Saturday, July 6, 2013

Looking for Diamonds in Carbonia

We took a nice trip to a town called Carbonia to visit ex-simpatizzanti (investigators) and less actives.  Carbonia is the western most suburb in Cagliari, about an hour's train ride.
Carbonia, western most suburb of Cagliari
photo by canpao
Carbonia is a relatively young city that was established in 1938 by Mussolini for the specific purpose of creating a booming community for the miners.  In fact, the name Carbonia refers to the Italian word for carbon or coal, which was abundant in this region, making it one of the main mining centers of Sardegna.  Since the mine's closing in the 1970s, however, the area went from thriving city to sleepy coastal town.  Reminds me a little of some towns along California's coast between Santa Cruz and Monterey (though not quite as pretty).  Just small and quaint.  Tranquillo as they say in Italian.
Roma Square
Main Piazza in Carbonia
Carbonia residential street

We arrived around 5pm, reviewed a map to see where our intended visits lived, and of course, they were clear across town.  So, Sorella O and I start walking and walking and walking.  Everything is spread out and it takes forever to get anywhere.  We eventually arrived at our first location, and no one was home, nor were the next few.  But on our way back, we ran into two cute ladies who were taking a break from yard work and chit-chatting over the fence.  We stopped to ask them directions and got to talking about the Church.  They seemed more curious than interested, but we left them with a prayer, and they left us with some plums.  Sorella O and I found a park to sit down and enjoy the fruit while we waited for the elders to pick us up in their car for a dinner appointment with a member in town.  As we sat, we couldn't help but make fun of ourselves on how difficult life was at that moment (Gosh, so hard to be in Italy where the weather is gorgeous.  So hard to see appointments fall through only to have a lesson fall into our laps, then be given fresh produce - which was very delicious.  Life can be so hard). ;)  And, that was the noteworthy thing last week.  Mostly, it was nice having a change of scenery.

President Sanna Rocks and We're Ready to Roll
SUNDAY WAS THE BEST.  First, back up the story.  On our way home from an appointment on Saturday, excuse me for saying, but I had to use the restroom.  Since there are no public restrooms whatsoever in Italy (weird, huh!), we dropped by my favorite family, the Sannas.  They remind me of my family - Sister Sanna is just like my Mom, President Sanna is just like my Dad, except short.  They, very kindly, let us in AND gave us gelato.  Yes!  We got to talking, and Sorella O brought up The Work of Salvation broadcast from Salt Lake that aired June 23rd (that we did not get to see or hear about from anyone in our mission).  President Sanna (counselor to the mission president) said that the Italian re-broadcast was going to be on Sunday, June 30th. We asked if he thought we could come to see it.  "Sorellas, dovete venire!" Sisters, you HAVE TO come! he says.  Sorella O and I partied with this news.  Though we wonder once again why we are the last to learn of this.  I think our zone leader was supposed to tell us, because when we called him to say that missionaries were invited to the broadcast, he was like, "Yeah I know."  Oh, okay, elders.  Thanks for the heads-up.  19 year olds, Honestly.

The Work of Salvation: Operation Excavation
When it came time for the broadcast Sunday evening, President Sanna had set up two viewing areas: one in English for us missionaries (the 2 elders, and me and my comp) so we would get the most out of it, and one in Italian for the local leaders.  The broadcast was magnificent.  I loved the power of the apostles' words.  Such a spiritual recharge.  
From The Work of Salvation Broadcast
Ward councils working in tandem with missionaries
Click to view Broadcast:

Noteworthy Gems
     •  Moving the Church forward in this digital age, missionaries will use computers and the internet in
         their service.  Computers will help missionaries contact, work with local priesthood leaders, give
         and receive referrals, confirm appointments, receive and answer gospel questions, and reference
         Church sites.
     •  Door-to-door tracting will be replaced with more effective finding methods: computer interaction.       
     •  They mentioned Facebook pages for missionaries (Church headquarters will contact each mission
         letting them know when it is time to begin this new program).
     •  Mission Presidents will monitor computer use to keep missionaries safe.
     •  Church buildings will be open during the day for tours and teaching by the missionaries.
     •  Stronger emphasis on ward members and ward councils working with missionaries.
     •  New Church website: Hastening the Work of Salvation
        Website gives ward members and ward councils ideas for helping missionaries.

The broadcast was great.  After the talks, testimonies, and personal experiences, we 4 Cagliari missionaries were ready to take on the world!

Knocking Doors Doesn't Pan Out
And then Monday happened.  Monday was the prime example of everything the Apostles talked about in the broadcast - how finding people needs an update.  Sorella O and I planned to find some less actives and see if we could meet with them in the morning.  Stopping by all of them took a total of 30 minutes.  We proceeded with street contacting and publicity for English Course, handing out every one of our fliers in just over half an hour.  No one paid us the time of day.  Since we were in the city center, we tried to do bus giros.  NIENTE.  After lunch, we decided to locate a few ex-simpatizzanti we had selected beforehand.  Nothing.  And guess what - we still had millions of hours left to fill.  We then resorted to doing casa (knocking doors).  We found only one person mildly interested, but he was a man home alone, so we couldn't actually enter and teach a lesson!  We asked if we could pass by another time and he said that his wife would not be happy to have missionaries around.  Gah!  We still managed to share a little something inspiring and have a prayer with him.

Missionaries are servants of the Lord to carry out
the missionary work of the members
So Monday was frustrating.  But the events of Monday are not uncommon.  Missionaries run themselves silly doing what we can, and we are extremely limited in how far we can reach and who we can affect.  This is why we need member help.  One of my fav things the apostles said in the broadcast is that the full time missionaries are the servants of the Lord to carry out the missionary work of the members.  We should be following their lead.  They find.  We teach.  A tandem effort is so much more productive.  Before, I thought the idea of member help was a good suggestion.  Now from experience, I can say that it is so much more than that.  Member help is a necessity.

Italians Love America
In English Course, we've been prepping for the 4th of July by talking about American pass-times, foods, and traditions.  They've never heard of apple pie, so to celebrate the 4th, we are making some for the students to enjoy.  Last week we talked about baseball and ended up singing to them Take Me Out to the Ball Game.  They loved it, but I don't think they believed us when we said that every American knows that song.

 Sards are funny when it comes to
 America, though.  I think they
 forget how big the United States is.
 I tell them California is the same
 size as Italy, and they don't believe
 me.  Actually, California isn't the
 same's bigger: 1.41 times as
 big as Italy, to be exact.

I am happy to report that they LOVE America here.  Everyone owns a pair of Nikes and something with the American flag on it: purse, phone case, shirt, anything with the stars and stripes.

American TV shows are very popular here.  They love love the Simpsons. In fact, everyone and their dog has (of all things) a Duff Beer t-shirt.  No joke.  I've not even seen the shirt back at home, yet it has somehow found its way into the wardrobe of the majority of the population, even ward members.  Hahaha.
Seldom do you pass a store that does not have merchandise with Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, or Audrey Hepburn.
Two drinks dominate the market:  Ichnusa (a Sard beer.  Ichnusa is the Sard name for Sardegna), and Coca Cola.
They love brownies. Elders from Oristano in our district suggested we take a plate with us on door approaches to bribe our way in.  Could work.  I'll let you know.
Seems to be the ultimate dream of most to go to America.
It's charming.
Italian store window w/Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe

A wardrobe must in Sardegna?

Changing of the Guard

Zone Conference is on Friday (July 5th) with our NEW MISSION PRESIDENT!  WELCOME PRESIDENT WADDOUPS (pronounced Wah-dups).  I will formally introduce him in the next post.  Sardegna is first in the line-up of Zone Conference gigs.  Very excited to hear what all he says about integrating the Brethren's ideas in the Hastening of the Work.

The Stone Cut from the Mountain without Hands
When you think about it, the Church is one large family scattered across the earth.  There are 58 new missions this year.  405 missions total in the world right now.  The Lord is fulfilling His promise that His gospel will be as the stone cut from the mountain without hands that would roll forth and fill the whole earth (Daniel 2:31-45; D&C 65:2).
The keys of the kingdom of God
are committed unto man on the earth,
and from thence shall the gospel roll forth
unto the ends of the earth,
as the stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands
shall roll forth,
until it has filled the whole earth.
D&C 65:2

In the broadcast, when they gave the number of 70,274 missionaries currently serving (50% more than ever before), I thought to myself that us four missionaries sitting in the room were the last 4 on that large number.  What a blessing to be called and counted in that grand total.  So great.  An amazing miracle is taking place before our eyes and I am thrilled to be a part of it.  Here's to members and missionaries, alike, stepping up to survey, mine, and quarry deep.

Uno dei Quattro,
Sorella Ashley Nef

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