Sunday, May 21, 2017

2017-05-17 Bullet Points

This week was insane!! Where to begin?? Which story to tell?? Okay, bullet points because so much happened 

- heart attacked the door of a couple members going through a rough moment
- had third consecutive meeting with Bishop's family, who we love, in preparation for their daughter's baptism
- started chatting with Bishop's neighbor and set up an appointment to see her the next week (tomorrow)
- met with a less-active Francesca and had an AMAZING lesson with her
- met with Muslim investigator who is amazing
- met with member Gabriela
- got a MIRACLE text from an old contact who wanted to see US. Came to our church, loved it, almost stayed for a little girl's baptism but had to leave. Wants to do a project on us Mormons and show it to people. Ok???!?!
- Muslim investigator Maryam came to church which was the second consecutive Gospel Principles class on the Priesthood which interests her a ton
- bishop's daughter's baptism
- Maryam came to said baptism, started crying during the baptism because felt the Spirit so strong, asked the Anziani for a baptism after having heard a lot about the priesthood. It was an amazing blessing, the Spirit was so strong. She is unlike any other investigator! 
- Facetiming family!!! 🙂🙃🙂🙃
- met with a member Graziella who gave us a bunch of pastries for breakfast. Lesson was super guided and even though everything was telling us that she wouldn't know anyone, we felt prompted to seriously challenge her to invite one of her friends to meet with us and she was totally down. I don't even know when the last time was that she did that! Probably years! So stoked for her to see this one go down. Love her, she's got class but she's also super mild. Love her.
- met with Maryam again. Exhausting lesson because it's just not teaching that we are used to but we got our point across about the need to be open-minded and we also listened to her well. At the end, she did one of her prayers for us. Which is like, really nice. It was a silent prayer, she just sort of moved her arms in flowing motions. But, it was nice that she prayed for us :)
- visited with a less-active named Assunta who our RS President referred us to. We were both beat so our focus was...not even elsewhere, it just straight-up didn't exist haha. But we were glad to meet with her (been going on four transfers that we've been trying to see her)
- learned how to tie ties during a very effective district meeting (yes, I know what a double Windsor is)
- went on a freaking voyage out to the edges of Firenze to find a year+ old referral who we don't believe lives there anymore, but we did get to wander around the Tuscan countryside for a good hour and talk to a couple people. Anyways.

Today we went to a secret rose garden! Nothing like strolling around, smelling and looking at bellissime roses in peace and quiet, knowing that the piazza above you and the city below you are teeming with tourists that...the rose garden knows nothing about :) magnifico.

A thought I've been having recently is just how true it is that God doesn't give us punishments, He tries to protect us from the natural consequences of the things we call, "sins." You know that this is true because of how much He and His prophets weep over people's wickedness. If your best friend was hanging off of a cliff with one hand as a mean joke, would you get mad at him? Or would you probably start crying and begging him to get himself off the ledge and into the safety of your arms? I can attest that you wouldn't be mad. I can attest that God isn't mad at us when we mess up! He loves us! He's sad when we make bad choices, as sad as we are. But He still loves us and is constantly urging us to get out of danger and into His loving arms. 

Anyways, that's all for this week! I love you all and hope you have a good week!

Secret Garden

Produce from members

District Meeting, Learning to Tie Windsor Knots

Friday, May 12, 2017

2017-05-10 Anxious without Anxiety

I will level with you all, this week was a slow one in terms of investigators. Where did they all go?? Can I get some consistency in my mission?? Two weeks we are swimming in investigator week we literally can't get in contact with any of them haha. Florence.   

Haha just kidding, we just love the people so much here!! And life is busy sometimes and anyways we just keep on serving and keep on loving anyways. We did get to see a few member families so that was good :) and our investigator came to church! Norca! She's so small and always wears baggy clothing so you can't even tell that she's pregnant. I ask her how the baby is and she says "enormous!" And I'm like, "where?" Haha. 

A member also returned home from his mission on Tuesday...he's really well liked and therefore with his homecoming party and everything, we saw a lot of less-actives come out of the woodworks. This ward is so incredible in the way that the members can honestly do a lot more for certain less-actives than we can because they're all just friends with each other, active members or not. We should all be like that! Jesus Christ called us His friends and He loved us even when we didn't accept his message.

Anyways, at mission council in Milano our president talked about being anxious without anxiety. That is so hard for me and very well may be the lesson of my mission because I just don't know how to do it! It's like they're the same thing for me. I had a big long talk with my companion about it too because she's a lot like me and we both realized that we don't know how to be anxious without anxiety. I sort of live off of anxiety. It's my fuel. It's also my fuel to things like an early death, probably. So, here's hoping that God can help me with this one haha. Heaven knows I need it.

But seriously seeing Norca in church and a couple other less-actives has helped me keep afloat. It's not the first slow week I've ever had and we still kept positive and kept busy! :) I love you all. Sorry for the sort of lame blog post. Have a good week all

After the museum treat

Newly bound scriptures in Italian Leather

A few museum pics

Mission Leadership Council in Milano 
Young, Younce, Smedley, and Arndt

Role Reversal

Sunday, May 7, 2017

2017-05-03 Bellissima!

Wwooowwww this last week was bellissima!!!

I didn't realize it in the moment. In the moment, I was satisfied with one little miracle but then I was always wanting to do more. Sorella Arndt, chill out! It wasn't until district meeting where my companion and I spewed out all the amazing things that had happened during the week that I realized how dope this last week was. So, so dope!

So, instead of recounting a singular story, I would like to just explain my week point-by-point. Get ready for an Amazing Week in the Life of a Missionary in Italy play-by-play.

So, at the end of pday last week we were on scambio so we got to hit up two different people at the same time. That's the plus side of scambio! The downside is trying to get the appointments set up in the first place!

So Sorella Smedley went to a less-active named Myriam. They read the story of Peter walking on water and then played a distraction game with her to make the point of keeping our focus on Christ, regardless of distractions in life and how we can keep our focus. I heard it was a really good lesson.

Meanwhile, Sorella Ruby and I went to visit a Jehovah's Witness who called us and wanted to meet with us. This is the third time we've seen her and we had a good, long discussion where we dug up deep doctrine and said simply, "this is how it is." She likes to tear the Book of Mormon apart based on historical ground, but I felt a prompting at the end of the lesson and I asked her if she has prayed about the Book at all. She said no, and I told her that if she is looking for all the reasons that the Book of Mormon isn't true, then she will find them and that will be her answer. But I know the Book of Mormon is true and that kind of knowledge comes through the Spirit. It was kinda dope, I felt pretty bold.

Thursday, Slla Smedley got lost-ish :( while Slla Ruby and I went to a park to have a lesson with an investigator, Leyder. He's super great and said yes to a soft bap invite!! He's still really hard to get ahold of though, so I guess it just requires some persistence.

Then, because we had extra time, we were out street contacting which isn't necessarily something I'm a fan of but hey, I'm not a perfect planner and so it was still too early to head home. So we start talking to this lady and we find out she lives in Slla Ruby's area and totally invited them over! What?! Meanwhile, this other lady is listening in on our conversation and nodding her head. After the conversation ends, she invites us into a caffe and orders us water. We chat, get her number and address, then at the end of our meeting she asked us if we could pray together. Yes, Pilar. Yes we can.

Then after lunch, Slla Smedley went to another investigator's house, Carolina, who has a little boy. The lesson went over soo well and Slla Smedley talked about how even if she was Christian, she literally didn't even know who Moses was. She said, "I'm sorry I don't know this stuff! That's why I want to keep meeting with you." Us, too, Carolina. Us, too.

Meanwhile Sorella Ruby and I had a lesson with a member on a bench outside of the main cathedral in Florence. We had invited her to bring a friend a while back and...she did!! Her friend wholly lacked enthusiasm but that's ok because Sorella Ruby, who has never met this member before, found something during personal study for the lesson that wasn't necessarily what we had planned for but we both liked. We got there, unexpected friend shows up, I tell slla Ruby that we are changing the lesson plan, Betty asks us what our message is, for some reason we decide to share this random message on prayer anyways. IT WAS PERFECT. She started crying!! It was exactly for her. When she found out that Sorella Ruby had picked it she said, "you?? You?? You don't even know me! We don't even know each other!" That's the power of the Spirit!

Friday we met with this Pilar lady. The Spirit was so strong! She's the sort of person who loves Jesus so much that she gives out Bible's to people. She is just phenomenal. She told us that the day before she met us, she had been praying to be able to find someone like us. O my gosh. Here we are. So we read verses from the Book of Mormon about missionary work because she said the people here are so closed and sometimes she wants to quit but we encouraged her to keep going and being amazing and she said ok. Miracle!

Then on Saturday we met with our Italian investigator, Maria. She has loved meeting with us because she loves us but we don't think she's really understood our purpose. So we went over today and sat and talked to her two boys in English for like, :45 because Maria's friend came over and so they were chatting while she was making us tea (typical Italy). We went to see if we could give her a hand because we had to leave soon and she didn't realize that we don't just go hang out with people for 3-4 hours at a time. So we got sat down with our ginger tea and started teaching. We were sort of nervous about laying down the restoration because she didn't seem like she would be expecting it. Well, we taught it and the Spirit was so strong. So strong, that at the end of the lesson we asked her that if she hypothetically knew that this message was true, would she be baptized? And our die-hard, Florentine, catholic Italian said yes. Wow. #Spirit. So hopefully things continue going well with her.

Then after we had a frisbee activity and the best part besides a couple non-members showing up was that I got to play frisbee for the first time in almost a year. Yess.

Sunday we had a dope lesson with one of my favorite members, Jan! We have this idea of doing an art show in church and since she's an amazing artist, we asked her thoughts on it. She fed us Filipino food and we showed her this older video of a family doing missionary work through simple actions and we talked about how inviting people to get to know the gospel is one of the most "ti voglio bene" acts of love of all.

Monday (are you you getting tired yet?)! Monday we were supposed to have five appointments. Insane! But then it rained and, if you know anything about Italians, you know that that means nothing is gonna go your way as missionaries. So in the end we only got 2/5 because the other three cancelled (on account of the rain factor) but we got to have a really touching lesson with this older member. Basically she had been housing a less-active family and excuse the terminology but they sort of screwed her over because she has such a good heart. So we read verses on charity and she cried and said they were for her and we encouraged her to always have a giving heart and to be wise. It was really good that we went there. 

After that, we had lunch with a member whose son came home from his mission yesterday and my companion threw up at the table because beans and fish just don't agree with her! And we both got back massages so it was a fun lunch! Hahahaha

Yesterday (you're so close to the end haha)...yesterday we had district meeting and celebrated the fact that all six of us are staying because we love our district. We're probably a little too close to each other, tbh, but va beh we're all stoked. 

Afterwards, we went to meet Peter at the train station with like, half the ward to welcome him home and it was really happy but also really sad because this is the family whose father/husband died about three months ago. So it was happy because he was home but sad because they weren't all together. But we are happy he's home. He was a stellar missionary, I actually got to meet him when he came home briefly to say goodbye to his father.

Then we had another lesson with Pilar that went pretty good. We tried to explain the restoration, she doesn't believe in a true church but we told her how much we love her and she wants us to come over again :)




Jill loves her backrubs

The disagreeable fish and beans

Evidence of a cold for Jill