Monday, September 18, 2017

Polignano p-day round #2

Ok, not much happened this week so this will probably be a short email.....

Good news:
We met with Valentina (from violin casa in casa)! It was a miracle because she was the only one at home which made it so we could be a lot more personable and get a lot further in our lesson teaching!! We read the Book of Mormon with her and it seemed to be something that she likes reading and we explained to her our purpose of why we are here as missionaries and she still wants to meet with us!! So that is a major plus. Piano piano! Sorella Baielli is an incredible teacher and knows the doctrine very well. 
Sorella Baielli did her first casa in casa. There was this lady that we offered to help and she told Sorella Baielli to move the entrance mat and I can't describe it but it was the most awkward thing ever. Sorella Bbaielli just like bent over while this old lady is telling her, left, no right, a little more right, no to the left haha. But we did meet this cute girl we have to visit this week who wants to talk to us!!! 
We met a lady while doing finding this week who we asked: "what makes you happy?" She said "dogs" as she walked her four dogs around. She said she's too busy for us but I totally agree that dogs make us happy. 
The zone leaders had a baptism this week that we got to sing at! It was a beautiful ceremony and it was so much fun to see how happy they were to see this lady enter into the waters of baptism. The gospel of Jesus Christ makes us happy you guys!!!!! 
The BEST THING I STUDIED this week was Alma 24 about the Anti-Nephi-Lehites. Those people are such an example to me. I was really struck with their understanding of the doctrine of Christ. It says in the chapter that they "were among the most lost of all mankind" and it just shows how it is NEVER TOO LATE to repent. And then once they had entered into that baptismal covenant they understood the true meaning of repentance. They understood that when we repent of something, we commit to never doing that thing again. And they were not going to break that promise, even if it meant they had to lose their lives. That is a true disciple of Christ. I hope we can all follow their example. I am certainly not a perfect person, but with examples to follow it sure makes it a lot easier. 
"And thus we see that the Lord worketh in many ways to the salvation of his people"

Sorella G ♥️🇮🇹
PS best food I ate this week:
Curry that I made for me and Sorella Bbaielli 
she sai, "this is the best food I have had on my mission by far!" (Granted she has been on her mission for a month haha) 
Or Swiss chocolate that a member brought us back from their temple trip (the BEST)

Monday, September 11, 2017



This week has been a little bit crazy. Well, actually a lot crazy.

Transfer call: I will be staying in Bari Libertà as the sister training leader for the Bari zone and for the last two transfers of my mission I will be training a new missionary!!!! YAYAYAYA!!!! Her name is SORELLA BAIELLI. And she is Italian.....kind of. She was born in Cagliari (which is on the island of Sardegna) and lived there until she was 12 years old and then she moved to Eagle, Idaho. So she is fluent in Italian and in English haha. Can't get better than that. I'M SO EXCITED TO SERVE WITH HER!

So Sorella James is out of here and she actually went to the island of Sardegna. She was super excited and I am very happy for her and proud of the changes at she made. She's funny, intelligent, and kind. She makes me laugh so hard haha. As she was saying goodbye to everyone we saw the biggest miracle ever!!! I don't know if you remember those girls we met while doing casa in casa (home to home) with my violin. We were able to schedule an appointment with them and we showed up to the appointment and instead of being three people there, there were six!! Two boys and four girls. We were able to pray and to teach the restoration, parts of the plan of salvation, and talk about the word of wisdom. They were very interested in comparing "their" religion and ours and said that we could call whenever we wanted. They agreed to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it so we will see how it goes with them. Soooo cool.

Sorella Baielli is incredible!! She is very upfront and honest with me, which I really like and it is really a joy to be able to be training a new missionary. This is my favorite part of missionary work. We had a really cool experience last night. I told her our gesso(gathering in the city square) was themed "the Book of Mormon" so she grabbed a Book of Mormon. I had already stepped out the door and as she was closing the door she asked, "do I really need this Book of Mormon? It's not like I'm going to be handing it out anyway." I replied, "Why would you say that? Of course, you're going to be handing it out tonight!!" She kind of shrugged and rolled her eyes and brought the Book of Mormon. I said to her, "that is my invite to you. To hand out a Book of Mormon tonight at the gesso." She agreed and at the gesso she was having difficulties communicating with people. She said she was trying to talk to people and a couple would stop, but that no one would listen to her. Then she said she prayed really hard and told Heavenly Father she really wanted to talk to someone and that she was ready to talk to someone and boom. She stopped a man named Francesco who she had a great conversation with. She was able to get his phone number and to give him that Book of Mormon. It's moments like these that make training a missionary my favorite part of missionary work. I was very proud of her.

Also I am sure you have all noticed that I started using Facebook haha. I got Sorella Baielli on Thursday and we did a quick weekly planning session and then headed off to English course. The poor girl probably had no idea what was going on, but on Friday morning I left really early in the morning with Anziano Vance and Anziano Cutler (the zone leaders) and we took a four-hour train ride up to Rome for MLC to be trained on how to use this new technology as missionaries. I am excited to start using it. I will admit I was very fearful of it. But after MLC I was able to really grow a testimony of how vital this will be in helping this work grow. We are continuing to move forward! (It was also SO MUCH FUN to be in Rome. I love that city) just a couple of details, Like in the white handbook, I communicate with friends and family through my email ( and will not be able to comment back or respond to any of the comments you send me on Facebook or with messenger. Facebook is more of a way for us to become friends with investigators, contacts, and members here in Italy so that we can then communicate with them through messenger (have lessons, chat, etc). Everything I do on Facebook will be with my companion.

We already had a super cool experience on the train ride home. Me, Anziano Vance, and Anziano Cutler were just talking and we started talking to these people that sat next to us on the train. We started teaching them the restoration and pretty soon we had half He train car 
listening to our message. It was so cool and this man and this mother, who were the main ones we were conversing with, we're going to Bari, but would only be there for a little bit. We asked the man to follow Anziano Cutler on Facebook and he did so now we can be in contact with him!! Within the past two days of having access to it we have been
able to reach SO MANY people we wouldn't necessarily be able to reach without it. It is so incredible.

Update on Leonardo: he came to the gesso yesterday and goes straight to me and asks why I was trying to act like I didn't see him haha. Awkward. Then he started talking. Anziano Vance saw and SAVED ME. He came over and was talking to Leonardo and it actually ended up really not that great because Anziano Vance told him we couldn't talk and that we had to do missionary work and he was not happy with that. He called Anziano Vance some bad names and then stormed off. Hopefully, he doesn't come back. If it weren't for Anziano Vance I probably would have been stuck in another two hour conversation with him.

Updates on Silvia and Rosa: they have stopped responding,  unfortunately. We will try this next week to contact them and if not we will try our best to find those who are READY to hear this message!

My spiritual thought for the week is Alma 5:27 Are you sufficiently humble? Because I am not.

Thanks for your support and inspiration. I love you all. L'Italia sta fiorendo!!! (Italy if flourishing)

Con affetto,

Sorella G ♥️🇮🇹


Monday, September 4, 2017

Happiness is like a butterfly

I never know how to start these emails, but I guess I'll just start by saying ciao like I always do...sorry if it's getting old. (Also this was an exciting week haha so this email might be kind of long, beware)

Tuesday, was probably one of the craziest days in the mission due to the fact that nothing really went according to plan, unfortunately. Midway through the day, Anziano Cutler says, "hey have you guys ever planned everything out perfectly in the morning and then had it go exactly as planned?.....because I haven't." 

We had an MLC meeting that we were going to be on time to, then we missed the street the church is on, we forgot we don't have the church keys (because we needed to go to Bari Poggio Franco's church), and there were some men doing road work on the street and they were blocking the church parking lot with their big truck while they painted lines on the street. We decided to drive down a little bit where there were no cones, more parking spots, and other cars parked. There was this little sign that said something like "lavori cominciano" in English it would be, "works starting." I was like "oh ok we're fine they're just telling us they're going to start working on the road" well little did I know that in Italian that means basically "we starting to work on this road and if you are in the way  of anything we want to do on this road we will happily remove your car from the premises" I also neglected to see the tiny little picture of a car being towed. I bet you can see where this is going. 

So we go inside to do this skype meeting and lo and behold our microphone wasn't working so might as well not even have Bari in the call!!!! Just kidding. The meeting went alright. We were trying to set goals for the month of September as a mission and we in Bari (the zone leaders and I) felt that it should be a little bit lower than the whole rest of the mission was thinking. It was a little frustrating because there were two missionaries that raised their hands to comment, one said something along the lines of "we have to have faith in Christ that we will be able to accomplish our goals" and the other said, "we need to always remember who's team we're on." Ouch. So I don't have enough faith and now apparently I'm on Satan's team haha. Just kidding, but I actually
felt kind of hurt. We said a prayer as a council and then voted on the goals and we were unanimous. I felt a lot better about it, but my mind couldn't help thinking of Levi Savage. He is my hero. If you haven't watched 17 miracles, watch it and then you will understand the reference. Then we had DDM which went alright. 

We left our phone in the zone leader's car so after the meeting, we went to fetch it and the car was gone. Yes, it was towed. Haha. So we ran home and quickly ate lunch, carrots and some cous cous, Sorella James ate a potato haha.  Then we jumped on a bus to ride into a sketchy part of town where the towed car was. We got on the right bus going the wrong direction so we walked back to the station and got on the right bus going the right direction. It was a lot less than I was expecting to pay to get the car out of the towed lot, whew.  We drove home, made the zone leaders cookies to apologize for NOT READING THE SIGN CORRECTLY (apparently I need to go back to Italian first grade and learn how to read) then we quickly went to English course. Lots of lessons learned on Tuesday haha.

The newspaper of Bari is called "La Gazzetta di Bari" this week some guy decided to do a story on the Mormon church and interviewed a less active member who does not have a positive view of the church. He basically talks about how the Mormons are racist, they don't treat women how they are supposed to, women are for making children and cleaning, etc, etc, etc. well everybody in Bari basically reads this newspaper and we had a ward council meeting where bishop talked about how we should respond to it and so forth. I actually was kind of happy and grateful for this article because it gives our members the opportunity to show their friends how they live the gospel and who they truly are!! This guy probably thought he was going to destroy the
Mormons in Bari, but instead he's publicizing us. I will send the article and you guys can see if you can translate it haha. It's actually pretty funny.

Also, the rainy season has started!!! The weather is starting to get a lot cooler. Last night I was actually cold in my skirt and short sleeve shirt. The days are getting shorter and fall is arriving!

Yesterday in church there was this old man member who fainted during fast and testimony meeting! It was so scary. Everyone thought he was going to die. Apparently, this has happened to him before so they called the ambulance and he's fine, I just have never had that experience before. It was cool to see them all come together so quickly though and give him a blessing. 

We also had a meal appointment with some members who incited their less active daughter and her boyfriend and it was so cool!!! On the bus ride home, however, there was this 52-year-old Italian man that sat across from me and Sorella James. This was the conversation we had on a 20-minute bus ride:

Him: you guys are beautiful (thumbs up haha)
Me: thanks
Him: how old are you?
Me: we're 20
Him: I'm 52
Him: Are you married?
Us: no
Him: I would like to have you as my girlfriend, or you (pointing to
Sorella James) or you (pointing to me)
Me: sorry, but you're way too old for us, plus we're missionaries
(they don't get that terminology so to make it clearer for him I told
him we're like nuns haha)
Then he patted Sorella James' hand and was about to pat my leg, but I
grabbed his hand and shook it
Him (leaning in): mi dai un bacio? (give me a kiss)
Me: No. I'm a nun.
Him: scusa ho sbagliato io (sorry I was wrong)

Hahahahaha Italian men. Gotta love them. 

Speaking of....quotes of the week from Leonardo, 

Leonardo: "La bellezza salverà il mondo" (translates to- her beauty will save the world)
Speaking to Anziano Wilkey with me standing right there: "quando ride, illumina tutta la piazza" (translates to - when she laughs, it illuminates the whole square)
This just made everyone feel uncomfortable

Updates on Silvia and Rosa?
Silvia said she couldn't come to church last week because she was sick
and she went out of town this weekend so we weren't able to meet with
Cristian is the elder's investigator now
Rosa said she would let us know if we could meet with her and never
did and said this week that it's her birthday so she's busy haha.
Domenico was referred to the Anziani

So we're still looking for new people to teach!!!

Best food I ate this week? Una lasagna bianca which consists of lasagna noodles, ham, mozzarella, grated cheese, zucchini, and lots of cream

New really good gelato combo:
Fragola, fior di latte, and nocciola (
Strawberry, flower of milk, and hazelnut)

Ok, now I want to share a quote with you that I learned this week about happiness. I am so happy here on my mission, but as you can see from this email, you wouldn't exactly try to get your car towed, attract a lot of old Italian men, or have people write a false article about you in the newspaper to make you happy.

And that's just it. We find happiness when we aren't seeking it. 

Henry David Thoreau said,

"Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder."

I know that we can be happy in any circumstance. I know that if we try to do things to make us happy, we won't succeed. We were created to be happy and it's something we have to constantly seek. I know that when we lose ourselves in the service (or attempt to serve others even when you have days like Tuesday) we are happy.


Your newest ZIA (translates to AUNT)

Sorella Gochnour ♥️🇮🇹

Monday, August 28, 2017


Ciao tutti!!

This week I asked an English student how he was doing. He said, "I'm fine. Alive and kicking."  It was hilarious hahaha.

We passed our investigator Domenico over to the zone leaders and it was such a good lesson! We asked him if he had a chance to read the Book of Mormon and he said he read about four chapters. He then began telling us the stories of Nephi and Lehi and Laman and Lemuel. We talked about the importance of prayer and studying the scriptures. In Romans 15:4 we read about why the scriptures were written, which is so that we might have HOPE!!
We also had a lesson with Sylvia and Christian and Rosa who we met at the gesso last Sunday!! They also had read the Book of Mormon! We explained the importance of the Book of Mormon. Something really cool this week I put together comes from Ezekiel 37:16-17 where it talks about the two sticks (the Bible and the Book of Mormon). The Bible is the stick of Judah, and the Book of Mormon is the stick of Joseph. In 1 Nephi 5:14 and 1 Nephi 6:2 Nephi explains that they ARE descendants of Joseph, the son of Jacob. WE HAVE BOTH STICKS AND THEY ARE ONE IN OUR HANDS!! It's so cool! Anyway, the lesson was great, they are very prepared, but unfortunately, they didn't make it to church. Updates to come on them next week!!!

Ok, this week I learned something about the atonement that I would like to share with all of you. We were on a bus and the Controllers got on. I showed them my ticket as Sorella James rummaged through her purse to find her abbonamento. She could only find the one from July so the man gave us two options: one, to call an agency and see if we had somehow registered that she bought the abbonamento for August, or two, go to the front of the bus and buy a new ticket. I, assuming she had money, waited with the man in the back of the bus while she went to talk to the driver. I felt really prompted that I should talk to him and tell him who we are and why we are here. In the middle of the conversation, we both saw Sorella James put a €20 bill into her wallet, turn around and begin to cry. Long story short, the man next to me told her she didn't need to cry, went and bought her a ticket, brought it back, stamped it, and then got off the bus. I didn't realize she didn't have coins so I tried to pay him back with my money but he wouldn't accept it.

I realized that this man, in that moment, was like Christ was for all of us. It was not the man's responsibility to have a ticket on the bus and it was not his responsibility to buy Sorella James a ticket or to give her a fine. Instead, for whatever reason, he decided to show mercy and bought her a ticket without accepting recompense or recognition. Christ did not commit our sins, nor is He responsible for paying for them. But He did.

I was very humbled and want to strive to be that person for someone else. I want to show that same mercy and charity to others even when it is not asked of me and when it is not my responsibility.

I hope you all know I am still ALIVE AND KICKING!!!


Sorella G ♥️🇮🇹

Best food I ate this week: peaches dipped in brown sugar, grilled, on top of chopped nuts (pistachio, almond, peanut, hazelnut), with ice cream and honey on top

Monday, August 21, 2017


Ok, so this week flew by!!!

Technically it did start on Wednesday, but it was a very quick one full of laughs and way too much food.

We have a member in a little city called Trani. She gave us a referral!!! His name is Domenico and he is in a wheelchair and has a speech impediment. I haven't been able to figure out the reason or cause behind those things, if he was born like that or if he has some kind of sickness, but he is so awesome. He is about forty years old and we taught the plan of salvation and he seemed to absorb it all really well. He accepted a Book of Mormon and said he will read it and pray to know if it's true! (Also Sorella Lomartire fed us lunch afterward and I definitely had one of those "hide e food while the member isn't looking" experiences hahaha)

On the way home, we met this African man named Eric from Nigeria who offered us some of his fresh coconuts that he was eating. We started talking and he said he wanted a Book of Mormon and that he wants to come to church! Unfortunately, he didn't come to church so we will have to follow up with him again, but at least his number works!

We met with a famous less active lady (famous in the sense that if you are a missionary and have served in Bari, you know who sorella panza is) who spent twenty whole minutes telling us about the history of her cats haha. We won't be visiting again for a little while.....

 Oh my goodness. We ran into Leonardo again. I don't know if you remember me talking about him, but at this point, we run into him often. We try very hard to avoid him, but we were looking for a less active in Bari Vecchia and he stopped us telling us it's not possible how he could be staring into the most beautiful eyes he has ever seen in his life. (Do I feel uncomfortable? Yes but if you move away he just steps closer so you just have to sit and listen) then he offered us gelato and said that he wanted us to teach us what we believe in. Hahaha oh, old creepy Italian men. Last night during the gesso he showed up and said to us, "siete talmente bellissime che mi
fate volare." 😳

Also last night though we met the coolest people ever!! Anziano Wilkey said to me, "come with us to go talk to these Ragazzi ( a teenage boy and two teenage girls). And right as we go to talk to them the boy comes over to us and says, "what are you guys doing here?" We managed to teach the plan of salvation, some of the restoration, we mentioned the law of chastity and the word of wisdom, and they were so wanting to know more about it. This girl just kept saying about how we can always add to our knowledge and how she was sad that she didn't get to go to church yesterday and how she has to wait a whole week to be able to go again! THIS NEVER HAPPENS! I was so confused and was thinking maybe she was like joking??? She took a Book of Mormon and was talking about how at least she will be able to read so she can be prepared for
church. Miracles.

As for the two girls from last week, one of them said "ill call you guys if I want to know more" the other one we haven't been able to get a hold of.

But this week I have really realized how imperfect we as children of God are. Members of the church and non-members. I gave a talk in church yesterday on Moses 1:39. It's pretty incredible how Heavenly Father only wants us to be happy. Out of all of the things he could desire and out of all of the glory he could obtain on His own, He wants us to be able to obtain eternal life. If we want to be like our Father in Heaven shouldn't we want that same thing for the people that surround us? It takes a great deal of charity.

Things are looking up for the work here in Bari! I am happy and healthy and trying to enjoy every second!


Sorella G ♥️🇮🇹

This is Leonardo