Dear Family and Friends,
Here is my Christmas Story. It begins with the story of George and Fernando. Fernando is this guy from Sri Lanka who we always pass by almost every day. He loves to talk with us and one day we talk to him about his friend George who is in the hospital now from a motorcycle accident that hurt his foot. We decided to visit him and it was a really sweet moment to talk to him. Then we decided to be a Light and do a Christmas miracle. So thanks in part to the money from my grandparents, we were able to buy him and his family clothes, a blanket, and some food (pandoro!). We brought it over to him a few days later, surprised him and even got to explain who we are as missionaries. They loved it and want us to come back again. They speak Sinhala(Sri lankan) and a little Italian and English so I got to start learning a little bit of Sinhala too. It was really awesome to feel the true spirit of Christmas also while being a missionary.
Christmas is Italy is really a blast and that starts from the beginning of the week. It's basically just constantly eating whole playing games and talking so nothing too different from our traditions. We ate at Sorella Reali's on Monday and she cooked the best lasagna I have ever eaten! Also we had our Christmas party on Tuesday which was really great for our investigators and English Group to come to. I got play for the church choir and it was super fun!
For Christmas Eve, we had a fun pranzo party together with Giuseppe and Vittorio and other members where we ate pasta, lasagna, and for dessert, chocolami and a super good pandoro cake with Nutella stuffed in It! Yum! We even got this huge bread shaped like a fish from this panificio nearby as a Christmas gift that was super good. After, we played ping pong and watched our movies, luckily we still got to watch Zootopia which is hilarious in Italian. Poi, we had Christmas eve dinner at the Conforto house which was a blast. I tried this weird meat gelatin which was very weird tasting. But there was great pizza made from mozzarella di bufala, boar sausage!, pumpkin puree, and this ricotta pie. Super good! (Remember this is just Christmas Eve)
We wake up bright and early still for Christmas. Anziano Anderson and I bought a gift for each other just to make it feel a bit more like home. We got to the church super early to help set up and clean up from the party yesterday. Actually we found someone even sleeping on the walkway to the church. We offered him the bathroom to fix himself up and gave him some extra pandoro and water we had left. Kinda awkward but it was the best we can do without giving money. We had a great sacrament program all centered on Christ which was perfect. Also the members gave us some nice gifts and food which is super nice of them. We have literally gotten 5 pandoros from them.
We ate at the Caggegis for pranzo, normal lasagna, polpetone (sausage wrapped around prosciutto and egg), arance, and a delicious cherry panetone(fruitcake that actually tastes better). We talked a lot with their family and even got to share a spiritual thought with them. Poi, I got to talk with my family! This was a great gift, I loved it! The time spent talking really flies by but I also realized, time has also really flown by on the mission. It was the best gift to answer their questions and talk to them in person. Sometimes, the email just isn't good enough.
And after we had a great dinner with the Corso family who is awesome. They made another delicious lasagna and another polpetone, definitely one of my favorites. As you can tell the tradition is lasagna and polpetone for Christmas. I was stuffed!
After everything, I realized how much I am thankful for and Christmas is a time of expressing the love we have for others. I love and miss my family. I love the people of Italy and all they do for me.I love Siracusa and Pozzuoli and being here on the mission! I love my companion and district and wouldn't want to be anywhere else. Because I know why I am supposed to be here. Because God needs me to be here. Because Christ is our Savior, who made the ultimate sacrifice, and it's my time to make a sacrifice. And really, it's not a sacrifice. It's such a blessing to get to know these people, to partake of their culture and share with them the greatest gift you know (Christ!) Thank you for your love and do support! I couldn't do it without you. Have and do merry Christmas and a happy new year!
Vi voglio bene!