Thursday, August 29, 2013

In which Sara becomes a train jumper! ;)

Babbo! First of all, thanks for all the pictures! Tanners adorbs, and obviously India and Abby are still adorable - I have the most adorable nieces and nephew ever, no? Sì. Hahah.

Well, this week hasn't been too crazy. Oh, silly thought, though. Remmeber me? I don't really get tired during the day. At all. Doesn't matter what time I wake up or go to bed. During the day I'm fine until I go to sleep for the night. Well, you know how they say missions make you tired? Well, it's true. It's now wearing on me, and I'm now tired all the time! Haha, no just kidding, not all the time. But, good golly, a lot of the time I am just pooped!

So, what's been going on with y'all lately? Any Luke update? Haha, I love the story of Uncle Darren - so good!

And, that's so crazy! So, I may or may not know who you're talking about - Stewarts family. So, I met a Sorella Stewarts in the MTC (she was a transfer behind me), and we've seen each other during the mission a little bit, too! I know she has a Brother in an Italian speaking mission, but I forget if it was Rome or Milan, because I've never seen him. That's crazy! Did they just move there? They're permanantly moved to Jax? That's crazy, so Sorella Stewart and I will return home to the same ward in OP2? My mind is slightly boggled! I hope I see her soon, and talk to her Abou it :)

So, last p-day was fun. We went to Firenze and saw the Davide - I might have send you a picture of the Davide that I've seen, maybe 5 transfers back - well, that was a copy (I was unaware of this). Last p-day, we went and saw the original! So, I've never really been crazy into art, sculpture like things, but I was very impressed by it. Funny story? We almost missed our train, going to Firenze, so we jumped on, without stamping our ticket (you have to stamp it, to validate the time and date you use it), with the hopes of finding a worker before the train ride got too long, to tell him we didn't have time to stamp it. Well, 30 minutes pass, and he doesn't show up. And, if he does show up, and we haven't stamped, we have to pay €50 fine. Well, luckily we were able to get off at the next stop, run out of the train and stamp the ticket, and run back onto the train before it took off again. Shortly after we did that, the man came around and checked our ticket. Tender mercy? Yes! Hahaha, it was so crazy. Super fun :)

We've had a lot of good lezioni this week. Nothing crazy out of the blue happened. We were able to explain why "the Sabbath" is now Sunday instead of Saturday, how it used to be in the past. First time I've had to do that!

We also taught some great lezioni on Sunday. One specifically with Chaira. You know, Chiara Gori? I just love her to bits and pieces! She's seriously one of the greatest people in the Whole wide world! Gah.
Also, we had a scambio (trade-off?) Yesterday with Sorella Padula and Mancuso (my old comp., Sorella Mancuso!)! I was with Sorella Padula, for the 3rd time for a scambio. I just love her so so much. You know, Sorella Padula from Argentina? Yeah, she's great. She finishes her mission next week. Che sad! And, I was her very last scambio, ever. Mamma mia, che privilegio! I look up to her oodles, she's one of the greatest sister missionaries in the world. She wrote Elisabeth a little note in Spanish, that I'll hopefully send out soon :) Haha.

Also, remember the greatest person, Barbara from China? We just taught her this morning for the last time, ever (probably)! She's moving to Milano. So, unless either of us get transferred to Milano, that would be the last time. Ha, but who knows!

Anziano Capece said something the other day in district meeting that I loved. "Volere è potere." Che true! I need to live by that.

Oh, PS, I'm getting my haircut today! Hahah, not a lot, just a trim. The great Bianka is doing it :) (I've seen her cut Sorella Bush's hair, so I just know she's gonna do a great job) :)

Well, I gotta run. Sorry, there's nothing really of importance or significance in this email. But, pictures are coming! Haha.

Vi voglio bene!
Sorella Willis

In the train - our un-stamped ticket - whoops!

What I eat almost every night! Tomato and mozzarella ball, sliced up, salt, pepper, olive oil, balsamic vinegar - delish! I could just eat that for the rest of my life :) I'm sure you've been dying for this picture, no? Haha.

My wonderful district!

Me and Lina, English class student! She won't be here next week (which I'm pretty sure will be my last day in Siena), so we took got a happy little foto together :)

Barbara, Sorella Baird and I, this morning! Our last time teaching her, and seeing her :( She's the greatest, I just love her so so much!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

In which Sara gets to teach in Spanish! :)


Life is great lately. First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY YESTERDAY, BEN WILLIS (p-day was supposed to be Yesterday, so I thought to be able to say auguri on his actual birthday, but we had to change p-day, so I'm late!)! Also, Happy Birthday Jess Willis soon, also! Happy August birthdays! What a great month, for my little family :)

Congrats to Sarah Moss! Panama City? Didn't Tyler Curtis serve there? Or, am I way off? Hahaha. I don't remember. Courtney's headed out to England... and she's going to meet my favorite, Emily! You know, the famous Emily I Always mention in my emails? They're gonna meet and become best friends! I'm so excited to hear about this! Yeah, I just realized that the other day... all of the Willis girls will be out of the house! Weird!

Ha, glad you got that picture/text! There's Always such nice, wonderful visitors from the states, on Sunday. They all say, "Let me take a picture of you, and send it to your parents!" It's cute, I love it :)

Well, things to say, lately. Have you read/heard the talk from the Priesthood session "Your Sacred Duty to Minister" by Elder David C. Beck? I fell in love with that talk! It was Amazing! Not only for the Priesthood, but everyone should read it! (maybe because I read it in the mindset of a missionary? ...but still, everyone read it!)

Also, so you know how much I love Italy/Italian? I love it. Oodles! But, lately, my love for the Spanish Language and South America has been creeping back in! Maybe it's because of Elisabeth's emails, maybe it's because there are a lot of South American's here in Italy, that we talk to... sometimes Sorella Baird and I will read the pamphlets (about the Restoration or the Plan of Salvation) in Spanish... at the beginning it was terrible, and I didn't remember how to pronounce anything in Spanish! But, now, we've actually done it a few times (just joking around), and I think I've almost got my Spanish accent back! I read a tiny bit to our Columbian member, Enrique, the other day, and he didn't correct me, or anything... he just said, "Wow, you read good in Spansih!". That made me happy :) I really really want to learn Spanish when I get home! And, I think it'll be a lot easier, now that I have 1 latin based Language.

Also, someone give Mike Mulligan and Corrine a hug for me! I thought about them the other day, and how they were the last people to see me, the night of my farewell... how, they came over after everyone had left. And, I just love them, and wanted that they know I said Hi :)

Also, if you ALL could keep Fabio in your prayers. So, he's the most amazing person I've ever met, we've already taught him everything, and he's started obeying all of the commandments already - he's Amazing!) He decided he needed to resolve some personal issues, before he saw us again/made it back to church... we told him to keep reading the BOM and praying, and he responded by saying he definitely not quit reading the BOM, because it helps him too much, and it strengthens him. Agh! He's so Amazing. So, if y'all could you keep this mister Fabio in your prayers? Grazie mille.

But, we did have an AMAZING activity as a Ramo (branch) out at the park, last weekend. It was so fun. And, it was also kinda zoo-like! There were monkeys, a bear, an ostrich (I dunno how you spell that), a buffalo, and other things. It was great. We were able to have some good lessons while we were there. I played some hardcore frisbee for a while, with some members... out in the sun. I got a teeny bit red. Haha. And, by the end of the day I was SORE! Playing frisbee, I was jumping around, bending, using a lot of muscles that I really honestly haven't used in a while! Haha. But, it was oodles of fun. You know the great Bianka and Lorena? Well, Lorena's husband is my new best friend (he doesn't know, though!) Haha. He's the funnest, he reminds me of my brothers! He's just super sarcastic. Like, SUPER sarcastic. I love it.
Well, Siena missionary work is still going magically! I can't believe, I've seen the lowest numbers out of my Whole mission here at Siena, and the highest numbers on my mission here! It's Amazing. A city, and it's reputation mean nothing. The people, and the work that goes on, the effort that's put forth in that city is all that matters. Siena is magical! I love it! :) Hopefully transfers don't come...! Haha, just kidding. They'll come, and it'll be at the right time.

Well, vi voglio un sacco di bene! We're headed to Firenze today to look around the town a bit, and all the historical things, so dad there might be some transactions made on my card, for travel and whatnot. (Ps, I have withdrawn some money here and there these past little whiles, and haven't told you. Whoops!)

Vi voglio bene, ciao!

Sorella Willis

Willis chocoalte! No, I didn't eat any. ...yet.

A little bright, but still good! :)

So, this little statue thing is all over the place in a city called Poggibonsi. Lovely, no? :)


Thursday, August 15, 2013

In which Sara stops cracking her knuckles! (wow!)

Thanks Babbo!
Okay, let me just type up the world right now! This week has been crazy awesome! Ups and downs, as Always, but mostly ups!

Okay, first of all, my back's doing much better, just so y'all know :) I'm pretty much back to normal. I got a blessing from my ZLs at our Zone Training (Anz. Collins and Christensen - some of my favorite ZLs ever! They're so fun, like little/big brothers). The blessing in itself was very simple. I would be healed, my back pains would go away... a very simple, nice blessing. But, he said something that got me almost crying! He said something along the lines of, "Your Heavenly Father is pleased with you coming to receive this blessing today..." REWIND, remember at the beginning of my mission how I about died, because I realized I left on my mission without getting a Fathers Blessing? That's basically been floating around my brain (also, just in the back of my brain) for my Whole entire mission. I'd look for excuses to get blessings (before leaving the MTC, 6 transfer mark [aka, half of the mission mark], etc.), but then I'd never ask for the blessing, cause in my mind they were just that... excuses. I honestly REALLY REALLY wanted a blessing, super bad, but I had no "valid" reason to get one. I was healthy. I was happy. There are always ups and downs, but I definitely had no reason to complain, or ask for extra help. After all, the Lord wants us to do everything that's in our power, before we ask him for help, right? Well, I guess in my case I can't think like that, cause that means dead (or, with back pains like a 97 year old). I still haven't figured out what I'm supposed to learn from that phrase from the blessing - am I being stubborn, or prideful, not asking for a blessing? Because, it's not that I think I can do it without his help, ANZI, I WANTED the blessing, terribly bad, actually! But, I just didn't think that it was my place to ask for it... Well, I'll continue to ponder and figure out what I need to learn from this blessing.

Also, I love Sorella Baird! Last p-day we had a super awesome bonding experience. We laid on the floor of our kitchen (cause it's tile, and cold, and we don't have air conditioning), and just talked. For 2-ish hours. I loved it :) It was almost like talking to one of my sisters again (almost... :) Haha)

Well, there's basically a lot to talk about this week, and I don't have a lot of time to do it! We had a KILLER Friday night activity, that was not really "planned" to be super big. Our investigators Fabio (the Amazing Fabio!) and Barbara (the Amazing Barbara!) were basically running it! Making food from Sicilia (eggplant Parmesan, and other delish food), and Barbara made some delish Chinese food! Well, a lot of people were invited.. and A LOT showed up, too! Members also brought food, people brought friends, and family members, a good bit of non-members were there! It was a crazy successful night! :) I'll send pictures! :)

Also, basically, Fabio's the greatest, most progress-ful progressing investigator, EVER! a) He's quitting smoking. b) When we taught him about tithing, he made a comment along the lines of, "Well, why wouldn't I pay tithing? I'll just use the money that I used to buy cigarettes with!" Mamma mia. Then, we decided to say a prayer, all together, in our respective houses, at a certain time, and pray to help him quit smoking (us [the sister missionaries], Fabio [simpatizzante], and Enrique [member]). Well, we saw him that night for English class, and he said after that prayer, he KNEW we hadn't forgotten about the prayer, and that we were all praying with him, and he said after the prayer he didn't have the desire to smoke anymore! The desire just left him! Miracle? I'd say so! Mamma mia. He's the greatest, I'm so excited for his baptism! 31 agosto! Also, Sorella Baird and I are going to quit a bad habit along with him! So, he's quitting smoking, Sorella Baird is going to quit biting her fingernails, and I'm going to quit cracking my knuckles! It's so hard. I didn't realize how much I did it! I do it subconsciously ALL THE TIME! But, now I catch myself after 1-2 cracks, and I stop. And pretty soon, I'll be completely stopped! :) Yeah! Now just one more (main) bad habit to quit... cracking my neck. Both bad. Both I need to quit. Haha.

Well, that's basically about all. I gotta finish up, but I'll send pictures right now!

Oh, and thanks so much for the package! I looooved it! :) I just got it today, as we were walking out to do our grocery shopping! Thanks, y'all are the greatest! :)

Vi voglio tanto bene!
Sorella Willis

Barbara and Fabio!

Tons of people! Amazing Friday Night activity :) Cibi del Mondo

My favorite Bianka :)

My favorite Lorena :)

Sorella Padula (ARGENTINA) and I! I love her :)

Sorella Mancuso and I! Remember when we were companions? I love her :)

My favorite Barbara!

Me and the beautiful Siena Church building :)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

In which Sara becomes a tour guide!

Okay. What in the world to say today!

First of all, I love cherry jam. It's the yummiest! :) Also, babbo, Sorella Baird and I were talking the other day, and she mentioned something that I hadn't realized. For college stuff, could you look at dates for transfer student applications? Cause it will be different for me, because I'm transfering from FSCJ! (I don't really need to know now, but if you could just look that up for me - grazie) (...weird. Going back to school...)

Well, on a very happy note, Sorella Baird were out the other day, and this cute little family (Asian) stopped us, and showed us a picture of a Fortress that they were trying to get to. Well, we were headed in that direction, so we just told them (motioned with them) to walk with us, and we would show them. They didn't speak any Italian or English. But, we eventually figured out that they were from Japan! They were adorable, and when we got them to their destination, they thanked us in adorable Japonese, and gave us each a pen! But, not just any pen... it's a pen that I've been wanting for so long! You know those BIC multi color pens? Well, it wasn't that exact onel... but it's even better! It has 4 colors, and a clicky pencil part! Honestly, I love that pen so much. It's silly, but I do. And, it writes SO well! Tender mercy of the Lord! He knew I've been wanting one of those pens! Agh :) I'll send you a picture later :) Hahaha.

Also, basically, these weeks are great/are going to continue to be great! Fabio, però, is not the famous Fabio from Disney World. I wish! I still intend to find him some day. But, this Fabio is from Sicilia, and he's an older man. But, he's Amazing! He's progressing towards his baptismal date amazingly! We taught him the Word of Wisdom, and he commited to live it! He's just Amazing! Also, this Friday is going to be so so wonderful. So, we have an activity in Church about every/every other Friday night. Well, Fabio (and Barbara, our best friend we're teaching from China) came last week, and they both offered to cook something for the next Friday! So, this Friday we're gonna have Sicilian eggplant parmesian (AGH! So good), and a Chinese dish! THEN, Fabio was at our English Class, and there's a lady who comes sometimes, who knows a good bit about the Church (her sister was baptized some years ago)... she's from Peru. Well, she heard about this activity, and we invited her, and she said she would come and bring a chicken and rice dish! So, we'll have an activity with food from: Peru, China and Sicilia! Mamma mia, I'm so excited for this activity!

Also, oooh my word. Do you know how Amazed I am? Just Amazed! So, there's this one Young man in our ward named Davide (14ish). He's a boss. He sometimes brings his friend, Luigi, to Church activities. I've met Luigi before, great kid. Well, they had a Youth Temple Trip the other day, and non-members were invited to come, too! (I think the leaders set up some kind of activity for those who couldn't go inside of the Temple). So, Luigi went with Davide! Well, long story short, Luigi wants to get baptized now! We're so so excited!
Well, I basically am out of time, but I just wanted to include those happy Amazing stories.The lavoro missionario here at Siena is exploding!

I'll send a couple pictures, and I'll try to write more next week!

Vi voglio bene!
Sorella Willis

Goodbye Emily day :( She headed back to England! (I look rough. Don't worry about it)

Sorella Baird and I with our pens from Japan! We loooove them :)

Friday, August 2, 2013

In which Sara goes to bed on time! :)

My word, I just don't have enough time to respond to everyone that I would like to this week! But, this week has been great, so I just gotta update y'all on it! :)

First of all, it's very hot these days. Fun fact? We don't have AC (not many places here in Italy do. And, if they do, it's like the little AC fan we have in the garage.) So, we have a couple fans, and get to open the Windows! But, I love it! I'm used to the heat, now. Being from Florida only helped a little... because, we also have AC in Florida! And I'm was indoors a lot, or in my car. So, it was a little adjustment, being constantly hot, but I'm used to it now. It's the best :) Hahaha. I also have a happy little tanline from these sandals that I bought last transfer.

So, speaking of these sandals, there's an interesting story that goes along with them. It's actually a terrible story. Basically, this past week, my back has been KILLING me. You know how when you see an old person strain to bend over to pick up something? That was me. My lower back was in a lot of pain. Sitting, standing, laying on my back, even (one night I had to sleep with a pillow under my back, so that it wasn't strained). I thought it was just because we're constantly carrying around books (BOMs, and especially here, we sometimes carry them in different languages), because I think I've mentioned to y'all my back had hurt a little bit, in past transfers, because of my purse/backpack/whatever I was carrying. So, I just thought it was a continuation of that, just increasingly getting worse. That worried me a little bit. Then, on Sunday, I talked to Cinzia Gori (you know, the wonderful Cinzia), and she showed me some more stretches to do to re-align my back/spinal cord. She also mentioned that (looking at my feet) I have a bit of an arch in my foot, and maybe the shoes I was wearing (the sandals) were causing the pain. I started doing some of the stretches, and they helped a little bit. But, I still had the pains. Then, I decided to switch out my shoes one day (my walking shoes I bought while I was at the MTC, instead of the sandals), and see if it made a difference... and, it completely did! My back still hurts a tiny bit, but I can already feel the difference from not wearing the sandals, so I'm not super worried, now that I'm just not gonna wear the sandals anymore. 

Fun story, no? Haha. But, it should hopefully all be fixed, and worked out well, now :)

Also, if I could just tell you the blessings of going to bed on time? Okay, I'll tell you. So, 10:30 bed time has been hard for me my Whole mission (not super late, just getting to bed at maybe 10:35, or something) - just because, I can't go to bed a few minutes early, and have 4 extra minutes ticking away when there's so much stuff that I could be doing (the to-do list never ends!). So, I've Always been a few minutes late. Well, Sorella Baird said, in the MTC the MTC Presidents wife did this thing called quiet time, where everything was done by 10:15 (eating, prayers, changing clothes, other to-do's), and the last 15 minutes were for reflecting on the day/studying something/etc. DUH! How have I not done this before? Well, I started doing it, and reading the General Conf. Engisn for those last 15 minutes. And I'm in bed on time every time! And, because this has been one of the hardest rules for me to follow, now that I'm following it, there are so many blessings that follow! Honestly, we can be keeping 90 percent of the rules, but if we don't put forth some effort, and don't follow the last 10 percent of the rules, we're going to miss 90 percent of the blessings! The blessings come in that last little push, when we DO just a little bit more.

And, as a result of this exact obedience, this going to bed on time? So many things! A wonderful woman, from Brazil, who we stopped. She said she usually takes a different route, but she had for some reason chosen the route she was on that day (for a little stroll). After we met her and talked to her, she said, "I know why I took this route today." Agh! We loove her! Also, we met and taught a man named Saturday, who is Amazing! He has already talked to the missionaries before, and he loves the Bible, and wants to do what's right, and follow Christ. He's Amazing. He's read some of the BOM before, but it didn't do much/mean much to him in the past. But, now he reads, and he said he sees how it's similar to the Bible, how the teachings of Christ are the same. He WANTS to read the BOM, and he prays to ask if it's true. He's wonderful! We also met a man named Fabio who is Amazing! He basically Always sets up the return appointments for us, "When do we see each other again?" He really tries to understand everything we say. He's been reading from the BOM, and is trying to understand everything he reads, too. He's Amazing, and he has a ton of real intent to know personally if it's true! He's a super fun person, too. He came to our English class the other night, and everyone was just laughing. Amazing. Then, we knocked on the door of a wonderful girl from China, named Barbara. Basically, we love her with our Whole hearts! She became a Christian about 1 year ago. She reads the BOM and says she feels pure inside, that her heart is, slowly but surely, becoming pure. She's Amazing, and said that God send us to knock on her door. Both her and Fabio say they feel good inside when they read the BOM, a calmess or peace or good feeling. It's Amazing! The BOM has so much power. People can choose not to feel it, or ignore it, when they read, but when read with desire to know, with faith in God, the BOM changes hearts and lives!

...these are some of the 10:30 bed time miracles that are happening! And, Barbara is the greatest. She has to movie to Milan (cause she's a student, and her next course is there), but she gave us her address in Milan to find the Church closest to her! Then we invited her to baptism last night, and she told us she wouldn't be here... she would be in Milan. But, she said, "Can I do this in Milan?" ...YES! These people are Amazing, mamma mia!
Well, that's about it. We've gotta rained on (aka completely soaked) at least 3 times in the past 3 weeks. It's fun, I love it :)

Luke needs to get his papers in ASAP! Now that Elisabeth's gone, I'm curious about his papers/call/future mission life!

Well, I've written quite a bit, today.

Vi voglio un sacco di bene!
Sorella Willis

PS: Sorry I didn't respond to much, dad. I just kinda wrote away, without even responding to your email. I'll respond more next week! :)