Monday, December 28, 2015

First Christmas in Italy

Last week was Christmas! Yay! It was fun running around and trying to
visit everyone before Christmas. We made brownies and snicker doodles,
very American dolci but people loved them. The holidays are a pretty
big deal and you can't just go to someone's door during this time
empty handed right before Christmas. There's a quote that says "people
don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care", and
I've definitely found that true. It was amazing what a difference a
simple gesture like a plate of cookies made when we visited people.
One member who has stopped coming to church, and blocked the
missionaries phone numbers, wasn't there when we dropped off the
cookies, but called us ON CHRISTMAS, and thanked us and said the
cookies were "buonissimi" and said that we could come see her the
following week! Another lady actually let us in, who said she didn't
want to see us anymore, and another lady also invite us back and were
actually going to a service project with her today! Yay for cookies
and brownies.
For our mission, we're not allowed to proselytize the day of
Christmas, Christmas Eve, and the day after Christmas is definitely
more celebrated here than in America, so for certain hours we were not
allowed to go to people's homes unless we were invited. Luckily we had
a meal appointment the 25th and the 26th. The 25th we ate with the
bishops family and we ate so so so much food. I don't know how they do
it. They had different types of scaccia, arancini, appetizers like
cheese and meat and olives, and THEN we had the main course, lasagna,
a ton of lasagna, and then the second course, a plate full of sausage
and potatoes, and then the pandoro. Their family has little kids and
it was fun being around them for Christmas. Christmas Eve my companion
and I made cinnamon rolls, so we could put them in the oven Christmas
morning. They don't sell brown sugar in Italy, it's just not a thing
and there's no substitute for it. So we tried to find it at the
international food store, and it wasn't there, but there was this
Indian sugar that looked similar and seemed to have a similar texture
so we bought that instead. When we got home from buying the sugar, we
tried it, and just had to laugh because it was definitely not brown
sugar. Haha, it was sweet with a little bit of an Indian kick to it.
We decided to use it for the cinnamon rolls anyway. In the end, the
actually tasted really really good! You couldn't taste the curry
flavor, it was only sweet. So I was quite satisfied with that. Then
Christmas Eve, we had a fancy little dinner with our food scraps that
also tasted surprisingly good (tender mercies, right?) and we watched
some of the bible videos.
In preparation for Christmas, we took advantage of sharing a lot of
Christmas messages with people, scriptures, videos, all that good
stuff, and typically our invite for them would be to find a way this
year for how they can bring themselves closer to Christ, whether it be
to study his life, or share your testimony of Him with a friend. Every
year I feel like it's never forgotten, we're always reminded, "don't
forget the reason for the season!" The reason is Christ, but I feel
like I always kind of glossed over that. I've definitely never
understood the nature of Jesus Christ more than I do now. Studying who
He is, last week it kind of just clicked a little more in my mind. The
bible is made up of the OLD testament "of Jesus Christ" (you could
say) and the NEW testament of Jesus Christ, and we also have ANOTHER
testament of Jesus Christ (the Book of Mormon). People have been
prophesying of Him since the beginning. He is the literal son of God,
and He truly came to Earth and truly lived, and He was the only one
who could save us from our sins. The more we learn who He is, the more
we will love Him, and the more we will have a desire to follow Him and
all the examples that He has set for us. I can testify that Christ
lives, and that He leads and guides His church today.

Love you all and happy almost 2016!

This was last pday, Christmas billboard

Cinnamon roll :)

 I bought a strand of lights for our apartment and Sorella Roberts
brother sent glasses that if you wear them the Christmas lights have
shapes, like ginger bread men

Our Christmas Decor

 This Sorella made a giant nativity and it's really cool

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