Salve! Buon giorno! Ciao! Buon di! (just a bunch of ways to say "Hi" in Italian. Haha)
How is everyone doing? Thanks for the email, babbo, as always :) Grazie Courtney and John Frey for the DearElders! Always good advice from those two RM's (anyone else who wants to write me/send me mission/any advice/thoughts/anything, do write! I love to hear from everyone!)
Crazy story! Today was p-day, and we went to the Temple. Well, my colega (companion) and I decided we wanted to do sealings, instead of an endowment session. So, we headed up, and were waiting, and we were waiting with an adorable elderly couple. Then after a second the lady said, "Don't I know you? You're Ray Willis' daughter, right?" It was Mike LaFontaine's parents! Del and Denell (?) LaFontaine! Crazy crazy stuff. We talked to them for a bit, then did a sealing session with them, doing their family names. It was so awesome :) And, I hadn't ever done sealings before, so it was just super wonderful! :)
So, adesso (now) my district has two new teachers - Fratello Hatch (we stole him from another class), and Fratell Garvin (freshly hired). They're so good, I love them both. But, we just got them this past Tuesday, I think. We finished up with Fratello Newton last week, and Fratello Bulloch on Monday. The teachers do this thing called "Coaching Missionaries", where they pull companionships/individual missionaries aside, and see how they're doing, ask if they need help with anything/etc. So, Fratello Bulloch did that with us one of his last days, and when he got to me, pulled me aside, and before he asked how I was doing/anything, he just said, "Wow." So, I asked "Wow, what?", and he said, "Just the progress you've made since you've been here is amazing. I don't know if you see it, but you've come a long way." (or something along those lines) Basically, he had me crying within the first minute being in there. Haha. I swear, I cry ALL the time now! I'm sure my district/zone knows me as the cryer (crier?). But, he's just the most uplifting, inspiring teacher EVER. He's so sick, I love him. Then for one of our last class hours with him, it was culture time/story time/Bulloch's mission picture time. SO good! (Sister Knickerbocker... I say "So good" all the time now! Woops. Haha) It just got us super excited to get to Italy! We are all so pumped to go. Ma (but), I have another month here in the MTC for a reason. I really really need to work on SYL-ing (Speaking Your Language). I don't do that very well. At all. I don't like to waste people's time, and speak slowly, just to say something wrong... I know, it's my pride getting in the way. I just need to suck it up, and make mistakes. Something our new teacher (Fratello Garvin) told me was, to wake up and think "What kind of mistakes can I make today?", not in a sinful way, of course, but in a learning from our mistakes kind of way. And, when he told me that, it just made me super happy! I dunno, maybe I'm weird. But it did. Haha.
Next story! My colega and I were preparing for a new investigator we would be teaching, and we were just not in sync. She was aggrivated, I was aggrivated that she was aggrivated, and nothing was working. Well, Fratello Hatch walked in, and told us that we were supposed to be doing weekly planning/comp. inventory, and to work on our lesson later. So we did. And, it was rough at first. But, by the end of it (comp. inventory) everything was out in the open, we were happy again, and we were able to prep a ballin' lesson, and then teach it pretty well (I think). Just goes to show that weekly planning/comp. inventory are so very inspired!
Then later we had a workshop, about Baptism. Throughout the whole of the workshop, I loved it, and thought it was great, but I hadn't really learned anything/felt super inspired. Then at the end, he said, "Write down your thoughts of your own baptism." And, so I started writing, and as a quick summary, I wrote, "I don't remember much about my baptism. I didn't understand everything when I got baptized, I just knew that it was the right thing to do, and that it was what Heavenly Father wanted me to do." And then, inspiration! The same is true for investigators. They will not know/understand everything - if they waited for that, they would never get baptized! We can never know/fully understand everything. But so long as they know that it's the right thing to do, and that it's what their Heavenly Father wants them to do, then they should have nothing to be worried/scared of.
So, word on the street is we can send pictures from MTC computers now, but I don't have my cord today. I'll try to remember next week. Have I told you about my new roommates? I love them. Sister Young, Sister Johnson, and Sister Vallejo (Vallejas...? Non so). They're so wonderful. My previous Spanish roommates were the best, and I love them so much, but they were very fun, easy going, not exactly obedient to rules (lights out, etc.) Ma, va bene (but, it's all good). I love them so much. But, these new roommates are so good. They're so obedient, they have the lights off before lights out. I just love them. They're going to California and Arizona, I think. All English speaking.
Oh! Then, one night, some adorable girl came into our class looking for a specific teacher who served in her home ward... she was from Italy! She's going to Canada on her mission! We talked with her, and I just love her so much. She's so nice, and fun. If all Italians are like her, I cannot wait to get there! And she was from an area in the Milan mission! And, her companion is super sweet, too. I think her comp. is Tongan. She's legit. They're a power compaionship. Ma, anyway, my colega and I get two contacts every day (we bear our testimonies twice a day, to random people we stop, in Italian), and she (the Italian) was one of our contacts that day. And, I was so so super excited, because when I finished, she didn't have any critique! I asked her, and I didn't say anything wrong/mispronounce anything! Ah, so so good :)
Crazy thought, I'VE BEEN HERE FOR A MONTH! Che cosa!? Even crazier thought: I'll be in Italy in less than a month! Oy vey. I'm so excited, and so nervous at the same time!
We had fast sunday last sunday, wonderful of course. I bore my testimony last fast Sunday (my FIRST sunday here) in Italian, and I decided that since I had done it my first Sunday, I couldn't not bear it on my last fast sunday in the MTC, so I had decided to do it. And I did. I was the first person up! (Cosa? I'm NEVER the first person up to bear my testimony... in anything!) Basically, I love bearing my testimony, especially in Italian. It's so fun :)
Crazy (fast) story time! My colega and I were going to teach our Anziani (elders) as progressing investigators. My colega already wasn't fond of the idea (and I wasn't really either), but we went a long and did it. Then, just before we went in, he said that he and the other Anziani would be observing us. That really set off my colega, and she kep saying she didn't want to do it. So, we went in, and she didn't say a word. So, I did a lot of the talking at first. But, the Anziano we were teaching had lived in Italy for two years, so he was basically fluent. So, he was super hard on us, and I was just getting frustrated because he was being tough, and my colega wouldn't say anything, and I was just getting beaten down... well, eventually they realized that nothing was working, so they said, "Domani?" (Tomorrow?), and I said sure, and my colega burst out of there, and ran down the stairs and just started crying. She was crazy upset, I was upset, and of course I started crying, because we were both just super frustrated, and we cried off and on for about an hour. Worst teaching experience, ever. I was so disappointed with myself after that. Then, Fratello Hatch showed us a video of the Adulterous Woman... haha, he had a good reason. Near the end, when the Savior says "Where are thine accusers/those who codemn thee?", then he says, "Neither do I condemn thee." When we mess up, we're not ruined forever. We can get up, change our ways, and start working on becoming better. So good. I love Fratello Hatch.
Oh! Babbo! So, we were watching a talk by Elder Holland called "The Miracle of a Mission", and halfway through the talk we stopped and just talked about what we had learned thus far, and someone brought up the topic of deceased family members, and as we were talking about it, I just thought of Grandma and Grandpa Willis - and how I knew that they were proud of me for serving a mission. I felt their love, and felt them smiling down on me, and yes... I started crying. It was just one of the nicest experiences ever.
Well, I'm over on my time, again. Jeez, I wish I had more time to email! Agh, oh well. There's so much more I need to write, but I don't have time. Ugh. Va bene.
Vi voglio bene! Be good! Go to church! Keep the commandments! Be obedient! Y'all are the best!
- Sorella Sara Willis