Wednesday, November 23, 2016


Before we heard about our Transfers...

After we heard about our Transfers!!!
Hello beautiful family and friends!!!!

Well this past Monday I received a call from my mission president that I would be receiving a new missionary straight from the MTC that I was to train in Ragusa. My first thoughts were, "WHAT?!?!? Are you sure you are talking to the right person? My name is Sorella Gochnour and I am almost positive you are talking to the wrong missionary." But as it turns out he was not. I now have a new companion. Her name is Sorella Rachel Demann. She is from Murray, Utah and actually knows the Gochnour's that live in Murray. So that was pretty cool. She is really cute and we are going to have a lot of fun and a lot of adventures together these next two transfers!

This past week was spent mainly in Catania. I will explain why. My old companion got sent to Rome. She was blown in, meaning she and her companion are both brand new to the area, and her new companion is a greenie, and she is also the sister training leader in Rome. So that's a lot of things. Anyway her flight up to Rome was on Wednesday so we had to leave Ragusa on Tuesday after she said all of her last goodbyes. Wednesday and Thursday I spent with Sorella Rushton in Catania. I actually really like Catania. It's a beautiful city and there are tons of people that you just get to talk to. Most everyone is super friendly so it's really fun to talk to them about the gospel. One of my favorite things about being a missionary is being able to talk to people about what they believe and why I am here. 

Thursday night I received my companion and we rode the bus back to Ragusa! Friday was spent weekly planning and in correlation. We had our first lesson together!! And then Saturday we had to go back to Catania for stake conference on Saturday and also Sunday. 

This past week I have been very blessed to have had many prayers answered. I can honestly say I am not exactly sure why I received this call. I feel like I am still a brand new missionary. I am in my fourth transfer and I don't know Italian yet. I don't know how to be a senior companion let alone train a new missionary. But I do know that there is a plan and that Heavenly Father loves me. He knows what is best for me and there were truly some things I studied this past week to help me accept this call. 

The first thing I studied this week was humility. I read this quote from President Uchtdorf about our savior Jesus Christ. I am here because I love my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and my ultimate goal is to become like Jesus Christ, which includes being humble. He says,

“The greatest, most capable, most accomplished man who ever walked this earth was also the most humble. He performed some of His most impressive service in private moments, with only a few observers, whom He asked to ‘tell no man’ what He had done [see Luke 8:56]. When someone called Him ‘good,’ He quickly deflected the compliment, insisting that only God is truly good [see Mark 10:17–18]. Clearly the praise of the world meant nothing to Him. … We would do well to follow the example of our Master.”

The second was found in a talk given by Elder Carl B. Cook this past general conference titled Serve. This talk helped me grow the faith that I need to trust in the Savior. To hang on to my faith because sometimes that is the only thing that is guiding us in this life. He says,

"The natural man or woman in all of us is inclined to allow us to excuse ourselves from serving for reasons such as “I am not ready to serve; I have more to learn,” “I’m tired and need a break,” “I’m too old--it’s someone else’s turn,” or “I am simply too busy.” Brothers and sisters, accepting and fulfilling a calling is an act of faith. We can trust in what our prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, repeatedly teaches: “Whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies” and “When we are on the Lord’s errand, we are entitled to the Lord’s help.” Whether we are overwhelmed or underwhelmed, whether we are scared to death or bored to death, the Lord wants us to gear down, power up, and serve."

The third inspiration was found in the Doctrine and Covenants. The Lord is speaking to Joseph in Liberty Jail. It is incredibly humbling to read this group of scriptures. It says,

7 And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.
8 The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?
9 Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever.

The fourth inspiration came this morning while I read in Mosiah 23:21. The people of Alma had just escaped the guards of King Noah and they had been baptized and were walking in the ways of righteousness and keeping all of the commandments and then we read this verse 

21 Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith. 

Heavenly Father needs to give us these experiences because they will ultimately be for our good and they will help us build our faith and our patience and help us to become the people we are meant to become. 

The last inspiration was from a couple emails I received this past week from my siblings. One was from my sister grace. She said, 

I know that the work is sometimes hard and it doesn't seem like anyone wants to listen or progress but all that matters is where your heart is. You can't fail on the Lord's errand if you are trying your best." And then she shared a quote that a friend shared with her that says, "I hope you always feel weak and inadequate because that is when god can truly use you and shape you. When we are weak, then we are strong."

And the last quote comes from my older brother will. He said, "I'm convinced that you learn the most about yourself when you have to deal with hard things."

I'm sorry this is kind of long and might be boring, but I am so grateful for the trust that Heavenly Father has in me. Sometimes I don't feel like I trust myself to train this brand new missionary and make sure she has the best experience possible. This doesn't mean that I am better than any other missionary because I am training "young" in the mission. It doesn't mean I can speak the language. It doesn't mean I necessarily know how to be a missionary or even that I did something or didn't do something to receive this call. All it means is that this is what Heavenly Father needs for me right now. I feel weak and I certainly feel inadequate, but luckily I don't have to do this alone. 

And I have never thought of my family motto so much in my life.......


I love you all dearly. I hope you know I would be lost without your love and support. 

This is me wishing you a HAPPY THANKSGIVING with lots of love and gratitude from Italy 🇮🇹 

Sorella G ❤️

Monday, November 14, 2016


Hello everyone!!!!

This week was so full of stuff I don't even remember what happened, but I will do my best to include all of the important details. 

Just a quick update on the lice......they are all gone. I think haha. 

Sorella Bicchierri was telling me how when she had her fifth week in Ragusa she tripped and fell and Sorella Rushton (who was here before me) did the same thing. Well this week Ragusa gave me the good old five week welcoming fall too. It was totally my fault though and was so hilarious. We were walking to find a less active member and Sorella Bicchierri said something about me not pushing something and immediately the scene from Happy Feet came into my head where the little penguin says "don't push me cause I am close to the edge". Yeah. My foot slipped off the sidewalk and I was on my hands and knees dying laughing. It was so hilarious. I am now officially welcomed into Ragusa haha. Also. It's FREEZING!!!

We had a really cool experience this week with a less active. Sorella Bicchierri had told me that this woman didn't like the Book of Mormon because of the war chapters. Because she doesn't believe that God wants us to go to war no matter what. So we enter into her house and sit down and she immediately starts talking about how the Book of Mormon is not true and how she stopped going to our church and started going back to her old one, but that one wasn't right either. She said she is really trying to find a church that only talks about Jesus Christ. No prophets. No wars. No anything, but Jesus Christ and his gospel. That's why she only reads the New Testament. But I tried asking her if there's anything we can learn from the war chapters in the Book of Mormon "No." haha so we talked a little bit more and Sorella Bicchierri and I were able to bear strong testimony that this book is true and that the only way we can get rid of our doubts, the only way we can know if it is true is if we ask in prayer. She went from at the beginning of the lesson not wanting to have anything to do with our church anymore to agreeing to read 3 Nephi which was really a miracle. It is so incredible to be able to see the spirit work through you and into the hearts of people you are teaching. 

We also had a frittelle party!! They are basically just like donut holes with raisins in them rolled in sugar. They make them in November and February for catholic holidays, but we just did it to basically have an activity and of course to eat haha. So we had everyone bring frittelle and we played this speed dating get to know you game so that people would kind of be forced to talk to people they wouldn't necessarily want to talk to normally and it worked out great! I think they liked it for the most part. 

This past week we also had an incredible lesson with an investigator named noemi. I don't remember if I've talked about her or not. Basically she is 15 and her parents won't let her get baptized. She had a boyfriend who is a member, but they broke up which was hard and she kind of stopped reading her scriptures, but we had this really cool lesson with her and she just realized how important it is to read the scriptures because when we don't, we lose that light and happiness, the peace that they bring to our lives. 

Update on Ida, she said she wants to get baptized if she finds out that these things are true. The problem is all of her friends are Muslim and it could be very dangerous for her to get baptized. She was like, I don't care. I will hide it. So I am a little nervous about that situation. We are still meeting with her though so I will let you know. 

We had a funny lesson with one of our ex investigators. She is 73 years old and is an ex investigator because her son won't let her get baptized, but she reads the Book of Mormon so intently and loves it. She's also very catholic at the same time though haha. She was asking all of these questions and wants to know the difference between this and that. She wanted to know if I have ever met President Monson haha and then she asks, "have you guys talked to the pope about this stuff?" Hahaha I just started laughing. Sorella Bicchierri says all the time how she wants to talk to the pope and convert him. 

Also my companion found out that she is not staying here for the next transfer so we have been doing quite a few, and by that I mean four trillion goodbyes. This next week is transfer week and I am pretty sure I will be staying here which I am happy about. Needless to say we have seen a lot of miracles this week. And I can say there will continue to be miracles. If you look for them, they are there. 

There was something that I came across this week that I wanted to share with you. It says:

An old saying teaches that you can count the number of seeds in a single apple, but you can’t count the number of apples in a single seed. The harvest is the Lord’s. Your responsibility is to thrust in the sickle. 

I just realized that yes missionaries and even we as members are to plant seeds, but I never really thought about what happens when those seeds grow up into big beautiful trees that are full of apples full of seeds. Our responsibility is to THRUST (to move or advance forcibly) in our sickles. The harvest is the Lord's. We do the best that we can and He will do the rest. 

How grateful I am to have a Savior who is with us every step of the way. 

I love and miss you all and hope you know you are in my prayers 

Con amore,
Sorella G ❤️️🇮🇹

This is a picture of mount Etna and you can't see the volcano. Nice!!

Monday, November 7, 2016

p a t i e n c e - la parola della vita

Hello everyone!!! 

I'm going to start off this week with a question! Which parasite did you get this month??? Because I got lice. Haha SO MUCH FUN!!!!!! I will spare you with the details, but it was quite a traumatizing experience that I wouldn't wish on anyone haha. And we'll leave it at that. How did I get lice, you may ask? From traveling to Catania for zone conference at the beginning of the transfer and sleeping in a cockroach infested apartment on sheets and pillowcases that have been sitting in that apartment for at least twenty years. Haha oh man. Missions. Also this week Sorella Bicchierri's tooth was really hurting her so we took her to the dentist. (So incredibly incredibly grateful for American dentists) but we found out that her tooth right next to the front tooth (I don't know what it is called) is dead. So she is going to have to get a root canal. Not fun. We still don't know yet if she will stay in this city to get that done, or if president will transfer her. She's not in pain anymore with her tooth though so that's good. She has also had back, feet, and eye problems while being in good old Ragusa haha. 

This week we switched our area book to our iPads. And our planner is now on our iPads as well. It is soooo strange. I don't know how I feel about it yet. It's very convenient, but also is so weird not to have paper planners anymore. And figuring out weekly planning took the whole day. Hopefully I won't have to spend that long on weekly planning again haha. 

We have been working with a couple of our new investigators, Ida and Nida. They are from Tunisia and are of a Muslim background which is dangerous in some situations if they become Christian so we don't exactly know if we will be able to continue teaching them but this week In one of our lessons we wanted to focus on Jesus Christ so the she could kind of know and understand a little more about who He is and what exactly He did for us. We began to talk and she had some great questions. She had picked up on us saying "He suffered for our sins" and she wanted to know why we still sin and why we still have pains and afflictions. It is one of my very favorite things to help people understand that this church has answers to questions like this. That we have the opportunity to know that yes, Jesus Christ did suffer for our sins and our pains and our weaknesses so doesn't that mean we shouldn't have them anymore? It actually just means that there was someone who loved us enough to go through every single one of those things so that we don't have to go through it alone just like He did. It is something that is quite hard to comprehend at times for our mortal minds. I feel so incredibly and humbly grateful that I have a knowledge of and have felt and seen that love in my life. At the end of the lesson she expressed how she wants to feel the same way we do about Jesus Christ. That she wants to be able to know the things that we know and she has started on the path. I hope that she will just continue along that path. 

This ward in Ragusa is struggling a bit and I don't exactly understand why. They have all of the problems that every other city has, but it just seems like everyone has lost their hope. There are a lot of members that don't want callings and they don't want to do their visiting teaching. There are less actives who would rather do anything else but go to church on Sunday. Our leaders are very exhausted of dealing with the same problems and we had a very depressing correlation meeting with our ward mission leader. We as missionaries are doing our best to help people be unified and excited about missionary work! To find hope and faith despite all of the problems that are happening. I heard recently that there was a tornado in Lidispoli which is near Rome and two people lost their lives. Haha and right now I am just pretty convinced that either something really big is about to happen in the Italy, Rome mission, or Satan is doing everything possible in his power to stop this work from progressing. 

And this is where the title of this weeks email comes into play. There was an article in the October ensign titled "The Miracle of Medium Heat" and it talks about making a perfect grilled cheese. And if you have ever eaten one of my mom's grilled cheeses, you know what a good grilled cheese tastes like. Basically he talks about how to make a grilled cheese you have to be patient. Yes maybe if you turn the heat up it will cook faster, but your grilled cheese will come out looking burnt on the outside and with unmelted cheese on the inside. So the secret is patience and medium heat. There is a quote from President Uchtdorf that I love. He says, "Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something and doing all that we can--working, hoping, and exercising faith; bearing hardship with fortitude, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well!”

In order to go reach it to the celestial kingdom we have to endure. And do it well and that requires patience. Every single person in this world struggles with something. Whether it be lice, a dead tooth, no desire to do anything, pride, or making a good grilled cheese. But how lucky we are to have ONE who understands us all. He knows us BY NAME. And He is standing there at the ready to endure with us. 

Although I feel at times like I have no idea how I could solve any of these problems, I have been set apart as a full time missionary to help others come unto Christ. And that is exactly what I will work my hardest to do. I love this work and we are CHOOSING HAPPY!!!!!

I love and miss you all very dearly. 
Good luck with elections!!! ✔️

- Sorella G ❤️🇮🇹