Well, transfer news finally came in last night after two days of having heart attacks every single time the phone rang. We're all staying in Rimini another transfer! It's going to be a little different though; Sorella Alley and Sorella Burkman will still be companions. I will be opening a new coppia with Sorella Strong. I don't know her, but she was in the MTC with Sorella Burkman. Surely Rimini has some really young missionaries with Sorella Alley and I on our fourth transfer and Sorelle Burkman and Strong on their third. Even though it's a little sad we won't be companions anymore, I think we're all really excited for the change. It's hard to work in three; and more importantly, this means Rimini has two companionships. The members are all really excited. I do realize my next six weeks will consist of finding work. I don't mind finding, though, and Rimini is a beautiful place to be outside everyday.
|This is our sweet family! Cristian, Valentina, and Serena!|
This does mean that I won't be teaching the people I have grown to love. That's probably the hardest thing about this change. It's going to be really hard to not teach Cristian and Valentina anymore. I just love this family so much. Sunday they came to church as a family! Cristian wasn't going to be able to make it, but he told his work he cannot work on Sundays anymore because he has to be at church. I've said it before, and I will continue to say it through the eternities - this family is elect. Valentina was welcomed by the branch just as Cristian was last week. They love this family just like we knew they would. They both participated in Gospel Principles. I definitely appreciated this because five minutes before class started, the teacher asked me to teach the lesson. Having Cristian and Valentina there and participating was such a blessing. Between them and Emilio and Ilaria, we had a really great discussion about charity.
There is a little bit of sad news with Cristian and Valentina. They're moving at the end of this month. They'll get baptized before they move, though, and they're going to a place with a really strong ward. They're actually there this week and we talked to the missionaries serving there. They're going to help Cristian and Valentina find the church and maybe have a lesson with them. Mostly they're just going to give them a beautiful welcome, which we really appreciate.
Ok, this week I received some of the most welcome news of my life. One of our new converts is going to Milano for a month, so I called Anziano Garner to ask if he would help her figure out which ward to go to and just help her out a little. We talked a few times throughout the day and at one point he was helping set up for a baptism . . . for KEVIN! Anziano Garner actually baptized him and Alberto was a witness. I was just so happy. Anziano Garner told me he had a surprise for me and a few seconds later I heard the familiar "Ciao Sister." It was my sweet Alberto! I didn't get to talk to him for very long, but it did my heart so much good. He passed the phone to Kevin's mom, Monica and we both cried a little bit. She thanked me for helping prepare Kevin for baptism and reminded me of my promise to come back in a year at the end of my mission. I don't think I could ever forget that.
|Look! Sorella Stewart just sent me this beautiful picture of|
one of my favorite families. I've never been so happy!
Then I was able to talk to my very dear Sorella Stewart. Here's where the news gets almost unbelievable. Anabella's brother, Alessandro, had just had his baptismal interview. At the end of the interview, Eleazer pulled the district leader back inside and had his own interview. If everything went as planned, they both got baptized yesterday. I don't know if I have ever cried so hard. I'm crying now! I'm just so happy for this family. Norelys has been praying for this for ten years! In one year, they will be able to go to the temple! I want to thank you all for the prayers you have said on behalf of this family. I can't properly express my gratitude. Of course, I'm sad because I wish I could have been in Milano for these three baptisms. But, what's important is that these three people I love with all of my heart have made a beautiful covenant with the Lord. I could not be happier at this moment. I don't think I've ever been happier in my life.
Sometimes as missionaries we teach people for so long we refer to them as eternal investigators. I beg of all of you out there don't think of them like this. The moment you put it into your head that they will never get baptized, you put one more block in front of them. Sometimes it takes longer then others. Eleazer has met with missionaries for ten years on and off. All we can do as missionaries is keep loving them. Miracles happen, especially when you least expect it.
I love you all. I'm so excited for the next six weeks. I know we'll have a lot of challenges. Opening is difficult, but I already know and love the branch. They want to be the best missionaries they can. Our job is to help them do that. Thank you for everything!
|Sometimes Sorella Burkman bites her fingernails. Sorella|
Alley keeps threatening her we're going to soak them in
vinegar. I guess she bit them one time too many.
|You know you're going to have a good time when you walk|
into a member's house and see this . . . Gotta love pizza time
with Emilio and Ilaria.