Tuesday, October 15, 2013

When One Door Closes, Another One Opens

Ask, and it shall be given you; Seek, and ye shall find;
Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
Matthew 7:7
Permesso, Per Favore?
I returned to the Questura (Police Commissary) for another attempt at obtaining my Permesso. (First visit was in previous post Be Found Doing the Work of the Lord - you have to read what went down in that visit!).  Once inside, I joined the line for people without appointments, and guess who was running the line? Yep, the Soup Nazi Lady!  I thought about turning and running, but instead, decided to buck-up - not because of bravery, mind you, but because I had no other choice.  I needed my Permesso!  Pathetic desperation can be a great motivator.  So, I stayed.  When the line filtered down, placing me at the front, she recognized me and said, "You don't have an appointment, right?"
     "No," I said.
     She looked at me and took the receipt for my Permesso, "Step aside and wait!"  I did what I was told.  She disappeared and came back with a number.
     "Take it," she states, "And if you hand it to someone else, I WILL BURN your Permesso!  Non si fa queste cose!"  Then she turned and went back into the office.  Phew!  Thank you, Heavenly Father!  After that, it was smooth sailing.  I waited until my number came up (96 :[ ), then they whipped right through the paperwork and handed me the Permesso (cue Angel Choir Haaaallelujah!).  Don't know what they did to my picture, though - I look like a vampire.  I'd post the mug, but the computer I'm using is so old it doesn't have a USB plug (no plug for the mug - Hah!).  We are in an Internet Point because, as a consequence of P-Day now being on a Monday, the Library is closed.

Stefano and Captain Satellite
Lately, we have been getting dozens upon dozens of texts from a man we met on the street one week ago.  We were looking for a store to make copies of keys, and stopped him randomly on the street.  He said he was 28 (he looks 15).  He recognized us as missionaries and immediately opened up, beginning with his own odd religious philosophies, saying, "It isn't the cross to give support like some priest thinks, but if one wants to recall the cross to mind, it comes cultured in the lived.  The lived saves.  That is the testimony of each."  Uh, ya.  It didn't make sense to me either.  RED FLAG!  As he spoke, he wouldn't take his eyes off Sorella Rost.  RED FLAG #2!  And then, he wanted to follow us around.  RED FLAG #3.

Now, my companion didn't understand enough Italian to recognize that he was a bonafied Space Cadet, and she decided to squillo him (give him a ring on the phone), innocently thinking that since he met with missionaries in the past that it would be fine for us to meet with him.  Now, the thing is that as she called his number, it registered as a number that was already on our phone.  A number listed as
"Stefano :O   DO NOT ANSWER."  Ah, Stefano!  I recognized the name from the warnings of Sorella
Captain Satellite
1960s-70s San Francisco TV Show
Cojan and Sorella O - about how they, too, randomly encountered him on the street and he began to almost stalk them.  Luckily he lives in another suburb and does not know where we live.  But he will call many times every day, and come to Church and lurk around the sister missionaries.  Fortunately, this night we politely extricated ourselves, he stayed away from us, and we were able to leave Quartu without incident.  But he has been text-stalking us ever since.  Friday was a banner day with a grand total of 24 lengthy texts.  Texts like, "It is forbidden to know the temptations of others because otherwise it's yourself.  But if I want to know someone, it is incited to know like one is called."

Snaps for Stefano.  He has officially boarded Starship Crazy and, like Captain Satellite, has taken residence in his own orbit.  I must admit, I was relieved when he didn't show up to Church on Sunday.  He texted to tell us he was sorry.  That's okay, Stefano.  That's OK.

Transfer Calls
Saturday, I carried the phone because I was not about to let it out of my grasp on transfer call day.  We were on the bus when the phone started to buzz.  TRANSFERS, I thought to myself.  Looked at the phone.  Nope - just Stefano.  A minute or so later, it buzzes again.  TRANSFERS, I thought to myself.  Nope.  Just Stefano again.  Then a minute or so later, it buzzes again, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD STEFANO!  Oh, not Stefano.  It was Sorella Waddoups.  AAAAAAH!  I answered and Sorella Waddoups said, "Aaah, yes.  Sorella Neeeeffff."  I knew it.  Indeed, after 4 transfers, I am being moved to..................PALERMO, SICILY!

Island Girl
Why, Sicily is the island next door (to the south).  Palermo was only open to sisters this last transfer - a threesome was put into the city. My joining them will make it an even 2 sets of 2.  So I am the 4th sister to go to this city in a loooong time.  My companion is Sorella Wiltbank (don't know a thing about her).  There are 2 wards in Palermo, so the Church is pretty well established there.

Palermo, Sicily
Palermo is in the northwestern corner of Sicily, nestled in its own gulf.  A big, gorgeous city rich in history, culture, architecture, and food.  The desserts in Palermo are said to be the best.  Everything is fried down there, the bus system doesn't really work, so I will be eating less healthily with the members, and walking more, and hopefully that balances in my favor.  When you talk to Italians about Sicilia, they call it Africa because of how far south it is.  Sicilians are considered a very warm people.  Have I mentioned that the Mafia is based in Palermo?  Sorella Caramia (our local Italian missionary) says that it'll be fine, just as long as you stay friends with the Mafia.  Kinda like, Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.  Sounds like a plan.  I am heading down south to make friends with the Mafia.  It'll be good.
               I'll just make them an offer they can't refuse.
                                   I'll take the Cannoli and leave the Book of Mormon.

Arrivederci and Assibiri, Cagliari
I said my goodbyes in Church yesterday.  Lots of members seemed sad I was leaving.  Very sweet of them.  Sorella Sanna gave me a card and a huge hug, and President Sanna's eyes were a little teary as he shook my hand (I love them).  They said their home was always open if I were to return.  So great!  I am sad to leave my sisters behind.  We have become fast friends, and this transfer has absolutely FLOWN by.  I can't believe it's already over!  But I know I will make more friends down south as well.

How do you begin to sum-up a period of time that has meant so much?  I'll let music speak where words fail.
Here's a link to Life and Death by Paul Cardall, from the theme of J.J. Abrams' awesome TV series LOST (Michael Giacchino, composer).  The tune expresses both the poignance of farewells and the hope of new beginnings.
Life and Death:  

When One Door Closes, Another One Opens
I leave you with pictures of doors in Cagliari and Sassari.

"God enters by a private door into every individual."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock:
if any man hear my voice, and open the door,
I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
Revelations 3:20

"It is for us to pray,
not for tasks equal to our powers,
but for powers equal to our tasks,
to go forward with a great desire
forever beating at the door of our hearts
as we travel toward our distant goal."
Helen Keller

Ci Vediamo in Sicilia!  I'll See You in Sicily!
Sorella Ashley Nef

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