Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Pines of Rome

Stone Pines in Villa Borghese, Rome
Villa Borghese Park
Villa Borghese is the second largest park in Rome.  This GORGEOUS area was once a vineyard, but in the early 1600s, the Borghese family got the idea of converting it into an elaborate garden, which remained their family's personal retreat for almost 300 years.

Lucky for us, in 1903 the city of Rome bought the land from the Borgheses and opened it to the general public.

Today, the 148 acre park is a sprawling oasis from busy city life with its rolling hills, winding paths, small lakes, quaint flower beds, towering pines, some Museums, fountains, and of course statues.  Statues of patriots, poets, and mythology personalities.  Take a stroll through the park with me...
Balloon Vendor
Bronze Statue

Italian Cypress and Umbrella (Stone) Pines adorn the park
Galleria Borghese holds the exquisite Borghese art collection
Throughout the park there are signs and maps to help navigate visitors around.  Signs with creative street names like, "Viale delle Belle Arte" (Avenue of the Beautiful Art), and "Viale dei Pupazzi (Puppet Avenue), and the most precious, "Valle dei Cuccioli" (Valley of the Puppies).

Transfer News
View of Vatican from Villa Borghese
Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears (or eyes, I guess).  Transfer news.  I...well...um.  I don't really know what to do about this.

You know how I was joking about returning to Palermo, saying the trilogy was now complete?  Well, now comes the moment at the end of the trilogy where they tease a new storyline, in case the studios want to make more money. Ya, you know where this is going.

We got together as a District to predict transfers.  Basically everyone said I was staying.  I wasn't so sure.  President has a track record of uprooting missionaries their last transfer.  But I have only been in Rome for 2 transfers, so I thought I would dodge the bullet.  Even the anziani thought I was bullet proof.  The night before transfer calls, they all said, "Nah! You're staying, no question.  Don't worry about it."

Saturday 9:30am
We got a call from President Waddoups (sign #1 that something is changing).  Udall answered the phone and gave a sigh of relief - she gets to stay in Rome.  Then she tensed up and looked at me kind of sheepishly.  My heart sunk.  I am being transferred.  Urgh!  Where am I going?
      I took the phone, "Hi President.  How are you doing?"
     "Doing good," he said, "You sound sad."
     "If I am leaving Rome, yes, I will be sad."
     "Well, you are leaving Rome, and you are having a bit of a rerun."
     "You are being transferred to Siracusa (Syracuse, Sicily), where your companion will be Sister Kippen.  You are both going to be STLs in the Catania Zone."


Lord Byron Statue by Bertel Thorvaldsen, Villa Borghese
Return to the Island.  For real, this time, folks. Needless to say, I am a little surprised.  And I am reeeeeeaaaaaally sad to be leaving Rome because I love it! But, if I have to leave Rome and go to another city and serve with another companion, I am glad that it is Siracusa with Kippen.  She really is one of my best friends from the mission (along with O'Connor and Mikesell who are both finishing their missions and flying home Tuesday).  

Apparently the Lord has some final tricks up His sleeve for the remainder of my mission.

So that is the biggest news of the week.  I was destroyed at the beginning of the week, but after taking a little nap I felt awesome.  Sometimes you just need to let your body catch up. 

Week of Rejection
Goethe Monument, Villa Borghese
Then we set up several appointments this week, but nearly every one fell through.  The lessons we taught, well, we ended up having to drop those investigators.  One that made me the saddest was a lesson with a couple of girls named Ramona and Evelina - cousins, both speak English, both about 17 years old. Ramona lives in Italy and her cousin was visiting.  They were investigators of the Assistants, but were passed to us in hopes that our teaching the Plan of Salvation would open their hearts a bit more.

But alas, Ramona does not believe she is a daughter of God, nor does she believe in continuing revelation, saying, "I think what I already know [about religion] is enough." So that was that. :(

There was just a lot of rejection this week.  A lot.  People on the street, cancelled lessons, less actives. Kind of a downer.  We may be down for the count, but we're not out of the ring.  We're continuing the fight to help people understand.  If they don't want to listen, there really isn't anything we can do about that.  But we are opening our mouths and putting our best foot forward.

And now I am headed south.

Ciao Roma
Lots of goodbyes on Sunday. Carol, the new convert, is heading back to Brazil.  Steurers are finishing their senior mission in the office this week.  I am leaving, as are Anziano Sorgiacomo (Bari Zone Leader), Anziano Smit (home), Anziano Anderl (Rome 1).  Lots of change.
Saying goodbye to my buddy Sorella O'Connor
The Steurers, me, Udall, Anziano Sorgiacomo

Ciao Roma.  I will be on my train for Sicily Thursday morning - 7:26 bright and early.  By the end of my mission I will have spent 9 months in Sicily alone, half of my mission.  3/4 of my mission will have been spent on islands. Only 3 short months on the mainland.  How very odd.
Last Sunday together in Gospel Principles.  President Waddoups in back, as is ward mission leader Fratello Rigby

Beautiful Pines of Rome
The Pines of Rome
Ah, the pines of Rome.  Beautiful elegance.  I will miss them.  But I know that as I pine for Rome, I am certain that miracles will follow my work down in Sicily.  And, despite the let downs and setbacks, my confidence holds firm that I am not alone.
     This is the Lord's work
     I am surrounded and protected by ancestors
     I am led by the Spirit
     President Waddoups is guided by revelation
So, I look forward to a powerful 6 weeks in Siracusa!

Love to All,
Sorella Ashley Nef

Happy, happy 90th birthday to my Grandpa, Lamar Nef (August 4th).  I realized that Grandpa was 5 years old when the stock market crashed.  Wow.  He's lived through quite a lot.  

No comments:

Post a Comment