Monday, November 13, 2017

LET THE HOLY SPIRIT GUIDE



OK....

There was SO much that happened this week that I want to tell you about and to be completely honest, I don’t feel like my mission is ending. So this week was just another great week! 

It started off with an FHE that we did with the Musicco family in Trani. Ok, I don’t know how to explain all of the details of how everyone is related, but our investigator Nunzia is a relative of these people so she was there. We did this little activity where we all wrote something down on a piece of paper something we wanted to change. Nunzia said that she wants to pray more so that she can talk with God. She got really emotional and said she feels like God is calling to her right now. That was a really cool experience. 

On Wednesday morning Sorella Baielli and I had a goal of having six gospel conversations in the morning before we went home for lunch and we started doing finding and no one was stopping to talk to us. So we decided to start counting our contact attempts so that we wouldn’t feel as bad if we went home for lunch and had one gospel conversation. So we started OPENING OUR MOUTHS and Heavenly Father filled them. We were able to end the morning with 51 contact attempts and 8 gospel conversations. That was such an answer to prayers that Heavenly Father gave us the strength and the desire to talk to all of those people. 

We had a meal appointment this week with the Anziani and one of the members in Bitonto haha and it was a classic Italian pranzo meal appointment haha. She made us focaccia and olives and taralli for the antipasto. Primo was lasagna, then we ate ham wrapped in chicken and smothered in cream. After that we had salad. And then the fruit. After the fruit Anziano Dickey was like, “ok Sorella we prepared a spiritual thought for you” and she goes, “sì mo dobbiamo finire di mangiare” which means, “yes Anziano but now we have to finish eating” so then she got out the frutta secca (dried fruit) as in nuts and then she grabbed the crostata, which is like lie and had us each eat three pieces haha. Then we were almost done with the spiritual thought and she says, “yeah that’s great. Let me share my testimony with you.....” and she then proceeded to tell us her whole conversion story. AND THEN she got out the photo albums haha. I love Italians. 

We got a referral this week from a member from Bitonto and her name is Isabella. She has been reading the Book of Mormon and I am really excited to continue teaching her. We taught the plan of salvation and she had difficulty understanding why Jesus atoned for our sins. They’re not His responsibility, they’re ours. But I loved bearing testimony to her that He CHOSE to do it because He loves us that much. 

Ok and I know that this email is already like forever long, but just bear with me because this was really cool. So Saturday:
We had an appointment with nunzia (she lives in Trani which is an hour north of Bari) and the zone leaders also had an appointment in Trani so we organized it so that they would give us a ride and that way we would save time and money and both be able to go to our separate lessons. Well at about 8 in the morning we get a text from nunzia saying that her son and husband are sick and we can’t come anymore. So we texted the Anziani and for some reason they were really pushing for us to still go to Trani (later i came to find out that they felt like they were being repeatedly told by the spirit to get us to go) So we texted our member who got surgery last week and who told us that we couldn’t go visit her after her surgery. She told us we could pass by so the plan was to go to her house and then stop by nunzia’s just to say hello anyway. (Well me being me had this thought come to my mind. “Well sorella lomartire (the one that got surgery) always feeds us lunch so while she’s sick we should bring stuff to her house and make her lunch!” Great idea right? So we texted her and asked if we could use her kitchen and she said no. And what did I do? I put everything we had in our house to make a four-course meal and chocolate chip cookies in a bag and we drove to Trani with the Anziani. As I was walking out the door I just said a prayer asking Heavenly Father to make something out of this day because we were going all in. Haha ok so when we get there sorella baielli and I had to go to the store because I didn’t want to show up without some ingredients and then have to leave her house and get all of the ingredients so we ran to the store and then showed up at her house. She had bought us cornetti and made us some orzo and there was some small talk and then I just said, “hey sorella we brought everything to make you lunch, can we make you lunch.” And she said.....YES! So we were able to make her lunch and chocolate chip cookies and I think it was really special for her. No one has ever done anything like that for her and I think she appreciated it. That made my day and was such a miracle. 
THEN we had some cookies left over that we were going to take to Nunzia. I didn’t want to bother her especially because she told us we couldn’t come, but we just wanted to take her and her family some cookies to let them know we were thinking of them. So we tried calling and she didn’t answer so we just rang the doorbell and her darling seven-year-old daughter, Miriam, opened the door and let us in. Nunzia told us we could stay and so long story short, the Anziani left and went to go see a different contact while sorella baielli and I did her dishes and helped pack up some boxes (because they are in the process of moving). It was time for us to start leaving and the Anziani came pack to pick us up, but we hadn’t had a lesson and we weren’t prepared for one because we didn’t think we were going to be able to see her. So we were going fully on the SPIRIT! We watched the video “grazie a lui” And I asked everyone who Jesus Christ is for them. Then I asked because of that information and that faith, what do we need to DO? Anziano cutler chimed in that we can’t heal people miraculously or walk on water, but we can be baptized in the exact same way that He was baptized. Which led nunzia to ask what the difference was between her baptism and ours and we just bore testimony of the restoration and the priesthood and the spirit was so strong and then we closed it and left! I have never left so quickly after a lesson and I have never felt that I really left the spirit somewhere in my life. 
AND THEN 
At the gesso we saw our ex investigator Grazia and she has seen a lot of miracles in her life recently and she was so happy and we asked her to come to church on Sunday and she came! 

Ok, I’m not going to keep going, but basically, I have a testimony that Heavenly Father knows His children. He loves us. He answers prayers. And He guides us through the gift and power of the Holy Ghost. 

And I wouldn’t trade being on a mission for anything. 

Love

Sorella G ♥️🇮🇹



Monday, November 6, 2017

BE WHERE YOUR FEET ARE



This week was probably one of the best weeks I have ever had in my life....

Ok that might be exaggerating a little bit, but it was an incredible week. 
Sorella Baielli ate a green bean!!! I cooked like onions, mushrooms, green beans, and some chicken and made her try a green bean and she said to me this morning, “I think I’m going to buy green beans this week.” WHAT?? She didn’t end up doing so, but that is a big step considering that the first thing she said to me was, “I don’t like vegetables and if you try to make me eat them I will get mad. And I don’t want to get mad so please don’t make me eat them.”

The best part of our week started off with the Halloween party we had. It was so much FUN! We made a lot of cute little Halloween treats and taught them a bunch of scary vocabulary haha they actually didn’t like that, but we played some games and scared some people!! With the mystery boxes that were “brains” but really just cooked spaghetti. We had lots of fun. Then when we got home we got scared out of our MINDS by the other Sorelle. They had been waiting at home and had taken out my suitcase and acted like someone went through it. Chairs were knocked over and boxes were on the ground and we didn’t know what to do. We heard one of our balcony doors slam and started freaking out. We went into the hallway and called the Anziani and the Sorelle jumped out and yelled, “Happy Halloween!!” IT WAS SO SCARY. Sorella Baielli started crying haha. 

Then we took a lovely trip to Roma. We took this bus that drove us past all of the beautiful countryside, which is one of my most favorite things about Italy and we also stopped in Napoli......so we were able to get a pizza.......and it was the best pizza I have ever eaten in my life. 

Then the conference came and when I saw Sorella Demann I ran to her and she started crying and it was the best hug I have had in a long time. I love her so much and we just kept hugging because it was like it wasn’t real haha. I have been waiting for 9 months to see her!!! We were visited by Elder Enjbeow (I think I am spelling it wrong, but I don’t know how to spell it) anyway he was called as a general authority in this past general conference and there were a lot of things that really stuck out to me. The assistants said something that I loved which was, “be where your feet are.” And I think that applies to everyone everywhere. But Elder Engbjerg said, “sometimes you have to go a long way to save someone.” I loved that because to Heavenly Father, we are all His children who He loves. He cares for His children one by one and it’s up to us as rescuers to bring His children home, one by one. 

We also had MLC and it was a very neat experience. It was more of a counsel setting and they gave us some time to meditate upon a couple of questions. One of which was, “what have I learned from President and Sister Pickerd that I know I am going to be remembering and do for the rest of my life?” The first thought that came to my head was, “seek ye first the kingdom of God.” Just like all of the great leaders in the church they sacrifice health, family, and personal comforts to serve their fellow men. They have so much charity and are filled with the spirit. They also teach us doctrine and then let us govern ourselves which, in my opinion, is the healthiest way to help someone learn. 

On Saturday we had a lesson with Nunzia. She will not be able to be baptized before I get home, but we had a great discussion about the plan of salvation. She said, “I didn’t really expect for you guys to come tonight, but it was as if God himself came here tonight to tell me these things.” She is so awesome I wish I could explain it. She also told us she was going to come to church in Bitonto on Sunday! And so we told her we would come. We walked into church and she texts us telling us that she can’t come haha. But that’s ok. 

There were some other funny things that happened this week, but this email is already very long so I will just leave you with one last thing. 

At the mission tour, I had the opportunity to bear my last testimony to the missionaries (meno male it’s not my last testimony ever) and it was a little difficult to pick something to bear my testimony because there are obviously A LOT of things that I have gained a testimony of. But I thought the most important thing for me to share with them was the testimony I have gained of the law of sacrifice. I didn’t find true happiness on my mission until I learned how to give up myself. I needed to understand a little bit more the principle of grace and accepting the will of God. I thought that going on a mission would be a way for me to tell Heavenly Father thank you for all of the blessings that He has given me in my life. But going on a mission was not a sacrifice for me. It’s never a sacrifice when you get back more than you give.

Love,

Sorella G ♥️🇮🇹
OLY TITANS IN ITALY

AND HALLOWEEN PARTY IN BARI




 BEST PIZZA IN THE WORLD - NAPOLI 
MY MTC GROUP 



LOVE SORELLA GLEAVES

 



Monday, October 30, 2017

PANZEROTT!!!!!!




Alright well it's official folks. I had the best thing I have tasted in Italy this past week. A member taught us how to make panzerotti and I don't think I have ever tasted a more perfect dough. 

Also me and Sorella Baielli made this lasagna this week. It weighed 8.2 pounds!!!! (pan included) and was very good haha

Sorella Baielli and I had a great experience this week. I have such a strong testimony that 12 weeks is inspired, but while we were doing it this week we were reading about the importance of the Book of Mormon. Our investigator closest to baptism is Nunzia, who is the daughter of the recent convert in Bitonto, Dora. She is an incredible mother of four children and is progressing. We still have no yet been able to get her to come to church, but she does read the Book of Mormon. Anyway. As we were doing our 12 weeks study, I said to sorella baielli, "How do you think we can use the Book of Mormon better with Nunzia? We read scriptures from the Book of Mormon with her, but we have never been able to read a passage with her and have her attempt to relate it to her life." We started discussing if we should continue with our lesson plan of teaching her the plan of salvation, or if we should switch and talk about the importance and the role of the Book of Mormon. Sorella Baielli suggested we say a prayer about it, so we did. After the prayer she asked me what I was thinking and I told her I didn't want to say it first because I didn't want it to effect her answer. She said, "Ok on the count of three say either 'Book of Mormon' or 'plan of salvation'." 1........2.........3......... we both said "Book of Mormon" in unison. And what makes this story even better is the fact that Nunzia said she had another busy week so she was going to cancel the lesson for this week, but we asked if we could instead to a video chat on Facebook and she kindly agreed. And the lesson went great!!! There are ups and downs to doing a video call, but I thought it was really great because instead of having the awkward small talk at the beginning of the lesson for 10 or 15 minutes, we were able to start right into the lesson with a prayer. The lesson didn't go overtime, partly because Nunzia is respectful of time, and doesn't have much of it herself, and partly because I felt like we were able to be more direct and get to the point. She wasn't able to hear us very well, which I think could interfere with the spirit, but overall it was a great experience.

This week we get to go to Rome!!!! We have the mission tour and so I get to see all of my friends for one last time!!!! I also have the opportunity to give my departure testimony so I have been reflecting a lot upon the things I have learned on my mission. It is so fun for me to remember funny memories, spiritual experiences, life lessons learned and to just reflect on the person that I am now that I have been able to serve as a full time missionary. I feel the grief coming at times, for example when we finished our gesso on Sunday night I realized how much I am going to miss setting up a bed sheet and writing a question on it. The anxiety you feel when first approching someone, the rejections, being with other missionaries to support you and to learn from their example, smiling, and finding some of Heavenly Father's children who might be seriously interested in learning more about their Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ. I love missionary work. I am soaking up every second that I get to wear Christ's name over my heart. 

Sincerely,


Sorella G 











Monday, October 23, 2017

Yagottawanna (I read this talk that is so true...we have to want to do something before we can do it)


Hello folks!!!!

So I am staying here in Bari finishing up my last transfer training with Sorella Baielli! I am super excited and happy that I get to stay here. I love these people a lot.

We're going to do bullet points this week because not much happened:

  • drove to the airport to pick up a sister for transfer
  • Had a lesson with some members and we talked about the talk Elder Holland gave in general conference of April 2017 "songs sung and unsung" I think is what it's called. My favorite part of the talk is how he says, "Heavenly Father accepts us as we are, but we can't expect to stay as we are." If we live the gospel of Jesus Christ, we will be transformed in a better version of ourselves
  • We went to a ward party for the Bitonto branch and it was the most fun I have had in awhile. I'm not a big fan of karaoke, but Italians and karaoke just end up with everybody blasting music, screaming at the top of their lungs, and dancing. Fun stuff
  • I gave my last testimony in MLC.....the main thing I have learned from leadership is you have to be like Christ. He was the master teacher. Seek to be like Him.
  • For my best thing I ate this week haha it's kind of funny. We had a meal appointment with Monica and Massimo (they are semi-recent coverts and are so awesome) and they were so excited for the dolce part of the meal because they had bought us these treats from a paesino vicino. They are called le tette di monaca (the boobs of monaca) and Monaca is like a lady monk because I guess the nuns used to make these things haha. They are like balls filled with cream. They were pretty good, just mainly funny all of the jokes he was making. And his wife's name is Monica so it just makes everything even funnier
  • Last night we went to choir practice and it was the BEST THING EVER!!! Because I got to see all of my Taranto members!! It made me soooo happy. They are so awesome. They are in our stake and we have stake conference next week so we get to spend time with them next Sunday

The coolest thing this week was being able to listen to Elder Ballard come speak to our mission. The thing I like the most was what he said about prayer. He helped me have a completely different
perspective on it. He said we need to focus on asking Heavenly Father to accept our efforts. A lot of times we try our best and we still come up short, but we can pray to have Him accept and consecrate our efforts. He said, "Don't just try to sit there in your prayer and order the God of the Universe around." Prayer is such a sacred opportunity and if you think about it, Heavenly Father already knows what we are in need of before we ask Him, so it gives us the opportunity to really ponder out in our hearts what we want to say to Him, thank Him for, and ask Him for in our prayers.

Sincerely,

Sorella G ♥️🇮🇹




Thursday, October 19, 2017

MARIA



This week I learned a very important lesson front he mother of Jesus, but before I tell you about what I learned, I will tell, you about my week.

This week I had a scambio with Sorella Shelton who serves in Foggia. She is a great missionary and I learn a lot from her every time I serve with her. We did a lot of really great finding. She helped me to really realize the purpose behind why we do finding. That it's not just because we want to reach our goal of getting ten gospel conversations, that it's not just because we want new investigators, and that it's not just about numbers. Jesus Christ was never worried about numbers but about truly changing people's lives. She made this lady smile who was not interested in our message at all, but because this lady smile we were able to hopefully help her feel a little bit of the love that Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father have for her.

We also visited an ex-contact of hers here in Bari. She said to me, "there's this guy I met at a gesso and I invited him to read 2 Nephi 2 and I believe he's reading the Book of Mormon, but I don't know if any other missionaries know about him" so we stopped by his shop. HE'S IN ALMA 60!!! He has underlined things he wants to ask her and he knew what page he was on. It was the coolest story ever. He's in the other area so hopefully, the Anziani can go visit him and figure some things out!

I also had a scambio with Sorella Erickson and she is in the same group as me. She's really great and we had a lot of fun. We go home together so it was fun to kind of talk about the MTC and to reminisce about the "good old days" haha. On the scambio we were able to see Nunzia (our investigator) from train. She is so cute and nice and really
awesome. She knows she wants to get baptized and we tried to set a date but she said she prefers to wait.

She had a really cool testimony builder this week where she needed to make an important decision to know which teacher she should pick for her son who has ADHD to be taught by. She said a prayer before the meeting asking for help and everything went smoothly. She said she felt really good about the decision and so far it is going great. We were able to promise her that GOD ANSWERS PRAYERS and that she can have the Holy Ghost with her ALWAYS to guide her in making her decisions after baptism. She's going to be baptized!!! I just don't know when.

Ok now to Mary so this comes from a talk given by Elder L. Whitney Clayton. This comes from the talk:

Mary had been a young woman when the angel Gabriel appeared unto her. At first, she had been “troubled” by being called “highly favored” and “blessed … among women … and cast in her mind what manner of
salutation this should be.” Gabriel reassured her that she had nothing to fear--the news he brought was good. She would “conceive in [her] womb … the Son of the Highest” and “bring forth a son … [who] shall
reign over the house of Jacob forever.” Mary wondered aloud, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?”
The angel explained but only briefly, affirming to her that “with God nothing [is] impossible.” Mary humbly responded that she would do what God asked, without demanding to know specifics and undoubtedly in spite of having countless questions about the implications for her life. She committed herself without exactly understanding why He was asking that of her or how things would work out. She accepted God’s word unconditionally and
in advance, with little knowledge of what lay ahead. With simple trust in God, Mary said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.”

I know I am not like Mary, but I tried putting myself in her shoes. What would I do if that happened to me? I think I would have thousands of questions and doubts and fears and worries about how that was going to change MY plans. Mary asks one simple question and the angel responds with a very generalized answer that doesn't answer her question at all. So instead of firing hundreds of follow up questions she basically says "Let it be done according to the will of God." WHAT GREAT FAITH? She had NO IDEA what was going to happen to her. I hope I can have that amount of faith in God.

I love you all.

Best thing I ate this week: I have kind of been slacking this week and last week and haven't eaten anything out of the ordinary...I'll do my best to eat something really good this week!

Con tanto amore

Sorella G ♥️🇮🇹












Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Le vedove di BARI


I have no idea how to start these things anymore so I'll just follow the example of my cute friend Amelia and talk about the weather..... it is definitely fall and is getting much colder. The days are hot the mornings and nights are cold, but I love it. It is for sure my favorite time of the year, I probably said that in the springtime too. 

Ok, I have to tell you some things about my hilarious companion....

  • She eats milk and cookies for breakfast every day
  • When she eats something she likes she always yells, "so good!!!" 
  • She is scared of everything (cars hitting us, motorcycles running us over, spiders, the dark, creepy men) all of which are very rational fears, but at this point, I'm just kind of used to it, she will need some more time to adjust 
  • She loves harmonizing and we have so much fun walking home on the side of the freeway from the church screaming hymns at the top of our lungs
  • She knows lots of Italian tongue twisters (tre tigri contro tre tigri or trenta tre trentini entrarono a Trento, tutti trenta tre trotterellando or the soldiers shoulder surgery) 
  • We were doing weekly planning this week and here were some quotes I thought were so funny. There was a person who was making our lives a little bit difficult during weekly planning and she goes, "I don't have patience for this kind of bull crap." Then right before we were ending weekly planning I asked her to make some goals. She said to me, "you know I never actually look at my goals, I just write them down because you make me." 
  • She called the other missionaries this week to ask them if they have any referrals for us 

We saw lots of miracles this week and also had lots of hard days this week. It is fun being with a new missionary because everything is a new experience. One morning we were doing finding and it was like her first break down while doing finding, it has happened to the best of us. Luckily we said a prayer and after that, we went and talked to this guy who said he used to come to English course and used to have a Book of Mormon. He got kicked out of his house and now lives homeless in Bari so we just bore testimony to him of how God loves him and we asked him to come to English course and gave him a new Book of Mormon, but unfortunately, he didn't come. It was a really cool experience to be a part of though. 

We also had a lesson with Sophia and Nellie (two African potentials that are our two new investigators!) where we talked about the Book of Mormon and Nellie said the closing prayer and prayed to know if the things we taught were true. It was a really cool experience. They are from Nigeria and hopefully, we can meet with them this Saturday

The title of this weekly email is, the widows of Bari because this week none of our investigators were able to see us so we spent a lot of our time this week strengthening the widows of the ward. We have quite a few who can't come to church because of health problems and they are all sad and lonely. They live alone and just spend all day every day alone so leave it to the sister missionaries to help them out!!! One of those experiences was learning how to make orecchiette!! Sorella de Vanna was so happy to do it with us. Usually, when we go over she just talks about her problems and the doctors appointments and all of the surgeries she has to have, but it was like she was a changed person so patient and loving teach us how to make pasta. Win-win situation. 
In James 1:27 we read,
27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

We had choir practice last night for stake conference and it was so much fun. Singing I know that my Redeemer lives in Italian is one of my favorite things ever. Especially when you have a crazy Italian choir director. 

Love

Sorella g