Ok, my friends are going to KILL me but i did it... I celebrated Christmas in July. haha. We couldnt resist. Every monday we have a district meeting and then eat lunch together after. This week it happened to be on July 25th and we just had to do it. I was really sceptical but im so glad i did it haha. I dont even remember who's idea it was but it turned out great. We asked sister bay for santa hats and she gave is the hats with a little present for us. I got earrings that match the necklace she gave me for easter. So nice of her. The sisters got the elders something and vice versa. they got me a watch and some earrings and a CD for after the mission. they were so excited about what they had gotten for us. It was SO fun. Anyway, it was fun. we have a great district!
Ok, Next item. Thanks for the packages!!! It was the best day to have 2 packages to open. Thanks for all the pictures. Everyone seems happy and well. Im glad to know that you are having fun without me... Mimi, i got your letter this week. Haha. I loved your first sentence. You are welcome that i am here on a mission so that you had the opportunity to go to London. it sounds like it was a busy and very great trip! Mom, everything in the package is perfect. Thanks so much! it was perfect! and sister tinoco LOVED her lotion!
Great news! Saturday, the elders had a baptism. It was so sweet! you will be happy to know that i played the piano. Not perfect but i tried. Haha. It was a man from the Phillippines. He lives with a family from the phillippines that comes to Sigonella. His wife and children are still there so he is living with this family till they have enough money to move to Italy. Anyway, he was BEAMING. It was such a sweet moment. l loved seeing him all dressed in white and knowing that after this, he is going to have a new life. A life as a Member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A life with the gift of the holy ghost and all the blessings that come with it. That's why im here! So i can help people find this wonderful message. That Christ's church is on the earth again, we have a living prophet to guide us, and if we live worthy we can have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. Its hard at times but its so worth it to see someone right after they are baptized! its the Lords work and im so grateful to have the opportunity to be here.
This is good news. We went and visited a less active family about 3 weeks ago and they ahve come to church every week since! Its so great! They dont have faith in the law of tithing but we are working on it. It brings a smile to my face as i see these parents sitting in sacrament with their 2 little kids. Im praying that they continue to come and they can find a tiny bit of faith to pay their tithing and trust that really the Lord blesses us so much as we do this.
Next, a little update on the companion thing. I am learning that when she says things, i just need to not take it personally. The other day during companion study she was talking about how she just thinks something and says it. And how she likes it when people are like this. I told her its great that she is like that but something I dont want to do. Most the time the first thing we think is not something that is going to matter in 5 minutes or in the nicest way. Anyway, I think she is understanding more that im not like that. I am way more sensative than the people here in italy. Heres another story. Kinda annoying but funny that this even happened. So every morning we read the white hand book together. Today was about what sisters wear and stuff. After she asks me if i have any questions for her. I say no. She says there is this line under the part that talks about our hair and make-up... It says that we should have hair at a length that is easy to manage. then she proceeds to basically tell me that i need to cut my hair. haha. Oh mamma mia. Considering i wear my hear in a bun every day because its so hot i just dont even see why she thinks this is a problem. Maybe im crazy in thinking that i dont need to cut my hair. What's everyone's opinion on the matter?
Also, for all you who thought i was crazy saying that i was getting freckles... just know that its true. I have freckles on my nose and im starting to get them on my cheeks. Maybe they will go away in the winter but im definitely getting freckles.
Well, i need to go but read Alma 57. I LOVE THE STORY OF THE STRIPPLING WARRIORS. What an example these young boys were to those around them. I love it. Anyway, i hope you all have a great week! Dont forget to think of me next tuesday for my 6 month mark! I cant even believe it. its nuts. I have a feeling after a year im still going to feel like a baby in the mission. Cant wait to hear from you all next week! Vi Voglio bene! Ci sentiamo la prossima settimana.
Well, how is everyone?? I cant believe that the summer is more than half way over already! Where in the world did the time go? Oh, this is random but today is my half birthday... haha. we are celebrating because we wont be together as a district for my birthday. So you can all celebrate at home too:) So sounds like everyone is having a good, busy summer. Im glad to hear it! Thanks for all the pictures and updates of what you are doing. I love hearing it! Oh and yes, i got 2 packages today for my half birthday haha. Thanks to both of my families! We are going bowling with the Bay family tonight so i will get to open them in a couple hours! Im so excited!
As for the week. I have a story i want to share. It wont mean as much to all of you because it is hard to describe but it was probably the best moment of my mission so far. Ok. So about 3 weeks ago we were doing finding and found this family sitting outside. They are a big extended family that live all right next to each other. Anyway, the grandma was outside with about 6 of her grandkids. We talked to them and they were sort of open but very insistent on praying to saints. (Our problem every day...) Anyway, they accepted an invitation to meet with us another day. When we went the next week and all the kids were waiting outside. They oldest (13, 10, 8, 8, 5, 3 their ages) had read the restoration pamphlet to all the younger kids and they loved it. Anyway, other parents were outside this time and we talked about the restoration. Set up another appointment and basically the same thing happened but we gave them a Book of Mormon this time. Then we set up another appointment. This would be the last appointment this summer because literally everyone goes on vacation from the middle of july to september. Anyway, we are walking there and they live at the bottom of a hill. As we got to the top of the hill and the kids could see us, they started cheering! They were SO excited to see us! We talked to them and the oldest had once again read the Book of mormon out loud to the younger ones. they loved it! Also the mom we had talked to read it also and is very excited to read it during vacation and talk to us when they get back. Anyway, then it was time for us to go... These little kids were SO sad and begging to come with us because they wanted to be with us. THey were clinging to me telling me they love me and to not forget about them. After about 5 min they let us start walking but shortly after chased us down the street again. Finally they let us go and stood and blew us kisses as we made our way up the hill. I had tears in my eyes saying bye to them. Its crazy how fast we clicked with my little language skills and everything. But i really love them so so so much. I want to stay here for another transfer to see them again. I really think that they are ready for the Gospel. It was a moment of pure joy for me. I was so happy to be were i was serving others and my heavenly father. It is hard work but it is so worth it to bring such an important message to these people i love!
Ummm... Also, we had zone conference this week. President and sister kelly are awesome! I love them. President talked about how we can choose to be happy. Just the thing that i have been working on. It was such an answer to my prayers. I had an interview with him this time too. That is such precious time for me. It is so evident that he has the spirit with him so strong. He talked to be about my companion and told me he was so proud of me for my attitude. He told me that he knew being companions with her would be tough but that he felt complete confidence in me. That was reassuring. He told me that he only planned on having us together for 1 transfer but i can have what i want. If i feel like staying (I told him it was hard but im learning so much and really might want to stay with her) that i can stay. I love that im speaking better so im actually building relationships with people in the ward and stuff. So i might want to stay another transfer and then be on my way. I dont know. He told me that he wants to keep in touch and and just be open with what i want to do.
As for now, that is pretty much all i have to say. Etna errupted again apparently but we didnt see anything so, who knows! Thanks for all the love and support! It helps so much knowing that Im far away but my family is thinking about me and praying for me. Know that you are always in my prayers too. I love you all more than you know. I miss you so much but love what i am doing. I love sharing my testimony and feeling the spirit bear witness that what i am saying is true all the time. Its a blessing! have a great week and I will talk to you next week. Oh ya, we had a great lesson with Antonella this week. She really wants to find the truth but is so scared to leave the traditions of her family. But she felt the spirit and wants to learn more. We are excited to see how things go with her! Ill keep you updated. I hope we get to see her a couple more times before her long vacation... OK. That really is it i think. LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!!
Well i'll start out with this story. The other day we were walking for quite some time to get to this less-active family's house. Well, I started feeling something kind of like rain drops on my face. I rub my forehead and there is black stuff on my hand. My companion started feeling it too and we were SOOOOO confused. I look up at the sky and above us there is a cloud of black. And as we continue walking we just get more and more black stuff on it. we were holding pamphlets above our eyes to keep it out of our eyes. Haha. Well, what happened was the Etna, the volcano we had just hiked like 4 days before, errupted! So there was ash/stuff from the mountain all over the place. It was pretty crazy. My hair had so much of this nasty stuff in it. Plus is was SO humid that day and so we were all stick and just had dirt all over us. It was pretty funny. I was so confused what was happening. It didnt seem to phase the italians. They say that this is normal... Anyway, it was an experience. i wish i would have taken pictures but i forgot my camera... Sorry!!
What else... Well I know heavenly father is teaching me many things this transfer. We had a lesson on Agency in the Sigonella branch on Sunday and it was exactly what i needed to hear. It is my choice to be happy. To put a smile on my face or to be frustrated. It is my choice to not complain and my choice to be optimistic. Something I have heard all my life but i really needed to hear it Sunday. it was an answer to my prayers. There is a great talk in the Liahona from June that sort of talks about this. Basically it says that we can complain to the Lord and say "Why me?" or we can take a step back and ask "ok, what do i need to be learning from this experience?" I love it! Its up to me and I choose to be happy. To not complain about the hard things in my life but to really take an opportunity to learn from them. There is also a talk from April conference that says we should feel blessed when the lord gives us trials. It means that he loves us enough to allow us to grow and knows that we are capable of it. It also says that our trials are laser pin pointed to us because they are made for us as an individual to learn a specific thing and grow. Anyway, im learning a lot and i know my father in heaven has so much more for me to learn. its not going to happen over night and is going to take my whole and more. But im grateful for the trials in my life that really help me rely and depend on my Savior.
This is soooo random but we were at this house the other day teaching this lady and her TV was on. Haha, she was watching Hannah Montana. Keep in mind, she is like 70 or something. It was so great! A little reminder of my siblings at home that like to watch it with me:).
As for the work, we are doing SO much finding right now. This lady, Antonella, i dont know if i told you about her last week but anyway, she had such a great interest and was SO grateful for the Book of Mormon. She said right away that this is something she wants to read. Well, we were supposed to have a lesson with her on Saturday but called us and said that she really doesnt think that she can change religions and so she doesnt want to waste our time. It was sad... She cancelled the appointment and now we cant get a hold of her. Man... On a happier note, we had a great meeting with our American investigator, john. The sisters started teaching him in March but he really hasnt made any progress. He is super depressed and needs the Gospel but wont do anything about it. he always says "Ya, i know that i need to be praying to God more and that i need to read this book. Ya, Ill do it" but then we go back and visit and he has done nothing. For our lesson monday night, i found a quote from an old ensign conference issue where elder ballard (im pretty sure it was him) talked about the Book of Mormon. JOhn had a HUGE interest in the Ensign. And this quote really brought a change in him. He had a completely different light about him. He had a different, more sincere desire, to read the Book of MOrmon. So we challenged him to our challenge, to read it in 60 days. ANd he was SO excited about it. I am praying so much that this time he really does it! We also let him borrow our ensign so he could read the talks and he was very excited about that and said that some of the titles really struck his attention. So it was so great! Ill keep you updated.
I think thats all for the week. Im grateful to be a missionary! I love that i am able to spend my time teaching others about the Gospel. It has strengthened my testimony so much! We have a message that literally changes lives! thanks for all the support everyone gives me. It makes being away easier. I know that my family and friends are praying for me. KNow that i am praying for you too! Vi Voglio tantissimo bene. Ci sentiamo la prossima settimana.
Man, so many things to say this week. Its been a busy but a good week. I hope everyone had a fun fourth of july! Ours was great. I cant believe that utah changed the rules and now you can have the cool fireworks. We dont think there are any laws here about fireworks... haha. Needless to say, at the Bay's house, we saw some pretty cool fireworks. It was great. I understand now why when missionaries come home they have a much better appreciation for America. We sang all the American songs we could think of! Such a great day. I love italy and the people here but we are SO blessed to live in America. At the Bay's for our spiritual thought we read from 1 Ne. 13. Our country was protected by our Heavenly Father and is where He knew His Gospel could be restored again. We have so many things to be grateful for as Americans. I love that chapter! Read it! Im also grateful for the Bay's. THey are so good about making me feel like im just part of the family. I was really nervous for the Fourth of July because its one of my favorite holidays back home. They really are such a blessing for me here!
So, with the companion, its good but difficult at the same time. Its a hard transition to go from someone from your own culture and things to someone that has a different culture and speaks a different language. Its just going to take a little bit of time getting used to everything. 2 people told me yesterday, though, that my Italian is getting better! So that is good. She doesnt speak much english but wants to learn so i just speak very slowly. Most the time though we speak in Italian. i speak in VERY simple ways but i can get my point across. She is much better about letting me speak in lessons and such too so that has been really good. I really hope by the end of this transfer my confidence in Italian is much better. I know i can carry on a conversation but i get so intimidated by these Sicilians that talk so fast! haha. I love them.
This week i found something in the bible from Sunday School that i love! Its in Luke 22:42-43. So Christ asks His Father if this cup can be past from him because it is such a painful, hard thing but then says he will do the Father's will and perform the atonement. Then it says that angels were sent to help support Christ as he performed the atonement. Anyway, it hit me really hard. This week has been hard but I can find comfort in knowing that im not alone. Heavenly Father doesnt give us things to do without providing a way to do them. I know that I am supposed to be where I am and with Sorella Tinoco for a reason. I have a lot of growing to do and its hard. But like Christ, im not alone. Also i like jacob 3:1. I read that this week and it goes right with this!
Good news! We found 3 more investigators. And they are so great! The first is Antonella. She is 32 and was a referral from a member. We taught her at his office Thursday and then he brought her to church sunday. She is so interested and was so grateful for the Book of Mormon and has a big desire to read it. We are planning on inviting her to be baptized the end of this transfer! Then we went and taught a less active family in our ward and there was a 20 year old guy and an 18 year old girl there (cousins of the family we teach) and they are our other new investigators. We taught them and are going to have another lesson with them on Friday. The guy doesnt want to read anything when we ask to read but then has these great comments to make after someone has read. So we just need to get him to actually read. So we are really excited to work with these people!
Anyway, I have to go. We are going to hike Etna again because the elders from another city and here and want to go see it. So that is where we are going for our P-day today. Hopefully i dont die hiking is this heat haha. Thanks for everything. Not a day goes by that im not thankful for my family and friends. I pray for you always! LOVE YOU!!! Have a good week! Until Next week!