Monday, 29 September 2014

Roma 3: Nuovi ed entusiasmanti inizi

I’m now in Italy! The real work has begun! My flights were delayed by like 6 hours, but I got there in the end!!! I was one of the lucky ones who arrived with all of my luggage :):):) Our delay was so ridiculous BUT we got there eventually. The good part about our delay at Heathrow was that I was able to share with my zone some of my favourite English snacks that I had been craving for 6 weeks!!!!! Hahaha. I was a bit popular that day! (it was soo good to have a galaxy ripple or 2 once again haha!!!)

When we arrived in Rome, they drove us past the temple!! (ITS HUGE) bigger than I expected! But because it was so late we didn’t get the traditional photograph stood outside it! ANY way we went to the mission home and ate, got interviewed by Pres. Waddoups and had our Golden Envelope which told us of our area and trainer!

I opened mine and it saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaid:

Roma 3 : Sorella Perkins!

Okay soooooooooooooooooo, I’m in Rome 3 (one of the roughest areas in the mission) BUT I’m a missionary so I’ll be protected, prayers for protection would defs be appreciated. BUT I have a really good trainer and she has told me where to avoid and like I said I’m a missionary and president knows what he’s doing!! Beth Arnold served here last transfer (when there used to be 4 Sorelle and 4 Anziani)... now there’s just 2 Sorelle and 4 Anziani  (one Anziani was with my group in the MTC, so I know him, so that’s cool!!!)

Our apartment is a good size!!! It used to house 4 Sorelle! The "chapel" we meet in is an old prison, literally! hahaha its super interesting!!

We teach people who live in mouldy garages and abandoned building. NOT how I thought a mission in Rome would be like, but the people here are so great (members and those we are teaching) Oh yeah, my companion goes home after this transfer so I’ll deffs get a new companion after this transfer which is sad!| She’s awesome, she’s from Austrailia! She is so, so, cool! As this is her last transfer before she goes home I’m a bit sad about it.  BUT she’s real cool and I’m excited essere qui! (to be here).

So on my first day here we taught English class, it was a pretty full class! It’s so cool and funny hearing Italians trying to speak English, I imagine they feel the same when I attempt Italian hahaha!

Yesterday I had my 1st Sunday in Chiesa (church) and had to share my testimony in Italian... SCARY! It went well though! I shared my testimony in sacrament meeting... I had it all written out.... then 2 new Anziani went up before me to bare their testimonies (But with NO paper) so how could I embarrass myself and take paper up? Soooooo I went without any notes AND I WAS FINE! I even impressed myself as mine was the longest too haha! crazy!!

We also taught a lady... the story about her is so so cool! Sorella Perkins (my collega) and Sorella Vickers (her ex collega) had a rough week one week and prayed that day to find someone ready for baptism. They went to a less active to drop something off for him but he wasn’t home. So they dropped it off with their neighbour..... WHO turned out to be SO ready for the gospel! They taught her 1st lesson that day, she came to church yesterday and LOVED it!!! And during church she actually turned to Sorella Perkins and said "I can’t wait to get baptised"!!!!!!!! 
We taught her after church and also set a baptism date for her, she is just so ready and excited about it! Her name is V! She’s awesome!!!! We love her!!

 Life here is VERY different to how I expected, it is a really interesting area with a lot of less actives and a lot of investigators also!! The people are great here!! I love being a missionary here, I know that I’m meant to be here!
Teaching the Gospel, it's what it's all about!

Happy to be in Rome
Well I can now say that I have had my 1st real Italian pizza and gelato! Also I get to go and explore real Rome today which I’m super excited about!!
Real Italian Pizza

Rome with Sorella Perkins

For now that’s all I really have to say because time is running out! But I love you all and I love hearing from you all so don’t forget about me okay

LOVE YOU ALL xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Bern, baby, Bern!!

Guten Tag!!!!

Es tut mir lied for any spelling mistakes, these German keyboards may take a while to get used to!!! Crazy things!!

So, I'll give a run down on life so far!!! Mittwoch was one long day! Up at 3, printed emails and we all met in the Foyer to say a prayer! Just my luck to get picked by Pres Edwards to do the last prayer at the MTC! We had a pretty nice flight to München, where Pres and Sis Kohler met us with the Assistants, Office Elders and the München Zone Leaders!! It was so cool! We put our suitcase in a van and then went in groups with one of the missionaries to get a train to München 2 (I think it was 2) where we had orientation. So on the train we had to try to hand out a Das Buch Mormon! I sat near two ladies. It took me a while to build up the confidence to start a converstaion auf Deutsch, but I did! They were on holidaz in München for a week, from Barcelona! One of them spoke no German and the other spoke basic, so my basic German was perfect for that Converstaion! It turns out there neighbour is a member and they've been to church activities, etc and read the Book of Mormon!! How cool! They said they'll see about meeting with the missionaries when they get back home, so it was pretty good!

So we got to München 2 and had lunch, and you'll never guess who President Kohler picked on to do the first prayer in the mission... yep, that's right, me! Fun times!!! My Deutsch prayers are getting better!! :D So we then had Orientation/training meetings, and an interview with President!! 

In the evening after dinner and interviews, we had a meeting where we were told our area and companion! We got a little card with our area and companion with a picture of them. My card said I was going to serve in Pratteln Ward with Elder Little... We then had a testimony meeting which was amazing. Then went to a hostel to go to bed. Becasue there were like 31 of us, our trainers didn't meet us in München, and we couldn't all fit in the mission home! 

Donnerstag- we began with training from 9.30 till 11, and then we went to Hauptbahnhoff (main train station) Where we picked up our bags, congregated in the middle of the station and missionaries from across the mission who were either moving to the München zone or going home came. Those staying in the zone were picked up by their trainers there. Those of us heading to Schweiz got a train to Zurich Bahnhoff, which was a 4+hr train ride, killer!! We met our trainers there and did the same thing in the middle of the station, it's a mission tradition or something! haha! That is when I found out we were serving in Bern, not Pratteln! Elder Little is from Northampton, yes! A Brit!! So we got our train to Bern, dropped my suitcases off at our apartment and went to a lesson with the Zone leaders (Elders Dewey and Simon), who are the other Bern missionaries! It is pretty cool! We had a really good lesson and then went back to the apartment to unpack and go to bed!
At Hauptbahnhof (See if you can spot Elder Robertson)

Freitag- What a day! We are white washing in on Bern, and Elder Little has never served here before either, so we are trying to find our way around this city and find new investigators as we don't really have any solid Untersuchers (investigators). Fun times! My finding lingo, is definitely expanding, which is great!
Elder Robertson & Elder Little

Samstag- We had a great day! More finding! Then Elder Little is also the District Leader so we went to District Leader Training Saturday afternoon, which was cool to meet more missionaries in the Zone! We then went up to Zollikofen to practice a song that we were doing for a Baptism on Sunday evening, which was fun! Zollifoken chapel is right next to the Bern temple so it was amazing! 

Sonntag- What a day! Church in German was well fun!! I understood about 30% of the meetings, and I had to introduce myself and bear my testimony in Sacrament, which was so not fun, but I did it and people told me it was great afterwards, sooo... :) We then studied, and then went off to Zollikofen again for the baptism. The guy being baptised is French speaking, so we had a baptism all in French! The spirit was so strong there, even though my French is worse than my German! ahha! It was great! We sang 'Je suis enfant de dieu' which was fun! Sister Edwards' music activities efery other week really paid off when singin I am a Child of God in French!! :D 

Have a great week Guys!!

Love you all!

Elder Ammon Robertson x

Friday, 19 September 2014

Finalmente è arrivato in Italia, Roma

Tuesday 16th September 2014 was the big day, when Sorella Robertson left the MTC with her group and began the long flight to Italy. We were very blessed to receive a phone call from Sorella Robertson while she was awaiting her first connecting flight in Chicago. It was a real blessing, we also said a quick "hello" and "good luck" to her good friend and MTC companion Sorella Brunson, (I'm sure they will be friends for life). We also got our chance to hear Ashleigh speaking Italian for the first time, although we didn't understand all of it, we got the gist of it and are very proud Parents.
It's always an anxious time waiting to hear from your missionaries, but luckily for us President and Sister Waddoups keep a blog and update it with plenty of photos covering new arrivals, departures and Zone meetings.
Finally arrived in Rome
Here's what they had to say about Sorella Robertson and her group who arrived much later than expected.
"Because of airline delays, the missionaries from the Provo MTC missed their flight from London to Rome. By the time they reached the villa, it was nearly 9:00 pm.  They were exhausted and very, very hungry and two of them were missing some luggage.  We fed them dinner and then held the obligatory training meeting where they received training on their finances and permesso packets.  And then, of course, there’s always opening the Golden Envelopes.  As much a we condensed everything that had to be done, it was still nearly 3:00 am before some of them got to bed.  The worst thing was that several of them had to be up by 4:30 am to catch the train.  It’s always a miracle when the pieces all fit together."
Golden Envelope (Finding out first area and companion)
First Area Rome 3, First Companion Sorella Perkins

Golden Singing
Very tired and hungry Missionaries
We really hope that Sorella Robertson hasn't lost any luggage in transit, or that she was not one of the ones up for the 4.30am train.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Italian Skype and feedback

So last week Sorella Robertson got the chance to practice her Italian by being able to conduct a Skype Lesson with real Italians. She totally loved it, and has a rapidly growing love of the Italians.

Better still, the Italian that she happened to skype know a family friend, so was able to send feedback which was most welcome. Hearing news about your missionaries lifts your spirit no end. Special thanks to Alan Tong and Luciano Serpe, you made our day.
Great feedback, we love it!

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Settimana 4 & 5:- Eccitato per l'Italia, Salt Lake City Trip & recupero con gli amici

Week 4 in the MTC and Sorella Robertson had so much to say. Her excitement for the work is growing at a tremendous rate just like her skill in the Italian language. She writes, "This week has been a really good good good week!!! The language is still hard and sometimes I get frustrated because I have so much to say in lessons but not enough or the right vocab to say it, but I'm picking up more and more each day!!!! I have Our Purpose, the Baptismal Invite and First Vision downnnnnn. We're starting to learn the Articles of Faith in Italian memorized this week, so we'll see how that goes!! Our lessons are also going really well, and I don't even take notes in anymore hahaha (that's a great milestone for me -- while no-one in my district were taking notes for aaages, I still refused to leave them! I really learnt how to rely on the Spirit, and it didn't fail me!)
My teachers are really cool. We have Sorella Urban and Fratello Gessell. They are the best!! Urban served in Rome and Gessell served in Milan! Sorella Urban said when she was there, there were only 80 Elders and 20 sisters! And now she says there are 250 missionaries (half elders, other half sisters!!) HOW COOL IS THAT!!!? We are so excited to go to Rome!! We get our flight plan this Friday!!!!!!!!!! ALSO, we get to Skype lesson this week to REAL LIFE ITALIANS!!!!!!! AND I get to go to the Salt Lake Temple!!!!! (international priorities) ;)
WE GET NAPS on Sundays and P'Days!! on Sundays we have sacrament meeting in the afternoon dopo (after) our temple walk!!! I put my pj bottoms straight on, do half an hour personal stufy then have a half an hour nap!!! ITS BLISS!
Sorella Robertson & Sorella Brunson

Our zone are the cutest, we have a mini FHE at the end of Monday, where we basically just sing an 'inni' (hymn) and pray! It's really cool!!

ALSO talking about miracles - those of you who know me, know that I DO NOT EXERCISE. HOWEVER, every day this week (other that Sunday) I've been running 1 mile! Ok yeah, only 1 mile but THAT IS PROGRESS ! I still don't understand how it is supposed to 'feel good' after, cus quite frankly I don't feel that way, but hahahaha it's a good thing to do I guess.

ALSO!!! I've been assigned to do the closing prayer at some kind of MTC meeting thing on Sunday!!!! EEK!!! In front of everyone! and apparently it's gonna be broadcasted to all MTCS. (So AMMON -- LOOK out for me!!)
One last note, a sister in my zone is in the same ward as one of the Apostles, but before she had her call he told her that 'choice spirits are being called to Italy - the people need us! WOW. So exciting!! I hope I can live up to that expectation and I LOVE THE ITALIANS ALREADY!!!!!!"
Week 5 update

Outside the Conference Centre (Tempe in the background)
Sorella Robertson continues to make great progress with the language and was blessed to go into Salt Lake, it was a great experience she says:
"Salt Lake was a dream!! Salt Lake Temple was so different, but the Spirit is still the same there! The Celestial room at the temple too!!!! IS SO BEAUTIFUL!!!!!! and just everything about it!! I love it!!!! After our visit to the temple, the temple square sister missionaries took us on a tour!!! The conference centre was so so cool!!! Knowing that the prophet had been there was just so cool and the Spirit was there so strongly, even though it was an empty room!"
At the Conference Centre

She has continued to bump into friends from home "Reilly cleans my class block and I'm pretty sure she inspects our room to see how tidy it is!!!! So I'll have to put in some good work for this week ahhaa!!!"

Sorella Robertson catching up with Reilly (Friend and Cleaner)

Grüße aus President Kohler

This week due to time constraints caused by travel from the England MTC to The Alpine German Speaking Mission home in Munich Germany, there was no real information in Elder Robertson's email except to say, "Just a quick one cause it's ridiculous o'clock and others have to do a quick email to family, but today is the day!!!  Our flight is around 7am this morning so by the time you're done with Seminary today I will be on my way to Munich!!! Exciting times!" 
The Alpine German Speaking Missionaries ready to depart for the field.

Fortunately, we have been blessed to hear of Elder Robertson's safe arrival and of his first assignment from his Mission President. He wrote:-

         "Dear family of Elder Robertson-
We are delighted to tell you that Elder Robertson arrived safely in Munich this morning.  He is tucked away in bed now after a long day of orientation.  
We thought you might enjoy this picture from this evening. His new companion is Elder Little, and they will be serving Bern Switzerland
We are thrilled that he is here and are very impressed with his preparation and enthusiasm.  He will be a great missionary.  Thank you for all you have done to help him become the fine young Elder he is today.  We love him already, and we will do all we can to help him grow as a missionary and have a successful mission.  Your son’s preparation day is on Mondays and that is when he will be emailing you home each week." 
He also enclosed a photo.
Elder Robertson with President & Sister Kohler

The harvest for Elder Robertson commences.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Eifrig, die Arbeit anzufangen

So the past fortnight has brought a mixture of blessings, experiences and random stories from Elder Robertson. Starting with the blessings on Tuesday 26th August, Ammon received a package from home. He said "I loved the package, I literally just ran out from the last package yesterday morning when the package came!" He was so excited, because not only were there chocolates, biscuits, crisps etc, but Dad had wiped Ammon's iPod and added church music and talks to it. He was so pleased to receive it along with a speaker dock. He said "The iPod and speakers are much appreciated by the whole district. We've been dying without music, so I brought it down to the district room, so we can listen while we study! And there's 6 in the bedroom, so even more bodies to share with!!! Fun!" So blessings all around for his district - treats and music!
A box of treats (definitely not what the box says!)
Time is really starting to fly by and Elder Robertson is really itching to get out there and spread the message of the restored gospel. He really has a taste for the work since he was allowed out into Manchester to Street contact. He says "finding was so much fun! We gave away 2 Books of Mormon, A Plan of Salvation pamphlet, about 30 Pass along cards and we got the contact details of 2 people all within an hour and forty five minutes. I had to have a new companion for this, as the Americans aren't allowed to proselyte here as they are only on Business Visas for the MTC. Gutting! But it was great fun!" 
He goes on to say, "It's crazy to think this is my last P-day in the MTC. This time next week we'll be on our way if not in Munich!!! Crazy!!! I have never felt more ready to do something! Obviously not language-wise, but I am so prepared to get out of here and do real missionary work!!! haha! We get to go finding again in Manchester tomorrow, which will be a nice break again from language training!!!"
Elder Robertson continues to be a ray of sunshine and bring light-hearted relief to all he works with. Sister Emily Bawden (from his MTC Zone) said on her blog, "This past week, when Elder Robertson and his companion, Elder Nebeker, were in their lesson, something smelled awful they said. I went back and watched the intro of their video (with their permission) and Elder Robertson made the FUNNIEST stink face I have ever seen right at the camera. It was so hilarious that I almost cried from laughing. I could picture the MTC presidency watching it and having to laugh out loud, as well as being so funny!"
Elder Robertson's MTC Group 
Regarding the language, there are constant improvements and there have been blessings that have come Elder Robertson's way in the shape of Native German missionaries entering the MTC. "We have the real Germans here! It helps quite a bit with our pronunciation and speaking German and all!"
As a result he is seeing great improvements, so much so that he and his companion are teaching "off the cuff". He says "This past week in particular was amazing!! I have really seen how far the German has come! We had an amazingly powerful lesson with our investigator Zlata yesterday! The whole thing was in German, broken German, but we did have to change what we were going to teach when we got in there, as she had some struggles with keeping the Word of Wisdom! So with no planning and no notes or anything, we did the whole thing by the Spirit and it was definitely the most powerful lesson I have been in, let alone played a part of!"
Photo bombing the Sisters :-)
What a great fortnight he has had, with so many blessings. We eagerly await to find out where he will be assigned to labour in his first area of his mission next week and who his companion will be!