man it is a whole new world here in the north. more teeth and less bearded women! whoa i love sicilia but again ... rome is a new world!! fast and crazy and hot and tourists and feeling like i am audrey hepburn. it is my kind of life here. first things first ...
who i am with ::: i am in a trio and it is a PARTY!! seriously the phrase the more the merrier is a true statement. my companions are sorella mitsvotai (from manti, not russia like everyone thinks. she was MISS MANTI! i know awesome right, she was home schooled, has princess handwriting, is the living definition of peace, this is her third transfer, and her mom is a hippie) and sorella wiltbank (from eager arizona. lives on a giant ranch. is 19. is a ray of sunshine ... really you should see what happens to her and all around her when she teaches, LIGHT. i love her so so much! plus she reminds of dani ((ps HAPPY BIRTHDAY on the 17th BEST FRIEND!!! be expecting an italian gem that i found for 15 cents in the mail)) and she is a photographer and i love her).
us 3 at the trevi fountain.
where we are ::: we are in a branch called roma 5 that was separated from the big roma 2 ward (where president goes and the temple is and the mission office and everything) a year ago. they are SO GREAT!!! seriously. SO GREAT!!! i have been so blessed with great wards on my mission and roma 5 has not disappointed. our area has 45 cities in it. it is such a great little area because it is full of all the business men that work in the city but live out in the country to raise their families. really is it a missionary disneyland. we are about 1 hour 20 minutes away from real rome by train. and guess what ... we will share a car with the anzini. and guess what ... it is a stick. and guess what ... i have to drive. and guess what ... i don't think the church parking lot stick driving practice with dad 6 years ago is going to cut it. and guess what ... i believe in miracles. that is about what it will take.
me and the colosseum. WHAT?! yeah awesome.
what have we been up to ::: opening a city is quite the adventure, i will tell you that. no area book, no investigators, no idea where to go to do anything. so we have been doing full time, full heart, full of fun finding and my companions are BALLERS! for real. they are so fabulous. so far we have 2 investigators; wilson (philipino) and magged (NOT maggot like i have been calling him until he corrected me ... from eygypt) and tonight we are taking our first driving adventure out to contact a referral. so things are going up up up!
wiltbank shining at wilson.
we have really learned how merciful our heavenly father is. he sends us his angels in all kinds of forms to help us and lift up our heads. i am more confident than ever before that he knows me. he knows that i am scared to open new cities and have 2 new companions that are new to the mission, and to drive a stick shift in a city, and to do it all in a new language and a new country and culture. but he knows i can do it. he knows that sorella wiltbank wants to speak so badly, but gives her the mountain of learning. her knows that sorella mitsvotai wants so badly to be perfect but gives her the mountain of mortality. he knows us and blesses us with mountains because he doesn't just want us to be good, he wants us to be STRONG too. plus he sends us little gems like wilson and maggED and the lady at the store down the street that gave us all of her personal information and said to call if we ever need anything or if we miss our moms, and he sent us president kelly who calls to check up on us even though he has to be one of the busiest people in italy, and he sends us these two little 18 year old missionaries (one from sweden and one from austria ... our district ... awesome) who give us european chocolate ever single time that we see them and say "you guys are awesome!" when we feel not very awesome, and he gives us a branch that loves and supports and cheers us on and a branch president that starts crying tears of gratitude when he announces that the sisters have "finally" come to rome 5. and he gives us these adorable neighbors that brought us some hand pressed olive oil that they had prepared themselves for us. the mission is therapeutic (in the words of sorella mitsvotai ... sometimes i call her mittens because it just works!) and i never want it to end. ever.
ps - i forgot to say that the train ride from sicily to rome , though i-want-to-pull-each-hair-out-of-my-head-one-at-a-time long, was actually really great. i rode up with all of the anziani that were in sicily and heading home, so the train is so tenderly called the "death train" in my mind. so the ride was full of reflection and stories of growth and change and becoming. i was helping them fill out the famous "30 things i learned on my mission" list that president kelly has his missionaries fill out on their final days. i got to hear some of their lessons and i was so grateful that i was the one who got to keep going. i got to hear really great advice from really great missionaries that are now RETURNED missionaries. and it was really great, plus it ended with sorella and president kelly picking me up from the station and walking me to the mission home, feeding me homemade sorella kelly lasagna, and a night in the insanely comfortable beds at the mission home. I LOVE MY MISSION and I LOVE YOU!
this is the work of the lord. FULL of joy. FULL of love. FULL of trials and hardships but only to make room for more joy and blessings! jesus is the christ, my savior and redeemer. the source of peace and truth and light. and i am his proud servant. thank you for the prayers and support. they are felt and appreciated and sending me angels from both sides of the veil.