(Missionaries on the train!)
Last wednesday we were supposed to have an appointment about 3 or 4 kilometers outside of Modena. We had heard from a less active there is a bike path and so we decided to take it! We got lost a couple of times, but miraculously we found it! I was so happy. So, we go on this path and it has lights, sometimes. So, we are going and we wonder where we are supposed to turn or if we are supposed to keep following this path. The less active said this bike path takes you straight to her house, so we just kept following it. We come to this place where there is an old villa (big house) and I see a family of GIANT RATS!!! I screamed and then sorella Ranieri screamed and stopped suddenly and her shoe fell off. One of the rats tried to steal it!! Im not joking!!! Oh my goodness, what a riot! Luckily, after much screaming the rat ran off. We kept following this cursed path for about an hour and thinking, when are we going to get to our appointment? Keep in mind we already late and have no idea where we are. So, the path ends, in the middle of nowhere and we ask some random man going to his home where we are and he says you are in CastelVetro. We are like, ok, how do we get to San Damaso? He shows us where to go and says its about 7 or 8 kilometers. We follow his directions, ask another person and said, oh you took the bike path, ok, you should just get back on it because the road to San Damaso is deadly for bikes. We are like, WHAT?? Where are we?? So, we try to find the cursed path again and get lost and after many pleading prayers find it again and go home, barely making it on time. We look at the map and realize we took about a 20 mile detour!
But, are we wise? No. So what do we do the next day when we have an appointment in San Damaso? Try the bike path again. Granted, we both felt like we should, but honestly, I had no idea what we were doing. So, we go, decided to turn at a point where we MIGHT get to San Damaso and run into the Gypsy Camp!!! Yes, a giant trailer park where all the Gypsies live. Oh my goodness! We pedalled so fast and got out of there quick! Luckily, nothing happened. So, we got to San Damaso, finally, after taking the regular road (for cars) and after talking to the same less active, she showed us how to get back to the bike path that really does take us right to her house. So, know we know how to get there and it's faster than taking the bus. What a bike adventure!
We have been feeling for some time to focus our finding work on Via Cilea (where we keep falling/getting hit, etc.) because obviously Satan doesn't want us alive there. And he has reason! We found Dora, a gospel reggae singer with an incredible testimony of Christ; Felicia, a gorgeous student from Africa who is very interested; Gulianna, a South American who is looking for something more; and the Rotoli family, a husband and wife who for the last 11 years the wife has suffered from a brain tumor that has hindered her walking and speach. Crazy!!! We have been finding, working hard and just loving all the blessings from Heavenly Father! These people are so precious and I know that we were sent for them!
But, I've saved the best story for last. Do you remember the Barros family? They are from Brazil, less active and so incredible? Well, Guillianne has been coming to church every Sunday this year. Her sister Jeane no. We have had incredible, spiritual lessons and she has felt the spirit and agreed to come to church, but never does. Well, we got stood up for an appointment and decided to go to their house. I had felt earlier that day to bring The Testements. We decided to watch it. There was an incredible spirit in the room and really I was just so...torn. I know they know it's true, but I also knew that we can only do so much. Their agency can't be taken from them. But at the same time I love them so much! It breaks my heart to see Jeane suffer so much. I just want to take her by the hand and make her do all the right things and come back to church, but I can't. Anyway, at the end of the movie, Sorella Ranieri bore such beautiful testimony and I was silently praying the whole time to know exactly what the Lord wanted me to say. When I spoke, I spoke clearly, slowly and had the words put into my mind to know how to say them. I was crying because I love her so much and it hurts to see her like this and also because the Spirit was so strong as I was given what I was supposed to say that I was overwhelmed with gratitude at the same time. Basically it ended up me saying that we love her, we know this is the church of Christ and that we want to help her, but there is only so much we can do. And then invited her to church. She said she would come. We hugged at the end, and my heart was just breaking! I felt like it was the worst breakup ever! I told Sorella Ranieri that after the mission I can handle any breakup because it will never hurt as bad as the heartbreaks I've had in the mission!
But, that's when the miracle comes in!!!!
This Sunday, we tried everything we could to get people in church. I mean EVERYTHING, but only 1 investigator came. Then, just as Sacrament was about to start, in walked Giullianne and JEANE!!!!! Oh my goodness! I felt like I was going to explode I was so happy! I gave her a hug and she said, ok, don't make me cry! But she was smiling too. She stayed the whole time and we are seeing her again this Sunday!
So, the worst heartbreak to the most joy all in roughly 20 hours. Gotta love it!