Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire. No Really, It Happened!

My Italian parents. I honestly consider Emilio and Ilaria
to be my family. I love them so much!
This week was a little sad, a little happy, a little strange, and one of the most beautiful weeks of my life. It was sad because Thursday morning I had to say goodbye to Sorella Alley and Sorella Burkman. They left early in the morning, and afterwards I went inside and curled up next to the heater. I just thought about how lucky we have been. We saw a lot of miracles together. I know they'll love their next areas, but I'm sad to see them go.
Thursday afternoon we picked up Sorella Lofley and Sorella Gjika. They're wonderful! We took them home for an hour, and then we went to correlation with Emilio. He was a little sad; he misses the other sisters as much as I do. I think it's beautiful because we can see how much he truly grows to consider us his children. He pulled me aside to tell me he was sad, but he didn't want me to think it meant he wasn't happy we're here. Even in the midst of his pain, he still puts us first; this is what makes him wonderful.

My sweet companion and our dear Sorella Gjeka.
Friday we saw some really great miracles. We had two lessons where our investigators brought friends they thought would be interested in the message. We also went out to visit Sorella Zufolini. She was talking about how we must testify of Christ. She then said, "Siamo testimoni di Geova" Fun fact, the translation for Jehovah's Witness is testimoni di Geova . . . so that happened. She thought it was just about the funniest thing she's ever said. On Sunday she kept coming up to me and saying, "Siamo di . . ." "Geova!" I replied. Good moments with our members. 

Searching for chestnuts.
Saturday was possible the most wonderful day of my life. Emilio and Ilaria picked Sorella Strong and me up early in the morning. We drove to meet other members and their friends and to pick up Emilio's father. Then we took an hour and a half drive to a cute little farm where we . . . searched for chestnuts. This is a really big deal here, apparently. You have to hike through the mud and find chestnuts on the ground. It's not easy! Especially when your sweet Italian father keeps throwing half of them away because they're not good enough. They have to be the perfect color, with no holes, the right size, and perfectly smooth. Chestnut hunting is not a talent I have, but we had so much fun. I talked to Emilio for a really long time. He thanked me for how much I love Rimini. I don't know how anyone could not love Rimini. 

After a very long day, they drove us home, and we had about an hour to get ready for the next part of the activity. We went onto one of the Italian military bases and roasted chestnuts! Have you ever done this? If you haven't, you need to. The Italians all thought it was wonderful how excited we were. We had a beautiful dinner with them, and we were able to talk to so many of our members. 

The Draghi family is one of my favorite families.
Look how beautiful they are!
Monday night we had a family home evening with the Draghi family. Emilio has asked us to visit every member and present a lesson about the Restoration of the Gospel. We asked the family to pretend this was the first time they had ever heard these things. At the end, there were tears in my eyes. It's one of the most beautiful lessons I've ever taught. The son is two years away from serving a mission. He was so moved by the power of the Restoration. Last night he told me he cannot wait to serve. Fratello Draghi thanked us for reminding us how important the Restoration is. This family is powerful, and they have an incredible spirit of love in their home. Sometimes on your mission, the best moments are those with the members. 

This last week was so focused on the members. I'm grateful for them and the opportunity we had to spend so much time with them. I truly adore this area. I look forward to my next five weeks working with these members. They are so loving! I wish you could all come meet them. What is most beautiful is how they find any excuse to bring up the gospel. They have been my miracles everyday this week. Emilio and Ilaria especially have truly blessed my life. I can't imagine not knowing them. I don't think I was called to Rimini because anyone here needs me. I truly believe I was called to serve here because I need them. 

Come sempre, vi voglio un mondo di bene! 
Sorella Ellen Rose Ervin

This is where we were all day searching for chestnuts. Have
you ever tried to search for good chestnuts? It's not easy, my friends.

This is part of my Italian family. I love them all so much.

This is our dear Massimo.

Yes, his name is Massimo . . . and . . . yes, he is dressed in those
wonderful clothes.

This is my babbo. Words cannot express how grateful I am for Emilio.
He's by far one of my favorite people in the world.

This is part of our branch here in Rimini.
The best part is that they truly are a family.

Just a perfect little alley. No big deal.

This bridge is over 200 years old. We were waiting for
my bike to fixed and the light was perfect.

My companion went a little crazy and made me pose for her.
Really, though, this is the Rimini I love.

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