Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Recipe for Success

Sorella Rost,  Sorella Caramia,  Sorella Marquis,  Me

Meet the Mix of Cagliari Sisters
My Companion, Sorella Rost (from Valencia, California) is a ray of perpetual sunshine and is really good at approaching people.  Hopefully I can pick up some of her easiness in starting up conversations.

Sorella Caramia (from the coastal town of Rimini, Italy - which is between Milan and Firenze) has served 13 months of her mission, all in Rome, which she loved.  Her last companion was Sorella Omer, a sister with mental handicap.  Sorella Caramia absolutely loooooved her companion and talks about her all the time with such love, but then again, Sorella C is full of love for everybody.  Additional qualities already apparent: she has great wisdom, a gift for reading people, and some of the culinary skills of her professional chef father have rubbed off onto her because she is also a terrific cook.

And finally, Sorella Marquis (from Utah) is kind of quiet, but that's understandable since she is a brand-new greeny suffering from jet lag and getting used to Italian culture, missionary work, the city, and three new roomies.

Cooking Up a Plan
They all arrived without problem last Thursday (the 5th), and we went about getting things in order in the house.  Sorella Marquis was still in the throws of jet lag, so while she rested, the rest of us talked.  Sorella C had served as the Sister Training Leader in Rome and told us all about Rome, the missionaries she has served with, and about working with the Mission President.  In coming to Sardegna, he told her that the big focus, even before investigators, should be working with less actives.  It is a huge problem here: 400 less actives on the island, which is a lot for 4 branches.  So targeting the less-actives is going to be the aim of this transfer (the next 6 weeks).  We will be meeting with the Branch President on the 12th to cook up a plan amongst the 8 missionaries here in Cagliari for the Rescue, as President Monson calls it.

An Appetite for the Work
As wonderful as it was serving as the Sister Training Leader, Sorella C found her last area quite stressful (she lost 10 pounds in two months).  But now that she is here, she is blissfully happy. "You sisters are so great," she keeps saying, "I have never seen sisters work so peacefully together!"  We haven't even done anything special.  But now that she is stress-free, her very large appetite has miraculously re-surfaced.  This has made a bit of a problem for me.

Ok, so up to now I have been pretty good with my diet.  I eat fruit for breakfast, get in a veggy every day at pronzo, along with maybe some meat, and then I might eat a small something when I get home in the evening.  But then Sorella C sails to Sardegna with her resurrected appetite and vast knowledge of how to make a million different delicious pasta sauces, and I find myself in HUGE trouble.

Every day for pronzo since her arrival, Sorella C has made a pound of pasta to divide amongst the 4 of us, along with some terrific sauce.  This would be fine if this were it, but it doesn't stop there.  No. We come home at night and she makes another full meal - a big piece of meat with veggies or potatoes.  All so delicious!  And, of course, I must taste it all, but, dang it, I don't want to become a marshmallow!  And yet, for all of this, Sorella C is constantly saying, "Ho fame! Cosa mangiamo stasera?" (I'm hungry! What are we eating tonight?)  All.  The.  Time.  It's so funny!  We poke fun of her for it.  And yet she is thin as a twig.  I think coming down from stress hill has been great for her, not so great for the rest of us.  At least not for me.  Pasta is one of my faves.  So I am making goals to slow waaaaaay down on the pasta.  Eat smaller portions.  But on the plus side (not plus size), I am learning a lot about Italian cooking!

Recipe for Basic Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce
For instance, here is a basic recipe she has made for a tomato basil pasta sauce:
photo: freerecipehub.blogspot

1.  Dice large tomatoes into 2" pieces. (Round are best. They're juicier.  But Roma tomatoes still work, you just need a few more of them).  Good rule of thumb is one large tomato per person.
2.  Put chopped tomatoes in large pan with some olive oil, and turn on the heat.
3.  Add chopped onion, garlic (optional), fresh basil (if you don't have fresh - dried will work), salt to taste.
4.  Simmer on med/high for a while.  As it cooks, smash tomatoes to break down pieces and let out juices.  Add a bit of water to keep tomatoes from sticking to the pan.  Simmer.
5.  Pour over fresh cooked pasta and top with parmigiano and chopped basil.  Buono!

Optional:  Add a tiny bit of sugar to make things more interesting.  Add paprika to give it a little spice.  But that's really all it takes.  One thing I have learned about Italian cooking in Italy: No dish is super complicated.  Italians use the fewest ingredients possible, and the process itself is fairly simple.

Maria Rita and Giuseppina
I'm a little concerned.  Maria Rita has been coming less to Church.  During our lesson, Giuseppina asked, "So, if I've already been baptized in the Catholic church, why do I need to be baptized again?" Looks like it's time for the Restoration lesson again!  Hopefully this time it'll make more sense.  I think I will put added emphasis on prophets and authority.  I want so much for them to receive the blessings of the gospel.

Here Comes the Bride
Marriage of Martina Sanna
Saturday was the wedding of Martina Sanna, President Sanna's daughter.  Marriages are a little different in Europe.  Apparently there is some sort of law that makes it so everyone must be married civilly before they can be married in the Temple.  And because it has to do with the law, they don't have to wait a year to go to the Temple.

It was fun to go to an Italian wedding.  They feed you lots, throw rice, and then the wedding party goes off to another grand feast at a restaurant.  Apparently, the Sanna's wedding party stayed up until 2:00 in the morning.  This, I am told, is typical of weddings in southern Italy.  Sometimes, they will even stay up all night celebrating.

Another fun fact: At weddings, everyone comes in their own car to the wedding, files behind the wedding car, and in one large procession, they wail on their horns the ENTIRE WAY to and from the Church.  There are some variations on this tradition.  A few weeks back, we saw a wedding couple arrive to the church with the wedding party in a giant bus which was wailing on the horn the whole way.  It's great!  You can hear it coming from 1/2 a city away.

When Life Gives You Baking Powder, Make Pancakes
I tried to make ricotta rolls using lievito, but mistook the varieties of lievito and used lievito perdolci (baking powder) instead of lievito di birra (yeast).  So we didn't end up having ricotta rolls, but did have some very nice ricotta pancakes.  Delicious!

New Blend of Instructions for English Course
Last Zone Conference, they announced a new English Course Program designed by the Church.
Zone Conference
They tested the new English Course curriculum out in America to see how it helped immigrants adjust.  It was a success!  Now we are the first mission outside of the United States to implement it.  Last week we had our first official English Course lesson with this new program.  In my group we have Rita and Sara (our mother/daughter investigators!), as well as several others.  I concluded the lesson with a spiritual thought that included this verse.
For God so loved the world,
that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in Him
should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world;
but that the world through Him
might be saved.
John 3:16-17

Recipe for Success:  Believe and Receive
I bore testimony on God's love and the Atonement.  The Spirit was super strong.  This verse of scripture outlines a recipe for eternal life.  Believe.  Repent.  Receive.  But, mostly, it's a proclamation of a Heavenly Father's love for us.  A love so profound that He gave us everything, including His only Begotten, to help us progress and find a way back Home.  So, if you ever wonder if anyone loves you or if anyone cares - listen to Heaven's response.  You have a Father and Savior who love you powerfully and personally.  Ground yourself in the Savior's love; come to him for comfort, for peace, for forgiveness, for knowledge, for inspiration.  Then filled with the Savior's love, we can do and see and understand things that we could not otherwise do or see or understand.  Elder John H. Groberg said as much when he wrote, "Filled with His love, we can endure pain, quell fear, forgive freely, avoid contention, renew strength and bless and help others in ways surprising even to us."
Sorelle Caramia,  Rost,  Marquis,  Me
Paired with sisters who are filled with the love of the gospel, we are sure to find those seeking truth, and inspire less-actives to believe and receive.

Now, Let's Get Cooking!
Sorella Ashley Nef

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