Holy cow! It's sounds like life is going a million miles back home! I am so glad that Matthew's farewell talk went well and that everyone was able to hear it. You'll have to let me know how things go for Thanksgiving. I assume that you guys are going to spend it with Holly's family. I cannot WAIT to hear about Mark's 40th birthday. I am sure it will be hilarious!
Ok, question answering time. Christmas ideas... I was thinking it would be really great to get some family recipes so if great grandma and grandpa wanted to send me that I'd be down. Or anything Christmasy really. I don't know. I feel like I have a million ideas for it and then as soon as I sit down to write I can't remember! But really I will just be happy to hear from home!
So about Thanksgiving! We will have the pleasure of going to the Godfrey family's house for dinner. They are members that work on base, but they attend the Catania ward. They're the same ones that sent you that photo of la conferenza generale. I am SO excited. This will be my second Thanksgiving in a row outside of America so I am happy that I will at least get a Thanksgiving dinner.
Dad asked about a spiritual lesson I have learned in Sicily. I think one of the biggest lessons I've learned is in Ether 12:27. It says that when we come unto God he will show us our weaknesses. It's funny that the closer I get to Him the more imperfect I feel. It's as if more and more of my weakness or being whittled away and underneath them are more. But it's been beautiful to see the progression. Each day I get a little bit better and each day that change is thanks to my Heavenly Father, who in the same verse promises to make those weaknesses strengths. We may be imperfect and weak, but our Heavenly Father happily works with us and uses us as His instruments until we are made strong. Life really is a beautiful progression!
Ok, so Mario.... Well this has been a rough week with him. After postponing his baptism for a more convenient day we have had to cancel it. It has been absolutely heartbreaking. I never knew before what it could be like to care so much for another person. Mario is just going through a lot in his life right now. A sick grandpa and a crazy work schedule has him WAY stressed out. So he just can't find space for this now. He still wants to be baptized, but it will probably be in a few weeks. It's SO hard. I know that the gospel will help him with his problems and I just want it to work out NOW. But patience is a virtue and I am just glad that these experiences have not broken his faith.
We saw Lucia again this week. She is making progress and read the Introduction! Woohoo! And she wants to share the gospel with her friends. We also saw Teresa, our other old woman. She started reading the Book of Mormon and is in 1 Nephi 2. She LOVES it. Now we just need to get here to understand that our religion is not an add on to the Catholic church. I think she is starting to get that because she came to church yesterday! It was the primary program and she thought it was just about the cutest thing ever. She also tried to convince vescovo that he should have them do it for money and give the proceeds to starving children in Africa. Allora... What ya gonna do?
On Friday Siracusa sorelle came up and did a scambio with us. I was with Sorella Clyde, our beloved greenie here in Catania. So yeah... The two greenies went traipsing around the city together. It was fun! We went to Sigonella and we had the coolest miracle. We went to visit a sister who just needs so me support and then we went to visit her visiting teaching companion. While we were at the companions house a woman came over to use the oven. She said "Oh! Sister missionaries! I grew up Mormon." It wasn't planned at all! But we got to meet a less active who is here, pregnant, and alone while waiting for her husband to arrive. Sounds like a golden reactivation opportunity to me! I am excited to follow up on that.
On Friday night we commenced the end of transfer traditions. Like always, we had pizza with the Mirabella family. It is SO fun. They have a wood oven in their garage and they just whip out pizza after pizza. Incredibile! Then that night we did kinder egg predictions. I got the same toy that I got last time, but this time it had elephants, the animal of Catania, on it. So of course we predicted that I would stay...
Then on Saturday morning we got transfer calls! I am staying!!! I am getting Sorella Fuller. She is literally the oldest sister in the mission so I will have the lovely chance to kill her next transfer. It's kind of humbling to be put with someone with so much experience, but I am looking forward to meeting her and learning from the best... Sorella Vincent is going to Rome 5. It's in the mountains north of Rome. She will be serving with..... SORELLA JACKSON, my MTC companion. My two favorite people in the mission will be together! I am really, REALLY going to miss Sorella Vincent. It will be weird walking the streets without her.
Life is good. Etna did erupt, but we are ok!
And now some business on my end. I made the cinnamon rolls! They were great. So I wanted to check to see if you are getting the postcards that I've been sending. Also I sent home a Christmas present. SO just watch out for it. And let me know if you have questions about how to use it.