I survived almost a week in the field, and we walk, run and take the bus everywhere, it’s crazy and I always want to take a nap!
Monday/Tuesday (because it all blurred into one!): We had to get up at 2 am which was intense as we had only gone to bed/finished packing at 11:30… We had to take the Front Runner and the Trax to SLC airport where we caught our plane to JFK. It was about 4 or 5 hours. I slept part of the way and ate my cafe rio (the last time I’ll probably have a burrito for a while…!)
JFK was the real adventure.
We got off our plane and the sweetest lady approached us, her name was Bonnie from Richmond VA, and she insisted on buying all 8 of us lunch. She truly was an angel, especially as I only had $1 left…
But then I proceeded in finding our gate. To our surprise we had to go to another terminal. Unlike other airports with transportation to other terminals, we had to leave the airport and walk to another building, i.e. Terminal 1. Where we had to validate our tickets and re go through security. As you know NYC is probably one of the most busy places in the world and the airport is probably the busiest part of the busiest city… So to say we were all stressed out was an understatement.
Anyway we were blessed with a time delay to our flight to Rome, so I attempted to call home. After going through a time warp back to a time where pay phones were commonly used, I struggled to get my prepaid calling card to work. After many failed attempts, we returned to our seat, only to find a senior missionary couple going to Russia. I explained why I wasn’t a happy, smiley missionary and they kindly lent me their phone as Anziano Ridd handed me a new prepaid calling card. I was able to call home and as I was connected, I burst into tears out of relief. Apparently I have an American accent… Yeah right. But it was good to hear their voices and hear of news back in the motherland!
Then we ventured onto the 8 hour flight to Rome. Sorella Jarnagin and I took sleeping pills which were actually a life saver. When I was first falling asleep Anziano Alexander thought I looked uncomfortable and decided to tuck me in with his blanket and pillow. It was really rather sweet although I was told that in attempting to put a pillow under my head, he ended up smothering me…. I always knew he wanted me gone!
Life is just full of wonderful angels, sent by God to take care of us in our most desperate times of need. I testify that God is mindful of all his children (Alma 26:37) and he loves is more than we can comprehend.
We were met in Rome by the APs, Anziani Flynn and Toronto and we headed to the van to put our luggage in and then we all introduced ourselves. President Waddoups arrived and he seemed lovely, then we jumped in a van and headed to the temple site. The temple is pretty huge and I can’t wait for it to be completed! I’m just praying that it’ll be done whilst I’m serving! We then went to the Villa (aka the mission home) built by Mussolini! It’s a pretty cool place to be honest. So we then met Sorella Waddoups, she’s just as lovely as her husband, and ate lunch as we waited for the other missionaries from Madrid to arrive! After they arrived we took the Metro to the colosseum and the statue of Victor Emmanuel II. It’s pretty surreal to be in Rome! We went back to the villa and had our interviews with president then went out for dinner.
I can’t tell you how good it was to finally have a kebab!!!! Man I miss those late night 3am kebabs….
Wednesday: As Sorella Jarnagin and I had had our interviews with President the night before, we went with Sorella Waddoups to the supermarket. Hearing popular music as a missionary is so weird as it reminds you of a life previous to the life of a missionary! We then went back to the villa and then headed down to the chapel for training! We were given iPads and trust me to have the one that didn’t work…. As they were going through things in training in ‘preach my gospel’ (PMG), I had to sit there with the good old fashioned book whilst everyone was in the modern age using their iPads.
That night we ate lasagna and gelato – not the flavours I usually liked, but it still tasted good!
Then we had some farewell talks from President and Sister Waddoups and then we opened our golden envelopes. It was actually really fun, President announces your name and you stand between the APs, everyone starts doing a drumroll but were clapping instead, then you announce where you’re going and who your companion would be. I had no idea where Foggia was! Luckily they have a map with all the areas in the mission and the APs show you where you’ll go – one of the APs, Anziano Flynn, served in my area so he was able to tell me about it later. That night we had to pack as we were leaving at 5:50am for the train station.
Thursday: My alarm going off at 3:45am was not a fun experience… Our train was alright though, it was only 4 1/2 hours, I was able to have an uncomfortable 1/2 hour nap… But I shared the train ride with Sorella Ensign whose Mom is friends with Melanie Tacchi! So that was cool 😊 and also with Anziano Boscán because he’s going to Foggia too! I was met at the train station by my trainer, Sorella Condé, the sister I was replacing, Sorella Robertson, the District Leader Anziano Vrska and also Anziano Wog. Anz Boscán had to go to Bari where his trainer was waiting, he’s called Anziano Saffer and he’s from Sweden, everyone else is from the US. That evening we taught Corso d’Inglese (English course) which is actually really fun! Most of those who come aren’t members, and we taught the advance class, the other Anziani taught the beginners and intermediates respectively.
Now I can say that I was born in Foggia, mia mama is Slla Condé and my papà is Anz Vrska. Which makes Anz Boscán my half fratello because we share the same mama. The mission lingo takes some getting used to! Oh and I’m also called a ‘verdina’ which is greenie.
Friday: First full day nel campo (in the field)! We got my bus pass, got our new phone fixed (as the phone broke last week and we couldn’t get the numbers onto the new phone) and this man called Abraham approached us and we started talking to him about the gospel, but then he jumped on his bus after we gave him a couple pass along cards. We visited some potentials in their shop and we plan to go eat lunch with one of them on Tuesday. I was able to practise my Italian with them but I spent most of the time just understanding words rather than the gist of the conversation. We went shopping with a member who was getting baptised so she would have modest clothes for Sundays. She’s from the Ukraine over here studying; luckily she speaks English!!! That evening we planned to have a lesson with a less-active but she didn’t show up… I guess rejection is the name of the game! But we had correlation meeting with the ward mission leader. Which was interesting, again didn’t understand much!
Saturday: We stayed in most of the day doing weekly planning (boy does that take a long time!!). We planned to see the girl who stood us up on Friday just before the baptism, but she didn’t show again…
The baptism was lovely, and it was mostly in Italian! I’ll send photos. I met some members too, they all seem lovely and warm and some even speak English!!
Sunday: Church is obviously very similar, the ward is smaller than Weston and I bore my testimony in Italian; it was so difficult to try and understand Italian, especially Sunday school!! We were in Primary for the last hour, I had to play the piano and then attempt to keep them settled. We were invited to the C’s for lunch (my first Italian dinner) we had a pasta bake to start, the beef with a salad, and then cake (by the way it had strawberries on it, and yes I did eat them!). They’re such a lovely family, and Fratello C served in Leeds, so it was cool to talk about England with him. It was a lovely way to end my fast!!
We then went home to finish planning, that evening we did a gesso. Where we go into the town centre and put a sheet on the ground and draw a picture, then we ask people and talk to them about the gospel. It was actually a really fun experience despite the rejection, people actually listened and I was able to have conversations in Italian!!
Monday: Today we went to Accadia, where we saw some medieval homes – I’ll have to send pictures next week!
I love my new district, we don’t have designated areas in Foggia, like at home, so we see each other pretty much everyday.
You can send me emails during the week as I’m allowed to check my emails, but only allowed to reply on Mondays.
Life as a verdina is fast pace and I’m still getting used to things, but it feels really good to be in the field! I’m relying on the Lord for pretty much everything, especially the language! I don’t think I’ve prayed so much in my life, but we’ve seen so many miracles already – the Lord really does love us and looks out for us all the time!
It’s not about me, it’s not about us.
Love you so much,