Sunday, November 29, 2009

This huge pile of garbage is what is piled on many of the streets here now as the garbage hisn't being picked up. Who knows why. It might be that the city is out of money. We'll see if the trucks start picking up on Dec. 1. The other pictures are of a young girl that comes to English class. She invited us to her 18th party, a big one here because then they can drive. The one picture is also of the 7 Catania missionaries.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

trying this again

Sunday, November 22, 2009

It's almost strange to think that 46 years have passed away since President Kennedy's death.

On a much more enjoyable note, we've spent the past two days attending the Palermo District Conference with Elder Gerald Causse of the 70 presiding. Elder Causse, the first general authority from France, is a member of the first Quorum of the 70 and serves as First Counselor in the European Area.

Yesterday's meetings took place in the little but lovely town of Pergusa located in the center of the Island. Today we meet at a hotel here in Catania. How wonderful to see nearly 1,000 Saints and investigators gathered together in this part of the world. Their enthusiasm and love for the Lord was evident. I've learned that Italians here are not all that much in a hurry to leave when the meeting is over!

It was also good to see some 40 or so missionaries, most with investigators or those thinking to come back into church activity. All told, a most delightful week end.

This past week, Jan and I received our official "permisso" (document) to allow us to stay in the country until our mission ends. This was especially fine in light of the norm being permissos are good for one year...we for some reason were given an extra few months. Considering the time and amazing level of bureaucracy needed in the process, not having to renew ours again is a real blessing!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hello, Family and friends. We are fine and still thoroughly enjoying our mission but just haven't gotten on our blog lately. We haven't taken any pictures so then I don;t think to get on it. We just got home from teaching English class. We have a lot of fun with it. Rick always comes up with an Enlish word that has several meanings and they discuss the different meanings and spellings. Tonight I brought two Dr. Seuss books and we went around the circle reading them to help with pronunciation. They liked it and we read "Red fish blue fish" and "The Cat in the Hat". Thank goodness for the Sigonella Library where I can get stuff I am familiar with. We did other things as well. We had two new missionaries arrive today. They are both Italian so they went to the MTC in Madrid (remember when we went to the Madrid Temple and saw the MTC and Mission Home in Madrid- Robyn, Kelly and Amanda and Sam?) They seem like really nice youg men. Sister Toronto and I made a nice meal for them and their new companion and we held a meeting with them. By the way Melony, the barbecue chicken sandwiches were a real hit and I bought a huge (45) box of American chips that I noticed the next day were all gone. We topped off the meal with Marie Callendar razzleberry pies and vanilla ice cream (yea Sigonella). Enough about food- We had a wonderful conference last week and this weekend our Palermo District which is all of Sicily is having conference- like stake conference with a preisthood leadership meeting and adult meeting Saturday and Sunday meeting. President Causse' who is the first French general authority( 1st quorum of seventy, 1st councelor of the European Area) will be speaking. Still hoping to get the fisrt stake in Sicily soon. Our days fly by with so much to do in the office. Sure do miss all you cuties. Love Mom / Jan

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ok So we have hot water and our computer is working- all is well. The pictures are of Sorella Hostetter who just arrived and her new companion Sorella Wendorf. I am dropping them at the bus station (really just a bus stop) and they are catching the train to Bari, about a 4 hour drive away but it will take the bus about 8 hours and they will travel on a ferry across to the toe of Italy and then travel up the heel. The picture of me standing in front of the 3 towers that are about a block from our apartment. The road is called Le Tres Torres. They are obviously very old but I don't know anything about them and there is no sign there. Did I mention that Sicily could really use some promotional advice to market the amazing things they have. But there is no where to park and no signage.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hello All, So we are staying so busy that it sometimes is days before we get back to this. Rick was called to be 1st Councelor in the branch presidency of the Sigonella Branch. We are teaching the Advanced English class on T. and Th. which sounds impressive until you think about the fact that we can only speak enough Italian to help those that can already speak fairly good English. They like help with pronunciation and definition so we are reading stories from the Liahona Magazine together. Dad gives a great lesson each night on American words and the different meanings. Tonight was potato and work. They like that. We have several that are now taking missionary lessons (not our doing. They have been with the missionaries for several weeks.) We had transfers last week and Zone Leader Council this week and that always gives us extra work. I make lunch for anywhere from 12 to 20. Rick has all kinds of requests for travel money, etc. We have also given a lesson at zone conference. Then thy pick up teaching supplies which I have to order and gather for each zone. There are always things that pop up to take care of. This morning we had no hot water to shower so cold quick baths had to do. I don't know if last nights winds blew out a pilot light or what. We called a person to come look at the caldaia and they said they would call us tomorrow- you know, domani, dopo domani. I guess here is where the sacrifice really comes in. Also, today I spent 6 hours on the phone trying to get my computer back online.. Tomorrow the Italian server guy is coming by to look at it because we determined it must be a local issue. I hope that's not domani, dopo domaani also because I've got to get orders out. We have learned to love these young missionaries. They are amazing people.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

OK, so if you read the blog, you'll see that there is no correlation between our comments and the pictures. Ah yes, the joys of technology...we will keep trying to add the correct pictures. Sorry for any confusion.
Here it is a most pleasant Sunday...the weather has been around '72 as a high and '58 as a low for the past week. It is with a sense (albeit slight)of guilt that we read of the conditions in Denver etc.

We joined our Mission President and his great wife along with the 6 missionaries here in Catania for a delicious dinner at a Morracan restaurant. It's interesting to note how close Sicily is to Northern Africa and there is a definite influence. We have two 'threesomes' of Anziani (elders) and Sorelle (sisters) for about two weeks awaiting some mid transfer arrivals.

The second picture is of our apartment building. All things considered, quite nice and starting to feel a little like home. When you rent a new apartment here, you basically receive four walls, some outlets and a few plumbing fixtures. Everything else needs to be purchased...everything from closets (wardrobes) to the kitchen sink. All shelves, cupboards, light fixtures etc need to be purchased. Thankfully, we've had couple missionaries here before us who put most of it together.

The Halloween picture is of some members (and mostly non members) who attended last night's fun party. The English classes that the missionaries... ourselves included included...have been teaching, has paid off in investigators (or at least party goers!). We were dressed simply as American tourists, with Sister Crawford's camera playing a key role in the costuming.

We are the only full time couple in the officee. A fine Italian couple serve for 6 hours, 3 days a week which helps us greatly with things requiring a greater knowledge of the language. We're really busy but happy. Zone Leader conference starts tomorrow...always something.

What a delight to serve the Lord and the good people of Southern Italy.