|Me and Renata - my mom in Milano!|
Last Wednesday was probably one of the hardest days of my entire life. I had to say goodbye to so many people I love so much. After e-mailing home, Sorella Stewart and I went on a walk through downtown Milano. Mostly so I could go shoe shopping, but also so I could say goodbye to the beautiful city. Don't you worry; I did buy my very first pair of Italian shoes. Saldi season is my favorite season! God gave me a wonderful blessing while on this walk. We passed Renata on her bike. She told us she wasn't going to be able to make it to Family Home Evening that night because she had a test. I am so overcome with gratitude that I was able to say goodbye to her. This woman has been like my mother in Milano. She always calls me figlia and gives me a wonderful hug. She reminds me of my mom in so many ways. I can't imagine Milano without her.
|Me & Sorella e Fratello Ramos|
So many members came to FHE. The Anziani gave a really sweet spiritual thought about temples, and then we split up into teams and made temples out of dry pasta and marshmallows. I would love to say my team won . . . but this apparently is not our game. Afterwards, we did what any good Italian missionaries do. We ate. The members brought so much food! They really went all out. We also took about a thousand pictures. Oh my goodness, I miss these people so much. There is just something so wonderful about them. Every few seconds, someone else embraced me. I honestly didn't know how to say goodbye. This ward is my family. I love them with every fiber of my being. I ache being away from them just as much as I ache being away from home. They have taught me so much, most importantly about love and member missionary work. The day I am able to see them again will truly be a great day.
Here's the fun part of Wednesday. We got home and I needed to finish packing. It should have taken me about a half hour . . . no, it took me and almost two hours. Why? . . . because we didn't have electricity. I had to pack my whole life into three suitcases, in the dark. I finally managed it, and I went to bed.
|Nothing better than seeing my sweet girls at the train station.|
Sorella Holloway, Me, Sorella Baer, & Sorella Haslem
The city is absolutely beautiful. It's so tiny compared to Milano. It's by no means a small town, but it feels so much different. It's so much farther south as well. It's by the sea, so we get a nice little sea breeze, but it's also a thousand times hotter then Milano. I love it though. My companions are wonderful. Sorella Alley arrived in Italy the same time as me, and Sorella Burkman arrived the transfer after me, so we're all pretty young in the mission. Next transfer, they're going to send another sister as well, so they can open a new copia here.
Our branch is fantastic. I was really worried about church on Sunday - not because I didn't think I'd like them, but just because I thought it would be so sad not to see the ward I've grown to love so much. Yes, it was sad, but my branch was so welcoming and loving. They're so excited to have three missionaries and even more excited that next transfer there will be another one. I was told over and over again that I speak beautiful Italian. I personally think the heat was getting to them, but I appreciate the compliments anyway.
Our branch mission leader is amazing. He's absolutely hilarious, and he obviously cares so much about the missionaries. Monday afternoon, Sorella Burkman got really sick. We called Emilio about 8 p.m. to ask him to come give her a blessing because she was really starting to worry us. He called another member to come with him and was over in just a few minutes. He then called doctors for us, drove around for an hour trying to find and open pharmacy, and bought her medicine. The other members have really been amazing as well. One member brought us a box full of vegetables so we could make Sorella Burkman soup. Sometimes it amazes me how much people love the missionaries. Sometimes it's really difficult to do what we do, but members who show you unconditional love make it so much easier.
The bike situation in Rimini was a wee bit sketch for a few days. Not only am I the clumsiest person in the world, but also I was riding a broken bike. I almost died a few times, but now my bike is fixed and I am only a slight hazard on the road. So thank you for all of your prayers on my behalf; I'm sure that is why I'm still alive.
I'm excited for this next transfer. In the last week, I've learned an awful lot and I'm so looking forward to learning even more. I was terrified to leave Milano; it was just so comfortable to me. But now, I would be heartbroken to leave Rimini. God knows exactly who and what we need. If we depend on him, everything will turn out okay. I believe that 100%. I can't wait to tell you about this upcoming week. I'm not sure what, but I feel like something incredible will be happening. I love this work; I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.
I love you all.
Sorella Ellen Rose Ervin
|Last day as companions|
|Maria Luisa and me|
|Me, Alex, and Sorella Ramos|
|Me and Sorella Ramos|
|I love these missionaries!|
|Me and Anziano Garner|
|Me and Anziano Malzone|
|My first pair of Italian shoes.|