HELLO DEAREST FAMILY!!!
So, not to take away from our REAL 'slice of heaven' in Rome (no, not the convent one with the shoes hanging out the window and the storage room for all the dead cardinals), but I think that Versailles is getting pretty close!!! I absolutely love it here! First of all, my companions are great (yes, i have two again. I think someone is trying to keep an eye on me or something!). Sister Bellini is from Washington and has been out about a year. And Sister Gifford is from Highland and has been out about 8 months. SO, I have TWO people to learn from!!! Talk about spoiled?! And things are just easy with them. We work hard, but we work as a team and i just loving falling into bed exhausted at night cuz i feel like im doing what im supposed to be. Our apartment is in the middle of like this retirement community area, meaning we have a carrefour and a bank and a pharmacy and everything RIGHT there! There are hardly any cars, so its super family friendly and kids play out in the streets all the time! Add the birds chirping and the sunshine this week, and im sure you couldnt blame me for calling it a slice of heaven! Plus, you know how i love old people! And even when they are drunk and telling us about the 'good old days,' you just cant help but love them. I did manage to break the closet my first night here....i guess that whole 49 shirts deal wasnt such a great idea...oops! (the whole bar collapsed hehe, so we had to move all our clothes to the front entry closet, but its all good.)
So, we have a baptismal date! May 1. Her name is Gloria and she is a political refugee from El Salvadore. She has NOTHING, like she carries pretty much all her earthly possessions around with her. I guess conference weekend she was out in the street and just broke down crying because she was just overwhelmed with all the hard things she has had to deal with lately. She prayed and just told God to send her an angel cuz she didnt know what in the world to do....and so im sure you know what happened next! God did her one better and sent her TWO! Two of our dear elders walked up and asked if there was something they could do to help her... this truly is the Lord's work! She is ready to be baptized and wants to so badly, but the problem is she has to have an address before. It doesnt have to be a permanent one, but she has to have one, and the whole financial situation and social security and apartment searching is an absolute nightmare. Its not our job to figure it out, but man I never really appreciated wards back home that actually functioned well and had people with callings like 'ward employment specialist' before. There is just so much red tape. BUT, Heavenly Father is a God of Miracles, and we are going forward with May 1st and as far as we're concerned--its gonna happen on may 1st!! Gloria is already talking about these people she has met in the train stations that she wants to go teach the Gospel to. You just cant help but love her!
Its a little hard trying to organize rendez-vous in two different areas, especially when you travel like 2 hours and have someone not show up, but we're working on making it more efficient, and in the meantime, we've gotten lots of transport contacting practice! Elder Hinckley came and spoke to us this week (and just fyi--the way he articulates some words, I could have sworn it was President Hinckley speaking to us!) and he committed us two a few different things and promised us, because of our specific mission statistics, that if we doubled our finding efforts, we would double our baptisms. Well, we figure that stats backed up by General Authority promise is a pretty good course of action to follow!! So, we are going to start 'mining' our area books (thats what he called it), and that is why its so great that we have TWO area books to mine! We also had to/got to do the musical number for the mini conference with Elder Hinckley and found out like the day before....I tell ya--never a dull moment!
Well, I love your e-mails and it sounds like you guys are having just as many adventures as me! I miss you, but am so grateful and feel so lucky to be sharing the gospel right now. Teaching and testifying of Jesus Christ, the restoration, and eternal families every day?!!! I dont know that it gets much better!!!! haha, sorry to rub it in! But I love you and hope you know that I pray for you every day!
Best thing I saw in passing this week: two baguettes left on top of a boites des lettres! i figured it was like the french equivalent of a soda being left on top of someones car!
and p.s. dogs really do chase after missionaries. its not just a cliche. i am ever so grateful for fences! though, i will admit that it doesnt usually prevent me from the initial scream and fall off the curb (at least my companions are nice and dont laugh TOO much)
p.Ss going porting and having people answer their 'door' by sticking their heads out the window is still so funny to me!
p.S. Church is such a different experience as a missionary. Like when the sunday school teacher for the amis class doesnt show up, and then the fire alarm goes off in the middle of church, its not as much a "sweet, no sunday school today", as a "Is this for real? We are doing a fire drill during this person's first day of church!????!!!!"
Tara--seriously stay away from him! good luck with the rest of finals, maybe let mom get in one 'I told you so!!' hehe.
J&M-- i want the articles of my super star brothers!!! i am not allowed to open up the link dad sent me so i need something tangible--its killing me!!! like a play by play in your next monthly letter would be great (hehe, hint hint). That is seriously sweet. Whenever anyone hints they have any interest in tennis, I always start bragging about you two. hehe. maybe not becoming of a missionary, but whatev!
Joshy man-- i didnt know you are playing soccer now too? tell me about it! oh and how was your dude week with dad? sounded pretty dang sweet to me!
And on to the MOST IMPORTANT THING -----HAPPY BIRTHDAY HALLE BABY!!!!!!!!! (in a few days) i cant believe you are 7 years old!!!!! did you do a party or are you going to wait and do a swimming one when the pool opens?! i want pictures and i want to hear about ALL the presents you get!!!!
OTHER TIDBITS to add:
dad--ummm...i will definitely be praying about Utahs match on Saturday and dying to know how it goes down! but seriously cool how well youre doing already! and i think the holy ghost likened unto the secret ingredient is suh-weet!!!!!)
Our p-days kinda change around here. Normally it should be on Saturday, but if not, it will be Monday
speaking of letters, you are always safe to send letters to the mission home, because our burea elders are great and they forward them on to us at our current addresses (so if thats easier for you thats fine)
our address now is
7, Promenade Venezia
and mother, you should be so proud! who knew that tortillas could be made from scratch?!!! hehe well, apparently they can, and i now know how. not that i will ever do it again when i come home and can buy them for not a ridiculous price, but still! (oh the things i used to take for granted....)
hey love you mom!