Monday, December 26, 2016

Le feste

Merry Christmas!
The great thing about Italy is that the partying barely starts with
Christmas Eve. Yesterday was Christmas and today is Saint Stefano's
day, Saturday's New Year's Eve, then there's New Years and then
January 6 is the Befana. Today we got invited to 2 members homes which
is pretty awesome, kind of stressful because it's pday, but worth it
because the first is lunch with a less active family. I was there at
the hospital when the daughters son was born which is crazy because
now he is almost six months old, haha.  I have a 6 month year old
niece at home I haven't even met yet! But yea, so that will be great
and delicious food, and then tonight we're going to a little get
together and we're all going to sing Christmas carols and there are
going to be nice people to meet! So worth it.

This week was great. One of the highlights I would say would be the
caroling we did. It was hilarious because Christmas caroling is not an
Italian tradition and so people were totally caught off guard, one guy
tried giving us money, but then just let us in and we got to share a
message with his family. Another man let us in and accepted a "how to
quit smoking course". Totally random, but awesome! We also ended up
with a lot of chocolate. It was like we went trick or treating or
something, haha.

Christmas Eve was really special also. Saturday morning we got
together with the whole zone and just blitzed Piazza del Popolo for
like 2 hours. (You can google Piazza del Popolo if you want to see a
good picture of it). A group of people sang, while others of us went
around talking with people, stopping people, and teaching people.  I
actually had a pretty cool experience with this girl on a bench. She
will for sure read the wrapped Book of Mormon we gave her, but she
lives in the Milan mission boundaries.  My companion and I wrapped
some books of Mormons like Christmas presents, so there was also that
to give out. It was totally cool, and nice because it wasn't just
tourists, but actually mostly locals. A lot of people stopped and took
pictures and video taped us, because they were just like, what is
going on??? A bunch of random young people from around the world
singing Christmas hymns and not asking for money.
One of my favorite moments was when this little girl went out in front
and started conducting like she was Beethoven, haha, it was sooo cute.
Afterwards we all went out to lunch at this one members Philippino
food restaurant, and did our secret Santa gift exchange. Haha, one of
the elders got me and gave me a jasmine doll. (Of course the ethnic
looking princess). Hahahah. We gave the elders in our district
cinnamon rolls Christmas morning, a bottle of chocolate soy milk,
because one of them is lactose intolerant and socks to match their
suit pants. Yea, we hit a home run on that. I've mastered making
cinnamon rolls on my mission. You just make the dough at night, let it
rise during the night, then wake up early roll them up and bake them
in the morning!
Also, I refuse Christmas morning without cinnamon rolls! That is just not okay.

On Christmas Day, our bishops family are like some of the most
Christlike people so they have a big pranzo/dinner and they do it at
church every Christmas Day and invite anyone who doesn't have family
to spend Christmas with, or even if you just want a nice Christmas
meal. There was soooo much food! I was kind of sad no one we invited
came but it was still really great. It was super generous.
Also, I skyped with my parents! That was crazy. Then we played
foosball and Tombola, which is like Italian bingo.

That's pretty much all. Also this is the last week of my black out
year. Pretty special year, because I've been a full time missionary
for all of 2016.

 This is the sweet little girl that conducted our choir 😊

 My Christmas Eve lunch

 We turned on Christmas lights and watched the nativity from the bible videos before we went to bed Saturday night

 The zone ❤

 We were waiting on the stairs for a little girls mom to get home and she kept bringing us out toys. And then she told us to close our eyes and she put these things on our heads. 😊

Monday, December 19, 2016

Strait outta Torre Maura

All right, this email won't be too long this week. We did all our
Christmas shopping for pday today. I've got to keep it somewhat vague
anyways so I have something to talk about next Sunday when I skype my
family! Wooo! It's so weird that we only really talk to them twice a

Well I'll just start with yesterday, because it's what is still fresh
in my mind. So, last week, we got kind of lost but as we got lost we
happened upon a new part of our area at I had never been to before. It
was so beautiful, so once we got home I double checked the map to make
sure it was still in our boundaries and yep! It's just a nice little
area of Rome. So yesterday afternoon we went and did some finding over
there. The people were sooo nice! It was so weird, one because
everyone was Italian, I was like whoa where am I? Oh yea, I guess I'm
in Italy still, not just a random European city where everyone speaks
Italian. And people were like, not intimated by us. One guy was like,
"hey you're Mormons right? Yea I have a friend in salt lake." And he
invited us to come back and even told us which doorbells we should

There was an accapella group singing in the park! Such a rare sight to
see such pleasant teenagers. I was like, man, we've got to step up our
game. I was thinking, I should have shined my shoes, and I should get
a coat that's not from the death closet that actually zips up, and why
is my hair in a bun, and why don't I wear more makeup? But it was
okay, people loved us anyways!

We went to two other places I had never been to before also this week.
We had an appointment out in Tivoli, and we visited a member in
Cisterna di Latina. The Spragues drove us to visit the member, and it
was quite the adventure. She is super forte. Also her daughter is who
brought a friend to church last Sunday. It takes them an hour to get
to church every Sunday. I love that dedication.

Friday night was the ward Christmas party. It was a pretty big hit.
And Thursday was specialized training. It was good, and really

 From the Christmas party. My favorite quote from this, Sam: "I'm a geek!", Haha

Part of the members vineyards. She gave us Kiwis and homemade apricot jam.

We sang together for zone conference

Monday, December 12, 2016

Happy Immaculate Conception! It was Thursday :)

Well, this week was definitely trying. Like, it was really hard, but
it was a week of growth.
Throughout the week there was always at least something that gave us
that extra push to keep going on. Like Thursday, we got a new
investigator! She's this wonderful woman from Nigeria, who actually
accepted our visit to meet with her because she had set up an
appointment with missionaries from another religion. We stole their
appointment, oops! But she wants to meet with us again, so that's

Wednesday we did companion exchanges and I was with Sorella Jarnagin!
It was so crazy to be reunited with her, many months later. She was
the first sister I trained, and it was so awesome teaching with her
during the scambio because her Italian has gotten so good! She's all
grown up.

Friday we went caroling with the senior couple and the Anziani. A
woman in our ward asked us to sing to some elderly women in her
building. I don't think caroling is really an Italian thing to do, so
people were kind of confused, haha, but it was fun.

Saturday, Saturday was really long. In the morning luckily we didn't
get yelled at, just a lot of rejection, in the afternoon we met with
an investigator we haven't been able to see since Sorella Graff has
been here. The lesson went well, and then she said she'll see us next
year, haha. We continued on with our day of searching the souls who
are ready for the prepared gospel, and really it was just rejection
aaaalllll day. Like not even the nice people that are like "no, but
thank you", well okay there was one of those but only because she was
from Sri Lanka and didn't speak English or Italian yet. She was way
And so we pressed forward. Coming home at night, a man at the metro
took the Book of Mormon out of my hands, and just as he begins
talking, I was thinking "oh no, he's crazy. Like I don't know exactly
what this guy is going to say but I know I don't want to hear it.
Heavenly Father I'm at my opposition maximum for the day, please right
now I really don't want the gift of tongues and I don't want to be
able to understand him" then I realized that is a pretty bad thing to
pray for, I probably can't pray for that. But don't worry we made it
out, he was a total creep, but all is well.
So I was feeling kind of down, and then yesterday was our fast and
testimony Sunday and Vescovo's mom bore her testimony. She shared how
the missionary who found her family faced a lot of opposition that
day, but how she was grateful that they overcame the opposition so
that they could bring the wonderful blessings of the gospel to her
home. That really touched me, and as I thought about it, and if there
is opposition I think it just means something really great is about to
happen. Like in swim practices we would sometimes do an exercise where
we would tie a bungee cord to us and to one side of the pool, and we
would try to swim to the other side. The closer we got to the end, the
closer we got to the other wall, the harder it got.
In life, and missionary work, it is like that sometimes when we verge
of something great, life's opposition comes at us pretty hard.

After church we went and ate real quick then we headed back out
fishing. Still, nothing, the whole afternoon. Then just as we were
headed to take a bus to go to another area, I was thinking, "man, if
this is really our whole day I'll probably cry tonight. I'll probably
sit on the sidewalk and cry for like 5 minutes. But I'm
training....that would be pretty traumatizing for a sister in her
first transfer. Maybe I won't." Then the thought came to my mind to
stop by this one woman who was in the area. She had been an
investigator in the past, I had never met her yet. I've tried stopping
by a couple times since I've been here since July, but never had luck.
This time however, she let us in! She even asked us to pray with her!
She seemed kind of reserved at the beginning but by the end we were
friends and she wants us to come back.

She asked us, "I don't understand. How do you missionaries keep
smiling even when people tell you no straight up to your face? How do
you just keep smiling?"
We smiled, we shrugged. She then said, "this has to be the help of
God. I want to know about this! I want to learn about this!" Then she
excitedly invited us back!

I love this woman we met last night soooo much! She shared some of her
life stories with us and she is literally AMAZING. I'm so excited that
we got to meet her. In the end, it was her 7 yr old daughter who let
us in, because we always see her playing outside and say hi.

2 weeks to Christmas! :) have a wonderful week, remember who your
greatest fountain of help is, and learn more about Him this Christmas
Vi voglio un MONDO di bene ❤️

 Also this girl from China took a picture with us at a park.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Un povero viandante

Yayyyyy! It's almost Christmas! It didn't really feel like it until
today, because the sisters who lived in our house before left a
Christmas tree and lights and so today we set all that up it was
pretty awesome.

So who's doing the Sii Una Luce advent calendar? (Be the light) it's
been super fun sharing that with people, and I love the theme of it.
Service! It's how we become true followers of Jesus Christ.

Saturday we went to share it with a member, the wife is the only
member and she has two children and a husband. The husband was an
investigator in the past, and since I've been here he's never listened
in on the lessons, but Saturday he stayed and listened.
He really enjoyed the video, but then he decided to ask a lot of
questions, like A LOT. Mostly he was looking to start a fight. I'm
typically a pretty calm person, I've always been that way, basketball
coaches hated me for it because I wouldn't get mad, but I also knew I
especially had to stay calm for this lesson.

This week during 12 weeks we studied, "Teach People, Not Lessons" and
it focused a lot on the aspect of the spirit. There was a quote I
liked a lot from Elder Christofferson and he said that if we listen,
the spirit will tell us what to say even in hostile venues. (I'm
paraphrasing). Sorella Graff and I did our best to stay calm, and
listen, and follow what he spirit prompted us to say. His argument
started with Mormons not serving enough, and ended with blacks and the
priesthood to give you an idea what he was like. In the end, we did
our best. And it was awesome because the wife is Filipino and the
husband who is Italian, lived in the states a few years so he was
wanting to practice his English, which allowed Sorella Graff to be a
full participator in the lesson.

Also Sunday was a special stake conference! They called a new stake
presidency, and it was super exciting because Pescara's ward also came
and so I got to see all the people I love so much from Pescara! I miss
that place, it was so good to see them, they are all such fantastic
Yesterday in stake conference I was thinking, "wow, this talk about
the atonement would be perfect for that one members husband. And right
after that, I noticed, the member we visited Saturday. BOTH
children,AND her husband. IT WAS AWESOME.

We continued to see many miracles throughout the day. We met a woman
whose husband passed away, but was a Mormon so she gave us her address
and invited us over. And we met a young girl at a park while
contacting, about 25 years old, who says she's searching right now to
find out the role of Jesus Christ in her life. We'll be seeing her

Friday there was a funeral for a boy in our ward, he was just 2 years
older than I am. The church was absolutely packed. All the seats were
filled, the hallways were just filled with people standing all huddled
together, and it was so flooded with people that the doors were kept
open and also people waited and stood outside the whole time, and they
even filled classrooms with people. It was incredibly sad. This was
the fourth funeral I've been to on my mission, all of which have been
here in Rome 3. The missionaries were asked to sing, so we sang I am a
child of God. The bishop gave a really fabulous talk, I was really
grateful for the plan of salvation and what he said, I think it was
good for a lot of people to hear. Most of the people there were not
members, there were hundreds of young people about my age.

Our bishop had a pretty home run week because he also gave an awesome
talk at the baptism Saturday, and we ate his lasagna and tiramisu last
week, and wow, honestly the best lasagna and almost the best tiramisu
I've ever had. His wife was saying his cooking is what won her over, I
second that. #bestbishopever #rome3forlife

Okay well, I love you all!
Be a light!

Pictures from 2 weeks ago

Monday, November 28, 2016

Post Thanksgiving

I'm still debating if this is going to be a really long email or not,
so we'll see.

Well yes it was thanksgiving last week and of course we celebrated,
and no they don't celebrate it here, but we're American, and it's a
good excuse to party. We threw a party in place of our English
discussion group time, and invited all the ward and English group and
it was a pretty big hit. Our bishop is such an amazing cook! He made
the turkey, and also yesterday we went to his house for dinner and had
lasagna and tiramisu and it was some of the best that I've had.

I don't really know what to write, if I went into detail about the
week, you'd probably be like, oh my goodness that's crazy why do you
do that? And I really don't have the answer, but I know it's true and
it makes me happy and I want everyone to have the chance to hear it!

Saturday was pretty cool, it was a day full of service! I think it was
a national event, where they had this huge food bank collecting at
every grocery store. So we helped collect food and advertise for it on
Saturday. The other people working there were like, "oh sorry, people
can be kind of rude sometimes when they're not interested", we were
just like, haha, yea, this is nothing. They probably thought we were
crazy because we were smiling the whole time. It was a lot of fun! And
we got to meet a lot of people.

One of our investigators has gone a little crazy, but she gave us two
referrals! So even if we can't meet with her anymore, at least we can
meet with her friends!

There were two random ponies at a park one day when we were
proselyting. Our hot water broke, and our heater  for the house is run
on hot water and so we didn't have any heat in our all tile cement
home! It was so cold, and I saw how it broke and so I was pretty
discouraged because I knew it would take a while to fix and the guy
who comes to fix our house is going to get so sick of me, but then
Saturday night, in the middle of the night, our hot water fixed
itself!! I have no idea how, but it's working. So yea, you can count
that as a pretty great miracle.

The new senior couple moved in, their name is the Spragues, pronounced
like plague, and it confuses everyone because we all think it should
be pronounced like Prague, like the city. But yea, they're awesome and
super adorable! It's like greenie fire times 2.

Yesterday was the primary program in church! I was the pianist. This
is the second primary program I've been a pianist for on my mission,
basically living the dream. :) So for those who don't know, the
primary program is the one Sunday of the year where the children from
ages 4-11 run the sacrament meeting (the first hour of church), like
after we finish with the important stuff like taking the sacrament,
the kids take over and it's the cutest thing ever. If you have an LDS
friend who wants to invite you to church, and you don't really want to
go, at least request to know when the primary program is. It's like
one of the best Sunday's of the year, probably next to general
conference, or the Christmas program.

 Sorella Graff had her first good pizza of her whole life

 Also, traditionally you have to try a bomba.

Our humble Thanksgiving

Monday, November 21, 2016

I'll be in Roooome for Christmas 🎶

Yep, so there were transfers last week. After we got our call Sorella
Dustin and I were like in shock for a little bit, so she got
transferred to Bari, and I'm staying in Rome 3 still as stl and I'm
training again! Which means this is my last companion and my last city
and whoa, yea, because I only have two transfers left. I can't believe
I'm training a third time and I can't believe I'm finishing my mission
in Rome 3, like the transfer has already happened and I still can't
believe it. So that's that! I love Rome 3 and the people here, Sorella
Graff (my new companion) and I are going to go so hard!

Last week one of our members passed away and that was really sad, so
there was a funeral and I played the piano and the missionaries did a
musical number. She was such an amazing woman, but had been suffering
a really long time, she had been in the hospital since agosto. I'm so
grateful for the plan of salvation! It was interesting because this
was the first LDS funeral I've been to in Italy. Like even though she
was a member we all kind of assumed it was still going to be at the
Catholic Church. It was cool though, she was the only member in her
family, so it was very different.
The Sears couple finished their mission as well last week, I'll miss
them so much.

Training is really different each time, kind of hard, but always an
opportunity for growth.
Last night when we were doing some park finding, we were walking up a
hill and I saw this woman on a bench and she just had light ☀️ in her
eyes so I knew we had to talk to her. She was very open, and said she
was searching for ways to become closer to God. We started talking,
shared the message of the restoration and she said she hopes it to be
true, and that she is very religious, but doesn't practice with any
religion, nor has the desire to because she doesn't want to follow any
"rules" and she prefers to do what she wants. She's more one with
nature. And so she made me think, why do we follow rules? Well, even
the plants and all the elements of nature follow some rules. The rules
of the universe, which are also rules of God. Different from the
plants that grow or the sun that always promises to rise, we are
agents, and we are free to choose. We are free to choose good or evil.
The rules of God that we have are special and I've seen the blessings
come when I choose to follow those rules. He doesn't give them to us
to make us miserable, instead they are there for us to discover joy
like we've never known before. Being a missionary has really deepened
my love for the commandments.

Well that's your weekly update! Today I got all the black mold out of
our house and showed my new companion around Rome. Haha, she's so
doe-eyed still it's great.

 I love Sorella Sears sooooo much!!!

 MLC Burgers

 Here's Sorella Graff doing her first door to door. I don't know, I don't think she was scared, haha.

 Me last pday

More pictures from last pday

 Our American members live on this street

 This is THE Appia Antica

 We made friends with the people that work at this farm

Monday, November 14, 2016

Never fail brownies

Well first off, I just want to say that I can introduce myself in
Arabic, and ask people about if they know about the Book of Mormon in
Tagalog. That's really random but I'm pretty excited about that.
Italian, still got to work on that one.

So this week a lot of missionaries are finishing their mission! So
it's been a lot of sad goodbyes for them. Other than that we've been
able to see a lot of people that we haven't been able to see recently
this week, so that was a miracle.

We met with this one less-active family and we shared a message on
joy. We asked the mother for the moments she has felt the most joy in
her life. She talked about her baptism, and how she felt when she
reads the Book of Mormon. But still she doesn't want to come to church
because she is offended from something someone said. It's so sad! Why
do we let ourselves get so offended? I was talking about this with
another missionary once and it's interesting because in Italian there
are verbs that are reflexive. These verbs are structured so that the
meaning of them is that you are doing it unto yourself. The verb "to
offend" is one of those. So really, we just offend ourselves, and let
ourselves get offended. Italian is definitely the language they speak
in heaven.

So other than that we did a scambio last week, it was great! Usually
it's us who stop people but this past week we had a lot of the
opposite happen due to the past U.S. election. We met this couple, the
husband was Italian and the wife American (this has nothing to do with
the previous sentence I'm just scatterbrained) and they are both opera
singers! They were soooo cool, and the wife actually knew about the
church because she had a lot of LDS friends growing up. Then we had
this guy who stopped us and asked us about the election, he started
talking to us in English, but then we were like don't worry man, we
speak Italian. So we just ignored his question and asked him how he
knew Mormons. Then we got talking for like ever! He told us the
religion he was practicing with right now was founded by a Korean, he
was raised Catholic, but said he likes the focus on the family in his
new religion. He said he's a seeker of truth, and he started his
search 25 years ago. He was so cool, I look forward to seeing him

And yep so it's transfers tonight so you'll find out next week if
there are changes!

 A chill countryside pday

Monday, November 7, 2016


I don't think I could have ever imagined how much joy Heavenly Father
had in store for me here in Italy.
So, a little recap of the week-
Monday was Halloween and we have an American family in our ward (the
dads in the military) and they don't really speak much Italian but
they lived in South America for a while so the parents speak Spanish,
the husband served a mission in South America and the wife served a
mission in France and so they somehow get by with their Latin language
background, and they planned the most amazing Halloween party ever!
People loved it.

Throughout the rest of the week my companion battled fevers and all
type of illnesses. She was basically dying. But we managed to get some
lessons in, meet some great people and see some miracles nonetheless.

We met with this less-active who loves me deep down but also always
complains that I smile too much. I can't help it, it's just my face.

I was praying Wednesday morning and like I started thinking a lot
about this former investigator from Pescara, and that same day I got
an email from her! She got my email from another member and thanked me
for everything and told me she was getting baptized on Saturday. WHAT.
I could not tell you how much joy filled my heart. This woman had me
waking up at like 5 in the morning worried, and wondering what we
could do more to help her. But June wasn't her time, instead this
Saturday was.

I don't remember!

Okay, basta, like let's get real and get to Saturday because uhm-

NADIA WAS BAPTIZED. Yep. That amazing woman was baptized. She is from
Moldova, and the most humble, faithful human being, and it has been
such a pleasure knowing her and teaching her this beautiful gospel.
She's 30, and married with the cutest little girl ever. Friday night
before her baptism they had us over for dinner.

So, like, I I've said before that I live in the poor part of Rome.
It's really really poor, and mostly foreigners and refugees. One day
we were doing finding in a nicer neighborhood (because our boundaries
stretch out to the colosseum) and we invited this couple to church but
then once we told them the zone our church was in, they were like,
"WHAT? I've lived in Rome my whole life but never been to that zone".
You could say it's kind of a sketch zone, but really I've only met
some of the best people here! I've met people from 58 different
countries all over the world, and they're just good with all very
diverse cultures.

But my point, is that it is extremely humble when a family that has
almost nothing insists on feeding you dinner.

So Saturday two people that I've been blessed to teach were baptized,
and I'm so excited for them. I can't really describe it, but it was
the moment when I was praying Wednesday morning that I realized, when
Nadia is baptized she will qualify to live in the Celestial Kingdom in
the presence of our loving Heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ, whom she
loves so much, for eternity. And when that thought came to my head,
lots of joy filled my heart. I don't know why, just this really happy
feeling overcame me.

Yep, well that's about it. Love you!

Nadia's baptism day

 pday pictures