Saturday, February 17, 2007

Ma chi e'?: October 26, 2005

... If we ever did house, that's what people would say, most especially the people in the back of the house that are too lazy to come to the door and instead wonder why the person who is actually a bit open is still talking with us (maybe they expect us to come in more quickly, buh?) and say, "Ma chi è?" - which means, "But who is it?" To missionaries that phrase becomes something of an object in which to exercise charity. (If you followed that, good job. If not, that's ok.)
Dear Friends and Family,
I am in Rome, at Piazza Barberini, near the Trevi Fountain... which I still haven't seen... which was the picture on the Church News a couple months ago - it was of the Trevi Fountain with one of my Zone Leader. We just finished playing Football Americano, and then the Italians and a few of us played calcio (soccer). It was flag football, and even though they never passed the ball to me, I tackled (pulled the flags) from a bunch of people. Good defense. Soccer - the same. I remember playing soccer as a little kid... I still play defense much more willingly than offense, though I went up the field today and faked out everyone. At first we had a sister and most of the Italians on our team - we had a strong offense and defense, and there was no game. We switched a few players, and it got a bit more heated. Face plants, fierce runs, and a few goals, and the game was over. We played without portieri (goalies).
Here in Ladispoli we are praying for a big miracle. It really is big, but we need it, or the Lord needs to enlighten our eyes to a different solution. Here we don't have many members. We only have one active Priesthood holder (Aaronic, Melchizedek, anything) that lives in our proselyting area during the week, and he works way outside of town. The members either live far away, or work over 14 hours a day. We are trying to integrate the branch more - tons of branch activities (Halloween Friday), English class, and teaching opportunities. What we want is that our boundaries be changed. A few minutes away and in Rome 1 (a hour away), live the families of Cerveteri. It's a town that includes the 2 strongest member-missionaries in the mission. They know it. We need them and the other members that are close to help grow Ladispoli. It was a really long story why they aren't in our zone anyway (they have to pass Ladispoli to get to Rome), but that is my miracle that I want for Stake Conference on the 13th of November. If the Lord shows me how we can better use members without Cerveteri, I am willing to do that as well, but I am sure there will be miracles here either way.
What do we eat? Pasta, pasta, pasta, pasta, pasta, pasta, pasta, pasta... and pasta. I could send an Italian recipe book, but it's in Italian (there is one in Florence that, if I ever go, I will buy copies of and send - it's in English and give weights AND measures. Yes!), and it's really old and no one makes the recipes anymore. Va bene. Really, we eat breakfast of cereal and fruit, then pasta for lunch, or something from our Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook. It's really amazing how simple it is to make pasta sauce - take onion and garlic, sauté in olive oil, add tomatoes and basil and salt to taste (I always didn't put in enough salt - you put in a lot to make it taste good). That's it. Basta. You have pasta sauce. That is basic, and there are thousands of variations, with concentrato (tomato paste), meat, mushrooms, cheese, etc... By the way, did you ever get a package in the mail? And then there are other types of sauces - carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, pesto (basil), red pepper (pesto alla calabrese), and beans (Really. You cook the beans with onions and then add some meat and the pasta, covering it only barely with water. You cook it until the water is gone and the pasta is barely done... it has a really interesting consistency, and is really good!). Anything at all can be put in pasta... I've never had sweet pasta though. (I've heard of Nutella pasta, but even Nutella fans said that was schiffo (gross).)
We are teaching a couple of people that want to be baptized, but only need to 1 be taught everything and 2 make the decision on a date. Thankfully, all three are already well integrated into the branch thanks to members and their own apertura (openness). Another is on hold. She had an interview Saturday and we waited at the Train Station for over an hour and then left, she called us and we went back, we went to Termini, she wanted to walk, then wanted to go to the bathroom, then went to McDonalds, then wanted to eat there, and finally after spending 4 hours of our time decided not to go to do the interview. We left. We still love her, but she can't waste our time. We are representatives of God. We cannot afford to waste His time. Hopefully she will realize the scope of the choice she is trying to make. Hopefully she will also open up to branch members. We went to a castle to find some potential investigators and I'll send you some pictures. I don't want to send huge pictures to clog other email accounts... but maybe... Smile. Sad! This computer doesn't support anything but internet. I guess you'll have to wait for pictures of the Stone Tower and the Haunted Castle. Whatever.
Things we don't have in Italy, with *'s for rarity (collect them all!).
****Rubber Scraper
****A can of Baking Powder (it comes in little bags) ****Cheddar Cheese, Mozzarella Cheese that isn't in liquid ****Ground cloves (come as chiodi (sticks) and you have to grind them) ****Bottles of extracts (we have them in apartments, but they aren't sold...?) ***Molasses (I finally found it... but expensive!) ***Brown Sugar (someone said you could find it at an African store by Termini) **Marshmallows (Again, expensive) **Oats *Peanut Butter (C'è (it's here), but expensive) *Cereal *Fresh Milk
**** - I've never found it, and no one else has that I've met
*** - I or someone else really has found it, but it's only in 1 place or you pay an arm and 2 legs to get it
** - It's more common (African stores, specialty stores), but still expensive and not in Grocery Stores.
* - Widely available, but few selections and high prices.
Hence... whatever. The other way around is the same - we have wet cheeses like Mozzarella, pizza like the Naptans make it, pasta, pesto, and simply good food. We don't have a lot of sweet stuff here. That's ok. That way everyone oohs and aahs when we make real American sweets (oh, I love American cookbooks!).
Well, we are almost out of time. I love you so much! Be good member-missionaries - the members are truly the key to missionary work. I truly feel that we are missionaries (and at such an early age) to help prepare us to be effective members later in life. Truly, the strongest missionaries are the strongest members and vice versa. When we truly understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ, when we have a profound personal relationship with God, when we have a love so deeply rooted that we feel tied with all His children on the Earth, we cannot keep from talking about His plan, His love, and His Church here on the Earth. We cannot keep from being missionaries. We become missionaries for life - and what does that mean? We become men and women who constantly bring others unto Christ, through our thoughts, actions, feelings, and expressions. We can truly be a source of light in the darkness! We can truly lift everyone around us! We can share the Holy Ghost that we have been given, enabling it to shed forth among the hearts of all men. Here in Italy, it does not take much to help people find the Church. There are truly many who are searching for the truth yet do not knwo where they can find it. How much time would it take to relieve their burdens? And what is the effect? We have raised the warning voice. We have helped a brother, a sister, to make the decision to reach Eternal Life, and we have born our own personal testimony of the truth. There truly is no work more fulfilling, more compelling, and with more need than that of missionary work. I exhort you all to become missionaries - not just to do missionary work every so often. Once we truly understand that the Gospel blesses families, we can help Everyone! The Gospel solves all problems! All of them! The perspective of God is perfect. I truly love you!

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