Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanksgiving Parrot

Yes. We ate parrot for thanksgiving. Hahaha, no I'm just kidding. This
past week was really good, we didn't really celebrate Thanksgiving,
because they don't really do that here since it's not America, haha.
So much happens everyday it's hard to decide how to condense it all! I
did scream in someone's home this week, I didn't really imagine that
ever happening, but here is what happened. So we were at this woman's
house on Thursday, and she has a daughter who is about 10 or 12 years
old. The mom went to go get us some water, and so we were just sitting
at the table waiting, and then this little girl is like want to see
something? And we're like okay, why not. And she pulls this shoe box
out from under the table, and is like "there's a parrot inside". I'm
just thinking "what?" and Sorella Battezzato was like "is it alive?"
Haha and the girl was like yea, and she opens the shoe box and grabs
this HUGE PIGEON. I covered my mouth so fast to contain the scream but
I couldn't help it! So I was just laughing nervous for a while until
she finally put it back in the box. Hahaha, she reassured us that she
fed it. Turns out she caught it at the park that morning, so it hasn't
been there for too long. I don't know why I can't have a normal fear
like spiders or something, but yes it's birds. When the husband came
home he was going on about how he's not interested  and doesn't
believe in anything. I wish I could have focused more aside from the
part he was going in and out of Siciliano, but like THERE WAS A PIGEON
You know sometimes there are things that are right in front of us, and
we get too caught up in the moment to take the time to find out what's
really going on.
We've met so many people on the street that we talk to and are like,
"yea I already have a Book of Mormon" and then we ask them if they've
read it and they're like "" Having a Book of Mormon in
your house is crazier than having a pigeon hiding in a shoe box in
your house! You've got to check out what's written in that book, or
else you'll just never know.

This morning I was reading in Matthew in the New Testament. In chapter
10 Christ calls the apostles and gives them the priesthood and
prepares them for missionary work. I like how you learn in the bible
that the people Christ called to be apostles, were just normal people.
They had jobs and normal lives, but they were willing to follow the
Savior so they were called to do the work. There's a quote by Nelson
Mandela, and he says that he is a saint, if a saint is a sinner who
keeps on trying. "Sinner" holds such a negative connotation, but like,
we're all one! The important part is that you're trying and still
striving for something better. We've got to stop judging others
because we don't know their potential, and maybe they don't know their
potential, but their Father in Heaven does. We've also got to stop
judging ourselves and thinking that there is no way for us to become
better or find peace for our souls through the Savior, because His
grace is sufficient for everyone. I love this work and all the people
we meet out here, everyone is so unique and different. I know that
God, Heavenly Father knows and loves me, and that He loves each and
everyone of His children too. Understanding this makes every other
part of the gospel make so much more sense!

Sorella Holiday a.k.a Sorella Vacanze
 Thanksgiving-No one celebrates this holiday here so we had pranzo at church

 The Anziani thought they bought a baby turkey.....haha, it was definitely a chicken. Either way it tasted really good. We were impressed. Sorella Battezzato and I just bought bread and dessert because we didn't really plan to celebrate. It was just a fun impromptu thing.

We ran into the Anziani Thanksgiving morning.

 Look what exists! You know I bought that in a heartbeat. That's what thanksgiving is all about. :)

Fountain in Siracusa

Siracusa pday

 OKAY. This little man is amazing and made us the most delicious sandwiches ever. The quality of the food in Sicily just doesn't compare and it's really inexpensive. They had pistachio cheese and the best ricotta you'll ever eat. It was actually just the best sandwich ever. He loved us because well, we're cute Americans that can understand Italian. It was like Pranzo and a show, this is also from last pday.

 Siracusa is very pretty.

 Getting home. I just took a random picture at the train station because sometimes you need to do that.

We were doing finding one evening. It gets dark really early and Ragusa is full of alleys like this. Somebody actually answered their door and wanted to know more from one of these alleys so it is now a special picture for me.
Random picture :)

Edge of Ragusa. It was really rainy this week.

It was Sorella Battezzatos one year mark so we went to get pizza. Two women from our English course and the girl in our ward who is about to serve a mission came. We prayed and had a spiritual thought and I love how normal it was to just bust out a Book of Mormon in the middle of a restaurant.

We found our apartment has a space heater so we don't need to freeze anymore. It feels like a fire and is really getting us into the Christmas spirit.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Siracusa #sicilysisterweekend2015

I am honestly super distracted right now, but I am grateful for all of
your emails and love! This week was also really great. A lot of
bidones but also a lot of miracles. We had a bidone one night, so we
planned to stop by another woman's house instead, just to see how she
was doing and leave her with a spiritual thought. When we were walking
to the woman's house I had this feeling like we should go to down to
this one street and see if one of our investigators was there. We are
teaching this Romanian family but they don't have a phone, so when
they stood us up earlier in the week we were kind of worried if that
meant we'd never see them again. So when I had that thought to
specifically go down to this street and see if he was there, we were
kind of like..."well that's kind of far fetched" but we had been
praying for their family and so it really couldn't hurt to try. We
went down, and when we looked down the street we saw this guy sitting
on a bench and we were both thinking, "no way! This is too good to be
true." But we walked up to him, and it was him! It was the dad of the
Romanian family. It was awesome. Turns out their little boy is sick
and so they weren't able to come to the last appointment. We set up a
time to meet again. Their family is just a little miracle.

This week we had zone conference on Friday, so we headed up to
Catania, then Sorella Battezzato and I went to Siracusa to do our
scambio. THERES SO MUCH TO SAY  and I'm just going to do bullet points

1. My first scambio at Siracusa Sorella Fransend was my companion
2. Stake conference (the whole island of Sicily is a stake but the
split it up and do like a mass skype from Palermo and Siracusa)
3. I went to a baptism on Friday night, it was soooo incredibly
beautiful and there was tons of cannoli
4. Somebody asked me if I was Italian at the baptism because I spoke
well (yesssss) luckily I got away fast enough before he could find out
how bad I am lol
5. Today we are doing a pday at Siracusa with all the Sorelle in our
zone. I'm pretty sure they send the realest Sorelle to the Catania
zone because they are all instant friends, and we did a mass comp
study/testimony meeting this morning and it was amazing. I love these
6. This week I learned a lot about weaknesses and imperfections, and
how perfectly okay it is to have them. I sometimes get really focused
on everything and don't take a moment to just let the Lord take over.
Right now all the Christmas decorations are up and for the first time,
homesicknesses actually hit! (Also I hit my 3 month mark this past
week). Like I literally love my family sooooo much they don't even
know. We could all be sitting together, doing absolutely nothing
productive, but for some reason I'm always really happy. Just being in
their presence when everyone is there and in a good mood, is my most
favorite thing in the world. That night the homesickness hit, I prayed
really hard because it was a long day and I felt really weak. I just
asked for the strength, and I can't even describe the feeling I felt,
it felt like I was home again. The next morning, I was reading the
Book of Mormon and I came across the verse in Ether 12:27 and it says
27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I
give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is
sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they
humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make
weak things become strong unto them.

It's absolutely true and I feel even stronger than I was before! I
know why I'm out here, and yes I love my family, but I owe this time
to the Lord. I know that the gospel has blessed my family in many ways
and I want to share this goodness with others.

Non c'รจ abbastanza tempo, mi dispiace. Ciao!

Sorella Holiday

In Siracusa

After Stake Conference with all the sorelle

Anziani got fancy

Iolanda in our ward received her mission call this week. She is going to the Leeds England mission. The young man in the picture just got home from his mission.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Transfer 2

This week was a lot of WOW "what is going on?" and "am I really in a
different country speaking Italian with this person and is this all
real?" but in a good way.
I learned a lot about the power of the Book of Mormon this week. The
name of our church is "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints" and prefer the name "Latter-day Saints" but honestly, "the
Mormons" is a pretty sick nickname if there ever had to be one.

The first miracle I saw with the Book of Mormon this week was when we
were in Comiso. We finished eating lunch and we were doing language
study outside on a bench before our next appointment. I hate lugging
tons of books around with me so I just used my Italian Book of Mormon
I already had in my bag to do my language study. Then out of nowhere
this guy comes up to us and was like, "what kind of bible are you
reading?". Ha ha, you've fallen into our trap! Just kidding lol he
actually really threw us off guard. Started telling us about how he'd
been in prison for a few years (can't remember the number) and then
asked us if we had any pamphlets he could read about our church, so we
gave him one, and he went off on his way. That was one of the, "what
just happened?" moments.

Then we had a lesson with a woman from Romania. We brought her a Book
of Mormon in Romanian, and when she read the promise at the end of the
book, I wish you could see her expression and sincerity when she said
"these are beautiful words".

On Saturday it had been a pretty great week already and we were pumped
up so we did street finding with the Book of Mormon. THAT BOOK IS SUCH
FIRE. Only three people stopped and listened, and in the end there was
only one man who was interested in actually meeting another day to
talk about the book. We met with him last night, and we weren't sure
if he would actually show up, but he did! And he brought his wife and
their adorable little boy. They listened, and they want to meet with
us again tonight!

The reason the Book of Mormon pumps me up so much, is because it's
kind of a BIG DEAL. A lot of people don't believe in God because they
don't believe its rational to believe and trust and something that is
not tangible to them. God is real and there's no thought or belief
that can change that. Some people laugh at the idea of "faith", but it
makes perfect sense. If this life is all a test if it is "the time for
men to prepare to meet God" as it says in Alma 34:32, then being able
to see God in the flesh all the time working miracles that defy our
current knowledge of the universe, would be like taking a test with
the answer sheet sitting right next to your bubble sheet. You wouldn't
have to study, and in the end, you would never learn what you were
supposed to. Faith is power, and the Book of Mormon is too, because
it's like taking an open book test! It contains the fullness of the
gospel. It by no means replaces the Bible, it just supports it. It is
evidence of Gods power, it is evidence of His love for His children,
it is evidence that Joseph Smith was a prophet, called of God, to help
restore the church of Jesus Christ, in its fullness, for our day.
 I've read that book, I've prayed, I cannot deny its truth.
I love these people and this work and I'm doing the coolest thing in
the world right now and it's awesome!! :D

Sorella Holiday

 We had transfers so we had a photo op after our last district meeting Tuesday. Anziono Bellows looks so fierce.
 After District meeting

 A street in Comiso

 We had pranzo in Comiso so of course we went to a panificio! This reminds me of the pretzel dogs my mom would make. 
 Nutella filled croissant for dessert! But I took a bad picture because there was a dog just drooling as he watched us eat and it made me uncomfortable.

A church in Comiso

 This is some government building that whenever we walk past and I see the statues on top I think of the Disney movie Hercules, and I feel like they'll start singing.

In Comiso waiting to go in for a lesson

This is where we run down to in the mornings, then we run back up to get home. I brought my camera this morning so you can see. :)

Monday, November 9, 2015

Scambi Magic

First off, I want to start his email off by letting you all know I had chicken wings this week. Last Sunday we ate at one family's house for pranzo, and she was asking me what meat my family eats and I said we usually eat chicken. But I said "di solito" and accented the vowels wrong and she thought I said "pollo fritto" which means fried chicken, and like, we eat that too so I didn't correct her. Then on Wednesday, another lady in the ward wanted to feed us lunch, and she made us chicken wings. Also I had cinnamon gelato this week, and had my first arancino.

We had our first lesson yesterday with Fabio! He was in Milan all week, but came back this weekend so we planned to give him a tour of the church, and play a video called, "Grazie a Lui" (you can watch it in English, it's called "Because of Him" and it came out around Easter) then find out if he wanted to investigate the church. It went really well, we ended up doing a brief overview of the Plan of Salvation, and we'll have to pass him off to the Anziani this week. When he saw the baptismal font he was like, "yes! That's how you're supposed to do it. Like in the bible." He has a lot of really good questions. Some people are just ready. We're really excited that the work is beginning to pick up! Also this Saturday there's going to be a baptism! Yayyyyy!

This week we had our first scambio! Scambio means an exchange, and it's when you trade companions for a day and divide up the work so you can go twice as hard, and learn more from another experienced Sorella. We use a lot of Italian words when we speak English to other missionaries. I don't know why, I guess we're just too lazy to translate everything over. Anyways, it was a lot of fun.

One highlight of the week was our lesson we had with one investigator who had been in Rome for the past two weeks, but is back now. As missionaries, we have a list of lessons we go through for each person, but we felt like we shouldn't move on to the next lesson without reviewing the principle of faith again. We talked about how faith leads to action, and you don't see any miracle until after the trial of your faith. The lesson was amazing, and the spirit was soooo strong. I love that woman so much. It's so cool when you're teaching a lesson and you realize that you are really just an instrument. All we do is listen, and open our mouths, words come out, and somehow it works. During that lesson it felt like my heart grew three times to fit another person inside all at once. #growingpains

It's crazy on a mission how many people you pray for everyday and how much you pray for each person. People for some reason feel instantly comfortable around us and tell us really personal things about their lives, even if we are just stopping to talk on the street. You get to know people very quickly, and even if you don't know every detail about them, you know they're a child of God, and it's easy to love them. When you pray for them at the end of the day, it's kind of painful, because you don't exactly know what they're going through, but you know you want them to feel better.

I talked to my mom once about how our lives are like a puzzle. There are a lot of different pieces that when put together, make a beautiful picture. One very important piece is the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's that piece that even if you had every other piece on the puzzle there, if you didn't have this piece, you wouldn't know what the finished product was supposed to look like. You could try to shove another puzzle piece in its place, ya know cram it in there and make it fit, and it would suffice for a short while, but it would never be right.

Love you all!
Sorella Holiday
 My scambi companion. I want to be just like Sorella Thorpe when I grow up. :)

 Down there is Ibla. Ibla is like a dream. We walked down there one day last week to change up
where we do finding, and got a new contact. She's going to meet with
us this week. And I finally had gelato! It was cinnamon and heavenly.

 I wasn't ready :)
For scambios, it is tradition to order pizza for dinner.
We had pranzo before the Sorelle headed back to Siracusa.

It rained soooo hard when we dropped them off at the train station. It
looks pretty so I took a picture.

Monday, November 2, 2015


This week was so crazy! It was really weird, because there was a lot
that happened that made the schedule just feel off, but it was really
Last Tuesday we had district meeting, and we went to lunch at the
sandwich place we all love so dearly, and while we were sitting down,
Sorella Battezzato was like, "Sorella, I'm freaking out, that girl
over there is Vale!" We had tried to meet with her the previous week,
but no response. She had been baptized recently and then just dropped
off the face of the earth, so neither of us had spoken to her face to
face, just heard about her and seen pictures. We didn't want to be
weird stalkers and just start interrupting her date that she was one,
but luckily! Our district was all there, and Anziano Bellows was the
last companion of the Elder who baptized her! So we had our in, and it
was awesome and hopefully we will see her next week. Then my companion
and I got up to pay, and there was another couple who asked if they
could have our seats so we were like, of course, and then the lady
started staring at my nametag really hard, so I asked her if she had
ever heard of our church. Turns out, she had been to Salt Lake City
ELEVEN YEARS AGO. She had checked out temple square and everything.
Sorella Battezzato and I whipped out our Salt Lake Temple pass a long
cards in unison, haha, it was awesome. She's still not interested now,
but she at least she has our number.

Wednesday we helped someone move. It was fun, but really weird not
wearing skirts. I was telling my companion about how the skirts make
us Superman and pants make us Clark Kent. Somehow we're completely
invisible walking down the street in pants. The nametag is still
there! But no one notices us. We helped move the boxes from the
garage, up a little hill, and then passed them off to the Anziani, who
carried them up the stairs of the house to the attic. When we came
around the corner once, a couple who was proselyting from another
church stopped them at the door to talk to them. They just looked like
a couple of Ragazzi with jeans on, so of course they stopped them.
They told them they were missionaries and pointed to their name tags.
Then they asked us a lot of questions about our church, haha. It was
kind of cool, because it hit me then, the church sends out KIDS to do
this work. God trusts us little 19 year olds to do this. But we have
all the tools we need. This couple was expecting Clark Kent, and had
no idea they just ran into the Justice League, hahaha.

Thursday was the Halloween party and it was AMAZING. It put every
Halloween party I've had at church to shame. I didn't take enough
pictures but my companion did so you should check out her blog haha.
The detail and everything, just wow. A TON of people showed up, and
people brought friends, and people from English course came and it was
just really awesome.

Fast forward to Saturday, and the miracles of miracles happened! We
had a lesson planned for 11 at the church, with an old contact that
Sorella Battezzato met before I got here. He gave us a bidone. Bidone
means garbage can in Italian, and missionaries use it to say they got
stood up for an appointment or if someone cancels last second. It
happens a whole heck of a lot here. So the we headed off to do ricerca
(contacting people on the street) until pranzo. We met a lot of nice
people, some people really interested in English course, and then
headed back, we both had the feeling that we should go the long way.
And then we saw him! Not the guy that gave us a bidone, but this other
kid, I'll call him Fabio. We saw Fabio like my second week in Ragusa,
and with his friend. They actually walked up to us to ask us about
English course. Then a few nights later I had a dream, and all the
missionaries in Ragusa were driving somewhere, and I was getting
really mad at the Anziani because they didn't know how to drive or
something, and Fabio was in the dream and trying to ask us something
but I don't remember what it was. I told my companion about the dream
that morning, and then later on that day we saw Fabio! He told us that
he actually helped build the church building we go to, and he wanted
to come to church one Sunday, but doesn't wear ties because his
brother hanged himself. Then we saw him AGAIN, that night with his
friend, and his friend shared his questions about this life that he
doesn't feel like his church answers. We were like sick, two new
investigators. BUT WE DIDNT GET THEIR NUMBER. We felt so bad. So in
like every prayer we had for the past two weeks, we've been praying we
would run into the, again so we would have a way of contacting them.
We were going to even fast this weekend for it. So when we saw him we
both freaked out very subtly. He was on a walk with his aunt, we got
his number. We saw him two more times throughout the day. God hears
prayers, and we have to be patient for His timing.
Bonus, the guy who gave us a bidone Saturday morning, walked into
church on Sunday and came to Sacrament meeting....??? We didn't even
invite him! Hahaha. Anyways. Ragusa is about to blow up so thank you
for prayers, love y'all

Sorella Holiday

 It was dark, rainy, and a festa, (the date should say November 1 idk
why it's wrong) and so there wasn't very many people outside, but it
gave us a picture opportunity. This is one of the older parts of the

 There's a panificio on like every corner in Ragusa. This little thing
is stuffed with ricotta and sausage and like a noodle type of focaccia
and the shell is a pastry shell.

 This thing is SO good. It's called Scaccia, and it tastes like quiche.

 Setting up for the Halloween party. I have no idea why, but our Mission President gave us permission to dress up. I really did not want to dress up and got away with not (I'm a missionary!) but they had Anziano Martin be Dracula

Idk why it says this is from Tuesday, the dates are a little off on my camera. But on Wednesday we helped someone move and they live at a cool part of Ragusa so I took a picture. This is my city!

*Note from Taylor's mom: Here is a link to Sis. Battezzato's blog. Her blog is usually updated a few days after Taylor's, to see more pictures from their Halloween party check it out on Nov.4th or 5th