Monday, February 29, 2016

Happy Leap Day!

Woah, we had FOUR meal appointments this week, almost 5 but one got cancelled. Needless to say, it was a great week. The "Perfect Week" missionaries joke and say is getting a meal appointment each day of the week, I've only heard of it happening once but hey, we got pretty close, haha :).
 Today we ate really yummy Palermitano sandwiches with liver and panelle. Panella is fried chickpea flour, it's really good. And yay today's leap day!


 Friday I was feeling really down and depressed, and questioning everything. I wanted to work hard, and I was out there going to appointments, but the energy was gone and the will to open my mouth and talk to people just wasn't there. I was just feeling really discouraged for a lot of reasons. We're talking no-teeth smiles to strangers and only English to my companion because English is like comfort food, and you can't really carry a spoon and jar of Nutella with you in the bus going places. After pranzo we headed out to see a contact that we had met on the TRAM (tram is kind of like a BART that only runs through Palermo), we had set up an appointment but we weren't really sure that she would be at home. But we got there and she WAS! And I can not describe the joy I felt when she opened up her window and smiled when she saw us outside and welcomed us in. It was a small thing but it really helped lift my spirit and strengthen my faith. It reminded me of the scripture in Alma 26:27, "Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Siciliani, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success."  (It doesn't exactly say that but pretty much) It was really in that moment that I needed it the most.

So this woman's name is Annamaria, she is 70 years old but could seriously pass for 60. (Side note, why does everyone in Italy look so much younger than they actually are?! We need to add more olive oil to our diets). Anyways, she has 6 children and 7 grandchildren. She has one child who lives in Chicago. Two of her children live at home with her right now. Her daughter actually recognized who were are because she used to go to English Course, but in the Palermo 1 zone and said it was too far so she stopped, but she lives right around the corner from the Palermo 2 building so yay! And her son walked in and recognized us from the bus, crazy! Annamaria lost her husband a few years ago, they had been together 51 YEARS, they got married at ages 15 and 16. She shared with us how hard it was, because he was a really good man and a good husband and father. And we shared with her how we have a message that will bless her and her family. She needs the plan of happiness so bad, and I can't wait to share it with her!

Heavenly Father is really aware of us, don't ever forget that! We saw so many miracles this week I can't believe I took those all for granted and felt the way I did on Friday, but it's normal and we all feel down once in a while.

Okay have a great leap day because you can't celebrate it again until 2020 which seems like a lifetime away!

Sorella Holiday

Here we are on Rita's baptism Friday, she is an investigator of the Anziani

Here's where we live now. I've really got to send you more pictures because Palermo is really beautiful. Big mountains, really old attractions and the ocean. I'm not able to get my pictures from my camera onto my iPad right now.


Monday, February 22, 2016

Food is my love language and Palermo really loves me

This week we had zone conference! So awesome, so inspired.
I hit six months! Scary, time flies. But I also feel super old, it's weird.
Sorella McPheters made delicious lasagna this week, holy cow that girl
can cook!
Today I met someone from Oregon, crazy! Palermo is a totally different
place from Ragusa, same island but seriously, a different world. In
Ragusa we walk everywhere, but Palermo is too big so it's all about
the public transportation, and instead of walking it's RUNNING to
catch buses and trains. Like seriously, yesterday we had a couple full
out sprints. Ragusa is more country side, traditional, and older. And
Palermo is more industrial and way more diverse. We meet people from
all over the world everyday! But the girl from Oregon was the first
American so that was cool.

So as missionaries we have a general set of lessons that we teach to
people who are investigating the church. The first lesson we always
teach, unless we feel prompted otherwise, is the message of the
Restoration. The second lesson is always the Plan of Salvation. This
week, for the first time in my mission, I had the opportunity to teach
the entire plan of salvation to someone for the first time on my
mission! We've just never made it that far before, or with our two
people we had continually met with in Ragusa, the sisters had already
taught them the plan of salvation so I just came late in the game. Man
it's been hard, and it's been a lot of Restoration the past six
months, which is great because I do love the message of the
restoration, but the plan of salvation is what really ties it all
together and gives people the perspective. It happened because we were
at a new converts home one evening and we had planned to do the
restoration with her. Her boyfriend was there and the grandma too, and
his mom is visiting from Milan with her new husband. The new husband
hadn't even heard of the Book of Mormon before, so it was a lot of
fun. It was funny seeing his surprise when he heard me speaking
Italian after being in Italy for only a few months, and realized the
depth of the things we were talking about being only 19 and 20 years
old. It was awesome watching as his mind made more connections, like
"yea that makes sense", and it was also really cool having 4 other
members there to testify and explain each part of the plan.

I LOVE Jesus Christ SO much. How lucky are we to have someone who
gives us a perfect example of what our Father in Heaven is like? So
patient, so humble, so loving. When we talk about Charity, we define
it as the pure love of Christ. And we usually explain it by saying we
have that pure love when we love others as Christ loves them, and
serve them etc. I never really thought about it until recently as a
pure love of Him, like you having a pure love FOR Christ. It's
something I still need to work a lot on, but that love helps me push
forward,and helps me love others. I know that Christ lives, and that
He knows understands and loves each one of us individually. If we love
Him, He has paved the way for us to follow Him. How awesome is that?

Sorella Holiday

Selfie :)







Monday, February 15, 2016

Ciao tutti!

Wow I've never been so tired
This email will be pretty short because for pday today we went bowling
and taught American football to Italians so we've been all over the
place.

I can't really remember all that happened this week, but I know coming
home every night I have never been so tired in my life!
It's really fun living with four sisters
Palermo food is really good
We get free food from the bakery we live next to because they love us
I can't really think of what to say so my companion is giving me ideas....
Okay! So this week I made one of my goals to start working on opening
my mouth more and talking to more people. So we were on the bus coming
home (so many good stories start this way) and we were sitting across
from this man, and usually if it's just an older man by himself I
justify it in my mind that I don't have to talk to him but I can leave
him for the Anziani, BUT I remembered my goal so I just opened my
mouth and the first thing that came out was, "where are you from?".
Apparently that was the perfect question and it started this
conversation about the island he was from and it turns out he noticed
our name tags and was curious about some of our beliefs, and
afterwards he was like wow you guys are so sincere it was so great
talking to you I really hope I run into you again (said that twice).
We left him with a Mormon.org card because he doesn't live on Palermo
so we wouldn't see him anyways. Sweet! So then before we got off I
invited these ragazzi probably dating to English course and they gave
me the Italian equivalent of flipping someone off. So like ya know,
you've got to open your mouth anyways because in the end you don't
know what you're going to get. They could be really nice or kind of
not but it never hurts to try!

Heart attacking our english branch <3

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Promised Land

Palermo is sooooooo AWESOME. Okay, but before we get to that, we have
to rewind to last Monday when I was still in Ragusa! So last Monday
night we went to say goodbye to one family. The first and only time
I've cried on my mission, it's not really my personality but I was
really sad because that family is really special. Anyways, afterwards
when we were getting ready to leave they brought out some pictures of
sister missionaries that had come over to them maybe 10-12 years ago
now, and one of them looked so familiar, and then I realized, IT WAS
PROFESSORESSA TIRALONGO! She's from northern Italy and was my Italian
teacher at BYU. So like, that was pretty awesome. It was hard and
really weird to leave Ragusa, and sad leaving Sorella Roberts. When we
were all in Catania, dropping off companions and getting sent away it
was nice seeing all the sisters but weird that a lot of them you won't
see again for at least until after the mission!

Palermo is not my little mountain city like Ragusa was, it's on the
coast and at the bottom of a mountain. The chapel is right at the
ocean. Me and my companion are over a ward and also an international
branch. The international branch speaks English, but it's still all of
their second languages so it's interesting. The president of the
branch is Italian but his wife is Chinese and they speak Chinese,
Italian, and English. Talk about POWER COUPLE. They also have really
adorable little kids. This Sunday was fast and testimony meeting (so
the Sunday we fast and instead of talks during church everyone has the
opportunity to go up and bear their testimony) the spirit was so
strong! Last week one girl from Ghana in our international branch was
baptized and it was just really awesome to hear her testimony, and to
hear her dad who was also a member in Ghana talk about how long he had
been praying for this day.
After church the ward threw a going away party for one of their young
men who will be leaving to go on a mission  this week. He's going to
France! It was really sweet to see their excitement for him, they had
all pitched in to buy a couple sweaters and shirts and two new
suitcases. It was awesome and there was such a sweet spirit in both
our ward and branch.

Being blown in to a city hasn't been as bad as it could have been. My
companion is really great with maps, and the members have been
helpful, and the last sisters left pretty great notes. Also, my
companions English is fantastic! Which is great because we kind of
need both languages for our area. Palermo is really huge, and there is
another set of sisters in our apartment and they have one half of the
city and they have the other half, we have the ghetto half. I love it.
Some areas we're not allowed to go to day or night, and if we go home
at night we have to be accompanied by someone. The rule will hopefully
be changed in the near future once we get more light hours. It's
really not that bad, and I think especially now we won't get any
problems. My companion is Italian but she is also the one with blonde
hair and green eyes, so pretty much if she opens her mouth were good
and they'll just assume we're both Italian, haha.

Ahh! I just love Palermo. I love being in a 4 sister apartment, and
all the wonderful people here! We have seen so many miracles in the
past few days, and it has just reminded me of how much this is HIS
work. It doesn't matter if we're both completely new to the area,
because He will let happen what needs to happen.

I love you all have a great week :)


 Welcome to Palermo

 Fabulous woman

Quest √® il nostro corso di inglese 

 Our final dinner/post daily planning snack together. Sorella Roberts
was so great!

My new Ward!
They had a little going away party after church for one of the boys who
leaves for his mission this week! He's going to France. 

 Our first Palermo eats. Oh my goodness we went way too hard today I
think I'm going to barf

 Teatro

 Soooo good but way too much
Brioche

 Another theater

 The best arancine in Palermo!
Oh my goodness woooowwwwwww. So we basically just walked down the same
street for pday and came across all these amazing things we heard
about so naturally we had to try it all....in the same day. But wow
mamma mia. There's a war I guess between who has the best arancini,
Catania or Palermo, and Catania will always be in my heart but Palermo
wins. Mine was mozzarella spinaci

 I love this family!
Okay yea, I sometimes don't wear makeup on pdays. Sometimes the face
needs a break, but this is last pday, when I was saying my last
salutes to people of Ragusa

Yay! :)
They made me pranzo before I left Ragusa

PROFESSORESSA TIRALONGO

 A Ragusa goodbye

Another goodbye picture :)

Monday, February 1, 2016

Sorelle take over Ragusa!

What a week, man. The Anziani have been gone since Thursday because of
transfers, they needed someone to go up to Rome to accompany the next
AP. So the sisters had the city all to ourselves. Woot woot, party!
Haha, just kidding.
Tuesday at DDM our training was about pressing forward with faith, and
we talked about the scripture in 2 Nephi 31:20
   "Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ,
having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men.
Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of
Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall
have eternal life."
We talked about what it means to press forward. Like obviously if
you're pressing forward, it doesn't mean you're just going on a nice
little walk, if you're pressing forward it implies that there's some
type of obstacle in your way. It made me think to back when I was a
swimmer. We had this one drill we would do, where we would tie a
bungee cord around us, and the other end to one side of the pool, and
then sprint to the other side. The closer you get to the end, the
harder it gets, and the more tension there is. The harder you have to
push forward. When things get harder, that's not the time to give up,
that's the time when we've almost made it to the end! Then after we
swam to the end of the pool, we would hop out and do it again! With
one team I swam with they did it differently. Once you finally made it
to the end, there was another teammate outside the pool who would pull
the bungee cord really fast while you swam back. And you just feel
like you're flying through the water! It was awesome.
There's always going to be different trials that we face, and times
where we have to push forward, but if we push forward with that faith
and hope in Christ, and that love for Him and all mankind, those
trials aren't as hard because we understand what we're working for and
why we want to keep pushing forward. Then just like the teammate
outside of the pool, once we've done all we can, and we've made it as
far as we were able to, He is there waiting to pull us the rest of the
way. His grace, His love, and His mercy is truly sufficient for
everyone.

This week we got to teach a woman from her window. I love when people
let us into their homes, but I'm not going to lie, it was pretty
awesome just handing stuff up to her window and standing out on the
street talking up to her. The balcony life. I know I'll miss ringing
people's intercoms and then all the older women coming out on their
balconies and talking to each other. "I can't hear you!" "They're
saying they want to talk about Jesus, a message about Jesus!" "What,
are they evangelists?" "No, no, they're missionaries!" "She's not
interested!" "I don't understand you where are you from?" "Oh,
Americans! Yea you can tell" "okay yea, but we're Catholic. Good
evening girls!"

Friday, we missed our bus to Vittoria! We ended up going Saturday
instead, people were pretty great about moving their agendas, but it
was still kind of disappointing, and then hard figuring out what to do
instead. It turns out it was one of the members birthdays who has
stopped coming because she doesn't feel loved at church. She also said
she doesn't want to see the missionaries anymore. But we were like,
all well! So we went and visited her on Friday and she was super
grateful for our visit and that we remembered her birthday! It was a
MIRACLE that she let us in, and sometimes it's just the small
victories that count. Turns out we weren't supposed to be in Vittoria
Friday so it was a good thing we missed the bus.

This week I was coming to the end of Mosiah in the Book of Mormon, and
I was legitimately sad to be finishing it! I love Mosiah! Such good
stories. I feel like I learned so much from Mosiah, from the people in
Mosiah and like I know Alma is great (the book that follows Mosiah in
the Book of Mormon) but like, it's Mosiah! As I thought that, I also
thought, I'm probably getting transferred next week, and turns out, I
am! So I will be leaving Ragusa Wednesday night, and my next city will
be Palermo! I'm so happy to be staying in Sicily! But I'll be moving
from the east side of the island to the west side. My next companion
is currently companions with Sorella Battezzato in Sardegna. So we
will be getting "blown in" they say. Which means both sister
missionaries are completely new to the area. So we'll both just be
learning as we go. My new companion will be Sorella Rossi, she's from
Genova in northern Italy. Apparently she doesn't speak much English,
but that's great! It will just help me with Italian! I'm totally scared
to leave Ragusa and go to Palermo, but I know it's going to be great.
Sorella Roberts started her mission in Palermo, so she was telling me
a lot about it, and getting me pumped up. I'm going to miss Ragusa so
much! But it's time to move on to the next city!

Sorella Holiday


 She is such a great member missionary!

Our great ward mission leaders family. He and his wife both served missions in northern Italy. They are just such a great family!


 Haha, bishop getting ready for the picture.

Bishops family. Their daughters hand in my hair perfectly captures the last 4 months. The other little girl is their niece but her mom wasn't there on Sunday.

 The girl on my left is leaving on a mission in March. She is going to England. The woman on my right is her mom and they are both super fantastic!

This sweet woman does too much for the sisters! She is an incredible example of faith and hope. She fed us lunch yesterday after church. :)

 Lots of wonderful people :)

Such a doll! She always comes up to us and hugs our legs on Sunday. She is so adorable.

This morning we planned to go down to "the jungle" but the path wasn't that clean and I have on a skirt that's really lacy so we decided not, we took a picture instead.

A convent

Not sure what the building is but that's where our walk took us this morning!

The wonderful cheese store!
We walk past this cheese store all the time and on account of it being my last pday here we had to go in. It was so magnificent! It smelt so good. :)

Ragusa is famous for its provola (provolone cheese)

So of course I bought some of this fantastic cheese from its proprio citt√°!

Since Sorella Roberts and I are parting ways we had to get our comp item. So we got comp slippers! How perfect that our skirts happened to coordinate with our slippers today?
  
Passeggiata
We discovered a part of Ragusa I've never seen before!