Saturday, February 17, 2007

I'm going to the Rock!: November 9, 2005

Dear Friends and Family,
This time I am being smart – I am simultaneously attempting to send photos and typing my letter at the same time. My camera just broke today, and I’m transferred! Don’t send mail to Ladispoli anymore (though I think the postman doesn’t like me – I haven’t received anything in months). We received the phone call Monday on the way to Rome to get Flu shots – President called us and told me I was transferred to Quartu Sant’Elena – it’s a little town on the Island of Sardegna (Sardinia in English) just west of Cagliari. He is sending me to a new companion – I’ve heard that he thinks outside the box, so hopefully we should get along. There is a little branch there with a bunch of families with children (ring a bell?), so Sundays are chaotic, but at least the branch is alive. My first attachment still hasn’t attached. Sad. Hopefully I can send you at least something, because I don’t have anymore pictures myself! Oh well. Thursday (tomorrow) I go to Civitavecchia and board a boat (as a missionary!) that will take 12 hours in good weather to get to the island. I think the last few Thursdays we have had rain, and often it seems that the sky said good-bye with teardrops. I knew last week (as you would have learned had my letter sent correctly – we’ll have to read it in the Millenium when all the things ever written will be re-revealed) that I was being transferred, because I felt myself simply distatch from Ladispoli, sort of like Silly Putty when you pull it – it either holds on to itself and painfully and messily resists, or goes *snap* and there is a clean cut. I realized that saying good-bye would still be hard, but would only be painful for those I was afraid for (those who need to come unto Christ and still do not seem to have made the commitment). My pictures still aren’t loading. Please! So, let’s go back a really long time so you can get caught up to date. And, the explanation of an Italian Hospital would be one of those things that you don’t mention until after the fact – I know Mom and Dad have a lot of faith in the Lord and that He watches over His servants. Their faith would not be helped if they understood the resources the Lord has (or doesn’t have) at His disposal in Italy.
Friday the 28th we had a huge Halloween party in Church – a family brought almost 40 children and everyone has been talking about it ever since. The 29th there was a fireside in Rome for the beginning of the work of our Stake Patriarch. It was very informative. This last Friday we went to see Cinderella as our Preparation Day… and the internet place closed early and we couldn’t find one that was open and when I tried to attach pictures to the email the whole computer froze and I lost everything kind of thing. Meno male Mom and Dad were on vacation… though I still think you all would have preferred getting a letter to not. It was really well done (the ballet), and it was obviously done by a professional modern-tinged company. The 2 stepsisters were amazing – they both were *horrible* ballerinas and had on these huge awful dresses that kept trying to fall off (totally modest underneath, of course). Saturday we went to Church and reorganized the Library, Primary room, and all the other rooms (they were awful). We then ate lunch together and had another activity on Genealogy. Here I learned the power and importance of delegation. It’s not hard to ‘do’ an activity in a small unit, or to make it successful. To use the resources of the unit, however, is a different story. We had given the idea for these activities to the Branch President and he supported us. We did the Halloween party, we did much of the incontro (open house), he helped on the First Aid night, and then I essentially assigned his wife to do the genealogy activity. She called the Stake Genealogy director and became the delegate for our activity. I scheduled an activity for the children and we opened the activity, I gave the spiritual basis, and then all the children came with us to try to give their parents a few minutes of break. Still no pictures… I think I’ll try a different approach. I’ll do them one at a time… Hopefully I can get some of them to you. Yes! The one-at-a-time approach works! Now, there are 80 pictures… Hopefully the Lord can speed up the computer, just a little bit. J There we go – I set up the screen so I can tell when the picture is done loading, and then set up the next one. Perfect. Starting number 4. The children at the activity were awful. Italian children have absolutely no control, and no limits. I made up tons of games to try to help them – teambuilding games, fun games, loud games, quiet games, drawing, singing, jumping, but they just got crazier and crazier. After an hour and a half they just got out of control and the activity inside was finally ended. Good. It went really well according to the parents. Some people were interested, and others hadn’t been touched by the Spirit of Elijah yet. I certainly have been. Could you please work on our genealogy so I can feel involved? Do we have any ancestors in Italy? On any lines? Specifically that would have lived on the island of Sardegna? Or do you know anyone that has them? Whatever. Suffice it to say that I am hooked on Family History and our will be done when I get home.
Sunday we had another activity – Break the Fast feast. Sounds a bit strange, but we had tons of people in the Church. 8. Go, go go! Only 72 more to go! OK, I just got smarter (random occurrence for those of you who understand J) – I deleted the pictures that aren’t really important to me, so I’ll only send the good ones. Hopefully I can send them all. They are still many. Maybe I should lessen their quality… but I’m short on time. Well, we then had choir practice (it was raining and since it was Sunday the busses didn’t run the same) after a 2 hour wait for a bus. We arrived in Rome finally, very wet, and sang the song through 2 times and then the director went home. We had been late, but then we also got to go home. Monday we went to get Flu Shots and got transfer calls, then visited the 2 families. (Appointments are easy to get (in the first place as well) when you are transferred) Yesterday we went on rapid-fire. We taught English Class and I gave my last spiritual thought as a super-whammy. It was Coloro che sono saggi – the video of the 10 virgins, followed up with "Abide With Me, ‘Tis Eventide". It was great. I then left to put something in the oven and shortly heard a yell, "Anziano! Vieni qui!" (Come here!). I went in to find that the class had gifted the Sister missionary who was being transferred and me pasta makers! They then sang in my honor "Fino all giorno in cui ci rivedrem" – God be with you till we meet again. Eyes were moist, and then we began our activity – learning how to make pasta from scratch! Here’s the recipe – for every kilo of flour you use 10 medium eggs (a kilo is 2.2 pounds). You put the flour in a big bowl and make a well in the center, put in the eggs, beat them up and then into the flour, and then knead it together. It shouldn’t stick to your hands. If so, more flour. Turn it our onto a floured table and knead it until it is smooth and shiny. Then break off small pieces and press them mostly flat (here’s where you use the machine or a rolling pin) – run it through the machine and then again and again and again, then let it dry for a little bit, then run it through the cutters. Hopefully there is a picture. It was a lot of fun, and the pasta is amazingly good!
Today for Preparation Day we went to Villa D’este, the main bulk of pictures. Hopefully you get some of them. It is above Rome on a hill and is gorgeous. I don’t think you will get all of them. Sad. The main thing there are the huge fountains. It is amazing. I am going to try to send the pictures now, so I’ll finish soon. I love you all! I think I may cry. There is a size limit on the messages we can send, so I only sent 2 pictures. I think I’ll ask my companion to burn me a CD of his pictures from Ladispoli and then send it to me so I can send it to you. I love you lots anyway!

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