Friday, January 2, 2015

Crawling to Conference. 10-3-14

Cara Famiglia,
Well it has been a LONG week. So I guess I should just start writing :)

Monday night we had a lesson with Susy and a member named Marianna. Susy was EXHAUSTED because of some health problems that her son is having so she couldn't concentrate well. We talked a little bit about the purpose of our life here on earth and then left her to rest.

Tuesday morning was rough. Not going to lie. We got dropped. Again. But this time it was buy Sorella Pepe. Yeah, the less active that we go to see every week. She had been preparing to go to the temple so she asked if we could teach her more about tithing. So last week we did. And it actually went well. Or so I thought. Well when we called to set up another appointment she just let us have it. She told me that no sister missionary should think to talk of such things (tithing) and that we were horrible people and that we had ruined her life. Yep. That was probably one of the harder moments of my mission. She was the person who was really progressing here in Bari. She was changing and now it's kind of all up in smoke. I don't know why we are facing so much rejection lately, but it is certainly forcing me to rely more on the Lord and for that I am grateful. However, one really wonderful thing did happen on Tuesday morning. We got a new investigator! Her name is Blessing and she is from Nigeria, but she is married to an Italian. And she is an industrial chemist. SO cool! She was so interested as we talked about the gospel, was touched by us giving her a Book of Mormon, and set up her own return appointment. I am so excited to get to know her better. In the afternoon we had an AMAZING lesson with Maria Grazia. And her mom was there. And her mom speaks french. And Sorella DeFranchi was super brave and invited her to let us share a message. And the mom accepted!!! YES! And then she told us that Maria Grazia didn't need help with English, but that we should stay and talk about the gospel anyways. So we taught Maria Grazia about the first vision. She was touched and she accepted the invite to watch conference and pray about Joseph Smith. She even wrote it down on a note to remind herself. Then in the prayer at the end she asked God to give her an answer. There is something so powerful about the sincerity of a twelve year old. And I can't wait to teach her family. We ended the night with English course and a final farewell to Luca, the missionary who just left.

Wednesday morning we  had DDM. Pretty uneventful. Of course we continued the district tradition and got panini after. After language study and some twelve weeks training we commenced the long walk to Japigia (a little side city) to see Francesca Leo. The lesson got a lot of nowhere. We tried to teach her using 2 Nephi 31, but she is just not there yet. We really need to work on helping her feel the Spirit. But it's HARD. That night we also made what were are call crepe cake. Lots of crepes with chocolate ganache between them. Yum. Having a French companion is nice.

Thursday morning we went to see Susy and the appointment actually went really well. Her kids were all at school so the house was peaceful and she was attentive. We taught the Plan of Salvation (finally!) and she had some really good questions. She committed to come to conference and to read 2 Nefi 31. Afterwards we brought some food to Antonella because her and her daughters are sick. In the afternoon we went to see Maria. We saw her a couple of weeks ago and I didn't think much of it because she is rather elderly and she didn't seem particularly interested. But this time it went really well. Her daughter and grandkids were over and they want us to come visit them! We were able to teach Maria about the Book of Mormon, the book that her brother is always reading. She was particularly touched and will be reading. Woohoo! We ended the night with English course.

Friday morning we did some planning. I say some because at noon we had to go pick up my permesso di soggiorno. And I got it! It only took five minutes. This second time was so much EASIER. No flights back. No extra appointments. It was a breeze. In the afternoon we went to see Valentina, a fourteen year old convert of about two years, and her family. Her mom is a less active and her dad is not a member. The lesson actually went really well. We just all clicked really well. And they agreed to read the scriptures as a family. Then we met the anziani to do gesso. But there were no people out. So we ended up doing street contacting. It went decently well.

Then came Saturday. We did casa (house to house finding) on Saturday morning because Sorella DeFranchi wanted to try it. I just haven't seen much success with it on my mission, but it was nice to mix it up. Then came GENERAL CONFERENCE!!!! I have become such a conference NERD.  I feel like I arrive at conference crawling because I am so tired, but that I leave running. On Saturday we watched the Womens's meeting and the Saturday morning session. All so good.

Sunday was more conference. I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVVVVEEEEE conference. Can you tell? We watched the priesthood session in the morning. I agree with Dad, Presidente Uchtdorg's talk was fantastic. Then we had pranzo altogether as missionaries. (There were 8 of us) And then we watched the Saturday afternoon session. It was definitely my favorite. SO good. I especially enjoyed Jorg Klebingat's talk. It broke my boxes, but was definitely what I needed to here. After a brief stretching break we watched the Sunday morning session. I am excited to get to the afternoon session some time in the future. I am always amazed by the inspiration that comes from conference. Answers left and right. 

I hope you all have a great week and that we can all keep the conference spirit alive.

The gospel is true, I promise!

Vi voglio bene!
Sorella Katie Francom

1) Going crazy at conference

2) Me with some cute grafiti we found this week.

The camel has one hump. 10-13-14

Cara Famiglia,
Fear not, this week has been much better. Strange, but much better.

Monday we spent Pday with the sisters from Foggia and it was SOOOOOOO fun. I love Sorella Price and Sorella Webster. It's kind of a soul mate roll on the floor laughing sort of thing. We went to Poilignano a Mare with the intent to explore the caves on the beach now that it is winter and there is no one there. But the rain had other plains. However, it didn't stop us from going down to the beach and taking lots of pictures with our umbrellas. This photo shoot of course included my umbrella getting caught in the wind and me being blown over and falling into a puddle. Anyone surprised, no? After pday we had a lesson with Angelo and Marinella. They are members who need some sostegno right now. The lesson went really well and we talked about general conference. After we headed to the Bari Libertà church for interviews with President Waddoups. Mine went SO well. It's cool to see how much more the interviews mean to me now. It was just what I needed. We have a wonderful mission president.

Tuesday was zone conference!!! I LOOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVVVVVVEEEE zone conference. It went really well. I almost got roped into participating in the musical number, but I think the whole zone is greatful that I averted that danger. The trainings were all really great. We talked a lot about teaching and did a lot of role plays to practice. For the last half of the day the GANS (YSA) and the youth joined us. It was really cool to have them there. And to teach with them. We had the coolest experience. Sorella DeFranchi and I were paired with Gabriela (a nonmember who is dating a member). We ended up teaching her about the love of God and it was AMAZING. There was just one of those moments where I looked her in the eyes and saw that something changed. At the end she asked me to write down the scriptures we had shared. She is amazing. After conference we ended the night with English course. After we talked to an 18 year old boy named Gianni. He wants to know more and took a restoration pamphlet. 

Wednesday morning we had a lesson with Susy and it went really well. She told us about how bummed she was to have missed general conference. She was waiting all ready to come when it started POURING rain and she was going to have to walk. So we showed her President Uchtdorf's talk from conference and she loved it. And she got it. And she bookmarked the website and is super excited to watch mormon messages. YES! Please keep her in your prayers. I really want her to be able to come to church. Then we had a lesson with Maria. And she invited us to stay for pranzo. AND she actually read the Book of Mormon. I definitely wasn't expecting that, but am so happy. She is adorable! And agreed to keep reading. Then we came home to do language study and the twelve week program. Then we had ward council. Which took FOREVER. But we got a ton done. I am super excited about some plans we have for the ward. IT's about to be amazing in the Poggio Francom, as the other missionaries call this ward. 

Thursday morning we had a cancelled lesson :( But then the sorelle from Foggia came to do an exchange. Once again I just LOVE them. I was with Sorella Webster and we had a blast and did some work. In the afternoon we went to see Maria Pia. She is a member who is ALWAYS sad. SO we go to keep her company and cheer her up. We shared a Liahona article about gratitude and she was really touched. It was a good experience for me to remember how important it is to be grateful. Than we had english course and it went insanely well! After we had so many people who wanted to talk to us about the gospel. I talked with Gianni and he actually read the opuscolo about the restoration and wants to meet to talk with us. YES! Sorella Webster ended up teaching the entire first lesson to three new students and they want to know more. Hallelujah! Then we came home and spent our personal time dressing up as mulan like geishas. Yep. Missionaries are weird.

Wednesday morning Sorella Websters and I went around taking English course posters to stores. I love doing it because it makes people so happy and we have so many great conversations on the spot. English course is really such a blessing for us. The we bid farewell to the Foggia sisters. In the evening we went to visit Valentina's family. It went super well. WE talked about the importance of prayer and Valentina bore a super strong testimony. I really hope we can work together to reactivate her mom. She is amazing. After the LONG walk home we started weekly planning. But we didn't get very far.

Saturday morning we had a blitz in Poggio Franco so we did a little bit of finding. But Sorella DeFranchi and I had to stop early to go to Triggiano to visit the Iacovelli family. The mom is relief society president, but the rest of the family is not active. We have been trying to visit them the WHOLE time that I have been in Bari and finally ci siamo riuscite! They are SO cute. We were really able to bond with the daughters and my lovely french companion taught them to make crepes. Yum! We had a really great lesson about scripture study and you could tell that the daughters were really touched. In the evening we prepared an activity that we are presenting to the ward tomorrow. We are going make a giant chain of missionary work. Every time a member has a missionary experience they will write it on a strip of paper and we will staple it into a paper chain. I hope it goes well!

Sunday in church was pretty good. We presented the chain idea and the primary kids were ESPECIALLY excited. A British family came to church and it turns out that they have been serving their mission in Leavenworth so we had a good talk about the lovely state of Washington, even if they were on the WRONG side of the mountains. I spent the rest of the meetings translating for them. The best part is that Sahondra and Violetta came. YES! Sorella DeFranchi's french is working miracles with them. For pranzo we went to the DeSantis family's house. It was great. But there was just one con. It was in a different city. SO we were stuck there until they were able to take us home :/ What you going to do? Then Sorella DeFranchi wasn't feeling well. So I let her rest while I planned the upcoming Halloween party. I never knew I would plan so many acitivities on my mission! We ended the night with gesso. It felt so good. I love talking to people. And I love when they are genuinely kind and interested.

And now it's pday! Yay.

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

The gospel is true, I promise!

Vi voglio bene!
Sorella Katie Francom

1) Geishas...
2) Can you tell she is my daughter?

3) Praying for pogg at zone conference

One cloaked man, lots of huts, and a baptism. 10-20-14

Cara Famiglia,
Another eventful week. Is that any surprise in the mission? I think not.

Well on Monday for Pday we went shopping altogether. It was fun and relaxing. And here I have to tell a brief story. About a week ago Sorella DeFranchi and I saw a man dressed in a full length cloak and a flat brimmed black hat. We think he was some sort of pastor (not a Catholic priest) because as he walked by he said "Pentitevi e impariate del vangelo" (repent and learn of the gospel). Well on Monday night on the way to our appointment we saw him again and my dear companion literally chased after him to try to get a picture. Just as she got close enough he turned the corner. Bummer. After Sorella DeFranchi and I had a private english lesson with a woman named Stefania. She is SUPER cute. Afterwards we gave a spiritual thought and she even agreed to say the closing prayer. She really is special. Hopefully this will help warm her up to the gospel.

Tuesday morning we did a scambio with the other sorelle. I took Sorella Chandler to the questura to do her permesso because I knew how to do it and Sorella DeFranchi went with Sorella Robinson to teach Susy. Our time at the questura was fairly simple and painless, but I am glad that I took her. The lesson with Susy went AMAZINGLY. She has a baptismal date!!!!!!! For November 7th. I think we will probably have to push it back, but it's a start. WOOHOO! It is so exciting to watch her change! At lunch we all got blessings from the anziani. Mine was amazing and just what I needed to hear. I am so grateful for the priesthood power in my life. After lunch and studies we had another lesson with Stefania. We taught her about the Book of Mormon and she seemed curious. We'll see! then we had English course. It went pretty well. Nothing exciting to report.

Wednesday morning we had DDM. It was typical. Nothing much to say. After we came home for lunch. After we went to a bread making relief society activity in the church AND Susy came!!! She was so excited about learning to make bread. It was ADORABLE!!!!!!!!!!!!! And she was so shy around the members, but they did such a great job at welcoming her. I was super impressed. I hope that this will help increase her desire to come to church. Then I went to ward council on a member split while Sorella DeFranchi went to practice singing for the baptism that was to come. Ward council went REALLY well. It was cool to see how ready they are to help us. The members here are actually preparing their friends to meet with us! INCREDIBLE!

Thursday morning we went out to Rutigliano with the Hansens to see Izzy. It was SUPER cool. Last time we challenged her to read the Book of Mormon everyday. She told us that she really wanted to, but that she didn't know if she had time. I told her about Mario (from Catania) and how he used to leave the Book fo Mormon open at his work and read everytime he passed by. She agreed to try it and she ended up reading the first four chapters of Mosiah! Woohoo! She had a lot of questions so we spent quite a bit of time answering them, Then we started to teach the gospel, but we were interrupted by a man that she knew who wanted to argue.... And then she had to go home... Oh well! After lunch we went to see Maria Grazia. She is doing well. It wasn't a super eventful lesson, but she is great as always. Then we ended the night with English course. After a bunch of students stayed to ask us about our religion. It was really cool!

Friday morning we attempted to start planning, but with very limited success because we ended up having a lesson with Blessing. It went super well. She said an amazing prayer and then we taught the Restoration. She said it was an amazing manifestation of God's love. I am so excited to keep teaching her! Then we went to have lunch with the Santoro family. It was super fun. I love them. They're one of those families that you can just joke around with, but that totally has an amasing grasp on the gospel. In the evening we went to the church to finish preparing for the baptism and then we had a GANS (YSA) geneology activity. It was a huge success. Quite a few nonmembers and less actives came. I was able to spend a lot of time with one less active, Angela. I think it was a big help for her.

Saturday we went to do a blitz in Bitonto and I got to do my first real member split. I was with Sorella Scarola. She was so awesome! She took me to meet a lot of her friends and we actually did talk with them about the gospel. I was super impressed. That night we had a baptism in Poggio!!! Piero got baptized. It was SO cool. So many nonmembers came! And his family came! The Spirit was so strong and he was so happy. Sorella DeFranchi and Anziano Kennedy sang a duet and it was amazing. And the talks were good. And the mormon messages were touching. And Piero's testimony was just beautiful. It was absolutely wonderful.

Sunday was a pretty good day in church. But Susy didn't come :( but it was good. After church we went to pranzo with the Ramunni family. They are AMAZING. She is primary president, he has some sort of muscular disorder, they have one insanely smart daught, and one autistic daughter. But despite it all they are so HAPPY. I was amazed by how much love there was. After them we headed to see Sahondra and Violetta in Torre a Mare. Sahondra's boyfriend show us how to make cheese and then we had a nice lesson on the Book of Mormon. They both agreed to commit to reading again.

Today we went to a city called Alberobello. It has a ton of little stone huts that were built 300-500 years ago. It was super cool. People still live in them! I wasn't expecting that. I thought it would just be a little toursit village. Invece no! It was definitely cool.

Well here's to another great week and to transfer calls!

The gospel is true, I promise!

Vi voglio bene!
Sorella Katie Francom

1) Cheese with Sahondra and Violetta
2) Split with Sorella Scarola

3) Us with Izzy

Bidone. 10-27-14

Cara Famiglia,
In Italian there is a word, "bidone." It literally means trash can. But as missionaries we use it to refer to when appointments get cancelled. And I think it pretty much sums up a lot of the week.

Ok, the week was actually good. But we did get a lot of bidoni.

Well Monday night we did weekly planning. It went super well. It felt so good to plan everything out and it got us both super pumped for the week!

Tuesday morning we had a lesson with Maria. She is adorable. However, she hasn't been reading :( But she did agree to come to church. And then we went to try to contact a referral that the anziani of Bari Libertà gave us. And well the address turned out to be a mortuary. HAHAHAHA It was pretty hilarious. And the anziani were pretty horrified. We now have her correct address and will be seeking her out this week. After lunch we had an appointment with a member that we are trying to help sustain. We talked about Jorg Klebingat's talk from conference and it went really well. She was really open and sincere. I really like that family. Then we headed to English course. And we had a great spiritual thought on the Atonement. Our students were REALLY touched. I love seeing how much potential. Now we just have to work on harnessing it.

Wednesday morning we had DDM. It went really well. We had a nice addestramento about Christlike attributes. It's interesting to see how much I have changed from the beginning of the mission. I have such different things to work on now. After DDM we did transfer predictions and everyone guessed that I was leaving and training somewhere else. In the afternoon we went to see Lidia, Maria Teresa, and Giovanni. We haven't seen them since July so that was a miracle. The lesson went SO well. We taught the restoration and Lidia basically bore her testimony that the Book of Mormon is true. It was cool. And they made us focaccia and were so worried that we had to take the bus in the rain. It was super cute. The bus came late and so we had to BOOK it to church for correlation with the bishop. It all went pretty well. The work is going well in Poggio.

Thursday morning we were supposed to have a lesson with Susy, but she gave us a bidone. And then our back up plan couldn't see us. So we tried to go to the church to print out fliers for the upcoming Halloween party, but we don't have keys so we had to wait for the anziani and then they weren't able to let us in. Chaos. Then we finally went to see Sorella Pepe. I don't think she has totally forgiven me for the tithing lesson, but she let us come over and that is progress. Although she wouldn't really look me in the eyes. After lunch Sorella DeFranchi wasn't feeling very well so I let her sleep and did some area book. I actually talked to quite a few people who wanted to see us. It was cool. Then we had English course. And because it was cold and rainy almost no one came so we taught everyone together and it was REALLY fun. We were talking about the postal system and so we had all of the students write an Anziano a letter in english to cheer him up. It was HILARIOUS. 

Friday morning the Foggia sisters arrived to do a scambio. Gosh. I love them. So fun. In the morning we did a blitz in libertà. I was with Sorella Webster and we had a blast. Then after lunch we got another bidone. And once again our back up plan couldn't see us. But we randomly decided to see Susy. And she said yes!!! We brought her a batpismal calendar and she thought it was adorable and we had a great lesson on prayer and scripture study. She's been reading the Book of Mormon everyday. YES!!!!!! I was so happy. And we got to talk more with her husband and that was awesome! And she was so excited to come to church for the primary program on Sunday.

Saturday we did planning and got transfer calls. More on that next week. In the evening we had an appointment with the senior couple, the Hansens, and a less active GANS, Angela. It went well and they really bonded. But holy headache, So much translating for me. Because they don't speak the best Italian and she is really hard to understand. WE had a great lesson on the Restoration and she was super touched.

Holy yesterday was stressful. I found out at the beginning of church that Susy fought with her husband and that she wasn't going to be able to come to church. Here is hoping that it was just for this week. And then the Halloween plans kind of exploded because most of the auxillaries don't want to help out. So I have some serious planning to do this week. For pranzo we went with a really sweet older couple. It was wonderful and relaxing. Then we ended the night with a giant appointment with the Santoro family and their part member cousins. WE teach the less actives and the anziani teach the nonmembers so we were all there. There was a really great spirit. I love the people here!

Well we're having a pretty chill pday so nothing to report there.

Here's to a great week!

The gospel is true, I promise.

Vi voglio bene!

Sorella Katie Francom

Nose Blowing Harmony. 11-3-14

Cara Famiglia,
Sorry I am writing a day late. We had zone conference yesterday and thus pday today.

Well peeps I am officially in my second to last transfer. Penultimate. What? And I am officially staying in Bari with Sorella DeFranchi. Guys, this is seriously freaky. The end. It hits me more and more every day how close it is. And I never want it to come. I love this mission. I don't want to be anywhere else. I just have so much more to do and become!!! But hey, two and a half months is still a substantial chunk of time, right?

Ok, I keep getting asked about my dearest French companion. Well she is half American and thus speaks English perfectly, with an American accent. However, her Italian has a super heavy and adorable French accent.

It's been another odd week. To be honest I think that was one of the odder transfers of my mission. I am just learning to be okay with Plan Z.

On Monday night we did weekly planning. We really need to work on fitting it in during the week...

On Tuesday morning we had two cancelled appointments... So we ended up going to get flu shots and then going to contact two referalls. No luck. The in the afternoon we were supposed to have a lesson with the Verdillo family, but the mom had to work so we ended up just walking Valentina and her little brother to church. We had a nice thought as we walked about how God can sostenerci (sustain us?). I am always so amazed by Valentina. She is 15 and the only active member in her family, but she is SO strong. Then we went to English course. It was fun as usual. We got to talk about fruit and vegetables this time. After we stayed a little to help the young women make decorations for the Halloween party.

Wednesday morning we had the most AMAZING DDM. Anziano Roman is the only one leaving from our district and so he gave an addestramento. He talked about real intent and it was AWESOME. It was really  just what I need to hear. I love getting to be inspired by the missionaries around me. Then came the weird part of DDM. Anziano Romano threw his back out and well Sorella Robinson is a massage therapist. So he called Sorella Waddoups to get permission to receive a massage. And he got permission. And we all watched. Definitely one of the odder moments of my mission.Then we all went to get sandwiches. After lunch we had a lesson with Sorella Pepe. She loves me again! HALLELUJAH! We talked about faith and she really enjoyed Alma's analogy about seeds. 'Twas cute. Then we headed to Torre a Mare to see Sahondra and Violetta. We had a REALLY good lesson about eternal families. They were so touched. It was really tender. And it turns out that they were practically royalty in Madagascar. Cool, right?

Thursday morning we had a lesson with Susy. To be honest it didn't go that well. We tried to teach her about eternal families and the temple. But something was just off. Not sure why. I hope that those truths will touch her none the less. Then came a CRAZY miracle. So when I first got to Bari we were told about this young investigator who was almost baptized, Samanta. We tried and tried to contact her, but nothing. And then in a transition between phones we lost her number. And so she was lost. I never even met her. It's so cool to see how Heavenly Father places the right people in our path at the right time. Then on the bus home from Susy's house a random girl started talking with Sorella DeFranchi. And it was SAMANTA! Woohoo! We were able to exchange numbers and she wants to see us again. YES! After lunch we did some emergency halloween party planning and then had English course. And it POURED rain as we walked. And see as my boots are broken I was in normal slip on shoes and my feet got soaked. But hey, I am a Washingtonian and of course have webbed feet. English course went well. I really love our students.

Friday morning we started weekly planning. Well at least we started. Then we had to head to the church to meet up with the GANS to set up the Halloween Party. It was a stressful mess, but we ended up pulling off a pretty great party. And there were more nonmembers than members so that was really great. As missionaries we put on a little program. The missionaries from Bari Libertà were frozen characters and we of Poggio Franco were Disney villains and tried to destroy the show. I was Mother Gothel from Tangled. Twas quite fun. All in all the night was a success.

Saturday morning we cleaned up the church and the headed to lunch with the Verdillo family. November 1st is a holiday in Italy so the nonmember dad was so excited to have us over. They went all out on an ALL seafood mood. And guess what? I loved it. Especially the octopus. It's safe to say that I am a changed woman. After we had a really great lesson on scripture study. Even the dad was attentive and involved. Valentina shared and AMAZING testimony. I love seeing that family change. The Lord is really working on them. Then we came home and finished planning. Hey, at least we finished it during the right week.

Church was SOOOOOOOOOOOO good on Sunday. So good. Although none of our investigators came to church we had some really cool things happen. The first is that a man named Francesco wandered into the church. He was an english course student in Pescara (up by Rome) 15 years ago. On Sunday he was walking down the street, saw the church, recognized the name, and thus decided to come. He stayed for all three meeting and seemed to really enjoy it. And then we had a knockout fast and testimony meeting. So good. So many testimonies touched me. I was particularly touched by Anziano Kennedy's. He shared the lyrics of a Josh Groban song. Something about "don't give up, it's just the weight of the world" and how Christ is there to help lift that weight. It was really beautiful and what I needed. We are not alone in this life. So we should let Him help us. After lunch we had a lesson with Angelo and Marinella. We talked about charity and service and they both really liked it. They are so cute. The we had interviews with President Waddoups. I am continually amazed by what and inspired man he is. I am proud to be missionary in his mission.

Yesterday was zone conference. It was really good. And really tender... I don't know how to explain it. I love being a missionary. After we had a lesson with Maria Grazia. I love that girl! We were able to give her a personal progress program and she was so excited to get started.

And well today is pday.

Guys, I just love being a missionary. Sure it's hard. But it is so worth it. We have the coolest experiences and get to see the Atonement work firsthand in peoples' lives.

The gospel is true, I promise. 

Vi voglio bene!
Sorella Katie Francom

1) Zone Conference
2) Constructing a haunted house
3) Watching a massage...

Straripare 11-10-14

Cara Famiglia,
Well I sadly do not have a lot of time to write today. We went to Matera and we missed the train.... SO I am currently in Matera with very little time to write. SORRY!

I'll try to go through some highlights of the week.

Tuesday after English course we were FINALLY able to do a church tour with Luigi. We have been trying to do one since the beginning of September e finalmente ci siamo riuscite (you're gonna have to google that one). 

On Wednesday the sisters from Crotone came to see us So I got to a scambio and go see Sorella Pepe. And she likes me again! She even gave me a hand knit sweater!! YAY!

Another highlight was our lesson with Susy. Unfortunately she does not have a bap date any longer. She just isn't coming to church. But we were able to reteach the restoration and this time it really seemed to hit home. She was able to recount the story of Joseph Smith and she agreed to pray specifically to know if he really had the first vision. I am hoping that this will be the testimony builder that she needs. Also, Bishop gave us the names of some members to take to a lesson with her and I think that his choices were really inspired. I really want to see her progress more. She is amazing! She has so much faith amongst so many atheists.

Hmm... what to say in so little time? We had stake conference this weekend. It was AMAZING! All about hastening the work. And I got to see my old companion ex-sorella Fuller. SO that was cool. And then we had pranzo with the Armenise family on Sunday. They had nonmembers and less actives so that was super cool. I really love the people here. 

I have to say this whole ending thing is weird. Everyday gets odder and odder and everyday I want to hold on to the mission tighter and tighter. I love being a missionary. I love serving the Lord. I love serving the Italians. Definitely the best thing I have done with my life.

I promise to write a better letter next week!

The gospel is true, I promise.

Vi voglio bene!
Sorella Katie Francom

P.S. An old man told me that I am very intelligent, but that I need to be careful not to straripare (overflow). What?!? 

Crepes and Taboo. 11-17-14

Cara Famiglia,
Well as stated in the email last week we had an awesome Pday in Matera. Yes, we went again. Staying in one city longer than else means doing the same pdays over and over again. But it's ok. Matera is gorgeous. Unfortunately my camera was broken so there will be no pictures :( This time was particularly fun because we went with some of the GANS (YSA) and two investigators. It was WAY fun. That night we had a planning meeting for an upcoming activity we are doing with the ward, an MTC for members. I have to say that I love activities, but I hate the time it takes to plan them. Life problems...

On Tuesday morning we had a DDM and it actually went pretty well. President Waddoups challenged us to all pray for each other instead of praying for ourselves so we had a DDM that helped boost up our selflessness. We all wrote nice notes to each other. Cheesy, right? But I do love the missionaries that I serve with. In the afternoon we had a lesson with Sorella Pepe. I am SOOO happy to be on her good side again. No we can actually work on helping her progress again. After her we headed to English course. Then we had a pizza night with the Santoro family, Piero (the Anziani's new convert), and Daniela (his girlfriend). It was AWESOME. Daniela and Piero are HILARIOUS. I really hope we can start to teach Daniela. She comes to all of the activities and has come to church a few times. The anziani are challenging Piero to ask her to take the lessons this week! Woohoo!

Wednesday was a day of meetings. Meetings and I have such a love hate relationship. However, ward council that night was pretty awesome and pretty hilarious in a way that only an Italian ward council could be. Something you should know about Italians is that talking loudly and aggressively is not yelling, just friendly banter and persuasion. I love it. So ward council was a lot of loud, but also a lot progress. We talked about some really meaningful things and our ward is becoming increasingly involved in missionary work. I love it.

Thursday morning was a morning of finding. YES! Ogni tanto I just really need a day out talking to people on the street. We were able to contact a few referrals and then we did some finding in the park. My companion is a boss and has fallen in love with using geneology to do finding. We ended up meeting this really cool man in the park who is evangelical, but super interesting in coming to do geneology with us. Random fact: the Puglia Italia stake is the 11th satke in the world for doing family history. Cool, right? In the afternoon we went to an appointment with Maria Grazia and when we rang the citofono (intercom doorbell thing) the babysitter answered and said she wasn't there. Hmm. Then we had English course to end the night.

Friday morning we had weekly planning! Woot. It felt so good to do it ALL at the right time and to just be prepared for the coming week. I can't remember the last time we were able to do that. Thus I am super excited to carry out our plans for this week! In the afternoon we went to Casamassima for a lesson with Lidia and Giovanni. It was AMAZING! We read 3 Nefi 11 with them and the loved it. Lidia's face was just glowing. And we were able to talk about the Atonement and how much the Savior loves us. It was beautiful. BEAUTIFUL. And we found out that Lidia has actually been keeping her commitments to read the Libro di Mormon. YES! Then we had a cancelled appointment so we ended up going to the GANS activity. There were a TON of nonmembers there and it was really cool to get to know them better and introduce/reinforce their relationships with members. Also, I just have to say that playing Taboo in Italian is VERY hard.

Saturday morning we had a district blitz here in Bari Poggio Franco. I was with Sorella Chandler for the morning and it was pretty much her first time doing finding so it was fun to get to show her how I like to do it. We talked to a TON of people. And we pretty much got shut down everytime. But it was still a pretty good morning. I never thought I would actually enjoy finding. Dang, I've changed. In the evening we went to the Santoro family's house to make crepes (I love having a French companion) with some investigators and one of the young women we are working with. The Santoros do so much for missionary work. Love them. They also have the cutest nephew, Domenico, who is literally in love with my companion (no worries, he's 4). The Armenise family was also there. Oh. my. gosh. I love them. Every once in a while you just meet families that you fit in with. They are definitely one of them for me. Sarcasm flying everywhere. 

Yesterday was a really amazing Sunday. Church went SUPER well. We were able to give out mission calls to all of the members to invite them to the MTC activity. It was really cool to see the excitement, especially from the primary kids. Then we went to Sunday School with the GANS and the lesson was AMAZING. The anziani's investigator, Mario, was there. He's atheist and has really been struggling to know if God exists. He is more active than any of the members. He just needs a testimony. And he said the closing prayer in sunday school. And he said that he finally understood what God wants for him and that he hopes to have the ability to do it. Amazing. Amazing. I really hope this means something has changed. Then came Sacrament meeting. AND Violetta came!!!! YES! I got to sit by her and I am just amazed by her. She is such a humble woman and has so much faith. I felt honored to be able to share a hymnbook and sing with her. I know it's cheesy, but things like that just get to me on the mission. And there was an awesome talk. The lady who gave it started by reading the title. In English something like "How to nourish our spirits as we nourish our bodies." She made a joke about how she is not skinny and thus obviously eats. But she pointed out that just because she eats it doesn't mean that she nourishes her body. To nourish herself she actually needs to take in the vitamins and proteins that will give her strength. She talked about how it is the same with our spirits. We can't just read the scriptures. We actually have to gather nutriment from them. It was really cool. For pranzo we went to Sorella Ceddia's house. Her inactive daughter was there and were able to have a rather long spiritual lesson/discussion with her. It went well. Then we had a lesson with Marinella Lagatolla and had the most amazing discussion of the Atonement that I think I have had on the mission. Then we ended the night with gesso. It went SUPER well. We talked to so many people. I even met a group of girls who are friends with a member. One of them even had a Book of Mormon. Time to do follow up with the member... I love being a missionary.

So here's to a great week! 

The gospel is true, I promise.

Vi voglio bene!
Sorella Katie Francom

1) Sorella Robinson and I dressed up as each other.