Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Day in the Life

Gooood Mooooorning Cagliari!
Sunrise in Cagliari
"We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark;
the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the Light."
- Plato

Our Daily Missionary Work Schedule
6:30am  -  Up and At 'Em!  Exercise Time
     I actually get up at 6:20am to prep myself for exercise.  My companion and I run around the block to
     get our blood pumping.  Then we come back for some ab-work and stretching.
7:00am  -  Prepare for the Day and Breakfast
8:00am  -  Personal Study 
     I read at least half an hour in the Book of Mormon.  Lately, I'm in the war chapters.  Captain Moroni
     is the BEST!  Then I study a little from Preach My Gospel Manual.
9:00am  -  Companionship Study
     We sing a song (in Italian), pray, recite a daily scripture, state our purpose, state a bullet point from
     "How to Begin Teaching" (Preach My Gospel, chapter 10), then read 3 pages of the Missionary
     Handbook, discuss our studies, and then plan our teaching for the day.
10:00am  -  Out we Go!
     Finding and appointments etc.
1:00pm - 4:00pm  Pranzo
     Every day all of Italy closes down for pausa pranzo ("lunch break").  Spanish countries call it siesta.
     You cannot do ANYTHING during this time, so...we head on back to our apartment.
1:00pm  -  Return to casa for Lunch
     We are trying to eat more veggies and protein and less pasta.  Discovered the local market - the fruit
     is AMAZING.
2:00pm  -  Language Study
3:00pm  -  Training Time
     We do not do this Sundays (because of Church), or Fridays (because of weekly planning).
4:00pm  -  Out we Go Again!
     This can be difficult because it is hot and we are tired.
9:00pm  -  All the way home again for planning.
10:00pm  -  Bedtime

"Inspiration exists, but it must find you working."
- Pablo Picasso
District Meeting with Fratello Caravagna
picture a few weeks old
District Meeting every Monday morning.  It takes all morning.  Last Monday afternoon was taken by Sorella O's integration class she needed to get her permesso to stay here.  I will have to do this in September.  It was the most boring 5 hours of my life: 5 videos of 2 English speakers reading a terribly written script about the laws of Italy.  "Article 17.4 - the laws behind obtaining a permit to work in Italy.  Article 17.5 - the laws behind tax returns in Italy.  Article 17.6 - how to file a tax return"
and so on and so on and so on... Did I mention this was 5 hours long?  Sigh.

Wide open for teaching.  We usually schedule lots of appointments on Tuesdays.  Tuesday was the best day this week.  We had a member lesson in the morning, then did some less active search in Selargius (nothing came of it).  In the afternoon, we tried another less active in downtown Cagliari (near the port; beautiful part of town!).  Previously, we had tried her a million times with no luck, but we gave it another shot, and she was home.  She invited us in, her non-member sister was there, and we had a very nice chat.  She told us of the troubles she's been facing, and we did what we could to comfort her.  I shared a scripture:                 "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. 
I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; 
and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; 
for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, 
then will I make weak things become strong unto them."  - Ether 12:27
If we draw close to the Lord, He can help us turn any weakness into strength.  She took that as good counsel.  Her sister had a couple of questions about the Church, which we were happy to answer.  She said she would like to return to Church, but what has kept her away is the fear of being judged.  "The members won't judge you," her sister jumped in, "they are good people.  And if they do...who cares!"  We assured her that everyone would be welcoming.  In the end, she committed herself to come.  I hope she does!

Then we headed to Sebastiano, our miracle investigator who we saw for the first time in forever last week.  Turns out, he's read a lot of the Book of Mormon and has thought of some questions. We answered them as best we could and then explained more of what our purpose is as missionaries.  Then we started dropping commitment invitations: will you read the Book of Mormon and pray to know its truthfulness?  Will you come to Church?  When you come to know this is true, will you be baptized?  All of which he answered "Yes, yes, yes!"  Wow.  We were a little surprised, but very excited at his faithful willingness.  He had questions on baptism, so I referred him to read 2 Nephi chapter 31 and said we could talk more about it next time.

Tuesdays are swiftly becoming our miracle days!  I love it.  I hope they continue, and I hope we can make good use of them and what comes of them.

P-Day (preparation day, or day off).  We still have personal and companion study, then we go see something cool in the city, do grocery shopping, laundry, internet time (letter reading and writing), and then get gelato.  But it ends at 6pm, at which time we head back to the Church for English Course, then we head to our pizza place where we order something delicious and learn some new Sard words.  Immoi is "now" and asibirri (Ah-zee-beer-ee) is the Sard equivalent of "arrivederci".  Then home for study.  Not much time for relaxing on p-day.

English Course in the evening!  We usually can get a couple of gospel-teaching appointments scheduled during the day.

Weekly planning in the morning.  Last week we met the family of a less-active member.  The member wasn't there, but the family invited us in.  Apparently, they are still in contact with the sister missionary who taught their son.  They spoke very fondly of her, sharing a little of what was going on in her life.  They were very kind, and seemed to enjoy having us there.  How important to keep in contact with people!  They probably wouldn't have let us in if it wasn't for the friendship of Sorella King who used to meet with this family.  We shared a spiritual thought and concluded with prayer.  Hope to return.

By this point in the week, we usually have gone through everyone scheduled, and so we do some epic
Quartu Sant'Elena, suburb of Cagliari
finding on Saturdays.  Somehow, we always manage to end up in Quarto Sant'Elena (eastern most suburb of Cagliari).  It's lovely, and my favorite gelato place is here.  The downside is that it smells like sewers and smoke a lot of the time.  The gulf of Quarto Sant'Elena is one of two places where flamingos gather by the thousands.  The other is the South of France.
Narrow streets and
zipping cars -
Pedestrians take caution!
Charming shopping strip

The roads are very narrow,
so the space allotted for pedestrians is a sidewalk that
is about as wide as your head,
and you run the risk of being
hit by cars a lot of the time.
Sorella O and I walked around Quartu last week.  It was a very very long day, and we found ourselves worn out by day's end.

Church in the morning.  Back home for lunch.  Language study.  We go out by 3:30pm for more finding.  Return at 9:00pm for study.

Last Sunday evening we had our first Mostra (exhibition/display), where we took signs and literature to a popular piazza near the port to advertise for the Church.  Basically, the minute we arrived, everyone avoided the piazza and treated us like we had the plague, but we sallied forth anyway and tried to talk to a few people.  I met some very nice elderly people who were kind enough to listen to me talk to them, but not much else came of it.  At one point, we were approached by some young Jehovah's Witnesses who looked like they were prepping to lay into us (which has happened in the past), but we ended up having a pleasant 5-10 minute discussion about our beliefs, and the 3 of them ended up being quite interested and took copies of the Book of Mormon.  They were very cool and open minded.  Their dad, however, objected and about 30 minutes later they returned to give back the copies of the Book of Mormon, saying they would never read them.  They seemed genuinely bummed.  But the youngest leaned in and asked if he could keep a pamphlet on the Restoration.  This entire evening could possibly have been for him.  We'll see.

There you Have It
A day-by-day blow of the day in the life of a sister missionary in Italy.  Obedience is key to receiving the guidance of the Spirit.  Every day is a blessing, every meeting an opportunity, every teaching moment a chance to share the Light of Christ that we hope others will embrace.
Sunset in Cagliari
Lord, we ask thee ere we part, Bless the teachings of this day.
Plant them deep in every heart, that with [them] they'll ever stay.

In the innocence of youth, We would all thy laws fulfill.
Lead us in the way of truth. Give us strength to do thy will.

Father, merciful and kind, While we labor for the right,
May we in thy service find sweetest pleasure, pure delight.
Hymn #153

Buona Notte e Asibirri!
Sorella Ashley Nef

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