Monday, February 25, 2013

Anna and Jason visit

Anna and Jason flew in to Rome and took the train to Florence where we picked them up.  We stayed two nights in Florence, one in Vernazza and one in Milano.  We got back to Forli on Saturday night after driving through a blizzard.  It took us six hours to drive from Milano instead of the usual three hours.

 Inside the Duomo in Siena.
 The walled medieval city of Monteriggioni.
 The arch entry into Monteriggioni.
 The Duomo in Florence from the bell tower.
 Anna and Jason with gelato on the Ponte Vecchio.
 Hard to choose one flavor.
 So, we like to share.
 Pisa in the rain.
 Vernazza from the terrace at our hotel.
Vernazza is our new favorite place to visit in Italy! 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Young Women Activities

The last couple of weeks Deanne helped the Young Women decorate their bulletin board and introduced them to chocolate dipped pretzels.

The theme for Young Women this year is "Stand in Holy Places."  Deanne came up with the idea to have pairs of shoes in the value colors and the girls loved coloring the shoes she drew to put around the bulletin board.

They had never heard of chocolate dipped pretzels and they loved them!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Divine Protection

Friday evening the young Elders called us to see if we could pick them up in Cesena.  They had taught a lesson to a family there and it was about 8:15 and there were no more trains back to Forli.  As we drove on the autostrada (freeway) to pick them up we were going about 110 kilometers per hour, well within the speed limit, and we ran into a big clump of debris in the road.  There was no time to swerve and there were cars on either side of us so swerving wouldn't have been a good idea.  When I was able to pull over,  I pulled three big pieces of the front end of our car out  from under it and I couldn't find the license plate.  We were able to drive the car and we went on and picked up the Elders and took them home.  I felt terrible the whole night and couldn't sleep well.  While I was grateful that we weren't hurt, I felt sick about damaging the car.  I kept asking questions like, "Why did this have to happen to me?"  We were only trying to do something good for the missionaries.  Why didn't the Lord inspire me to take another route?

The next morning I took the car to the dealer but since it was Saturday there were no mechanics working.  A nice salesman said he had a friend who was a mechanic and he would look at the car.  The mechanic checked it out and tied off a few dangling wires and said it was safe to drive until we got it fixed and he didn't charge me for his work.  He told me that since the front license plate was missing, I needed to report it to the police so that I would not get a ticket for the missing plate.

I went to the police station and they filled out a report for me to sign.  They then told me that I needed to go to the autostrada police to report the accident.  I went there and they had the license plate which one of the officer's had found in the road.  They also explained that they had found the truck that had lost part of its load and that the truck was owned by a company from Bulgaria.  They gave me the truck company's insurance information to give to the Church's insurance company.  So eventually the damage will be taken care of without costing the Church any money.

Driving home I had this overwhelming feeling of gratitude that the Lord is watching over us.  We weren't injured or worse, we can still drive the car, the license plate was found and the responsible party was found and will pay for the damage.  It had rained and snowed yesterday and was quite cloudy but just as I had this overwhelming feeling of gratitude, several shafts of sunshine burst through the clouds.  I repented of the self pity I had engaged in the night before and I thanked my Father in Heaven for His divine assistance.  I also want to thank all of you who are praying for our safety while we are here in Italy.

Friday, February 8, 2013


We went to visit Cesena with Laura, Alberto, their children and the missionaries the other day.  Alberto lived there for about 5 years when he was younger.  It is about the same size as Forli and is about 20 minutes away.  The town has some interesting modern art and has an old fortress and one of the oldest libraries in the world.

Friday, February 1, 2013

San Marino with the Elders

Last Wednesday on the Elders preparation day we went with them to San Marino.  By tradition, San Marino was founded in 301 AD by a Christian stonemason named Marino.  He fled religious persecution to live on the top of Mt. Titano.  He was later made a saint and the country was named after him.  It became a republic in 1243 and remains a republic today, the oldest one in the world.  A simple definition of a republic is where it's leaders are appointed or elected and it is not ruled by a monarch.  San Marino has always claimed neutrality preceding the neutrality of Switzerland by several centuries.

 There are three castles on the mountain, two main ones and a smaller one.  This is one of the main ones, looking from the other main castle.
 This is the other main castle.
 Climbing up into the tower .

 Looking down from the tower.
 The foggy valley below.
Standing  guard on the castle wall.