Wednesday, February 27, 2013

In which Sara finally becomes a pro at the Italian language!

Ciaaaaao tutti! 

Okay, not oodles of random things to say this week.

Number one, I just ate Lindt, peperoncino chocolate the other day - it was delish! It was just chocolate with a little kick at the end - yum :)

Also, one of Sorella Bush's recent converts said something that I just loved. He was talking about how it's sometimes hard to wake up everyday, and pray, to dedicate our day to the Lord, just because you forget first thing in the morning. He said something along the lines of, "We have this light. But, we gotta turn on our light every day. We don't wake up with it automatically switched on. We have to do our part." Ah, so true! He's so in tune with the spirit, I looved all of his thoughts/insights.

Also, oh it made me so happy! He told me that I had a good accent! That, where almost all missionaries say something wrong (the way they pronounce things) I pronounce it correctly. Partly I thank my trainer, Sorella Eaton, because I'm sure I copied how she spoke (and she was trained by an Italiana), but also partly I thank you, dad. For reading the BOM in Spanish all those years, and getting my little tongue loosed up! So, grazie :)

Also, we gave talks in church yesterday! But, before we knew we were giving talks, Sorella Bush volunteered to teach Relief Society on Sunday. So, we taught RS & gave talks in Church. Also, half of our ward didn't show up, SO... we did the music too! I played the piano, and S.lla Bush conducted. It was crazy, but oddly enough, fun. I wasn't stressed or worried (for the most part) about anything! It was a good Sunday :)

Also, random side note/thought I had the other day - someone tell Brandon Flowers to make a CD of hymns, because it would be SO beautiful! :)

Also, let me just tell you a little something wonderful. There's this cheese shop here, called Forte & Forte (just like "Strong", cause there are some strong cheeses). Well, we stopped in the other day. And it was wonderful! The shop is adorable! We bought cheese with olives in it (delish! like whole olives, pits still in), and we became best friends with the little man who works there. Luigi. He's from southern Italy. I loove him! It's great here in Siena. Also, we gave a BOM to one of our English students last night - just cause we did a spiritual thought, and he asked what the book was! We always do a spiritual thought from the BOM, but he just asked about it that night, and we gave him one! It was wonderful :) He wants it, mostly because he likes history, but there's more to the BOM then history. So, we're hoping he'll feel it! 

Also, our miracle for this week! Oh, wow, our miracle! So, we stopped by to see this ex-investigator, but she wasn't home. So we knocked her palazzo. Nothing. So, we went to the palazzo right next to her. And, instead of ringing the top name (like we usually do), we figured to ring the bottom one (because, there was no speaker for the citofono, so we didn't want the top person to yell down the stairs, talking to us/etc.), so we rang the lady at the bottom, and she wasn't interested... so, we went to the top door. There, we talked to the most beautiful lady in the world, Marisa! We talked at her door for a while, then she said "it's too cold, y'all come in." So, we got in, talked about La Restaurazione, and also a bit about il Piano di Salvezza. Then she just talked to us for a while. She's had a rough life, people don't ever appreciate her. And, she had hurt her leg/foot recently, and couldn't leave the house, couldn't even go grocery shopping. And, she was completely out of food. So, Sorella Bush said that we could do her grocery shopping for her! Marisa had already had a shopping list ready, in case some one remembered her. She said "I really needed y'all tonight. Y'all must be sent from Him." Ah! We looove her, so much! We did her grocery shopping, came back, and then she asked "Do y'all have to leave?", and we said nope, so we stayed a talked a little bit longer. But, we fixed another appointment with her - we had it for yesterday, but then she called us, and told us she couldn't, but wanted to reschedule for the morning after - she really wants to see us again, soon! We're so excited for her, we really feel like she's 100% prepared to hear the gospel! :) Ahhh! :)

Also, we just listened to some wonderful talks the other day. One is called "Will You?" I don't remember who it's by, but awesome! Then also, "The Sustaining Power of Faith" by Richard G. Scott, and also "Encircled in the Arms of his Love" by Neal A. Maxwell. And, then we listened in Italian to Uchtdorf's recent talk this past conference - something about regrets... I don't remember what it's called. Can y'all belive it's almost conference time again?! I'm SO excited! :)

Well, I love y'all, but I gotta go! More pictures next week!
Vi voglio bene!

Sorella Willis

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Pictures!!! Goodbye Collegno, Hello Siena!

New Address:

Sorella Sara Willis
Milan Italy Mission
Via Mameli 49 
53100 Siena 

Sorella Mancuso, Gomez (from Mexico - she's adorable! I love her! And, she looks exactly like Brittany Stephens (not Stephens anymore) to me!), Hanson (my MTC comp!), and me!

Me and Sorella Mancuso, just chilling outside of our door... :) Haha, there's a story that I don't have time to explain!

An Egyptian Museum!


My favorite Michele & Chiara - they owned a little bakery below our appartment, and they always gave us leftover bread/food from the night before that they wouldn't be selling anymore. They're wonderful!

Umberto! I have no idea how he's doing... he was super sad when we told him I would be leaving. I hope he's doing well! Keep him in your prayers, still!

One of my favorite families at Collegno! He's a less active (/completely inactive), and the rest of the family aren't members. Side note: They're The Incredibles! Amazing, huh? I loove them! :)

Sorella Hoppe and I during a Blitz - I loove her! We've been together from the MTC, then for 3 transfers together (she was at Torino, and I was at Collegno, right by Torino) - aka, this is the first time in my misison I'm without her... sad! But, she's wonderful, and I love her (she's the one from Germany/nannied in Spain for a  year. What? Amazing.)

Me, Mancuso, and Hoppe during Blitz! :)

S.lla Mancuso and I with one of our less actives, Mimma (Domencia is her name, but Mimma is a nickname) :)

Cleaning out our appartment, getting rid of all these old VHS'!

La famiglia Petrorulo! I looove them! (members of our ward - he's the first counselor)

La famiglia Tribastone - our ward misison leader (They're converts, and they just went to the Temple the weekend I left Collegno!) They're wonderful!

Isaac! I loove him! We're still gonna be best friends when I get home :) Haha.

VANESSA! My bessst friennnd! I loove her! (she's a less active, but totally is gonna get reactivated!)

My English class! I love them so much! (Grazia, Laura, Katya, me, Oscar, Marinella & Renato)

S.lla Miele (member) - I loove her!

Bebbo" (Beniamino) Caruso. He's just a great person :) Haha. He's helped out with the missionary work tons. He served in Provo 10 (+/-) years ago, so he speaks English, too! He's great.

S.lla Bush and I!

Little town of 42 people.

SIENA! We just walk past this every time we go to church. Nbd.

Again, us! We're pretty cute, huh? She's adorable, I love her!

S.lla Bush made us heart shaped pancakes on Valentines day :)

The daugher of the family we're teaching (Chiara) is WONDERFUL! I love her oodles. And, she loves Disney. Hey, me too. They have about 30-40 of these little tin things, of Disney stuff, and we looked through them the other day, then she said, "Pick one." AGH! I about died. So, we each picked one :) Mine is Tugboat Mickey :)

In which Sara learns about foreign toilets

Thanks for the updates on everything! Y'all are the best :) And, dad, thanks for the lighthouse pictures, they were loooovely! I love that little lighthouse. Oodles.

So, let me just explode a little bit. I have tooo much to write this week! We'll see how much I get done. Haha :)
One, random side note, I have not had a single companion from Utah my whole mission! Hanson was from Florida. Eaton was from Idaho. Mancuso was from NY. And, S.lla Bush is from Wisconsin! But, I probably just jinxed myself, and I'll have a UT comp next transfer. Not that there's anything wrong with it! I just find it crazy that I haven't  had one yet! Ha.

True story, when I got to Siena, I just walked into a million blessings. I dunno why!  It's way too wonderful here. The work, trying to find new people is hard, but we have this WONDERFUL amazing family we're teaching, who have been on and off with the missionaries for 10 years... well, the mom finally decided to get baptized, and we'll have that 16 Marzo. Then, we just found out the daugher (18) who we LOVE to bits and pieces, who we're trying to help stop smoking, wants to get baptized that date, too! We were gonna invite her for that date tomorrow, but she kinda beat us to it! This family is SO prepared, it's like we're not even doing anything. They're practically members arleady! I love them so much. Sometimes I feel guilty, like I just walked into these blessings, this already prepared family, and I'm not even doing anything... but, we still have things to teach them, we still have a lot to do to prep them for their baptism, so I'm totally doing things, doing my part! No worries :) Haha. I read my Patriarchal Blessing yesterday, and it was the most loving punch in the face I've ever received :) It's wonderful! :) Haha. We have two recent converts (of 1 year +/-) in our ward, from Albania (I LOVE THEM!), two sisters 23 & 25. They're amazing. One teaches gospel principes, and one wants to go on a mission! They're seriously some of the greatest people I have ever met! Anyway, they're getting ready to get their patriarchal blessings soon, and I am SO excited for them! We were with them yesterday, and after the lesson they started to teach us some Albanian! It was super fun, I wrote some of it down :) 

Another thought, Happy Birthday Elisabeth and Sherry Hines soon! (And, whoever else has a Birthday February 23rd... Tyler Curtis?)

Also, dad, there's an EFY song on the 2012 EFY CD called "All Great Men" or something like that... it makes me think of you every time I hear it... you rascal, you :)

Also, something that made me so happy! You know how I used to call you (dad) Babbo before I left on the mission? Well, I got to Italy, and I never heard it! And someone told me Italian's don't really use "Babbo" that much. That made me super sad. But, when I got to Tuscany... EVERYONE USES IT! It totally made my day :) 
Also, "zeal" or "zealous" are my new favorite words. In case y'all wanted to know. If you ever see them in the scriptures, just think of me :) Haha.

Also, so this last p-day, we went to this little town in Tuscany.... little... aka, the population is 42 people! It was a super cute little town :)

Also, let me just share with y'all my favorite scripture of all time, for right now! Hahah. Giacobbe (Jacob) 5:47 - I just love the first half. "What could I have done more in my vineyard? Have I slackened mine hand that I have not nourised it?" Just a lovely wonderful thought/question for us all. What could we have done more/what can we still do more? We each have our own "vineyard",  whether it be the ward boundaries for a bishop, the family for a parent, or someone's group of friends - we all have our own vineyard... have we slackened our hands? I hope not! I'm trying to remember that everyday! I can't slacken my hand, and what can I do more? Just a Sorella Willis thougth for the day :)

Also, we taught a lesson to one of our members (from England!) the other day - her name's Emily, and I love her. And, basically, I've never taught in English... so I had NO idea what I was saying, because I was translating it all in my head from Italian to English. Basically I was super bummed after that lesson, because I'm pretty sure I butchered everything I said... it was really weird. But then we got a text from her about something that we talked about in the lezione... something that I asked her about! Which means, it got her thinking about it, and everything I said wasn't a total bust! Yay for following the spirit! I need ot just remember to follow the spirit, and that I won't always see immediate results.

Other random side note: every toilet in Italy is different. Not the toilet, but the way they flush. There are buttons you press, chians you pull, levers your turn.... it's so silly, but I love it! :) Hahaha.

Well, I figure I'll leave y'all on that note! Hahahaha :)
Y'all are beautiful, wonderful, and I love you. Be good!
Vi voglio bene!

Sorella Willis

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

In which Sara gets transferred to Siena, Italy!

Hi, I love y'all oodles.
Let me just go crazy for a second. Not really. My language might be really weird for the next 6 weeks, because Sorella Bush is the darlingest, and talks in... her own way. She's wonderful, and it's rubbing off on me (i.e. oodles, darlingest, etc.). 

So, let me just tell you about my last week at Collegno. I did not cry. Yeah! When I was still at Collegno, we went to il Museo Egizio - apparently it's the 2nd best Egypt museum in the world. It was cool, there were mummies, and a few bodies... crazy! Then, that same day, we were at Torino (cause, that's where the museum is) and we were just walking down the street, and my heart might have skipped a beat! Because, there was a man. ...on the corner of the street, with a guitar, singing a song. A wonderful, beautiful song... by the name of "Horse With No Name". I wanted to stop, and go sing along with him, so bad! But I decided against it. 

Oh, quick question, if y'all do send me something for my birthday (you don't have to, but dad mentioned it, soo... hey there), could y'all go in my boxes (I think they're in the boxes in the girls room) and find and send me my Herucles sandals (my $5 sandals from Miami, that remind me of Hercules/Nefi)? Because, we can wear sandals in the summer time, just as long as they got a strap in the back, and my sandals at home do! So, if y'all would be so kind as to find them, and send them to me? I would be so so terribly grateful :)

Thanks Kelsey, and Vescovo Marchand (I dunno if I ever thanked him?) for the letters! Kelsey is all the way out at Virginia! Ah! Oh, Orange Park is gonna be a whole new world when I get home.

Also, I dunno if I ever told y'all, but one Sunday (at Collegno) we watched a short film in Sunday School called "The Butterfly Circus". Y'all should watch it, and try not to cry. It's wonderful! I loove it :) 

I actually don't have too much to say about Collegno right now... I have pictures, so I'll send those. Oh! But, one of my favorite people ever, (si chiama Vanessa) is just wonderful. She's a less active, but not because she doubts the gospel or anything (she actually has a way strong testimony, and came out to a few lessons with us), but she just doesn't come to church. So, we were trying to help her come back. Anyway, she's one of my favorite people ever, and she gave me a letter the night before I left... ahh, I loove her! She's the darlingest! 

But, now I'm here. At Siena. And, let me tell you, it's beauuutiful. This is how I imagined Italy to be like. It's super hilly, so I'm tired lately, but I'll get used to it. We went into old Siena (?), or just proprio the city of Siena (where it's all old and darling), and we went to this one place where they do Polio. Do y'all know what that is? I had no idea what it was until I got here. But, I love it now. And, there are different parts of the city, and each part has their own team, and it's kinda religious (not religious literally, but it's like their life). And, I want to learn more, and pick a team for myself! Minus the fact that there are 17 teams, it reminds me of Harry Potter (just because of the different teams/colors/animals). I loooove it :)

Also, another request for if this birthday package will exist - two cd's, I would like! One is called "Nearer, A Collection of Hymns" and another is a band called "Lower Lights" - both you can find at Deseret, I've been told. They're lovely, I would die of happiness with these cds! :) 

Also, holy cannoli, I could just DIE! Sorella Bush... has a CD... an EFY CD... from 2012... IN ITALIAN! Oh mamma mia, it was lovely. Granted, the vocals are probably better on the English CD, but it was just all in Italian, and lovely, and I want it! She said we could try to burn a copy, but I don't think we can. She said she got it because in another area, she knew the main person guy in charge of EFY in Italy. Quindi, I dunno if y'all can get your hands on one of those (for any year, I don't care. 2011, 2012, 2013?!), but EFY music in Italian would make me utterly happy! :)

And then, let me just tell you a little bit of revelation that came to me, today. I have always always always struggled with the differences between Faith and Hope. I know they're two different things, and so on, but they're always talked ab out together in the scriptures, and they're just so close in meaning (secondo me), and it's always been hard for me to separate the two. Then, this morning (or was it yesterday?) I got it. Well, at least, it makes sense for me. Faith = actions. Hope = attitude. Ah! Life makes sense now! :) Hahaha. 

But, let me just tell you quickly. This branch is tiny. As in, there were 10 members in church on Sunday. It was weird at first, but each one of them is so wonderful, it doesn't even matter how small the branch is... it's soo great! :) Haha. Then, also we had  6 investigators in church! And, one of our investigating families has a daughter (18), and she brought a friend to church! Even more wonderful, she didn't even invite her friend... she asked if she could come, just because of how much her and her family have been talking about church! Wonderful! I'm super excited for the work here!

But, y'all are spectacular! I love y'all! Gotta go! Keep being wonderful!
Vi voglio bene!
Sorella Willis

PS: Dad, in case you were wondering, I pulled out 40 euro the other day, then I bought something for 19,00 euro and something for 14,99 euro. Just in case you needed that. I don't use my card, a lot.