Thursday, December 11, 2014

December 9, 2014 - Homecoming!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Some well traveled shoes!
She's home! Seemed fitting to wrap this up with pictures of her last day in Rome and her first evening home in Texas! Thanks to those who followed Megan over these last 18 months and helped her or prayed for her or sent well wishes to her. She loved all the notes and support that she got. Her homecoming talk at Church is this Sunday at 9:00 a.m. You can text her for details since she now has a shiny new phone (with the same old phone number!). Here is how her time in Rome wrapped up and how her homecoming went!


Dinner at the Mission Home

Departing missionaries

Home (minus luggage!!!)
Excuse my shaky hand--shaking with excitement!

Countdown over!

Chicken fried steak at Babe's
Yes, she cleaned her plate!

Megan, Matthew, Jeremy (cousin), and Jared

Monday, December 1, 2014

December 1, 2014 - 77 weeks down and one to go!

My dear friends and family,

November birthdays at Zone Conference
1) Thank you for reading these letters for the past year and a half. I really do appreciate all support, love, prayers, and the general care and attention paid to the little and big things I shared with you. Thank you all so much.

2) This is my last letter to you all. Sunday night I will take an overnight bus to Rome then Monday I won't really have email time, and then Tuesday I'

Departing Testimony

3) This mission was nothing like what I thought it was going to be, and it was nothing I could have really prepared for in a certain sense. I mean that there was nothing I could have done in the months leading up to my mission that would have prepared me for it, but rather the only real preparation to be done for a mission is living the gospel every day of your life and listening to the Spirit of God that tells you to do good, and then trying to do good and become the best you can be, in every way. And then when you get to the mission, it turns out that it is just a continuation of that life style, just with some very different activities. But you are still trying to be your best and to live the gospel without shame, like the apostles of old, and to hold on to every good thing and to fight off temptation. And it is still not easy! But it is not our work that we are doing. It is the Lord's work, and we are here for the ride. He does not need us to do His work in order for Him to accomplish His great and eternal purposes. But, WE need to do His work in order for us to accomplish OUR eternal purposes, to become like Him and to be ready to meet Him. We need to serve missions so much more than He needs us to serve missions. It is about so much more than being obedient to a law, to only giving handshakes to men, or to being home at 9. It is about turning your heart to God in a way that is so irreversible that you want to do all you can to obey anything He tells you, because you know how happy you will BOTH be if you can do it. Of COURSE missions are hard. You are rooting out a natural man or woman that has been inside of you for so long, and trying to help others do it too, others that may be so far ahead of or behind you in their spiritual progression or in their relationship with God. But you have to keep trying, and when you fail, you have to try again. The only time you really fail is when you stop trying, when you give up completely and feel that you can never do it, that you will never be good enough. But God has never been concerned with the amount that we give Him, He is only concerned that it is our all. He asks our WHOLE heart, no matter how big or small we feel it is. I guess I just learned and am learning a lot about His love and mercy, and what it really means that He is my Father. I am just so grateful I came. I am SO grateful that I came, and stayed. I am grateful for my changing heart, for the love that I feel, for the passion for the word of God, I'm grateful for my desire to work and to learn, for the relationships I have established, for the lives that changed, and for the time that we are given. I am just so grateful. 
Malta/Catania Zone Conference - November 28, 2014

4) I am excited to see all of you. I will be home in a week, and that is just so weird. I will say that it has not really hit me yet, and it feels like just another transfer. I guess that is probably normal. People keep asking me how I feel. I feel GREAT! I am so excited!!! I won't get sad till I get on the plane, and then I will probably cry a ton, but until then, I am just really excited. 

5) I love you all. I really can't say that enough. I just love you guys so much. 

6) See ya next week!

Sorella Patterson

Training at Zone Conference

Monday, November 24, 2014

November 24, 2014 - Thanksgiving Week and 2 weeks left!

Cara friends and Family,

I wish I could tell you the minimal part of my week, but I cannot. I know I only have a couple of these things left, so I will try to make them good and/or include pictures. Probs just pictures. 

Now that's a room with a view!
So, my birthday went pretty well. No one here really remembered, again, so it was low-key, but I did get a really good arancino, which are just the best food down here. It is a cheese ball inside a ball of rice with some meat sauce, deep-fried in a delicious batter. Yeah, we get one like every other day. A Sicilian specialty. Today I even bought a magnet of an arancino... for after the mission... for me. I love them. Anyways, that night we had a missionary correlation meeting with the Elders and some members, but they still didn't remember (the elders). So, Sorella Pinkston "sercretly" told them and when we still hadn't heard anything when we got home, I figured they really just didn't remember/care. Bummer, because they are like the only family I have out here. Then, rather late (won't say how late), our citofono (doorbell thing) rings and Sorella Pinkston got it. 30 seconds later the Anziani were at our door with a card, whisper-singing happy birthday in Italian. They gave me the card then ran down the stairs and left. It was a sweet matrimonial card... that originally said "today you get married" but they crossed out today and wrote "in three weeks". Hahaha. It had a sweet little bracelet they had gotten me too. So, they totally forgot, but they redeemed themselves with the marriage card. 

So, I heard that I have a place to live when I get to BYU. Mom, you said that the washer and dryer are not selling points for me, but you don't know what it is like to not have a washer for 18 months. I'll just say I am VERY pleased. The place honestly sounds great, can't wait!

Okay, sweet experience. Saturday night, my comp was feeling sick so we came home a little earlier. I sat down, not really knowing what to do, and was just kinda flipping through the ward list (28 pages) when I had a feeling to start calling people. I decided on calling all the less active sisters, ALL of them. So, I started. I had done about 30 or so I think, most of which were inactive numbers, or people that pretended it was the wrong number, and some possibly real wrong numbers, when I looked at one and said out loud "This one will be inactive!" I said that because it had the area code of a house number, but too many numbers to be a house number, and everytime that occured, it was inactive. My companion watched as I dialed it anyways and we were both suprised when it started ringing. She started laughing, and I almost did too, until some one actually answered!! I could not believe it. We talked for a bit, she asking me if I was a new misisonary and whatnot, and then after a bit, she said that she had been kinda thinking about coming to church the following day, and that we would see each other there....  WHAT. Too awesome. So then Sunday rolls around and I am waiting in the foyer forever for her, but nothing. I knew I wouldn't recognize her, but she had told me that she would introduce herself to me (I have a tag, I mean it's a little easier for her). But nothing. I go into sacrament, and listen as our second counselor gets released (who by the way walks around now as though a HUGE physical weight has been lifted off his shoulders, poor guy. He even came up to the missionaries that day, a new event, and invited them over for Christmas. I mean he is a happy guy now). Anyway, then in gospel principles, the teacher tells us all to scoot to the front and middle, because there weren't that many of us. I motioned to the lady next to me to sit in the seat right next to me, smiling, and she smiled back and said okay and came over. Then she said, " I'm Annamaria"... The same lady!!!!!!! She had come!!!!!! So awesome!!!!! Miracles in every situation, when you do the best with what you have. So happy. 
This week is Thanksgiving, which we will be doing with a BUNCH of AMericans out near the naval base. There will be 3 turkeys, a fried turkey, a ham,and tons of other things. I am SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, that is all for this week. Love you all. Have a great week!!!

Sorella Patterson

Laban and his roommate got baptized in Rome on Saturday.
This was in memory of Sorella Patterson.
Picture from Alessandra.

Monday, November 17, 2014

November 17, 2014 - Birthday week!

Dear All,

This week will just be a photo collage, how's that? Alright, here we have the flood, the best food ever (arancini), and the train ride down here. It was about 10 hours I think. And part of it was on a boat since we came to the island. It was a LONG trip, if I hadn't mentioned it yet... and I will have to do it again pretty soon... unless they fly Elder Fossa and I up, which could happen... we'll see.
10 hour train trip

Common crazy things seen in Sicily
Okay, adding on to my big email, 

This week we went to Siracusa for an exchange and it was awesome. I went running with my temporary comp in the morning for the first time in... a while... and almost coughed up a lung. She is a cheerleader at UVU, and fresh out here so still in good shape, and man... I've got some work to do when I get home.... but whatevs I am going to keep eating this incredible food until the day I leave, which by the way, will be Saturday the 6th of December, when I go to Rome for a couple of nights until the day I really leave. Also, LABAN gets baptized this Saturday up in Rome 5!!!!! I am SO happy for him!!!!! He and his roommate are getting baptized on the same day. How awesome. I am so happy for them. 

A delicious American (Mexican) lunch
for our Italian district leader
Well, we taught a lesson to a bus driver on our way home one night, we went bowling and I kicked tail, and we had an American dinner with a family from the base. This is one of the weirdest transfers, but I am loving it. I am having all these crazy or cool or crazy cool experiences almost daily in which I can see clearly how my entire mission prepared me for that conversation or lesson or experience. It is really aweosme and an awesome wrap-up. I am loving this. And this place is seriously just nuts. I will say that after this transfer, I am REALLY proud and grateful to be an AMERICAN. I LOVE Italy. But I am American. 

The awesome church building in Siracusa.
That city is seriously beautiful.
The prettiest one I have seen in Italy I think.

I love you all so much!!! Have a great week!!
Sorella Patterson

Monday, November 10, 2014

November 10, 2014 - Hail! Oh, and 4 Weeks left!

Dear friends and fam,

This week was straight up crazy. I don't think I can send pictures today, but here's what went down. Wednesday, there was a freak hurricane thing that brought golf ball size hail, the one day the elders let us use their car to go see a less active in the hospital.The streets tuned into rivers, literally, and it was breaking up the pavement of the road. Cars around us were beginning to smoke because water was getting in the engine I guess. We said a prayer and turned the car around, headed to a member that lived out in that city. But on our way there, the water was getting too high to drive in (I was driving because my comp hasn't taken the test) and the wind and hail were getting crazy, so we decided to ditch the car and find shelter. We parked on the first hill we saw, and ran into a little hunting goods store (convenient if this was to be the End, eh?). While there, I chatted with a woman working, asking if this was normal. She said no, they'd never seen anything like it! The power then went out, taking our cell phone service with it... Haha, it was crazy and awesome. When we thought it was letting up enough to go back to the car, that's when the hail got bigger... So we determined to stay and figure out why we were there. That's when this woman's husband came to get her (in a nice big truck, seemed american to me it was so big). She offered us a ride to our car, but I couldn't say yes for some reason. Then they drove away before I could say anything about who we were. But, by some miracle, they came back and offered to have us come with them to their house and wait out the storm, with pranzo. DEAL. I couldn't say NO to that one! So we climbed in and went home with some strangers, to find this AMAzing family of 5 that I know we never would have found without some freak flash flood and golf ball size hail. I just love the way the Lord works sometimes!!! รจ proprio pazzesco!!

Comunque, it was a great week. That storm pretty much lasted from Wed to Saturday, and then I got sick. But I will be better tomorrow I think. Man, I get sick a lot lately. I am kinda tired of that. But it's okay, it could be worse. 

We got to go visit a family on the American base this week. It was the weirdest thing. It is literally a tiny piece of America in the middle of a crazy backwards Italian island. They all have minivans and trucks and yards and garages and flags. It is just the weirdest thing ever. 

Anyway, things are going well. I am getting REAL excited to come home, but I know I will miss this more than I can even imagine. But that is okay. It has been a good long ride, and is still going. The thing is, I don't feel like I am ending my mission. I just feel like I am getting transferred really far away and that my work will just change, not end. I don't want to ever not be a missionary, ya know? This is the best thing to do, and I guess I will just have to always do my best in what ever circumstances I get into. That's the plan anyway. 

I love you all. I hate these cockroaches. I love the warm November, and I am sad I will not see President Eyring and the Pope mix it up in a few weeks. That will be such an awesome event! 

Love y'all, have a great week!

Sorella Patterson

Monday, November 3, 2014

November 3, 2014 - Oceanfront Property

Hello Friends and Family!!!

Okay this is going to be super short, but...

Catania is the best. I can see the ocean from my apartment. It is one of the two homes in Italy of the Mafia... my comp is the BEST..... the ward is struggling REAL BAD.... and I got called as STL again, but President forgot to tell me, so I found out from another missionary.... on our way to the AMERICAN NAVEL BASE where we spend two hours every Sunday in church with AMERICANS singing in ENGLISH and listening to ENGLISH. It is the most awkward uncomfortable thing EVER. But I love it. This place is seriously crazy. And I have so much to say, but no time, so next week will be better. We are pretty much forgetting about investigators and focusing on member probs and the 650 less and inactives in the Catania ward (not the American one). It is going to be great.... :) I love my life and my mission and I am so excited for this last transfer. I love all of you, have a great week!!!

Sorella Patterson

Monday, October 27, 2014

October 27, 2014 - Headed to the Islands!


Laban and his roommate Omede
The Lord has spoken and I am going to the Island again! This time, Sicily!!! I could not be more excited for this last transfer. I will be with Sorella Pinkston too, who if you remember, is like my bff in this crazy country. I am just so happy. Honestly, I cannot believe how blessed I am. I don't feel even the tiniest that I have earned such trust and such a blessing. It is literally the dream last trasnfer. I cannot even begin to express how I felt when President told me that. He is just the best. Man, life is good. 

Sacrament Meeting in the hotel
Church for the last 4.5 months. it's been good :)
Laban is going to get baptized either one or two weeks after I leave, I am so happy for him!!! And his roommate will be baptized in December. It is just incredible. The Lord is really blessing this place and I know He will keep doing it. I am sad to say good-bye to people but not super sad to go. I know that there is so much waiting for me, and I am just excited. Rome 5 has in many ways been my "refiner's fire" and I bet there is another around the corner, but that is okay, I think this one made me a little stronger ;) we'll see... ;) 

Mom, I am down for that Christmas volunteer thing, it sounds fun! And for the flight, that is perfect, thank you!!! And I will totally come to seminary, I can't wait!!

You could pretty much ask me anything right now and I would do it. I am just feeling REAL grateful, and in debt to my Maker. Seriously though. Life is just good. I am going to Sicily. 6 weeks. Good food. A real ward. An already best friend so we don't have to awkwardly get to know each other. I cannot even wait. I will miss Sorella Decker and all this work we did and the car, oh I will miss that car, but the warm island is sounding reeeeeeeeeal good right now.Have I told you it is cold here? It is cold here. Can't wait. 

I love you all. I hope that you are all well. I hope you are all still studying the words from general conference. I reread "Approaching the throne of God with Confidence" or something like that this morning. I think it is one of my favorites. I have plans to put it into practice to improve myself. I hope I never stop looking for ways to improve. I owe a lot of that to you all for your good examples to me. Love you all tons,

Sorella Patterson