Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Milano Navigli to . . . RIMINI!

Sweet Alex kisses me anytime he gets the
chance. Every time a camera comes out,
he tries to kiss my cheek, true story.
So, we received our transfer news on Monday. I'm getting kicked out of MIlano and sent down south to Rimini. I'm heartbroken and excited all at the same time. But, more on that later.

This week has been truly amazing, and I've seen a lot of miracles. Granted, some super strange things have happened, as well. For instance, by now I'm sure you're all aware that I am without a doubt the clumsiest person in the world. I don't really think you could even find enough to argue with me about this fact for more then 5 minutes, because then I'd just pull this out of my back pocket . . . last week I sprained my ankle while standing up during companion studies. No, really, this happened; I got out of my chair, twisted my ankle, and then confirmed appointments for the day while lying on the floor. My comp took a picture as proof, but no one will ever see it. Here's the deal: when you're a missionary, you can't really afford to have a sprained ankle. Hence the fact I just pretended it didn't exist, because we can't just cancel every appointment. Well, that was one of my worse ideas. But, now my ankle is all healed, and I know how to say ankle in Italian. So it was good for something.

Saturday was my four-month anniversary! Yay! Four months ago I entered the MTC. I didn't think I could get to Italy fast enough. Now I realize that all seems like it was only yesterday, I still don't speak Italian well, and I wish I had more time to study. Time is moving way too fast. I feel like every time I blink, I jump forward in time. 

The spirit is such an important part of this work. Saturday morning, we were preparing to do Parco, and we were checking the map to make sure we knew how to get to the parco. I felt like we should go to Parco Basiliche instead though, so we did. We were in the parco for less than five minutes when we met a man who was truly interested in the message. He said he was praying at that moment for a miracle, a sign from God everything was going to be okay; then we walked up to him and told him God loves him. His name is Antonio, and he's a really wonderful person. He came to church the next day, and in our lesson on Monday agreed to be baptized on August 24. I keep imagining what would have happened if we hadn't gone to that exact parco at that exact moment. The best way to do this work is through the guidance of the Spirit. If we don't, we will miss out on so many incredible miracles that are just around the corner.
On Sunday we had five investigators in church. The Anziani had two! I'm not sure if the Assistenti had any or not, but our ward had at least seven! We usually feel lucky to get one or two. I love to see the work moving forward in this ward. The members are becoming incredible missionaries themselves. There was never a moment when our investigators didn't have anyone to talk to or just stood by themselves in the corner. The members made sure of that; they are truly incredible. 

Over a month ago, I asked Anziano Payne to write me a song. He's been putting it off, but realized the end of the transfer was coming up, so he had to do it. OH MY GOODNESS! He and Anziano Heaton wrote a rap and sang it to me over the phone. I laughed so much I fell off of my bed. Granted, this is not exactly abnormal for me . . . but still. I don't know what I'm going to do without my district! They bring me so much joy every single day. 

Last day as companions . . . Duomo
Well, Monday finally rolled around. My companion and I were both stressing out. Starting at 10 am we were waiting for the assistants to call. It was transfer-cleaning day, and our house was already incredibly clean, so we were having problems focusing and not just freaking out.  Anziano Payne called and told us they're getting white washed! Crazy! He's going to be a zone leader in Padova, and Anziano Heaton is opening and training in Alessandria. At that moment we realized anything could happen for transfers. Then we went to Alberto's house with Carmen! They made us lunch, and it was wonderful. Carmen noticed we were both preoccupied and I wouldn't let the phone out of my hand. Alberto started laughing because he had the assistenti over for lunch the day before and he had tried to get them to tell him where we were going. They gave absolutely nothing up. It was easier to not stress around Carmen and Alberto, but I still don't think I let go of the phone once. Finally it was time to leave because we had ward correlation [a meeting of congregation leadership to talk about the needs of ward members]. 

My first pair of Italian shoes . . . pictures next week
We got off the bus and started walking towards the church. The phone rang; finally, the assitenti were calling. I was talking to Anziano Money; he told me I was called to serve in the beautiful city of Rimini. Let's be honest here. Right at that moment, in the middle of the street, in Milano, I started to cry. I didn't even think it was a possibility that they would pull me from Milano after only two transfers. My heart broke. Yes, I'm so excited to serve in Rimini; it's beautiful, by the sea, and everyone who serves there is in love with it. But, I was not prepared to hear that I would have to leave my perfect ward. Then Anziano Money told me I was going to be in a threesome with . . . Sorella Ally and her companion! Oh what joy filled my heart! Sorella Ally and I were in the MTC together, and she is by far one of my favorite people in the world! I passed the phone to my companion, and she found out she would be staying in Milano and training again. 

We walked into the church and Anziani Garner and Malzone were already there. Garner saw me crying and said, "Well, I guess the assistants finally called you." They had just gotten a call as well. Garner is staying and training in Milano again. Malzone is headed to Lugano. Not really surprising, because it's the only city in our mission that's in Switzerland . . . Americans can't serve there because of issues with our visas . . . so it was only a matter of time before he was sent there.

We had our last correlation meeting all together, and then Sorella Stewart and I headed off to Monica's. I finally stopped crying right after correlation, but when we walked to the bus stop Alberto was there and wanted to know if we had heard anything. He was so surprised I'm the one leaving. He spent the whole bus ride telling me how much he was going to miss me - such a sweet man. Then I had to tell Monica and her family I'm leaving. This was even harder, because they were devastated. In fact, in many of the pictures we took that day, Kevin was frowning because he's so sad. He even gave me a little stuffed animal to take with me so I can remember him. 

My comp is five years old and still likes to chase birds.
Later that night, I called Sorella Bollwinkel to see if they had heard about transfers. She and her comp are staying in Milano as is Sorella Holloway. Also, Holloway's new comp is Sorella Haslem, as in, her MTC companion. When I told Winks I was leaving we both got super sad, because we realized we wouldn't be able to see each other as much. Then I pointed out I'm going to a city with bikes. Her response, "Ervin . . . you can't even get out of bed correctly." Yes, they are sending the clumsiest person in the world to a bike-riding city. Pray for me please.

I don't even know how I feel right now. Today is my last in Milano. Tomorrow I'll meet Sorella Ally at Centrale [train station], and we'll head to Rimini. On the upside, I'll be there forever and get to see so many people I know at the station. I already miss this city. I miss the people I've grown to love so dearly, my wonderful district, my perfect ward. I never expected I'd have to say goodbye to them all so soon. I was born in paradise [born=missionary slang for first assignment]. I'm so grateful tonight is English Course and Family Home Evening so I'll get to say goodbye to many of the members. I look so forward to the day when I will see them again.

Sometimes during English course, my comp
thinks it's a good idea to take a picture.
The next time you hear from me, I'll be in Rimini. I really am excited. Excited to see Sorella Ally, excited to meet our other companion, excited to meet our branch. I know I will love them just as much as I love the sweet members in Milano. I'm going to one of the prettiest places in Italy. How could I possibly have been so lucky, to be born in one of the music capitals of the world and then next go to one of the most beautiful cities in the world? Our members keep saying they're sorry I'm leaving and they don't want me to go. But the Lord has a plan for me. It's so much more perfect then what I could ever have planned for myself. I've seen that already in my first city and I know I'll see it in my next as well. God knows everything. There is a reason for me to head to Rimini, I'm not sure what it is now, but I have faith that it's incredible. So I'll answer dear Lord, with my hand in thine, I'll go where you want me to go.

All my love, always.
Sorella Ellen Rose Ervin

This family is the greatest!

I love them!


Monica's lovely family and Alberto


The boys love Alberto so much!

When the Anziani heard about the sign,
they made us show them.
I will miss these sweet people with all of my heart.

Sweet Anabella, I'm going to miss her so much!
The Torres girls!


  1. Please tell Sorella Ervin how much we appreciate her as our daughter Sorella Stewarts companion. They are away from each other now, but had a delightful time together in Milano.

    This is a beautiful blog!! Thank you

    1. Laura,

      I know both my daguther and I appreciate that Sorella Stewart was her first companion in Italy; Ellen learned so much from her in the 12 weeks they were together. It has been fun to read Sorella Stewart's letters on the mission site and read about things that have happened to them from both their points of view.

      Oh, how I would have loved to see these two curly girls tackle Milan together!