Monday, September 26, 2016


Ciao cari miei!!!! 

 So this week was pretty awesome!!! The best thing about this week was the hilarious quotes given by multiple Italians. I will share them. 

Some of them could fall under the "you had to be there" category, but I will share them anyway. 

 We visited a member this week and at the end of the lessons we asked them for referrals and they say to us: "No sorry Sorelle, we don't have any friends outside of the church. We don't know anyone outside of the church." 

 From a lesson with Elena: "How do we know if Jesus wasn't just an extra terrestrial person that they put into the body of Mary?" 

 Less active when we start telling her we want to share a message with her about the restoration: "I already know all of this." 

 After the musical number in church on Sunday a less active comes up to me and says: "I am a drummer and I actually hate the violin...." Me: "oh...." ".....but today I loved it! Maybe you could come over and I could make a recording." Me: "ok. Thank you!" 

 English course student after he figured out we don't drink alcohol or smoke: "Change religions" Same English course student after pranzo when they were trying to get us to talk about politics (I think he was drunk a little): "Just vote for Trump. We need him to start a Third World War because there are two many people on the earth anyway." 

 So just a normal Italian week for you!!! I love being a missionary and I will tell you it is hard! But so worth it. 

 We started off with that great quote from Elena! She is so awesome and I love her but she just wants to go into very deep doctrine about how we are creators and how there are lots of other worlds and about aliens. And then she asks, "ok when is my baptism?" And Sorella flansberg just said, "Elena, we don't think you're ready for baptism yet." Which she's not and we needed to tell her that. Preach my gospel specifically says that you cannot know spiritual truths without praying about them and receiving an answer from the Holy Ghost. (More elegantly than that of course, but you get the point) so we just need her to pray and are trying to break it down and start from the very beginning and just the basics. She's awesome though. I am not giving up on her. 

 Then we got a new investigator this week!!! His name is Nicola and he is quite interesting. He is catholic but doesn't go to church and he seems like he has been super prepared. He was getting really mad at this catholic lady who was being rude to us which was actually like woah. He kept asking her if the people payed Jesus or the apostles to be a prophet and she kept like saying no and seemed super ashamed about it because she knows it used to not be like that. So that was cool to witness, however, he refuses to pray and he REFUSES to come to church. So we're working on it. Piano piano. 

 Language update: this week was very rough on the language. I don't know why, but I'm still working on it. I just felt like I couldn't put together sentences and I felt like no one could understand me. But I guess both my English and my Italian will get very low, and then hopefully the Italian will go up haha. Speriamo bene! 

 Breaking news! Cristina is not getting baptized on Saturday. We figured out some interesting and important news that confuses everything more haha. She doesn't want to get married to her companion because then she won't get the money that she deserves from her ex-husband (who she is still married to). But she doesn't want to separate from him because she likes him now I guess. I don't know. We are still working with her and she still wants to get baptized. And we have tried to motivate her to act on the promptings we receive. When we receive answers from Heavenly Father, WE HAVE TO ACT ON THEM!!! But we can't act for other people. So we are just loving her and will continue to teach her. Pazienza. La parola Della vita 

 Then we had a day where none of our plans went through, but that's ok. Everybody has those days. And we just spent a lot of time working outside and it makes me sad to see how much sadness and darkness there is in the world today. 

There is so much hatred and so much just SATAN everywhere. WE HAVE TO HAVE HOPE!!!! We can find good in this world. We just have to help people see it. I loved this quote I read this week. 

 "Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey towards it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us.’ … Hope sweetens the memory of experiences well loved. It tempers our troubles to our growth and our strength. It befriends us in dark hours, excites us in bright ones. It lends promise to the future and purpose to the past. It turns discouragement to determination.” Samuel Smiles 

 The highlight of the week was the musical number in church that Sorella flansberg and I played. We played "If you could Hie to Kolob" and it was very pretty and the members were so kind about it after. Even though it wasn't perfect. They all kept saying "mi ha fatto piangere" (it made me cry) and they all said that all of the kids that are normally running around screaming were just in awe. Elena told me she had no idea I was that good haha. (She got to church right after sacrament so she just missed the most important part of church, but at least she came!!!!) Anyway. They were very nice about it and I am so grateful that I was able to bring the violin on my mission. It has blessed my life so much. 

 Then we ended off the week yesterday with a very interesting pranzo with some English course students. They us to come so badly which was so nice, but I probably would try to avoid it in the future. First of all, they're all catholic so they are just drinking wine and coffee. Luciano blessed the food very strangely but at least he started with "Caro Padre Celeste" (he has learned something from English course!!) the rest of the prayer was more like a speech haha. Then he decided to give everyone names. I was given very beautiful. Sorella flansberg got sweet and shy. I figured out I don't really like cozze (mussels). And then they brought out the dessert. There was this like little cake. I only took half of a piece. And ate the whole thing. And then there was tiramisu (which the cookies are soaked in coffee) and then this chocolate fudge thing that had lemon liquor in it. And after I had eaten the little cake and some of the chocolate we found out the cake had rum in it haha. MAMMA MIA. WHY????????? Apostate Sorella Gochnour right here I guess. Before I ever eat another dessert here I am asking if there is alcohol in it haha. 

 I got to end Sunday night really well though because I got to listen to the first talk from women's conference, in English! It was a great talk too. She talked about charity and the importance of not comparing ourselves. The Christlike attributes are SO important for us to develop. 

 Anyway. I love you all and I HOPE you have the best week ever!!!! 

VI VOGLIO BENE! Have fun watching conference! 

 Con tantissimo amore, Sorella Lucy Gochnour


Tuesday, September 20, 2016


ok so much to share with so many people I love and I don't have tons of time so I am going to try and start from the beginning........

The week started out with a really good lesson with our investigator Elena. Sometimes I really wish I could have like Natalie Gochnour at our lessons because Elena loves politics and just talks for like forty minutes straight about her different theories and I wish we could figure out how to somehow relate it to the gospel, but I have no ideas about politics. BUT we got her to realize that she was listening to us, but not doing anything we had invited her to do. So she said she was going to prayer and seemed very sincere about it, but we will see how that goes. Then it was pretty late so she took us home and almost killed us like four times. I'm pretty sure she needs glasses and you would think an Italian would know not to turn down a one way road, but there are always exceptions!!!


Our train left Taranto in the morning and we had about a four and a half hour train ride to Napoli. I absolutely love the train ride. It gave me a lot of time to reflect on a lot of things. Like who I am as a person and really what I would like to become. It is such a tranquil ride through the country. The clouds are incredible. The cows laying on the ground while the farmers harvest from their fields. Mountain goats grazing the rolling hillsides. Rivers running through big walls of rocks. Little old cities built on the tops of mountains. 

When we arrived in Napoli we had to switch trains and Anziano Friedman had one of his friends bring us pizza!!!! It was sooooo good. We got a diavola which is like pepperoni kind of and it was actually super heavy and we couldn't finish them haha. But it was very good. Then we finally got to Rome after like two more hours of travel and we got there right during rush hour or something and the metro was PACKED. Wayyyy too many people. The Sears (a senior missionary couple) picked us up and we got to stay with them for our time in Rome, which was only one night. But they are so nice and made us salmon. So that was fun to be with them. Senior couples are the best. 

Then we had the conference. The Sears took us on a scenic view kind of haha. They took us a longer way into the city so we could drive on the appia which is supposedly where Paul walked. The conference was amazing. We started off singing called to serve (obviously because we are missionaries what else are you going to sing every second you can) in Italian and it was so cool. 160 Italian missionaries very loudly singing Siam Chiamati. And then we got to hear from President Learon and Elder and Sister Sabin. President Kearon is the coolest guy. I have so many notes that I took because I loved hearing from him. I could listen to his voice all day long because of the way he talks and the vocabulary he uses. It's so elegant. The word that stuck out to me the most that he used was probably the word bask. Which is so descriptive and visual.  I wish you could have all been there with me. When you are in that situation with a general authority, they are so much more personal. He started off by telling us how much he loves us. President Kearon was a convert himself in England and he said to us, "I am a sisters convert." Haha I love that. Telling about his conversion story with the sisters he said, "It was as if I was stopped on the street by a wall of light 
It was like sunshine from them in a place that isn't very often sunny." (Picture him describing this to us just with a smile on his face and in an British accent.) He repeated so many times DON'T WORRY, JUST WORK HARD. He talked about how in this church, we have never been scared of doing hard things. He said, "Ever since Joseph walked into those woods, we haven't flinched from hard things. The pioneers sang amidst their grief and their pain. They saw themselves not as victims, but as pioneers. BE LIKE PAUL, LETS GO OUT AND GET PERSECUTED." 

I copied and pasted my notes because there are so many good things that I loved. Read them or not, but there is some really good stuff in there. 

  • You've got to have your being match your message
  • Worry less, work harder
  • BECOME THIS MESSAGE and let it show
  • Remember who you are and who they are
  • Just be kind
  • It requires mighty prayer. That kind of pleading
  • Don't worry about you
  • Jacob is the worrying prophet. He uses the words anxious and anxiety, but he is worried about THE PEOPLE - FOR THE WELFARE OF THEIR SOULS
  • Rejoice in who you are
  • Think about how Heavenly Father and the Savior see you
  • Christ calls us His friends
  • This isn't something that you teach, it's something that you are
  • The thing that will surprise us the most when we pass through the veil, is how well we know our Father
  • He knows your name. He is our Father. His first word was when He visited Joseph Smith was, Joseph. He knows us. So bask in that, receive it
  • You're meant to be exactly obedient, but you're not to have your personality removed
  • BE YOURSELF - be happy, you don't have to be super lively -Your personality is fine
  • working working working, but pleading pleading pleading with God IN THE NAME OF THE SON
  • like Nephi, he didn't ask to be released from it, but ask for the strength 
  • Don't hesitate
  • You have to be able to hear no no no no and still envision yes
  • Make it a PLEADING prayer and also a prayer of GREAT FAITH
  • Don't DRIFT into the day - ATTACK your day
  • We have two ears and one mouth, so listen more
  • Invite with a sense of joy and wonder about you
  • Be genuine 

Then we had a little break for lunch and he said to me at lunch, "Hello front row friend! It's nice to see your face and the encouragement it brings on the front row."
After lunch we played Joseph Smith's first prayer and it was really cool. Anziano Anderson and I played while other missionaries sang and it turned out really well I thought. Thanks to the spirit. 

Notes continued...

  • Be less of a victim and more of an agent
  • It takes a great conference to last past Tuesday 
  • Stop worrying, drop your shoulders and just smile. And ask questions
  • If they are smelling of smoke, give them a hug. Look how the Savior treated those people
  • Isn't this just glory when this is happening?
  • Teach the children. If you teach the children you're teaching everybody. 
  • I get to represent the Savior of mankind, the creator of the world
  • You know you are on the right trail if it's uphill
  • Fill your mind with truth, your heart with love (you're here because of love), and your life with service - to be happy 
  • You'll never be happier than you are grateful
  • If you woke up the next morning with only the blessings you thanked the lord for the night before, would you think more about what you are thankful for?
  • Your success will be the fact that you tried so hard
  • Don't let the fact that you are 19 let you think that you somehow lack what you need to do this work
  • Don't let anything unworthy stand in your way. 
  • The atonement is glorious and marvelous I am deeply grateful for His patience and forbearance with me. 

  • Strive joyfully to become the message that you bear. 


I wish I could go through and comment on every single one of those points, but I can't so something I am really trying to change in myself is becoming something. We are all here on earth to become the person that Heavenly Father wants us to become. You know you are on the right trail as long as it's uphill and we know how this all ends. 

We ended the conference with "I'll bring the world his truth" from the children's hymn book and I looked up and president Kearon was just looking at all of the missionaries singing this song in Italian and he was blinking really hard. It is such a cool experience to be a missionary during moments like that. They are priceless and I will never get them back, so I am doing my best to cherish them. 

And after I got some letters from nana and papa and one from Eli and one from Carly. Woot woot!!!!

Then on the train ride home right after we had the coolest experience!!! I travel with my cute little violin on my back which is kind of a pain a lot of the time, but is a very good conversation starter. So Sorella Flansberg and I sit down and there is this man sitting next to me and he asked if I played the violin and so I said yes, and then we did t really say a whole lot for about the next hour.......and THEN Sorella flansberg asked him where he was going and from that point on we talked to him for the rest of the train ride to Bari (which was three straight hours, in Italian, on a train). I asked him what he likes to do in his spare time and that was where the conversation like turned completely. Turns out he like composes music and plays the piano and we were both able to relate to that. We talked about his family and he said he used to go to our church when he was a teenager, but he's not baptized. He doesn't like smoking or drinking coffee which is SO rare (like are you even really Italian?). But he told us all of these cool places we should go see (which were all in Bari, where we can't go because it's out of our zone) and it was an incredible conversation that I felt like I really participated in a lot. I feel like the language comes in spurts. Times like that I feel like I can speak and understand fluently, but then there are days where I am just really struggling at following conversations, but it's coming. Piano piano. His name is Antonio Valerio. Maybe you could look him up and find something about him haha. I don't think he's famous but he puts on concerts once a year his community.

Then we gave Cristina a bap date!!! She is so ready to be baptized and this situation is not changing so we decided we need to take a leap of faith and act. We prayed about it and decided that she should get baptized on October 1 and she agreed, but we still have to figure out how to get her partner to move out and figure out how she is going to pay for her apartment without him, but we have faith and are acting and whatever Heavenly Father wants to happen will happen. 

We visited Sorella parabita this week and sang hymns with her in Italian. It is only so long before she passes away, but we are cherishing the time we still have here with her. I will never forget sitting in her kitchen singing come come ye saints with her. 

There have been a few scattered rain storms this past week haha. Our investigator Elena (the one who likes to talk about politics and believes that God is inside every one of us, also the one who almost killed us) called us last night when it was pouring rain and told us she doesn't think we have the equipment to come to her house in the rain, which she was right haha. And she then went on to say she doesn't understand why we make such a big effort to go to her house and teach her because she says, "I believe all of the things you guys tell me already. You don't have to come to my house and tell me them. I believe in whatever you tell me. And i believe in Jesus. That's the most important thing isn't it? Whenever you guys want to do the baptism thing I'll do it!!!" Just imagine a 63 year old Italian lady yelling this at you over the phone in English (with the thickest accent ever), waiting at a bus stop in the pouring rain. So classic. We want her to get baptized, but there are still a few things we need to figure out haha. I love Elena. 

That was my week this past week. I really hope I serve in Rome at some point in my mission. It is such a cool city. 

I love and miss you all!! I hope you have an incredible week!

Sorella Lucy Ann Gochnour 

Thursday, September 15, 2016



This week the weather has been so nice!! It has been pretty rainy which makes everything a little more interesting and more fun, in my opinion.

This past week was so jam packed full of things that I will do my best to make sense of it all. And it will not be in chronological order and it is super scattered so if you can comprehend it and all of my run on sentences then that's good. First off, we didn't make food at our own house once this week. So that mixes everything up a little bit. And this week we had to say goodbye to two more of our friends here in Taranto.

Tanya (I'm not sure if I've ever given a description on her. She is 16 and her family is from Sri Lanka. They have been in Italy for about 9 years. Her family is less active, but she is a super strong member missionary. So we would go visit them like once a week to try to meet with her mom and get her to come to church.) So their dad has found work in Bologna which is up north and so they are moving. We celebrated her two years of being baptized and then we had to say goodbye to her so that was sad.

Then we also said goodbye to Matteo this week!!!! So heartbreaking. But we were also able to see miracles. We had a going away meal at their house on Tuesday and his mom made the best lasagna I have ever tasted. She calls us all by our first names because she doesn't like the whole Anziano/Sorella thing I guess. After lunch we had an incredible lesson with Matteo about faith. He has been struggling with prayer and receiving an answer to his prayers. We talked to him about having the faith and believing that you will receive an answer because that is so essential. First we have to ask, but if we ask and don't think we will receive an answer or have the faith that Heavenly Father will answer our prayers, He is not as willing to answer them. We committed him to pray that night and ask specifically if there was a God. And he agreed. After the lesson he asked is what faith meant to each of us. I loved that he asked that because faith really is so different for every single person. Sometimes it comes easy, sometimes it is more difficult to work for. A lot of times we can lost our faith very easily if we are not working to build or develop it, but if we do, it will grow and grow until it turns into a knowledge of things.

The next morning he called the Anziani and told them he didn't really feel anything, but right before he went to bed he felt like he needed to pray again. (We kind of wished he would have prayed right then, but no one is perfect and we all miss promptings from the spirit.) So then he said he was going to try again that night. When it came time for us to say goodbye to him on Thursday he told the Anziani he had to talk to them about something. So after English course we went to go get panzerotti to say goodbye to him and it was actually really sad. He will be in Scotland for the next four years studying at a university there. But after we said goodbye he told the Anziani that he had prayed again to see if there was a god. And he said after the prayer he got an overwhelmingly good feeling that he couldn't describe. He said his thoughts went straight to the church and everything that he had been taught. He told them he wants to see if he feels the same thing in church in Scotland that he feels here, and if he does then he wants to get baptized. Which is the coolest thing ever!!!!!! And the good news is that the gospel is the same wherever you go around the world. So we hope to keep in touch with him. He will be greatly missed.

Another really cool thing that happened was Matteo's mom thought it was really interesting how we live our religion. She said she was amazed at how every time before we eat, we say a prayer haha. I think it is really incredible that she recognized that. A lot of people say to us when we tell them what our church is, "oh so you're like the Jehovah's witnesses or like the baptists or the evangelical church" and every time we kindly respond, no we are different from them. (Just because we don't cross ourselves doesn't mean that we are the same as all the other churches that don't cross themselves) We are different from every church. Our church isn't something you go to once a week and listen to someone talk to you and then go home and go about your life. It is a way of living. It requires ACTION.

On Friday we found ourselves waiting at a bus stop in the rain and we only had one umbrella because Sorella flansberg forgot hers. So we are just waiting and after about forty five minutes this guy comes over to us and asks if we are waiting for the bus and we said yes and he told us that the bus doesn't come to this stop anymore haha. So that was fun!!! Then he gave Sorella flansberg an umbrella. That was so nice of him because who knows how long we would have been waiting in the rain if he hadn't told us. We ended up just walking all the way to our appointment because we were a little tired of waiting for the bus haha. And that next appointment was a really interesting meeting with an older couple named the Oliva's. They are both less active and recently Fratello Oliva started coming to church and he asked us if we could come over sometime to visit his wife, so we said we would. We get over there and Fratello Oliva just started telling us all of these stories about his baptism and what not. His wife was in the kitchen making us a cake and then when she finally came in,he wanted to tell us all about how they met, which ended up turning into them contradicting everything, not to mention the interruptions every five minutes to check the cake. They argue quite a bit, but it's not like they were mad at each other arguing. I don't know. I can't describe it. Eventually the cake is almost done and he offers for us to watch his sons wedding video!!! Which we decline, but he puts it in anyway. The video consisted of reallllllllly cheesy filming of their son and his wife kissing and walking around and getting ready for their wedding day. Probably the worst wedding video I have ever seen, not trying to be rude. And I was also doing my best to not look at the tv because I didn't want to watch it, but when they are staring at you watching your reaction, it's kind of hard to not be looking at the tv. Then the cake came out and let me tell you it was not the best cake I have ever tasted. She put more olive oil in it than sugar and also yogurt. Haha Fratello Oliva out a piece of cake on the floor for the cat, who wanted nothing to do with it and then his wife accidentally stepped on it hahaha. Oh man. I was trying SOOO HARD not to bust out laughing. Eventually we got to the spiritual thought and got out of there. His wife wants nothing to do with the church and it's safe to say we will not be visiting them anytime soon again hahahahaha. But it was good to visit with them.

On Saturday we went and visited this old widow in our ward, Sorella Panunzio, and she taught us how to make orecchiette! It was so much fun and she is such a pro at making pasta. I think it was fun for her to have us over. She started crying during the prayer telling Heavenly Father how she was grateful to have us over. She is so cute. I'm sure it's so hard. She can't leave her house because she has terrible eye sight and also Parkinson's, but she doesn't want to live with her sons because she wants her own space and she also doesn't want to be a burden to them. She is super embarrassed at how her hands shake, but she is an incredible woman. It was fun to be able to spend some time with her and learn how to make pasta!! And something else fun was when we were walking home, the rain had stopped and it was sunny, but there were still huge puddles on the road. As we were walking this car comes up behind us driving so fast and hits this huge puddle and we were just drenched!!!!! It was so funny.

On Sunday Anziano Friedman taught our gospel principles class about faith. It was a great lesson and at the end he made all three of our students (Giusy, a less active, Maria Grazia, the Anziani's investigator, and Cristina, our investigator) start crying because of the powerful testimony that he bore and of the spirit that was felt. After Cristina told him that when he was saying those words it was like Christ had come down and instead of Anziano Friedman talking, it was Christ. So that was cool and also interesting. She is so ready for baptism, we are just still working on the whole companion thing.

This week the Zone Leaders were here in Taranto for a scambio and they had promised our district that if we all got investigators in church, they would let us throw pies in their face. And luckily we did so that was pretty funny. I'm glad it wasn't me though. Yay for having investigators in church!!!!!!

We had a really great district meeting this past week. We read the story about Pilate and also the story about the young man who couldn't give up his possessions to have eternal life. Those are two examples of people that we shouldn't follow. We talked about owning your actions. Whether they be right or wrong. We talked about how we need to serve a mission to BECOME SOMETHING. Not just so we can check it off a list as something that we've done. These experiences that we are having will help build us into becoming the people that Heavenly Father wants us to become.

This week we will be in Rome on Wednesday and Thursday. President Pickerd chose some people to play the musical number and I was asked to play along with them as they sing Joseph Smith's First Prayer. So we'll see how that goes. I love playing my violin at any chance I can get.

We were asked to read the talks that President Kearon gave in past general conferences and there was something that I loved that he said about Jesus Christ being our healer. He said, "Our Savior is the Prince of Peace, the Great Healer, the only One who can truly cleanse us from the sting of sin and the poison of pride and change our rebellious hearts into converted, covenant hearts." That is something that I truly wanted. I want the pride and the sin to be taken away from my heart so that it can change into one that is converted. And this is something that only happens through Jesus Christ. In 3 Nephi Jesus says to the Nephites:

7 Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy.

If anyone is afflicted in any manner, Jesus Christ invites us to come unto Him so that He can heal us. He WANTS to heal us. That is an amount of mercy that I will never fully be able to comprehend. He loves us so much and I am incredibly grateful to be able to feel of that love and be here trying to help others feel of it too.



Con amore,

Sorella Lucy Ann Gochnour

Ps I'm sorry if I just ramble on and on.......

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

A full week of Fasting

This is Demba

Hello everyone here are some funny things that happened this week:
  •     When you ask three Italian men sitting on a bench where the bus stop is and they ALL point different directions. It was classic. I wish I could have gotten it on video. Italians will give you directions to anywhere if you ask them, even if they have no idea where the thing you are looking for is......

  •     I sent home a package to my family this week and they just have these red deposit boxes all over the city so I put my package in one and it dropped to the bottom and the flap on the bottom of the mail box opened and all of the mail fell out!!! Haha it was so funny. This guy was laughing so hard at us. We just put all of the mail back in and shut it. I don't know if that's how they all are, but I guess you could potentially steal everyone's mail in Italy if you wanted.

  •     We went to teach our investigator Cristina about tithing and fasting. Before we start the lesson, she starts telling us about how she was fasting today instead of Sunday and how she hadn't eaten anything because she felt she was in need of some blessings. So apparently she didn't really need to be taught about fasting.

  •     Also we sat in her kitchen and sang Nessun Dorma, Maria, and La Bella Donna which was of course the funniest thing ever for me haha. Cristina couldn't figure out why we weren't allowed to listen to those songs even when we told her four times that they are about romance.

  •     This same investigator also brought her Catholic friend Gilda to church (keep in mind it's fast Sunday so everyone is handing bishop tithing and fast offerings) Cristina turns in a fast offering (this is her second time and no she isn't baptized yet haha) and she tells her friend Gilda about it and Gilda pays a fast offering as well!!! Now we just need to figure out how to get them baptized. We have tried starting the lessons with Gilda, but she only wants to meet with us when Cristina is there and Cristina lives with a man who pays her rent and we're still trying to figure out how to get her to nicely kick him out and somehow have enough money to pay rent. But what little money she has she certainly makes sure it goes to tithing and fast offerings, which is so awesome.

  • ·    Also we started fasting after pranzo on Saturday and went to visit a less active. They offered us gelato and we told her "No, thank you." But she went and got us two cups full of gelato (which I'm pretty sure was coffee flavored) and so there goes our fasting out the window. Now I know how to say "I am fasting" so we won't have that problem anymore haha

Welllllllll this week was just about the saddest week ever. Just kidding, but not really kidding that much. On Monday we found out that the Lahadernes were leaving......which is like a dagger to the heart. They didn't tell us why they were going home, but their youngest daughter was struggling with some things and some of their other kids needed them and they just decided it was time to go home. They were supposed to finish in November but they left on Tuesday. At district meeting on Tuesday they brought all of their American food and Sorella Lahaderne told us this really cool story that I will share later and then they just said goodbye. It was so sad. I was crying as I hugged them goodbye. They were basically my parents. I love those people so much and I hope that some day I will be as thoughtful and generous as them. They live in Montana, but Anziano Lahaderne has some connection to Holladay, Utah so I gave them our address and your phone number mom haha so just a heads up on that one. After they left, district meeting was just silent and Anziano Friedman played "Savior Redeemer of My Soul" and if you know how much I love that song, then you know that didn't help with the tears at all either, but it's ok. They are needed elsewhere and I am so grateful that I was able to know them.

So here's the story, remember how I told you about Sorella Mazzolari and how she was struggling because all of her kids are less active? So in the car I said something in very simple Italian along the lines of "I don't know why anything happens, but I do know that Heavenly Father loves and knows us and he has a plan for us." That was all directed by the spirit and that was honestly the only thing I could think of to say. That apparently really touched her and when Sorella lahaderne was having this really hard time she called Sorella Mazzolari and Sorella Mazzolari told her that. So I am a living witness and can personally testify to you that Heavenly Father works through and by the spirit. Anziano Whited (an elder in our district) said something I really loved. He said, "Trying to do missionary work without the spirit is like trying to boil pasta without water, it just doesn't work." I loved that because it is so true. And I just feel lucky that Heavenly Father can trust me to be an instrument in his hands.

Also, this week I taught my first African!!!! Woot woot! Haha. There was a group of these Africans on the street and one of them stopped us and said he wants to talk about God with us. And we were like...ok. What do you want to talk about? He told us he didn't believe that white men can believe in God. And wanted to kind of get in an argument type thing with us about gun violence in America and what not. But he had a friend who actually spoke English really well. We asked them where they were from and two of them were from Senegal and the guy that told us we can't believe in God was from Nigeria, but he wouldn't tell us where he was from haha I have no idea why. Anyway. One of the ones from Senegal was named Demba and he wanted to learn more about Christianity so we set up a return appointment.

There are just a couple of problems. 1. We are not allowed to teach Africans if they don't have their papers (which allow them to be legal citizens of Italy) 2. We are not allowed to teach Muslims if they are planning on ever returning to their country in Africa, because they could be in danger. Well Demba is waiting for his papers and he is Muslim so unfortunately that doesn't really work out, but we can teach them the first lesson. So we met and taught him the restoration and kind of told him about the Book of Mormon and the bible and Christianity in general and it was really cool. It was incredible to teach someone something and just have them listen to everything you say. It was so strange actually. I think that was the first time I haven't had to butt into a conversation and was also the first time I have never been interrupted in the middle of my sentence. The lesson went really well and I think he was interested in it. I don't know if he will convert ever, but we left him with a Book of Mormon and some pamphlets. It is kind of sad because the Italians don't really like immigrants that
much. He was telling us how he doesn't really like Italy that much because he goes up to people and tries to just say hello and they just don't say anything back. All we said was, we know the feeling. (Also fun fact about Africans, whenever they are stating their opinion or talking about their beliefs they say, "for me.....")

But overall it was just another week in the life of an Italian missionary. Maybe just a missionary in general. Actually probably just life in general. Lots of appointments that fell through, lots of finding, lots of people not wanting to talk to you, and lots of exhaustion, but we are not alone in this work. You have to look for the good moments. For the tender mercies.

I read this talk I found this past week by Elder Quentin L. Cook called "The Songs They Could Not Sing" and he said this that I really loved, "There are many kinds of challenges. Some give us necessary experiences. Adverse results in this mortal life are not evidence of lack of faith or of an imperfection in our Father in Heaven’s overall plan. The refiner’s fire is real, and qualities of character and righteousness that are forged in the furnace of affliction perfect and purify us and prepare us to meet God."

I know this to be true. We are never alone. I also love this verse in D&C 101:16

16 Therefore, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine hands; BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.

Ciao ciao ciao ciao ciao

Sorella Lucy Ann Gochnour

This is Matteo and he gave me this book Paradise.

my view from the bus

peanut butter?