Wednesday, April 27, 2016

2016-04-27 Nelly, Dante, and trip to Basilica of Superga

Hey sorry if my blog has been a vague jumble of random stories, I just kind of showed up in Italy and started sharing random stories about it.
So here's a slightly clearer update on my week: 

Idk if my mom posted the thing about Dante on the blog last week but we ran into him again on Sunday!! Torino is huge so it was a big coincidence! He was just starting his weekly 20 kilometer walk, apparently hahaha.  I didn't understand a lot of what he was saying but apparently he was telling sister Harris to look at the sun and when she did and started squinting, he told her that she's weak because her body is fighting something that's good for her hahaha. So I told him it's great the the earth is a gift from God and we get to enjoy it which lead to him leading me through some yoga breathing exercises but our bus came so we had to leave him. Another time, Dante. 

Also we work in two wards. It's a huge blessing and a curse. Many places only have one branch, and we have two full wards. So we have lots of members and that's great because there's a lot of potential work but it's hard because we can only go to one church every other week, so it's really hard to build relationships with the members because we see them so infrequently. Easter and general conference didn't help.
But we have a couple members who we are really tight with. One of them is named Nelly, she's from Peru and always cooks is way too much food. Both times we've been over, she's had a Catholic friend there too and just happens to be curious to hear how we decided to go on a mission. So we share our conversion stories and then she shares hers while her friends just happen to be there eating with us. Best member missionary EVER. Last time this lady got up from the table halfway through the conversation to cross herself in front of these heretic Mormons haha. But Nelly is the best.

We have two baptismal dates, which is about two more baptisms than many people see in this mission at all. I am very blessed for that. But one of them we are worried about, her name is Leslie and she's from Peru. She's 20 and her family is Catholic I think. Well she set her own bap date a while ago but just told her parents about it recently. Her parents freaked out. She's afraid of ruining her relationship with them at the price of her baptism. So she's really in a rock and a hard place. We can't tell her what to do. 

I'm really loving Italy and the people. Thanks to everyone at home for your support, I love you all so much!

Below are a variety of pictures Jill has sent.  She went to Basilica of Superga, which is on a hill above Turin (Torino).  I looked at the Wiki article, and it is the burial place for the Savoy family, and is also infamous as the place where the Torino soccer (football) team all died in a plane crash in 1949.  

District meeting.  The number of chairs they are sitting on represents the number of transfers they have done.  That is why Jill is so low (center, in green skirt)
Basilica of Superga, between palm trees on top of hill.
On train to Basilica of Superga

Jill was proud that she got a perfect picture with no people in it.

Turin from top of Basilica of Superga
Tons of stairs, and this was a small portion, according to Jill

Turin from Basilica of Superga

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

20 April 2016 Ukulele in the Park

We had gone clear to the very end of the Torino metro line to talk to a less active on the pretense of talking to her mom, whom she lives with, but the lesson fell through. So we were walking on this huge bridge to go back home when I stopped this new mother on the bridge and asked her what makes her happy. She said her babies :) twins. So we started talking about religion after a couple minutes and she said she's atheist. I told her in our church we believe that there is a God and that He is our father in heaven and so were all children of God. I usually don't make hardcore eye contact with people but I looked this mother of two, several years my senior, a fluent Italian speaker, and told her I know that God loves her. Everything that happened on her face was very subtle but like, she didn't look confused or weirded out. Im a total stranger on a bridge in the hot of the day looking her dead in the face and telling her that God loves her like she loves her children and I could see in her face that that touched her. She was moved. Even if she forgets about that incontro later on, at least at that moment in time, I knew I had helped bring her closer to Christ. 
In fact after I told her that, the next thing anyone said was her admitting, "I know that God exists." Dang. She told us so boldly as soon as we started talking to her "hey I don't believe in God." But I told her God loves her and she understood that because she felt the spirit and all the sudden she's admitting the exact opposite thing, because she knows it's true in her soul. Maybe not in her brain but in her soul she feels it.
1 John 1:9 is the best I could find for this experience because it sort of implies that everyone is born with this light of Christ in them and admittedly some people in this world have really unfortunate lives where they feel like God has totally forsaken them. Sometimes I can't believe God really thinks they can handle the problems they get handed. All I know is my life, and I know I could easily tell people that I don't believe in God. Literally it wouldn't be that hard. I could shake off this life and this religion and quit the mission and move out of state and live my life doing other things on Sunday's and reading philosophy books instead of the scriptures (I'll read philosophy either way lol). But I would always know. I would always know that I've felt His presence and that I'm just turning a blind eye to something that's easy to ignore in this world if you want to. As can everyone turn a blind eye God if they want. Sometimes that makes life less complicated. For some people, like this lady, they don't want to believe in a God that could let horrible things happen. But at the end of the day when we stop to let ourselves feel His love then, at minimum, we can't say we're alone in this world.

Also we had a lot of lessons at the beginning of this week and then we ran out of people to meet with by Friday so we were doing some park finding. Out of everyone we could have talked to, sister Harris chose to go sit with this thin, long haired, older man sitting alone playing his grass green ukulele. Of course I was thrilled, this guy is my homeboy on every level. 
So we sit down and were talking to him about music and sister Harris said she plays the piano and I said I played the cello and also the ukulele. Sister Harris asked him to play something for us and he asked me to sing because Idk why haha. So this guy was a horrible ukulele player, like, always trying to figure out the chords but didn't really know them and didn't have great rhythm so I was sort of like ha-ha I don't knowww, because I was just like, *hesitant noises.* So he started pulling out all these hand-written lyrics and chords out of his bag and I saw one of them at the top corner of the paper was titled "Major Tom." So I was like, ah major tom by David Bowie! And he was like, yeah, yeah Davide Bowieh! So he pulls that one out and long story short I sang the vocals for Major Tom with a long-haired hippy ukulele accompanist in a park in Italy with sister Harris. I only sang the first verse. I really wanted to ask him if I could play something afterwards but we were kind of short on time so, maybe another time Dante (his name was Dante).

Here are some random pictures from Jill's photo sharing files:

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Mission Blog

The Italy Milano mission blog is at this address:

This blog has pictures of Jill and other new missionaries as they arrived in Italy and their first couple of days.

Friday, April 15, 2016

2016-04-13 Investigator Elena

So we have an investigator and her name is Elena. Her son and his wife are both members of the church, and Elena has been investigating the church for 3 years. So her son and his wife gave us a ride home after ward council and he asked us when the last time was that we invited her to be baptized. Well, it was like a month ago. And he told us he thinks she's ready. Well we think the same thing! So we felt really impressed to talk about temples. Like, nothing else seemed right. And we wanted to show her that there's more after baptism. So we taught her the lesson the next day and prayed really hard for when the date should be. When we asked her, the spirit was really strong. She said no. Because she had to talk to her son first, because she felt like he deserved to be part of that decision. That was Saturday.  On Sunday we went to church and sister Harris happened to walk by the bishopric after church while everyone else was eating lunch in the main room and they asked her, "have you heard? Elena just told us she wants to be baptized." So that was pretty cool cuz 3 years of missionaries have been teaching her and if everything goes well, we're the ones who get to see her be baptized.

New Missionaries and their Companions

New Missionaries

Sis Harris and Jill.  She cut her hair, then decided she will grow it out again.