Saturday, December 24, 2016

2016-12-21 Buon Natale!

Good Christmas! Buon Natale!

There are high points in the mission and low points. Month by month, week by week, day by day, and even within the day. This past week was filled with both. We were doing weekly planning and were so saddened during the whole thing because so many of our investigators aren't making progress who we thought would be so promising (we think all of our investigators will be promising). But they just don't want to see us or can't see us or repeatedly don't do the things we ask them to do. This is sad but also makes time and room for us to work maybe in a different way, maybe we will even find a better way, to meet new people and stretch to be better. Sometimes I get sad if people don't make progress and I had a moment this week where I just wanted so bad for Jesus to come down and be my friend and walk with me and go to lessons with me because He would just do everything so much better. But, then I remembered....His whole life practically. People who saw and met Jesus didn't even believe in Him. Even if He comes down in the flesh, sometimes people just aren't ready for the gospel. And so that gives me the comfort along with the plan of salvation that good-bye isn't goodbye forever really, it just means that our paths will cross again not during this mission maybe, but definitely some day in the future and I will be very happy that day.

I just want everybody to be happy! Dang it that's all I want.

In any case, we also had high points like an incredible ward lunch for Christmas in which we got to talk to a member who, during our time here, went from less-active, to re-activated. So she is 19 and so cool, she is really smart and just a neat person. We were eating at a table with her and the Spirit somehow led the conversation to going on a mission. Now, before I went on the mission, I hated when people asked me if I was going because I wasn't. But I asked her and she admitted that there was a time when she felt like she should. We could tell that the Spirit was telling her in that moment again that it's still the right thing to do, so we asked her that (what the Spirit was telling her), and you could just see the fire of the Spirit burning inside of her when she admitted that it was telling her to go. I could totally see her going and I think it would make me so so proud and happy for her if she did. Then the day after we visited with her and her mom and testified that they are both lights to others and I could tell the Spirit was telling her the same thing again. Moments like that, sharing a Spiritual moment with someone, is what makes the mission such a rich experience.

I have loved getting to share the message of Jesus Christ with people during this time of year! It's hard for me to even express my feelings about Him because He is what I live, eat, and breathe right now. But I just want to say that I know He lives, we have four whole books of scripture that say that he does. If four books of scripture all talking about one man isn't a sign from heaven of His divinity then I don't know what is. 
"26 And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins." 
I'm grateful for a Savior. He is the reason for the season, the reason for three major faiths, the reason for missionaries, the reason for the scriptures, the reason for hope, the reason for every good thing in life. I testify of this and wish you all a merry Christmas in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

2016-12-14 Miracle Center

Sooo this week has been miracle center (I almost tried to spell that 'senter' because I knew I had to say the 's' sound, but in Italian with a 'c' it is pronounced 'chenter'). Let's see, we had a train episode (I LOVE riding trains because it almost always leads to a positive conversation about the gospel), in which this guy, let's get real, was being really WEIRD and kept turning around in his seat to peak through the crack between his seat and the one next to him so that he could stare at me for long periods of time, trying to read my name tag. So I told my companion that I thought I should go talk to him but I kind of didn't want to because men are creepy here. But I went and talked to him anyways. I'm like, if you're gonna stare at my tag so hard that your eyes bug out your head, I'm justified in telling you, "hey, dad you're staring at my name tag, mind if I sit down here across from you and tell you about our church?" So we sat and talked there for maybe 10 minutes and it was really cool. Unfortunately he hasn't wanted to get in touch with us again but for those 10 minutes and the rest of that day, it was real, and it was cool, and a miracle.
Then I had been trying to talk to a lady earlier on that same train and she was sort of not wanting to talk so I dropped it but then she saw us talking to that one guy so she started staring at us and I was like "she's jealous," so we talked to her after, too, and gave her a resto pamphlet.

We also had another train episode yesterday because there was a girl studying a 'psicologia' book so obviously I talked to her. It was really amazing because she was actually raised in an atheist home but she's been looking for God recently. It was even cooler bc there were 6 of us sisters and I got to teach her with another sister, a Sorella from Sanremo, because she was sitting by me so it was like a little mini-scambio. And another sister talked to so it was just like this big group conversation in which we talked about God, His love for us, the scriptures, prophets, the restoration, the word of wisdom, tons of stuff. We hope to see her again, too! I need to respond to her text today...

Anyways, I spent way too much time writing all of that but there's never enough time to write even a fraction of what happens on the mission....but something even more miraculous happened this last weekend! When I got to tell people about it during a mission conference, Sorella Allen got all teary-eyed (because she thinks we are more awesome than we actually are), but anyways it was with our incredible investigators, Rosy e Vittorio. They are like, 45-50's and are so cool. They were like, hot stuff when they were younger, but now life is getting them down. Rosy has problems with her siblings and she smokes, vittorio gambles and is having a hard time finding work. But God Bless the missionaries who have come before me because they have actually been taught before but then lost contact. Because of this, when we met them, Rosy was basically ready to be baptized. She's been wanting to come to church for but Vittorio her boyfriend hasn't felt up to it because of his mothers death. On Saturday we had a lesson with them and invited them to church. The Spirit was so strong, I knew that not only did they need to come but I knew that they would. Despite the fact that vittorio didn't want to, they are crazy poor so Rosy had to give up her pack of cigarettes to pay for the bus tickets, and tutto, on Sunday they came. All three talks were SO powerful. Guys, I have never been to a sacrament meeting comparable so far in my mission. Our bishop talked, who is a no-crap business guy, and he got choked up during his talk! Rosy was CRYING during sacrament meeting! She held my hand and her husbands hand and I just knew in my heart that they were in the right place. We have been praying so hard for God to be true to His promises and bless them and what do you know, Rosy had the joy of praying with a friend later on Sunday and sharing the gospel, vittorio has been finding some work, and in one day after 20 years, Rosy went from twenty cigarettes a day to two cigarettes. MIRACLES. I know that God helps us in this work and I'm so grateful to my family and Him and members who support me. :)

Christmas Lights

Jill Shopping

View from a castle they hiked up to

Friday, December 9, 2016

2016-12-07 Night Club Dancers

I just want to share a little about this couple we are teaching! Their names are Rosy and Vittorio, they are like, 50, and so interesting. If I understood right, he used to be like, one or those male dancers in night clubs? And she looked like a model to me too in their photos. He's got long silver hair now and they're both older, living up sort of up a canyon on the edge of Genova now. His mother has just passed away. We ran into them a few weeks ago because we were visiting a member who had Alzheimer's and per caso we ran into them in a caffe. We got their numbers and met up with them again the next time we were in the area. 
Regardless of their past, they, especially Rosy, are just looking for Jesus Christ right now. They actually had missionaries frequent their home many many years ago and then lost contact. We have lots of obstacles to overcome with with them. He drinks and gambles, she smokes, and together they aren't married so this will be a work that will definitely be involving some miracles....BUT they are so filled with love towards our message and us! These people are so poor at this point in their lives that they couldn't even do grocery shopping this last week because they just barely were able to pay their rent. But I mentioned once that I like the little apricot pies that you can buy in supermarkets here. Every time after that they've forced them on us and won't let us say no, going out of their way to buy these little pies for me.

1 And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury.

2 And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites.

3 And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all:

4 For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.

These people are so generous here and there's nothing more than I want for them to accept the gospel so they can be free, so they can be happy! I love these people and hope to be able to truly do the Lord's work here especially around this Christmas season.

Apricot Pies 
Jill's Apartment Balcony

Balcony, at night

A couple of Reindeer

A Genovese specialty, Pandolce

Not missing out on the best Christmas goodies 
Looks like Costco

Monday, December 5, 2016

2016-11-30 Learn by Example, It's Easier

Learning from example is so, so great because you just take the best
from what other people have already tried. Learning from experience is
so hard and makes you realize ALL of your shortcomings and how you're
NOT where you want to be and you have a LOT to learn.

This week was a lot of learning by experience. I realized I'd been
slipping in lots of things I used to do good at, that I wasn't paying
enough attention to my companion and her progression as a missionary,
that I had a lot of room for improvement in things I've never even
done and should have been doing. That's good though! Because now I'll
come out of these experiences and be a better person. It's just very

We had a really funny/sad thing happen this week, cioè we had two
back-to-back lessons planned in church with the same member to help us
teach. The first one didn't show up. The second one didn't show up. We
were there for two hours. He's in the bishopric so he just did other
work and made fun of us while I sat by the heater cuz I was sick as a
dog. He's a funny guy. Anyways, the second investigator who was
supposed to come is this atheist lady who seems to actually be
interested in the missionary lessons, rather than just for curiosity's
sake. She is the teacher for a group that the church hosts but isn't
associated with for people who have lost work. So she was supposed to
come at 4:45. She came at 5:30. She teaches at 5:30. She showed up,
apologizing for being late, and sat herself down in front of us at our
table. I looked at the time and I laughed,
"'s 5:30."
*still sat there*
"Okay, so maybe we can see each other on Friday?"
" okay, yes. Yes on Friday at 4 I can :(."

I just thought that was so funny because she WANTS to hear this
message! I was like, hon, we're sorry you're late too but you have
other responsibilities to attend to. We also had a second lesson with
a college student and she pulled out her Book of Mormon...she had READ
into those first few chapters, had marked it ALL up, and was so
excited about it! She explained the whole story in her own words,
begged for the "spoiler" about what happens to Laman and Lemuel, and
then proceeded to ask us all kinds of historical questions. It was so
crazy for me because that was the first time, even IN the church, that
I had ever seen someone take the Book of Mormon so seriously! It was
amazing and made me rethink my perspective on the Book.

Anyways, Mormon messages aren't my go-to for anything except a couple
times we've watched them during lunch as if we have tv for once, but
the one the church just came out with for Christmas is SO beautiful,
it's seriously made me cry like 3 times in lessons. If you're reading
this, I'm finishing here, so just pull up and watch it right
now it's like 2 minutes and it's really good. I love you all! Thanks
for everything!

This invite is for my family too just watch it because it's nice and I
know it will make you feel good because it's just really nice and I
liked it a lot so I hope you all get to watch it and tell me what you

Zone with B&S Allen.  Jill is far left.

Glad she found a chocolate Advent calendar.  We still buy these for our kids each year.

Jill Loves Melograna (pomegranates)