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