it was a pretty harsh welcome, but yeah. so we
talked a lot. we read from D&C88:32-33. it says bascially that he isnt
willing to have the gift that God wants to give him freely. remo said
"if thats true then im an idiot!" and i was like "you're the one who
said it not me!" but he doesnt believe its true and he doesnt believe
he is an idiot. he thinks he is the best thing since sliced bread. we
asked him what the most important thing in his life is. you know what
he said? being esteemed and respected by others. BAHHH!! i was like
well good luck with that.... anyway. after that we saw daniele. what a
difference. he is the best!!! the Spirit was so strong in the lesson.
he said he really wants an answer, and so we talked about how the
Spirit talks. then we asked him what problems he is having with the
word of wisdom and church attendance, because those seem to be the
biggest problems for him. seems like he is just so used to not doing
those things that it will just take time before it comes natural. we
might have to move back his date. he is supposed to get baptized in 2
weeks, but i am leaving in three weeks. :( its ok i dont care as much
if i am here for his baptism as i do that he gets baptized.

saturday we went to see fllo viscanti (the one who was baptized in
september who is the three year old trapped in the 58 year old body).
he is having HUGE problems at work. here's the nitty gritty. he is a
teacher but the school where he works is packed full of mafia. his
boss is mafia and wants antonio fired. still not sure why ANTONIO
but.... anyway so there have come up a ton of false accuses against
antonio and the boss has threatened to take his job away and stuff,
anyway so the situation gets worse. the boss gave him 10 days of
suspension. when he heard that he was so upset that as he was leaving
he was kind of out of it, and lost his footing on the stairs and fell
and messed up his foot. so now he is stuck at home 1. because he has
no job right now and 2. because he messed up his foot. another funny
coincedence, a few months ago, his car was burnt to the ground and
when he came back to it the next morning it was just the frame.
coincedence? maybe.... anyway so we went to his house. it was very
humble. HE is very humble. he was very happy to see us. that
afternoon, we went to see catia and pia who are our investigators who
have a weiner dog :) the lesson went well. they agreed to come to
church the next day, and they did! then that night we went to have an
FHE with daniele, his daugther and son in law, their three beautiful
kids and slla ardito who has two beautiful kids. it was so fun. we had
the kids do a play about the prophets. when there was a profet, the
light was on, then when there wasnt a profet, the light was off, but
because God loves us, he calls another profet, and then the light came
back on. on off on off until joseph smith brought us the fullness and
the doctrine of the eternal family. it was a hit if i do say so
myself. then the kids colored a picture of the temple while the adults
talked and then we ate cake.  it was pretty dang fun. plus daniele
brought us presents. (daniele is LOADED ps. he pays for EVREYTHING
like if we go get a pizza with him, he pays. he buys us pastries when
we come do the lessons etc etc. its pretty fun to be spoiled)
rossella, daniele's daughter, asked some legit questions, like how do
you raise a mormon family in a catholic country? when all the other
kids are doing the comunion, and your kids aren't how do you explain
that? anyway it was a good evening.

sunday was... interesting. we had to go to bitonto but i REALLY didn't
want to go this time. like its hard for us to go on sundays cuz we
need to be there for our investigators, but the branch president in
bitonto really wants us to work there too. we just dont have time.
period. anyway we went. and it was good. it was their branch
conference and they prepared this super intense video like all the
huge catastrophes that are happening in the world and that have
happened in 2011 (i felt soooooo removed from the world-- i didnt know
ANYTHING!!! weird....) and then it showed the mormon message from
elder nelson
wow. it was so powerful, i felt the Spirit so strong. it was so cool.
then we had a huge lunch and that evening we taught a lesson with a
less active member that i have met a few times.

on monday we taught daniele again and i told him that i know that he
knows the church is true even if he doesnt know it. i told him that he
had his testimony a long time ago, when he learned about eternal
families and that his wife was waiting for him to accept the gospel.
the Spirit was so strong!! he was all veclempt. but he is still
drinking coffee and beer. its almost like  he doesnt want to stop even
though he knows the church is true just because he is too cool. its
kind of frustrating because if he doesnt get over it, he's going to
have his date moved back.

tuesday we had an awesome day. it was like luigi day. we asked him if
he had prayed for his date and he said that he wants to get baptized
on easter! so april 7th is his date. im so glad he picked it because i
would have been clouded by my own desire to see him get baptized.
anyway after english course, we dragged luigi to a valentines day
party. it was so fun. he asks so many questions! like about the rules
of the mission and a bunch of stuff. somehow it came up that i was
going to be transfered and he was like "wait so you arent going to be
here for easter??" and i was like "no unfortunately i will not be here
for your baptism. but slla sobeck will be here with another
companion." it was a fun night but we didnt get home til like 10....

yesterday at 8:15 daniele called. there was this little part of me
that said "AHHHH!! he is going to say that he was praying and he got
his answer and he is ready to get baptized!!!" well he didnt say that.
he said that he wanted to go to lecce, which is something we have been
talking about for months and he wanted to go at 9. thats 45 minutes.
we werent even dressed. actually slla sobeck was in the shower....
anyway long story short, we went and it was AWESOME!!!!!!!! see
pictures :) daniele spent so much money on getting us food and stuff.
he also bought everything for carmen, our member who came with us who
is kind of like our 3rd comp.

today is crazy. last night someone called the church to say that she
needed help and that she needed to talk to someone who could help her.
thats us!! anyway so we went to meet her this morning, and she needed
500 euro by 2pm today. yeah.  well what happened? carmen was like "i
will give it to you." k lets amp it up. carmen is 22, only member in
her family. her parents are divorced. she works the night shift as a
caretaker. she is turning in her mission papers the end of this months
and she has saved 600 euro. thats all her money. she is now giving 500
of that to a complete stranger. but when carmen said she would do it,
i just had this overwhelming Spirit come over me. carmen servedio is
the most Christlike person on the planet. she said with tears in her
eyes, "how can we excluded people from the love of Christ? i dont
think that Christ gave his love only to the people that promised to
give it back, or the people who were worthy of it. how could i stand
there and see this woman suffer when i have the money and i will just
take up another job or something i dont care, but i couldnt tell her
no. i made up my mind." wow. so here's what is going to happen. when i
get home, i am going to pay some of carmen's mission every month. she
has changed my life. it reminds me of mosiah 4 and the long debate
that i had with JVC in 2009 about giving to the poor. carmen's last
name means "servant of God" she really is God's servant, and i hope i
can be more like her someday.

all my love
sorella ashman