I had this amazing realization this week. I. LIVE. IN. ITALY. I know I've been here for three weeks, but for some reason it didn't hit me until now. I'm so grateful to be able to serve my mission in this beautiful place, with all of these beautiful people. I'm not sure why God chose me to be here, but I'm so thankful He did.
Before I go on, I have a small piece of advice for those of you who have been called to serve in Italy. I guarantee that people are going to start telling you that Italy is a hard mission. They'll tell you that you'll have to fight for baptisms, and members won't want to help you. DON'T LISTEN! Please, don't let these words discourage you. I had at least 50 people tell me these things. Want to know a secret? They didn't serve in Italy. Talk to those who did. They loved it! I love it! You will love it! Be excited to meet these sweet members. They are special people and have so much love in their hearts. I can't tell you your mission will be easy, mine isn't. But I can tell you, that I am without a doubt, the happiest I have ever been.
We got to teach Alberto a lesson about the Priesthood! It was a truly beautiful lesson, because of how excited he is to receive the priesthood. Later in the week we taught him about the temple and how in one year he will be able to go. As we started talking about what a blessing the temple is, I found myself so thankful that we live in this time. We have been blessed to have temples all over the world and every year they build more. We truly are a blessed generation.
We had a lesson with a sweet member in the ward. Her name is Sorella Finotta and her sweetness is unparalleled (except maybe by Sorella Pace.) The fantastic news? I understood about 95% of the conversation. Lets have a party! Scherzo... But really, it felt so wonderful to be able to really communicate with this sweet woman. Earlier this week we took her to the bank. If you need anything, "Ask the missionaries." We were so happy to help her out and I know your missionaries will be happy to help you too. If they can't do it, they'll find someone who can. Just get to know them and become their friends. They'll love helping and learning from you, just like we love dear Sorella Finotta.
So apparently Italians don't play hangman . . . but we played it for Family Home Evening Friday night with Alberto and Fratello & Sorella Ramos. I did not know it could be that fun! When you play it with three super fun Italians who've never played it before, it's the best game in the world. These sweet people are the best! Also, they told me I make perfect cookies . . . so I love them even more! Unfortunately, we got home late . . . so I had to call our zone leaders. Oops! But I wrote them a song and sang it to them to make up for it. Be jealous you didn't witness its awesomeness.
One day, Alberto had us over for lunch. We brought a member, Carmen, with us. She's fabulous! Our lesson was about missionary work, which is great, because Carmen is working on submitting her paperwork to become a missionary! We all got to share why we want to serve and how we know the Lord is there to help us every step of the way.
I had the opportunity to talk to both Anziano Scalese and Anziono Payne on the phone this week. Biggest blessing ever, because they both told me they love how I'm happy all the time. You probably know this, but usually I wear my emotions on my sleeve and I'm not always the most happy person. I'm working on changing that through, so hearing from these sweet Anziani that they think I'm always happy and uplifting made my week! The Lord truly blessed me when he put them in my district!
Anziani Garner and Malzone are also a blessing in our district. Let me just tell you a little story. We had an unfortunate experience when we were followed by a creeper. So we're on the bus on the way to church Sunday when we noticed a man staring at us. Staring more than people normally stare. This was sketch. We made our way off the bus, but he decided it would be a good idea to follow us. He was wrong. We're walking as fast as we can to the church but he just keeps on following. So we call the Anziani and they come meet us to take us to the church. The man jets! The Anziani are angels! I feel so much better knowing they're around when we need help. Lets just hope we don't need bodyguards again anytime soon.
In church that day, I had real conversations with people and actually set up a few appointments. By myself. In Italian. The Best! Also I figured out Anziani Scalese and Young's Disney look-a-likes. Scalese = Prince Phillip. Young = Lewis (Meet the Robinsons) oh my gosh, these are perfect.
I'm sure by now you are all aware how clumsy I am. So, I'm sitting on my bed Sunday night, on the phone with Anziano Payne to give him our weekly numbers. I reach to grab my planner and I just fall off. So now every time I talk to Payne, I sit myself on the floor at the start of the conversation, just in case.
Monday was my two-month anniversary! So excited about that! We spent the morning at the Questura so I could be fingerprinted for my permit to live in Italy. We got there an hour early, they called me in exactly at my appointment time, and it only took ten minutes. BLESSED! So many missionaries have tons of problems. My comp for instance [Sorella Stewart]. I'm not going to complain about that too much though, because we get to go to Genova this week for her permesso. YES!
We were invited to a Family Home Evening with some members in the ward, a less active family and a part member family. It was the best! I understood nothing, because I can barely understand Italian, they were speaking half Italian half Spanish, but it was so much fun! I love our members here; they're just so open and loving.
District Meeting yesterday was incredibly. I love the Anziani in our district, pretty much some of my favorite people. I was asked to talk about how the atonement helps us in missionary work. So I shared 3 Nephi 27:13. This shows that the Lord suffered the Atonement so He could learn how to help His people through times of trial. 1 John 1:7 tells us that when we follow Christ, we're joined together in fellowship. This is really special to me as a missionary. Because I truly believe Christ knows exactly what will help our dear investigators, because He knows it would have helped Him. So, when we're living our lives in a way that we're aligned with Christ, He will help us know what they are feeling and how to help. I think this is such as gift as a missionary, because I can't understand how some of these experiences affect people, because I haven't gone through it. But the Lord has, and He will help us. Always.
So I'm pretty sick. This doesn't seem like it would be a blessing, but Sorella Wolfgramm sent me to bed early yesterday. I slept for FIFTEEN HOURS! Oh man, I've missed sleep.
Last thought. I learned this week, that riding the bus in Italy is basically the same as longboarding. Seriously. Once I learned that . . . riding the bus is supes easy.
I love you all! Thank you so much for your emails and letters. I can't express to you how much they help!