Monday, February 27, 2017

"ROMA 3 (TRE) NUMBER ONE" half already done

This week's title comes from a quote from a member this week haha. His name is Dennis (he's from Gabon where they speak French and he now speaks Italian and said a sentence in half Italian - half English with a French Italian African accent haha pretty cool) and the second half is because this week, on March 1st, I hit my halfway mark!!! WHAT??? Weird how over a year ago I had my mission call. Time is the weirdest concept. I'm used to my mission. And I love it. I don't want it to end. (Every time I go through these thoughts I just have to say LIVE IN THE MOMENT AND ENJOY EVERY SECOND)

This week, to give you an idea of how diverse it is in Rome, we had five meal appointments. We ate food from the Dominican Republic (my personal favorite this week), then food from Italy, then food from America, then food from Bolivia (that was quite the experience I will have to tell that story another time haha), then food from Africa (but Dennis's food was like a very mild mild African. I wouldn't consider it African besides the fact that we had fried plantains.) 

There is something very cool that our stake is implementing this year that I would like to share with all of you. After much fasting and prayer, the leaders of our stake came to a conclusion of how we can prepare ourselves a little bit more for the temple to be finished and how we can get involved in member missionary work!! The missionaries will be delivering a Book of Mormon to every single active member. They are to take that Book of Mormon, write their testimony in it, and give that Book to someone who will meet with the missionaries to have the first lesson. The goal is that by December every member will have been able to hand out the Book of Mormon to someone who will meet with the missionaries. It is going to require a lot of faith, but I really think it will help these active members to feel the fire of missionary work!!! Someone said at the end of their testimony, ".....and I am grateful that we have a temple here in Rome." Which really struck me. He didn't say "even though it isn't finished and we don't know when it is going to be finished and it was announced almost ten years ago" he just said, "I am grateful we have a temple here in Rome." These people truly are so lucky and it is so easy to point out the things that we DON'T have, but just helped give me a great reminder that we must be grateful for the things we DO have. 

This week in my personal study I finished Alma chapter 36 and I really loved Alma'S final testimony to his son Helaman. After describing his whole conversion story in GREAT detail. When I read it I really feel like I understand completely all of his feelings. And then in verse 30 he says, 

30 But behold, my son, this is not all; for ye ought to know as I DO KNOW, that inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land; and ye ought to know also, that inasmuch as ye will not keep the commandments of God ye shall be cut off from his presence. Now this is according to his word.

I really loved that. By reading his conversion story YOU KNOW that HE DOES KNOW what it is like to feel that sorrow and that pain that comes when we disobey the commandments of God. And his first advice, that he repeats several times over and over again, is the KEEP the commandments. IT'S SO IMPORTANT. 

Hitting half way in the mission is really strange. I really actually feel like I have been here for a month and am still in my first transfer. But then there are times when we run into Americans and they ask what it is like to be on a mission or what the weirdest thing is as being a missionary here and honestly I just think. "I don't remember what it is like to not be a missionary. Was I ever not a missionary?? Everything is just normal." I still feel like I have SO MUCH to learn and so much to grow. This week I reread one of my favorite talks and it really has been helping me with how I have been feeling as of late and this quote says, 
"Riconoscete onestamente i vostri dubbi e le vostre preoccupazioni, ma prima di tutto, alimentate il fuoco della vostra fede, perché OGNI COSA È POSSIBILE A CHI CREDE."

Everything is possible to those who believe. And I have to honestly keep saying, 

"Lord I believe, help thou my unbelief."



Friday, February 24, 2017

I don't know what to title this......?


Once again no time, but I'll do my best to gather my thoughts and jot them down. 

First off. The more I get to know this city, ROMA, the more I love it. I have come to an understanding that everything is what you make it. If you want to love something, you invest yourself in it. 

It was a great week here in Rome. Every Monday and Thursday we go to a thing called Caritas. A Catholic Church organizes this and we go to and hand out clothes to people that need them with a bunch of older catholic ladies. They are funny and it is probably one of my favorite things ever haha. 

We also have this investigator named Saga. She's from Finland and is very educated and has a background with our church, but just kind of wants to know more of what we believe in.  I am really hoping that we can help her to feel the Spirit and I hope that she will read and pray on her own because really no matter how much we talk about the truth, you can't know it until you put the effort in yourself. 

For Valentine's Day we went and heart attacked a couple of members and the senior couple that is in Rome 3!! Hopefully it will help build some relationships letting them know that we are thinking about them. 

I also had a scambio with Sorella Bicchierri!!!! She was my companion in Ragusa and she is now my sister training leader here in Rome haha. She is so funny. It was a very needed scambio and we were able to just laugh and do some good missionary work. She is a really hard worker. Also we went to their English course and it is so classic trying to see how Italians pronounce my last name. It never gets old. I am going to see if I can figure out how to somehow take a video of someone trying to pronounce my name. 

Our ward is pretty small. It's probably about the same amount of people that came in Ragusa. Like 30-40 maybe. But there are 490 people on our ward list. So lots of work for us missionaries to do. Also there are two American families of like seven people that are here for like three weeks so they come to church and we translate in nursery (still kind of confused why we translate for nursery children, but the teacher asks us to and I feel really bad telling her that she doesn't need us in there to translate) and then in relief society and let me tell you....translating is HARD!! Haha. Your brain is in two completely different places and it's hard because you can understanding everything that they are saying but then conveying that to another person is a whole different ball game. I am pretty sure our whole ward speaks English so that is a big difference. We hear a lot more English in Rome than I have heard my whole mission. 

Haha this week we tried to do exercise finding (aka we went to this huge park and tried to find the people that were specifically exercising). We met this lady and she kept going on and on about exorcisms and how there is so much that we still have to learn and see haha. Yikes!!!

Rome is a new city and a new everything, but I really love it. It's all about the attitude that you have and finding joy in the journey. I find myself thinking a lot about the country of Italy. I really love this country a lot. It is home to me. It is going to be super strange someday having to leave home again, but until then andiamo avanti fino alla fine!!!

I love being a missionary!! And I love you all!! I hope you had a great week and go devils!!!!

Love sorella G 

Spanish steps

Heart Attack

Monday, February 13, 2017


Well the unexpected happened this week!!! I learned that I was being transferred to Rome!! Pretty crazy news. The area that I am serving in is like the south east part of the city. It's like a pie shape of an area, but it's actually huge. Like we could ride a train four four hours outside of the city and still be in our area. Also some other fun facts about Rome 3:

- our church building used to be a prison
- Rome 3 is the ghetto of Rome
- there is bomba

Those were the only things that missionaries knew about Rome 3 haha. I asked another Sorella about it who served in Rome 5 and she was like, "you're going to Rome 3?? Oh. I'm sorry. I spent a week there and I really didn't like it." Haha but that's ok!!!! I'm here and we are going to make the most of it!!!!!! 

I have never seen so many nationalities in my life and sometimes when we are walking down the street I just have memories that pop up in my brain of when I went to Belize, and then I remember that I am in Rome..... but it has been an adjustment to day the least!!!

My poor companion is probably so sick of me talking about how different it is from Ragusa. Different accents, different people, different travel means, different work, different city, different everything!!!! I was really actually heartbroken to leave the people of Ragusa but I am determined to make the most of my time here in Rome. My companion's name is Sorella Graff. She is from Pueblo, Colorado and is just beginning her 3rd transfer! She is super nice and actually has done a really good job of getting us around the city. It is so confusing haha. There are three different metro lines and then like five different buses and people live in different little suburbs and you have to know which one goes where and at what time and I am still trying to figure out what bus stop we are actually at!!! In Ragusa if we wanted to go somewhere we just walked there! And if we wanted to do finding we just walked down the main road! Haha. So. Different. But so far I have loved it. Rome is a very cool and very historical city. My world got taken and turned completely upside down, but it is good. Change is good. When we experience changes, our faith grows and we rely more on Heavenly Father and less on our own abilities. I kind of feel like I am starting at ground zero and I can't help but think about the Master Gardner. He loves me enough that he would cut me down. He knows who I need to become and the things I need to do to become that. 

As I was on the ten hour train ride from Catania to Rome I read some scriptures that come from a prayer that the prophet Alma offered to Heavenly Father in Alma 31:30-38. I am grateful for a new beginning and for the fact that I can find comfort in my savior. 

I love being a missionary. 
And I love Italy. 
I especially love Sicily haha. It will be in my heart forever. 


Sorella G 

Ps happy Valentine's Day!!

Maurizio AND Marcella

I will miss this...
Last Cannolo
This is Ida

"oh my mom"

There were lots of things I could title this email, but I just said, "oh my mom" which is a direct translation from "mamma mia!!" so I guess I now speak it Italian English 

This week there wasn't anything super special so I am just going to share a bunch of really random little stories that don't go together at all:

- this week we had a scambio in Catania. And they were preparing for la festa di Sant agata (which is today) Who is their patron saint. There were a bunch of bancarelle (I don't know what they're called in English booths maybe?) with torrone and candy and everybody was selling balloons and they carry around this huge gold thing and play music haha. It's kind of a weird party/celebration, but according to the Italians is the third largest party in the world!!! But I don't really know if that's true because you can't really ever trust what they say 100% of the time. It was fun to be there though. 
- with that being said, sorella puglisi told the anziani I was good at making orecchiette!!! (I was taught well in Taranto) and she's from Puglia (where actually the best food in Italy is from, in my opinion), but the only unfortunate thing is that no Italians will ever remember my name haha. So I am known as the Sorella that plays the violin haha
- we got permission to watch 17 miraclesthis week because it was a ward activity and we had some less actives and investigators that were coming. Our less active was bawling! (But she still didn't come to church dang it!) we had to leave early, because it was 9, but apparently after we left it started skipping and wasn't working so Sorella Campo, the best person ever, stood up and offered to say a prayer! And after the prayer it started working. They were all so excited to tell us the story about the 18th miracle!!!! Haha I love them so much
- we had a lesson with Maurizio and Marcella where we read Jacob chapter four and it was a great lesson!! I love the Book of Jacob. Marcella asked what the atonement was, even though we have taught the restoration and the plan of salvation and explained he atonement, but at least she's asking questions and trying to understand! Slowly slowly. Also when we invite Maurizio to pray he says maybe!! Instead of no! Haha that is a step in the right direction. It could have been because he was a little bit drunk, but that's ok. He also quoted some oscar Wilde quote that was talking about how all of the things that make you fat and get you addicted and something else are all of the vices of the world. And he thought it was hilarious. Sorella demann and I......not funny. 
- sorella chines (member) came to a lesson with us to teach a member and we taught the restoration and yesterday she bore her testimony about how when we read Moroni 10:3-5 she felt the spirit so strongly that the Book of Mormon is true!! (This is part of the reason why we do member lessons people!!!)
- the new missionary schedule is awesome! It's actually very strange to come home at night and not plan for the next day. I still feel sometimes like I'm being disobedient or something for not planning for the next day, but I went to bed at 9:30 one time this week. Awesome!!
- we taught our English course down by the banks!! They were loving it haha. 
- we had a lesson with the micozzi's. They are the most classic people I have ever met in my life. It's really too difficult to describe how hilarious it is to go over to their house, but it is something I will never forget. She is actually very knowledgeable about the gospel and she and her husbands conversations make me cry laughing. 

This week I read a story that I am sure many of you have heard before. It is from a talk given in 1982 by Elder (at the time) Boyd K. Packer. He describes an experience he had on an airplane with a man who was atheist. This man demanded to have Elder Packer describe to him exactly how he knows that there is a god. And he struggled at first and then a thought came to his mind. He asked the man if he knew what salt tastes like. The man said, of course I know what salt tastes like. And then Elder Packer asked him to describe the taste of salt. And he could not do it. Just because we haven't seen god, doesn't mean that he isn't there. Feeling His love and His spirit isn't something you can really describe. Just like salt. It is different for everyone and everyone can know if He is real for themselves. I love that. He loves us enough to let us all have the opportunity to KNOW Him, if that is something we really desire. 

On another note, we receive transfer calls tonight. I am sad and happy and excited and scared also all at the same time. I have only been here for three transfers which isn't that long so I could very easily stay, but sorella demann has now finished her training as a new missionary so (as it has been happening in our mission) it is likely that she will be transferred. It has been very fun to be able to serve with her. I would love to stay here in Ragusa. I love it and I love the members.

I guess we'll see next week!

I love you all and hope you have the best week ever!!

Con tanto amore dalla Sicilia,

Sorella g