Monday, June 27, 2016 from the bottom

This week was full of A LOT of finding, and every type of it. It's
okay though! We saw a lot of miracles and we're excited for this
upcoming week :). #appointments
One in particular was running into this contact we had met a few weeks
ago. I had actually been talking about her the other day, because she
was just so cool! She's super great, has a parent from Greece and from
Russia, but has lived in Italy for a while now and has the weirdest
but coolest Italian accent I've ever heard. The last time we met her
we weren't able to get her number because she had to get off the bus,
and I was kind of lamenting about it  the other day, but then this
week we finally saw her again!
My companion was sitting at the back of the bus, and I was somewhere
in the middle (we don't sit next to each other because if we sit next
to each other we can't talk to other people. Gotta optimize that
time!). The person next to me was not having it, but I looked up and I
saw her across the bus! I thought, okay this could be weird to go
across the bus, to talk to someone I met for two minutes about a month
ago, but then I also thought I'm a missionary and I literally have
nothing to lose, so I got up to sit next to her, and she remembered
who we were! We started talking, and then she was like, "one second",
and she had to talk to do something on her phone. Then I was like, oh
no, we have to get off again, and we won't get her number, so I said a
little prayer and was like "please help us have a way to contact her
before we have to get off the bus" and then she looked up at me and
was like, "do you have my number?"


What?!! I know. I love when that kind of stuff happens.

We also had our fair share of creeps this week. But also a big
testimony builder of how much we are watched over. So there's the town
drunk. He's just always out, always has a carton of wine with him, or
a beer or something of the sort. He's just this old, drunk, Italian
guy, and naturally, he's in love with me. One of my first nights in
Pescara he serenaded me on the bus, and then from that point on,
whenever he sees me, whether it be across the bus or across downtown
it's always "ciao! Ollie-day! Ciao bellissima!" I should probably wear
my Sorella Vacanza nametag more often. But anyways, we hadn't seen him
in a while but then Saturday, we got on the bus and then we hear the
slurred cat calls... Great, and so we sit down and just pretend to be
unaware of it. THEN, something that never happened happens, the bus
driver PULLS OVER, and not even at a bus stop, and gets up, goes up to
the guy and is like, "Hey, on this bus we don't talk like that, and if
you want to talk like that, you can get off right now. If not, I'm
just going to call the cops". Woo!! Shoutout to my now favorite bus
driver in Pescara! It's not really their job to do that, and most bus
drivers just let whatever happens on the bus happen. But returning to
the story, the drunk guy, got pretty quite for a while, but then I
guess his pride was hurt and so then he started getting upset at the
bus driver saying he didn't know how to drive and stuff, and so he
pulls over again, and then on come about four cops and they escort
drunk guy off the bus. Justice served!

Other news for the week, it is INSANELY hot. Mom, I'm so grateful for
you cleaning the house in the summer and literally anytime you ever
cook anything or use the oven in the summer. This morning cleaning the
house was intense. Yesterday when we got home, we sweated so much we
both smelt like chlorinated pools, or sea water. This morning I was
washing the dishes around breakfast, and just the combination of the
heat in our house with the steam from the hot water for our dishes set
our fire alarm off. I didn't even cook anything! It's just so hot and
so humid and there's no escaping it! Yesterday someone saw our
suffering and gave us free Popsicles so that was pretty cool :).
(Haha, "pretty cool")

Happy late Birthday to Blake! I love you don't worry I didn't forget.
And happy early birthday to Summer! Holy cow you two are getting old.

Abbracci e baci
Vi invito a pregare per sapere se Thomas S. Monson è un profeta di
Dio. He is! And it's kind of amazing, and a really big deal. Quanto è
meraviglioso che possiamo pregare a Padre Celeste, e poi ci risponde?
Man, it's all so true.

Sorella Holiday

 We celebrated Blakes birthday with gelato

Preaching it with the ward choir at a rest home

Monday, June 20, 2016

Scambio Magic

Questions that's what I'm talking about people!

1) What are the cultural differences you have observed in the areas where you have served thus far?
Down south is really a different world. The accent is different, the dialect is different, and life is more slow paced. Up here in the "north" everything is a lot more modern.
2) Is there a difference in attitude about religion in general for the people in Ragussa as compared to those in Pescara?
No, not really. In Ragusa, it was a really really small isolated city, and so it was pretty much just bakeries and churches on every corner, here it is not the same but there are more people from all over the world in Pescara so not everyone shares the same culture. Here I mean, I haven't accidentally walked into a a public place that was watching a recorded mass on their tv yet, so you could say it's a little more traditional down south.
3) How are the members of the church from one area to the other? Do the testimonies seem stronger for some than for others based on geographic location?
Same incredible testimonies and conversion stories. Stories that deserve books or movies made after them. The members in all of the places I have served all have super solid testimonies. They have incredible faith and trust in the Lord, and they KNOW it's true. Ya know? They are all very much minorities as far as religious beliefs in this country, and the more the word "Mormon" is becoming familiar here, the more things there are out there against it. People have a lot of false information about the church, and so they get scared when they meet you and realize that Chiesa di Gesù Cristo dei Santi degli Ultimi Giorni is also known as the Mormon church. The members receive A LOT of opposition, they are sooo amazing and incredible to me. They have a lot of courage and a lot of faith.
4) Are the people on the mainland of Italy more traditionally Catholic than those on the island of Sicily?
No, pretty much the same.
5) Are people who are not members of the church generally familiar with the Book of Mormon when you talk about it or is it completely new?
More people recognize the word Mormon (still confusing it with the Italian documentary about the Amish, titled "Mormoni"). It depends. Ragusa has had missionaries for more than 40 years, and so almost everyone was somewhat familiar with it. Here, it's not as well known or people are just surprised that we exist in Italy.
6) What are the dominant religions other than Catholicism there in Pescara?
Jehovahs Witness or Evangelist or Muslim for foreigners. You're pretty much either Catholic, Atheist, Evangelist, Jehovahs Witness, or Muslim.
7) How are your investigators?
Woo! Well at the moment we're kind of at a rebuilding stage in the work! Our investigator is doing alright, and the other ones we still have to find them! Haha, just searching for those souls that have been prepared.
8)How is your ward?
Great! This past week has been incredible we've been getting a lot of help from the ward and they've just been making it rain with the love. One member even bought me some hair product and brought it to church Sunday! Haha, she doesn't approve of me using gel everyday.

This past week we had an EPIC life changing scambio. We also had specialized training at Rome, and it was our last one with the Waddoups! We get a new mission president in about a week! How crazy is that?

One thing I learned that I thought was pretty cool last week, is the importance of faith. A lot of people say when they experience a miracle, their faith increases. But that's not true. You have a miracle because of your faith, and then the miracle only increases your knowledge. I met this woman on the bus last week who could not walk for NINE YEARS. No one thought she would ever walk again, but she prayed continually. She never lost her faith. All she wanted to do was be able to put her feet in the sand again. Nine years later, now she has a house on the beach, and she walks perfectly, next year her goal is to get back to riding a bike. She received no miracle until AFTER the trial of her faith. Nine years? I can't even imagine. But when faith ceases, miracles cease. So don't lose your faith! Sometimes we just have to wait a little longer than other times.

Sorella Holiday

 They insisted on the clown nose haha I love our members

Last picture with the Waddoups :(

Monday, June 13, 2016

When life doesn't give you enough lemons to make lemonade, add other fruit, and make juice.

Good Uses for Olive Oil:

1. Substitute for any other oil or butter. (Your banana bread will
still taste good, different, but good. It will also give it a richer
2. Put it on your cold sores. (I haven't tried it, but they say that's
what you should do to cure them, and probably any other ailment of the
3. Kinky curly hair. (also haven't tried it, but apparently when you
run out of your hair product, it's definitely a go to. Keeps your
curls pretty nice from what I've witnessed)

Okay, what a week! The mission is great! Special shoutout to Grandma
Lila who emailed me last week and still reads my emails, this ones for
you! Allora,
Monday: normal pday with an extraordinary last three hours of the day.
We headed out to Città San Angelo, to visit a less active who is
recovering from orthopedic surgery in a rehabilitation center.
Rehabilitation Centers are great! There's just a tranquil vibe around
the whole facility, and inside there are people from all different
backgrounds with different life stories, with their own families and
friends, and then they get paired with a random person to room with
for a couple weeks and none of you can go outside the boundaries of
the rehabilitation center. You're just there and you become part of
this random little community for a short period of time.

Anyways, so we were there visiting this woman, but it also became an
opportunity to start teaching her friend! Neither of them could run
away or wave us off saying "no, no, no I'm too busy," or "look girls,
I ain't interested for nothin'". Well the second thing she could have
still said, but we had them right where we wanted them and even
better, they actually wanted to listen! They prayed, and participated
and it was great.

The following days of the week consisted of lots of seeking referrals
and finding and running all over the place. It got pretty tough.
Rejection and lack of success tend to weigh on you sometimes, and
blind you from all the blessings that are raining down around you, but
we pushed on!

Thursday night Pescara's football team (soccer, calcio whatever you
call it!) won a pretty important game which brought them up to Serie A
(pretty much division 1). The rest of the weekend the city has just
been going crazy! Saturday night they had a big parade with fireworks
and they closed off a bunch of main streets. I have to add the detail
of there being a float with a giant blue cross on it (blue is
Pescara's team color). Don't know what that's supposed to mean, but
man do I love Italy!

I really do love Italy though. At the beginning, whenever I heard
someone speak English whether it be an accent from the U.K.,
Australia, but especially America, it was just the sweetest sound to
my ears! But now Italian is starting to have that same effect on me.
Amongst the Yoruba, Senegal, Romanian, and all the different dialects
there are, I just love hearing some good old Italian.

Speaking of other languages! We got down to our last Italian Book of
Mormon (don't worry we stole some of the Elders so now it's all good),
and so Saturday when we headed out we were like okay, we'll take our
Italian and what other language? So we grab an English, and then I
grabbed a random Ukrainian one that we had just for kicks. Then on the
bus, the first person that sits next to me is a woman. And I think,
what should I say to her? Then she pulls out a book to read and I'm
like, man I hate disturbing people when they're in the zone! So I go
for a soft, "I like your shirt approach". (I actually did like her
shirt though, I noticed it before she even got on the bus). Then she
thanked me, and I noticed the book she was reading was not with Latin
characters. So I asked her where she was from. You know where she was
from? UKRAINE. I could not have whipped that Book of Mormon out of my
bag any faster. Small talk over! She's not interested right now, but
come on is that awesome or what?

Sunday night I was so beat! I laid down on my bed after planning and
my body just felt like it was going to fall straight through into our
neighbors apartment. Supermarket miracle lady feels too busy to meet
with us anymore, my sweet redheaded Romanian moves to England on
Tuesday and we weren't able to see her at all, the baptism for this
Saturday-- cancelled. I was just like, what? But don't worry, all is
well. I read something really great in the Book of Mormon and prayed
and I get it now.
Knowing and believing are two different things. Believing is trusting.
I honestly know, that ALL of it is true. There is no doubting it.
Believing it, I trust that everything will be okay in the end, and all
that Heavenly Father has promised, will be fulfilled so long as I can
do my part too.

Final miracle: this morning on our way to the city, we ran into our
redheaded Romanian who leaves tomorrow!! There was not going to be any
other time to see her, and double miracle we got to meet her daughter
who will be staying here! That was awesome. Heavenly Father was saving
that miracle special for today.

Okay love you all have a great week!

Sorella Holiday

 Modeling my new dress but also the delicious juice I made because one
of the lemons went moldy haha. We added kiwi and grapefruit

 She's legal!

 When you wonder why you couldn't find the street, and then realize
afterwards haha

We made s'mores! Except graham crackers don't exist here and jiffy
marshmallows don't either, these were pretty gourmet, doesn't give it
that same American taste. Hershey's doesn't exist either, but Nestle
was as good as it was going to get 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Torta cioccolata con la zucchina


Sooo last week, my companion got really sick and that wasn't awesome.
But she's feeling better. Thank goodness! Being sick on the mission is
not fun for anyone. Your companion is throwing up with a fever and so
the office makes you guys stay at home for a couple days (which is the
obviously wise thing to do, but sooooo boring!) when we finally got to
go out we felt like Rapunzel leaving her tower for the first time. I
skipped a little.

Saturday we had an interesting experience. We had an appointment with
a girl we met at central the other day. So we meet up at the piazza,
and were like okay where do we go from here? And so she had brought a
friend, and she's like, let's go to to this bar, and were like

Now, I don't know if I've explained this before but Italian bars are
very different from American bars. In America, a bar is a place for
alcohol and that's it. In Italy, a bar sells milk juices, coffee,
pastries and other baked goods, candy, and at some there is also
alcohol. What makes bars different here is the people that hang out
there. There's just a natural "type" that is attracted to each bar.
Like it's not written anywhere, but different groups just decide which
is their hangout and it becomes the "work people" bar and the family
bar, and the high schooler after school bar, and then their was the
one we ended up going to and it was the hipster of all hipster
(because Pescara is already a hipster city) bar for the young adults
that smoke all day. We definitely did not foresee that, and it wasn't
the first time I've taught a lesson in a bar but definitely the first
time explaining the Plan of Salvation and Book of Mormon through
literal clouds of smoke. Haha, that's Italy.

Yesterday there was a big multistake conference for all of Western
Europe. It was pretty cool.
 Help me I don't know what to write!!! You should just send me some
questions, and I would love to respond to them. Writing email is hard,
and I know I need to do it, but by the time is pday, I'm just like
man! I don't know what to say and my brain is dead.

 Sorella's Jarnigan, Holiday, Battezatto, Margheriti

 Here's our four generation picture from last pday! The great grandma, grandma, the mom and the baby. Hahahah, we're weird.

 Rome pday

 Rom mess

 My falling apart companion

German pancakes

Cool house, had to take a picture