Friday, May 31, 2013

Feeling at Home in Capoterra

Does Anyone Speak English Around Here?
Thursday nights, I run the advanced English-speaking course where we just do conversation.  I love it!
Missionaries in Sardegna
I love teaching and I get to talk to people in English for an hour!  This last week we talked travel.  Since some of the students will be going out of town, this is what was naturally on their minds.  I think I've been effective because a few weeks back I substituted and the students ended up asking the usual teacher (one of the elders) if I could teach more, so he gave me Thursdays.  Already, I've become good friends with a student named Claudia, who is unfortunately moving away, but is planning on keeping in contact with me.

Gelato Makes Just About Anything Better
Saturday was my most interesting day this last week.  It started off a little rough - we were attempting to visit some ex-investigators, saw a man painting a hallway, and asked if we could lend a hand.  He then yelled at us for 15 minutes about how we were irresponsible for asking to help, because what if we got hurt, and then he would have to pay, and the state would sue etc, etc, etc.  He made my companion cry!  So we finally left and cheered ourselves with some gelato.
The dynamic trio: Sorella Cojan, Sorella Nef (me), and Sorella O'Connor
Mistaken Identity
After that, we continued doing casa and were let in by a girl named Roberta who didn't seem to understand that we were not Catholic missionaries.  It took several ways of telling her who we were and explaining the Restoration of the Gospel until she finally understood that we were LDS missionaries.  Seems that Sardegnians believe there are two religions - Catholicism and Jehovah's Witnesses, who are called TJs (Testimoni di Jehovah).  We keep getting mistaken for one or the other.  It's actually kind of funny.  So, we've got our work cut out for us in making a name for ourselves.

Don't Be a Buzz-Kill
The initial challenge is getting people to listen and not think you are some sort of salesman or one
fishing for donations or something.  I believe the best way to break down barriers is  service, but 99
times out of 100, people won't even answer the doorbell because through the peephole they see who
you are.  Or, as is more common in Cagliari, they reject you via citofono (the buzzer panel on apartment complexes where you must buzz someone for entrance into the gated community.  They only hear your voice and, usually, if you are not friend or family, they hang up.  Very hard to do casa this way, because no one wants to bother.  They don't see it as worth their time).  I am trying to figure out a way to approach this.  It's a challenge.  Most of our free time is spent in looking for less-actives this way, but we are not making much headway on that frontier either.

Speaking of service:  The other day, sweet Sorella Pistida asked us to help clean her house in preparation for a big family party/gathering to celebrate her granddaughter's Catholic baptism.  Sorella Pistida is a tiny older Italian woman who can't reach anything, so she kept asking for my help, calling me the "ladder" because of my height.  Four of her friends ended up stopping by, so we were able to teach a little while we served.

The Field is White in Capoterra
We met up with the elders (who had a car this week!) to head to a town called Capoterra about half an hour outside Cagliari.  Cute, cute, cute little town.  Picturesque - right by the mountains.  This area looks a LOT like the Saratoga/Los Gatos Hills area.  Some of the streets look like Santana Row.  I feel so much at home, I keep forgetting I'm not in California.  I am constantly starting conversations in English, not even thinking.  It looks so much like the Bay Area.
Town of Capoterra, suburb of Cagliari
We met a man on the street named Giuseppe.  My companion started to talk to him because we were waiting for the anziani (elders) and he was watching us from across the street in a pizzeria.  Turns out he is curious about religions and started asking a bunch of questions - the right kinds of questions.  It was brilliant.  "Do you worship saints?"  When we said no, and explained, he agreed with us and said, "Yeah, it doesn't make sense to pray to someone other than God.  What can they do for me?"  We had a great conversation and ended our visit by giving him a copy of the Book of Mormon and inviting him to Church.  He said he would come the first week in June.  We then had a prayer in the street.  When we started walking away, he came and asked more questions.  He is so curious.  Curiosity is good. Curiosity leads to questions.  Questions lead to answers - and we've got those answers!  I am excited to see what happens with Giuseppe.
Capoterra field

We then met a beautiful woman from Algeria who is living as a housekeeper in Capoterra.  She speaks French and Arabic very well, and Italian pretty well.  The elders had met her before and said they would bring us back (since my companion speaks French, plus we had copies of the Book of Mormon in French and Arabic in our apartment).  When we showed up, she wanted both copies and was so excited we came.  Her name was Souad.  Very cool lady.  She also said she wants to come to the English course - yes!

To finish our day of proselyting, we were doing some casa and met a sweet lady name Marisa.
She was probably in her 70s.  She was a devout Catholic, and said she didn't want to change, but as we visited, her testimony of God and Jesus came through very, very strong.  She talked about God's love for us and how that was the most important thing in the world.  I love faithful people!  I agreed with her.  After sharing our testimony of God and Jesus Christ, we left her with a pamphlet on the Restoration.  It just made me think about what great people there are in the world who are doing the best they can with the truth they have.  What's sad is that she thinks that that's all there is - but there is more!  Though she has the light of Christ with her, there is so much more light and joy she could have in her life - it isn't limited!  It's times like this where I can see that "the field is white and ready to harvest."

Our Saturday ended with kebab at Fratello Vicedomini's panetteria - always a favorite.  He makes bread, pizza, and kebab - and it is all amazing.
Fratelle Vicedomini Baking a Large Pizza
Sorellas Cojan, O'Connor, and Nef
Battle Plan: Portion Control
Sunday we ate lunch with the graduating seminary kids because we were told they wanted us to share our testimonies with them.  There was, of course, some very delicious food.  The problem with Italian meals: they trick you in the worst way.  As an American with little experience in Italy, I've been duped.  I see pasta and bread on the table (and LOTS of it), and I take generous portions.  I take some seconds because it is great pasta, and why not, there's plenty for everyone.  Then I am full and happy.  Then they bring out meat and potatoes.  Uh oh, I think, I can't eat any more.  But they are insistent and talk about how much work went into making it themselves and how its their specialty etc, etc.  So, being the nice person I am, I take a little, and then realize these potatoes are the best I've ever had in my whole life and that's why he said it was his specialty and I take a tiny bit more.  Now I am fuller, but doing okay (maybe a bit sleepy), promising myself this counts as lunch and dinner and that's that for the day.  Then they bring out fruit.  Fruit is healthy, why not?  And then they bring out CAKE and my life is OVER.  The end.

Italians have courses - and it's like this at every member's house.  Doesn't matter that they weren't expecting you.  Doesn't matter they have next to nothing in their fridge or cupboards.  They will miraculously make mounds of spaghetti with some olive oil, force generous portions of that into you, and THEN bring out chicken nuggets, and bread, and salad, and olives to eat (true story).  They can't put everything on the table at once so you can form a battle plan to control your portions.  No.  Italians do not believe in portions.  If you are not filled-out, you are a twig and must be fed until you are round.  So, I've learned: never trust what's on the table, pace yourself, have a battle plan, and it's okay, out of politeness, to occasionally throw up the white flag and surrender.

Buon Appetito!
Sorella Ashley Nef

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Oh Italy, Never Change!

Cagliari Gastronomy (I know, the word isn't very appetizing)
Tried my first kebab - Amazing!!!
Tried a taste of horse meat. It's actually super good.  Like a normal steak, but finer and more tender.
Hot dog & french fry pizza. Italians call it "American Pizza"
Their red sauce is tomato sauce with basil, mint, and just enough cheese (parmesano/regiano?) to
make it slightly orange in color.
They make a pizza with french fries and hot dogs, and call it "American Pizza."  I don't think it means what they think it means.
Typical Sard dish: Curlogionis - ravioli with potato-mint filling and a red sauce.  Delicious!
I'm finding that Sardinians like putting mint in a lot of things, like all of their sauces.
Heard my first accordion music played in the streets of Italy.  Aaaah, a beautiful moment (almost as if it were plucked from the movies) with sun
shining, friends, and good food - it was a feast for the senses.

Peanut Butter Crisis in Italy
They do not have peanut butter in Italy.  Sad!  Yet, they sell crustless bread.  Curious.  Why else would you have crustless bread but for pb&j sandwiches?  Italy does not have boxed cold cereal.  Could this be because of their boxed room temperature non-refrigeratable long shelf-life milk?  Because everyone knows that cold cereal requires cold milk: hence, the "cold" preceding "cereal".  Italy does not have oatmeal (as in rolled oats).  I always understood that gruel/mush/porridge/oatmeal/hot cereal was a universal dish for all masses and classes kind of thing.  I must say that it is difficult trying to figure out what to eat for breakfast, because Italians by and large have espresso and a cookie or brioche for breakfast.  Sometimes a brioche with gelato for breakfast.
Breakfast: Brioche with Gelato
I'm not complaining, mind you.  I mean, isn't having cookies, pastry and ice cream for breakfast every kid's dream?  I'm just wondering how they can eat this every day and not gain 500 pounds.  My breakfast options are running thin.  I usually eat yogurt, but that can get bland and boring.  And since we can only go to the store for groceries once a week, the fruit doesn't last for very many days.  I am going to have to get creative.

Thunderstorms and Fair-Weathered Friends
Everyone keeps insisting that summer is on its way, but lately we have been having some pretty stormy weather.  Wind, rain, overcast.  Last night, a thunderstorm woke me up a few times.  Even though our blinds were closed, the room kept lighting up because of the lightning.  Apparently, this is not an uncommon occurrence - Sardegna has lots of thunderstorms.
Check out this 3 minute video of a Cagliari Thunderstorm:
The problem with rainy weather is that it seems to make everyone a bit gloomy.  They love the sun so much and live their lives on the beach that when the weather turns wet and dark, it dampens their moods.  They are much quieter on the buses (and there are more of them because no one wants to walk in the rain).  But despite all of that, my companions and I have seen some awesome miracles.

We have two investigators who are progressing well!  Both are reading the Book of Mormon, praying and have attended Church.  We are so excited.  With one investigator in particular, we have been seeing countless miracles.  Others would call them coincidences, but we call them signs, miracles - evidence of God's love for her and her family.  As her story progresses and I get her permission to share it with the masses, we will include it in the blog.

Service is the Key
In companionship study we have been discussing the story of Ammon (from the Book of Mormon) and how service-minded he was as a missionary.  He was looking for opportunities to serve first, and then used those opportunities to teach.  This is something that really struck us because here in Italy, people don't want to be preached to, they don't want sermons, but if ways can be found to help them, to make friends with them and show them you care, they open up and become your best friend.  For instance - yesterday I handed out a flier to a girl who was sitting next to me on the bus; a flier advertising the free English class we teach.  I hardly got the sentence out about the free course, when she bursts out (in Italian), "O perfect, I've been looking for one! I study languages!"  Turns out she has been trying to teach herself English by watching TV.  Her English isn't too bad (the pronunciation was a little off), but she also knows Spanish, Japanese, German, and a little of a few others.  Anyway, we got to talking and I found that the elders knocked on her door just the other day, but she said no and closed the door on them.  Now she's coming to our english course where we give a spiritual thought every week!  Service opens doors that simply could not be opened in any other way.

Funny Experience of the Week
My companions and I were doing casa (tracting/knocking doors) last Saturday.  After escaping being cornered by a flirtatious older man, we ran into a professional soccer player who accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon and said he'd read it (awesome!).  We arrived at another building to revisit a woman who had asked for us to stop by some time.  We found the right apartment, knocked, and a 16 year-old young man cracked open the door.  When he saw us, he smiled, flung the door wide open and boldly stepped out into the open - only he was in his underwear (not boxers).  I think he forgot he was only in his underwear, because he suddenly got this look of horror on his face.  When Sorella Cojan saw that Sorella O'Connor and I could hardly contain our laughter, she politely told him we were expecting his mom, and that we would come back another time.  We laughed all the way home.  You don't have experiences like that anywhere else than on a mission.  Oh Italy - never change!

Sorella Ashley Nef

Monday, May 20, 2013

Never Underestimate Any New Convert

Just had my first rainy day in Cagliari. So far it has been sunny and breezy (or downright windy).

Sardegna History
Went to a museum on our day off and learned a bit of local history. Sardinian history is a kaleidoscope of cultures. The island has passed through everyone's hands: Phoenecians, Carthaginians, Romans, North Africans, Spaniards, etc.  The island is one of the most geologically ancient bodies of land in Europe. Unlike Sicily and Italy's mainland, Sardegna is not earthquake prone! Its rocks date from the Palaeozoic Era (up to 500 million years old). In fact, the oldest building structure in Italy is found on Sardegna: Monte d'Accoddi, an ancient open-air temple dating back to 2700BC. Remnants of other ancient structures dot the island. These buildings, called Nuraghe, sometimes built a few stories high, were made completely of stacked stone - no cement or mortar - and date back to around 1800-1200BC. It's fascinating!
Monte d'Accoddi, oldest structure in Italy, built 2700BC
Ancient Structure: Nuraghe, built 1600BC

One of the distinguishing features in Cagliari is the Bastione di Saint Remy, located in the Castello district. Most of the district is medieval in origin, but the Bastione dates to the 19th century.  It was built to join two of the four districts in Cagliari. The promenade of the bastione has been converted into a cultural space and now houses art exhibitions.
Bastione di Saint Remy
View from the Bastione
Arch of Bastione di Saint Remy

Fun Thing 
Cagliari has flamingos! Who knew? Thousands of flamingos congregate in ponds around the city. They call them "sa genti arrubia," the red people. Most of the plant life is the same as at home, just more flowers everywhere, but they also have cactus, reminiscent of the States' southwest. Cactus and flamingos. Hm.
Flamingos at Marina Terraghi
Cactus on Cagliari
Never Underestimate Any New Convert
District Conference on Sunday was wonderful. Visiting Priesthood leadership from Italy came to share their inspiring conversion stories. Basically, every member of the Church here is a convert, so everyone has their own story. The first counselor to the Mission President, President Sanna, joined the Church years ago after attending an English course offered by the missionaries. He ended up serving a mission. Most converts to the Church, I am learning, were found by knocking doors or through teaching the English course.

The former Stake President of the Rome Stake, Massimo da Feo, is now in the Quorum of Seventy! He joined the Church with his brother when they were 9 and 11 years old. They were the only ones in their family to convert; true pioneers! Now he is a General Authority. What a great man.

The Patriarch in Italy, Michele Calabrese, has another interesting story. His wife converted after basically one meeting with the missionaries, but he wanted nothing to do with it, and refused to let her get baptized.  This went on for a while. Then one day he was walking down the street and passed by some missionaries. He felt such a great spirit that he had to go back and talk to them. And now he is the Patriarch in Rome. Booyah!  

The Work
The work has been slow lately. After filling our schedules with teaching appointments, we've had an overwhelming amount of cancellations. When this happens, we resort to doing "casa," knocking doors. However, we handed out a copy of the Book of Mormon to our favorite pizza guys in our neighborhood family-run trattoria. They rock!

After District Conference, the District President, President Angius, spoke with us about his concern over the less-actives. He wants to reactivate them with our help and asked for us to make a goal for how many we could bring back to Church in all of Sardegna. We put forward the number 200. Worked out per companionship: that's about 30 people per, 6 people/week. So far, our week has been a little weak on that front. Unsure what to do. Our ward mission leader, Fratello Locci (the salt of the earth, he and his family!), says that he will work with us on coordinating member help. Preach My Gospel Handbook talks about serving people, which is something we would LOVE to do, but Italians are pretty private about their own needs and issues. So, we will have to really counsel with the Lord on that one.

Regardless of the pace, the work does go forward. If nothing else, we are planting seeds and doing our best to be positive representatives for the Lord.
In front of the Rome Temple Construction Site
Took this picture in Rome before I was assigned to Cagliari. I'm standing in front of the construction site of the Rome Temple.  

This is the goal. This is what we are preparing individuals and families for: To be able to enter the House of the Lord and receive the highest blessings He can bestow.

Seeking out the less-actives is a challenge that will be worth all of the time, effort, and creativity we can muster, because if it leads to one future Stake President, one future Patriarch, a future Ward Mission Leader, Relief Society President, or General Authority, then all the saints are blessed.  If it leads to one eternal family then generations are blessed.

Benediziones Tutto,
Sorella Ashley Nef

Friday, May 10, 2013

Cagliari at First Sight

Apparently, our mission P-day (preparation day, ie: day off) is different from other missions who have it on Mondays.  Our P-day is on Wednesdays, so post renewals will be at the latter end of the week.
Fun Fact:
The Rome Mission Home (from which the president and his wife live and run the mission) is the largest mission home in the world.  It was built by Mussolini, of all people, in 1924 for his niece. Super beautiful.  Sister Kelly, the mission president's wife, had me plant some flowers out in front, so I've left my mark on the place!
Rome Mission Home, since 1970
Built in 1924
My trainer, Sorella Cojan (from Etienne, France - near Lyon) is going home at the end of this transfer - a 'dying missionary' they call it.  I assume I will stay with Sorella O'Connor thereafter to finish my training.  At least I hope so; we get along well and make a great team.

Cagliari (pronounced CAL-yuh-ree) is the southernmost city and the capital of Sardinia.  It is gorgeous, full of sights, sounds, and smells I don't think I would ever have imagined putting together.
Climate: like home.  Temperate, sunny, a bit breezy.  But the weather can change FAST.  Don't know too much about the island's history yet, but the people are definitely Sards first, and Italians second. There's even a sard language (of which I only know 'Eya' - yes, and 'Ayo' - let's go).

The flag is a white banner emblazoned with a red cross, and 4 black princes in white bandannas.  From what other missionaries tell me, the people's italian here is slow and clear compared to elsewhere in Italy, but of course I still can't understand half of what anyone is saying.  But everyone is quick to smile if you say hello to them.  I must be about a foot taller than everyone here - the Sards are short - or maybe I'm just ridiculously tall.

The typical reaction of an Italian to a person from California is "Ah California! Che bellissima!" Apparently Italians want to go to California about as much, if not more, as Californians want to go to Italy!  Lots of immigrants: Romanians, Nigerians, Chinese, Americans, French, Argentineans, Brazilians, Germans, etc.  There's a copy of the Book of Mormon in about 40 languages on our apartment bookshelf.  Incidentally, our apartment is also one of the largest ones in the mission - I'm just spoiled any way you look at it!

Can I just add - Italian driving is crazy?  Every street has double parking going on.  There's no sense of rules or reason to road conduct at all.  In fact, in my first week alone, I saw three cars (on different occasions) reverse the entire length of a street.  Also, cars frequently honk at women on the street, especially by the older men (my mom told me to expect that).

The city itself is just marvelous!  Modern shops in dilapidated buildings.  An exquisite collision of old and new: modern society meeting rustic history.  Fantastic.
Modern Caffe Nestled in Antiquity
Downtown Cagliari
Charming Cagliari Street
Historic Cagliari Cityscape
Everything is so beautiful and charming. Apartments with hanging gardens, iron lions on wooden doors, multicolored streets revealing a collage of historical periods, narrow winding alleys that seem to barely break through the rows of buildings.

Graffiti or Art?
Graffiti everywhere, but different from the graffiti in the states.  I mean, there is still the typical tagging of crude things, but there are also drawings/paintings that almost blur the line between graffiti and art murals.  And then there are interesting thoughts on some - almost like poetry.

                                                     Check these out:

Two guys still working on this fence

The size of most graffiti works are huge - covering walls along the streets or the
full sides of buildings. To appreciate size, notice (top right) the arrow street sign in front.


Notice (right) the person on the sidewalk and the car parked on the curb, giving perspective
to the scale of this art piece.  Seems artisans of both past and present have made Cagliari their canvas.  It's fascinating.

Cool Graffiti Tree

Translation: "The moon is always behind the gray of the cities."

Cagliari's Branch (congregation) is small.
There were about 50 people in church on Sunday. We actually have a church building to meet in, one of the few in the mission from what I've heard. There are 5 missionaries in Cagliari (my companionship and a set of Elders). Six more missionaries cover the rest of Sardinia, making a total of only 11 of us in our zone.

Haven't had many opportunities to teach because when I arrived, we were starting from scratch - no investigators.  We found one man in the english course we teach on Wednesdays and Thursdays that is showing some interest in the gospel.  There was a ward activity on Friday where I bore testimony to one woman who seemed really touched.  My companion gave her a pass along card - hopefully something comes of it.  There have been several miracles - people who turn up on the bus or in the street that my companions have been looking for, but couldn't find, random successes with the area book list of contacts, people from long ago turning up out of the blue.  I've had a couple lessons since arriving here, and all of them have gone relatively well so far.

On Sunday, we met with a few students in one girl's home.  They were doing a project on the Mormon religion and wanted information from us.  We were happy to help.  My trainer delegated who would speak about what as the questions came and I ended up talking about Joseph Smith, the Plan of Salvation, and the Word of Wisdom.  I didn't feel like I did a very good job altogether, but when I was telling the story of Joseph Smith's First Vision, the Spirit was super strong. I remember the room going absolutely silent, and everyone was riveted (even the parents who had been in and out of the room came and sat down to listen, and then stayed the rest of the time).  There was a point in the lesson when their questions switched from questions for their class to personal questions and insights.  We left them several pamphlets: Finding Faith in Christ, the Restoration, and a copy of the Book of Mormon (which the dad started thumbing through).  We also told them to give our information to anyone who showed interest.  It was a great experience, and the member student who had come to the discussion with us (a classmate of the other students) - she was so excited; she told us she wants to serve a mission in a few years (she is the only active member of her family).  Apparently, these students chose to do a report on the Mormon religion because of this girl's faith.  They wanted to learn more because of her great example.  You never know who's watching.  People watch our actions more than they listen to our words. Exceptional examples are quite possibly the best missionary tool that anyone could have.

So, there you have it: the first sights and impressions of lovely Cagliari, though my painting this brief picture for you doesn't come close to the experience of being here. Yet, having a beautiful message to share with these warm people makes the adventure all the more enchanting.

Ciao for Now!
Sorella Ashley Nef

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Last Week in MTC and Buongiorno Italy

April 25, 2013
Buongiorno Everyone!

I'm on my last week in the Missionary Training Center in Provo, which means I am leaving in less than a week to go into the wide field of the Rome Italy Mission.  I leave for Rome on Tuesday, April 31st, going by way of Chicago, and then London into Italy.  Life in the MTC is great, but I am very very excited to finally be reaching my destination.  Being here is an interesting experience at the present time because of just how many missionaries they are cramming into this place.  The normal capacity of the MTC is around 3,000 and we are pushing something along the lines of 6,000 or more (with still many more to come).  You can tell!  Trying to get a meal in the cafeteria is like fighting in a war!

One of the overwhelming things (in a good way) is the great increase in the number of sister missionaries.  There are hundreds of pictures lining the walls of the buildings here, and looking at pictures of the MTC from not too long ago, you can see far fewer sisters than there are now being trained here.  The Relief Society meeting on Sunday used to be just a hundred sisters or so - now we are in the thousands.
My wonderful MTC District
Sisters in my MTC Zone
Some more fun facts about the change in number of missionaries doing the Lord's work in Italy: the Italian districts used to be only about 4-6 people in size, and there would only be a couple of districts (making the total number of missionaries a couple dozen altogether).  In my zone alone, there are 5 districts composed of 10 or more missionaries/district (52 missionaries all told - almost double what it used to be).  We are the second Italian zone of this size and 5 more follow us, ranging in size from 40-60 missionaries per group.  And these are only the Italian missions - there are hundreds more going to Russia, Brazil, Mexico, the States, Canada, Germany, Argentina, France, Japan, the Philippines and just about everywhere else you can imagine.  And yet for all this, I can't help but feel that the Lord needs still more laborers in the vineyard - missionaries and members alike.  There is so much to do, and so many lives to bless!

I couldn't be more excited to be going to Italy and teaching the great message of this gospel. The Lord's love is powerful, and His spirit is strong.  There is so much good to bring to the world, and I feel blessed to be a part of this effort.  I know that Christ atoned for each of us, meaning He stepped forward and fought our battles for us so that sin, heartache, pain and misery would all be defeated.  We have the opportunity to experience the overwhelming goodness and light of God in our lives if we will but turn to Him and follow His words.  Christ lives and loves, and there isn't a better message to tell people than that.

I hope you are all well, and I thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

Sorella Ashley Nef
(Sorella is Italian for Sister)

May 2, 2013
Buongiorno Everyone!

After a few plane flights via Chicago and London (and being sick as a dog with motion sickness and jet lag - blugh!), I finally arrived in Rome May 1st and met my Mission President and his lovely wife (being sick doesn't prove for a favorable first impression - oh well).  They will end their mission in a month or so and a new Mission President will enter the field come June/July.
President and Sister Kelly

My first area is Cagliari, the capital city, on the very southernmost part of the Province of Sardegna (Sardinia). 

My trainer is French, Sister Cojan (editor's note: Ashley is fluent in both French and Italian, so she will be able to speak both languages with her new companion).  My companionship is made up of three, so along with Sister Cojan, I will be with Sister O'Connor, the sister of one of the girls in my MTC District!  Sardegna is a 45 minute plane ride from the mainland. The large city of  Cagliari, nestled in its own gulf, is like a beautiful beach resort.  Everything is so picturesque - but what else would you expect.  Raining currently - so beautiful.  Birds chirping (uccelli in Italian - pronounced oo-chell-ee).  I look forward to the work.

Hey, if anyone wants to drop me a note, here is the mission office address:
Sister Ashley Nef
Italy Rome Mission
00141 Rome RM
Ciao for Now!
Sorella Ashley Nef