Sunday, January 22, 2017

2017-01-18 Leadership Roles

This week I did my first two scambios, made some really stupid mistakes (why did I talk to an American tourist about Lost Books? Oh, because it made sense in my head but you don't feed a baby steak, Sorella Arndt...) Anyways, I feel not super up to this calling but we did a training yesterday at zone conference about our role as STL's (it was sort of a weird subject, no?) and hopefully everyone understood what we were trying to say. Here's a section from my notes that I wrote for this training:
"Scripture in Alma
26 And when the priests left their labor to impart the word of God unto the people, the people also left their labors to hear the word of God. And when the priest had imparted unto them the word of God they all returned again diligently unto their labors; and the priest, not esteeming himself above his hearers, for the preacher was no better than the hearer, neither was the teacher any better than the learner; and thus they were all equal, and they did all labor, every man according to his strength.

Can you explain this scripture in your own words?

How can we resolve the idea that many of us are in different leadership positions but God is telling us that we are all equals?

How are we all equal? Two things: body of Christ scripture example

Second, Because we've all passed through the same things. None of us were born perfect or with all the answers. All the things we've learned have been gifts from God. Experiences that we've had. If I'm advising a Sorella on a problem that I've faced too, I can't pretend that I'm just born più brava. I only learned those lessons because God loves me, He wanted to teach me, and it's thanks to Him that I know any of those things. So I think that we're all equal because we need to be humble. As leaders, from senior companion to mission president, we need to be humble and recognize the Higher Power, that as long as we have a God, we are all subject to Him. And the people lead need to be humble too. As a young(er) missionary, I loved scambio where I really learned something and felt truly blessed that God had put people in my life who could help me. That thank goodness I didn't have to be the first person to face these problems, but that if I was humble, I have more than just the example of Jesus Christ from 2,000 years ago to follow, but that I have a friend who I can hear and see and know who is one of His disciples and can show me something about how I can follow Him more fully."

Anyways, made more sense when I said it but Sorella Allen also talked about the divine structure of the church and how it's a circle and not a ladder. That is, a lot of people think the prophet is in charge of everyone, the apostles, the 70, stake presidents, bishops, elders quorum leaders, and home teachers...but that's not how it works. Because even the prophet has a stake president and a bishop and an elders quorum leader and a home teacher, no? And those people are set apart to be his leaders and his counselors. So it was really cool to reflect on the divine organization of the church bc it's something I've never thought of.

We had an incredible lesson with a less-active couple who is our age. It is really cool when your strengths can help people you work with and you realize why you're here. We're also working with a South American lady who wants to be baptized but has an ex boyfriend who is so scemo and lives with her bc he didn't have anywhere to go after they broke up so she can't get baptized yet...also an eternal investigator from Nigeria who is SO slowly getting closer to baptism, but is actually praying to know what to do to be ready to be baptized. Hasn't received an answer yet but she is making progress and I hope she gets baptized while I'm here. Then a middle-aged Italian couple who ADORE us but don't really understand our purpose here and talk so much and if you're an ex-missionary from Italy then you can probably imagine how our lessons go (we share a scripture and then they talk for 45 minutes and then close the lesson themselves by offering you a piece of pandoro...) but the work here is real and it's strong and it's amazing and it's growing. I love sharing this gospel with people and I'm excited with what I can do here at Firenze with my awesome companion and the difference that God will really be able to let us make here.

Anyways, I love Firenze and the people here and my companion and my district (I'm serving with two Anziani that I've already served with, how cool is that?!). So thanks for all the emails and prayers and love and support, hope you have a great week being missionaries for a righteous cause yourselves! The world has need of you! <3 cuoricino bacio ciao

Anziani Jill has served with in the past

Jill at Pisa

Sorella Garcia

Jill at Pisa 
Jill and Sorella Garcia at Pisa

Sunday, January 15, 2017

2017-01-11 Firenze

(Note from Martha:  Jill did not send blog stuff last week, and not a blog specific email this week.  This is a portion of her email to us that she asked be put on the blog.)

Well, it was a LOT warmer in Genova and I didn't bring any real winter clothes bc I came here during the spring. So I had to go to h&m to buy three sweaters that will get me through January and February.

It's weird, it's cold but not THAT cold hahaha. Weird thinking about snow. Here it's just like cold but no snow. It could though. 

We also start having exchanges (scambi) today. I'm's funny bc at the beginning of the mission I didn't want to train and just wanted to be an STL but now I don't want to be STL either lol I just want to be a normal missionary. I guess I better grow to love it because I'll probably be here for several months. 

Okay well we had a cool lesson with a boy that Sorella Garcia met before I got here but it was the first lesson. We taught about the restoration and he said he'd get baptized! We're really excited, he's super amazing. I have to say I love convert prayers more than anyone else's. We tell them prayer is a conversation with God. They have a conversation. It's so, so beautiful. You can put this on for my blog this week. I love you!! 

Firenze during saldi (look it up..? It's a big deal here) is literally what I've been waiting for for my whole mission. Firenze. Saldi. Everybody who loves clothes or shoes or bags dream. And everyone loves clothes or shoes or bags. So it's everyone's dream. 🐃🐂🐄🐃🐂🐄🐃🐂

Jill, in her happy place

Jill and Sorella Garcia

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016-12-28 Arrivederci Genova, e Merry belated Christmas

Wow, my time in Genova went by WAY too fast. It feels so recent that I was sweating through my everything, lugging three pieces of luggage to my new apartment in Genova. Now the weather's colder, but I'm still going to be lugging three pieces of luggage around. In any case, I'm sad to say good-bye. Three months has not been enough, but the time does feel right to leave this place and move forward in my mission.

Wow, mio tempo a Genova è andato MOLTO troppo velocemente. Sembra così recente che stavo sudando tanto, trascinando tre pezze di valige al mio nuovo appartamento a Sampierdarena, il 'Queens' di Genova, mi dicono haha. Comunque, sono triste che devo dire 'arrivederci.' Tre mesi non mi bastavano però il tempo mi sente giusto per partire da questo posto e andare avanti nella mia missione (fratello Calio, mio italiano è terribile, aiutami).

The people are exceptional here in Genova. A really great ward with great members and great leaders. They're so great because they work hard and stuff happens here, and if it doesn't then the secretary in the bishopric will get on his phone, call president, and ask to transfer us to Afganistan (Fratello Mangifesta). I guess I could explain that story, we have this power member who's name in English literally means Eatparty. Brother Eatparty, he's a really fun guy if you couldn't already tell that from the name.

Le genti so eccezionali qua a Genova. Un rione fantastico con bravi membri e grandi dirigenti. Sono così bravi perché lavorano molto duro e allora cosa succede qua, e se non succede allora il segretario nel vescovado prende il suo cellulare, chiama presidente, e chiede di farci trasferite ad Afganistan (Fratello Mangifesta). Va beh, posso raccontare quella storia. Abbiamo questo membro potente si chiama fratello Mangifesta chi è molto divertente, molto bravo.

Anyways, our church (another reason why I love Genova) hosts support groups for everything from job-less to mental health to drug issues, it's really so cool. One day, we walked into the church and started chatting with fratello Mangifesta and a few other people from a group, including the teacher, none of whom are members. Then right there, in front of all of them, he was like, "sisters, set up an appointment with them now." And we both laughed and we were like, what the heck haha?? So I sort of turned to the teacher and I was like, "um, so, do you want to meet sometime this week?" 
"So we can talk about your church?"
"Okay sure, here is my number. Maybe next Tuesday at 4:30."
This is classic Genova. So we met with her, she's actually atheist, but she started to pray and we explained God and the restoration to her. They've been some really beautiful lessons. But along the way, we've been bringing fratello Eatparty to help us teach and not one but TWO times our appointments got cancelled and I forgot to tell him. So he showed up and waited and no one ever came. I felt so bad. I actually almost cried the second time because I was like, "my life is falling apart, greenie, you do this!" And then a few days later on Sunday, we'd walk in to church, and fratello Mangifesta would see us from the front of the room as we walked into the chapel, pick up his phone, point a finger at us and say, "where do you want to go? Where do you want to go? Rome? Greece? Florence? President, please send the sisters of Genova to Florence." 
The irony is that we ran into him on the street after we got transfer calls and my companion made him guess where I was going. He was like, "Florence?" Haha yeah. I'm actually going to Florence.

Comunque, un'altra ragione perché adoro Genova è perché ospita dei gruppi di supporto per le persone disoccupate o con malattie mentali, etc, è molto bello. Un giorno, avevamo camminato in chiesa e abbiamo iniziato chiacchierare con Fllo Mangifesta e alcune persone di uno di questi gruppi, nessuno di chi sono membri. Poi, avanti ad ognuno, ha detto, "sorelle, fissate un'appuntamento con loro adesso." Noi eravamo tipo, "che cavolo??" ma abbiamo riso. Quindi mi sono rivolta a la insegnate e le ho chiesto, "eh, quindi, vuole incontrarci qualche volta questa settimana?" 
<<affinché possiamo parlare della vostra chiesa?>>
<<Ok va bene, ecco mio numero e sono libera martedì alle 16.30>>
Tipico Genova. Quindi ci siamo incontrati con lei, chi infatti è atea, ma ha iniziato pregare e abbiamo spiegato Dio e la restaurazione della chiesa a lei. Sono state belle lezioni. Ma durante questo processo, stavamo portando Fllo Mangifesta ai nostri appuntamenti per aiutarci insegnare. Non una sola volta ma DUE VOLTE i nostri appuntamenti erano stati cancellati e mi sono dimenticata di dirglielo. Quindi aspettava aspettava e nessuno è arrivato. Mi sono sentita molto male. Infatti ho quasi pianto la seconda volta perché ero tipo, "la mia vita sta crollando, Verdi a mia, fa' tutto questo TU." E poi giorni dopo in chiesa, camminando in chiesa la domenica, vedremmo Fllo Mangifesta. Lui ci vedrebbe, prenderebbe il suo cellulare, punterebbe a noi col dito e dice, "dove volete andare? Roma? Greca? Firenze? Presidente, per favore, mandi le sorelle a Firenze." L'ironia è che ci siamo incontrati per strada per caso subito dopo ho ricevuto la mia chiamata di trasferimento e la mia collega gli a fatto indovinare dove vado. Ha detto, "Firenze?" Haha sì. Ma davvero vado a Firenze domani.

Anyways, on a more spiritual note, these last two transfers have made me think a lot about change. I'm not a real parent but I'm a mission parent which means I was a brand-new missionaries trainer. I imagine real parents feel this way too, but I wanted to do everything perfectly for my child. I dedicated myself to being super obedient and my very best self for these two transfers so that my companion can know what good missionary work looks like and what bad missionary work looks like for the rest of her mission. Well, I can definitely say that I did good but I also did bad sometimes. There were a lot of things I had to repent for these transfers. That's not to say that I was a bad companion all the time but I can point at a few days these last transfers and say that I made some mistakes that day. High standards, humbling experiences, and the contrast between my ending mission and her just-starting mission has made me think a lot about change, or repentance, however you like to call it, it's role in our eternal progression, and the right way to do it.

Comunque, su un punto più spirituale, questi due ultimi trasferimenti mi hanno fatto pensare molto del cambiamento. Non sono una genitore vera ma sono una genitore della missione che vuole dire ha fatto l'addestratrice. Imagino che veri genitori si sentono così pure, ma volevo fare tutto perfettamente per la mia bambina. Mi sono dedicata ad essere obbediente e la mia migliore per questi due trasferimenti affinché la mia vetrina possa sapere come sembrano buono e male lavoro missionario per il resto della sua missione. Beh, per forza posso dire che ha fatto bene ma avvolte anche ho fatto male. C'erano molte cose per cui dovevo pentirmi questi trasferimenti. Non per dire che ero una male collega sempre ma posso puntare ad alcuni giorni durante questi trasferimenti e dire che ho fatto degli sbagli quel giorno. Standard alti, esperienze umiliante, e il contrasto fra la mia missione finendo e la sua missione appena iniziata mi hanno fatto pensare molto del cambiamento, o pentimento, come vuoi tu chiamarci, il suo ruolo nel nostro progresso eterno, e la maniera giusta di farlo.

I've seen a lot of change in my life, but it's always an uphill battle. It's never easy, and the moment you stop battling, you start slipping. I'm a human being and so are you. We live in a fallen world and our bodies are subject to lots of temptation, whereas our spirits remember who we our and our potential. (Matt 26:41 "the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak"). So if we aren't in a continual process of progression, we have a tendency to indulge our bodies and ignore our spirits. The world wants to drag us down, but it's in this world that we find the opportunities to grow. It's God's world and we are His children, this is our school and it's a big waste of time and energy to go to school and not learn anything.

Ho visto molto cambiamento nella mia vita, ma è sempre una lotta in salita. Non è mai facile, e il momento che smetti lottando, inizi scivolare. Sono umano e anche sei tu. Abitiamo in un mondo caduto e i nostri corpi sono soggetti a tante tentazioni, mentre i nostri Spiriti si ricordano chi siamo e il nostro potenziale. (Matteo 26:41 "ben  è  lo  spirito  pronto,  ma  la  carne  è  debole.")
Quindi se non siamo nel processo continuale di progressione, abbiamo una tendenza di indulgere i nostri corpi e ignorare i nostri spiriti. Il mondo vuole trascinarci giù, ma è in questo mondo che troviamo le opportunità di crescere. È il mondo di Dio e noi siamo i Suoi figli, quest'è la nostra scuola ed è un grande sprecato di tempo e energia di andare a scuola e non imparare nulla.

However, we don't turn into highly educated, master-of-every-discipline people in one day. Not even in one transfer or one mission. It'll take a good long while. So how on earth am I supposed to master self-control over every single human tendency I have? The answer I have found this transfer is one or two things at a time. We all know our weaknesses, and if you don't, you haven't been paying attention very well during Life School. If you think you don't have anything to learn here, then that's called pride. But Heavenly Father knows YOUR weaknesses and mine and is willing to make them become strong, depending on my willingness to change.

Però, non diventiamo molto intelligenti, maestro-di-ogni-discipline persone entro un giorno. Neanche entro un trasferimento o una missione. Ci vorrà un bel po'. Quindi come mai posso diventare maestro del auto-controllo su di ogni singola debolezza che ho? La risposta ho trovato questo trasferimento e una o due cose alla volta. Ognuno di noi conosciamo le nostre debolezze, e se non le conosci, non sei stato attento durante la Scuola della Vita. Se pensi che non hai niente di imparare qui, quello si chiama orgoglio. Ma Padre Celeste conosce le TUE debolezze e le mie ed è disposto di farle forti, dipende del nostra disponibilità a cambiare.

It's a new year coming up and I echo something Jaden Burnett yonder by the Adriatic Sea wrote us: just pick one or two things to work on this year. If you pick one or two things every year to change and be better at, and keep it up then next year, then by the time you die you'll be really good at like, 50-60 things. 

Un nuovo anno avviene e echo qualcosa che ha detto uno mio amico di la al mare adriatico. Ha scritto: sciogli una o due cose di lavorare su di cui quest'anno. Se scegli una o due cose ogni anno di cambiare e migliorare, e continui il prossimo anno, poi quando muori sarai maestro di tipo, 50-60 cose.

A quote I really like says something like, "the best time to plant a tree is 40 years ago. The second-best time is right now." I just want to bear my testimony that it's never too late to change, and it's never to late to remember something you once knew. It's better to learn 3-4 things than nothing at all, and even one or two things can make you a light to the world. You don't have to get good at everything all at once, but let your Light shine, and work to improve the light/good works that you already have. I testify that you all have a light because you are my friends and my family and I have seen in your life and mine that sin dulls our light but repentance/active change for the better will not only change yourself but will change the world we live in. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Un cito che mi piace molto dice "il tempo migliore per piantare un'albero è 40 anni fa. Il tempo secondo-migliore è adesso." Voglio portare la mia testimonianza che mai è troppo tardi di cambiarsi o di ricordarsi di qualcosa che già sapeva. Meglio imparare 3-4 cose che niente, e anche una o due cose possono farti una luce al mondo. Non devi diventare bravo a tutto in una volta, ma permetti la tua luce brillare, e lavora ad migliorare la luce/le buone opere che già hai. Testifico che avete tutti una luce perché siete i miei amici e ho visto nelle vostre vite e nella mia che il peccato diminuisce la nostra luce ma il pentimento/cambiamento attivo per il migliore non cambierà solo te stesso ma anche cambierà il mondo in cui abitiamo. Nel nome di Gesù Cristo, amen.

I love you all so much! Thanks for the love and email and support, especially during Christmas week and I'll respond to your emails next week. 30 weeks left 😱😱😱 geez, it looks so small when I put it like that... Next stop, Florence!

Vi voglio tanto bene! Non mi dimentico di voi a Torino o Pordenone. Siete nel mio cuore per ora è per sempre e anche sul mio elenco di email haha. Vi rispondo la prossima settimana. Grazie per l'amore che mi mandate. 30 settimane ancora 😱😱😱 caspita, sembra così piccola quando lo dico così....prossima fermata, Firenze!
The Italian Riviera

One of her favorite dogs

I asked Jill about this one.  She said Italians don't smile.

Another of her favorite dogs

Small Christmas gifts

Anziani Love