Tuesday, August 30, 2016


So this week some fun things that happened were:

1. I broke a jar of Nutella and cut my hands cleaning it up because it turns out that glass jars shatter
2. We had three pranzo's (dinner apts.) this week
3. We went running three times this week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
4. And we are going to Rome!!!!! Elder Kearon (who gave the really awesome talk about refugees this past conference) is coming to our mission so I will be in Rome on the 14 and 15 of September.

So many of you heard, well probably everyone has heard about the earthquake that hit right above Rome. No, I was not effected by it because I am six hours south of that, but it was very sad. There are some missionaries in a little town in the very north of our mission called Ascoli that were woken up by it and felt it and all of the aftershocks, but they are fine. Because of the continued aftershocks they have been sleeping outside because there is a possibility their building could fall. There aren't any missionaries in any of the little cities that were destroyed and I don't know if they are sending any to help. I would assume so, but not that I am aware of. That being said, all I really know is that there was an earthquake. But it's a very sad thing and a lot of people have been talking about it, which leads us into another topic......

So we met with Lucia this week again and had this really awesome lesson planned for her and we were going to try to get it all cleared up that we are not associated with the Catholic Church. We got there and she was very angry. Not necessarily at us. She just is at a hard point in her life right now I think. She has some heart problems I think so she has to go to the hospital a lot and says the medicine they give her makes her really tired so she can't get anything done. She also lives in her house by herself because her two daughters live up in Milan and her husband passed away, which has been devastating
for her. She is trying to sell her house so she can go live with her daughters, but it is not even close to being ready to sell and she won't let us help. So then I think the earthquake just topped it all off.  I asked her what she had eaten that day, because usually that is something Italians like talking about, and she like yelled at me BRODO which I didn't know what that was. It's broth haha. Anyway. We tried teaching our lesson and she proceeded to tell us that God didn't love us. She kept asking why we have to suffer for the sins of two people (Adam and Eve). And we would try to tell her that it was part of Heavenly Father's plan so we could come to earth and learn and grow and this was why Heavenly Father gave us a Savior so we don't have to suffer for their sins. And she would just cut us off and say, "Non è così." (It's not like that). She was trying to tell us that the purpose of life is to suffer. I told her that we believe she can see her husband again after this life and then she said something like, let me go dig up my aunt and show you that I'm not going to see her again. The last thing she said which hurt the most was she said, "your church brainwashed you and you guys came here to brainwash me." And then we just had to leave. We told her that we loved her and she hit us with a cold arrivederci. Which usually when you are like friends with someone and you like them you use ci vediamo. But when you use arrivederci it's like a "see you soon" but really "see you never again".

So that was quite the experience. We had to go get a gelato after that. It mainly just made me super sad. We have a message and a way of living that could change her life. Yes life is hard. It's hard for everyone. I don't know all of the reasons why people suffer. I don't know why earth quakes happen, but I DO know there is a reason and a plan. I have no doubt about that. I just am really sad that it ended like that, even if she is a little crazy to begin with. She is a daughter of Heavenly Father and He loves her just as much as He loves me.

On the way to English course I couldn't help, but feel a little discouraged, BUT there was a song that came into my mind from my last girls camp. Camp WALK TALL. The song goes, "Walk tall you're a daughter, a child of God. Be strong, please remember who you are. Try to understand you're part of His great plan. He's closer than you think, reach up, He'll take your hand." That helped me a lot. And also our English students are the best people ever.

We had a party because we are starting all of the lessons over starting in September and we asked them to bring food. Well they all brought SO much food I was going to feel bad if they had to take it all home. The good news was that they were able to eat almost all of it. After the food part we trying playing jeopardy with them haha and it was fun. The only problem is Italians will argue with you on every single fact even if they are wrong. So in the end we ended up just telling them they were right because they wouldn't accept the fact that a chili pepper is not the hottest pepper in the world. But they always make certain that we start and end with a prayer, even if we forget sometimes. They will never say the prayer, but they love them so that's at least a start!!!!

Hahaha another funny thing was in relief society the topic was on forgiveness, from a talk given in this past general conference. And the cool thing about Italians is they LOVE to talk and they all have opinions on everything. So this was kind of a sensitive topic because at least half, if not all, of the people in our relief society have been offended by someone or something before so it was good to talk about learning to forgive. I couldn't follow all of the comments unfortunately, but some day I will be able to.

We didn't have a pranzo appointment because the people who signed up went out of town, but Sorella Mazzolari invited us to come over. She is so awesome. She teaches primary, runs all of the activities at our church, has been the seminary teacher for 15 years, takes care of her mom, and feeds the missionaries like every week. We had gnocchi. And let me just tell you. Gnocchi is A LOT harder to get down than pasta. It is so much more dense. I won't go into all of the details of everything else that I ate because you are probably sick of hearing about it, but that meal and the apple I ate for breakfast was all that I ate yesterday. And I was doing everything in my power to not lay my face on the table and give up haha. Not exaggerating. 

It turned out that Sorella Mazzolari was very grateful that we had come. She has such a strong testimony and does so much for the church. She just has been sad lately because she has five children and none of them are active. It's hard for her to see all of these other families where the parents are less active and the children are active and she is very active and feels like she raised her children correctly, but none of them are active. She has just been sad about it lately, but she said it was really nice for her to have us over because it helped her get her mind off it for a little. I wish there was something more we could do for her.

Anyway. I think that's it for the most part this week.

You sent me with a bunch of talks and stuff mom and this week I pulled out Caitlin's conversion story that she gave on Mother's Day and it made me cry. I was fourteen when she gave that talk and I remember going and listening to it and being touched by it, but I feel like now I can really understand it. She had so much faith and so many promoting a by the spirit that she acted upon. She had the faith and the courage to respond to those promptings and although it was probably one of the most difficult experiences she has had so far, but will bring her so much happiness.

She ended the talk with some lyrics from one of her favorite songs that I loved and that I am trying to apply to my mission. It goes like this:

What shall I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd I would bring a lamb.
If I were a wise man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can,
I can give Him
Give my heart

I love and miss you all dearly. I hope all is well.

No matter how crazy the Italians are, I love them and am so grateful

to be a missionary.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Pretty Trees, Coffee Birthmarks, Fat Faces, and Mosquito Attacks

Gesso in the streets of Lungo mare
So big surprise, I'm still in Taranto!!

This week was actually probably the first of MANY normal weeks this week. We unfortunately had to drop an investigator. She wasn't keeping any of the commitments we were giving her and we asked her if she would want to be baptized and she gave us a hard no haha. But she said maybe in the future. So let's hope for that.

We also had a ward party again!! Our ward does so many events and it's like super irregular, but it's fun. All of the men in our ward did like a cleaning up activity to clean the road, so why not throw a party after to celebrate it.

On Thursday we had pranzo (dinner) with one of the Anziani's investigators. It's actually Matteo and his family and they come to English course so we have kind of been working with them as well. Unfortunately he moves to Scotland on September 8 so he is not going to be ready to be baptized, but we're really hoping he will find the missionaries there. We had kind of a non traditional Pranzo. We had like pizza rustica first and crostini (I don't know if that's how you spell it and I don't really know how to describe it either.), then these crepes that had like mushrooms and
cheese in them, then this meat that she cooked in straight butter and fries, then she made tiramisu but it has coffee in it. Well you soak the cookies in coffee and she didn't know that we can't eat coffee (or drink it) so that was kind of sad. But it's ok. We taught Matteo a really cool lesson after about receiving answers to prayers. And for having five missionaries teach one person it was super impressive.

One thing I have decided I will master is how Italians use their hands when they talk. Matteo's family were so confused when they figured out that they don't use hand gestures in America haha.

Then we stopped by our investigator Lucia's house. She doesn't answer her phone so we just stop by every now and then and usually she is home, but we got in there and sat down and she says to me, "your face has gotten a lot rounder since I saw you last. You gained weight." And I'm like uhhhhh......... I just started laughing so hard because when I feel super awkward I just laugh and Sorella Flansberg started laughing and she says, "why are you guys laughing? It's true." And I was like OK I get it. Thank you. Haha Italians. We invited her to be baptized, she said she will think about it. She still is confused that we are not part of the Catholic Church even though we have explained it to her at least fifty times hahaha. But it's better than a no.

We did another gesso with the Anziani and the question we drew was "C'è un profeta oggi?" Which just means "Is there a prophet today?" And we went to Lungo mare which was very successful because it's super pretty so people go there to watch the sunset and just look at the ocean. We were able to talk to a lot more people because they weren't in a hurry to get anywhere. I got six "no's" and one "I don't want to answer the question." Haha so that was good!! It's fun to talk to people even though I'm terrible at it and don't speak Italian yet. Also it's funny because you say, "Can I
ask you a question?" And then it's just a no. Or a pity smile with the shake of a head. I'm like you seriously can't answer a question? They make me feel like a beggar and I'm a REPRESENTATIVE of Jesus Christ!!!!! But we love them anyway.

In church on Sunday some lady asked Anziano Anderson if a mosquito attacked his face because he had zits on it hahaha. He was like, no. And it was so funny/so sad. They just don't get it. They also always ask me if my mom liked drinking coffee a lot when she was pregnant with me because of my birthmark.

Yesterday for pranzo we had a really good meal. It was this lasagna that had prosciutto and mozzarella. Then for the meat it was basically just hamburger meat in a loaf with salad and she had this like fry sauce stuff that tasted like the sauce they put on Big Macs, so basically a Big Mac. Haha and then potatoes and these little like
eclairs. It was good. I would say that was the best food I have eaten so far. Then she asked us if we wanted to stay until she had to go back to the church at 6:30 and we were like, uh sorry. No we can't. And went and waited for the bus for an hour and the bus took us like way out far and then the bus driver decided he wanted to take a break so he did and the bus was SO packed with dogs barking and beach goers.
I was so claustrophobic haha. Then we had a birthday party for Sorella Lahaderne (the senior couple) at the church which was super fun. Once again. Another party. But I think that is the last one for a while.

Today we got permission to go out of our zone. Which is like a big deal. Our zone is all of Puglia, but we are right on the edge of it so to get to the other cities in our zone takes like five hours one way, which means when we got there, p day would be over. There is a city that is in the Bari zone that was only an hour away from us that is really cool. It's called Alberobello which means beautiful tree. It is basically all of these little houses that are all white and are in the hills and it's really cool. So if I don't email anyone back this week, then I'm very sorry. I love you all and miss you dearly.

Happy Birthday Papa and Olivia!  I love you both.


Sorella Lucy Ann Gochnour


Saturday, August 20, 2016

End of transfer #1 in Italia #goUSA

Hi family!!!!!!!!

So a couple of fun facts this week, I found out that I actually like figs and we got a baptismal date with one of our investigators!!!

We had a lesson with Elena and we were trying to talk to her about the plan of salvation and clarify that we don't believe in reincarnation and so as we were doing so, she brought up baptism (just a little side note: she has been meeting with the missionaries since January. She is very intelligent and speaks English and Italian and likes to relate everything to science.) We asked if she would be baptized on September 10 and she agreed. So that was really cool.

Unfortunately she didn't come to church yesterday. She had to go to the funeral of a friend’s mom haha. Italians!!! 

This week was a little bit abnormal because we had scambios (exchanges) with the Crotone Sorelle. Crotone is in Calabria and is five hours away from Taranto. We took a three hour bus to another
little city called Sibari and then took a train from there into
Crotone. The train was only one car and let's just say we were really
lucky we made it there safely. The Sorelle picked us up and took us to
Lungo Mare which was really pretty.

Anyway we did some English course finding there and the
people in Crotone were so friendly. They have a lot of different
nationalities of people there. Much more than Taranto and a ton of
people on vacation there so that was fun to experience that.

The next day I was with Sorella Condé. We had three lessons planned
that day and the rest was finding. All three of the lessons fell through so it was just a day of finding!! Which is not my favorite and I'm not very good at it,
but I'm a lot better than I used to be at it so there's a start.

also fun finding because there are some people on the streets that
have really strong testimonies and they just aren't ready yet.

Condé told me that it takes a person seven times at least to hear the
gospel before they accept it. So who knows whether we are the first or
the sixth, it is still one less time that the future missionaries will
have and hopefully will help prepare these people even more to hear
this message.

The Crotone Sorelle had cleaning checks so the Lahadernes (which is
the senior couple here in Taranto) went to Crotone to inspect their
apartment. We got to drive home with them to Taranto instead of taking
a bus or a train which was really nice and super fun.

I absolutely
love the Italian countryside. It is so beautiful. You drive along the
coast so you get to see the turquoise waters of the ocean and the
beach and then there are like mountains on the other side. Or hills
and flocks of sheep and vineyards for miles. It is an incredible
sight, but my favorite thing are the olive trees. I think they are so
cool. Their trunks are twisted, they don't grow straight up, and they
have a lot of knobs and hope in the trunk as well, but they are
sturdy. It just reminded me of Christ. How he suffered in the garden
of gethsemane on those olive trees. A perfect being amongst so many
imperfect beings.

Crotone was great, but I'm really happy that I'm in Taranto. I love
it. We had a ward party on Friday night that was super fun. The
parties here start at 8:00pm and go until like midnight which is
super inconvenient because we go to like an hour, if that.
This time we got permission to stay until 9:30 because we had
Cristina, our investigator there. It was great to be able to talk to a
lot of members and get to know them a lot better.

We also got to do a Gesso this week
in a city called Statte.  (A gesso is where you draw something or
write a question on a bed sheet and do it in a piazza where a lot of
people are, so they are drawn to you and ask questions, etc) The Anziani in Statte have been struggling so Anziano Lahaderne picked us up and also the
Taranto Anziani and drove us to Statte. I got to play the violin and
Sorella Flansberg drew and I think it was really fun for the Anziani
to have a change of scenery with finding so that was fun to be a part

Our meal appointment yesterday went much better than the past two
weeks!!!! We had it with the Anziani so that was really nice because
they eat wayyyy more than us and I didn't feel as guilty not eating as
much, thus not feeling as sick after we finished the meal. It is the
same thing every week at every house. You start off with pasta, always
with red sauce. Then you eat the bread. After the bread there is meat
and Sorella Mazzelari (whose house we were at) made meat that was not
sausage!! So that was a change. It was kind of like a pork tenderloin.
After the meat you eat the salad. After the salad you eat the fruit,
which is always watermelon at this time of the year, and after
watermelon you eat the dolci. Which is cake and ice cream haha. And if
you don't feel sick reading all of that food then I guess you'll just
have to come here and try it yourself. It tastes delicious and I could
never get sick of it. Just really full.

Today is FERR'AGOSTO!!!!!! Meaning we made it through half of the
summer woo hoo! Absolutely nothing is open today so we had a deep
cleaning day in our apartment which was fun. It's so nice to feel like
you are in a clean house.

This week they came out with the "Teachings of the Presidents: Gordon 
B. Hinckley" and I have been reading that. It is an incredible book.
He accomplished SO many things that benefitted the church and was just
a happy man all around. There was a quote in it that I loved that his
wife Marjorie said. She said, "The only way to get through life is to
laugh your way through it. You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer 
to laugh. Crying gives me a headache.” That is some really good advice
 that I hope I can live the rest of my life by.

I love you all and miss you.

Sorella Lucy Ann Gochnour

we share the same birthday!!
Gesso in Statte