Monday, December 7, 2015

Week 76: Fin.

Well, all, this is it. My final email home. It doesn't even seem real. But and dad are on a plane and they are somewhere over the middle of the Atlantic Ocean RIGHT NOW so I guess this is happening. I don't know what emotions I am supposed to be having.

Even though this was the last week of my mission, things were as crazy as ever. Catania is a city that never rests! Haha

So for pday we went to this church, la chiesa di San Benedetto, which was pretty cool. It's part of a convent of nuns that cloister themselves so once they go in they never have contact with the outside world again....except for once a year during the festival for the patron saint of Catania when they come to the gates of the church and sing to the statue of Sant'Agatha as she gets carted around the city. I've heard that it is really incredible....but for some reason I don't know if I would actually want to be there. But the church was beautiful! We ate dinner with Sorella Catania and her family, I love them. We helped Laura with some English but she had lost her voice, so we had her write Facebook messages to our moms in English. It was a lot of fun:)

I made cinnamon rolls for DDM this week because I had promised them to Anziano Pope before I went home. Then the district made predictions on how soon I am going to get married....the average was about a year. They also gave me a big plant of poinsettia flowers and a card, they were so sweet! I had to leave the flowers behind but they will Christmas decorate the Catania house :) also, poinsettias grow wild here, we were at Jennifer's house and there is a tree in the courtyard that had flowers on it! Haha

We spent most of the week saying goodbyes, which is always hard. We saw Nicoletta and she also accepted a baptismal date! For Jan. 9th. I'm really happy for her. We had dinner with Kiran and Manuel on Wednesday and we didn't eat all day Thursday because of it, we were soooo full! And then we also met up with Rossella. She is so sweet :) English course was fun this week too. I love the people that come to our English course! We took a picture all together :)

The latter end of the week was absolutely NUTS. there was an emergency transfer and one if the sisters in Messina was asked to go to Rome 5 (!) so they spent Thursday night with us so that she could take a flight from the Catania airport. The problem was that she had to be at the airport at 5:30 and we live an hour away, so we had to take public transportation to get there. In short, we woke up at 3:30 so that we could get the right bus and be on time. And then we had to wait with the other Messina sister at the airport for six hours until her new comp came down from Rome 5. We were so tired and I was super antsy because we were supposed to see Gabriella so I could say goodbye to her, but we didn't end up making it. I called her before I caught the train to Rome Saturday so that I could say goodbye to her. She is such a sweetheart, she was so worried that there wouldn't be anyone to help her prepare for her baptism and help with the wedding and stuff. I can't wait to see the pictures of her baptism!!

Anyway, after we left the airport (finally) we met up with Rossella and then went to lunch with the Battezzatos. They had a funeral service for me and it was really cute, I think they got the videos of it to mom somehow, boh. Also, they informed us that Mt. Etna exploded this week, once on Thursday and once on Friday. It sent a plume of ash 4 kilometers into the air and it reached all the way to Messina. We had ash raining down all weekend, our balcony had this fine layer of black covering it. It was the craziest thing. There was no lava or anything, just smoke and ash and a haze over the city. Did I ever mention that it is one of the most active volcanoes in the world? Then once we got back from the Battezzatos we just went home and I got all packed up.

The Siracusa sisters came Friday night so that Sorella Flansberg wouldn't be by herself after I took the train. They got their transfer calls and Sorella Flansberg is staying in Catania! I'm happy for her, she is gonna do so much good. Plus she knows the city so well already and this way Gabriella and Nicoletta don't get dropped.

Saturday morning I got on a train at 8:43 and left for Rome. I met up with Sorella Furia who was serving in Palermo at the Strait of Messina and then we rode the ten hours up "the boot" together. Sorella Gates and Sorella Anderson picked me up at termini, they are both serving in Rome 3! So that where I have been since I got to Rome. 

Sunday was crazy. We went to church and Presidente and Sorella Urban were there visiting from the stake! So I got to see her before I left which was so happy for me :)the bishopric member who was conducting was American military, they have been in the ward for just a few months. I was talking to them after and they said that they were the Huber family. And I asked if they had a cousin or someone named Taylor, since I had a friend at BYU named Taylor Huber.'s his family. WHAT. And the elder in my mission who was also in my BYU ward just happened to be serving in the Rome 3 ward too! It was just the craziest coincidence, and I was so happy to meet them! :)

My interview with president was one of the most incredible experiences of my mission. I won't write all that happened, but I am so grateful for my mission president and inspired leaders.

In the end, I am excited to be with my family and spend the holidays together. I am trying to not think much farther past that cuz I start to freak out, but I am so peaceful and happy. I know that I served the mission that Heavenly Father and my savior needed me to, and that although I might not see all of it, there will be fruit from my service.

I am so sure that this is the true church of Jesus Christ. I know that He lives and He loves us. I know
that His atonement has forever changed me and that it can help every person overcome every obstacle and trial. I am so thankful that I have had these 18 months to serve as His representative.

I will see you all soon! Vi voglio tanto tanto bene!!!!

Sorella Decker

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