This past week we had Christmas twice. Then today we enjoyed a White Christmas! 1st: The President arranged for us to choose a framed picture of the Savior to put on our office wall. What a difference it makes to the atmosphere there. 2nd: The mission home purchased new living room furniture and it arrived Thursday. We had dibs on the old furniture and by Thursday evening, the assistants had hiked up three stories of stairs carrying the used furniture: a couch and matching chairs. Our bare apartment living room is suddenly full. Wow! And is it comfortable! What a blessing! White Christmas: You guessed it – a baptism. It was a darling girl, just turned 8, in the ward. We were privileged to sit in on some of the lessons the missionaries gave to her. There were many family members there to observe baptism by immersion, which they had not seen before. Giada (said: Jaw-da) was the only one being baptized, and the program was very well planned.
Even before our three Christmas experiences, we were involved in a full, exciting week. Missionary transfers happen every 6 weeks in our mission. Will and I coordinate travel arrangements for all who are moving to different areas. Sounds easy – it is actually much more involved than it sounds. This was our first time doing this totally by ourselves. The Lord made us equal to our responsibilities. 18 missionaries were returning home after serving honorable missions. We met with them at the Villa, had dinner, and said a fond farewell. The 5 new missionaries coming into the mission were also fed their first Italian meal at the Villa, then trained for our particular mission and found out who their trainer was for the next six weeks.
Friday morning, after that whirlwind of activity was over, we went to downtown Roma with the Pearson’s to see the flowers on the Spanish Steps. There are only flowers there for a couple of weeks in April. This year the flowers were crimson and white bougainvillea. Beautiful!
As we spoke to the mission president this week, he indicated that the groundbreaking for the Rome Temple will very likely take place while we are serving our mission here. The temple plans have been drawn up and several government concerns have been dispelled. Thank you for all your prayers!
Saturday we drove to Tivoli and visited the Villa D’Este. The Villa itself is huge with painted murals on walls and ceilings. Many fountains inside are mosaic. There are literally hundreds of fountains made of marble on the grounds.
The Villa Georgiana is also right in the town of Tivoli. It has several beautiful waterfalls, a mermaid grotto and a hellhole in a kind of cave at the end where the water rushes over huge boulders and falls into a pit. So very beautiful!