Ravenna is basically a hidden treasure in all forms. For those of you who don't know, Ravenna was the capital of Italy before the Roman Empire. It's filled with really old churches and mosaics. They are beautiful! And on any given day it's at least 80% humidity.
Sorella Hernandez is my amazing sweetheart companion. She's from the Philippines but has been living in Italy for about 4 years. She's a convert of about 4 years as well. I love her and she does lots of little things to help me out like bringing my fan into my room at night, etc.
The members here are amazing! I'm so impressed with them. Before we came they had been fasting for missionary work. They are a high-functioning branch and are so close to becoming a ward. Sunday was a surprise for them that we were there and they were so excited!
We both arrived here on Thursday but we didn't travel together for some reason. Traveling by yourself with all your bags in the heat is exhausting. I'm just grateful that I didn't have to change trains as much as Sorella Hernandez had to. One of my wheels started going a little funny so I was grateful when Emanuele (who knew the missionaries in the past) helped us get to our apartment. Haha. It's only a ten minute walk from the station but with heavy bags it becomes a half hour. I'm so grateful for him even if he didn't fully understand what he was getting into when he offered to help. The next few days we spent getting settled into the apartment, buying a fan, searching for bikes, etc. but at least by Saturday morning we were able to find some used bikes that are in good condition. It's so much better than walking! And I missed bikes so it's nice to be back to them. They help so much!
We have been doing some finding and have found 4 new potentials. One of them is Marcella from English class. Next week she will be teaching us how to make arancini at her house. We are super excited for her! On Tuesday, she felt really good about the message we shared and the Book of Mormon we gave her. She had been asking a few questions about the church so we are very excited for this opportunity. The other three we have found doing finding in centro. It's amazing what goal setting does. We set a goal one evening to find 3 new potentials and we found them all in a piazza.
Monday we spent the day preparing with Mauro for a little stand we will be doing at the market on Saturday. In Italian, a mostra. Mauro is awesome! He's our go to man if we have any questions about the branch. He's a convert of about 4 years and is super strong in the church. He's very enthusiastic about missionary work and is a big help to us. That night he put together a serata familiare on the spot and half were non-members.
Tuesday we went to Rimini for a combined district meeting. It went well and I got to see Sorella Orr and Sorella Smedley! It was so nice to see them and catch up with them!
That's about it. We are starting from ground zero here but we are slowly starting to build the work with the help of the members, anziani, and with finding. We love Ravenna so much already! I feel so grateful to be here.
Something I read this week that I really liked was Helaman chapter 12. It talks about the Nephites and how blessed they were but they forgot their God and fell into wickedness. There was a quote that went along with it that says:
“… We need the Spirit daily to help us remember daily. Otherwise memory lapses will occur when we are most vulnerable. It is not natural to the natural man to remember yesterday’s blessings gratefully, especially when today’s needs of the flesh press steadily upon him”
Sometimes we can be in a middle of a trial, looking at a big mountain we need to climb, going through some hard things. It is in these moments that our heart can tend to be hardened or maybe our hearts tend to be hardened when all is well. Whichever the case might be, the importance of remembering all the blessings of the Lord remains the same. When we live in a way that we can have the Spirit with us, we are in a position to remember everything that the Lord has done for us. For me, that helps me to remain happy and to face trials with peace. I can look around and see exactly how blessed I am and have been. I know the Spirit helps me to open my eyes and helps me remember things that I may have put in the back of my mind.
I love you all so much and I miss you!
Ravenna and Sorella Hernandez
Last of Cimiano