yay donovan!!!! i love the name. i love vanessa's big over due belly!! he was so teeny and cute!!!!!! donovan wesley criddle. i feel bad for merm. :( but at least she got to go to seattle cuz i didnt. but i AM in rome.....
well easter in italy was great like everyone asked, not because of italy though, but because the gospel is true wherever you are. i kid you not, it was one of the best sacrament meetings i have ever participated in in my life. right along with the one when i spoke right before i left on my mission at byu and i said "well, for all the guys who were checking me out on the stand, you're too late. cuz i'm going on a mission." hahaha i think bill and vince were there. i can't BELIEVE i did that!!!!!!! i was CRAZY before my mission guys!!!!! i am going to have to relearn how to relax and have fun i think. not that the mission isn't fun.... but.....yeah. i've become a big time wet blanket. i think my comp thinks i'm a nazi sometimes. but i digress. back to the good part. the easter sacrament meeting was incredible. there were a million tourists there too. i translated the meeting and i felt the spirit so strong working through me. its sooooo fun to interpret on the spot. its a huge act of faith. faith that the gift of tongues works and that He will really fill my mouth as i open it. like there was a sister, the bishop's wife, who shared her testimony about her niece who had a cinderella bandaid on her finger. how do you translate cinderella bandaid???????? of course she was speaking italian so i obviously remembered!! but i dont remember right now and that's called the gift of tongues. anyway i want to share the story about the cinderella bandaid. the bandaid was coming off the finger of the niece and the little girl was crying. sister dematteis asked if cinderella was her favorite movie and the little girl said "NO! Jesus is my favorite movie!" then the little girl said, "did you know that Jesus died?" and sister dematteis just thought about that question. she said it hit her and she couldn't get it out of her head. then the next morning when she woke up to her baby crying, she held him in her arms and it came back to her. Jesus died. but He gave us all our lives back!! thanks to Him we are here, this miracle of a baby was born and they will be together as a family forever. it was a beautiful contrast between the death of Christ and the birth of a new baby. there were lots of investigators and lots of less actives and the testimonies were so great. after the sacrament meeting, anyone who didn't have a family got to stay together to eat a potluck lunch. it was really fun and we got to hand out with the investigators.
it was a great week. we had zone conference and it was really good (i got to translate some of that too!). friday night we were able to see this sister that we have been trying to see for the last month. she hadnt been able to see us before because her knees were hurting her, so we nicknamed her "bad knees mary-lou" and we used to say "this town aint big enough for the two of us, bad knees mary-lou" but then we met her and she is DEFINITELY not bad knees mary-lou. she is like 4 feet tall, she is PERUVIAN bill!! and she can barely walk. her hip is alllllllll messed up and she finally decided that she was going to have a hip surgery this week. we asked her if we could help her with her grocery shopping. luckily she has her boyfriend that can usually shop for her. but we planned to help her out with the little stuff like milk and yogurt and bread. we asked if she wanted to come to church this week and we would come and help her get there. she said she wanted to!! but sunday morning she called and said she couldnt do it. which i understood. she is soooo cute. she asked us what are first names are and we made the mistake of telling her, so she calls me ilaria and my companion rachele. hahah that evening we got an interesting phone call from the sisters in rome 3. for circumstanzes that i am not at liberty to reveal, we did splits so my companion went to rome 3 on saturday and sunday, while one of the other sisters came with me to rome 1. (there are 5 wards in rome btw isnt that awesome!!!!!) that evening when i was with the other sister, sister turley (from seattle!!!) we saw gregorio our investigator who is seeming to be less interested in the gospel than we might have hoped, and we saw paola the brasilian!!!!! and fausto her cohabitater. and dad paola said "LUI è BRASILIANO!!!!!!" when i asked how your portuguese was. thats right my dad is tight. anyway that lesson was intense. paola is just a faucet, she just cries all the time. fausto has to overcompensate by saying that nothing phases him but also making himself seem really arogant and then there's the whole elephant in the room about that fact that they are BOTH married WITH CHILDREN mind you to OTHER people and they just keep going along as if that were normal..... man our family isnt perfect, but its pretty dang close you guys. compared to the junk that is going down in other people's lives. side note: some people tell us that we don't know what the world is really like because we are totally sheltered from reality. ive gotten that soooo many times. guess what I DONT WANT TO KNOW what is out there! all the stuff outside the gospel of Jesus Christ is sadness. i am totally convinced of that. anyway the lesson was intense because fausto the boyfriend doesnt understand the guilt that paola feels and she is starting to get too far down the bad road.... its a very scary place. she is on a slippery slope and fausto doesnt really help her spiritually. anyway theyy both came to church on sunday and stayed for the lunch with the other people who didnt have families. there was a visting family from brazil!! so paola was thrilled. the brazilain family is coming to las vegas next year so i invited them to my house. haha
anyway things are going great. we have sooooo much to do here. its not typical missionary work, baptisms and teaching but there is sooooo much less active work and ward mantenance to do. the ward before the current bishop was called a few months ago was a disaster. DISASTER. LOTS of chastity problems, lots of backbiting, lots of inactivity, lots of baptizing without conversion, lots of part member families with huge problems, drugs, alcohol, just everything. there is an inactive member whose father is 12 years older than her. that's just one example. anyway. things are great. i love this work. i love this gospel. i am soooo grateful to be here. im in rome. its crazy.
all my love