How to write to Sara:

Sara loves to get letters!

Sorella Sara Leckie
The Italy Rome Mission
Piazza Carnaro, 20
00141 Roma

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Email from Sara 12/29/09


So, me being the smarty pants that I am forgot to tell you on Christmas that P-day would be Tuesday this week. But, I don't really have too much to add. I do know now, though, that I will be staying in Livorno with Sorella Gambardella until she goes home. Wish us luck. Some days are much better than others, but apparently it's not exactly a pretty prospect for her to go home so she's not happy about it. Pretty controlling parents and not good situations, etc. Anyhow, when she asked President if she could extend the mission he told her no and that she needs to face it. We'll see how things are in a few week when the inevitable is closer. Pray LOTS!

It was an absolutely wonderful Christmas for me. We got to watch "Up", the new Disney/Pixar movie and I absolutely loved it. It was so ridiculously off the wall, but so fun.

We're looking forward tonight to an appointment with Veronica and Josy. Veronica has come to church a few times now which is great and she loves learning about the gospel. Happy days!!

It's a little rough sometimes because some members and investigators don't really trust my companion very much, and she isn't always very tactful so some relationships are kind of strained, but hopefully they can have patience with us as we are trying to go forward in the work.

Today for Pday we're going to go Ice skating... should be fun. The ice skating rink is temporary in a piazza and very small, but fun.

I'm going to go now so I can hopefully add a few pictures today. I haven't really taken lots because my comp takes tons, so I'll get some from her to send to you someday :)

Love you all and hope you have a very very happy new years!
Con tanto tanto tanto, ma tanto amore-
Sorella Leckie

p.s. people here think its kind of strange when I tell them we burn our christmas tree... oh well.

The sunset. I think I was on the phone with Crystal when i took this one.

The view at about noon from the Eubanks.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Email from Sara 12/23/09


Wow! I can't believe tomorrow is Christmas Eve and then its CHRISTMAS!!!!! This will be extraordinarily short this week siccome I will talk to most of you this week. We've been singing lots this week and i LOVE Christmas music. Honestly that's probably one of the things I miss the most- apart from just being at home with family. But it's all bearable. The members and our investigators here are wonderful. Last year we weren't really invited to spend Christmas with anyone, which was fine and it was really nice to have a day to just relax. But here a ton of members have invited us to come over and were somewhat disappointed when we told them we already had an appointment. I would love to be able to spend Christmas with so many of them but it's just not possible. I want to try to make cinnamon rolls to take to some of the members though. We just gots to do them today. We had interviews with President yesterday and I was reminded how much our Heavenly Father truly loves us. It was a great reminder and I was so thankful. I know that deep down inside of me He loves me, but I guess sometimes its just easier for me to see how much he loves others. I realize that I need to focus more on seeing the love He has for me. It's not really hard, just a good reminder.

Alrighty, well, sorry there's no pictures, but I'll try to send some next week. Love you all and hope everyone has a very very Merry Christmas and that you do something nice for someone else!

Love you all so much!!!
Sorella Leckie

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Email from Sara 12/16/09

8 days until Christmas!!!!!!

Wowsers Christmas is comin up fast! It's been a pretty good week. I'm still... "adjusting" to my companion and learning more and more to trust in the Lord.

Our investigators are doing well. Josy told us that Veronica wants to get baptized when she turns 18. We just have to help her want it enough not to wait anohter 2 years. Gil is also progressing. We seriously see these investigators at least 5-6 days a week. It's wonderful.

It has gotten very very cold here the past few days. Something about those Russian winds are just biting. But we're still truckin'.

This past week I learned how to make "Arancini" a Cicilan treat. Pretty much you take rice, make a ball, stuff in some ragu (sauce with meat), ham, cheese, and then make then reform the ball. Then you roll it in flour, egg and bread crumbs and deep fry them. They are yummy but HEAVY. I ate one and thought I was going to die.

I never would have thought I would say this, but I'm really learning to like soccer. I never played before I got to Livorno, but now we play every Saturday with members, contacts, investigators, etc. and I absolutely love it. I'm still not very good, but I still love to play.

Looking forward to talking with you all at Christmas. It really is the most wonderful time of the year!

Hope everyone has a great week. Sorry this is a little short again this week, but we gots to go see the leaning tower of Pisa!

Love you all!
Sorella Leckie

Making the arancini. Our kitchen was a complete disaster!

This was just an hour ago when we got to Pisa.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sara's email 12/9/09


Okay, I have two minutes. It's been an alright week. We had Zone Conference and District Conference so I've been to Florence twice. I got to meet one of the members of the 70 so that was cool. Josy and Gil were there and they got to meet him, too. Too bad he didn't speak italian, but translating is good too. The 70 (he has a really really hard name) talked a lot about not getting trapped by the things of the world. Good reminder.

Time is flying and I can't believe there are only 15 days until Christmas. I look forward to talking with you and hope everyone has a wonderful wonderful week!!!

Lots and lots of love!!
Sorella Leckie

p.s. I miss Christmas music!!!!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Happy December!!!

Well, the Christmas tree is up. The Christmas lights in the city are twinkling, and here it is also beginning to look a lot like Christmas. The weather here actually reminds me a lot of how it often is at Christmas time at home. Pretty mild. Today is absolutely georgous!

This morning we had a breakfast together as a district and I made biscuits and gravy and also pancakes. It was pretty yummy and fun. Then we've just cleaned the house. We still have to do the grocery shopping, but it will be a pretty low key p-day.

Thanksgiving was fun. The dinner went really well. Most of the members have had some kind of Thanksgiving before and so it wasn't completely new, but still fun. I had everything I would have had at home... maybe a little less but still it was delicious. We had a really really good turnout. We were expecting around 50-60 but there were probably close to 100 or so. Thankfully there was plenty of food so everyone was happy. In the church there's no oven or crockpots so a hot dinner is practically impossible. There were people from the Livorno branch, the Pisa branch, English class, investigators, and then just friends. There were a LOT of non-members there. It was a great turnout.
We even got to play american football before the dinner. It was so much fun.

As far as the work goes.... it is going. We were finally able to meet with Veronica again- at her request. She is so sweet and she and her brother came to church on sunday! We had 6 investigators at church just from our companionship. With the Elder's investigators, too, I think there were 10+. It was a good sunday. Some of the elders are working a lot with Gil and have formed a really good friendship. I'm a little worried that after they leave (they both go home in 2 weeks) that his willingness to meet with the elders will decline since they've become such good friends, but for now he still meets with us, so we'll just keep at it and keep praying. Josy is so happy. She truly is like a member, just unofficially. I really hope she can get baptized soon. I would love for it to happen before the end of the year, but she still needs permission from her mom, who hasn't necessarily had any change of opinion. Again, we just have to keep praying. It would be absolutely amazing if she and Gil could get baptized together! Wow.
Alrighty, I'm gonna call it good now so I can add some pictures. Again, I'm doing great. Still loving Italy and the wonderful people here! Thanks for all the love and prayers you send this direction. They are so so appreciated. Keep'em comin'!! The church is true!

Vi voglio un mondo di bene!!!!
Sorella Leckie

Me and Sorella Gambardella in front of our BEAUTIFUL Christmas tree!!!

My district before transfers. Anziano Mondragon, Kelly, Bryant, Me, Sorella Cheesman, Anziano Porter.

Last p-day with Sorella Cheesman. We went to a little place up the coast. Sabrina Santelena took us to see a little bit of Livorno outside the city. It was absolutely beautiful. Sabrina is a member of the branch here and is Amazing!! I love her to pieces.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Email from Sara 11/25/09

Quick One.

Oops. I spent too much time responding to personal emails and now I don't have too much time. It's been a good week. Gil, Josy's brother is showing more interest in the gospel and has become really good friends with the elders. Josy is so excited to see his progress and I love it! We have another new investigator, Nicoletta who is an english class student. She says she would like to feel the way we feel but doesn't think it's possible for her. We're gonna prove her wrong! At least we're sure gonna try.

My brain is exploding with speaking Italian all the time. I can't imagine if I had had an Italian companion closer to the beginning of the mission. My comp, Sorella Gambardella is from southern Italy and goes home on February 10th. Just ask her. She's very excited and prays every day that Heavenly Father will just get her to the end of her mission. Its a little tough for me, because I can honestly say that I love the mission, to see someone who wants to go home so badly, but I'm learning a lot of patience. Honestly, I can say that at the beginning of the mission I relied SO much on Heavenly Father because I needed so much help. As I've gotten more comfortable in the misson with the language and teaching I can see now that I've relied less and less on the Lord and more and more on my own abilities. What a great reminder it has been for me of how dependent I am on the Lord. I can honestly say that I can feel the power of the prayers that so many send this way, and I am SO thankful. Keep them coming!

Honestly, I'm doing great and I am so happy to be here in Italy. We're having our thanksgiving dinner and I'm pretty curious to see how it will go. We might be a little short on dressing, but there should be lots of turkey and some ham and lots of mashed potates. I'm really looking forward to it. As long as everyone brings what we asked them to bring we should be okay. There will probably be at least 50 people or so, and because I'm kind of a bossy person, speak english and Italian, and becuase I know about Thanksgiving traditions, I kind of got more ropped into helping than I intended to. But oh well, it should still all work out alright.

Okay, really gots to go now. I haven't taken a picture with my new companion yet because I had to charge my batteries, but I'll send one next week.

Love you all and hope you have a very very happy Thanksgiving!!!
Sorella Leckie

Friday, November 20, 2009

Email from Sara 11/18/09

Change in the Winds

Well, I will be staying in Livorno, but my companion, Sorella Cheesman will be going to Sassari on the Island of Sardegna. We were supposed to be together for Thanksgiving and Christmas and now she's ruining all my plans! I guess it's not entirely her fault though. My new companion will be Sorella Gambardella. She's an italian from Cicila (Southern Italy) She only has a transfer or two left so she's got some experience under her belt. I'm determined that it will be a great transfer.

The fireside in Florence was great and it was great to hear the love and support from President Monson. They talked a lot about being true at all times and ways to stay close to the spirit. It was great. Josy came and she got to talk with Sister Cook so that was cool. It was also great to see so many of the members from Pistoia and a few from Florence.

It's been a good week, though. I'm getting over the worst of the cold and it's about kicked the bucket. Life is good. We're working with some great people, we have some inactives that are making progress, and the work is going forward.
We're actually planning a big Thanksgiving dinner for the branch next week. It should be really fun. I kind of took over, so hopefully it will go really well. It will be interesting to have a Thanksgiving dinner with an Italian twist. We are asking the members to bring traditional Thanksgiving items, so we'll see what they come up with. ;)

Alrighty, I'm gonna call it good now so I can hopefully add a few pictures. Love you all so much and hope you have an absolutely fantastic week!!!

Con tanto affetto,
Sorella Leckie

This is in front of the station waiting for the bus. It's just such a typical situation for us.

I was using a moped to write a note to leave for someone and my companion had my camera and was taking pictures of me in the rearview mirror. It was kind of funny.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Email from Sara 11/11/09

Happy Veterans Day

Alrighty, we have to be super fast because we have to be at the church at 4:00 and we still have to get groceries.

AHHH!! We have to be at church at 4 because we're going to a fireside in Florence. Sorella Barbara Thompson and Mary Cook (Counselors in the RS and YW general presidencies) will be in Florence. It's a little far away so I wasn't initially planning on going, but then the YW pres here asked us to go if Josy came. Well, Josy's coming so we are going. I'm excited, but it makes for an even shorter We have had a fun day though. We went to Lucca today to have a guided tour from a member here. It was fun and an absolutely beautiful day. We had to book it back though to do email and shopping. Lots of traveling today. But still fun.

Okay, lets see. There were several things I wanted to mention and now they are all escaping my mind. I guess my talk went alright on Sunday. It was interesting. The first and only other time I've given a talk in Italy was in my 4th transfer and I really had to write out almost every word of my talk because Italian was still a very foreign language, but this time I was able to just make an outline. It was only 10 minutes and I actually went over a little bit. It was on Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and there is just so much you can say about that, ya know.

We've had some great lessons this week with Josy, Veronica, and Leslie. They are great and I have so much hope for them. We also have some other good potentials and I'm excited for them.

My very generous companion has so kindly acquired and shared a pretty good cold with me, so I'm sniffing and coughing right and left. I'm sure the people around me love it. :) Especially on the buses.

Well, I think i'm going to call it good now so maybe I can get a couple pictures off since it's been a couple of weeks now.

We had president interviews this past week and one of the things that stuck out to me and that he emphasized to me was just the importance of loving those we serve and how even when they don't do what they want we want them to, it just increases our capacity to love. It was a good reminder of why we share the gospel.

Hope you all have a wonderful week and prepare well for Thanksgiving!!!
Love you so much!!
Sorella Leckie

This is from Lucca today. It was so pretty.

There is a really cute piazza with the "le sorelle" store. So here you have us... le sorelle. : )

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Email from Sara 11/4/09

Happy November!

Wow! Can you believe it's already November?!?!?!? I can't. This year just seems to be flying even faster. They are already putting up Christmas decorations here in Livorno, and I hope I will be here to see them all lit up.

Friday night we had a great Halloween party. It started a little slow, but then lots of people came. We invited all the English class, the Pisa branch, our branch (of course), and then contacts, investigators, other random people, etc. There was a pretty good turnout. We had some games and treats for people in the multi-purpose room/ chapel, and then we had turned a few of the classrooms into a haunted house. There was a crazy doctor who was operating on someone's leg, and then a scary room that was dark and had sheets hanging all over and they had to get through to get to the fortune teller who would ask questions to the "voice" (an elder under the table with a microphone) who would then tell the "future" something ridiculous, like their feet would turn green, or all their hair would fall out... etc. Then I was under another table with my hand through the bottom of a candy bowl, and then when the people would go to get some candy I would scare them and try to grab their hand. It was actually pretty fun. But it was kind of sad that I had to stay under a table the whole time and couldn't see who came. :(, but it was still fun. It was a fun activity.

The other night there was a pretty good storm and my companion and I went by the ocean and it was magnificant. I can't even describe to you how turbulant the water looked. It was invigorating. Unfortuately though, there weren't any people around to talk to so we had to go. For some reason most people didn't want to be around, even though the storm had already passed, it was crazy windy. It really was absolutely beautiful. Wish I could have taken a picture.

As far as work goes. Things are going well. We are having a little trouble nailing down a time to meet with some of our investigators and then cold season is starting and people are less willing to come out for a lesson when they are sick. But the work will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent.

It's been a good week, it was a little strange because of the halloween party, but we were able to talk with a lot of people and also meet with other inactives. There's room for improvement, and we have lots of ways that we can be better and work harder, but little by little we have to improve. I've tried to fix everything at once and it lasts for a day or two and it's just not very maintainable for me. There is hope though, and there is progression.

This is going to be a little shorter today and next week we're going to go to Lucca with one of the members here who is pretty much a tour guide (or so he says) and the other elders. After that we may be going to Florence where there will be a fireside from Barbara Thompson and Sister Cook (General YW Pres?) It will depend on if Josy can go or not. If her mom says yes, then the YW leader here has asked that we go. So hopefully her mom will say yes, becuase that would be a really cool experience. So... I'm not exactly sure how much time I'll have to email next week, so you may not get pictures for a couple of weeks. But I'll still write, I promise.

Okay, gonna run! Love you all so so so so much!!!!! Take care and remember your missionary here in Italy!!
Sorella Leckie

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Email from Sara 10/28/09

Short One...

So I've already been reading/writing for quite a while so this will be really short today. It's been a good week. We are hopeful that our lice problem is resolved. Especially now that we have both dyed our hair. It's basically the same, but sorella Cheesmans has a really really cool purple undertone. I really like it. Apparently I had been going shockingly blonde before and now all my blonde highlights are gone and are a reddish brown color. it's not bad, but I reallylike my natural hair color. I'm anxious to put it all behind me.

Sunday I had to play the organ for Sacrament meeting... all four songs on the organ!! AHHHH!!! At least i'd had some heads up and had been able to practice a little. The organist is amazing. Sabrina. She is so much fun. She came to play soccer on Saturday and seriously pulled or tore a muscle. Anyhow, it's not technically her calling to play the organ but she's VERY accomplished in the piano and organ... went to school for it and all that. So she just usually plays. Before she had even gotten hurt she was jokingly/seriously saying how much she'd love a sunday to just relax and sing and not worry about playing, so I was already considering it. And then when she hurt herself it sealed the deal. Oh well... we're all still alive so I guess it's alright.

We were able to meet with Josy and she just blows me away by how much she's learned and how strong her desire it is to continue. I love it!! Veronica is also great and is bringing her brother and sister to our Halloween party on Friday! Yay!!! It should be a pretty fun night. We have the branch here and from Pisa who will hopefully come and then we invited all of the english class. We're going to try to do a cakewalk (NOT an Italian thing) and other trunk or treat games and stuff. Italians love halloween. It's really not a holiday here at all, but lots of people love it. It's kind of funny to me. I mean, if you're going to steal a holiday, why not a better one like thanksgiving, right? Oh well. We will probably have a thanksgiving activity too.

It's been a good week. We are working on improving in so many ways, one step at a time. Life is good. I feel so loved! So many good stories that I would love to share, but I really just don't have time today. I love you all and hope you have a fabulous week and a very happy halloween!!!

Vi voglio tantissimo bene!!!!
Sorella Leckie

Claudia. This is the doll I made for a relief society service project. I wish we'd had a sewing machine!

Before dying our hair. Sorry it's a little blurry.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Email from Sara 10/22/09

Interesting Week

Well well well. It seems as though fall is here for real... maybe even a little bit of winter, but I guess it's getting about that time. Speaking of time, the time change here is next sunday. When is it there. I think I saw on a calendar that it's not until november, but I can't remember. Anyhow it will be nice to have an extra hour of sleep.

Zone conference was great. It was interesting. A couple of Zone conferences ago we were able to hear from Elder Kopischke (or something like that) and one thing he said was that we should never come to any church meeting without having an idea of what we want to get out of it. Having recieved this counsel it's amazing how much more you can get out of meetings when you're listening for something in particular. When you're prepared to be taught. Anywho, before this conference I was trying to get a good idea of what I wanted to walk away with, and I was having trouble nailing it down. But it's amazing how well the Lord knows us and answers our prayers, even the unspoken ones. I'm not even exactly sure what was said that touched me, but at that time it was exactly what I needed to hear.
I also did a musical number with my district. It was a beautiful accapella arrangement of "Beautiful Savior." I'll try to record it so you can hear it someday.

Playing the piano for the primary program went well enough. It definatly wasn't perfect, but I don't think all of my mistakes were too distracting. The program went great though and all the kids did great.

So, we play soccer every saturday with investigators, memebers, little kids from the neighborhood, etc. It's a really good and non-intimidating way for people to get to know the church. Usually there are some 9-10 year old boys that come to play and it keeps everyone a little less competitive and it's actually a really good thing. Last week we found out that the didn't come because they thought that Saturday was Friday and they were really sad they missed it. (They have school on Saturday here). Anyhow the game was not terribly intense still, but a little more, and Josy always likes to be the goalie. She does a really good job, too. But you have to understand that Josy is a ridiculously small person. She's probably 4'9" and weighs 80 lbs. Anyhow, someone kicked the ball a little harder than necessary and broke her wrist. She has a cast now that goes almost up to her shoulder so she can't even rotate her hand. Yuck! We were a little bit... not worried... but suspected that having been in the emergency room for 5 hours and breaking her arm, she might not come to church on Sunday. But she was there. It made me so so happy!

We also have had a little bit of a pest control problem in our companionship. Saturday night my companion was going to curl my hair in foam rollers, when it was unfortunately discovered that I had some visitors in my hair, in the form of lice. Yep... it's gross. It was like 10:00 and obviously no stores are open (everything closes at 8:00) and then the next day was sunday and nothing is open then either. So were were like, "what do we do?!?" We called Sister Acerson and she called someone else who has also recently had this problem and told us that we could use olive oil to suffocate them and then we have to pick out all the "nits." Holy cow!! Ridiculously painstaking. My wonderful companion has spent hours picking them out. I don't think they had been there really long because there weren't very many live lice, but lots and lots of eggs. Apparently they really liked my nice clean hair that I never put any hairspray in or blowdry. Anyhow, pretty much any spare moment has been spent oiling our hair, picking nits, and doing laundry. I can't imagine what our water and electricity usage will be this month. We have to keep up the routine for a few more days, but I think for the most part we have eliminated them. It's obnoxious, but thankfully not painful. Sorella Cheesman didn't have it too bad, but whats mine is hers and whats her's is mine, right? It would have been virtually impossible for me to have it and not her, but she blowdrys her hair and uses product and hairspray, so I think that detered them.

So... another week in the mission and another story to add to my collection.
Hope everyone has a wonderful wonderful week! Love you so so much!!!
Con tanto tanto affetto,
Sorella Leckie

Sister Cheesman with Sister Gadd yesterday Zone Conference.

Last P Day at the Terrazza. (When we went running)

Also last P Day. Sun bathing at the Terrazza. It was a good day.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Email from Sara 10/14/09

Happy Fall !!!!!!

WOW! It went from summer to fall in a hurry around here. One day it was hot, short sleeves and everything, and then BAM! Fall. But it is absolutely perfect! A little chilly at night, but that's how October is supposed to be. It's great.
Last week has been great.

Gil came to sacrament meeting, of his own free will and choice. When we were asking him he wouldnt say "yes" or "no", but he was like, "well, if I say 'no' and then come anyway, you'll be really surprised. But if I say 'yes' and don't come then I would have been a lier." So, we just said, "Just come." It was a great testimony meeting. It's great to hear the testimonies of some of the "pioneers" here in Italy.

We also were able to have an appointment with Veronica (a friend of Josy) this week. It went AMAZING. Josy bore her testimony of how she learned the Book of Mormon was true, which was a HUGE step for her, because when I first got here she wouldn't even say a prayer in front of her brother or friend. It's great to see them learning together and supporting each other in learning. At the end of the lesson we gave Veronica the choice of saying the prayer or choosing who said it, and she chose to say it and asked "how do I start, again?" It was such a sweet prayer and I really hope she can stick with learning and overcome the obstacles that satan will surely put in the way.

Stella, an inactive we've been working with, bore her testimony on Sunday. It was great to see her share her beliefs. We gave her son, Francesco, a Book of Mormon this past week and she said that he's been making her read wiht him almost every night. Hopefully he will be able to be baptized soon. He's 8 1/2, but the dad isn't a member and isn't so keen on the idea. Piano piano.

I've been playing the piano in primary lately and the primary program is on Sunday. Hopefully I won't mess up too terribly. I'm really nervous. For being the PRIMARY songs, they really aren't that easy. I guess it's a good growing experience for me, though.

Today for Pday we're going to go on a little run along the coast and then watch the last session of conference. I'm pretty excited about it. We're watching it at Sorella Eubanks house and she takes really good care of us. I'm really looking forward to it.

Okay, well, I'm gonna sign out now, but I hope that everyone has a wonderful week and that you do something good for someone else. Love you all!!!!
Sorella Leckie

Sorry, I really haven't been taking too many pictures lately. There have been some amazing sunsets over the ocean, but I haven't had my camera. Oh well. I'm sure you can imagine, right? :)

Gil rockin it up at soccer.

Between sessions of conference. We ate lots of gummy bears/worms.

My contortionist companion trying to pop her back...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Email from Sara 10/7/09

Low Key

It sounds like it's been a pretty low key week for everyone, and I guess to some extent it has also been that way here.
First things first, I will be staying here in Livorno with Sorella Cheesman so we will have at least 6 more weeks to learn and grow together. I'm excited. We've recently started working with Gil, Josy's brother and he came to conference on Sunday with us and Josy. It was good. He's softening, but right now he really doesn't understand why people need to believe. We've only had one appointment so far, so hopefully we can help him truly understand why the savior is so important in our lives now and eternally.

I also had some great news the other day. Michael Itala will be getting baptized this coming Saturday. I'm so excited for him and for the branch in Pistoia. Also, the Tuesday after I left, Francesca had their baby. Sorella Stephenson showed me some pictures at Zone conference and they are such a beautiful family. I might have already mentioned that but, it's still true. :)

There are some former investigators who were on vacation who have come back, so hopefully they will have a renewed desire to learn and we can help them come closer to Christ.

Conference was great. It was great to have Josy and Gil there. Josy actually came on Saturday and Sunday and even saw the Relief Society session on Saturday with us. She's great. We just have to be patient. When she want's to be baptized and pushes her parents a little more, it will happen. I think it might be a good thing for her to wait if it will help Gil, but I also think that her getting baptized might help him more... or they could just get baptized together. We'll just have to see. It's all in the hands of the Lord.

Yesterday was Sorella Cheesman's birthday. It is so tricky to try to do things for your companion without them knowing... being together 24/7 just presents some complications. Anyhow, I slid a cakemix (purchased at the base weeks and weeks ago) to the elders during DDM, and then I was hoping to use the cell phone to wake me up at some point during the night so I could blow up some balloons and such. No luck, sorella Cheesman uses the cell phone as an alarm clock so I actually prayed that I would wake up during the night so I could make a little sign and such. It worked! I woke up around 2 and made a little poster and blew up balloons, etc. It wasn't much, but options are a little limited in the mission. We had cake a couple times and when Sorella Cheesman was praying last night for dinner she said "... Ci dispiace che abbiamo mangiato tropo torte, per favore aiutarci." Directly translated: "... We're sorry we ate so much cake, please help us." It was really really funny but, oh, so true. It was a little out of hand. Not ridiculously, but a bit much.

Today we're having a pretty low-key p-day. We're gonna go have lunch here pretty soon with our district and some of the youth from the branch. It should be fun. One of the elders is getting transfered and the youth wanted to do something all together, so we're gonna do that.

Other than all those things, we're just keepin on keepin on. There are lots of other things that we do, lots of other people we talk with and work with, but to tell you about all of them would take way too long and my fingers are tired, so I'm going to sign off now with best wishes for everyone to have a wonderful week and keep the faith. Put in practice those things that we learned in conference from the apostles and prophets of God. What a blessing to have that direct guidance today.

Love you all so much!!
Sorella Leckie

Sorry no pictures this week. The computer is being stupid. There weren't really a whole lot anyway. Next week...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Email from Sara 9/30/09


Well, well, well, where to start...
It's been a good and very very fast week. Next week we will find out about transfers. I really can't believe that it's already october, and that the transfer is almost over. I've really enjoyed being here in Livorno, and am just starting to get to know the members, so I REALLY hope to stay here. It's not likely that I'll get transfered, but stranger things have happened. I hope Sorella Cheesman and I can stay together. We have a lot to learn from each other still.

Good news. Michael and Michael's baptism was great. They are both so excited about the gospel. Its amazing to see the changes that come into people's lives becasue of the gospel. Josy is also doing well. She came to the baptism and enjoyed it a lot. I think it definately doesn't hurt her desire to be baptized. She is also being a great influence on her family. Her brother accepts a little more every time we talk to him. He doesn't come to church and isnt even technically an investigator, but we will be watching "The Restoration" with him tomorrow and praying that not only does he feel a confirmation that it's true, but also feels the desire to ACT on that knowledge.
We have also been working quite a bit with some less actives. They are great. Stella has been to church the last two sundays and Olga wants to come to conference this weekend.

Aside from those things we are just carrying on. One thing that I need to be much better at is finding new investigators. It's hard for me. Not only to talk to people sometimes, but then to relate the conversation to the gospel and then set up a return appointment. I'm sure there are quite a few seeds that have been planted, but I need to be more diligent for those who may be ready NOW to hear the gospel.

It's been a good week, and I'm looking forward to another one. Hope everyone has a good week and enjoys conference. What an amazing opportunity we have to hear from a living prophet. I'm so excited!

I love you all and pray for your health and safety!
Sorella Leckie

Sorella Cheesman, Michael Israel, Michael Popolo, Me.

Josy and Me

We helped some members paint their house for service one day. It was really only one room and didn't take that long, but it was a lot of fun. (me, Anz Kelly, Annalisa Noè)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Email from Sara 9/23/09

Heavy Week

What sobering news to get. I have to relay a little bit to you about how I received this news and how ashamedly thankful I was to hear that my immediate family is safe, but how terribly sorry I am for the Gunter family, most especially Levin.

President called me on Sunday afternoon and asked me if we were busy and I told him we were on the bus. He asked if we were headed to an appointment and when I told him yes, he said to give him a call when I got home that evening. Immediately there was a knot in my stomach. Knowing that there are very few reasons that president would call, and even fewer reasons that he couldn't just tell us at the moment really got my mind spinning and my stomach turning. The hours until I could call seemed to crawl, but in those two hours I was just thinking and pondering.
Knowing that I've been informed of other deaths via email in the past made me realize that for him to call it would have to be serious... very serious. My mind just kept going over what my reaction would be to any news that I received and just HOW willing am I to accept the will of the Lord? How important is it to me to be a missionary? Is what I'm doing here more important than spending valuable time with my family? Am I using my time here in a way that would make it worthwhile to be away from my family? If there were a death in my family, would that affect how I spent my days here in the mission? Would it make them more valuable? On and on... the thoughts just kept coming, but with a somewhat deeper significance and perspective. I'm somewhat embarassed to say that I felt somewhat relieved when I heard the news, but the knowledge that my parents, brothers, sisters, inlaws, and neices and nephews being safe and healthy is una bella notizia. But, oh, at this moment, how my heart aches for Levin, Ansley, and for all of Amanda's family and friends. For those left here on this earth to adjust and carry on. How completely thankful I am to know about the plan of salvation, and know that they can be together again. It truly makes what we do here as missionaries much more significant. To be able to help someone understand that they can endure their trials and go forward with faith knowing that Heavenly Father created a perfect plan and that when we do our part to have faith in him we truly can trust that the promises of the Lord will be fulfilled.

Aside from these moments of reflection, missionary life continues as normal. Michael is on track to be baptized. We're still helping him and he wants it so much. He really does have such a strong testimony. I'll report next week about the baptism. Josy continues to learn and progress we're just waiting... and praying... patiently for her parents to consent.

We were fortunate today to be able to go to the Chinque Terre in La Spezia. How amazingly beautiful is this world that was created just for us. Enjoy the pictures.

I hope that all goes well this week and know that my thoughts and prayers are with you as you go about each day. Know that I love you so much!!
Sorella Leckie

This is the coast line from the Terazza. It's one of my favorite places to be in Livorno.

These are actually in Livorno. One is one of the canals that lead out to the ocean... It's pretty much just a parking lot for boats.

This is part of the Chinque Terre. It is absoultely beautiful!

This is as close as I'll get to laying out on the beach while I'm in the mission.

Sorella Cheeseman next to the BEAUTIFUL water. I think she was contemplating jumping in. She didn't deny it. ; )

We went on a pretty pretty hike. Lots of stairs and rocks. I thought I was going to quit right there on the trail a couple of times, but I made it. It was just absolutely breathtaking.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sara's apartment in Livorno

I asked Sara for her address a little while ago so I could look it up Google Earth. It just so happens that there is streetview and she has confirmed that this is her building and her apartment is the second balcony up on the left. I thought it was cool, so I'd share. Here is the link in case you want to see more of where she is living right now...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Email from Sara 9/16/09

It's the rainy season.

Alrighty, so apparently Livorno is right at sealevel :).

When it rains here the streets just fill up. The other day it was RIDICULOUS!!! In any low spot, it just fills up and then overflows on the sidewalk. I saw one car parked allong the side of the road with water up to the logo in the center of the tire. The water just kind of splashes against buildings when the buses drive past. It's crazy. If it's like this all winter we're going to need some waders. But that was with extrememly hard rain all day long. So, I don't think it will be quite that bad all winter. We have had to pull out a few sweaters and such. It was quite chilly the other day and without the sun and with the wind it's already got a little bite to it. But, thankfully there are a few really really good coats that have been left by former sisters, so I should be alright.

As far as the work goes, we've been working more with inactives and it makes me sad that these people have allowed themselves to become so lazy and complacent. A few of them want to return, but just lack the forza to just make that first step to just come. All we can do is help them understand why it's important and then support them.

We had some disappointing news this week. Josy's mom said she couldn't be baptized. At least not anytime in the very near future. Her dad said to wait another month or two and her brother who isn't a member or investigator (but he comes to FHE and soccer) defended her and kind of told her mom to let her make her own decisions. The mom just re-iterated that she didn't say she couldn't EVER be baptized, but just not NOW. So... we're trying to be patient. I think it might actually be good thing for Josy to strengthen her testimony a little bit. I think if she'd pushed it a little more with her parents she could have gotten permission, but we'll just let her go at her own pace and support her.

We also have another investigator, Michael. I'm not sure if I've mentioned Michael, but he's actually one of the Pisa Elders investigators "technically" becuase he lives in Pisa, but the Livorno sisters "found" him, and he works here and it's actually easier for us to meet with him becuase the elders have to take a train to get to his house. So, we meet with Michael almost every day to teach him at the train station before he heads back to Pisa. He is AMAZING and wants the gospel so much. He's trying to stop smoking now. He's cut back SO MUCH, but still has to quit. He's stopped buying cigarettes, but now just needs to stop accepting them when someone offers. Piano piano, he'll get there. He has a date for the 26th and is determined to be ready, so he's got to do it. As he says "it's a must!"

The branch here is great. I'm still trying to learn who everyone is which is taking a little while since it's such a big branch. But they are great. I'm so blessed.

Gonna head out now. Hope everyone has a wonderful week and does something good.
Much love!
Sorella Leckie
Sorella Cheesman and I going for the "drowned rat" look. I think we pulled it off rather well. Believe it or not, we actully had AND used umbrellas. It was just a little windy. There was also a little hail, etc.

The Terazza. I LOVE this place. So this is after the storms all day long, and it was just too gorgeous not to take a picture or two.

There was this man out on the rocks fishing. It looked pretty cool.

Sunset over the ocean. It's not QUITE like this everyday, but it's pretty close.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Email from Sara 9/9/09

Ciao tutti!!
Life is good. Fall is in the air. My companion is great. The branch is wonderful. The work is going forward. etc. etc.
I have so many blessings it's ridiculous!!
I slept in my bed for the first time on Sunday night. For the first two weeks we were sleeping on our balcony because it was much cooler outside. But then it started getting downright chilly with the wind blowing so we finally headed in.
We had a great zone conference on Monday. I'm reminded often that the speed we're moving isn't as important as the direction. I get frustrated and impatient with my progress sometimes, but it's a good reminder that progress is progress and the Lord doesn't expect immediate perfection. We as a mission are improving and it's a constant work to keep from digressing . It's not enough to do good for one transfer and basta, we have to keep on keeping on. Sempre avanti.
Anyhow, enough of that pep talk. Some exciting news here it is that Josy has a baptisimal date. She still has to talk to her mom, but we had a great appointment the other night and the spirit was so strong. She will need courage and faith, but she's got it. Keep her in your prayers. That she can be baptized on the 19th and that her mom will give her consent. (Josy's only 16).
We've also found some other great contacts this week. They're not investigators yet, but theres a lot of potential. We just have to help them understand how their lives can be blessed.
The branch presidency here is amazing. The branch president actually called us last night to ask if we wanted him to come to an appointment. He's so busy, but still makes time to help us. I've never had someone actually call us before to offer to help like that. It's wonderful, and he's such a great example for the branch.
The gospel is amazing and I'm so thankful that I can be here to share it! I love you all and hope you have a great week!!!
Sorella Leckie

#1 My first time seeing the ocean in Italy... isn't it beautiful!!

#2 Me and Sorella Cheesman

#3 My district: Gli Anziani: Kelly, Bryant, Smith, and Porter. Le Sorelle: Cheesman and Leckie :)

#4 Sunset over the ocean... it's a hard knock life. I will say that it's more than a little distracting when we're supposed to be talking to people.