Monday, January 30, 2017

La bellezza della musica

The end of January is now coming to a close!!! Ahhhhhh!!!! But I still have over half of my mission to go so we're fine haha. 

We had a great week!! Every week is such a great week. I feel truly blessed that maybe if there literally is not one person on the street for us to talk to or if we only have two investigators to work with, WE STILL HAVE TWO INVESTIGATORS TO WORK WITH! So I'm ok with that. And we always have stuff to do! So I feel very very blessed and watched over. 

Our missionary schedules are all different!! I am sure you will hear this from every missionary, but now we don't do comp study in the morning and we have planning for a 1/2 hour in the morning for the day, not when we get home at night. The missionaries now have more freedom to pick what time they would like to do their studies so they can be the most efficient that they can. It will be interesting!! And might take a little bit of time to adjust to everything new but I am excited. We can now go to bed at nine if we want to!!!! Haha

Here's a fun story:
At the very end of November we stopped a woman on the street and she said no to all of our invitations and kindly said she is a practicing Catholic. 
I gave it one last shot and asked if she would like to learn more about what we believed in and she said yes. But call me after January 15. Both sorella demann and I both thought, "that's in like two months!!!!" But we were both still going to be here so we came in contact with her and set up a meeting. We went over to her house and she started off the meeting saying she is not going to convert or even do anything, she just wanted to know what we believe in, so we began teaching the first lesson. She seemed to be understanding everything pretty well. (One thing I need to make sure I always do is tell the members we take to lessons what we would like to have them share because if not sometimes they jump ahead and it is a lot more difficult to understand.) We began talking about the Book of Mormon and had her read Moroni 10:3-5 and began inviting her to read and ask Heavenly Father if this book is true when she mentioned that she thought she had one so I asked her if she could find it. She pulled out this Book of Mormon and there were two elders, Anziano Vandyke and Anziano Clark who had written a dedica to this woman and left her some things to read (the introduction, Alma 32, and Moroni 10:3-5). They had invited her in this note to ask in prayer if these things are true and as she was reading it she said, "ok. I'm going to read this and pray to know if it's true." 

It was such an incredible testimony to me of how our efforts are never wasted and sometimes we don't understand the timing of everything, but it always works out!! Heavenly Father knows. We have since followed up with her and asked if she has read or prayed or if we could return, but she has declined and said she hasn't had time to read. But it was still a really incredible experience and we will keep trying with her!

We also had a very HUGE miracle in church yesterday. Anziano Cox and I had the opportunity to play "if you could hie to kolob" in sacrament meeting and we had told a few less actives that we are working with that we were playing. It turns out that there were 11 people in church more than usually come. It was an incredible sacrament meeting and was really great to be able to see all of those people in church. Simone, the recent convert in Ragusa, gave his very first talk and his parents came! Who are both non members and are not interested but they came and felt the spirit! We also had Maurizio and Marcella in church with their daughter Asia!! They unfortunately missed all but ten minutes of sacrament meeting, but they were in church which is a huge step and we had a great gospel principles class about agency!! 

I just wanted to talk for a little bit about how much I love music. We went to a less actives house to teach a lesson and she asked if I played the piano. Which I don't really but I went over to the piano and played-  I believe in Christ and God be with you till we meet again, because those are the two hymns that I memorized before I came on my mission haha. And it turned out that it really brought the spirit to the lesson. And her non-member husband came into the room to listen to the music and stayed for the lesson, which I'm not sure he would have come if I hadn't played the piano. Also, I will never be grateful enough for bringing my violin on my mission. Anziano cox and I were practicing the musical number before correlation and our ward mission leader walked in and listened to the song. Afterwards he was brought to tears because of the spirit that he felt and he managed to get out the words, "spero che capite il dono che avete" "I hope you guys understand the gift that you have" 

Overall it was a great week. In church yesterday as I was watching all of these people pour in I felt such a joy. It was a little hard to wipe a smile off my face/close my mouth. Our ward mission leader who also serves as a counselor in the bishopric kept looking at me very confused because I just kept opening my mouth every time I saw these people walk in. It truly is hard to describe the joy that one feels as they see the people they love making steps to bring themselves closer to Christ and their Heavenly Father. I was able to experience a tiny fleck of the joy that Ammon and Alma and all of those great missionaries felt and because of that I am forever grateful. 

I love you all and hope you have a great week!!!

Sorella g ❤️🇮🇹

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


Hello my dear loved ones,

I love being able to email every week and tell you all about the experiences I am having. I feel very lucky. 

This week we took a trip to Catania for zone conference. It was really great. It is always so fun seeing all of the missionaries. Our interviews with President Pickerd were pretty early during the day so we had the WHOLE day to do missionary work in Catania. Which is like the biggest city ever. Just kidding, but it's definitely bigger than Taranto, which is about six times the size of Ragusa. And we actually had some great experiences happen to us. (Side note there is an anziano price who is one transfer younger than me (if you don't know what that means ask an ex missionary) and while he was in the Mtc his mom somehow read the story of our first violin playing in Taranto when we found Matteo and she sent him a violin in the for him to bring to Italy  and now he is in my zone and we got to play together!!!!) 

It was quite a windy/rainy day in Catania and they had planned to do a gesso (where you go to a popular square and draw something on a sheet or have music playing while you talk to people) the whole night and just have missionaries come and go in shifts. I was on the first shift with a Sorella from a city called Siracusa. And so I played three violin with anziano price until it started raining. We decided to take the violins down into the metro and ended up riding it all the way to the end and when we got off, it had stopped raining. So we decided to walk back to the square. On that thirty minute walk back to the square we saw and talked to more people than I have seen people outside in Ragusa for the past week!! We ended up getting a lot more missionaries and we sang and played until it started raining again. With a few failed attempts of trying to covert the violins with umbrellas, we decided to call it quits. Never have I played the violin with such numb of hands, but it was such a fun experience nonetheless. 

Our zone conference was all about the Holy Ghost. Every single day I just think about how grateful I am for all of the things I don't know. There is such a great joy in learning new things and in helping others to come to know the things that you already know. It makes it so that we must rely on the spirit and on our faith. One of the most powerful ways we can feel the spirit is through pure and powerful testimony of the things we know to be true. I have found that on my mission it is possible to teach someone something completely perfectly and clearly, yet they don't accept the things that are being taught. I was puzzled about how that could be, but then I realized that if these people do not feel the spirit, they cannot know of the truth. I realized that in some lessons I was just hearing testimony of the things I thought these people would need to hear. hello!!! You don't know what they need to hear!! That is why it is so important to bear SIMPLE and POWERFUL testimony in order for the spirit to touch their hearts.

We had a lesson with Maurizio and Marcella this week and he is one of the most stubborn men I have ever met. I was determined to do everything I could to bring the spirit into the lesson. In previous lessons with them it is hard to have the spirit because Marcella got up and down every two minutes and then he would cut us off and talk for twenty minutes or try to switch into English in the middle of a lesson, but this lesson was special. I don't know if he felt the spirit, but this time, I did. And sometimes that is all we can do. In 2 Nephi 33:1 we read, "the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it UNTO the hearts of the children of men." Not INTO. And there is a big difference between the two. 

In young women's this week we had a lesson about how we can KNOW our Heavenly Father instead of just knowing about Him. In the young women's manual it said to have a dad come in and tell the class how he feels about being a dad, but since we have just one young woman, I asked Lorena's dad to write a little thing about how he feels about being a dad/being her dad. I hoped that it would help her understand a little bit more about how her Father in Heaven feels about her. At the very beginning of class I asked her to read this note I had a father write and she started bawling and told me she never cries haha. I had no idea that the spirit was going to touch her that strongly but I am grateful to be able to have been apart of that experience. 

At the very end of Joseph smith history Oliver Cowdery writes about his experiences with helping translate the Book of Mormon and he says, "These were days never to be forgotten." I hope I can always remember and cherish and TREASURE UP these days that I am living because they truly are days never to be forgotten. 

I love you all dearly,

Sorella G ❤️🇮🇹

Sent from my iPad

Monday, January 9, 2017


Funny things this week: - 

less active old lady trying to open a water bottle by cutting the lid off with a knife because she's not strong enough to open it by twisting it and she didn't ask for help until I saw what was going on and insisted to help haha (she should not be allowed to live by herself. Way too many safety hazards) - other less active lady (she can't really talk and she doesn't leave her house - she looks like a skeleton, that's the only way I can describe it) was eating a piece of cake and she had crumbs on her face, but didn't have a napkin, just PULLS ONE OUT OF HER SLEEVE, it may or may not have been used haha 


 Holy cow I know it has been cold in Utah, but here in Ragusa it has been freezing!!!! It snowed!! Actual snow this time. I had on sooo many layers and it was as if I had on a cardigan and some leggings. The humidity said "100%" haha and if you know humid cold, you know there's really not any clothing you can out on to stop the cold from cutting straight to your bones. Also add the normal wind into the factor and some rain boots to keep your feet perfectly COLD and you've got a winter in Ragusa!!! Haha I am probably exaggerating a little bit, but I feel super lucky to have seen the snow here because it is not a usual winter. I was very happy. Happy and cold haha. And we are lucky because it has gotten much warmer since then. 

We had some very good less active lessons this week and a really good lesson with our investigators. Unfortunately the wife (Marcella) was in and out of the lesson, but we were able to read Alma 32 with the husband (Maurizio) and really work on his faith a little bit. He says he is aetheist, and the unfortunate thing is that he has a brother in law who used to be aetheist, but one morning felt like he needed to become catholic. Exactly like San Francesco. And he believes that this is going to happen to him some day. He is very open to our lessons, yet we are still trying to help him grow the desire to act on the questions that we have and remind him that faith without works is dead. Every time he says "Who knows? One day I might wake up and feel like it's all true." Who does know? Only God, but that doesn't mean we can just sit back and wait until we receive a sign. If Alma were here he would say, "is that faith? I say unto you NAY!!" He did say both the opening and closing prayer though and we are hoping to teach them the plan of salvation this week. They are a beautiful family and have a daughter named Asia who is about five years old. I want for them so badly to receive the happiness that the gospel brings to families!!! 

We also had a cool experience with a woman on the street. We were walking to a member's house on the sixth of January so already little people on the street because of L'epifania (the holiday that ends all of the holidays where a witch comes and brings all of the little children stockings if they were good) and that was also the coldest day where it was snowing, but we almost ran into this lady walking around a corner and I asked if we could share our message and she said, ok let's walk and talk so we walked for quite a while. She said she has heard our message and doesn't really want to know more, but I asked her if she has ever read the Book of Mormon and she said no. I pulled out my copy and asked her if she would read it. She was very skeptical at first and then she was very interested and agreed to read it!! Our member ended up having to leave at the last moment so it ended up that we walked for 50 minutes in the freezing cold on an Italian holiday to give a woman a Book of Mormon and I couldn't be more happy about it. There is something the lightens your should when you give someone a Book of Mormon. It actually really does make your bag lighter (because there's not a book there), but just knowing the truthfulness and power of the book and knowing the potential it has to change lives, just lightens your soul. It's hard to describe. 

BIG NEWS!!!! I got a new calling this week!! Well it's not a calling because I am set apart as a full time missionary and can't be set apart as anything else at the moment, BUT I was asked to be the young women's teacher!! We have one young woman haha. Her name is Lorena and she is SO incredible. She basically reactivated her less active parents, she's the youngest in her family of less actives, none of her friends are members, and she loves America!! Haha what more could you ask for in an Italian?? She truly is such an incredible example to the whole ward and then you've got ME trying to teach her haha. I just feel a little bad for her because she has to answer all of the questions and try to interpret my Italian on top of learning a lesson, but I am really grateful for her and her patience and she is just awesome. We're going to have a lot of fun!! I taught my first lesson on Sunday and there are five lessons that you can pick from and I picked the topic of "Chi sono io? Chi posso diventare?????" Who am I? Who can I become? There was a talk that I read that was given by Elder Renlund about how we have to always keep on trying. We are being shaped to become like Heavenly Father!! That takes a lot of tries and really we will never reach it without the help and grace of Jesus Christ. There is a quote he shares by Nelson Mandela. He says, "I’m no saint--that is, unless you think a saint is a sinner who keeps on trying.” THAT IS US!! 

 The bottom line is that Heavenly Father cares a lot more about who we are and who we are becoming than about who we once were. He cares that we keep on trying. And that takes work!! 

Missions are very humbling and honestly I fail at things every single day, but the important thing is we keep on trying!! And thanks to the Atonement of Jesus Christ we have the opportunity to try again and again and again!! 

Un bacione 

xoxo Sorella G


Monday, January 2, 2017

Stick To Your Task

Hello loved ones!!

I don't have much time this week so this is going to be super short. 

Some highlights of the week:

- I was walking out of the church and fell down all of the stairs. My hands were in my pockets and I have no idea what I was concentrating on but I like skipped a step and fell down all of the stairs onto my knees and then just kind of tipped over because my hands were stuck. And then of course me being worried about nothing but my jacket got up and asked Sorella demann if I had scratched my shoulders (showing her my elbows) haha I was a little out of it that day
- it snowed this week and was the shortest snow I have ever seen, but it snowed!!!! I have pictures to prove it 
- we got two new investigators and have a solid pool of potentials!
- the Sorelle in Ragusa are now permitted to drive the car (we just have to take the test which won't be until the 18 of January)
- we had a fun New Years karaoke party
- on New Years we had deep cleaning and stayed inside all day (the good news, OUR APARTMENT IS SO CLEAN)
- I found out I have been peeling an orange the wrong way my whole entire life!!!! (Sicilian oranges are the best tasting things ever) 

There were so many miracles that happened this week but I don't have time to write any of them. I just want to let you all know that HEAVENLY FATHER KNOWS US BY NAME. He loves us. And we have seen progress in the work here in Ragusa and I know that it is not all of our doing. Yes we have been working hard, but Heavenly Father knows who of His children are ready when they are ready. It is our responsibility to find them. And Sorella Demann and I have been trying to do exactly that!! I don't know why I can't really gather my thoughts today, but I hope you all have set new goals for the beautiful new year!!!!! I set a bunch of mine and after I was reading over them I found that all of them happened to somehow be related to charity. So my daily scripture to start off the year that I think I want to focus on is found in Moroni 7:45-48. Charity is such a blessing and on my mission my eyes have been so opened to how much charity Heavenly Father has for us and how much charity we can have for other people. We can see others as He sees them. I have grown to love these Italian people. I have decided that sicilians are probably some of my most favorite people in this world. So generous and kind and always the ones to make you laugh. They love you and want to make you feel like part of their family. I especially love all of the old ladies. Our ward is basically just a bunch of old people, but the old ones are the good ones haha. Especially when they are traditional old Italians. I find so much joy in being a disciple of Christ. I hope that as you guys make your New Years resolutions you will keep in mind this poem given by our wonderful and loving prophet, President Monson:

            Stick to your task till it sticks to you;
            Beginners are many, but enders are few.
            Honor, power, place, and praise
            Will always come to the one who stays.
            Stick to your task till it sticks to you;
            Bend at it, sweat at it, smile at it too;
            For out of the bend and the sweat and the smile
            Will come life’s victories, after awhile.

I hope you all will work hard and bend and sweat and get on your knees and when you get to a hard point or you feel like you can't go forward anymore, stop and SMILE. It's all part of the plan. There will always be someone who loves you. 

I love you all 


Sorella G


Hello again!!! 

This week was a little bit crazy and might be a little bit boring to read so I'll just try to include all of the details. 

Auguri is what all of the Italians say instead of like happy holidays or Merry Christmas. It also is in their happy birthday song and is what you say to people when you are saying like congrats. But I think for the blanket term it basically just means "wishes" so there's a little language fact. 

This week we built a stage for a musical!! After hours of drawing lines to look like wood on brown paper and fire to go in a fireplace and a sign that says "Marley and Scrooge" we were able to help our ward perform Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol". It turned out really cute and to have had everyone memorize their lines, costumes done, and a set built in a month is pretty impressive if I do say so myself haha. 

Then we took a bus ride to Catania to do a scambio! There were so many people there!!! If I get transferred to a big city next I am not going to know what to do with myself! There are way too many people to stop everyone. The first half of the day I was kind of in a daze because I didn't know what to think about all of the people surrounding me. Sorella Demann and I were talking about it and were saying "there are people passing us that we aren't stopping!! This never happens!!!" Haha, but it was fun. They have a ton of beautiful Christmas lights and we went to the center of the city and sang Christmas songs with a bunch of the missionaries and some ward members and it was a very fun experience. 

We cut out a bunch of paper snow flakes this week and went "snowflaking" to some members in our ward. It is basically the same idea as heart attack I but instead it is with snowflakes. It was very fun because I got the thrill of doorbell ditching (but when they opened the door there were snowflakes and a note on it!!) and also was quite funny trying to get into people's apartment buildings. There are just a bunch of names on a citofono and you can't ring the person's bell because then they know you're coming!!! Everybody seemed to really love it and it is always nice to know that there is someone thinking about you. 

On Christmas Eve we had a little Christmas breakfast as a district and we read the 12 gifts of Christmas which I absolutely loved. It is so important to remember the things we have been given that we take for granted a lot of the time. Like sight, smell, and taste. And the gift of our Savior Jesus Christ because without Him we wouldn't have any of those things. At about 8:30 we went over to a member's house and got to participate in their little Christmas devotional. Usually it starts at 9:00 pm, but they started it earlier for us and President Pickerd allowed us to be out a little bit later than usual so we could stay a little longer. Us missionaries sang a song (which probably sounded absolutely terrible because it was a cappella and the Anziani are both sick, but it's the thought that counts right?) The family gave a spiritual thought and then Babbo Natale came! Christmas Eve is a little bit interesting here because santa comes and hands out all of the presents and everybody just opens there presents right then and there all at the same time. And then after santa comes you eat until one or two in the morning. 

Christmas morning we went to church and partook of the sacrament!! Christmas on Sunday is so much more spiritual. It is such a blessing to be able to partake of the sacrament on the very same day that Jesus Christ was born. I am going to miss singing Christmas songs in Italian next year also. We went over to the bishops house on Sunday for lunch and then I got to talk to you guys!!! Best day ever!!!

Funny experience that happened yesterday night. Every single night at 10 o clock we have a mission prayer where all of the missionaries in our mission pray (in their respective homes) for three specific things. So I was writing in my journal and then it turned 10 pm so I got on my knees and it was Sorella Demann's turn to say the prayer. She said that she finished saying amen and I just stayed like that. She was so confused and couldn't figure out what was going on. She thought I was maybe praying and then five minutes later realized that I was asleep. I woke up at 10:27 and said "I fell asleep during my prayer!" And she said, "No. you fell asleep during my prayer!!!" Haha oh man. I never thought I would be asleep for 25 minutes on my knees but it has now happened hahaha. 

This week as I was studying I read a talk given by Elder Robert D Hales titled, "waiting upon the Lord: thy will be done." In it he talks about how we must be patient as we wait on the Savior. There have been a lot of people who have waited on the Savior. We waited for Him in the premortal life to say here I am. Send me. And the people waited for Him to come to the earth and to minister to them and to atone for their sins. The people in Heaven waited for Him to return to His kingdom and here we are waiting for Him to come once again. We must wait with patience, but we also have to act and to have faith. The good news is, He will always come. 

I love you all and hope you had the best Christmas ever!!! Mine was definitely one to remember. I hope you all look forward to this new year and bringing lots of hope and joy and goal setting!!

Much love

Sorella G 

Sent from my iPad