Sunday, April 30, 2017

2017-04-26 Mayo Blood

*despairingly* "My resurrected body is gonna have mayo blood!"

Lol so so much happened this week! We saw:
Investigator Carolina from Venezuela
Investigator Elizabeth from Peru 
Member/less active/less active's chef boyfriend/inactive family Larrain
mad classical music concert that had our stress levels going through the roof (more on this later)
A whole sad day of bidone's that ended with eating the best lasagna of my life with Bishop's family and watching the new Star Wars trailer as well as a bunch of their home videos
A gelato festival with our inactive girl friend :)

So, what should I elaborate on?? Let's talk about mayo blood and stressful concerts! So, this all happened on Sunday! We have church from 9:30-12:30 and it was wayy good! There's this less-active who literally - literally one Sunday she raised her hand in relief society and admitted that she avoids the missionaries' calls sometimes and me and Sorella Garcia just looked at each other like, "awesome." Anyways, we had a meeting with our RS Pres and she told us she's worried about this sister and to try to contact her. Well, she wasn't joking! She literally just ignores our calls. Fortunately, we have members who don't have their heads buried in the sand dunes of missionary work and sometimes see things in ways we don't. So I remembered one time a member told me to just send a little scripture to this different inactive and not ask to see her or anything. So we tried that, and she responded!! A few days later for Easter we sent out a Happy Easter text and she responded to that, too!! Then, she came to church this week!! She said we could see her next week!! She said she would pick up the phone when I pushed her on that point! Church miracles!
Our investigator Norca from Peru also came to sacrament meeting!! Such a good church service. But it was afterwards that the concert and mayo come in.
So, there is approximately one trained opera singer in every ward I've served in because this is Italy. And the music director for the stake had some connections at a conservatory close to Florence, so he got some non-member musicians to agree to come play piano, guitar, flute, and sing for a concert in our church! As part of this concert, the missionaries were to sing a round of hymns with our ward's token ex-opera singer. He's this super old guy, just like, super old, the sort of old guy who's just nice and buys all the missionaries a bunch of packaged sandwiches so they can eat lunch in church instead of going home and then coming back. 
...packaged mayo sandwiches!
The ratio was like, 3 parts mayo to every 1 part meat option. And that was it. Bless his heart he is such a good man. And we were all starving bc church is exhausting but I seriously could only handle one sandwich. Lol. And my companion absolutely hates mayo and so as we were walking home after the stressful concert, she said, "My resurrected body is gonna have mayo blood!" So, so funny.
The concert itself was great. It was stressful because one of our members brought three small children?? Why?? So, obviously we want to make a good impression to our non-member guests, right? Because a lot of their friends came, too, to watch them play. But instead this is what happened. Just imagine all this during what would have been an otherwise riveting and breath-taking concert:
Constant flow of whispering on the front row
Constant flow of one little boy punching the other in the stomach
Little toddler girl constantly wandering around and adults having to get up and bring her back
Little toddler girl rolling around on the floor as far as touching the piano that was being played in that very moment
Box of colored pencils falling loudly on the floor
Box of colored pencils falling loudly on the floor a second time
Little toddler girl running very energetically from the front of the room back out multiple times

All of this followed by an explanation of baptism for the dead as part of the closing comments of the concert. All of us missionaries afterwards had to like, therapy each other and talk about the large array of emotions we felt during those two hours. Everything from "I want to die" to "haha" to " is this actually happening right now?" Amazingly, these non-members took it all in stride. We chatted with the pianist's roommate after, asked about if he's religious (non-practicing catholic, we are not surprised folks). We told him he should go to church again and he was like, "I know, I know! I want to but I just don't haha." We got to talking about the Book of Mormon and he even accepted a copy and then also accepted an invitation to come to our church! Then the Anziani had been talking to the pianist himself and he agreed to help them with a musical number next week during church so that's looking like two new college-age, super dope investigators for our Anziani! The other companionship also got a couples' number so all-in-all it was a really big success.

Lots of other good things happened this week like discussing how to have more unity when we teach, finding people on buses who would listen to our message, and we have a packed week ahead of us! The mission is great, I love it and I love the Lord for telling me I need to go. I also love my family and anyone else who is taking time out of their life to read about a sister missionary's missionary experiences in Italy. Life is good.

Transfer calls come this Saturday, will I stay or will I go?? I think I will stay. Have a good week, all!

2017-04-19 Easter Goodness

Hello everybody! How's it going? Everything is just peachy here in Italia. We are on a train right now headed to Cinque Terre. If you've never heard of it before, feel free to search that one on google images. Dream pday. But, even the normal missionary days here feel like dreams, too. Nightmares? Nah, haha, I'm just kidding. Good dreams.

This week was Easter! Before Sunday, we had multiple appointments with members. Dream! Really good lessons, too. We were not able to seen any of our investigators?? Not for lack of trying, though...they just weren't responding to their phones...kind of a nightmare...I was taking it really personally because it felt like it was my fault, even if I had done everything in my power to see these people. But then, God knew that we were feeling down, so he threw us a bone! A couple bones, actually ๐Ÿ–๐Ÿ—.  

First of all, we had Easter with a family in our ward. I absolutely love this family. They're the sort of people that you can joke with and have fun with even though there's a little language barrier. They made us amazing food that we ate so much of, and we talked about everything from where we're from to their old mission stories to the Simpsons. There are three companionships of missionaries here, and we were there with one other companionship. At the end of the dinner, they gave each companionship a big chocolate Easter egg as if we were their children. We opened them up, shared the chocolate, laughed and talked some more, and shared the Easter message with them about the Prince of Peace. It was really nice to feel like I was at home with family, even if I wasn't actually home and they aren't really my family. 

So aside from that fun little excursion from mission life norms, we had two WAYY cool experiences this week! Aside from English class, a ward activity, and less-active pass-by's, we had two appointments with two new (for us) investigators! So we were passing by a less-active named Tessy during Pasquetta because one day of Easter is not enough days for Italians. So, it was Monday and she wasn't at home. So we had some time before we had our next thing so we decided to look at our handy map and see if there was anyone else we could pass by before heading to the church. So we found a house close by and decided to go ring their intercom. We did so, and a couple kids run out to the balcony a couple floors up. A man came to the railing and starts yelling down to us, asking us who we are. So, we yell back that we are missionaries. And he yells back, who? And we yell back, the missionaries. And we yell, we are looking for Cabezas, is he here? And he doesn't understand. And so we yell, can we come up? And he buzzes us up and I can't believe that for the third time in my mission, someone is going to let us into their house. 

So when we get up there, it's the wife who greets us, not the husband. We got to sit and chat wit her for a while, all the while her little 2-year-old, Cristian, is running from his room to the kitchen with all his toys, some of which he loudly plays while we are talking and others he just lays on our laps. So cute. So it turns out that this woman's uncle and his family are an active family in the ward that I obviously know bc I've been here for months. We get to talking and, despite the fact that she doesn't even frequent her own church, she agrees to come to our church this Sunday! ๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ต and we're going to meet with her again on Friday!! I mean, who just lets you into their house and then agrees to come to your church all in one fell swell?? Did I spell that figure of speech right?? Anyways, there was more to the conversation than I'm explaining obviously. She said her husband wasn't interested but we talked about the Prince of Peace and learning these principles of peace for her son's sake as well. It was so guided by the Spirit, even if we were clueless at first. A cool thing was that we asked her what she saw in her cousins that she didn't see in other boys and she said that they are really calm, have this peace, and are good, moral kids! If it wasn't for them and their example, the whole conversation would have been different. So remember that the example you set and the morals you live by do influence others. And if you choose right, it can influence them for the better. Like Jesus! So cool.

The other thing was an appointment with an investigator named Carolina who we had an appointment with once this transfer but then she bidone'd us. This time she came!! We went out in the pouring rain but dang it, we were determined! We went to a caffe and talked about faith. It was a really cool experience, she is really awesome, we are seeing her on Friday and baptizing her on Sunday. Just kidding haha, but seriously I'm so grateful for God for sending us these amazing people to work with! All-in-all it was a good week and I'm glad I'm a missionary. Have a good week, I love you all. Buena settimana

Easter Goodies

Easter Dinner

Sunday, April 16, 2017

2017-04-12 Slow Week, But Not Really

It sort of felt like a slow week, but in retrospect, a fair amount got
done! We had a lesson with an investigator one day, another
investigator the next, a third investigator the next, a member that
same day, and then a zone conference the day after! On the which, we
got slammed with a bunch of questions about prophets (ok, awesome),
got put down by three middle-aged catholic women about the divinity of
the Catholic Church (ahhh...) followed by one of their atheist
husbands (aAaAHh!), spent 40 minutes watching a bunch of Italian
ragazzi play soccer while we waited for our new investigator, who we
later found sitting on a bench waiting for US (could have gone better,
but not complaining), got an awesome referral!, and did a role-play
training for zone conference! So yeah, love the mission! Tonight we
are doing missionary work with all of the YW/YM in the ward....hope it
goes well! Have a good week everyone!

Easter Eggs

Easter Shopping

Lots of Easter Candy at the stores

The Arno

Another Trip around Pisa

Sunday, April 9, 2017

2017-04-05 Mostra

What a week! Much has happened and much is about to happen.

So a cool story, our president recently released new rulings that we
are allowed TWO cultural events per missionary (a cultural event being
something outside of the missionary norms that potentially takes place
at nighttime like an opera or ballet or something). So, with that
background information in mind, let's set the scene of a bus ride to a
member appointment. We are always on buses haha. We were sitting in an
area of four seats, two seats facing two seats. There was a
middle-aged Italian woman in the seat across from me. What she had in
her lap looked like a script for a play, with lines and everything.
So, we started talking to her about if she is an actress. She said yes
and we got her to explain the whole premise of this play and her role
in it. Well, it sounded AWESOME and so we asked her when it was. She
gave us the address and then we asked if we could get her number which
she enthusiastically gave us. Then she started noticing us and who we
are and we got to talking about the church! We explained a little bit
about the restoration, got off the bus together, our appointment with
members got bidoned so we called her up and taught her 20 minutes
after our bus conversation! We met on a bench next to a river and
taught her everything about the restoration. It was so, so cool,
because this is potentially the first time someone has understood the
gravity of the Book of Mormon on the first encounter with
missionaries. When we finished, asked her to read the Book of Mormon
and pray about it, and then we asked her, "what would it mean to you
if you found out that this book is true?" And she was like, "my life
would go into disaggio (distress). It would change everything." And I
was like, oh my gosh, she GETS it!! Haha. Like, I don't want to ruin
her life (this wouldn't), but I was glad she got the significance of
the libro di mormon.

Other than that, this week we went over to a member who was recently
widowed at the ripe old age of 50 :(. She is an angel and such an
example of faith. Anyways, she has this thing where she wants to learn
how to make a dish from every missionary who comes to Firenze. So I'd
been wanting to make her Creamy Poppyseed Chicken casserole for a
while (the red velvet cake mostly just confused them, as it does me,
because they kept asking why it's red, which has been a question that
has haunted me since I first encountered this odd species of cake) but
they don't sell cream of chicken here!! So I was trapped until, lo and
behold, my favorite member from my favorite city (I don't actually
have favorites) called me up from Pordenone and asked me if I wanted
anything from the American base!! Yes, cream of chicken!!
So, we went over to her house, let her tell us how to cook the rice
because South Americans are so picky about how their rice is cooked,
and fed her and her daughter and daughter's boyfriend creamy poppyseed
chicken, a personal favorite.
My heavens. It tasted like home. My heart felt a level of bliss one
can only imagine. It was almost like being hugged by my mom after 14
months. My level of satisfaction was surpassed only by Sorella
Larrain, who exclaimed without ceasing throughout the entire dinner, "
BUONO. Buono, sorelle. Quest'รจ buono. Mmm. Buono. Buono," until, and
even after, she had finished eating. She said it's the best American
food she's ever eaten! Take that, every other American missionary who
has ever come and ever will come to Firenze! Thank you, mom!

Lastly, something we're pretty excited about is this Mostra we want to
do which us like, any form of a sizable public exhibition for the sake
of stopping and talking to people and making ourselves known. So Pres
has been making a big push for us to be more creative with our finding
and a mostra is something I've always wanted to do but never have. We
are drawing on so many different talents for this, the biggest one
being an art student who is a member here! She's AMAZING. Natural
talent + years of training = she is actually a qualified professional
and she's going to do a chalk drawing of Jesus Christ for us in a
public square. We are so excited and I'll be sure to take pictures
when it happens! Hopefully we'll be able to get some members come and
sing/play so we can have some music too. Meanwhile we will be talking
to people about conquerors and peace, the main themes of the new
Easter video the church sent out! Everybody regardless of faith status
should watch it because it's so beautiful! Here it is!
Have a good week everybody! I love you all! Let me know what your
thoughts are on the Easter video :)

Notice Thor's Hammer on the far right.


Sunday, April 2, 2017

2017-03-29 Transfers

Ah transfers!! Maybe my parents can post the pictures but I got paired up with a sister that I (mostly just jokingly) asked President if I could serve with several months ago. I met her in the MTC and has literally followed me to EVERY city in my mission, whether it be in my district or my zone. So funny. So far it's been too much fun and too miracle-y I'm so lucky I get to serve with one of my best friends in the mission. So so happy! 

So let's just take some time and talk about Sunday. Sundays are always crazy in the mission. Day of rest? What is that? Even pday isn't really because we're running around wearing our feet out soaking up all we can of this amazing country. But this Sunday was THE craziest Sunday of my life!

So, we had,
A sacrament meeting talk, (me), (found out on Saturday)
A primary lesson to teach, (found out on Saturday)
A lunch in church with ~20 non-members to celebrate a baptism
A talk during a baptism, (me), (found out on Saturday)
A lesson with a less-active
A lesson with a new investigator
Race home and pack for spending the night at the senior couple's place

All with a study time grand total of :30 between Saturday night and Sunday morning. Ah.
So all of that actually happened minus the less-active lesson. Sooo crazy!! Add on top of it our amazing investigator fasting without being asked and praying to be sustained (awkward moment when you legitimately just tried to spell that word, "sustegned") by the Spirit and having it actually happen. Then she asked us if we could pray together :') so we did and then we went to relief society together. She is such a rock. She will be baptized one day I know it. She can't right now because of her living situation but we have high hopes for her and the guy she's living with

The sacrament talk went well and so did the primary lesson that was on missionary work. I was asked to speak on how the Book of Mormon testifies of Jesus Christ. An interesting find I made when studying is the connection one word makes between two verses in two different books. Allow me to elaborate; in the Book of Mormon, there is a chapter that quotes the prophet Isaiah that basically testifies of its own truthfulness. It is a prophesy of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. Many Christians reject the possibility of more scripture because of certain verses in revelation that say not to add to or take away from the Bible, even though historians agree that revelations wasn't even the last book written in the Bible and that certain gospels were written afterwards. Anyways, both the Bible and the Book of Mormon is the word of God and this verse talks about that - 

2 Nefi 27:14 Wherefore, the Lord God will proceed to bring forth the words of the book; and in the mouth of as many witnesses as seemeth him good will he establish his word; and wo be unto him that rejecteth the word of God!

So, God is saying that if He wants to establish His word with two witnesses/books then He will do it. But now, in the Bible, we get a new take on what it means to establish His word - 

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

So Jesus Christ is the Word. So you could take the BOM verse again and rewrite it something along the lines of, 

Wherefore, the Lord God will proceed to bring forth the words of the book; and in the mouth of as many witnesses as seemeth him good will he establish Jesus Christ; and wo be unto him that rejecteth Jesus Christ!

So the Bible and Book of Mormon together don't just establish the Word of God, like, words we use for writing, but they also serve to establish the testimony of Jesus Christ as the Son of God, His life, and His sacrifice for us. Such a cool topic.

The baptism was cool, it was a member's daughter and a bunch of family friends were there. We got to do a little group teaching at the end when all the non-members sort of bunched up and were talking about our church so we just kind of sidled up and were like, "yeah we're like that because we believe this!" Basically taught the whole restoration it was a pretty cool deal. Then one of these friends was driving home, saw us at the bus stop, and totally gave us a ride to the station to get to our appointment with our investigator! So cool.

That lesson with our investigator Maria was so awesome. She wanted to know why we don't pray to the Madonna and so I had the opportunity to study that topic all week. Basically the best answer I could come up with is that there is absolutely no scriptural support in favor of praying to anyone besides we shared an explanation from a talk and then we brought up different prayers and parables of prayer from the scriptures and shared them with her. The Spirit was so strong and she prayed at the end of the lesson to God. I love first vocal prayers. None of them are wrong, they're all good. And she totally wants to see us again! So so stoked about this one. All in all it was a good week, I mean, this was just one day in the field! Here's to five more weeks of laughing too much and flopping into bed exhausted every night! I love the mission and plan on working hard all the way through these last four months. Thank you for reading and I hope you all have a good one!