Thursday, April 23, 2009

Moses from the pizzeria calls me Sister Mermaid, in Italian of course‏.

Dearest Hearts,

The transfer ended this week, a transfer is a 6 week period of service, and I am assigned to remain in Rome 3 with Sister Johnson. This is gooood news. We just love her so much. She has the gift of compassion (have I mentioned? I have the gift of reading peoples energies-ish ;)) and she is a great trainer in helping me learn the language and the culture and the map and the investigators and the members and things are just so great…I have finally embraced the fact that over the next year and a half I’ll get nice and fat. We have 2 investigators who own pizzerias and 3 investigators who own gelaterias and of course we visit our investigators. Italians are so loving and giving. S.J. and I will purchase a small something of course, but by the time we leave the investigators have gifted us additional goodies!

Speaking of food, we have a lunch appointment with Elisabetta on Thursday. Yes, this will be my first real Italian meal. Yes, I am nervous and excited. Elisabetta is a dear heart. She is an investigator who loves to explore her options. She’ll have us over and talk about the latest spiritual journey she is taking with which religious group and then she will ask our opinion. We read out of the BofM together and she’ll talk about how beautiful that principle on faith is and stuff and stuff and then she reads more about other religions. Hers will be a long journey, but when she comes around, she’ll be rock solid. Elisabetta is stubborn to do things herself and personalize everything, but she’s adorable and we are just a stubborn as she.

We visit an elderly woman every week and do her shopping. Her name is Hannah and she is a native of Germany and lived in the States for a while and now resides in Italy where she worked as a tour guide/ museum curator of sorts. She has introduced me to the best American chocolate chip cookies! They are called, “California’s” and they are made in Rome. Hahaha. But really, they are better than Chips Ahoy. We speak to Hannah in English and she loves literature and therefore has a charming vernacular. Once we asked her what she believes in and she didn’t have an answer. Later she said, “I have an answer for your question earlier. I believe in Mozart.” She’s so great. She insists upon addressing us by our first names, except she can’t certainly remember my first name because of her German accent, so she casually calls me, “Wispy”. We love her.

Sunday night all of the Rome-assigned missionaries, from 4 districts, met at Piazza del Popolo (Google that) for Zone Singing. We stand on the side walk and sing out of our Italian Hymnal (about 25 of us) while a few other missionaries hurry up and approach the people who walk by (it being a busy street for shopping high-end retailers and Sunday night stroll Italians). It was quite fun speaking briefly with so many people.

We volunteer at the Caritas every Friday evening. It’s a food kitchen for those without. My first night there 2 weeks ago was nearly unsettling because of all the stares. But I have learned how to deal. Now we get to laugh at all the things they say. One man tried to argue about how the American economy is better than Italy’s. But of course I’m a sister missionary and don’t argue about economics and politics because that’s not likely to invite others to come unto Christ. So I told him that the status of America and Italy is pretty much the same and I told him Jesus loves him and then I left his table. Later he said I was a “brava sorella” and kissed my latex gloved hand. Weird and gross.

I have never before been so proud of my German heritage! Hannah’s house mate, Jim, asked with part of Germany my people come from, (he also is German and Hannah was busy (lovingly) looking down her nose at me for being from northern Germany) I finally worked out, “Husum!” and he became very excited. Once he translated that comprehensively to Hannah, she quickly pardoned me and told me about a wonderful author of poetry and novels from Husum. Jim said our people before that came from Denmark as determined by the ‘sen’ at the end of Grandpa’s last name. At Zone Singing, we were talking to a German (in English) and he said that the people from Husum speak a German dialect that none others are able to understand. Fun, right?!

My mailing address is:
Sorella Whitney Linnea Nelson
Missione Di Roma Italia
Piazza Carnaro 20
00141 ROME [RM]

Language is great. Needs much work but is great.
I’m being kicked off the computer now.
I hope all is fantastic and wish you well!
Sorella Whitney Linnea Nelson

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