Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Palermo: Return to the Island

Me and Sorella Udall
Well, it has now officially become a trilogy because this week from Tuesday to Thursday was Palermo: Revenge of the Questura.  I had to go back to Palermo, Sicily for my permesso (visa).  Third time's a charm!  The good news is that I got right in and out - no problems, with questura visit done in a record 45 minutes.  Yes!

Then I had to remain there for 3 days.  But the lovely Andersens hosted us once again, and we had a blast.  
I just love them. :)

Palermo Zone Conference
The day after my permesso, I attended the Palermo's Zone Conference (that makes 5 transfers there, but 6 Zone Conferences).  It was funny at one point because they had a break-out session dividing the sister missionaries and elders.  When it was finished and we re-entered the chapel to join the elders, they were all standing with written notes to us sisters.  Cute.

Zone Conference Pizza. Yum.

My note said: "Sorella Nef, we think you are the most prepared missionary to hit this mission.  You rock!"  Aw, made me blush. Thank you, thank you elders of the Palermo Zone!

Also Attending the Zone Conference was JOHN!  He was invited as a young man preparing to go on a mission (one elder translated for him the whole time).  We talked for a bit. He says everything is different in Palermo now, and I can see that.  But it sounds like things are starting to work down there. Yay!  He said he was not going to attend the conference, but when he heard I was going to be there, he decided to come. Isn't that sweet?

After Conference, my comp and I went out and did some Finding.  We found a man named Salvatore who says he and his family would be interested in meeting the missionaries, so we passed the info to the Palermo sisters.  He seemed really cool, really solid.

Good Company
But I think the real reason we were in Palermo was to help the Andersens.  They have been having a rough time getting the Gans program (Young Adults) rolling.  

Things were going well for a while, but now...uh, not so much.  They had a real knock-down tough meeting with some of the leadership, and they came out feeling pretty downhearted.  So we went home with them and spent that night and the next morning getting their spirits back up.  By the end of our visit, they were feeling a lot better.  I think they just needed company.  It gets lonely for them down there.  But it was a joy to be with them.  They call me Sorella Nefi, like Nephi in Italian.  I like it. :)

Tastes of Home
We arrived back in Rome on Thursday just in time for Correlation Meeting (where our blessed American ward mission leader Brother Rigby gave us apple juice and other American treats not found in Italy.  This week is was cinnamon graham crackers.  Other times it has been peanut butter or Oreos.  Mmmmmmm).

Advertising for Temple Fireside
Modge-Podge of Activity
The rest of the week was a modge podge of activity.  Our set appointments fell through.  So goes missionary work.  But we worked with members, youth, and we got some Finding done. Actually came across a few people that look promising.

For instance, there was this Filippina couple I talked with on our way to Church who loved seeing my family photos.  We had to get off the bus quickly at the end, so I didn't get their number, but I handed them a temple card and asked them to call us.  The lady said, "Yes! I want to see you again!"  

And then guess what - they called!  Last night.  So we set an appointment for Sunday.  So excited.  They were very sweet.

We went to the Temple grounds with this board (right) promoting the Temple Fireside, and got some good stares.

Sorella Caramia, from my Cagliari days, came to visit Rome, so we got to hug and chat for a bit.  She is doing super great.

Ya gotta know your brain is fried when you walk out of the house with one blue and one black shoe on. :|
Hugging Sorella Caramia. She's so cute.
Scatter brain = Mismatched shoes

Rome 2 Relief Society - love them.  Yours Truly is towering in back
Via de Foro Imperiale (Colosseum in background)

Young Women Genealogy Activity

Our task was to take an antique box full of photographs and documents and input it all into the computer. Cool stuff.

San Pietro in Vincoli
The church of St. Peter's Chains is famous for it housing the supposed chains that bound the apostle Peter.  This is also the home of Michelangelo's statue of Moses on the tomb of pope Julius II.
The simple exterior gives way to 18th century coffered ceilings and Doric columns inside.  Beautiful.
Michelangelo's Tomb of Julius II
This is the tomb of pope Julius II.  Michelangelo famously hated this pope, hence the rather unorthodox and pretty irreverent sculpture of old Jules provocatively posing on his side above Moses. 
Michelangelo's Moses

Look!  The famous horned Moses.  Michelangelo completed the statue in 1515.  His horns are somewhat confusing to most, however they were meant to connote "the radiance of the Lord."  

The Hebrew word for "beams of Light" also means "horns."  And, since horns were much simpler to carve than rays of light, well, there you have it.

Peter's chains
Fun Fact:
There is a small flaw on the right knee of Moses.  According to legend, when Michelangelo finished it, he was so struck by how life-like his work was, he hit the statue's knee with a chisel and yelled, "Now speak!"

Picture (right) is presumably chains with which Peter was bound in prison in Rome.

And then there are a few things at San Pietro in Vincoli that seem a little macabre and can give visitors the heebie-jeebies.  For instance, the flamboyant Grim Reaper that greets you.  Yikes.
Love the irony of a pope tomb with gift shop beneath

Sufficiently creepy skeletons on this dude's grave (left).

Not what you'd call a warm and fuzzy place.

Macabre aside, we do have daily reminders of heavenly help in the work.

Reminders at San Giovanni in Laterano
Angels above us
The Heavenly reminders are not always evidenced by what is seen, but more by what is felt.  However, I loved a couple of artful reminders at San Giovanni church.  Angels and the Tree of Life.
Tree of Life motif

We're not alone.  And our work is to lead people to the Tree of Life, a symbol of God's Love, or, Jesus Christ and His everlasting gospel.
"And the angel said unto me:
Behold the Lamb of God,
yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father! 
Knowest thou the meaning of the Tree...?
And I answered him, saying: Yea, it is the love of God,
which sheddeth itself abroad
in the hearts of the children of men;
wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things...
yea, and the most joyous to the soul."
1 Nephi 11:21-23
Yes, that's where the beauty is and that's what gives life meaning and purpose.  And it all begins with a simple seed of Faith.

So blessed to be here.  Love to You All,
Sorella Ashley Nef

Monday, July 21, 2014

Golden Girls and Helping Hands

So this week was a little all over the place and went by both very slow and very fast at the same time.
I am very frustrated at the moment because I bought an adapter to connect my camera card to the computer, but now this computer I am using is saying that the folder with all of my pictures is empty.  It is not empty.  There are photos in it.  Lots of photos.  But it wont let me access them.  So it is yet ANOTHER WEEK without current photos. :(((((   (Editor's note:  Will use some of Ashley's extra pictures of Rome).

Me with Marcus Aurelius, my great+ grandfather
I can see the resemblance!
Call from the Pres
Last Monday I was told I was being called as an STL.  The telephone conversation went like this:
     "Hello President, how are you?"
     "I am doing good.  Are you ready for your transfer call?"
     "Wait.  Really?"
     "Yes.  It happens sometimes that the Lord decides to make a change.  Are you ready?"
Right about here I am shaking in my boots because I DO NOT WANT TO LEAVE ROME PER NIENTE!  But President has been known for emergency transferring people, and he is very well known for switching missionaries to a different city for their very last transfer.  Sorella O'Connor was in Siracusa for 2 transfers and was transferred her very last transfer.  Dun dun dun.
     "Ok, I am ready," I say.
     "Sorella Nef, the Lord has called you to be a Sister Training Leader for the Rome West Zone...."
IS THAT ALL THIS IS ABOUT?!  President Waddoups.  Always keeping us on our toes.

Family Search
This week has been all about Genealogy.
•  We did a Young Women's Family History activity last
    Monday evening.
•  We did a Genealogy Training talk in District Meeting.
•  We have had lessons on it every other day during
    the week.
We are getting EVERYONE to the Temple.

Aaaah, the lady at this Internet point just said she is trying to close early.  CURSES!

John Keats' Grave

Came across the grave of John Keats in a Protestant cemetery.
I forgot that he was buried in Rome.  "Here lies a man whose name was written in water."

Randon City Pics of Rome
Random Pyramid in the middle of the city
Vespa inside the Church.  Go figure.

Statue on Bridge leading to Vatican
Piazza Campidoglio

Golden Girls
Me and Arianna.  She's the greatest!
Well, the biggest miracle of the week was Erika and Arianna.  We had a lesson with them on Thursday.   Arianna is the girl I taught about a month or two back.  Erika is in the same boat as Arianna - mom does not want her to join the Church.  Erika is 16 and Arianna is 14.  Both are friends of the Celestini family in the ward.

The girls' introduction to the Church came about when the Celestini family invited them to seminary because the boys of the family were always late to class from hanging out.  Sister Myers, the seminary teacher said, "Well, then why don't you just bring them with you?"  So they did.  These girls are INCREDIBLE.  Upon our meeting up to teach them this week, we asked what they wanted to talk about.  "Baptism!" they answered.

They are reading the Book of Mormon every day.  Erica had a physical copy she was reading that her mother took away.  So she downloaded a copy and is reading it on her iPod.  They meet up with their friends in parks to read together and discuss the gospel.  They bear testimony to other friends, to their parents, cousins - anyone who will listen.  Erika's dad is all for her investigating the Church, but he is separated from the mom and can't influence her really.  But he came with Erika to a baptism we had on Saturday, and wants to learn more himself.  Here's hoping!

But, yeah, Erika and Arianna are the coolest.  Golden.  They have asked us missionaries to pray and even fast for them to help soften their moms' hearts.  And Arianna already says her mom is changing.  Before, she wouldn't even let her talk about the Church.  Now the mom is reading the Book of Mormon and saying Arianna can get baptized at 15 instead of waiting until she turns 18.  Progress!

Saturday's Baptism
There was a baptism on Saturday for 11 year-old Sariah.  She is adorable, and I got to translate the Restoration DVD for a Romanian girl in attendance.

Mormon Helping Hands
We had a Mormon Helping Hands Service project on Saturday morning.  Pulled some weeds.  I went at it with a shovel like I learned from Dad.  You're the man!  :)

(Editor's Note:  Will retro-fit pictures of this activity when Ashley sends them).

Worker Bee Gets Hives
Unfortunately, I think I was allergic to something because Saturday evening I broke out in some raging hives.  There were little patches on and off throughout the day, but then at the end of the baptism, Anziano Quaresima came up to me and said in his thick Italian accent, "Sorella Nef, your face is turning purple!"

Five minutes later, while discussing some member stuff with the Rome 6 Elders, Anziano Sorgiacomo stopped mid sentence and said, "Sorella Nef, it's getting worse.  You need to see Sorella Millett (the nurse)."

Bee stained glass in a Cathedral
I was ITCHING LIKE CRAZY!! Then a potential investigator showed up, so we had to run back inside the Church to introduce him to the Assistants.  The Assistants took one look at me and the smiles fell off their faces as they said, "Yeah.  You better go."

So they ran me to the pharmacy for some meds.  Got home and looked in the mirror.  Sure enough, I was purple!  I almost looked like Violet Beauregarde on Willy Wanka and the Chocolate Factory when she was turning into a blueberry.  Hives are gross.  Luckily I was fine and dandy come Sunday morning.  Really tired, but better.  Feeling 100% today.  :)

I figure Sorella Waddoups always says, "Be the best you can BEE!"  So I just got some hives.

Well, got to buzz.  The Internet lady is mad at meeeee and is kicking me out.  Sorry this is so sparse, friends.

Love you all so much,
Sorella Ashley Nef

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Lord is With Us

Spanish Steps of Rome
Ok.  I have to write super velocemente (fast) because the internet point we are at to use computers has decided to close early. Ugh.  So this post will be brief.

This week was yet another week of miracles.  We had 4 investigators in Church yesterday, plus 2 less actives and several other people (and that was just for me and my companion, not including those of the other missionaries).  Just today, we set up an appointment on the phone with a ragazza (youth) who wants to take lessons.  Cool.  She said a girl named Arianna would be there with her.  If I am not mistaken, I think that is the same Arianna that we had as an investigator in the past.  We'll see.

Sorella Vickers and Sorella Perkins came over to do an exchange with us.  Vickers is the family history buff. So Sorella Udall officially got PUMPED for family history work.  We are already formulating plans to get our wards excited about it.  One way to kick it off is an international day of Indexing in a week or two that we hope to invite others to participate in.

Faith in the Power of Christ
Jesus Christ by Heinrich Hoffman
In efforts to find the right words to help my companion, I have been studying the Grace of Christ, digging through the writings of Paul especially and throughout the Book of Mormon.
Basically, what it came down to is this:
•  To make it back to God, we must be sanctified, clean, and holy.
•  We become sanctified, clean, and holy through the Holy Ghost, who 
     is a cleanser and purifier.
•  We get the Spirit by making Covenants - such as baptism, and 
     those made in the Temple.
•  We make Covenants as we are Willing (see Sacramental prayers).
•  Willingness to make/keep Covenants comes when we have Faith.

Faith in what?  Faith that:
1.  We must follow God's commandments.
2.  Christ is powerful enough to help us do it.

That's the bottom line.  An integral part of the gospel is keeping the commandments, but the gospel operates by Faith.  Faith that Christ's power is enough to save us, enough to help us change.  We can only change by Christ's power.  Otherwise it is not lasting change.

Change with the Savior's help is enduring change.  Which is why Paul and Alma and the Anti Nephi Lehies didn't relapse and fall into old ways.  They changed and remained changed because they had Faith in Christ.

Christ Saves Us
Keeping the commandments is not how we are saved.  What, you are shocked by this statement?  Living a Christ-like life includes keeping the commandments, but the commandments themselves do not save us. Christ saves us.  His Atonement saves us.  Obedience to commandments prepares the heart to be Christ-like and prepares us for life in God's presence.

I shared this with Sorella Udall and something clicked.  It all made sense, and she has been a lot happier since.  It all comes down to faith.  If we really believe in Christ, if we believe that His grace is sufficient, then we will be saved because:
     Believing leads to making/keeping Covenants
     Covenants lead to having the Spirit
     Holy Spirit leads to cleansing/purifying
     Cleansing, purifying makes us worthy for God's Presence.
It all begins with Faith.  And every time we mess up (which will be often) we will know where to look to get us back on track.  That's the good news.  And that is why the gospel is so important.

Speaking of Faith and Miracles...
Sunday I gave a talk in Church in Rome 2.  With my studies on Christ's Grace and the Temple coming, it was the perfect time to speak on the subject of Faith and Miracles.

I promised the ward they would see miracles because God has always been, is, and always will be a God of Miracles.
And now, O all ye that have
imagined up unto yourselves
a god who can do no miracles,
I would ask of you, have all these things passed of which I have spoken?
Has the end come yet?
Behold I say unto you, Nay;
and God has not ceased
to be a God of miracles.
Mormon 9:15

I talked about how those miracles are the natural result of Faith.

And neither at any time hath any wrought miracles
until after their faith;
wherefore they first believed in the Son of God.
For if there be no faith among the children of men
God can do no miracle among them;
wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith.
Ether 12:18, 12
Faith in Christ invites His interaction.  His interaction produces miracles.

These miracles can be something as small as: receiving an answer to prayer, the letter in the mail, and inspiration in your calling, on up to the larger miracles of healing, help, or a faith in Christ that moves mountains, parts seas, and (greatest miracle of all) changes hearts.  I promised them that if they have that kind of faith in Christ's power, they would see miracles every day of their lives.
"Miracles are manifestations of divine or spiritual power...
They are the natural result of the presence of the Messiah among men."
Bible Dictionary, 732-33
I like how it says miracles are the "natural result" of the Messiah's presence among men.
The Lord is with us.  We see miracles.

Other Miracles this Week:
Had lessons with both Alice (the exchange student) and Violetta (member's friend who felt such love in Church).  Both accepted to be baptized when they feel these things are true.  They are reading the Book of Mormon and praying and coming to Church.

Today (Monday) is French Independence Day. Vive la France!  We will probably eat a croissant today in celebration.

Our week is PACKED with appointments.  We have no time for anything else, it seems.  No complaints here!   I have to go.  The internet dude is waiting for me to end!

Il Signore e con Noi  (The Lord is with Us),
Sorella Ashley Nef

Editor's Note:
Ashley was made Sister Training Leader (STL) in the Rome Mission.  That means she will be responsible for all sister missionaries in her Zone, working closely with the Mission President, Zone Leaders, and District Leaders in training meetings and Zone Conferences.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Eternal Blessings Await the Eternal City

Bernini Angel

Got a blessing Tuesday night from the assistants.  I was looking for advice on how to handle the last couple months of my mission.  And, among other things, the Lord told me I would see miracles daily for the rest of my mission. That's right.

So, here goes...

Zone Conference
Rome West Zone Conference (I'm over on the right)
photo: Sorella Waddoups' blog

My Family genealogy booklet

Zone Conference this week was great as usual.  We talked about the importance of scriptures in our teaching.

We also received the My Family booklet doodly-doo from  It is pretty sweet for recording genealogy.
Now I can carry it around with me and share my family history!

Wednesday's Miracle
We met a dude named Michael on the street, talked at a bus stop and gave him a Book of Mormon.  He liked the idea of a challenge when we shared Moroni 10:3-5, and we set up a time to see him Wednesday afternoon.  Come Wednesday morning, he texted us, "4:00 today, don't forget!"  And we met at the same bus stop where he asked for us to show him the Church.  Off to the Church we went, showed him around, and read a chapter of the Book of Mormon with him.  He agreed to be baptized once he gained a testimony, but asked, "What would happen if I've done bad things in the past that violated some of the commandments?" No prob.  We talked of repentance and how the Atonement of Christ can make him clean. It was really cool.

I got to see Sorella Marsh again!  She came up to Rome with her companion for the Missionary Leadership Conference, which meant she got to spend the day with me!  She had been transferred from Palermo to Pozzuoli (near Naples).  So we got to chit chat and catch up on life.  Love that girl!

That evening, we went to the neighborhood of the Temple and did some Finding and publicity for the fireside on the Temple (which was on Sunday).  We walked around with a poster with a picture of the Temple on it.  Italians are very curious and couldn't help but look as they walked or drove past.  We talked to a LOT of people.  It was great.  I couldn't stop smiling.

Friday's Miracle
Hosted Sorella Perkins for the day (she had been a temporary companion for a sister who went home due to a broken ankle, so she stayed with us). She's a lovely sister originally from Australia (still has the accent) who now lives in Colorado.  Reminds me of Julie Andrews on The Sound of Music.  She is really cool.

We were talking about the temple and how it really is taking a while to be constructed (scheduled now to open in 2015).  As we talked, we realized the reason it is not yet ready is because the people here are not yet ready.  What do they need to do to be ready?  It hit us - GENEALOGY.  They must do their family history.  It makes sense.  Hastening of Family History = Hastening of the Temple.

Bethel - House of God
Jacob's Dream  by Bartolome Esteban Murillo 1665
With that realization, a lot of other things from my mission melded together to make sense.  I knew Heavenly Father was trying to tell me something when all of my studies a year ago at the beginning of my mission were all about the Temple.

Most of you know, the song Nearer, My God, to Thee has followed me my whole mission. Much of that hymn refers to a dream Jacob (from the Old Testament) had on his way to Haran (Genesis 28:10-22). The Ladder with angels traveling up and down is a metaphor for the Temple - the connection and pathway between heaven and earth - and the angels who minister in the work.  After the dream, Jacob took the stone he used as his pillow, made an altar, and called the place Bethel.  Beth-el literally means House of God.
(Editor's Note:  For added meaning to the song, see family blog: "Nearer, My God, to Thee").

The Goal: Forever Families
One of the recent changes, from Elder Russell M. Nelson, announced to us at Zone Conference is a directive to work very closely with new converts for a full year after baptism.  Why a year?  Because it is 1 year until they are Temple ready.  It was reiterated to us at Zone Conference that our goal is not baptism for investigators.  Our goal is Forever Families - families sealed in the temple.

It all comes down to the Temple.  The Temple is everything.  It not only links heaven and earth, but the covenants made there bind us to the Lord and seal us to generations preceding and following.

My week was finding a theme, and the Lord was not finished.

Saturday's Miracle
Saturday's miracle only crescendoed the temple even further.  It came in my personal study.  I picked up a Liahona Magazine, General Conference May 2011 issue.  It was opened to Elder Bednar's "Spirit of Revelation" talk.  Studied that, it was REALLY good.  And then I decided to continue on and read the next talk in the issue, which was President Monson's talk on....Temples.  And if the title alone wasn't confirming enough to my thoughts on the Temple, listen to what he said near the end of his talk:
"In the not-too-distant future as new temples take shape around the world, one will rise in a city which came into being over 2,500 years ago.  I speak of the temple which is now being built in Rome, Italy.

"Every temple is a house of God, filling the same functions and with identical blessings and ordinances. The Rome Italy Temple, uniquely, is being built in one of the most historic locations in the world, a city where the ancient Apostles Peter and Paul preached the gospel of Christ and where each was martyred.

"Last October, as we gathered on a lovely pastoral site in the northeastern corner of Rome, it was my opportunity to offer a prayer of dedication as we prepared to break the ground.  I felt impressed to call upon Italian Senator Lucio Malan and Rome's Vice-Mayor Giuseppe Ciardi to be among the first to turn a shovelful of earth.  Each had been a part of the decision to allow us to build a temple in their city.

"That day was overcast but warm, and although rain threatened, not more than a drop or two fell.  As the magnificent choir sang in Italian the beautiful strains of "The Spirit of God," one felt as though heaven and earth were joined in a glorious hymn of praise and gratitude to Almighty God.  Tears could not be restrained.

"In a coming day, the faithful in this, the Eternal City, will receive ordinances eternal in nature in a Holy House of God."

I will admit, I got teary eyed on that one.  I didn't have a clue that the temple talk, much less the bit on Rome, was in that issue.  Isn't the Lord funny how He just puts stuff like that in our path?  A little nod of inspiration that led into my second miracle of the day.

Saturday's Miracle #2
We were doing more publicity near the Temple and after reaching my Pass-Along Cards goal, a bus came by and I thought, on a whim, that we should take it.
Whim: (wim), English, noun.  Connoting an inkling, a hunch, a gut instinct.
In other words, a whispering of the Spirit.
So we got on the bus, talked to some ragazzi (youth) during the ride, and eventually got off basically in the middle of nowhere, because I thought we should - on a whim - and I saw a cute family.  We approached and introduced ourselves.  What followed was brief - probably less than a minute - as the family was getting in their car to leave.  They had just gotten out of a funeral for their uncle.  We talked to the mom about the temple, eternal families, and bore testimony.
     "Do you believe that families can be eternal?" we asked.
     "Speriamo (Well, I hope so)," she responded with a familiar Italian expression.  But then she stopped, looked at me more deeply and added, "Well, it's what we say anyway.  But I do hope so." 

Then they got into the car and drove away.  Sorella Udall and I didn't have much time to talk, we didn't have much of a chance to do anything, but that brief exchange was a holy moment.  An eternal instant. In that limited interaction something very reverent happened.  So much so that we just walked way in silence. I don't know if I will see that family again, but the mom was gazing at the Temple as they drove away.

Sunday's Temple Fireside
Cristus  by Bertel Thorvaldsen
The Fireside.  Can I just say - it was awesome. They updated everyone on the progress of the Temple and the site, showing pictures, and speaking specifically   of the artist who originally made the statues of the Apostles and the Cristus.

Ok, so this dude was named Bertel Thorvaldsen.
He was Danish, born in 1770, before the American Revolution.  At the age of 27, he decided to move to Rome - a move that forever altered his life.

Bertel "Alberto" Thorvaldsen
His love for Rome was evident in the fact that he changed his name to Alberto and remained there for the next 40 years.  He was a Protestant and sculpted the only statue by a Protestant currently in the Vatican (the pope was one of his patrons).  

Sculpting the Cristus statue began in the year 1820, the year of the First Vision.  It was unique for its time because all other artists depicted Christ on the cross or as a child.  But Thorvaldsen envisioned Christ as resurrected, glorious, arms open.  

Statues of the apostles were sculpted in the years 1820-1836 (1836 is when the Kirtland Temple was dedicated).  All statues were sculpted in Rome and moved to a Cathedral in Denmark where they have remained to this day.  Now, for the Rome Temple Visitor's Center and the exact replicas of the Cristus and the Apostles being installed, the statues are figuratively returning to where they were first created.  

The statues are really cool and are almost complete.  Made from Italian Carrara marble (from the Tuscany region), the same marble as the original statues.  The same marble Michelangelo used. 

Thorvaldsen died in 1844, the year the Prophet Joseph Smith died.

Temple Progress
Rome Temple, June 2014 

The temple will have olive leaf detailing on the front.  The exterior is basically only missing its 14 meter high spires and the Angel Moroni atop.  Outer granite is from Sardegna, and looks gray in cloudy weather, but in the sunlight it is WHITE.  It just glows.
Bernini Angel at Sant'Angelo Castel

What a week, huh?  In the Eternal City rich with ruins of ancient temples, the Lord's Temple is finally coming to bring eternal blessings to families.  And Family History will be key to seeing it through, because we need all the heavenly help we can get.
There let the way appear, Steps unto heav'n;
All that thou sendest me, In mercy giv'n;
Angels to beckon me Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer, my God, to thee, Nearer to thee!
Nearer, My God, to Thee
Hymn 100
Nearer indeed.

Check out this cool video link on the Rome Temple and its statues:

Le Famiglie Sono per Sempre  (Families are Forever),
Sorella Ashley Nef