Yesterday I had the opportunity to go visiting teaching. It is something that I really enjoy. My companion and I go to visit 3 amazing women. One of them is your typical grandmother. She goes to the elementary school to help out once a week, she travels around to visit her kids and grand kids, and babysits whenever she can. She adores her family and is just a very sweet woman. I really love her a lot. The second sister we visit has four children, one just graduated from high school with Robert and the other 3 are in high school and junior high. She is a seamstress and sews costumes for the local theatre company around here. She has an amazing talent and what a joy that she can do what she loves and get paid for it as well. The third sister we visit is the mother of 7, her oldest married and moved away. She too has a daughter who just graduated with Robert and they are good friends. I feel blessed to be able to visit these women each month. And even though we are to take a message to them I am the one who feels like I've been blessed because of them.
I would like to tell about the visit that I had with Sister #3 yesterday. She also happens to be on the America's Freedom Festival Committee for Provo, and this year she is the president. It was fun to talk to her about the festival and all that goes into planning the events, and meetings they have, etc. She made the comment that it is hard to not have religion come into the middle of their meetings because of the fact that a lot of what we believe as Latter Day Saints also has to do with freedom.
As we were talking I thought back to a time when I did not live in the United States when Giovanni and I were first married. For 4 years we lived in Italy and I had already been there for 1 1/2 years previously. I would wake up early in the morning to watch Dan Rather and the CBS Evening News because it would be in English and it was a way for me to know what was going on back here in the USA. I would get tears in my eyes watching the news...now that I look back I think how odd that was. No wonder Gio thought I was crazy some days, crying over the news!
Also, in 1990 it was the World Cup for soccer, and the different teams would have their flags out and the national anthems would be played. Every time the Star Spangled Banner would play I would sing and really get choked up. Gio would ask me why I was crying and I would tell him that he was something that he couldn't understand, but that I was proud to be an American and that I loved my country. I was right, he didn't understand. But that is okay.
Even now when we go to events where there is the flag and we pledge allegiance, or sing some song referring to the USA I get emotional. I am proud to be an American. And now, Gio does understand and I think that he feels the same way. He will always be an Italian and is proud of his heritage and his country and we make sure that our children are as well, however...he now calls the USA home and he understands that pride of living in this great country!
We lived here for almost 10 years before he decided to become a citizen. He thought long and hard about it because it was a big step for him to pledge allegiance to this country. But now when he wears his USA tie to church I see that he wears it with pride. He also has one that has the Italian and American flags on it....:) He's been a citizen since 2004 and I don't think he regrets it one bit! (Here are a few pics of that special day!)
You wonder I'm sure what does being an American and visiting teaching have to do with one another....well, the lesson was on sincere prayer. That got us talking about religion and freedoms and how lucky we are to live in this country. I have thought about that a lot in the past 24 hours.
I do feel so blessed to live in the United States of America. I'm thankful for soldiers who put their selves out there every day for us. I don't always understand or agree with things that our government has done or does, but I support my president and most of all I support the men and women in the military. I pray for them and their families, for their safety and safe return, and that their families will be blessed and watched over while they are apart.
I suppose that is part of the reason they do what they do....so that I do have the freedom to pray for them.
I hope that this July 4th (an always) that my prayers can be more sincere and that I will really think about the freedoms that I do have, that each one of us have, and remember to thank my Father in Heaven for his guidance to our founding fathers and for their courage and sacrifices for each one of us.
God Bless the USA!!