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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Happy Birthdays, Graduations, Births, and Parents Days to You. - May 12th, 2010


Thanks so much Pop and Mona for the list of awesome things to do in Milan. I think the key is pretty much exploring the center of town. I love walking down the streets that run in random directions with all the old apartments and unique stores, restaurants, and incredible churches scattered here and there. This morning, in an attempt to find some new shoes for my companion that were affordable, we went to some store called "The used market" that she had looked up in the phone book. Apparently she didn't look up the small print words in the phone book that described the store because it was all just antique house stuff and there definitely weren't any clothes or shoes. Luckily, since the store was near the center of Milan, it was not a waste of time at all since we saw cool things walking along the way. We stopped into one really pretty church that you can google...San Carlo al Lazzaretto. Built in 1488. The store itself was pretty neat too - waaaaay nicer stuff than anything you would find at DI. They take good care of their old things here. Anyway, because of that failed attempt to buy shoes we got to find another place this afternoon. Plus, a member made me promise I would get my companion a "hair makeover" asap...Mom is probably laughing right now at the fact that someone asked me, the girl who never would blow dry her hair for church, to give someone else a hair make-over. Anyway, we are both going to get haircuts today. Moral of the story, I don't know how much time we will end up having today to do and see all those cool places.

We weren't able to go last week to any of them either because the Assistants called us and asked us to meet all the new missionaries at the Duomo and help them do their first 'contacting' there for an hour or so. At first I was really annoyed that they were taking away some of our Pday time...but it was well worth it in the end. My companion and I got there before the rest did, so we were sitting inside the Duomo writing letters. They didn't see us when they walked in. They were all gathered in a big group (there were 5 new sisters and 8 new elders) and not really paying attention to anyone else. I hid my tag under my coat and walked up to the sisters and in Italian said, "Are you Mormons? You aren't allowed to be in here. You really need to leave immediately!" Their faces were classssssic. One Sister was really impressive, though, and actually tried to explain to me that they weren't going to proselyte or talk to anyone inside. I had that same sister with me when we split up into little groups to go talk to people outside the Duomo. She was really confident ├Čn using the little Italian she knew and we had some great conversations with people. It was refreshing to see her enthusiasm and desire to use everything she has to do the work. Then afterwards we all got gelato...love living in Italy!

Ha, so here is a fun language fact of the week: To say the flavor of gelato you use the word gusto. Like...What gusto do you want? Gusto comes from the verb root gustare which means to please. So technically you are saying what pleasing do you want? Oh, here's another fun one...you know how when we hear someone talking and don't understand we say "Its all Greek to me!" or "It all sounds like gibberish to me." Here they say..."It's all ARABIC to me." Hahaha.

And speaking of Arabs...a man from Cairo (originally Orthodox Christian) is getting baptized next week! He is a friend of Nady, another man from Cairo that got baptized in August. This friend just started coming to church 2 weeks ago with Nady and by the second week told us he wanted to get baptized so the Elders started teaching him. He has a wife an a few kids in Cairo still that he wants to be taught too, so maybe there will be some real Egyptians in the ward in Cairo soon instead of just Ex-pats.

My companion and I had an intersting experience with another family from Cairo this week. So basically whenever you knock on Egyptian's doors they are really friendly and welcoming and will let you in and feed you because Egyptians are awesome and that's how they are. But, we try to clarify at the door before going in whether or not they really have interest in our message. Normally, once we emphasize that we are coming in to talk about Christ, they finally say no. But one family the other night understood clearly and still let us in. We chatted for a bit, shared a summary of the message of the Restoration, then asked if we could say a prayer together. The prayer is kind of crucial because it doesn't really count as a lesson unless we pray. They were all "Yeah, good idea, let's pray together! First we need to prepare ourselves though." You probably already know from all our trips to mosques that they have to wash themselves and cover themselves before praying. We tried to convince them that it wasn't necessary for our prayer, but eventually gave in and agreed to washing ourselves. The woman takes us into the bathroom and shows us how to wash all the different parts of our bodies three times...then she whips off her pants and starts washing herself in the bidea three times too!! ai yai yai...My friends in Egypt never made me do that part. Then she runs to her room and brings out a pile of long robes (galabeyas) and scarves (hijabs) for us to cover ourselves with, plus prayer rugs for the ground. Twenty minutes later after we were "prepared" and the husband had done his style of prayer we were finally able to offer a prayer. They took some pictures of us and promised to send them, but we haven't received them yet....

Shoot, that entire day was just a crazy day. We had done about 9 hours of "finding work" because no one ever wants to make appointments with us on the free days on Saturdays. A bit earlier that day we created a mob at the park...we started talking to one man and 5 minutes later there were 3 other people gathered around arguing about politics involved in the starving children of Africa situation. We also had some guy who answered the door explain to us that we couldn't be the right chuch because we didn't know the real name of God. Normally ths is the first sign that we have foud a Jehovas Witness. This was not the case, though...he continued to explain to us that God is the Sun and the constellations are the apostles. I didn't really get it. My companion was saying crazy funny stuff left and right that day too...my favorite quote was something along the lines of - "I'd like to do that - just sit in the park with a dog. Actually, I used to do that with my guinea pig. She'd eat the grass and I'd just watch for hours. It was so fun."

Well, I wanna see if you guys have written anything else to me in the past 15 minutes since Ive been writing this....So I'll send this and write more later if there is nothing interesting from you to respond to.

Tanto amore-
SLC

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