Farmers Markets and Lost Sheep

Today we got up early so that we could attend church.  We had located an LDS meeting on the map that was within walking distance of the metro and started out hoping to make it in time for Sacrament Meeting.  We found the address that was listed, but there was no door or entrance that was open.  We were discouraged, but told the girls that because we tried, the Lord would bless us and something would happen to make up for it.  We started to return to the metro, but decided to explore this little town called Lido Di Ostia.  Very quickly, we came across a HUGE farmers market and decided to spend our time there.

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It seemed the the entire town was out that beautiful Sunday morning to congregate, shop, eat and walk.  We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful scene for a Sunday afternoon.

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The honey, like everything else in Italy, was out of this world delicious!

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Samples were abundant and we ate our fill and also purchased several items to add to our breakfast supplies at the hotel.

(Breakfast at the hotel would have been € 80/day for our family.)

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We spent 2 hours at the farmers market and then decided to go see the new LDS Temple that is being built on the other side of Rome.  We arrived at the metro station and sat down to enjoy some more olives and dried fruit when I felt a prompting to go talk to a man about 100 feet from us on the platform.  I didn’t quite understand the feeling I was having.  I didn’t know how to approach this stranger, nor how to start up a conversation with him.  Again, the prompting came and I looked up, this time noticing that he had been joined by a woman and a child in a stroller.  So, I grabbed one of the cookies that we had purchased and walked over to offer it to the little boy by asking his parents first.  A conversation was started and as it turned out, they were LDS and where just returning from their meetings!  Sammisco and his wife, Rose, had immigrated to Italy from Ghana two years ago, had met the missionaries here and had joined the church just a year ago.  Their little boy’s name is Israel and he is the sweetest little guy!

We were chatting and exchanging information when we were joined by another Sister named Rhonda, who is from the Philippines.  All of us were headed the same way and so we continued our conversation on the train and it quickly turned into a discussion about how we all found the Gospel and became converted.  I reminded the girls that I had told them that our day would work out perfectly, and it had… we got to have Testimony meeting on a train, in Italy with members from Ghana, the Philippines and the U.S.

And then there was more…

As we sat on the train,  each taking turns talking about the Gospel, we were approached by a young man who introduced himself as a member of the church from North Carolina.  He was there on his senior trip with his Latin class and they hadn’t made time in their schedule to attend church.  His class mates and his teacher were astonished that he found us on the train and recognized us as members of his church!  The young man told us that his brother was on a mission, but that he had been accepted to university and wasn’t planning on a mission.  He said that we had made his day and that he was going to write his mom about meeting us on the train.  I honestly believe that Heavenly Father provided a reminder for him that he was remembered and not lost.  None of us are lost and if we follow promptings, he will provide a way for us and for others to know that!

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After we said goodbye to our new friends at the train station, we boarded a bus to the North side of Rome.

The temple is surrounded by beautiful rolling hills on one side, apartment buildings and free standing houses on another, and a mall with an IKEA just up the street.  (Heaven on earth?)  We couldn’t get onto the grounds, but it is apparent that they are building a visitors center and a patron/mission house in addition to the temple.  The temporary construction walls were some of the only walls we saw in Italy without graffiti and you could see that the church had a constant battle keeping them that way.

We hope to return one day and be able to attend the temple and to see the grounds when they are finished!

After another bus ride and hoping on the metro again, we stopped for dinner at our favorite place!  By this time, they realized that we were becoming regulars, so they brought us a free plate of chocolates after dinner.  It was very sweet and the kids loved it!

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Do you want  your pizza with tomato?  Yes, tomato sauce is optional and does not always come on your pizza.

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Never again will frozen calamari do!

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The BEST lasagne on the planet!  Really, truly, it is!

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This young man has “skillz!”

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It was a perfect Sunday!