Piazza Novana is the most beautiful Piazza of Rome, complete with a church and fountains sculpted by Bernini. It was built on the ruin of the 1st century Stadiodi Domiziano (Domitian's Stadium), and was used mainly for sporting events and festivals.
Fun Fact: The stadium was known as "Circus Agonalis" (Competition Area). Over time the name changed to "in agone" to "navone" and eventually morfed into "Navona."
|Sant'Agnese Church designed by Barromini, Bernini's main rival 1670|
But for almost 400 years since the time it was paved over in the 15th century, the Piazza has been Rome's main marketplace. While market merchants have long since moved out, people still come out in droves to take in the beauty.
And the Piazza's grand ornament is a 17th century Baroque Church - Sant'Agnese. The church was built on the site where legend says young Agnes, prior to her martyrdom, was stripped naked, but suddenly grew a miraculous mane of hair that covered her and saved her from disgrace.
|Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi by Gian Lorenzo Bernini 1651|
Fountain of Four Rivers
The centerpiece of the square is the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi - Fountain of Four Rivers representing the main rivers of the time: Nile, Ganges, Danube, and Plate, with an Egyptian obelisk in the center.
Beautiful. It's no wonder that this is a favorite filming spot for movie directors.
|Fountain of Neptune by Giacomo della Porta 1574|
|Fountain of the Moor|
by Giacomo dell Porta, 1575; and Bernini, 1673
At the south end of the Piazza is the Fontana del Moro (Fountain of the Moor) by Giacomo della Porta in 1575. Bernini added the Moor wrestling the fish in 1673.
I think God really wants us to hit the streets hard and find new contacts because all of the people we have now are not working out.
|Key detail on statue base|
We had appointments set up for every day of the week and all but two of them cancelled. So Sorella Kippen and I hit the streets again and we found a new investigator, but it is a complicated situation involving a divorce and a boyfriend. She has taken lessons in the past, but has decided that she is ready to go forward now with the gospel. Fingers crossed.
Wednesday, we will be babysitting the incoming new missionaries. The good news: the first thing these missionaries will be doing is going to the baptism of Marco, an 18 year-old guitar player. I can't think of a better way to start things off in the mission field. How awesome!
Young Adults in Rome
|Shiela, me, Carol, Jomar, Jerwin|
Jerwin and Jomar
Jerwin and Jomar are two Filipini who have been living in Rome for a while. Jomar is younger by a couple of years and a gamer, and he accepted the gospel first. He wants to be a singer. His brother Jerwin was rather hostile to missionaries before, but has made a 180 degree turn since accepting the gospel. We celebrated his birthday yesterday (23!).
Carol is Brazilian studying architecture here in Rome. She talked to missionaries first on the train and then started taking lessons by Sorella O'Connor.
Luca is 17 years old, but looks like he could be 30 with his impressive facial hair that never ceases to grow. He is in a band with Marco, his friend. He accepted a Plan of Salvation pamphlet late one night while drunk and ended up liking what he read because his brother rather recently passed away. He cut off his long mane of hair, cleaned himself up, and was baptized. Now his friend Marco has gone the same path and will be baptized by Luca this week. How awesome is that!
These are the Young Adults I have come to know here in Rome. They are key in this work. There are others, but these are the ones I interact with most. I will have to get some pictures with them.
|Ashley with Jenna DeGering, Megan Noll's sister|
Sunday, in church I approached two American-looking tourists in the chapel (we always have a few), and when they asked where I was from and I said San Jose - Jenna, the tourist, said, "I have a sister in San Jose. At least nearby."
"Oh really, where?"
O.O "Wait, I'm from Campbell. What's your sister's name?"
"Megan. Megan Noll."
"HEY SHE'S IN MY WARD!!!"
It was really exciting for both of us. Jenna was really cute about it, and I really liked talking with her. How funny is that?! The longer I am on my mission, the smaller I realize the world is. It's cool.
Love to the Nolls!
Last P-day we went to Eataly - the most amazing food store I have ever seen. This gorgesimo mega-
market is a veritable food lovers paradise.
160,000 square feet
8 Cooking Classrooms
Variety of Specialized Markets for olive oils, pastas, olives, cheeses, cured meats, and breads.
Did that make you hungry? Oh, there are 20 Restaurants and eating stations for a snack or full-on meal.
You won't find American cheese or sour cream, but you will find fresh buffalo mozzarella made onsite, a plethora of fresh local herbs, fruits and vegetables, and fresh baked rustic breads from in-house brick ovens. Ya, a mecca for foodies. Check it out:
|No, it's not the mall. It's 4 floors of Eataly|
Saturday we got word of transfers. The good news: I am staying. The bad news: Sorella Kippen is not. She is being sent down to Siracusa, Sicily! She has been wanting to go to Sicily her whole mission and she is finally making it.
My new companion is Sorella Udall from Arizona. I have heard she is really good at finding and a very hard worker. We'll make a great team.
I am going to miss Sorella Kippen a lot. Other than my trainer, she is the companion I have been with for the least amount of time - only 1 transfer - and this transfer has FLOWN BY. It does not feel like it should be over yet. It's been a blast. (Editor's note: Ashley was not able to send more pictures. She will have pictures of her companions next week).
Feeling the Fire
|Family History Search|
picture: Liahona June 2013
We are currently trying to talk to all ward members about Family History because all roads lead to it.
Every Zone Conference for the past while has talked about Family History, the past few Ensign and Liahona Magazines have featured articles on it, and I keep encountering little personal miracles that let me know that my guardian angels are around me and are involved in the work.
The Bishop lives near the temple site. People are showing interest. And we don't have a way to do Family History work here because we missionaries don't have access to a computer. The goal is to discuss this with the Bishop and get him excited about it. Kippen and I have both been feeling the fire.
This week in Eataly has enlivened our senses in more ways than one. The mega market may put the epic in epicurean, but this work, including Family History, feeds the heart and soul.
Sorella Ashley Nef