Christmas Caroling, Christmas Parties, and Christmas in 🇮🇹 Italia! ...oh yeah and Octopus soup!
First off Merry Christmas to all of you! I hope you had an incredible day and really took the opportunity to remember our Savior Jesus Christ! I know I really felt the spirit of Christmas and more importantly the spirit of Christ!
On Tuesday we had a combined District meeting with the District of Cosenza, we did a secret Santa gift exchange and a really awesome training on our purpose as missionaries. The Sister that gave the training was Sister Condé who is going home to America tomorrow! It was really cool to see her testimony of Jesus Christ and how much she relies on Heavenly Father's help. As for the gift exchange I got Anziano Smith who works in Cosenza so I went to a Chinese store and got him a little air soft gun... but I actually got two and gave one to his companion before the gift exchange. So when he opened his, his companion pulled out the other one and said "It's on" I'm glad I don't live with them hahaha
On Thursday we went to the Pediatrics unit at the Hospital to sing for the kids, we went to the end of the hall where this big Christmas tree was set up. We started to sing the Italian lyrics of the familiar Christmas carol "Silent Night" and one by one each child came out from their room and made their way down the hall way to the lights on the tree. We continued to sing as some came closer in wheel chairs, others trailing IV posts behind them and others in the arms of their loving parents. They gathered around and we continued to sing, a few in English, a few in Italian and everyone's favorite "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer!" As we began to close I asked them if we could all take a photo together and all but one said yes. Afterwards we went and talked to this one girl that didn't want to be in the photo. She said she was embarrassed by the IV pole and she didn't want everyone to stare at it. A thought came in to my head, the IV pole was taller than I was but it was adjustable, we lowered it down and Anziani Haws stood in front of it and we took a picture with her and her Mom! The Christmas joy was definitely present as she saw herself as a person and not a sick child.
Friday was the Church Christmas Party! They actually decided to do a dinner which was really good! It started an hour and a half late (Italian standard time and Mormon standard time combined is not good...) but it went pretty well. We ate Lasagna and some other type of pasta and then chicken, salads, fruit, walnuts, and lots of desserts! Of course I made brownies and the Sisters made Pound cake! It was a good turn out for as small as the Branch is and definitely a lot of fun.
Christmas Eve! We left early and caught a bus to Cutro to hang out with the Tedesco family. Sister Tedesco had 12 families mapped out for us to go visit and sing Christmas Carols to. They were all families who are going through a rough time and could use some Christmas cheer. Most of them when we left were in tears and you could really tell that they felt the spirit. Yay for Christmas!
Then we came back to Crotone and had dinner with Carla and her family. Carla was a foreign exchange student in Indiana and the family that she stayed with was LDS (Kind if the same story as Virginia back in Cagliari!) and she is an investigator of the Sorelle. We had the best Christmas Eve dinner and and I ate Octopus!!!! it was really good! We ate lots of good stuff and spent some time getting to know their family!
Christmas! Our one day to sleep in and my companion forgot to turn off his alarm, so we were up at 6:30 anyway! But we both went back to sleep! Church was moved to 10:30 and it went really well. The Branch President likes to do impromptu choirs. He doesn't have a practice or anything, he just says everyone that wants to sing come on up! So that was a train wreck... I've never heard "Angels we have heard on high" sung in so many different keys at the same time. Good thing it's the Sacrament that we go to church for! After church we went to the Corrado's family for lunch, it was great! I never thought I would eat pasta for Christmas dinner but when in Italy I guess! Then back to the church to skype and it was great!
Today we are watching "Finding Dory" at Church! So far it's good! I can't believe my First Christmas is the mission is over! Today is also a holiday in Italy it's Saint Steven's day so literally everything is closed, we can't even buy milk. So that's the week in a wrap! I love you and I hope you are all having a good Christmas!