I'm using a keyboard without a mostly-broken spacebar. Ha!
I love you, too, Nan! (That's what I call my grandma, for those of you who aren't Nan.) Thank you for being such a wonderful grandmother to me, a loving mother to my mom, and a great example for all of your posterity. I'm so grateful for all of your good choices. They led straight to me, after all! Hope you're doing great. Love your hair.
Happy anniversary month to Oma and Papa Tom! Fifty years is a quite a bit more than my two. That's a real commitment there, and another wonderful example for me. I'm figuring out that my life has been full of good examples. I hope I get to be one for somebody else one day. Maybe an adorable blonde daughter or something.
This week's email is coming on a Thursday because yesterday was taken up by a multi-zone conference with Elder Teixeira. He's the president over many, many missions, one of which is the Italy Milan. He gave us some (read: tons of) inspiring training in the Verona chapel yesterday about how to become effective, hard working missionaries. President and Sister Dibb spoke, too, along with President Teixeira's darling wife who hit us hard over the head with simple, true reminders of our calling and our duties between giggles and moments of ruffling her feathers when she said something particularly funny or difficult in English.
I felt the Spirit stronger in that conference that I have for a long time. That's not really a good thing. I should be living and serving in a way to feel that Spirit every day. But now I have a few pages of notes and ideas to improve myself and get one step closer to the Anziano Burton I really, really want to be.
I was also asked to sing the musical number to bring the Spirit back after the amazing senior couples put on a huge feast for all 80 something missionaries who had gathered there. I sang "I Wonder When He Comes Again", half in English and half in Italian, while one of the senior sisters--Sorella Savoldi--accompanied me with a beautiful piano arrangement. It was well received. Sister Teixeira even asked me to sing it again after her part in the program. Ha! I was happy to.
She specifically challenged me to use my talents--or, to be specific, my voice--to get into homes and share the gospel with more families this Christmas season. I committed to do my best, and I look forward to what I can come up with with the Spirit's help, combined with whatever God already has in store.
Today for P-Day we went to the American Base in Vicenza, a beautiful city not far from Verona. Elder Arborgast, a senior elder in charge of military relations who everyone loves, helped us on and showed us around. We stopped into a few of the stores to go shopping (peanut butter, beef jerky, and root beer), ate at the food court (Taco Bell and Subway, both firsts for Anziano Modugno), and were even treated to a game of bowling. I'm terrible at bowling. Nevertheless, it's been one of the most fun P-Days of my mission.
The base is weeeeird. It's like a mini-American-city thrown into the middle of Italy. I had to use my passport to get in. It felt like stepping back into the States for a minute: everyone was speaking English, everything was written in English, and there were gigantic cars (and gigantic people) everywhere. I was actually relieved when I heard an old couple speaking Italian in one of the grocery stores. Must mean I'm not quite ready to leave Italy.
Thank goodness I still have 15 months. Found out this week that the sisters I came in with are already halfway done with their missions. If that's not a punch in the gut, I don't know what is. I'd better kick it up a notch. I only have so much time, and President Dibb reminded us to pay our "full tithe". I love that.
Sorry for the long email. Lots happening, I guess. That's the way I like it. And with all the ideas Elder Teixeira gave us, I expect we'll just keep getting busier. Meno male.