This week was AWESOME.
Saturday we saw such a cool miracle! We went to Trani to help Leonarda do some missionary work, previously we had found those scadas of about 20 years old and contacted them but no one was able to meet that day. We went anyways because Sorella Brunson is going home Saturday and wanted to say goodbye! We went and ate hot chocolate (more like thick hot chocolate soup) and ate jam and cream cornetti my favvv. We then decided to go and try and find this man "Antonio" who's scada we had found. The missionaries said he had been baptized in 1999 and that he was an amazing person, they were sure one day he would be the bishop or the stake president. So we went out searching and searching and could not find this street that he supposedly lived on. We asked people all around the city if they knew where this street was but no one knew. After about 30 minutes of searching it hit me that we hadn't all said a prayer together! So I asked them if we could say a prayer and we stopped in the middle of the street, lots of people around us haha and we offered a prayer. After, we walked maybe 5 feet and Sorella Dew looked right and said "Francesco caraducci!" The street we had been looking for. It was so cool. such a miracle and Leonarda was so excited and couldn't stop smiling!! We went over, found the apartment number and saw his name on the intercom and rang it. we heard a "CHI È!!!!!'" and saw an older woman standing on the balcony looking down, as soon as she saw us she went and grabbed her husband. He came out onto the balcony, looked down at us and then smiled. It was so cute. I just had this feeling that he would be willing to talk with us. We asked him if we could share a message with him and immediately he came down and met us outside. He's about 69 years old now, and he is SO sweet. we talked for a bit and asked him if he remembered the 2 boys in white shirts that taught him. He smiled and said he did. We asked him if he had been baptized and he said no....that he went to church for a while church but that was all....we all felt that wasn't true though. He talked about how he's been going to the Catholic Church now and Leonarda stopped him and told him how tradition won't save us and she bore the most powerful testimony about Jesus Christ and the joy and blessings of being a member of this church. It was so cool hearing this from someone who is the only member in this city!!! He told us he had a BOM and we gave him a restoration pamphlet and then he told us we could come over the following Saturday. Leonarda was so excited!!!!! After we left his house, we all talked and realized we all had the impression that he knows this church is true and that he was baptized, just think his wife and family are holding him back because they're all so Catholic (along with 99% of Italy :)) When he saw us there was a light in his eyes. GOD IS SO AWARE OF US.
We ate dinner with the famiglia Ricci one night (inactive) for the copia Hansens and Sorella brunsons last time!! It was so fun, so many carbs I couldn't breathe. You would think by now I would know how to do this whole cenna thing and learn to hide my food or something but I haven't. First of all, Angelica showed us her huge pink room full of 100 Barbie dolls (20 of which were Elsa) and all her cupboards of stuffed animals and dolls and Elsa mirror and Elsa castle and Elsa shampoo and everything Elsa and I was getting a little bit overwhelmed and then she's like let me show you my other toy room, we walked into an even bigger and pinker room with a pet hampster, a pet mouse, a pet Guinea pig, pet cat, her pet eel, and their little evil poodle whose name is "terrorist." Anyways, dinner was.....very Italian. She first brought out the paninis and then sausage and mozzarella and mystery cheese and then the 2 huge pans of spinach and tuna and olive quiche and then the doorbell rang and she was like "oh there's the panzarotti and the pizza!" I about fell off my seat, and then after that when I thought I couldn't go any further she said "I didn't have time to make dessert" and I was like MENO MALE thank goodness. And then she's like "so I went and bought a platter!" And pulls this gigantic thing full of cannoli and torts and cream puffs and cakes. She set out drinks on the table and was like don't worry these are non alcoholic (the problem is at the bottom of the bottle it says it contains 1.5% alcohol, this is not the first time this has happened at a members house) and then Sorella Brunson made the comment "there's always a little poop in the brownies" and no one laughed. haha--so many awkward moments. It was really cool though because they asked me to play the piano and I didn't have any music except for the hymn book so we sat around the piano and sang I stand all amazed and bore our testimonies of Jesus Christ :) The spirit was so strong!
Haha so I'm finally (sort of) officially legal living here in Italy wahoo! Wednesday I had my fingerprinting appointment for my permesso (if we don't have this were booted out of the country) so it's slightly important, so we got to wait at the questura ALL morning! Haha mamma Mia it took me back to my high school days senior year when we went and took a tour of Alcatraz in San Fran........the inside of the building was so similar. Sorella Brunson said that it smelt like every country in the world put into one building and I think that sums up our experience pretty well. When the lady was doing my fingerprints she was like ARE YOUR HANDS SWEATY?! And I had to redo them a couple times cause it wasn't going through, hahah it was an unforgettable experience
We had such an amazing lesson with Giada this last week. Man I love her, she is so cool. Giuseppe, new convert, came to our lesson and they instantly connected...I think we found him a wife :) We asked if we could say a prayer at the beginning of the lesson and she was like sure I'll say it! And as she's praying she goes, "thank you for leading me onto this path and for sending me these sorelle." she got emotional and the spirit was so strong! she explained how she used to be Catholic and then her dad passed away 6 years ago and after that she closed Jesus Christ and God out of her life. But just a little while ago she went on this hiking excursion thing with a catholic group and there she felt the love that our Heavenly Father and Christ have for her. She talked about how when she walked into our church for English course she could feel that peace and love again. It was so cool, Giuseppe shared his conversion story and at the end we just bore testimony and talked about how this is the right path for her and she told us she knew it was. She came to church again yesterday and loved it!!!! Also, a couple from our English course who we invited months ago to church but they didn't come and we haven't really seen them since just showed up to sacrament meeting yesterday. It was AWESOME. meeting with them this week:)
So in Italy, a month after someone dies they do a huge festa and come together as a family and talk about that person. So last night the Iacavelli family invited us to come over to share a message. I am so grateful for the relationship we have with them, and that they felt close enough to us to ask us to do that. The whole extended family was there, there were so many people it was awesome! We decided to share this beautiful quote from Elder Bednar about Jesus Christ, because this has been such a hard time for them and we want them to know the love that our Savior has for them and through Him they can find peace. The Spirit was so so strong.
"Thus, the Savior has suffered not just for our sins and iniquities--but also for our physical pains and anguish, our weaknesses and shortcomings, our fears and frustrations, our disappointments and discouragement, our regrets and remorse, our despair and desperation, the injustices and inequities we experience, and the emotional distresses that beset us. There is no physical pain, no spiritual wound, no anguish of soul or heartache, no infirmity or weakness you or I ever confront in mortality that the Savior did not experience first. In a moment of weakness we may cry out, “No one knows what it is like. No one understands.” But the Son of God perfectly knows and understands, for He has felt and borne our individual burdens. And because of His infinite and eternal sacrifice, He has perfect empathy and can extend to us His arm of mercy. He can reach out, touch, succor, heal, and strengthen us to be more than we could ever be and help us to do that which we could never do relying only upon our own power. Indeed, His yoke is easy and His burden is light." -elder bednar
I love these people SO MUCH! I was sitting in church yesterday listening to the Italians belting the hymns and was just so overwhelmed for how much I love them and the faith that they all have!!! It's incredible!!!!!! I am so happy to be here!
Have an awesome week VI VOGLIO BENE :) ciao
First things first. WE WOKE UP TO SNOW THIS MORNING! Haha pretty sure
it's been years since the last snow in Bari, we ran out on our balcony
while all these Italians were running around and honking and looking
at us like we're nuts! It was the BEST
Greatest miracle happened on Thursday. The COOLEST girl came to our
English course, and at the end for the spiritual thought she
immediately offered to read the scripture in the Book of Mormon for
everyone! Afterwards all our students had pretty much left to go home
but she was still sitting there in the chapel...I went over to talk to
her and got to know her a bit! Her names Giada, she's 21, studying
photography, she loves to hike and rock climb, haha she immediately
invited me to go on some backpacking trip with her and her buddies,
they're going to the alps.....very very tempting. Anyways she is SO
cool and just has this light about her, I feel like she's someone I
would have been friends with before the mission. All of a sudden she
asked me what our church was called, so I told her and she wrote it
down in her journal cause she wanted to remember it!!! I asked her if
she liked studying English, she said yes but she was more interested
in our church!!! Pretty sure my heart stopped beating and I couldn't
hide the smile off my face and she could tell and kinda laughed and
asked me when we could meet to talk more!! I invited her to church and
she was like sweet, see you there! she came yesterday and it was SO
COOL!!!! She loved singing the hymns, meeting the members and our
gospel principles lesson was all on Jesus Christ. The spirit was SO
STRONG! And she told our teacher "see you next week!" We're having a
lesson with her on Tuesday......I literally can't wait :):):):):)
So yesterday I went on a split with the new senior couple from
Canada!!! He served his mission here in Bari 43 years ago and when he
was serving there was no church buildings in the whole mission. When
he walked into the church and saw all the chairs in the chapel set up
and all the people that were in our ward he was so touched. It was
such a cool moment. Their calling here in Bari and Foggia is "member
support" which is much needed, it's going to be AWESOME. We're going
to miss the Hansens, were throwing a huge surprise party for them
tonight should be fun! I had to translate relief society for the new
senior couple...gift of tongues is real. Haha also, they asked me to
lead the music in relief society with 2 seconds notice, I thought the
song was "lord I would follow thee" and started belting that tune but
really it was "where can I turn for peace" ironic. everyone was so
confused, my face was as red as spaghetti sauce
Did a scambio with Sorella Thorpe this last week. Funniest 24 hours of
my entire life. You would never think waiting for the #4 bus all day
in the pouring rain could be so fun haha but really she makes
everything so funny! Speaking of the #4 bus, (bus we take every day)
we were coming back from Carbonara one day and the bus was packed and
Sorella Dew started talking to this little girl about English course.
All of a sudden her little sisters face started going white and
she told her mom she didn't feel well and she started throwing up,
twice, it was all over the floor and our shoes. Haha I don't think I'm
ever going to miss riding the #4. So many unforgettable experiences
here in Bari:) On the bright side, I am finally understanding the bus
and trains and this crazy city so much better!
So the first counselor in the Bishopric just got married to this
awesome member who has a 14 year old daughter who's not a member!! Her
names Edith, she comes to church, her mom just told us she needs to
develop a friendship first with us and will hopefully want to start
taking the lessons and develop her own testimony. So Sorella Thorpe
and I went over to her house and helped her with her English homework
and then shared the egli vive Mormon message with her and bore our
testimonies of Christ. She completely opened up and talked about
how hard this move has been and how she feels so alone in Bari and we
both just bore testimony of how she's not alone and Christ and
Heavenly Father have a plan for her and love her SO much. She came to
young women's in excellence last night and it was just a beautiful
experience, Sorella Desantis and Bishop bore beautiful testimonies of
how they're all daughters of God! Spirit was fortissimo
Gabriella from English course is doing awesome, when we met with her
the 2nd time she was all ready in 1 nephi 17! So cool. She still
doesn't really understand prayer so we're working on that but she's so
cute. Also, Isaac shared his testimony in church yesterday! He was a
bit nervous but explained how he knew the Book of Mormon is true and
it was just so sweet! You could just tell that as he was sharing with
everyone what he knew to be true the Spirit confirmed to him that it
is true! If that makes sense haha.
So happy and grateful to be out here! I love you all and hope you have
a happy week! Oh and Happy birthday Elsa!!
Also this family we've been teaching gave us all matching fuzzy bright
pink polka dot pajamas...I think I owned the same pair when I was
Wowza this week was awesome.
Definitely one of the coolest experiences of my mission so far was this last week. We had planned to meet with our investigator Grazia and her 8 and 10 yr old girls and when we called to confirm she didn't answer...but we decided to go over to her house anyways! So we went over one morning and they were home! We walked in the house and it just felt so empty. it was really dark, Grazia was yelling at the girls, there were dishes piled up in the sink, the house was just a mess. She is in the process of getting in a divorce, looking for a job, and her 28 yr old son has been really struggling the last little bit so she just has a lot on her mind. Anyways Sorella dew instantly went over and started doing the dishes, I sat down with the girls and helped them do their homework that they hadn't done in weeks, and Sorella Brunson started cleaning the house while we let Grazia go talk to her lawyer and figure things out! Immediately the whole atmosphere of the house had changed, the girls were happy, the house was clean and there was so much more light in the house. Grazia broke down and told us how she had completely forgotten we called earlier that week to visit with her so her and her daughters had prayed the night before for help and then we came over the next morning! She said we were angels He had sent. We all sat in the living room and read a scripture in the libro di mormon and shared our testimonies of Jesus Christ and the Spirit was incredible...I've never seen the girls so well behaved in my entire life and Grazia told us she could feel Christ in the room with us. I know that it's because we had tried to do something for her that Christ would have done. It was so cool, I'll never forget it!
Audrey I have another story about the mo tab CD! So Antonio is like our grandpa. He is 65, a doctor, is single and very lonely, and has more Italian swag than any other 65 year old man I have ever seen. He came to Isaacs baptism a few weeks ago and loved it. Anyways the other day he called us and asked us if he could take us to go get hot chocolate...so we sat in this little cafe and we talked for a while and I wasn't sure how we were going to switch the conversation over to the gospel so I decided to pull out a mo tab cd and give it to him and immediately he was so touched by the picture of Christ on the cover...he couldn't stop looking at it! We had a wonderful conversation about Christ, the gospel, who we are, and gave him a Book of Mormon and invited him to take the lessons....and guess what! he said yes!
We went to Trani to visit the one and only member living there...cute leonarda she is something else! I think I've told you about her before, she joined the church 2 years ago, is divorced, both her sons passed away, she has just had a really hard life. And she knows that the gospel is the best thing that has ever happened to her and loves it and appreciates it so much. She takes an early early train ride every Sunday morning to church, and is so lonely being the only member in Trani. And because of that she wants so badly to find some friends so she does missionary work every second she can and talks with so many people! We took a train up to Trani one morning cause she wanted to do some missionary work with us and was so excited. We found all these scadas (progress records) she had from 1996 and on and contacted as many as we could and had so many miracles! People from 20 years ago told us they wanted to meet with us!!!! Leonarda was so happy it was so cute...so many good things to come!
We have a SWEET new investigator Gabriella, I'm tellin you English course is the most inspired thing! Anyways she asked us if we could help her understand the bible and we were like we would love to! We actually have another book, the Book of Mormon that explains the bible better than we can! And she was like I have one, I came to church 6 yrs ago and the missionaries gave me one :) so awesome I'm excited to start teaching her!
Can't believe time is flying by so fast, it scares me! Hope you all have a wonderful week I LOVE YOU!
Sorella Taylor xoxoxo
We celebrated my half birthday on Saturday with nocciola gelato of course!
Fun fact: everyone here says "Che cavolo" in place of "dang it" and it translates directly into English as "cabbage" haha
Well this week was SWEET! Haha it's insane being in a trio and covering all of Bari now, I've never had some many humans on my mind!! But we've seen so many miracles, every time we plan for the day we never know how we're going to get everything that we need to done but God ALWAYS provides a way and always puts so many people in our path to love. Sorella Brunson is incredible, she only has 4 weeks left on the mission and is so hard working and such a good example so I'm super grateful!!!
So last week Audrey sent me all those mo tab CDs and I was so excited and praying about some people that we could go take them to!! One night we were planning to go see Sorella Sebastiani for the next morning and Slla Brunson was like "she's blind, she loves music and has 1 church cd but it doesn't have any hymns on it she would love one of those CDs!!!!" YAY :) her husband passed away awhile ago and it's just so sad cause shes lonely and blind but she's so wonderful and has such a strong testimony! So we went over the next morning and visited with her, and when I gave her the CD she was sooo grateful and excited!! She immediately went over and put the cd on and we just sat there for a little bit and listened to it. The spirit was SO strong in her home and I know that it meant so much to her. Thank you Audrey :)
So last Friday we had planned to meet with lots of awesome people but most of them gave us a bidone. Then that night we had planned to go to the hospital in Carbonara and visit with some of the patients and workers who we've gotten to know! However, we ended up taking the wrong bus, and it took us in a HUGE giro all around the city, and by the time we made it to the hospital it had closed! Anyways I was feeling a bit discouraged...we went to this bus stop in the middle of Carbonara that we never go to to head home! There was only one other guy sitting there and I immediately had the strongest impression that we needed to go and talk to him! Sorella Brunson, being the brave person she is went up to him and started talking to him and gave him a english course card ! And then he's like I'm a member of your church! I'm Davide, the Valentinis grandson! WHAT. We've been trying to work with him ever since I got to Bari! He's been inactive for years and the ysas have been trying to figure out a way to see him, friendship him and help him come back. So we talked to him for a little bit and just tried to help him feel the love that we really do have for him! And at the end he was like ci vediamo in chiesa presto! Ahhh it was such a miracle, I know that God often makes us do things, like taking that wrong bus, so that we can get to another person to help them :)
Hope everyone had the happiest of New Years!!! Haha so all day New Year's Eve there's men outside everywhere selling fireworks (more like sketchy illegal bombs) and Ragazzi all over the city set them off, starting at 6:30 am when we woke up haha. It was insane.....I guess on New Years eve at midnight there were bombs going off every 5 seconds, people came out on their balconies and were screaming and shooting off fireworks and throwing things off their balconies (the ashes were all falling on the trees and cars below our apartment) but I slept through the entire thing! Sorella dew and Sorella Brunson couldn't sleep and got a video for me, I have no idea how I didn't wake up, it sounded and looked like world war 3. Our investigator Lorenzo met us on New Year's Eve to give us a present and gave us a huge Pandoro and some really expensive wine,,,haha it was really awkward we didn't know what to say.... can't wait to teach him about the word of wisdom!!!
So funny story, this last week we went and visited the Ricci family, they are less active but such a cute and tight knit family! After visiting with them for a while the daughter took us into the bathroom and showed us her pet eel in the bathtub! Her grandma had been freezing the eels so they could eat them for Christmas and she got sad so her grandma gave her one....and she keeps it in the bathtub...mamma Mia. Then her mom was like did you hear what happened in Bari?! Did you read the news!? We were like oh no what happened...I guess last week there was a man in Bari who owned a pescheria and apparently it didn't pass a health code so the man put all of his eels in some fountain and they ended up going through some piping and coming up into people's toilets! And some man was going to the bathroom and got bit by an eel and was SO mad. Haha it was in the news, it made the gazzetta. Classic Bari!
Isaac is doing wonderful!!!! He asked us yesterday if he could share his testimony of his baptism with the ward next week in sacrament meeting which is HUGE because he's so shy. We're helping him prepare to get the priesthood :) We had a lesson with a new convert, Giuseppe the other day, he is soooo wonderful! He works at a pastry shop in Centro and told us that this couple always comes in and he just felt like he should tell them about eternal marriage. So he did! He's so brav. anyways that night we went to do a gesso downtown, and Sorella Brunson saw this couple walk by and had a strong impression to talk to them. So she did, and guess what! It was that couple :)
I LOVE being a missionary more than I can put into words. It's exhausting and hard especially when people won't listen to us, because I have seen how this gospel has completely changed my life. There are so many people who tell us "I'm fine, I can live without it," but they don't know what they're missing in their lives and it breaks my heart! I am so grateful to have seen the difference of when people have the gospel in their lives and when they don't! I'm grateful for this new year and I know that through Jesus Christ we can change our lives and become something we never imagined possible :)
Love you all and hope you have a meraviglioso settimana!!!!
Until next time...😏
Crystal's current area is Passo Corese, Italy.
Her address is:
Via Giacomo Matteotti, 187
02032 Passo Corese RI