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Sara loves to get letters!

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

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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.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Email from Sara 9/2/09

Buone Settembre

Ciao Tutti!!

Alrighty, I'll try to give an update on my new living status. I'm still very much just trying to learn names, faces and places, but piano piano, I'll get there.
Obviously, I'm in Livorno. Fall is in the air and I love it... or maybe it's just cooler than Pistoia. Either way I'll take it.

Anyhow, Our apartment is about 15 minutes by bus away from the mare, or sea. It's not a sandy beachy sea so it's not quite as tempting as it could be, but it is beautiful. It's not very wavy unless there is a lot of wind, which does happen, but usually it's pretty tranquil. Lots of people swim there and most of the waterfront area is restaurants or private access areas. I've already seen more sunsets over the ocean in less than a week than I have in my entire life :)

Livorno is definately a MUCH bigger city. It's kind of an adjustment to be in a big city again.

But, a bigger city does mean more members. The branch here is great. We have a LOT of support from the branch presidency and they really want to help the missionaries. There were around 60 people there and I was told that it was kind of a small crowd and that a lot of people were still gone on vacation. (School doesn't start until about the 15th of September). There are several families who are "part american." Meaning that an american and italian got married. It's interesting to hear their stories and hear how it is to live permanantely in another country. I'm convinced more and more that I want to live inside the states. There is actually an american base nearby, but most of the members live in the Pisa branch. But there is one couple who are in our branch, and she is actually taking us to the base today to go grocery shopping, and boy oh boy, am I excited! I fully intend to stock up on lots of good things :).

Sorella Cheesman is amazing. She has had so many unique experiences that have shaped her into a very very strong and wonderful person. I have so much to learn from her. She has been in Italy about 6 months (She and Sorella Stephenson were in the MTC together). We have lots of fun together already and get allong very well. Sorella Stephenson is still in Pistoia and I'm anxious to hear updates on the work there.

There is quite a bit of work here to do also. We have several investigators who are very close to getting baptized or to setting a baptisimal date. If all goes according to plan we should have several baptisims in this transfer. There is one nigerian man who actually lives in Pisa, but works here so we teach him here and the elders in Pisa also teach him (It's complicated=) He is amazing and it's another testimony to me of how much the gospel can change people. Then there are Josy and her younger sister Leslie. They are Peruvian and their whole family is somewhat familiar with the church as they had friends in Peru who were members, but none of them are members. Josy (16 yrs old) is ready to get baptized, but her mom is not too sure about it, and Leslie is only 10 and wants to be baptized, but her dad is really hard on her and expects her to be a mormon scholar before she can be baptized, so we're working on that. There's also Massimilliano who is close to being baptized, but there are a few things that haven't quite clicked yet. I'll have a lesson with him for the first time tonight, but he came to church on sunday and I was only able to briefly meet him.
Anyhow, apart from that we have lots of finding to do. Not exactly my favorite, but apparently the Lord wants me to work on finding :) There's really no way around it in missionary work, i'm afraid. I'm sure some day I'll learn to love it :).

Alrighty, gonna go now. Sorry no pictures, but I should have my new camera next week after zone conference and I can send you some beautiful pictures of the ocean.
Love you all. Hope you have a wonderful and safe week.
Con tanto affetto,
Sorella Leckie