Sunday, November 27, 2016

2016-11-23 Crazy Small World

This week merits a really good email!! Every week does but like, this week extra does.

I think before the mission I learned something about obedience bring happiness. After that it's been a little easier to be obedient. I'm not perfect, but I just know that in every aspect of life, if we work hard and put in our 100% then we will be much more satisfied with who we are and what we're doing with our lives. It's the same for the gospel, that is not an aspect of our lives, but is in fact the base for the way in which we live every aspect of our lives.

So this and my companion were a little down. Despite the fact that we like, never break any rules ever. We have many people to work with but we just felt like we were failing in so many aspects. Even our full days kind of stank. We didn't feel the Spirit, we didn't feel like we were reaching the people on any level deeper than just was really depressing, frankly. We felt sort of listless. Planning was frustrating because nothing was coming to mind and it was just like, "what are we doing wrong?? Where is the SPIRIT? Where is some GUIDANCE?"

Va beh, so I woke up one morning to face a day that I really didn't want to face, went to check my email, saw an email from my mom. I always like getting letters from my mom so I was instantly a little bit happier. But this email was different from every other email I've ever received on the mission. She told me that during a work party, her and my dad had met an Italian with whom my dad works! Crazy, small world! 
But wait, where is he from? In all of Italy, where? GENOVA. And as it happens, his wife and two sons are HERE and they live in OUR Ward boundaries 😱😱😱 so he gave my parents all his family's contact information where it fell into my hands that rough-start morning.

Well I called her and she said yes subito to us going over. We had the most fun time with her and her sons who speak both perfect English and Italian, accents and all. We talked to them about the Book of Mormon and they fed us genovese cake. So cool!! Like, what are the odds of that? And it's so great that it came on a day when we were down.

Now, yesterday. Yesterday my companion was feeling, as she put it, "defeated." Like most girls, she sees all her flaws and doesn't think she's good enough and was just feeling defeated. Then we lost our phone. With all of the information necessary for like, setting up appointments...mind you, this week we had set a goal to teach 21 lessons which is approximately 10 more than our average. Or like, double. It's entirely possible, it's just that people ALWAYS cancel every week so it's never happened so far. So, defeated companion, less-than-average focaccia, lost phone, and defeated-looking ambitious goal...mmyeah. At a certain point we just had to put our big girl pants on and move on. We lost our phone and we both kind of suck but we have four lessons in four hoursso we need to focus on those people and what God wants to tell them and not on ourselves.

That night ended with an amazing lesson with new investigator Margherita who will be coming to church on Sunday, amazing lesson with atheist Silvia with whom we felt the Spirit so strongly, a bidone (it's inevitable, but the cute fruit stand guy said I was beautiful so that was cool too), and an amazing, classic Italian lesson which included fresh pasta, tons of chatting, and three European university students who asked us amazing questions. Our RM friend was an amazing help and thanks to him and God and every other good thing in life, we will see these three girls again on Sunday to teach them more.

We also had a super powerful lesson with our less-active couple the Gali's. They are about our age except married, we like them a lot. They joke around a lot and it's really refreshing. We listened to the awesome talk, "to whom will you go?" from the last gen conf. Then they invited us over for Christmas to watch a movie and probably eat like always and we're going to build gingerbread houses with them this week. But more importantly, we committed them to come to church this week. 

All this is possible when we love God and love the people!! I LOVE LOVE italy. I LOVE italy. I love the people here and the culture and the people. And the culture. To everything there's a time and a season. And I'm so grateful for this time, this season in my life. I still have so much room to grow but I'm just grateful for people and the human experience and I'm grateful for God's plan of happiness for us. I'm grateful for you and hope you'll let me know if I can ever do anything for you! I love you! Have an amazing, prayer-filled, gioiosa settimana!

Luca with Ronney and Martha, SLC Utah

Francesca, Marco, Stefano, Sorella Arndt (Jill), Sorella Strachan

Sunday, November 20, 2016

2016-11-16 Being Tested

I am being tested! It's good when you recognize it though! I hope that this period in my mission will teach me something that will help me bless others. I need to learn calmness and organization and other skills like that. I'm also trying to develop my teaching skills by using more parables. Right now no one is close to baptism but Christmas is a magical time so maybe something good will happen if we keep trying to do our best :)

Genova.  Beautiful city.  Ignore cars, Jill says.

Jill in Genova

Genova Missionaries

Santa Margherita, Coastal City by Genova

Eating Lunch in Portofino

We sent an early Christmas package to Jill.  This is all the Sorellas opening the package.

A tacky Christmas sweater.  A necessity for Americans.

A stuff animal goat (Capra).  Jill loves stuffed animals, and watching cute goat videos.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sunday, November 6, 2016

2016-11-02 Good Week in Genova

This was a good week! We had TWO of our investigators in church!! One is our age for, Honduras and the other is a mother of a convert daughter who is now serving in temple square. Anyways, it was really good. Our ward for some reason has been doing this weird thing for the last two weeks in which after sacrament meeting, they have like, a 2-hour convention instead. Last week was pretty intense so when we realized they were doing it again, we decided to take our investigators out of the fire but I'm pretty sure we just threw them into the frying pan because we had no gospel principles teacher so I had to teach on the fly. It was horrible, but at least we got them to come to church and they didn't seem to be aware that we were flying by the seat of our pants. I'm not sure if I used that expression correctly.

Anyways, we taught a lesson to a woman who came to English class! None of our regulars showed up so it was just me and my companion and her. She talked a lot, like every Italian, and a lot of what she said was like "YES we believe that, too!" Like she disagreed with a lot of things we see in the Italian mindset and general attitude towards faith. So we asked her if we could teach her what we believe about the purpose of life and she was like "yes! Please! Of course!" So we taught her the plan of salvation......or we tried to at least. We thought she was going to be really open to the message but after explaining a little bit she was like, "wow, that's great that you think this is true. It's great that you found what works for you." And we were like......but you can know if this is true, too. And she was like, no no I think everyone is right. I can't tell you that you're wrong because it's right FOR YOU. But nobody's path is really wrong. And we were just like 😑🙄🤔😫 She agreed with us that there is a truth (ex, a God really does exist or He really doesn't, it can't be both), and that the point of this life is to get closer to that Truth....but she basically was saying that everybody is right. It was very self-contradicting and it sort of made me and my companion stop so we could think about what to say.

Anyways, I just want to say that there is of course a truth. Either God exists or He doesn't. It's one or the other! And everybody's efforts to know the truth are valiant. I just want to say that I know that God didn't send us done here for the purpose of never having the hope of knowing the truth. He has given us the Holy Ghost, that good feeling, and the scriptures to guide us. I think it would be sbagliato of God to send us down here and then shut off all communication with us. 
"Good luck!" 
*shuts the door behind him*
No! I know that He's there, that He's listening. He probably won't descend down in a cloud for you, but he has sent us so much that if we just exercise faith in the signs he has given us, I know we will be guided along the right path. 

Anyways, I love you all so much! I know I'm not right all the time. But I'm glad for all the many things the church has taught me, which I believe to be right because I've seen firsthand their fruits. I love you all and I hope this entry was uplifting because I think that woman's spiritual journey is great, too. I just hope she knows that God does answer prays and we can know the truth, and I think that that's amazing and I want the whole world to know it.