-- i had more bidoni (when people don't come to the appointment and you are way sad about it) this week than maybe ever in my whole life. BUT they were all followed by those "right time right place" type miracles. lemme tell you a few.
-- a while back, during a scambio, we knocked on a bunch of doors. a whoooooole bunch. there was this one lady who told us her name like 12 times and i still don't know what it is, but her last name is valenti and so that is what we call her (or we guess ... like i did this week on the phone and was wrong ... awkward! and STILL i don't know her name). we had some amazing spiritual experiences with her a few months ago (did i tell you the "catholics no mormons yes" story? if not i need to repent because it was a never forget moment) then she escaped with the rest of the town to the sea for ferie. but she is back. and heavenly father has made it clear to all of us that we need to see her. we bumped into her daughter like 40 times in one day. then, right after a big fat bidone we were walking down the street, waiting to understand where the lord needed us, and BAM we run into valenti. she was driving and swerves over to the side of the road and says "sorelle come over to my house tomorrow! we need to talk!" who can deny that kind of invite? so we went there and had maybe the most powerful lesson that i have ever participated in. it was totally and 100% driven by the spirit. and the look in her eye is burnt into my memory. this look of familiarity. like she knew it all even though it was the first time she had heard it. cool cool cool! it's moments like these that make every bidone, every "break up" (another bummer that happened to us this week), worth it. this is the lord's work and he sees that it gets done in his way and his time. i know it.
-- thursday we made up a new finding tool: getting on the train and talking to as many who will receive us. this way they can't run away and we can take more time getting to know them, therefore being more apt to receiving revelation for them. i had a handful of gems. my favorites were marcello and a sweet lady from africa whose name escapes me. marcello was the saddest man i ever did see. i sat down and talked to him a bit. he began to tell me about his son that was given only a few weeks to live at only 35 years old, whose wife just left him and took their newborn baby. the fear and sorrow in the voice of this dad was heartbreaking. he just couldn't stand to see his son suffer like this. i began testifying to him about the atonement and how he has a special connection with his father in heaven as he watches his son suffer. i read alma 7:11-13 with him and he stopped talking. we just looked at each other and cried a little. our stop came at just the right time, when the spirit was strongest. as i got up to leave he said to me "you know, i have never taken this train before. i thought it was strange that after 45 years of taking another train i decided to try this one today. what a coincidence." i took his hand and said "marcello. i don't believe in coincidences. i know we got on the same train today because your heavenly father loves you and wants you to know it." he sat there a minute and i walked to the doors. he came after me and said "you gave me a lot of comfort today." and that line there gave me all the comfort and motivation and energy and excitement to keep me fueled as i sprint to the end.
-- we ended up doing some more train finding in the even where met the african lady who, in broken italian, mixed with french, told me how her heart aches for her family. she misses them so much. i told her that i miss my family too. and heavenly father does too and we need to talk to him so he can comfort and bless and protect us as much as he can. she said "how do you pray. i need to know!" cool right! yeah. we got off at some stop in the middle of nowhere and i realized that i had left my wallet at home so i didn't have my train pass and there was nowhere to buy one for the ride home. we got on the train and i explained the situation to the big guy in charge. he told me that buying tickets on the train is expensive. and i didn't have enough money to buy one. as i was giving him all i had he looked at my tag and said "i love jesus too ... don't worry about the ticket." so he let us get home for free. what an angel.
stranded and ticketless.
-- we have been trying to teach elena malara (one of the cutest babies in the branch) to say our names. wiltbank and wightman ... not easy for even the fully grown to say. but we are calling it success since she now says "pancake" for wiltbank and "my man" for wightman whenever she sees us.
elena malara, future sorella wightman (aka sorella "my man").
-- oh did you want to know about transfers? oh yeah! saturday we got the big call. i am staying in roma 5. tenderest mercy of all. i will be training again. and my big girl wiltbank will be opening palermo to sisters in a threesome with sorella brandford (one of my all time favorites from the mtc) and a greenie!! what a baller, right? she is incredible. she is pretty nervous to head south but i talk it up every day because really the south is true italy. plus she gets to eat cannoli so she will be fine.
-- mamma gigante threw a going away party for wiltbank. we ate tacos. much to sorella wiltbank's dismay ... they made fish tacos. hahha! but also some other stuff so she didn't suffer too bad ... until we went to a dinner appointment and they made us salmon. haha! mom and dad you would be so proud of my matured pallet lately. salmon: food of the gods. but i don't think i have ever been so full in my whole existence.
fish taco goodbyes.
-- lots of really good things happened this week but i am running out of time. today we are going back to the basilica di san pietro because our investigator who works there said he would give us a free private tour. cooool. life is good in the hood.
-oh we also finally got to see the missionary broadcast. what a gem. this church is so good.
ALL of my love,