Sunday, April 18, 2010


We rarely have member lessons and\or eat with members but somehow yesterday on scambi we ended up with two (Luckily we actually had a bit of time because we got bidones, or cancellations?, from the other 7 lessons we had planned). We showed up to this woman expecting just to give a brief lesson before running over to a lunch appointment with another member and our hearts sank when we smelled food cooking. I said, "oh, how nice, are you cooking for your husband? He gets to come home for pranzo?" She shakes her head. " this is all for us? We really weren't expecting anything. You really don't need to worry about it..." She then launches into a million and 5 stories end on end about how she used to do so much for and with the missionaries but this horrible thing and this other horrible thing and some other horrible thing are happening in her life these days. And she knows that there aren't many Bolivians here and so she decided she needed to run out and buy all the ingredients for this special Bolivian dish. The she continued to fry everything in sight (potatoes, hot dogs, eggs, etc...) while telling us another million tragic stories about her less active children, her non member family members, etc. We then were encouraged to add mayo and ketchup to this heart stopping Bolivian combo. I have developed some really handy food dodging skills here on the mission. I was able to stop her from serving me the 5 scoops she gave my companion then sneak all of the hot dog slices back into the bowl and steal all the veggies from my scambi companion who doesn't like veggies while the member wasn't looking, then pretend like i was using the mayo. In then end I enjoyed a really delicious, hopefully only heart slowing rather than stopping version of this Bolivian surprise and somehow was able to direct her tear jerking, life is hopeless stories to the passage we had planned on in the Book of Mormon.Then we sprinted over to the next member and the games started all over again....

This time it was heaps of boring pasta that I had to escape from and really crude stories mixed with semi apostate theories that we had the challenge of directing towards a conversation and message about following modern day prophets. On the bright side, we came out of the appointment with a whole slew of new ideas on how to use Bideas (I'm not sure how to spell it but am referring to those things that go next to the toilet that spray water as a means of cleaning up instead of using toilet paper) and a big slice of home-made focacia. My scambi companion is going home next week (I seem to always be put with the ones going home, eh?) and had not used a bidet during her whole time here so decided to try it last night at our house...apparently she is not the only missionary who doesn't use Bidets...the faucet spouted out nasty brown water for like a minute.
If any day is a good day to eat as much unhealthy food as we ate though, yesterday was it. We for sure walked it all off going to all of our back to back lined up cancelled appointments. I was so tired at the end of the day that it was kind of a big relief when I realized we had been going in the wrong direction on the bus for 30minutes trying to get to our last appointment of the day and would have to sit for another 40 minutes to get where we needed to go (one of my real companions had taken my map with them on accident). Of course, didn't even matter we were late though guessed it, the woman wasn't even home and hadn't been all night and no one knew where she was. booooo.

Also encountered a few people of interest yesterday during all our running around...1) a drunk man sprawled out in the middle of the sidewalk at 12 in the morning 2) two really creative campaign workers who were dressed up in renaissance clothes with a trumpet and one of those announcement scrolls and were going from one metro car to the next giving a hilarious announcement about some big political debate the next day. A few days ago Prina Simons and I used the car hopping technique on the metro for contacting and it was kind of effective but now I see that we could improve our work by leaps and bounds. I will be suggesting a trip to the local renaissance store when I see my companions tonight. 3) Diana. We actually met her a few days ago, not yesterday, but she definitely has a story worth mentioning. Her mom is from Eritrea, her dad from Ethiopia. Because of some political issues and this ethnic background she and her brother were not allowed to stay in either of the countries. So, they fled from the South of Ethiopia, worked their way up through Libya (or maybe it was Algeria) to the ocean, got packed onto some boat and 5 months after their journey started, ended up in Northern Italy. The kicker is that she was pregnant during all that. And now, since she doesn't have a job she has had to give her son to the "soure" or...I guess in English that would be like a monastery, or place where the nuns live so that he can at least get a little food. She is only allowed to visit him once a week and if she doesn't find a job and a way to take care of him herself in the next few months then the Soure will have possession over the kid somehow and he'll have to grow up a priest.

And a few interesting people while doing only 30 minutes of casa...1) A Milanese woman hard core into occult sciences in order to communicate with God or the dead or whoever. 2) An American girl here on a mission for another Christian church who wanted us to go out to a club together later on. ha ha, apparently her mission is a bit different than ours. 3) A 90 year old woman who, well, I'm not even sure how to describe her. She grew up really poor in Rome, had a really rough life, but has some incredible stories and the biggest heart ever.

Oh, I forgot to tell you about the other pictures...

Anyway, other highlights from earlier in the week...
We had dinner with one of Sorella Prina's distant cousins and a group of 5 of his other single adult Italian friends. It was the cousin that a few months ago had said that one of his friends had met me on the metro. That friend was at the dinner too. The dinner was super chill and a good time, at least for me. They were all big skiers and travelers. A few had been to Cuba...pretty jealous of that one. We planned a ski trip for a year from now. Then we sat down to have a lesson. Oh jeez, for sure the most awkward lesson ever. Sorella Prina had been stressed about it for days so we had tried really hard to plan a perfect lesson but we had realized at some point during the dinner that what we planned wasn't going to work at we tried to improvise. Didn't work. We were all sooo bummed and just in shock when we got home. Sister Prina said something along the lines of..."Thank you Heavenly Father that we made it through that night" in the prayer when we got home and then I just busted out laughing and we continued all laughing for like 10 minutes straight in order to keep ourselves from crying.

We have a few really promising new investigators. Marcella and Roxanna. A mom and daughter from Peru. The Elders found them doing casa then passed them over to us. We have only taught them 2 times but they have already read a ton in the Book of Mormon and also brought up baptism. Normally we have to force that conversation into lessons...nope, they just rolled right into it. Plus, they already have member friends because I accidentally tricked (does it count as a trick if it was on accident) a member into coming to a lesson with us. There was yet another transportation strike the night of our first lesson with Marcella and Roxanna so I called a member family to ask if they could meet us for the lesson then give us a ride home. Clearly my Italian still is not very good because they had no idea they were doing a lesson with us when they got there. But they were good sports and changed their plans a bit so they could do it. I might use this strategy more often so members have less time for excuse making. My favorite excuse I got this week for why a member couldn't come to a lesson with us was something like "I really am not feeling up for it because my dog died four months ago..."

And in my last few seconds here's a bit of food news for pop - Sorella Simons and I made home-made Eggplant Parmesan a few days ago. Sooo good. Recommend trying it.

Love you all -


Saturday, April 10, 2010

I NEED SOME AIR March 10th, 2010

That little trip to the countryside last week and beautiful day in the park gave me an insatiable need for fresh air and nature. Last P-day we planned to go to the park after email so Sister Simons and I could go running while Sister Prina wrote letters but by the time we got out of email it was POURING RAIN. It was still a treat, though, because I got to wear sweats outside for a total of 3 hours because we had the intention of doing something physical. Oh man, I almost forgot how much I love sweats. I've decided that when I get back home I want to go hike the entire Appalachian trail. After a year and a half of wearing skirts and being in cities I will probably need 6 months at least of the extreme opposite - only nature and sweats. Then I will be ready to live a more equilibrious lifestyle.

So yeah, we weren't able to go running. Then we had a whole day inside for Zone Conference (which, as always was really enlightening...details to follow), then about 3 or so days mostly inside because Sister Simons was sick. Even when we were stuck inside Sister Prina was up doing the charts for our investigators with me, teaching me how to cook various healthy treats (got another good cookie recipe for you Crust) , making phone calls, giving me private voice lessons, etc. Then we had another day inside for Interviews yesterday. And today....we planned on going back out to Ludmilla's to go hiking for Pday, but then it started snowing last night and hasn't stopped since?!?!? Instead, to satiate my craving for fresh air and movement, I read an article in the Ensign during study that related skiing to some gospel principle and we stopped by a book store for a bit and looked through some books with incredible nature pictures. I was inspired by the Ensign article to be better at making up real life personal examples to teach doctrine principles in lessons. It will be good practice for me and help me get more creative. I read something else in the Ensign the other day talking about how creativity is a Godly attribute (he designed the world, us, etc). Mostly looking back at the week what stands out is all the things I have learned from the Ensigns...
I will spare you all my detailed thoughts, though, and just let you explore most of them yourselves. Here one though...
- There is one article (Putting Families First) about a family that started a "Family Club" instead of doing all the extracurricular activities that were causing them all to go crazy and taking a toll on them individually and as a family unit. The story demonstrated that we can have less stress and more joy when we prepare EVERY NEEDFUL THING versus EVERYTHING. I think I am naturally drawn to the latter of the two and then I end up pushing my companions too much and take a toll on them and their patience. But if I really learned to follow the Spirit to know what the needful things to do are, then no one would be drained and sick at the end of the day, but we will still have been diligent in getting what needs to be done done.

Despite all the indoors time, we have taught a few noteworthy lessons too...
Tito and Ludmilla: We found them our very first week of the transfer doing Porta. Ludmilla was the only one home and just peeked her head out the door. She said no to us like 10 times but we just kept talking to her, asking her about herself, etc and after about 10 minutes she finally opened the door all the way. Being in three is pretty useful...If the door is just cracked opened people can't see all three of us and get curious about the mystery voices. After about 15 minutes we were inside talking about the Book of Mormon. After 20 minutes the guy that she lived with came home and after 25 minutes he had scheduled an appointment for us the next day and said he would be in church that Sunday. He has come to church every Sunday since but has not let us come back to teach a lesson because he only wanted a lesson when Ludmilla was around at the same time...which is never. People work soo so much in this city. Especially foreigners. FINALLY on Monday they called at 5 and said we could come over at 7. So we cancelled our other appointments and made it there. We taught the plan of salvation and...I'm not even sure what else to say. Mostly it was just a miracle that we were able to teach them both. Tito is awesome. From Ecuador, has a long pony tail, always kickin it in sweats, super sincere, looks you right in the eyes when he talks and does exactly what he says he is going to do.

Haha, funny language story for the week happened at this lesson...My tag broke, Ludmilla asked if I wanted some glue (cola) and I said, "No, I'm fine, but maybe some water...".

Neyusa: We found her also a couple weeks ago doing door to door during a time of the day that is normally not super productive because doormen are working and won't let you in, plus no one is really home anyway. She was one of the doormen that we went up to to ask for permission to go in...we ended up talking to her for about 30 minutes about the importance of families. She is from Portugal, married to an Italian, and is pretty much an Ensign style mom with an Ensign decorated house. We have taught her two times since then but leave having learned more from her about mothering than she has learned from us about the church. During my study the morning before teaching her the third time, I was lead to two different scriptures from the BOM that I thought would really relate to her...Mormon 2:23-26, a story of moms and families that loved each other and wanted to protect each other but couldn't because they did not have faith in and the strength of the Lord VS Alma 56:45-48 where the children had been taught to have complete faith in the Lord and succeeded in defending themselves because of it. Then, when we planned our lesson, we decided we shouldn't share that because she really just needed a basic Restoration lesson. Turned out when we got there and got into the convo, though, those scriptures were EXACTLY what she needed.

Sister Malinverno: Her last name is translated Badwinter. She is one of the few Italian members in our ward and invited us over for lunch when she noticed Sister Prina singing during sacrament meeting. This woman is obsessed with Opera (but does not sing at all herself) and the second we walked into her house started pulling out piles and piles of opera cds then for the next hour and a half while we ate an Italian style 7+ course meal and taught our lesson we listened to opera in the background. I actually really, really enjoyed it. Sister Prina is always so calm, super genuine with everyone, really dedicated to speaking the language correctly, and an incredibly clear and engaging teacher. I have felt so much more joy and love and enthusiasm for life just having her around me for the past couple of weeks again.

Well, that's about all I have to say.

Love you all, miss you all, hope someday I will get the package from you all...

Sorella Cuzz

OUT OF MILAN! April 3rd, 2010

Pop, you complained about my letters getting boring since I had been in the same city for three weeks in a row. I was not able to get myself promoted to Assistant to the President yet, but I was somehow able to work out two trips outside of Milan. Neither were really on purpose. The first one was pretty close to Lake Como (not to the city of Como, but to the part near the city of Lecco) and at the foothills of the Alps. We have this crazy (but in a really good way) new convert named Ludmilla who was baptized in another city but recently moved into our ward...or so we thought. She has been begging us to come to her house for some native Belarus food and relaxation (she is superduper into health, yoga, massage, etc.) and we finally decided to go the day after her birthday for our 2 hours that we have everyday for lunch and language. She didn't tell us exactly where she lived but told us to go to the train station then call her to find out where we should take the train to. Bad move. We found out that she lives about 45 minutes outside of our zone. Long story short...our Mission President and Ludmilla had a battle, and Ludmilla won. Our good fortune. It was sooo sooo sooo nice to breath fresh air, see a real Italian village, sit in her kitchen with the window open looking out on the mountains, rolling hills, etc. and listening to the stream rush past her house. It is no wonder the people in Milan generally don't think much about God! If they can't see any of his creations ever it would only be natural to forget about him and focus on the things that are constantly surrounding stores, money, food, etc. Speaking of food...Ldmilla made some really good potato pancake things that I loved. She said it was a Russian dish. If you want to google this town, the train stop was called Olgiate C.B.

Our second outing this week was to Torino. It was not quite as relaxing as the other. We got a call from the office on Friday saying to go on Monday to pick up Sister Prina's permit. We got up at 4am to get there when the office opened at 9, wait in a giant hall with about 600 other people for 5 hours, then got back home around 7. We had a few really nice experiences, though, while waiting. There was a family from Romania sitting next to me with 2 little kids. The parents were completely ignoring the kids and the kids were super duper intrigued by me writing in my journal, so I started drawing with the kids and entertaining them. In normal life I probably would have been annoyed by them for distracting me...that's the great thing about being a the end we are called to love and serve people and there really isn't anything more important that I should be doing. A little later on we talked to this awesome family of gypsies from Yugoslavia that live in a "camp" here. They had about 6 of the mot beautiful children I had ever seen. Haha, one of the little boys was telling me he wanted to be a police man when he grows up and I thought he said he wanted to be a house cleaner so I started telling him about how much I love vacuuming and miss having carpet and asking him about which chores he liked to do most. Lots of confusion during that conversation. Anyway, we shared a little bit of our message with them and left them with the Torino missionaries address. I didn't see too much of Torino...we stopped by one of Sister Prina's favorite chocolate shops and to 2 different train stations and that's about it. To get to one of the train stations, though, we went through the center, older par tof town which was really charming. I think I saw the spot where Pop took the picture when Mom and Pop were there on their mini trip.

On our way back on the train we met my favorite Italians yet. There was a big group of businessmen that work together in the city and during their hour long transit every morning and evening they play a very roudy game of cards on a big piece of cardboard that they set on their laps and bring with them every day. Since we don't get into many houses of Itaians doing door to door (or even have many of them open the door...they prefer to just have conversations yelling through the door) it is always really nice when we have positive interactions with them out and about and get to learn a little more about the culture, etc. In fact, yesterday we had another really nice native Italian experince. Last week after doing email my comps had a very odd craving for McDonalds and were positive they couldn't make it until we got home to eat. So, even though our day time was over, we stopped by McDonalds. I was kind of frustrated, but Heavenly Father, as always, was merciful and taught me another lesson on patience and placed a golden opportunity for work in my path. One of our Italian members was sitting in McDonalds with a group of about 6 friends and had just been talking to them about the church. So, I was able to chat with them while my companions had their "McItalians". Then we had a return appointment set up with this group of retirees yesterday at a park where they all hang out together in the afternoons. If we would have just approached the group and started trying to explain who we were, what we were doing, etc. no way they would have listened to us. But because of the member they were way way more open. Haha, except for Pascuale who is really aethiest and really didn't think there was a need to pray to invite the spirit into our lessons. I had to convince him to let me pray by saying I would just pray for the people in Chile... by the way, I really have no idea what happened in Chile so if anyone wants to update me Id appreciate it.

Remember the girl that was starving herself...we finally had an appointment with her and a friend this week and it went really well. They are meeting with us again but are afraid to talk to tell their parents about it just like our group of underage Filipinos...

OK, I am going to try to send some pictures now so I'll wrap this up and write more after if I have time. I am really sorry if this letter is not understandable...the keyboard is really horrible.

Favorite scriptures of the week: The whole book of Ephesians.

Love you,

CARNIVAL WEEK - February 24th 2010

This week was Carnival week in Milano. Apparently every city in Italy has a different Carnival week or day. From what I understand Carnival is kind of like Halloweeen...or at least that is what the 60 year old woman wearing a bright pink bunny rabbit outfit while riding the metro to go to the hair salon told me. I didn't really see many other people dressed up, though, so maybe she was a bit confused. Either way, she made my day. When are other holidays this year by the Easter? General Conference? Mothers Day?

Here are some other highlights of the week besides talking to the bunny rabbit lady...

Food: Sister Prina's Chocolate Bread Pudding. Instead of stopping at Pastry shops she took to the kitchen this week and whipped up some amazing desserts.

Most touching moment: We didn't see as much success this week doing door to door. One old couple let us in the other night, though. The wife was really reluctant to let us in at first saying that her husband wasn't well, she didn't need anything, she prays already (while holding up a picture of the Madonna situated by her door as proof), etc. Finally we convinced her to let us in and say a prayer with her and her husband. She wasn't kidding - her husband really wasn't well. He had some problem with his chest that made it so he couldn't eat and he was probably like 70 pounds at most. It was really, really sad. We chatted a bit, shared a comforting scripture with them from the Bible, and said a prayer. After the prayer he just had this glow about him and you could really tell he was touched. They didn't really understand anything we tried to explain about he Restoration but at least I really felt like we helped them feel Heavenly Fathers love a little more.

Most entertaining moment: Encounters with Italian men from the South. They are hilarious. I think I already told you about the Man from the South that helped us last week...We were looking for someone but couldn't find their exact address. I had asked him for help but when he couldn't find the address either he said..."Well, this is how we'd do it in the South, then started yellling out the name of this contact while walking up and down the super busy street. Then this week...we were trying to get into an apartment building one morning to do porta porta (tracting) but weren't getting past any doormen. One doorman we got stopped by looked at our tag and immediately said "You won't find any work here Sorellas. We are all Gay, Hebrew, atheist, and murders." We then continued to have the most amusing conversation ever, figured out that the apartment building was mostly photography offices for models and in the end (after setting up an appointment with us and his family for Friday...woohoo!) he advised that we go try working a couple streets down where we could find a few apartment buildings witout doormen and people who eat a little more.

Most disturbing moment: We walked past a man standing outside the gate of an apartment building. I felt like I should go talk to him. So we did. After we inroduced ourselves he jumped right into explaining that he was waiting for some woman he didnt know to let him into the apartment building so they could...make love. He knew he shouldn't but God hadn't been helping him out with any of the things he needed and this was his last resort for finding happiness. We bore testimony of a few gospel truths and then left. I felt bad for getting my companions into the situation but my companions after both said that they had felt like we needed to talk to him too and were glad we did. Sis. Simons said when we walked by the first time she had gotten an image in her mind of him teaching the Young Men's class or something. Who knows what will happen...

Favorite scriptures of the week: We are teaching the commandments (starting with the 10) to the high school philipeano girls so I read the story of Moses and him getting the 10 commandments. Super fun to read, imagining all the places he was in that I have probably been to or at least near. Highly recommend it for the fam and Kristen. Might make you all appreciate more the jaunt I sent you on over to the Siani even though you were all dying at the time.

No more time.
Love you all lots.

Sorella Cozzens.

EMOTIONS AND FOOD - Feburary 17th, 2010

Thinking back about the week those are the two things that stand out. I feel like everyone I came across was an emotional wreck (so many tragic stories that are pent up inside of people!!) and I feel like I have stopped in every pastry shop in Milano in the past week. Somehow, Heavenly Father was still able to use us as instruments in his hands to teach some 21 lessons, get 17 new investigators, 5 people in church, and give a lot of much needed spontaneous acts of service...incredible considering that last time I was here in Milan 11 lessons in one week was our max. I learned some really useful tools while in Pordenone and I think applying them here has really helped us out. But even with those little tips I still couldn't have imagined how well things turned out this week. Honestly, looking back at how many pastry shops we stopped in, how much time we spent looking for massage therapists around town, how many unexpected disasters came up (like loosing Sister Prina for an hour in the Metro System0, and how little time we spent doing what I, based on what I learned in Pordenone, thought needed to be done to have "success" it was an incredible week. While the last threesome I was in seemed to be steamed by pure hard, hard work and diligence I think what allows for success in this new threesome is cheesy as that sounds. Even though we aren't running around as much and inviting as many people, I think these two Sisters focus more on loving more each person they do invite and teach and that may be even more important. Plus, they take the time to show love to each other and be concerned for each other (and me of course). So quality rather than quantity?

So the emotional wreck trend started on Friday. We were walking to an apartment building to do porta porta. We had chosen this specific apartment building because it was the address given to us by one of the many people that gave us fake phone numbers at the market last Saturday. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a girl leaning against a pole bent over. I went over to see if everything was ok and then saw that she was shaking, and having a hard time breathing. Long story short, we sat with her in a store for about a half hour waiting for her dad and the ambulance to show up. In the meantime we found out she was only 15 and had not been eating all week because she wanted to lose 15 pounds. She had about 10 million hard things happen in the past month and just couldn't take it all anymore. Super duper tragic. On the bright side, we are teaching her a lesson tomorrow. We also have been teaching 3 high school age Filipino girls (they are all cousins of each other and babysit for a member family) that are so so incredible and progressing way more than any of the adults we are teaching. About 3 days after we first gave them the Book of Mormon we had a lesson with one of them and she was all embarrassed when we asked her what she had read in the BOM. After making a million excuses of why she wasn't able to read very much she told us she had read the first 10 chapters of 1st Nephi...ummmm, yeah, that's more than I read this week probably. I'm thinking from now on I'm just going to talk to teenagers on the streets, in the metros, etc. Way more open than the adults here.

We ended up making it over to that apartment building to do door to door eventually and were let into 3 different doors again out of the first 9 we knocked. And there were families in each of them. On the same road that we found the girl shaking and not breathing and where this miracle apartment building is a few days ago apparently there was a huge fight between some Egyptians and South Americans and one Egyptian was killed...hear anything about that out there on the news? I'm a bit bummed about it because we had a return appointment with an Egpytian family we had gone in doing door to door with and they were going to make my favorite Egyptian food when we went back but now my companions don't think its a good idea to go back because of the recent events...

As for food this week...We had incredible Peruvian hot chocolate 2 nights in a row at the houses of 2 different new investigators. They use a couple chunks of dark chocolate bars, fresh cinnamon sticks, cloves, milk, and lots of sugar. So good. Also had some incredible home-made tiramisu at the house of a less active. And some really good Filipino dish at a members. I am really horrible at describing food, definitely should not be a food critic. Moral of the story, I have had way too much sugar this week. Oh, I also discovered Polenta. I don't think I will ever eat rice again. I recommend making Polenta with Parmesan and rosemary someday. I also recommend reading the Book of Mormon (as in the book written by Mormon that is within the Book of Mormon). Super powerful. You can feel his emotion and love for the Lord and the people just pouring out through the pages.

I love you all and miss you all really badly and although I love being here I really can't wait to see you again in exactly one year.

Sorella Cozzens

Another Three-some - Feb. 10th, 2010

So real transfer announcements (as opposed to the transfer announcements that I tend to get in the middle of transfers early in the mornings) were made last night and....drum roll...Sister Prina is coming to join Sister Simons and I here in Milano 2!!! Yeah, I am pretty excited. I screamed for like a minute when the Zone Leader told me. Kind of weird though that I have been in a threesome now for all but 9 weeks of my mission. They say that having a companion is supposed to train you for marriage...what exactly am I being trained for if I always have 2 companions?? I'm trying not to read too much into it...

Anyway, she arrives tomorrow morning. It will be interesting to see how different it is being companions in the field than the mission. I'm excited to have her good eating habits again. Sister Simons and I have been cooking together during this transfer and it has been pretty fun. We went grocery shopping last week right after we had both eaten entire pizzas (sick right? Italians and missionaries think it is normal though. I guess its a little different because the crust is super thin here. Still though, I tried to get someone to share one with me but they all thought I was crazy) and so didn't end up buying much food because we were both about to explode. Thus, we have been forced to be super creative this week. It ended up being the best food I've probably eaten all mission though. My favorite thing we made was a cake with coconut milk, a can of pineapple and the juice, craisins, flour, sugar, a bit of butter...sooo good. We have been trying to cook more with spices and less salt too.

Our attempts in finding this week have been a roller coaster of excitement and disappointment. One day we decided to do street contacting at a big open air market that is open every Saturday morning near our house. In about one hour we were able to set up about six appointments for the following week (this week). Turned out that most of the phone numbers and addresses given to us were fake, (or we can give them the benefit of the doubt and just assume my Italian is still really bad and I didn't write down the phone numbers and addresses correctly...).

On the bright side, though, one evening in one apartment building we were able to get in three times to teach lessons. For those of you who served in South America or somewhere where this is normal...its not normal here. At all. We are lucky if 3 people even open there door rather than just yelling at us through their door to leave. One lesson was to a group of three 40 year old woman who had left there children behind in Russia and Ukraine to come here and work and send back money to support them. It was pretty sad listening to them talk about their children they hadn't seen in years. Same situation, though, with a lot of the foreigners in our ward. Many of them, especially the Philippinos have left little children behind with grandparents. Yay for the plan of salvation eh?! Eternal families anyone?

We have also met a lot of super interesting people this week from doing all of our finding...a Peruvian Ballet dancer that is here for a show at Le Scale (the main opera house), a 98 year old man that helped build some important Duomo (or main cathedral) in Sicily somewhere, a man that has been inactive for about 20 years and isn't even on the ward records (started a conversation with him and his wife by complimenting his Merrel shoes. If he gets reactivated and his wife gets baptized we owe it all to you, Pop, for instilling in your children a love for high-priced outdoors apparel).

Learned a lot in the scriptures this week...since we have not really had many investigators to plan lessons for I have been able to take more time to just read the scriptures and apply them to my life. And your's a thought I had for Jo, Mom, Cory, and me in a year. Or anyone else who is looking for a job or something to do after graduating. Read 1 Nephi 16:18-32. The spirit can help us provide for our physical needs. And our fathers can help us receive this guidance from the spirit (vs 23-25). Also see the talk "Father and Sons: A remarkable Relationship" by Ballard. In the talk it explains that we must trust our fathers because he loves us and wants the best for us. PLUUUS, key point, he is ENTITLED to receive inspiration on our behalf. But, we must tell him we want him to by asking. This can not only help us but help him because it motivates him to be better (not that you need to be better at all Pop, that was Ballard's thought, not mine. Clearly his dad wasn't as awesome as you are). Before all of this seeking guidance from the spirit, though, we must arm ourselves first so that we are prepared or eligible to find the provisions for our physical needs ( hard for tests, prepare good resumes, etc). See vs 22 I think for that reference. The spirit knows exactly where we need to go to find the right job, education, etc. that will help us provide for our families. If we don't seek the guidance of the spirit ourselves and with our dad's help it will be like searching for something with a blindfold on.

And mom - I did study your new favorite scripture in Mosiah 4:14 but had too many thoughts so I'll send you a written letter hopefully.

Christi - you said it was easier for you to apply the scriptures to real life when you were on a mission. Maybe when you read the scriptures you should do again what you did on the mission and think of someone you know that needs help and try to find a scripture or story that would relate to them. For example people at work, family members, Riv, etc. Then share the scriptures of course.

We've had a bit of snow and rain here the past week but nothing like you all are getting out there in DC. I'm pretty dang jealous. Well, maybe not... Do the missionaries keep working when everything is closed down there or are they shut into their apartments too?

The best funny story I can think of for the week was a lame excuse that someone gave us at the door for why they couldn't listen to us...He answered the door, then after we explained who we were he was like "I'm sooo sorry but I really need to use the bathroom. I cant wait anymore. I really gotta go. OK, bye."

Love you all lots and lots. Can't wait til I get the package with the pics :) Thanks for all of your hard work to get that delivered finally. I was told it was the vitamins that caused the problems this time.

Happy Valentines day!
Sorella C.