Monday, August 25, 2014

Week 15 - Ragusa, Sicily, Italy

It was a good week in Ragusa.  On Monday, the elders from Gela came to do laundry at our apartment because their washer was broken.  On Tuesday, we had district meeting and then Gela went home.  That night I believe we walked the streets talking to people.  The rest of the week was a blur.  The Anziani from Catania came to do a split on Friday and Saturday.  Sunday we walked down to the bottom of Ragusa and back up to church so that we could meet up with and walk with Samson (member) and Lucky (investigator).  Later we ate at the bishop's house with his family.  It was a typical Italian meal with appetizers, pasta, meat, fruit, and then gelato. 
We were able to meet with some of our African members this week who haven't been able to make it to church because of work.  It is crazy and motivating to me how hard-working and faithful these members are.  They work from sunrise into the night getting paid for only a fraction of the hours they had worked.  Then their bosses make them work on Sunday when they are supposed to have it off.  And still, they praise their God and pray that they will be able to come to church and perform the duties of their callings.  I guess there are no worker's rights here.
Today we went to the navy base Sigonella south of Catania.   We went with our friend Salvo and his mother.  Google maps took us on a crazy trip on this seriously warped canal road so it was an interesting trip.  The mother kept saying mamma mia! hahah  Anyways, we got in and out of the base with our American goods without any problems.  On the way back, I saw like twenty African women on the side of the road in heavy make-up.  I didn't know this was legal.  Things can be crazy here in Italy.
The work is going pretty well.  We have one investigator primed for baptism and some very good potentials that we will be able to work with more beginning in September when they can meet with us (In August, everybody is gone on vacation.)  On Sunday, we had like 10 nonmembers in church which is unusual. Basta così for now.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Week 14 - Ragusa, Sicily, Italy

This week in Ragusa there was a thing called Ferragosto or something like that where everyone was at the sea. So, on the climax of this holiday, Friday, we stayed inside all day and deep cleaned our apartment.  It is nice to have a clean place to live in again. Anyways, on Monday the elders from Gela came for P-Day and later that night I went with one of them to do some work while my companion went with the other.  My group did a family home evening with a less active member and his son and then some finding.  That night I made my first pesto which turned out pretty well.  The next day we had district meeting and then a pancake party with a member who lives in between Ragusa and Gela in a small town.  I managed to eat a few without complaint though bread isn't really my favorite food.  Then we had English course later that night with a pretty good turnout.  On Wednesday, I think we walked down to Ibla to teach an investigator and then later in the afternoon we walked the streets for several hours talking to people.  
Yesterday on Sunday, we were walking around again when we ran into an African convert and his friends and we talked about their lives before coming to Italy.  They told us about crossing the Sahara, living in war-torn Libya, and crossing the sea in a few days in a big rubber raft with around a hundred people.  It is eye-opening to me to see how crazy and different my American life is from theirs.
Italian is coming along well still.  Yesterday in church I began to understand the discussions in priesthood and some of the jokes being made so that was pretty cool.
Okay, that's all for now.  Ciao

Monday, August 11, 2014

Week 13 - Ragusa, Sicily, Italy

It has been a little crazy this week with transfers.  We said goodbye to SorellaPancheri and welcomed Sister Arnold to Ragusa.  She is a great missionary from Birmingham, England.  An interesting thing about her is that she went to school in Stratford, which if my memory is correct has something to do with Shakespeare.  Before Sorella Pancheri left, we went to a nearby dam to have a picnic/nature walk thing with some friends and members.  At one point, we were trying to walk around the lake on the shore, and Sorella Nagliati walked into some mud and lost her shoes for a bit.  It was pretty funny so I took a quick picture.  On Saturday we had a little ward social that was supposed to be a "invite your friends thing" but only members showed up.  At any rate, it was still a lot of fun.  I showed some of the Sicilians how to throw and catch a football which was pretty entertaining.  On Sunday, I had to translate for some of our English-speaking members, so I ended up just making up most of the talks with the little phrases I caught here and there.  It's really hard to understand when people talk quickly and quietly.  The streets here in Ragusa are a little empty with everyone heading to the beach, but we still have a few opportunities to talk with people each day.  Well, that's all for now.  Alla Prossima!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Week 12 - Ragusa, Sicily, Italy

Transfer calls were Saturday, and I will be in Ragusa with Elder Stamps as expected for the next transfer (six weeks).  Sister Pancheri will be heading to Taranto and Sister Arnold (from England) will be coming to fill her spot here in Ragusa.  The Anziani in Gela will be staying so the district won't be changing too much.  I am very excited to begin another transfer... time is flying by for me.
So, last Tuesday, after district meeting at the church in Ragusa, we drove back to Gela in their car so that Elder Stamps could interview a baptismal candidate.  While they did that, I went out on the streets with Anziano Molnar (from Germany) to do some finding.  It stinks pretty bad there like dead fish and old garbage.  We talked to a few people, handed out some cards, and played a game of chess with this old man.  He taught us how chess could be compared to life in that every choice has consequences both in the present and in the future.  Interesting guy.  Then we taught English course at the small church in Gela and afterwards a lesson with a Polish woman and her two daughters.  The next morning, we woke early and left Gela at about 6am on a bus back to Ragusa.

Besides doing a lot of street work, we spent some time with our friends because Sister Pancheri is leaving and they wanted to say goodbye.  We had a barbecue where we grilled these giant rolls of sausage and then made sandwiches.  We made some arancini (meat ragu and mozzarella covered in rice and deep-fried) and cake too.  It was really good.  On Sunday we ate with the members after church.  We had some pasta with sausage and other stuff in it and some anguria (watermelon).  Also really good.
My Italian is getting there.  It's getting easier and easier to understand in church and when talking to people on the street.  Well, not much to say but that I will continue to work hard finding and teaching.  Ciao, ciao.