Sunday, June 11, 2017

2017-06-07 Tons Happened

Wow, we had a great week! It's funny, truthfully day-to-day is pretty hard but every Wednesday when I write this email I'm like, "wow, tons happened!" So I try to focus on the positives because every week I get this reminder that lots of miracles do happen. Maybe not every minute, but every hour and every day and every week until it adds up to make my mission just a sack of miracles.

So, let's see, some not-so-cool things happened like getting three bidones (last-minute cancellations) in one day, but they were made up for by three other awesome lessons! 

First, a less-active girl (the one we took to the gelato festival a few weeks back), called us! Cheers to chilling with people at gelato festivals during proselyting hours because friendships! So she called us because she knew we wanted to see her and told us she was free the next day and we could come over (FYI: this NEVER happens). So we went over and the two active members she's living with were also there and helped us with the lesson! This girl works with kids who come from rough homes - just like her - and we did a really cool teaching technique. We had her write down all the feelings she feels for these kids she works with. She wrote a big range of emotions and then we asked her when she feels the negative and positive emotions. We were able to compare this to God and how He feels the same way. The Spirit was super strong and whereas at first the active members were just kind of wandering around the house (dang it!) they were like, drawn in by the Spirit and said some really cool, relevant things. So at the end of the lesson the Spirit was so strong that we asked this completely inactive girl to start praying every day, reading the Book of Mormon every day, and to come to stake conference on Sunday, and she said yes to all three things!! We as missionaries are literally nothing, we need the Spirit to be able to function as good teachers.

Another experience with the Spirit is we went to visit another less-active who does come to church sometimes. We visit her a fair amount because she had depression so she needs someone to get her out of the house sometimes and thinking positive thoughts and feeling the Spirit. But the last two lessons I've sort of felt like inviting her to go to the temple...I didn't do it the first time but this last lesson my companion also mentioned that we should talk to her about the temple. So, we texted our bishop to see when the next ward trip is to go up to the temple in Switzerland (this isn't Utah, folks) and to see what he thinks. He responds and says he's already been doing temple prep with her to get her ready to take out her endowments (Another type of ordinance and covenant that members of the church take upon themselves in addition to baptism and confirmation of the Holy Ghost)! 
No way!
We literally had no clue about this. The Spirit just guided us! It's so cool! We showed up at the lesson and started talking about temples and she asked us if bishop had been talking to us about how she's getting ready to go. When we told her no, she just sat there stupefied. The Spirit was present for that lesson as well, my friends.

The last experience was with our investigator, Carolina! She's the niece of a member here. She has a little boy named Christian and a boyfriend :) so we've been teaching her for a little bit and she's just accepted things really easily...but we could tell she hasn't really been feeling it yet. She just sort of, "uh-huh. Ok." 
But she came to church last week! With her boyfriend! And she liked it! I think it was definitely a game-changer. But anyways, we had been planning on teaching her about baptism and confirmation but the same day we were going to teach her, in the middle of studies, we both really felt like we had to switch our focus to repentance.
Guys, it was an amazing lesson! She wasn't just "uh-huh-ing," she was totally into it. We asked her if she's ever stopped doing something she knew was bad for her and she said that she used to have friends that were bad influences on her so she stopped hanging out with them. We asked her if it was hard at first and she said yeah because she felt alone and stuff, but we told her by the smile on her face that she was glad she made that choice and she said yeah. We told her that she's already started changing because she's praying now and reading the scriptures a tiny bit. We then talked about being forgiven and if she's ever needed to ask for forgiveness and she said yeah. We talked about how we feel right before and right after we do it. So bad then so, so good! We told her that to receive full forgiveness for our sins, we need to be baptized. She has said no in the past but...this time, after a long silence during which she physically squirmed because she knew she was feeling the Spirit, she subtly nodded her head "YES!" She has a bap date of July 1!

So cool!! So, we didn't have tons of lessons but we have been trying to pray more often and be more guided and it's totally working!! We've definitely seen the blessings of not following our own logic but following the plan of God, a plan that doesn't always have sense to us right now but always works out in the end.

This Saturday I will receive my last transfer call of the mission...after this, it's homeward bound...will I stay in Firenze for five transfers, or will I be transferred out to a different city to die? Stay tuned! We'll find out next week!

🇮🇹 Transfer 11 with Sorella Smedley 🇮🇹

Martha's Note - see bottom picture of map for Jill's new area

New Area - Ancora!

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