Sunday, 31 August 2014

Sorella Robertson Settimana 3 & 4

Weeks 3 & 4
Week 3
The week started off where my zone thought it would be hilarious to pretend that it was one of the Elder's birthday.  So in the canteen we got a cheesecake, stuck a carrot on the top and sang happy birthday to him. It was amusing, as a whole load of people joined in and clapped etc, it was hil! The funniest thing about the whole experience was that he thought it would be funny to tell us it was his birthday, but then we got him back, because he was so embarrassed hahah!! We even had some of the Elders get their parents to send in cake and stuff for the occasion haha; so it was a crazy day!

Also this week we finished teaching Alessandro!! He is now our teacher haha! (which is so so weird). He has put a feedback video up on Youtube and happened to mention Sorella Brunson and my singing (when we taught him). If you search 'Alessandro Negli - Alessandro Follow Up' or soooomething like that - you should find it!!

This is the link. 

On Sunday, I accompanied a musical item. The piece was "Saviour, Redeemer of my Soul" .. but not just a regular piece, it was an AMAZING version! I was given a short time frame to look at the music, but I learnt it in 3 days (which is really incredible, what with the limited time that I get to practise here) it really was a miracle! I have it recorded, but at the moment my camera won't send recordings through the wifi (I think it could be because the file is too large, so I'll have to upload it to an email later).

Regarding learning the Italian language, so this week I managed to remember the Missionary purpose in Italian, and half of the 1st vision in Italian. Good progress, we have set goals as a district regarding learning certain things and I will keep you updated.

Week 4
Although thousands of miles away, Sorella Robertson showed that her family are always close to her heart as she opened her group e-mail with a big birthday shout out to her sister, Beth.
"Birthday Shout-out" to Beth

It's funny that both Ammon and I are having such similar experiences, even with the little amusing things. Just like Ammon, people think it's hilarious that I say certain words and stuff. Some struggle to understand me and I struggle to understand them (EVEN WHEN THEY'RE NOT SPEAKING ITALIAN - Haha!!).

The language is getting better! I can now do the missionary purpose and Joseph Smith's First Vision in Italian. Our district set a goal to have D+C 4 in English memorized by Tuesday (yesterday) and we all got it downnnnnn! ;) Our goal is to have it in Italian by Sunday.... soooo we'll see !!! :D Another goal we have set as a district is to bear our testimony to 3 different people every day in Italian. It was scary at first, but it really does help and the spirit you feel while doing it is totes amazeeeee!
Sharing MTC Experiences Sorella Robertson and Elder Griffiths with Friends

The MTC is proving to be a great experience and one of the great things that adds to it is that Sorella Robertson is able to share some of these experiences with friends from back home who are also in the MTC at this time. This week, she ran into Elder Ethan Griffiths (Birmingham Stake - called to serve in the China, Hong Kong Mission).

As each week passes by we can see how Sorella Robertson is being so well prepared to engage the people of the the Italy Rome Mission in gospel discussions. She will shine!

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Mittelpunkt auf der MTC

This fortnight Elder Robertson has been blessed to have had a variety of great experiences at the MTC. He was blessed to receive a care package from home which he was instructed should be shared with his roommates. Lisa and I were at the temple for a family sealing, so thought we would take advantage of being close by, to drop a package in for Ammon. This was not an easy task, they don't accept packages at the MTC reception and we were told to drop it at the Temple accommodation reception (it was Saturday evening, the reception of the accommodation block was closed until Monday - someone was really working against us!!!) However, we were pleased to see Norman and Cheryl Cope (from our Stake) serving a Temple Mission and they kindly volunteered to get the package to Elder Robertson. It arrived just at the right time. He says "You have no idea how much of a perfect timing that card and package was!!! I had another one of those days,  but this time it wasn't just me feeling it, but the whole district! It was sad but we all pulled through it in the end!" Packages sent with love (and treats) can make a huge difference to our serving missionaries.  

"My highlight of this week was a TRC visit! (which is basically teaching teachers who are meant to be investigators) This was yesterday and Sister Lohmann was playing a "less active member" called Ana! The scenario was that she had served a mission in Brazil and has basically just been going to a different ward so she's not really less active. haha. But she doesn't believe that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God, yet has a testimony of everything else. Regarding Joseph Smith, she just thinks he's a good man. So for the lesson we focussed on Joseph Smith and the restoration and had a mini testimony meeting as our lesson. Then at the end we asked if we could come by and go through the other lessons with her anyway. At this point she told us she spoke English as well as Deutsch! But we did the lesson in Deutsch. At the end I shared a personal experience of when we had the missionaries teach in our home. I obviously had to give the experience in English though with as many German words as I could think of. But the Spirit was amazing in that lesson, I felt it so much and 'Ana' was in tears! So Elder Nebeker and I are confident it was a successful lesson!"

"On P-Day we went to the temple for the 8am session. I think we alternate each week between 8am and 1.30pm. So next P-day should be 1/1.30pm again. I love being in the temple with my zone and district. Sister East is in my zone so it's great to have somebody I know. Last Wednesday, the Fells were on our session which was great to see them. Unfortunately I literally just missed Grandad. Sister Cope put a little note in my clothes basket today at the the temple just checking I got the package all though I never saw her to say yes and thank you!"

Alpine German Speaking Elders leaving the Temple
Time really is flying by, Elder Robertson says, "The days seem to all roll into one! They're almost exactly the same. We have to teach 2 investigators every day except for Sunday and P-day. It's pretty tough, especially when in Provo they only teach 1-2 times a week. Pretty harsh!!! The Deutsch is definitely coming along. I'm at the stage where certain words in English just don't exist anymore, it's just automatically in Deutsch without a thought! Crazy how that happens! Two of our teachers served in our mission! (Sister Lohmann and Brother Field). Sister Lohmann knows Elder Pugh which is pretty cool! They're both great teachers. Can you beleive that I'm at the halfway mark of the MTC/first transfer???? It's crazy how fast time has gone by!!!"
"Our version of the Beatles"

Elder Robertson has been quick to make good friends with all of his Zone / District, so much so that the four Elders in his District have been given the nickname of "our version of the Beatles" by Sister Bawden who is a Sister in their zone (also off to to the Alpine German Speaking Mission). 

Sister Bawden's mother messaged Lisa this week telling her that "my daughter, Sister Emily Bawden said on her blog today, that she enjoys your son and his fun sense of humor!". On Sister Bawden's blog, she says "My favorite British Elder is Elder Robertson because he is super duper funny! He has a really low voice and will come up to you and just say the most random things like, 'Did you use the dirty hover this mornng?' (referring to a vacuum). They also think it's disgusting that we Americans use the same fork we used at dinner for dessert. Oh, their manners crack me up!" - Yes that sounds like Ammon, he can be particular on hygiene, but it's good to know he is getting on, making friends and lightening up the days of his friends just as his letters and emails lighten up our weeks.

One thing Elder Robertson and Sorella Robertson are really appreciative of are the letters and e-mails that you are all sending to them. Unfortunately, they only get between 20-30 minutes a week to read and reply to their e-mails, so they both apologise if you don't get a personal response - but they are so very thankful (please keep them coming!)

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Language teething issues and The Singing Sorellas

Although it has only been a short time, we have been blessed to be able to have a five minute telephone call with Ashleigh (Friday 8th August), it was a lovely surprise (totally unexpected) but so great to hear her voice and know that she is starting to settle into missionary life in the MTC.

Regarding MTC life Ashleigh says "Life here is crazy, I've began writing a letter to you, but then somethings came up and I've started over a good few times, ugh, but when I get time (most likely today) I'll finish it off and send you one :) Can you believe week 1 is over for me now!! c r a z y!!" I guess one day soon we will receive a letter.

She goes on to say "so this week has been hard but I fully understand when they say 'make it to sunday and you'll be fine' that phrase was not overrated. They meant it. The first few days were bad. I didn't really enjoy them and I got so so so frustrated with the language. I felt like everyone in my district picked it up so much faster than me and I just felt so crap. I found a few good scriptures in Doctrine and Covenants 11 which really helped but I guess all I can do is my best. It's hard, but everyone says it's worth it, so I look forward to the day I feel that!" We have every faith that she will pick the Italian language up and be conversational in no time.
Sorella Robertson and Sorella Brunson (MTC Companions)

Ashleigh has really been blessed with a great companion; she says "my companion is the best. I'm so blessed to have her. I think I've already told you about her though. She helps me a lot and knows just the right things to say. Our 1st investigator here is Alessandro. To start with I found it so hard to get it into in my head knowing he's just an actor, but after the 1st lesson (which was bad) it got so much better.......... WE EVEN sang to him. It's weird 'cause you know me I would never do that and my companion is the same, but we felt prompted to sing 'I Believe in Christ' in Italian, as we were teaching him about recognising the spirit and singing really brought the spirit. It was amazing!! ALSO YESTERDAY we asked him to commit to baptism AND HE SAID YES!!" Miarcles are already happening; Ashleigh is voluntarily singing and to be able to commit her "Investigator" to baptism must mean that the language is starting to progress nicely. 

Regarding her MTC District, Ashleigh says "my district love exercising which is hard for me hahaha. I'm so unfit but I guess I'll get used to it, ha!"
Italy Rome Sorellas at the MTC
Ashleigh is really appreciative of all the letters and "Dear Elder" messages that she receives, they are a great welcome. Please keep them coming, she can't always promise a reply but we will keep you up to date right here ;-)

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Deutsch lernen

Elder Robertson (like so many other missionaries) has really been thrown in at the deep end when it comes to learning the language (German) of the area where he is called to preach the Gospel. Right from day one all classes have been in German, with very little if any English speaking. He is really coming along with it, he says "I have learnt so much already and know that the gift of tongues is real! The German is actually coming along pretty well!,  I know that I wouldn't have been called to serve in Germany if He (Heavenly Father)  knew I couldn't learn the language!". 

Elder Robertson's companion is Elder Nebeker from Idaho, he gets on really well with him and they are learning so much from each other. His companion is the District Leader for their MTC district (which has it's positives and negatives - Leadership Council is on Sunday Morning during breakfast and is a real sacrifice for Elder Robertson to miss his food).
Elder Robertson (L) and Elder Nebeker (R)
Elder Robertson is part of the biggest intake that the England Missionary Training centre has ever seen (there are currently 87 missionaries receiving training). He is in the Kimball Zone, Alma District. His district comprises of 10 missionaries (8 Elders and 2 Sisters - of which 2 of the Elders are British). He says "The whole district is amazing! They're all great and I love them so much! They each have such strong testimonies of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and know exactly why they are out serving The Lord!"
The Alma District, Kimball Zone (MTC)
Elder Robertson has started well and is already making new friends for life. 

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Sorella Robertson: the journey begins

It was with a little trepidation on Monday 4th August 2014 at 4am that we checked Ashleigh in for the marathon flights final destination (for now) Provo MTC. After a few quick last photos (and no tears to speak of), she swiftly made her way up the escalator to the departure lounge and out of sight.
Just like her brother (Ammon), Ashleigh was so prepared and ready to go.
On her way

One final wave goodbye and she was gone

After 3 flights and many long hours, Ashleigh finally made it to Salt Lake City where she was greeted by friends of Mom and Dad (from their missions). Lonette Stoddard and Jill Litster managed to gather quite a group of people to cheer for Ashleigh as she descended the escalator (albeit some were welcoming home their own missionaries). Ashleigh then had the privilege of being driven through Salt Lake down to Highland, where she met her Mom and Dads Mission President and his wife, Doyle and Beth Robison. 
Sorella Robertson with her parents Mission President and Wife

They welcomed her most lovingly and shared a wonderful meal as well as Skyping home to let us know that she had arrived safely.
The following day Sorella Robertson was dropped off at the MTC. She has been given a Temporary group until her fellow Italy Rome Sisters arrive. In her own words Ashleigh says "a little bit of info I can tell you is that yesterday I was put in a temp room, and a temp district (they are going to Japan!!) 
-- they sung lead, kindly light in Japanese while i awkwardly sat there and sung it in English, it was 
funny and pretty cool".
Skyping home
The little black name tag

She had the opportunity to also attend the Provo Temple to watch youth baptisms today while she awaits her Italy Rome roommates to arrive at the MTC, but Ashleigh being Ashleigh has made good friends with the Sisters / Hermanas that she has been associating with. 
New friends at Provo Temple