Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Ciao tutti! Happy Halloween!

Okay, so this week has been kinda slow, so I'll try to answer questions/what not.

Okay, here's what Italy's like. It's adorbs. Haha. I'm pretty used to it, now. I know my way around our city, pretty well. But, our area is more than just our city... so, I don't have it all down, yet. Haha. We take the bus, a lot. A volte (sometimes) we take the metro. And, when we need to get to Milan or somewhere far we take the train. Basically, all these modes of transportation that I've never/rarely ever used in my life. It's fun.

The food is delicious! Not how I thought it would be, but so good. It's all just very simple. We eat bread all the time. There's a little bakery/shop below our apartment, and every evening/morning/whenever we stop by, they give us bread/left overs, for free! So... I'm eating lots of bread. Haha. But, I'm also walking a lot, and my clothes still fit fine, so I think I'm good where that's concerned! Haha. Typical Italian meal (what I've been able to see): main course (pasta, a lot of the time), then vegetables and some type of meat, then breads and cheeses and meats (but, really, you eat bread throughout the whole meal.), then fruit, then a volte dessert. It's yummy :)

What other questions were there? It's gotten super cold, lately. I haven't bought any boots or thick legging type things yet, so we're doing that today. I need to. Every time I go to church, or we go visit someone, they always mention my legs, how they must be freezing, how I haven't bought those things yet. It's funny. Yesterday a member of the bishopric just looked a me, looked down at my legs, then back up a me. Didn't even say a word. Ha, but he's hilarious, anyway. He speaks Italian with a silly accent, a volte. Like, an american with a thick country accent. He's so funny.

Last p-day we went to this high tower (I can't remember it's name), but you can see a bunch of Torino at the top, and there's a film museum inside. We went there, and went to the top. It was so nice. I'll attach some pictures, today. I honestly haven't taken that many pictures since I've been here.

Oh, okay. Hold on. Aaron Moss, did you serve with an Elder Raimondi? Stefano Raimondi? He served in Provo, not long ago. He's our ward mission leader! He showed us these little bookmark things that were Disney, but related to the gospel, and at the top was Elder Moss and another Elder. He said he was from Florida, and I think he even said Jacksonville. Crazy!

I'm trying to think of crazy awesome things that happened this week. We had the ward halloween party, and that was fun. Lots of people came, lots of less actives/non-members! We had a couple people/families from our English Class come, and they loooved it! They wanted to make a donation to the church! It was fun, there was a timed pumpkin carving contest - so fun! Oh, and the other day we were doing palazzi (knocking doors), and we got to this one door, and I asked a question, and she answered, and was super super sweet, and we talked to her for a good bit. She said she was Catholic, but she didn't try to send us away or anything (as many people do), she just stood and talked to us for a good bit about religion, Christ, scriptures, etc. In the end we gave her a LDM, and she was legitimately grateful for it, and hugged us, and we had a prayer with her, and it was wonderful. We didn't ask for a return appointment, I don't know why. But, she has our number/the church address, and we told her we would stop by another time, and she said sure. But, nothing specific. Ma, what's done is done. We can't go back in time and make a return appointment. We'll just have to stop by, soon! :)

Well, I need to go write my letter to Pres. The language is coming along, better. I still struggle with tenses/conjugations, ma I'm doing better.

Jacob, I'm giving a talk on your birthday! Wish me luck! :) Haha.
Vi voglio bene!

Sorella Willis

PS: I dunno if it's because I'm a missionary, or because this is Italy, or because it's me, but people give me stuff. All the time (members/meno-attivi). I've gotten a scarf, 2 jackets, a coat, a sweater (that she made), and a little bag (that she made). And, I think there's something more, but I can't think of it. Ha. I must look cold and homely (?), or something!
PPS: Here's what's up. There's emails that I haven't responded to, I know, but I can't remember which ones I haven't responded to. I want to talk to everyone, and respond to everyone, but it's hard when I only have so much time of the computer to read and write everyone. Hand written letters would make things easier! It's more expensive, so maybe not a ton, but I'd be able to respond better. ...also, I haven't gotten any mail since I've been in Italy. I'm just saying. Haha, I'm not bothered by it, cause I always have emails, but it's harder to manage my emails/email time, and I can never get it all done.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ciao! :)

Okay, I'm gonna try to email my email, then respond to other emails if I have time.
Okay, things I wrote down that I wanted to say (haha):

It got super cold last week!  Quindi (so), I have a jacket... and scarf... and gloves... and a little hat (I don't remember if I told y'all that or not, yet)! It's so weird, when I first tried it all on, I thought it was a joke. But, people actually do wear things like that! Haha, the ignorant Florida girl. I said to my companion the other day, "It can't get colder than this... it just can't!", and she laughed at me. Hahaha.

So, we teach an english class every Wednesday evening at the church. Do y'all realize how funny this is? These wonderful little Italian's don't speak english. They're learning english. Quindi, I have to speak very plainly and very slowly. Slowly! Ha, it's so weird. But, it's okay, cause now that my brain tries to think in Italian, it thinks slowly, anyway.

I ate tripe (non so how you spell it) the other day. It wasn't bad! The texture was a bit weird, and it needed salt, but I probably would have eaten more if I wasn't super full already. Ha. Oh, also, I ate chesnuts! So, they're super big here in Italy. "Chesnuts roasted on an open fire...", yeah, I definitely ate some! Ha. They were weird, at first. I loved the smell, cause they smelled like a campfire, but the taste/texture was weird. But, I think I really like them now!

Oh, and I think I wrote my address wrong. I think I wrote "Carso Francia", ma instead, it's supposed to be "Corso Francia". just fy-izzle.

So, in my ward we have the Italian twins of Tyler Curtis (his name is Gabriele) and Derrick Daniels (Enzo). Forse, I'll try to get pictures of them :) Ha.

So mom, the song "Improve The Shining Moments" makes me think of you! I never realized this, but it does. You wanted to sing it for FHE one day, and everyone said they had no idea what that song was, then you played it on the piano, and we all realized we actually did know the song. And, ever since then it's reminded me of you! Ha. And, it's just a wonderful song with a happy wonderful message :)

Okay, so me and my companion sing a lot. We love to sing. We sing at member’s houses/at the end of lessons/all the time. It's so great. And, she's a killer singer, so she can sing all of the different parts - so, I'll stay at soprano throughout the song, and she'll go crazy and make the song really pretty. It's awesome.

Oh, and we were talking the other day, my companion and I. We discussed, I have something she doesn't have. Pity power (nice, right?). Haha. It's hard for me to follow along in the conversations, so she usually makes me do the spiritual thoughts. Which, I'm completely fine with, because I want a chance to be able to talk! And, I've actually noticed this 'pity power', too. Ha. We shared something with a less active woman the other day, and she said that the whold 4 months she's been here (Sorella Eaton) this less active member hadn't cared much for the spiritual thoughts, or anything, but when I gave it, she was focusing on me, and responding, and trying to help me. She said she hadn't seen here that attentive (?) and interested in a spiritual thought... ever. Ah! So exciting. Then, we visited another less active family, and the mom wasn't home, but the sons and a girlfriend was, so we went in, and talked a bit, and I've shared a spiritual thought with them before, and just the mom really listened, but this time one of the sons (who was at the computer) put the computer aside, and him and his girlfriend sat and paid attention to me, super intently. Pity power. Ha. I love sharing the spiritual thoughts, but I just wish I could participate in the conversations more. Agh. Little by little.

So, there's this killer wonderful scripture that I read yesterday. Hebrews 12:1-3. So good! Just when I thought I was having a hard time as a missionary... Sorella Willis, you haven't gone through nothing!

Sunday was great. We had 2 investigators come to church! One: Isaac, so good! I've actually only taught him once, cause he's super busy with school, but he's great, he just soaks up the lessons (it seems). And Tarita - we haven't actually had a lesson with her. But, she comes to church every Sunday, and she comes to english class every wednesday! She just never has time throughout the week for us to teach her. Ah. And, we went to my two favorite houses last night! The house with the fruit tree (the fruit is called Cachi, I think) and invited him and his family to our ward Halloween party! He said he might come! Then we went to the music sax house, and invited them! I love them! Ah, they're so so nice. The man at the sax house said he might come... we'll see. But, honestly, whenever we talked to either of those two men, my day is just so much happier :) I sinceriously hope their hearts are softened, and we can teach them soon.

Grazie for y'alls emails! They were kinda long, so I'll try to respond to them/those questions next week.
I love y'all! Vi voglio bene! Keep me in your prayers, that I won't be stupid/stubborn, and I'll open my mouth! Y'all are always in my prayers. Be good! It's great to hear how well everyone is doing! Keep being wonderful, everyone! :)

Vi voglio bene! Ciao ciao!

- Sorella Willis

Thursday, October 18, 2012

You know you're from FL, when you're IN Italy, and can't wait to get to Disney World (Epcot), and visit Italy :)

Ciao tutti!

Haha, the subject, just a silly thought I had last night. I LOVE it here in Italy, it's wonderful, but I also love Disney. And Epcot. And Italy in Epcot. So, it'll be fun going back there, and speaking to the little Italian people in Italian :)

Ma, this week was super good! So, every Wednesday we teach an free English class at the church, for non-members. And, I was super super nervous about it, last week. Ma, it turns out it's super laid back, and it was really fun. And, we're having a ward Halloween party coming up, and a bunch of these non-members (not investigators, just people learning english) are super excited to come to the Halloween party! Che awesome :)

Hm, it's hard, I'm trying to remember what all happened this week. Sunday was the Primary Program. SO cute! Ah, there's maybe 10-13 kids in Primary. It was adorable.

We did some Palazzi/porta/casa (aka, knocking on doors) the other day, and it was super fun! We didn't get any appointments out of it, but it was the first time I had done that, and I really enjoyed it. Ha. I dunno why. Our mission/mission pres. thought up a song, that another Elder here wrote out the lyrics to. It's Count Your Blessings, but they changed it to 'Count Rejections'. It's super good, cause even if you're getting rejections all day, at least you know you're working, and doing your part. Everyone has their agency, but if you've been rejected 100 times in a day, then you'll know that you tried to share the gospel 100 times, and that you've done your part. I'm getting okay with starting conversations (okay, not really, but I'm doing it more than I used to), but I'm just always lost after that part, a) because I'm not always/hardly ever sure what they said back to me, and b) because I'm trying to listen and understand them, I can't think of anything to respond to, because I'm not at that point where the language is second nature. I have to really really pause and think for a while about what to say/how to say it. Ma, I'm trying. So, we didn't get any appointments out of it, but we invited this young girl (22 - super nice!) to the ward halloween party, and she said she might come, and she might bring a friend! And, she was super sincere about it, too! So, I hope she comes :)

Then, the other day we were looking for some old investigators we found in the are book, and we passed by one house, that had this awesome fruit tree in the front, and we stopped to look at it. And there was an old man in the front yard working on it. We stopped to talk to him for a bit, and he was super super nice. We met his wife and his grandson/nephew/something. The tree is some Chinese tree, and it was fruit I had never seen/eaten before. But, he let us in the gate, and let us eat some of it! He knew we were walking the streets, hitting other houses, so he told us on our way home we can stop by, and he'll give us a bag with the fruit. So nice. But, on the way home we couldn't find the house again! We felt really bad, cause he was expecting us to stop by again. But, we found the house again, another day.

Then, another house we stopped at, there was this amazing music coming from it. Just straight sax. We stopped and listened, then a man came out, and we asked if it was a radio, or if someone was playing it, and he said it was his son-in-law. It was spectacular! We talked to this old man for a good while, and he was super nice. His grandson came out (10), and we talked to them for a while, they let us in their gate, and we played with their little dogs for a bit, and just talked. So, we didn't get return appointments from either of these people, but we started some really good relationships with them, and we want to go back, and maybe drop off some treats (pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, or something. Can y'all send me a recipe for that?). I love them, I want them to get baptized so bad! Ma, it's all in the Lord's time. Ha.

So, I don't remember what I've told you about my companion, but she's a doll. I love her. She's super smart, in everything. Her first 2 companions didn't speak English (only italian and spanish), so she had to learn the language quickly. Did I mention she's only been in Italy for 4 months? And, some of the Anziani came up to us yesterday (Zone conference) and told her that for the longest time they thought she was Italian, because she speaks it SO well/all the time. Bascically, she's a baller. Haha, we get along super well.

Oh! Adam, did Fratello Newton serve in Collegno? I think he did, a) because, I'm pretty sure he told us that in the MTC, and b) because in our apartment, there's a closet, and beside the closet is a measuring tape up against the wall, with a bunch of Anziani and their height, and there's a very tall Anziani Newton written up there... so I'm pretty sure he served here. Che pazzo! Haha. It was just crazy when I saw it, cause everything was super new to me, and I wasn't expecting to see anything familiar here in Italy, a place where I've never ever been, and yet, there's the name of my teacher. Haha.

Oh! Babbo! I didn't have an email from you this week? Super triste, I always look forward to your emails. I dunno if you knew or not, cause in the MTC you thought you had emailed one week, but something didn't work, so I'm just letting you know, in case you didn't. Ha.

It's still difficult for me to open my mouth. I can say hello to people, and introduce us as missionaries, but once they respond I'm not sure what they said/how to respond, and since I'm trying to understand what they said, I can't figure out what I want to say in Italian (because, it's not second nature for me yet, so I still have to really really think about what I'm gonna say/how to say it). So, it's still hard, but it's coming!

I'll try to send pictures next week. But, I haven't hardly taken any since I've been here, so it wouldn't be that many.

Love you all! The church is true! Keep me updated on what's on with everyone!
Love love love... I can't send enough love. Haha.
Ciao ciao!

Sorella Willis

Ma, I should get going! Love you all! Vi voglio bene!

(I'm pretty sure this is her first day in Italy, and the missionaries that she flew in with)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I'm in Italy!!!!!

Whaat?! It's crazy. I'm in Italy! Mamma mia. Ma, I guess I'll start with my last week of the MTC. Haha.

It was so amazing. Basically, I love my district so much. I'll send some pictures (if I can get it to work! I've never been able to send pictures well - the emails always don't get sent. Ha). Basically, I had the greatest MTC district, ever. Seriously, love those Anziani so much. I may have cried. And, it was weird seeing the other people on our floor leave, also (Armenians, Lithuanians, Greeks, etc.). Lots of pictures, lots of fun. I love the new Anziani e Sorelle, too. They're so fun. Anziano Hurlburt, oh that guy. Basically, he's like my brother, and... ah, he's just crazy. Okay, so he's a crazy person, who says a lot of stuff - and does it a lot without thinking. He's very blunt, and very very sarcastic. So, of course, I love him. Haha. But, he's not super emotional - he's just very Hurlburt-y. Haha. And basically, when the Rome missionaries were splitting from the Milan missionaries in the airport, was crazy. We all got mixed up, and some groups of missionaries were everywhere (I didn't even get to say goodbye to half of the Rome missionaries, because we all got mixed up), but Anz. Hurlburt was with my group. So, we all started saying goodbye, and I was already crying, of course, but then I got to him, and he just looks up at me with big wet, red eyes (on the verge of
tears) and says, 'Sorella Willis, don't you start...!', and basically him crying made me cry even more. He doesn't cry. So, I was insanely surprised that he was crying. But, he's grown to be like my brother,
and I love him so much. Ma, I looove my whole district so much. Okay, basta, enough, if I keep thinking/talking about this, I'm gonna get all sappy again. Haha.

Airplanes, Chicago to London I sat by a couple from Ireland, and they were cute. I talked to them a little bit about what I was doing as a missionary, and they didn't seem super interested, but I gave them a pass along card. Then, London to Milan I sat next to this adorable old man. Not super old, just gray hair old. He wasn't
Italian, he spoke some Italian, so I (tried) to start talking to him in Italian, and after a bit of talking, turns out he speaks Italian, Spanish, and English. I talked to him the whole flight, in and out with English and Italian. He studied for 11 years with the Catholic church, but now he's basically atheist. I don't remember why exactly. But, I talked to him a lot, and we talked about the church a good bit, and I told him a little bit about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon, and gave him a pass along card, and showed him that he could get a BOM for free by calling the number. When I was explaining the church/restoration/bom to him, he was pretty interested, because he said he had never heard much about the Mormon's before. He said he's atheist, so he wouldn't pray about it, but before we got off the plane, he said, 'I promise you, I will read this book.' What!? Che awesome! I just hope he really does, though. Haha. He seemed super sincere about it. So, once I got to Italy I was super pumped. We got there, met the Mission President/APs/Office missionaries/etc. Ate some pizza, listened to some awesome lectures about money/legality in Italy. I was basically fallling asleep through half of it, I was SO tired. Haha. Then, we went to the Duomo in Milano! I was so excited. We were just gonna go out prostelying, and try to place some LDM's (Libro di Mormon) or pass along cards. But, it's a lot harder than it seems. That high that I was on after talking to the man on the plane? Eh... gone. I opened my mouth ONE time out there, and that was to a RM sorella, who just got off her mission a few months ago (but, she's from Rome, so she was visiting the Milan area). And, even with that I asked one question, then didn't know where to go... I was stumped. So, I was super bummed for that. But, I try not to dwell on things like that, so I mostly got over it pretty quickly. I'll just try better next time.

So, the next day, we got our area and collega! So so excited. As you all know already, my area is Collegno (Torino area) my companion is Sorella Eaton! She's a doll, super tiny, and super awesome. And, Mission President actually told us that they're having some legal problems with the missionaries right now, and they can't move us anywhere, so I'll be in Collegno for at least 2 transfers. My first day in Italy we went to Ward Correlation, and the Ward mission leader served a mission Provo, so he speaks english pretty well. And, another fratello in the ward correlation meeting (Fratello Caruso, I think) also served a mission in Provo, but that was a while ago, I think. So, a few people can speak a little bit of english. Then, another day - okay, our General Conference is different than y'alls. Since we get it live, we watch the recorded Relief Society session on Saturday, then we watch y'alls Saturday morning session on Saturday evening. Then, Sunday we watch the Saturday afternoon session first, then we watch the Sunday morning session that evening. And we don't watch the Sunday evening session (because it's played from 10pm-midnight, I think). But, so we went to Saturday evening conference, and I asked if we could watch it in Italian (they have it both in English and in
Italian), but I wanted to watch in Italian, because I want to be able to understand the language better. And I'm not gonna do that by listening to English. So, I listened to all the sessions in Italian! ...I didn't understand much from them. But, I'm okay with that, because we get the Liahona in English, so I'm gonna read all the
talks. And, I did pick out some words in conference that lead to thoughts that lead to impressions that I wrote down. Not a ton, but a couple. Oh, basically, there's a song that I keep hearing. That I may or may not have made my theme song for my mission/for life. Haha. I don't think it's a hymn, I can't find it. But I heard it during Music & the Spoken word in the MTC, and they sang it at General Conference; I don't know what it's called, but I think the title would be: 'If The Way Be Full of Trial, Weary Not'. Basically, what I need to hear. Every day. And, it's pretty much stuck in my head all day everyday, so that's good. Haha. Because, it is very hard here. I never understood how missions were so hard and frustrating... but they are. Specifically for me, because I'm here in Italy, and the people are darling, I already love them so much, and the members are so wonderful (other missionaries have said that we have the best ward, because our members are very helpful with the missionary work), and I'm a missionary, and I have a desire and a duty to share the gospel with everyone... to talk with everyone... and I can't! Because, I don't know how to speak. Like the missionary in The Best Two Years, I didn't feel exactly like him. It's not that I can't understand, I can pick out words and figure out what's being talked about (sometimes. Not all the time), but I cannot speak for the life of me. It's so hard for me. I don't want to make mistakes with the language, I don't want to say something if I know i'm saying it wrong, so the majority of the time I don't say anything. Sometimes I talk myself into trying and talking, but I just get down because I'm just confusing myself, and I feel like I'm confusing others. It's difficult. Very difficult. But, I'm trying, and learning. But, I don't want this to be sad or whatnot. It's wonderful here, I have a spectacular companion, and the city is so adorable! It's great here! Funny story... my second or third day here, we slept in until about 10:15am! What?! Ha, my companion kicked her alarm clock onto the floor, and the battery knocked out, so it never went off that morning. She felt so bad. But, we've been visitng a lot of the members, introducing me to them/talking to them (because I haven't met a lot of people yet, cause it was conference weekend). We went to see a lady yesterday, and it's been pretty cool/cold lately, and I didn't bring anything for the cold, because I figured it would be warm for a little bit longer, and I could buy stuff here... but no. Haha. It's very autumn here. It's adorable. So, we went to see this lady, and she was saying how it's so cold, and how I must be freezing. So, she went back into her room, and came out with a jacket and scarves. She put the jacket on me, and my collega picked out a scarf for me. So nice. I love the scarf, I actually wore it all day. Hahaha. I wear scarves now, what? Weird. Ha.

Ma, okay, so yes, General Conference and the age change - what?! The first people I thought of were Elisabeth and Luke. That's crazy. 3 missionaries out? Mamma mia. Ma, let me try to send some pictures/remember anything else I want to say. Oh, also, it costs a lot of money to get packages here - the mission home has to pay a bunch for customs, and then they have to take that out of our personal money, and it gets really complicated. They asked us not to get packages if we can help it. So, thank you to everyone who wants to send me packages! But, a letter or something would be just as spectacular! Unless, a package is
really really necessary. Haha.

Okay, but I have to go now! I love you all! Be good. Elisabeth and Luke, keep me updated on the mission papers and everything. Congrats to Ben and Jess on the blessing of Tanner. And, I'll try to finish up/add pictures next week. Love y,all!

Sorella Willis