Monday, March 15, 2010

When you look at the cemetary you can see Mount Etna in the background. Rick and I walked around and it was beautifully kept up- unlike anything we have seen here in Italy. It was a busy weekend but good. We had a branch social, bowling at Sigonella on Saturday. We took Sister Lilian. Sunday Dad conducted and spoke, I led the music (another sister has been called to lead the Sacrament music but we haven't seen her since the call.) I spoke and then taught joint RS/Preisthood. Whew! Glad that Sunday is over. Lilian has returned to our branch after 4 months visiting family in Nigeria. She has two children there. She came to Catania 10 years ago and left her children 12 and 8 with her sister. She said wages are so low there that she could not make enough to send her kids to school and support them. So she has a little shop here and sends money home every month. Her son has finished university and is starting law school. Her daughter is 2nd year university and is planning on medical school. It is so amazing to think what others have to do just to get a better life. Kim, in Dad's talk on "Eternal Families" he talked about how you teach your children and hope they learn good things. Then he read your card out loud to demonstrate what a good job we had done. It says- "money doesn't grow on trees before their hatched.......the early bird gets a job worth doing well.....and two wrongs don't make a penny earned....and you thought everything you said goes in one ear, and walked a mile in their shoes. It was the perfect foil to his talk.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

It's March in Catania Italy and spring is in the air. Of course by Utah Standards we never really had a winter. No frost or snow and only a few days where you really needed a warm jacket and/or sweater. Yet everything is relative weather wise. On days we thought were merely cool, some of the locals would be dressed in parkas and heavy gloves.

Below are pictures of the Sigonella Navy Support Activity, our good Sister Toronto...the mission President's wife, and the office in which we work. The mission office and mission home are located in the same rather pleasant 'residence' at the end of a scenic street. The Jesuits have a quiet home next to us so you can tell this is a wild neighborhood!

Your perhaps are aware that the Church is creating several new missions and consolidating several others. The new missions (and missionaries) are going to areas of the world that are exploding with Gospel growth...Africa, South America and parts of Asia.

On the other hand, areas that have established Church populations with 3rd and 4th generation members are assuming more and more responsibility for sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Soooo, for us it means the Catania mission will close on July first and be consolidated with the Rome mission. Jan and I will probably be heading to Rome sometime in July; after we turn out the lights in Catania.

We will miss many delightful things here in Sicily but look forward to new challenges and opportunities in Rome. In less than a year we will be home and plan to make the most of our remaining months in Italy in doing all we can to build the Church of Jesus Christ in this wonderful country. Talk to you later...Rick and Jan