Helllllo I hope you all have a happy thanksgiving!!! vi ringrazio per tutti :) This week was busy and so wonderful! Right now we are on our way to Lecce to meet up with all the anziani so excited! look up Lecce its sick.
Last Christmas President Waddoups gave the mission all a book called "Finding the elect of God" and in it tells about how there are 5 people in our area who are ready to be baptized right now!!! So one morning Sorella Dew and I prayed for inspiration and told Heavenly Father what we would be doing and asked for the help and guidance needed to find these people. We then took a map of our area and prayerfully selected 5-10 streets that we had a hunch about or a small prompting...we then compared our lists and we had 3 streets in common!!! It's amazing what happens when you exercise faith in the Lord, He will give us inspiration.
So we went out and started out with some casa a casa (door knocking) that were on those streets!! We used the Proclamation to the World pamphlets as we talked and knocked. It was crazy how many people let us in to the Palazzo that way we were able to go and knock on every door! Lots of times you could hear the person walk up to the door, open the little peep hole and then slowly back away hahaha....awkward. Even though not everyone was happy or willing to talk to us I know that they could feel the Spirit. There was one woman who actually listened and it was really cool to talk about how the family, when centered on the teachings of Jesus Christ is successful. Strengthened my testimony about the family!!! Italy is a family centered culture and The Family Proclamation really has worked as we have talked with people:)
We have THE CUTEST couple from our English course named Gianni and Romana. They have a daughter that lives in Alabama and so they come to our course so they can learn to talk with their granddaughter. During our spiritual thoughts we share at the end we always noticed how touched they were and how much they participated in asking questions and wanting to understand more about why we are how we are. So Sorella Dew and I this week went to stop by their house and just chat a bit with them!!! It was such a sweet experience. They are SO wonderful. Because thanksgiving is coming up, we have been using that as a excuse to visit people and give them stuff haha even though it isn't a holiday here. Haha but we wanted to give them something and the only thing we thought would be enough to thank them for their friendship was the Book of Mormon. They were so excited!! They said that over Christmas when they have time (they are both lawyers) they will sit and read because they want to understand what makes us do and be who we are. Another example to me this week that our examples do actually matter. That when we are doing what is right, others can see and I truly think President Monson shared that this last conference for a reason because we truly are capable of being a Window of His love.
The last two Sunday's we have had the wonderful opportunity of going with the Santoro family to visit the Iacavelli family, (the family who's mom is about to die and who's brother died in a car crash) It has been a touching experience to watch this close knit family stick through this hard time and really turn to us with answers of why are we here? Where are we going? And why do trials like this happen? We shared A video from the talk given by President Eyring called Mountains to Climb. It was a beautiful experience and showed me really what missionary work is about. Working with members to bring others to Christ!! :)
This week we helped Maria Teresa and Giuseppe with genealogy and he was kinda stuck on one ancestor and couldn't go back....so we did it through Sorella Dews account cause members have more access than investigators, anyways guess what! We found Giuseppe's great great grandpa! So this way we can go back an entire generation. It was such an amazing experience, he was so excited. We can see how his heart is truly softening through finding his ancestors. Maria Teresa is still reading but we are stuck at what to do because of him. A sad situation which has really made me think about how important the spiritual oneness is in marriage!
We see tender mercies everyday.!! :) I feel like these people help me more than I EVER could help them. I love my mission. I love Italy. I mean it is not just because the pizza is good and the people are honest but because the people here have truly stolen my heart. I can't say enough about how true this verse is
Matthew 10:39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
(And as we we lose ourselves we become that window where when others see us, they see Him:)
40 He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.
I am so thankful to be a missionary and to be a part of this hastening of the work! I am thankful for the gospel and the Savior and the happiness this knowledge brings me every day of my life!
I love you all have a HAPPY thanksgiving🍗:)
We made cookies for everyone in our palazzo one night and delivered them with the excuse of thanksgiving to say thanks and give them pass a along cards and it was a really sweet experience meeting our neighbors and watching them be so shocked by us.
We had Sunday Pranzo with la Famiglia Caricola! fratello Caricola is the best, 100% reminds me of dad :) The movie “meet the mormon’s” is now available in Italian - yesterday during pranzo while we ate they showed it to us... Haha it was cute. The Stake president is thinking in the big cities to rent out a theatre and show it!!
Ciao ciao ciao !
Okay so we had a huge miracle this last week! Antonio, this cute old Italian man has been coming to every English course since I have been here in Bari...in his late 60s, he is a colonel in the military, has his doctorate in political science and well he is just so brave and sweet! The last couple of English courses he has come up to us after the spiritual thought and asked us lots of questions about the Gospel, but always said he was too busy to meet with us. Well this last Tuesday after English course he asked us why we are always so happy and full of hope and light....he said lets meet tomorrow here in church! So we had a lesson with him on Wednesday-and I can't even put into words how amazing it was. His wife left him many years ago, his children live in England and he's just so lonely! He loves Jesus and explained how he loves watching the sunrise every day because it reminds him of Jesus who is the "sun" bringing light into the world :) he went on to say how he feels so lonely, so empty, and so little and insignificant. As soon as he said that Sorella dew and I both had an overwhelming feeling to tell him how special he is in the eyes of God. That he has a literal father in heaven who loves him so much! By the end of the lesson there were tears in his eyes yet he couldn't stop smiling. We were able to kneel in prayer with him for the first time, it was so incredible! We met with him again and he came to stake conference yesterday :)
The other night Sorella Dew and I had spent an hour planning our lesson for Isaac, finding scriptures, talks and videos that might help him feel the spirit and help him receive his answer. It's hard because we've taught him all the lessons, he's come to church for 2 months now, he reads the Book of Mormon and prays every day, keeps the commandments, yet still hasn't received an answer if Joseph Smith was a true prophet, and it's just so hard because he loves it and wants to know so badly if it is true. Well that night, we walked into our lesson and both Sorella Dew and I knew we wouldn't be teaching what we had prepared. The first thing he asked me was how I receive answers to my prayers...I told him when I have a question I pray, and then open up the Book of Mormon. So we tried it right then! We knelt down, he prayed to know if Joseph Smith was a true prophet and then he opened up the Book of Mormon to Mosiah 19...to be completely honest I had a really hard time seeing how this chapter would apply to his needs, and was nervous he would be confused but I just kept praying and praying that he might find something in there that would touch him! Right as he finished, he set down his BOM and said what a beautiful story! And talked about how much faith Gideon had, and how he personally needed to have more faith that he would receive an answer. He LOVED it, these scriptures were clearly what he needed to hear. Just another testimony of how God knows us so personally and will give us personal answers specific to us and our needs. We then gave him a calendar and told him he needs to show God his faith by picking a date to be baptized and going for it, and if it's not right then God will direct him to do otherwise. He is getting baptized December 12th :) speriamo!
Funny story of the week, haha we were doing a chalk gesso the other night and Sorella Tapia and I went up and started talking to this lady...she clearly didn't want anything to do with us and tried to walk away but one of her heels got stuck in the cobblestone!! she literally couldn't move, so she was forced to listen to us for about 30 more seconds because we didn't know what else to do, until she reached down and ripped off the heel off her shoe and then stormed passed us limping on her one heel....oh mamma Mia
We met a girl in centro named Montana from Idaho, haha classic I know!! She is 16 and going to school here for a year! We were able to go out and get hot chocolate with her one night. She told us how much she's been struggling, how she was abused when she was younger and how it is affecting her now. We wrote our testimonies in the Book of Mormon and gave it to her and helped her know how she can find peace and comfort through this book!! She has such a strong light about her :)
We met Mimma a little while ago, offered to help her with her groceries and she said that's the nicest thing anyone's done for her haha! Cutest lady ever from England :) She gave us her number and we went and visited her Tuesday at this beautiful old hotel she works at! It was crazy busy in the hotel and when Mimma saw us she made someone take over for her and she snuck away and gave us a tour of the hotel!!! She took us to the top floor and ahhh the view was incredible! Anyways, we got talking and turns out her husband just passed away and she is very lonely...she hopes that we have something that will comfort her! Can't wait to meet with her this next week:)
So we had stake conference here in Bari yesterday (it was amazing, Anziano Da Feo and Anziano Pilz came and spoke from the area of the 70, and we got a new Stake Pres who is incredible!) So all the missionaries from Puglia came and went finding with us Saturday night! This night was probably the happiest I have ever been in my entire life!!! we went and did a huge GRAZIE A LUI gesso with all 16 of us missionaries in centro-this was the same night that the attack had happened in Paris, so there was a huge memorial going on downtown and red white and blue lights everywhere and TONS and tons of people! It was amazing, and we all brought our speakers and showed literally hundreds of people this Mormon message. Little kids came up and starting drawing the Paris flag, and writing hope and peace and love on our sheet it was so sweet! I don't know why but I literally couldn't stop smiling, being able to share the love of Christ with others after hearing about all the evil in the world that day,,It was so cool to meet so many wonderful people and help them understand that we CAN find good and peace in this world through our Savior Jesus Christ!
Last night we had an incredible experience...the Sontoro family in our ward asked us if we would come with them to their family friend's house and share a message with them about the plan of salvation, because their mother is about to die and they want to know where she is going after this life. This family also had an older brother, who many years ago was driving home with his pregnant wife and 2 children from the temple and they got in a car accident and all of them passed away. So last night we were able to meet with the entire family! (4 siblings, all older and married and the sweet mother in her 90's) as soon as we all sat down, the family was arguing, yelling, and asking us why we have so much suffering in this life!! We decided to show them a Mormon message from Pres. Monson "until we meet again" ....I didn't understand everything that was said in the video cause it was Italian but the Spirit in that room was so strong I couldn't hold back the tears! Looking up at the end of the video I realized the rest of the family was in tears as well. We were able to bear testimony of Gods plan for us, and all of them were silent through it all. I know Sorella Dew and I weren't even a part of this lesson, that the Spirit had completely taken over and touched this family's hearts because what we were saying was true!
I'm sorry this email is a novel, haha if anyone read it to this point I hope I didn't bore you to death! OK CIAO❤️have a sweet week! Love you all so much!
This week was wonderful, as always!!! Full of so many miracles, here are just a few.
-Rosanna accepted baptism date :)
-we met mimma by helping her with her groceries...turns out she is awesome!!! Meeting with her this week! Haha she also asked sister dew if she was pregnant, it was very uncomfortable
-Isaac completely had a change of heart!
-gave Maria Teresa a LDM 2 weeks ago and she's in mosiah!!
-we saw deglia on the bus
-we met isaacs mom
-Sorella dew did her laundry
-Antonella answered her phone
-ate pronzo with the stake president and his family (haha the ENTIRE time we were eating their little evil chihuahua was tugging on my skirt under the table and scratching and biting my legs, so I tried to nicely kick him away without them noticing)
-Romana came up to us after English course crying and told us how touched she was after the spiritual thought....we finally are meeting with her THIS week :)
-leondro, isaacs less active brother came to church yesterday. The last time he went to church was 5 years ago when he lived in Peru!!!! SO happy!
-between our ward and the liberta Ward, we had 21 contacts in church yesterday!
-went down a random street to put up English course posters and saw marco! crazy how many cars, ambulances, people and noise were around us when we were talking to him yet how STRONG the spirit was!
-met a cute LDS grandma at the gesso last night from America! she came up and hugged all the sisters it was the best!
-I got pooped on by a pigeon walking by our apartment! it was disgusting but it made this old man laugh...
-Sorella aventario finally let us clean her house :)
-Maria Teresa and Giuseppe came to Giuseppe's baptism and thought it was beautiful! The spirit was so strong!
-Sorella dew and I went running one morning and forgot to bring our keys with us, luckily sister Anderson had a feeling to go on the balcony and saw us! Haha
-this last week, we read a talk about how we should look at each person as if we're going to take them into the waters of baptism....doing this changed everything!!!!
-last night at our gesso we put out a sheet and wrote "grazie a lui" and showed the Mormon message "because of him" with our speakers, it was so loud and so sweet! so many people were gathered around watching!
-met niccolo and niccola at the gesso last night....they were glowing with the light of Christ! Coming to English course/church this week hopefully :)
-elder nielsens dad bought all of us pizza and gelato for his birthday....😳
This week was busy and soooo great :) Sorella dew and I decided to write down three miracles that we see every day and it helped me to realize how much God does for us every day if we involve Him and have the eyes to see these things. Doing this helped us to not get discouraged, even if we had every reason to be! Amidst all the chaos, confusion, and the sad things that we see every day in this city, the gospel of Christ helps to cut through all of this :) it replaces all darkness with light and helps us to see things through different eyes.
Have a wonderful week I love you all so much! :)
Con tutto il mio cuore,
Sorella Tay Tay
Also, along with the Gospel, I also know that gelato is true...Sorella dew and I have found there is a correlation between the amount of gelato we eat and our missionary work. The higher our gelato intake is, the higher our missionary work levels are :)
This week was BEAUTIFUL :) I fall in love with the mission and Bari and the gospel and this culture more and more EVERY day!!!!!
Okay so highlight of the week...I was soooooo grateful for this moment :)
So bishop Mckell came over to our house about a month before I left for the mish and explained how a government official in Italy (very Catholic) and his wife were in Utah and decided to take a tour of temple square with the Italy sister missionaries. This man was so impressed with these missionaries and loved the feeling he had and the spirit he felt walking around temple square. A few years later when president Uchtdorf was meeting with this official in Italy, the man said how he would love to have that same kind of feeling here in Rome and would love the youth to be as impressive as those missionaries were. This is when President Uchtdorf asked if they could build a temple here, and now that is why the temple is being built in Rome:) when Bishop told me this story I was so touched, and so grateful that the Italian missionaries were able to help this man feel the spirit-so we could now have a temple here:) anyways...the reason I am telling this story is because I met that sister missionary this week. We were invited to their house for pronzo yesterday, they are so wonderful! She served on temple square, her husband served in Albania, and they have 2 of the cutest kids in the world and are incredible missionaries here in the poggiofranco Ward :) when she told us that story of how she gave that man a tour and how powerful the spirit was I just wanted to HUG her!!!! She is a part of the reason there is a temple here in Rome and I was so grateful to meet someone who was such a huge part of that. Their family was so inspiring and I will never forget how I felt when she was telling this story!!!
This week was zone conference and it was WONDERFUL :) so good to see president and sister waddoups they are the greatest, and to see all the other missionaries in the zone they are SO awesome. Haha me and Sorella Anderson had prepared a musical number for the conf, I was playing the piano and she was playing the violin but the day before a little gypsy kid came up and stole her thousands of dollars violin.....ya no bene so anyways me and Sorella dew came up with a musical number last second haha it's such a blessing having a Broadway singer as a comp :)
Maria Teresa is doing wonderful Ahhh I love her!! She told me I am like the daughter she never had (they were never able to have children)...and she really is like a sweet Italian mother to me!!! Haha always grabbing my chin, kissing my cheeks and hugging me. we went on a walk with them last night, I was walking with her and Giuseppe and Sorella dew were ahead of us and she explained to me how she read all of 1st Nephi and knows that this book is true and that our gospel is true. Giuseppe doesn't like that she is reading il libro di Mormon but she told him that she has never been happier in her life or seen so much light come into her life since reading this book so she insisted :) I absolutely adore her! After meeting with them, her and Giuseppe gave us a letter that said
"In the course of the street, we met.
You are the light that lighted our dark
street. Your smiles improved our days
and your friendship helped us to
overcome the obstacles, all of
the evils that we find in our way. For
this we thank you with our hearts."
Even if we aren't able to teach every person we meet on the street I know that as missionaries and as members of the church we have a light and are able to light the way for others :) some days the only thing me and Sorella dew can give to other people is a smile, and maybe that's all that it takes for to light up someone's day. I love the gospel and am so grateful for the opportunity I get to share it with others! Even if it's just through a smile :)
Until next time famiglia mia,
Crystal's current area is Passo Corese, Italy.
Her address is:
Via Giacomo Matteotti, 187
02032 Passo Corese RI