Sunday, January 26, 2014

4 weeks: less than a month now!!! :D

Holla. Can I just tell you about this insane, wonderfully, sick week we've had? Okay :)

So, last Thursday we were doing casa (knocking doors), and this family from India opened up, invited us in, we taught a lesson, and we got a return appointment! 4 new investigators, YES (almost 5, the dad had to leave). They're adorable and amazing, and I love them.

Then we had interviews! Super awesome. I love President Dibb, he's the greatest. I asked him for a blessing (long story short, this past week [cioè, 2 weeks ago] I was basically crying off and on all day [/for an hour or so] because satan was putting all these evil thoughts in my head, basically of all the things that I HAVEN'T accomplished on my mission, and all of the people that COULD HAVE been baptized, but WEREN'T, because of me, and all of the things I still HAVEN'T learned/skills I HAVEN'T developed... he was being super mean to me. But, I was able to shrug it off, and then the next day I got a blessing from Pres. Dibb), and it was super simple, but super awesome just the same. You know how Satan tries to make you fall just before wonderful, great things happen? Well, he tried to do it to me, but I didn't let him! Yeah! Haha. Because, do you know what great, amazing miracle was waiting for us on Sunday? Let me just tell you.

Basically, I haven't really seen lots of work/success here in Verona, and it makes me a little... not happy. So, I fasted last Saturday so that we can have a baptism this transfer. Well, going to church, a member walked in to Relief Society with a young woman who I've never seen before. After RS we were able to get to know her a little bit, and another long story short, she's the cousin of an ELECT man we found a month ago (he calls us his angels), who we gave to the Anziani to teach (because he's a single man). Then, going throughout church, sitting in Sacrament Meeting (the last hour) I realized... SHE'S THE ANSWER TO MY FAST! Okay, honestly, I don't know if she will 100% get baptized, I feel like that was Heavenly Father answering my fast and prayers with someone prepared to hear the message. So, upon realizing this, I started thinking and hoping (because we had a lunch appointment with a member family that day), "It would be perfect if [that memeber family] also invited her [potential investigator] over to lunch with us...". "Also, I would love to be able to get her on track to baptism, ASAP, and teach her soon... even tomorrow (monday)!", "And, I would love to be able to see her frequently... it's so hard make appointments with people through work, and family, and school..."

ALL OF THESE THOUGHTS/TINY PRAYERS OF MINE WERE ANSWERED! Our member invited her over to lunch, where we had a little lesson. We were able to set up an appointment with her for the next day (monday), and she doesn't have work right now, or school, or family! Long story short (I'm pretty sure I've used that phrase 3 times in this email now) she's Romanian, she just got to Italy ONE WEEK ago (although, she alreadys speaks Italian pretty well), her family is all back in Romania, and she's not working right now (which is not necessarily a great thing, but we can see her often! So good!)

Then, we went to see her on Monday, and basically we're best friends. Honestly, I love her with my whole heart. I know I say that about a lot of people, but I honestly love this girl SO much! You have no idea. She's only 23, and has a husband and daughter back in Romania... and is so wonderful! Basically, we set a baptismal date with her (for 16 febbraio... my last Sunday in the mission!), and hey, we need ALL OF Y'ALL'S prayers for this girl! I'm praying for her like my life depended on it, also pray that she finds a job, specifically where she won't have to work on Sunday (lets be specific in our prayers! When we pray specifically, God will give us specific answers!). Pray that all will go well, and that her baptism will happen successfully... I honestly may cry if it does, because also her cousin (the man whose door we knocked on, who calls us his angels) is also getting baptized on that day... seeing them both get baptized? My last Sunday in the mission? I'm gonna be a mess!

But, honestly, seriously, pray for this girl with your whole hearts! She needs it! I love her so much! Allora, if you love me, you'll pray for her.

Well, on a lighter note, two things:
1) I saw my new favorite last name the other day. They're called la famiglia Bellebarbe... do you know what that translates to? The Beautifulbeards! I love them. Hahahahaha.
2) I wear plastic bags in my boots sometimes (when it rains), because they're maybe coming apart a little bit, and I'm too indicisive to go out and buy a pair of boots. I only have so many p-days left, and I don't want to waste a single minute, going shopping, just to decide that I don't even really need boots! Ha.

Well, that's about all, famiglia mia.
Ci sentiamo fra un pò, eh? :)
Vi voglio bene!

Sorella Sara Willis

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Countdown: 5 weeks! :)

Oh my word, the pictures of Tanner are super cute! Dude, he's a giant now!

Well, nope, I cannot believe Kaleb is takling to girls now... dude, Kaleb and I can have an EFY road trip! Yeah :)

Well, things to tell y'all for this week.

a) Sorella Lyman and I are only speaking Italian... period! Ha. In the house, outside, everywhere! Mostly. Except we're the Sister Training Leaders, so we have to do trainings and whatnot, which we do in English... and we have members who only speak English... so, we kinda break that rule kinda spesso, but only because we have to! But, for the majority of the time, we only speak Italian! It's way easier than I thought, but also harder than I thought.

Also, did you know that D&C 31 is one of my favorite sections EVER? It has been since the MTC, but I just re-read it the other day, and it's still just as great! :) Especially verse 3, basically makes me cry ALL THE TIME. And then, verse 5, says (più o meno) "For the laborer is worthy of his hire." I love that line! It just makes me want to work so much more! To be able to be WORTHY of my hire! It's just like a pump-up line :) Ha.

Also, I gave a talk on Sunday. I didn't know I was giving a talk until Thursday evening. Guess what? It was the first talk that I've ever given that wasn't 100% written out! Haha. I just preferred having EVERYTHING written, and planned out before the mission, and even on the mission I've written out all of my talks, because I didn't want to mess up with the language, but this Sunday, I figured a) I knew enough of the language, b) I teach by the spirit enough now, so that I should be able to give a talk by the spirit (obvisouly, prepared beforehand, with notes and whatnot... just not 100% written out). It went well. I still cried. I always cry. Whatever. I was given the topic of Temples (I dunno why, I haven't been in 18 months!) :) I didn't think it was amazing, but after my talk I had a couple people thank me afterwards. Three comments in specific made me terribly happy (translated to english, so it's not exactly what they said, but whatevs)

1. "You gave me chills, it really struck my heart, and I almost cried."
2. "If I could hug you right now, I would! But, I'm a man, and you're a sister missionary, so consider yourself hugged!"
3. "Your's was the first talk I paid attention to in 5 years."
...maybe this going-by-the-spirit stuff is where it's at! Hahaha.

Also, we've been seeing a lot more of our members lately! It's wonderful! They're all so great, I just love them.

Well, I kinda gotta get off... the internet point is closing!

Ci sentiamo la prossima settimana!

Vi voglio un sacco di bene!

Sorella Sara Willis

So, there were transfers. A new sister moved in. She's super cute, Sorella Haslem. She bought me these little candies, called "Baci". which are translated "kisses", and she wrote me a little note, basically saying, "These are for you, prepping you for after the mission, when you get some real life kisses!"  Hahaha, I thought it was hilarious :)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Start of the LAST transfer!!

DUDE. icannotbelievei'mstartingmylasttransferever! Does it annoy y'all when I write sentences without putting spaces? Sorry. Haha. So, for my very last transfer ever, I'm staying in Verona with Sorella Lyman! Crazy, I've NEVER had a companion for 3 transfers! She'll be the first :) And, man, I can't believe it's finishing either! Countdown? Who has those? Haha.

Well, this past transfer/few weeks have been super good and crazy. We just started teaching a bunch of new people! Although, they all seem to have just gotten busy, so lets hope things work out for the best! So, the Anziani in our ward gave us this woman they had found and taught a little bit, but she's single, so they passed her to us. Basically, I love her with my whole heart, and when I first met her, we became best friends :) Haha. She's from Romania, and the first time we met her, she came to CHURCH (um, most wonderful person ever? Yes. It's SO hard to get people to come to church)! One of our members immediately started fellowshipping her, and they became best friends too. And then this past week we had a lesson with them at our members house. Agh! It was just soo perfect. But, she's busy looking for work, so it's kinda hard to see her... pray she finds work!

Then, after that we went to see some of our members, and we knew they had a referral for us, so we had a short lesson, and talked a bit about that referral... and we decided to go see her the coming weekend. Well, before we left our members house, we got a phone call, and our plans that evening had cancelled... soo, we talked to our member, and we worked it out so that we could go see her friend THAT NIGHT. RIGHT THEN, actually. And, it was awesome. She's an awesome African woman, with an adorable family (4 kids!), and she's so so wonderful. She listens so intently, and really tries to understand what it is that we're explaining, and really wants to understand about our church. I love her, too. The only thing is, she lives far away, so it's hard for her to come to church, also because she would come with 4 kids! Finding a ride for 5 people? Kinda hard. But, she's amazing, lo stesso :)

Then, we were doing casa (knocking doors) one night, without much success, and at the citofono (the type of doorbell) we said (along the lines of): we're missionaries of the church of jesus christ, and we have a message about Him that we'd like to share with you, if you have 10 minutes (mind you, this is AT the citofono), and they said yes, and let us in (...okay, lets be real, that never happens)! They're an adorable Romanian family (husband, wife, 5 year old son), who lived in spain for 5 years (they speak spanish very well), and last week they were finally all reunited as a family (the wife's been living here in Italy for a year, the husband has been in Italy for 3 months, and the son just arrived in italy last week!). They're very open, asked if they could come to church, and just seem like the most prepared little family. We have a return appointment, with a member, and I just love them soooo much! Seriously, as a missionary I just fall in love with people all the time (in the sense, that they're just my brothers and sisters). Honestly, I just love them oodles. So, pray for all of these people, per favore! :)

also, Alma 56:44-47. So, basically verse 44 has been one of my favorites since I was little, I don't know why. I think it may be because watching the "Living Scriptures" movies growing up, when Helaman asks that question, it's just a very powerful moment! I love it! So, I read that part, and as I read it, I thought about it a little differently. Then I went back and re-read it, and I just love those verses even more now! Imagine with me now, reading those verses, but as if they're talking about when God's plan was presented to us in heaven, even when we knew there would be opposition, and it would be a fight. Now go read Alma 56:44-47. It just makes me terribly happy, reading it that way :) (as if, Helaman's God, and we're the 2,000 warriors).

Also, did y'all celebrate La Befana? I sure hope so! 6 gennaio! Just kidding, it's just like a second holiday after Christmas. But, just so y'all know, for next year! Haha.
Also, dearest brother Adam, for some reason, after 18 months of not thinking about it, "Not a Penguin" just popped into my head! I hope you still sing that sometimes :)

Also, you should know, I'm slightly addicted to the BOM/the scriptures. Whenever I find myself with some free time, I tend to just grab my BOM :) It's so great! (because we don't have the Conference Liahona yet! I probably won't be able to read it until I get home. Which reminds me, can y'all order me a Genercal Conference Liahona/Ensign in Italian, so it can be waiting for me when I get home? Grazie)

Also, did you know that whenever I listen to EFY music I just feel like I HAVE to go home, and be an EFY counselor? Because, I do.

Also, thanks Grandma and Granddad for the Christmas card! I just got it yesterday! Y'all are super duper adorable! :)

Okay, well I think that's basically it. Haha.

I gotta go finish, OH, also I'll send you Christmas pictures :)

Okay, vi voglio tanto bene,
Ci vediamo fra poco! AGH!

Sorella Sara Willis

Our district

Sorella Lyman and I! Christmas gift from our ward mission leader :)

Christmas lunch with the Eusebio's and Tamin's!

Christmas evening, with the Castillo's (where we skyped from)

Simone (from Siena) came to Verona (for a YSA thing)! :)

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Buon Anno!!

Well, hi! :)

First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY INDIA! On New Years Eve, right? How old is she gonna be 8? :)

Okay, next on the list... ha, so I really didn't write a big ol' email for everyone last week... whoops! I wanted to, but I just ran out of time! Christmas day is a crazy day, did you know that? Haha.

Well, lets see... I have a great "coming home" plan. Haha. It's slightly a joke, slightly real... I'm so excited for it :) So, I'm gonna come home and work for a few months, and save up money before I go out to school, right? Well, I am just going to go to the Temple everyone other weekend-ish... and, while I'm in Orlando, I might as well save time and just go to Disney World, and hit up Epcot-Italia (just to keep up my Italian, you know). I'll just buy a year-pass to Disney... greatest plan ever, huh? I hope it actually happens :) Hahaha.

Also, two of my fingers were hurting a lot last Sunday... it's like they were stiff, or jammed or something. I told one of the Senior couples about it, and she said maybe it was carpal tunnel... agh! I hope not! The stiffness eventually went away, so lets hope it was nothing! :)

Also, we had the best Christmas Sunday ever... basically, EVERYONE was asking us if we had a place for Christmas eve/Christmas day (because our ward mission leader announced it in Sacrament Meeting that we needed a place to go... hahaha), and it was the greatest! The Sacrament Christmas program was AWESOME! Everyone single person participated. Each leader of each auxiliary read a part of the Christmas story (Luke, and part of Matt. with the wise men), and after the auxilary leaders spoke, that auxiliary SANG. i.e. the Relief Society leader and counselors would go up, and read a part of Luke 2, then after they finished reading their piece, all of the Relief Society went up and sang a song (that we had prepared) of Christmas. Then after our song the Priesthood leaders went up and read a piece, and after they finished all of the priesthood went up and sang (this was actually the greatest part of the whole day... when I come home, remind me to tell you how they sang it... I cannot be written through email, I have to sing it to you.) Basically, I'm gonna make fun of the Anziani in our ward for the rest of their lives. Hahah. And, yeah, the Christmas program went like that, I loved it! :)

Then, Christmas eve was amazing! We went to our Ward mision leaders house, and honestly, he's just the funniest person in the world, I LOVE being in that house! So, it was just a super fun, laughy evening. We sang some Christmas songs, they gave us Nutella as a Christmas gift... it was super duper :) Oh, and before that we had a member who asked us if we could carol to some of her friends, so we did! We went around with them, (us and the anziani) and carroled to some families... it was super fun. Then afterwards they gave us hot chocolate, and pandoro :) Yum.

Then, Christmas day, did I already tell you what happened? I think so. We went to the Eusebio's house (they're from Brazil), and they invited another member family, the Tamin's (from the philipines), so we had brazilian and philipino food for Christmas! Super yum :) We played some games, re-encated the Christmas Story (so funny), then we were eventually on our way. And, oh my word. Look up the song, "è natale, e a natale si puo fare di piu."... basically, it's like an advertisment song, and one of our elders hears it ALL the time, and it gets stuck in his head, and he sings it ALL the time, which gets it stuck in my head... so, that song was stuck in my head ALL christmas day! Haha.

We also found a magical apartment where we did casa one day (not on Christmas) and it was the greatest thing in the world, cause everyone was like, "come in, lets not talk about this in the doorway...". the only problem was they were ALL men (except for one, the cutest Bulgarian woman who I love with my whole heart), so we couldn't go in... but, we gave some awesome referrals to our Anziani! Haha.

Yeah. And, I already told you about my "gift of tongues" experience, where someone spoke to us in Spanish, and she couldn't understand what we were saying (speaking italian) and after not trying to speak spanish for over 1 1/2, the words, I say, "nos somos las hermanas de la iglesia de jesucristo..." yeah, that was fun :) It just came out of no where! Sure, it's not perfect, but it's spanish! Haha.

Also, dear Chelsea Wiser and Sydney Sanders, do you know any Richardson's? An Elder here has family that's from Panama City Beach! Just wondering :)
Also, you want to hear a crazy awesome story/poem thing? Look up "The Room" by Joshua Harris... although, I don't think it's called The Room. But, who knows.

So, guess what else I'm gonna do today..? BYU application! Weird. I don't even know if that's for sure where I want to go, but if I don't apply then I'm FOR SURE not going... so I'm applying :) Haha.

Also, are my standards too high if I want to marry a man like Moroni? Hahahaha. I just read that part in Alma that other day where it was describing a little bit of Moroni, and I was just like, "Yeah. I'll totally marry a guy like that." Vediamo. Hahaha.

Also, my heart is dying/going crazy! Within a 2-day period I met THREE Italain-American families... where one spouse was Ital. and the other was Amer. And their children all speak perfect English and Italian! Did you know that my children are going to be like that ( too. Haha)? Yeah, I dunno how, cause I'm not a native Italian, but whatever! Haha.

Also, this past Sunday was another one of the amazing-est Sundays ever... a referral from our Anziani came to church. Nicole. I LOVE HER. So much. We haven't even taught her yet, but we've already become best friends, our members fellowshiped her like whoa, and I'm just super super happy :)

OH YEAH! Also, Simone, from Siena, was here on Sunday! I almost died! He's here for a YSA activity... also, Chris Dean (remember that one guy who served in Italy, who has family in Florida/sometimes lives there, maybe... and he and his parents took Sorella Seare and I out one day on p-day?)... I dunno if you remember him, but he came too! So, it was just like Siena all coming back to me, it was stupendous :)

And, that's probably about all. Sorry I've written WAY too much, I'm just trying to compensate for last week.

And, we're doing p-day today, because our 1 gennaio is filled up with appointments, so we just switched p-day.

Well, I gotta run. Vi voglio tanto bene!

Sorella Sara Willis

PS: Happy New Year! It'll be 2014 for me before it will be for you! How crazy :) Haha