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!