Buongiorno a tutti!
We saw such a beautiful miracle this week. We headed to final romano and started doing casa and weren't having much success, then noticed we had forgot to say a prayer! So, we prayed and turned down this little street and when we went to ring the last house a cute little woman started talking to us in English on the ci tofono! She let us in and turns out she's this cute lady from China! Her names Hang Xue (Snow) and we sat around her table outside on the porch. The first time I have ever been let into a house doing casa! We just happened to have a restoration pamphlet in Chinese, don't ask me why, and it was such a beautiful lesson. When we were talking about Gods love for her she started to tell a story when her mother got very sick and she had felt like God had forgotten about her and she felt she couldn't feel His love for her anymore. She began to cry and said she could feel His love in that very moment. We taught her how to pray and she said the most beautiful prayer, even though it was in Chinese and I couldn't understand, I could feel in a small sense how happy Heavenly Father was that she was finally talking with Him. She is preparing for baptism and came to church this Sunday and absolutely loved it--a lot of the members speak English and were really able to make her feel loved! So grateful.
One night we were going to meet a family up in a park in Monterontondo! We decided we would go early and do some finding in that park...and little did we know there were so many people waiting to hear our message! We were able to teach 5 different people the restoration and get return appointments for all of them! We asked a lady if we could share a message with her and she said "I'll give you 1 minute!" After sharing our testimonies she invited us to sit down and teach her. During the lesson she began to get emotional and explained how her mother had just passed away. She thanked us for the peace we had brought her, and we told her it wasn't us but our Heavenly Father who led us to her. I hope to see progress with her, she's special:) When we went to meet this family later they had sneakily sent some testimoni di Geova (Jehovah's Witnesses) to try and argue with us. We were way too happy after teaching all those amazing people the restoration that we couldn't stop smiling and we just left them with our testimonies, and they were silent as we shared our testimony! It was pretty neat--I hope we planted a seed. By the way, they were Romanian. I feel like I am in Romania Daniel! We have been teaching more Romanians than Italians lately, haha.
President Uchtdorf came and visited the mission last week and President Pickard told us a few things he talked about with him that were specific to our mission. He explained how the Lord is restoring His church in Italy, and the temple may not be ready this year but WE will be ready this year! He encouraged all of us to invite everyone to come to church and "Come and See." That night, we decided to put this into practice so we went up and talked to this woman and her son. We invited her to come to church and she said "That's strange, a member of your church who I work with invited me this morning to go to church!" The members here are so incredible, I love them!!! We exchanged numbers and are going to see her and her family this week.
I had a such a beautiful experience being with Leticia and Marcello. *(Leticia lived with Steve's family when she was in High school.) They came and picked us up and took us to lunch close by our house and we had a wonderful time together. They are amazing, Christlike people. I am so grateful for that time we had with them, I will never forget it.
I was asked to speak in church yesterday about the happiness my mission has brought me....I could have gone on and on. I am SO HAPPY to be a missionary. It's the most beautiful thing...my mission has changed since I have tried to let God change me. I know as we turn ourselves over to God He can make more out of our lives than we can do by ourself! He will change us:) In the words of president Pickard, "Be patient with yourself. Rome wasn't built in a day!" I know my Savior lives and loves us enough to help us change! Have a beautiful week! Vi voglio un mondo di bene.
Wow this week has been a dream!!! It all started out saying a sad bye to Messina and taking the 8 hour train ride to Rome on Thursday, stopping in Napoli and, of course getting, a Napoli pizza🍕Then once getting into Rome meeting my adorable new greenie! Sorella Frogley, she's from Idaho and has a heart of gold! I love her a ton. We all slept at the villa with president and his wife so that was nuts, and then we had a training the next morning with all the zone leaders and sister training leaders. For the first time in my mission I saw people from my MTC group! Probably the happiest reunion seeing Sorella Holiday, we couldn't stop hugging haha. Also, Sorella Nelson and I are stls together (served with her in Bari) so we're super happy. The conference was amazing and I learned a lot. Something that a missionary talked about is how we need to "be Him to them" and that phrase hasn't left my head since I heard it!
I just got transferred to a little city called Passo Corese about an hour away from Rome, Sorella Frogley and I are opening up this city, haven't been sisters here in a few transfers. It's literally one tiny little street in the green beautiful mountains and the people are so cute:) it's a dream! We have walked down Main Street probably 15 times now and knocked on every door and talked to every street owner and every person possible....there's usually about 10 people outside everyday:) There was no work when we got here, but God is blessing us so much and we've already found some people who have a lot of potential. I will have to admit the first couple days here were really hard...I had no idea where to start but that's the beautiful part about this whole situation is that we literally have to rely on the Lord in EVERY single moment because we don't know what in the world were doing. And, wow, God has sent some blessings straight from heaven and I'm happy as ever! I have learned more in the past 3 days and come closer to God more than ever.
Going to church yesterday was so awesome. We all meet in a hotel, there's about 60 members, lots of young families and returned missionaries with solid testimonies. Such a beautiful sight and a little overwhelming to see a ward that functions so well! It's a huge blessing! One of my favorite members from yesterday is Sorella Gigante (sister gigantic). I am so used to being in Sicily that when I met her I hugged her and gave her a big kiss on the cheek and then kinda froze realizing that the people up here might not be as open as the Sicilians, haha! But she immediately grabbed me and gave me a huge kiss right back and wouldn't leave my side. Bishop and his wife immediately invited us to come over for pranzo....I was so humbled hearing their story. They're from Bari and last year felt strongly prompted to move up north here in Rome, and that he would be able to find work. He immediately found work, was called to be the bishop, and then shortly after he went to the temple with his family in London for a week and lost his job. They are being patient and understand that Heavenly Father needs them here right now and it's so beautiful to see their faith.
Yesterday we went through and called every single investigator in the area book to see if they still had interest. Most have moved, lost interest or didn't respond. One sweet African woman responded and said we could come stop by and once we arrived at her house we saw the police taking her out of her house and she was crying and very upset. It was so hard for me to see and I was getting so discouraged, wondering why I felt prompted to pass by her house and really wondering how we were going to get this work moving. We both said a prayer and headed to a little square in the city where there were two
boys. We talked to them and it turns out one of them had read the entire Book of Mormon 2 years ago but didn't feel in his heart that it was true. We asked him if he thought that maybe God gave him those 2 years to search for his answer and continue to grow and maybe he's ready now and he stopped for a while and thought and then said YES. As we were talking to him, this cute 20 year old girl walked up to us, out of no where (I kid you not this town has a population of about 200 people) and she said "FINALLY there are missionaries!" "I took the lessons with the sisters in the past, and then just moved here 2 months ago and need to meet with you." We exchanged numbers and are going to meet with her tomorrow! As we turned around to go walk home we walk past this house and a family was eating dinner outside. The father stood up and yelled to us to tell us that he had a Book of Mormon and wants us to come over and share a message with them, we are seeing them tonight. As we turn the corner from their house there were 3 girls walking down the street and we asked them if we could teach them and we taught them the restoration and gave them all book of Mormons and they are all incredible...as we were walking home my eyes were so full of tears, Satan had tried to discourage us but we didn't let him and look at the miracles we saw! I read this scripture this morning and felt that God was speaking to me...
4 Therefore, I, the Lord, have suffered you to come unto this place;
for thus it was expedient in me for the salvation of souls.
5 Therefore, verily I say unto you, lift up your voices unto this
people; speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you
shall not be confounded before men;
6 For it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment,
what ye shall say.
I AM SO HAPPY. this work is so real. This gospel is beautiful and true
and I can't wait to find more people who God is preparing. Have a
Well it's been a week for the books! I'm going to miss this island❤️We got transfer calls Saturday, I'm opening up a new city and getting another greenie and will be the sister training leader there. I'm going to Rome 5 which is the country side, we live in the mountains and I guess it's about an hour away from downtown Rome so it should be awesome! There haven't been sisters in this area for months so we will be starting brand new! Should be a ventura:) I think the thing I'm
most scared for is we're getting a car...hahahha! Not just because I haven't driven in a year...but because it's Rome. My heart is a bit broken, I'm leaving Messina. But I know that Heavenly Father knows what He's doing and where He needs me. I'm really excited!!!
We got permission from President for Samantha to come with us and do a scambio with the Sorelle there...the very first lesson the Sorelle had planned for us was on missionary work and Sam bore the most beautiful testimony. She received an answer to her prayers and is going on a mission! She opened her papers this week and we go to help her start them:) She will be the only missionary in the branch right now. I'M SO HAPPY FOR HER!
One goal that I made at the very beginning of my mission was to find an eternal family!!! And, my whole time here in Messina I have been praying to find a family that is ready and willing to listen to us. On Friday night we had a couple of minutes to spare so we headed downtown and went and walked up to the first family we saw sitting on the bench. They told us to sit down and share this special message with them! We taught them the restoration and it was INCREDIBLE. There are just some lessons that you have with people on the street who have open hearts and are willing to listen and because of this the Spirit will testify to them. I just felt a spirit to strong and couldn't help but picture this family all dressed in white going to the temple. Again, God had just led us directly to this sweet Fam. I don't know what will happen with them but I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to teach them.
This week we had some friends come and move in....it's COCKROACH season:) hahaha! Someone send me something because we don't know how to get rid of them.
By the way thanks for all the birthday wishes. I love you all and had one of the best birthdays ever, surrounded by so many people that I LOVE DEARLY. Not to mention that for breakfast Sorella Crandell bought me granita; then Sorella Fortunate made me a pistachio and fragola gelato cake; and then Nino bought me a torta that said "buon compleanno cirstel"; and then at our ward service project/bbq Sorella Crisafulli made me a cake and they all sang to me! I am so full of love for these people, they are my family. Sorell Crandell gave me a ring that says "miracle Messina" and it could not describe the past 4 months here any better....we have seen the hand of God in every moment of our work. We have seen people change their lives! And all of this is thanks to our Savior and his atonement. He is ready to run to us we just need too reach out and let Him in! I will never forget the experiences I have had here in Messina, these people have touched my heart forever. I know that God knows better than me and can see further down the street than I can...and I can't wait for the miracles to be seen up in Roma:)
Vi voglio un sacco di bene
Well it's been probably one of the most beautiful weeks of my life:) I am so grateful to be here!
Davide was baptized on Tuesday and it was such an incredible experience. Everything went so well and it was so spiritual. I have never seen someone so happy and clean and glowing! The very first time I met Davide he was wearing all black, smoking and didn't want to talk to us. This week I got to see him all dressed in white and make this sacred covenant and promise to follow Jesus Christ for the rest of his life! He bore his testimony afterwards and it was so powerful yet
simple, he explained how he knew without a doubt this was the true church of Jesus Christ and hearing him explain how he now knows who His Savior is was the most beautiful thing. I feel so fortunate to be able to see people come unto Christ everyday, so many people are changing and it's changing me!
On Saturday the investigator of the anziani, Enzo finally got baptized:) he's just such an amazing example to me, after telling his parents not too long ago that he wanted to be baptized they told him they will kick him out of the house and disown him. He struggled a lot with this because he loves his family so much and didn't want to hurt them, but he knew if he put God first, knowing that this was right, everything would be okay. We all fasted as a district Friday and he called Saturday morning and said that he wasn't going to do it, but we didn't lose our faith and we kept on fasting!!!! A couple hours later he told us he had prayed and knew that this was right. We called all the members back and headed to the sea and had the opportunity to witness a incredible baptism:)
Davide came to the baptism, fasting as well, and being under the sun all day and then going to work that night until 4 am did not do him well. He fainted and went to the hospital Sunday morning around 5 am. The doctors had him hooked up to all sorts of unnecessary things and told them he would have to stay there for quite some time. He started taking off everything and told them he had to escape because he "HAD TO GET THE HOLY GHOST!" He ran all the way to church from the hospital and walked in right at the end of our sacrament meeting. Unfortunately, he will have to wait till next week to receive the Holy Ghost. He is crushed and knows that Satan is working hard on him but he is not losing faith:)
This week I am just so incredibly grateful for the priesthood. I know that this authority and power is real and allows us to do the ordinances needed to be able to live with God again one day....we were able to see Gods hand and power in this work thanks to il sacerdozio! Sorella Gambardella, a less active who we have been seeing every week
since I have been here (she hasn't been to church in 3 years), called us and asked us if the anziani would be able to give her sick (inactive) husband a blessing. We all went over one day and after the anziani gave him a blessing there was a completely different spirit in the home, it was so powerful. Sorella gambardella has not been coming to church for the last 3 yrs cause her husband won't give her permission. She later called us and said she spoke with him after the blessing and told him they needed to recommit themselves and go to church, and he told her she could. She came to both the baptisms this week, which is huge because she hasn't talked to any of the members in 3 years...watching all of them run up to her and hug her I couldn't help the tears welling up in my eyes! She is committed to come to church on Sunday.
I have never felt so much peace and joy in my life than I do right now being a part of this work....I love my Heavenly Father and I know that I am here in Messina at this time for a reason...these people are changing me and I am so humbled to see all that these people sacrifice and their faith. I love being a missionary....I'm really happy:) and I know that's because this gospel is true and having that foundation and anchor in my life has been the greatest thing that has ever happened
Happy 4th of July I love you all🇺🇸🇮🇹
Crystal's current area is Passo Corese, Italy.
Her address is:
Via Giacomo Matteotti, 187
02032 Passo Corese RI