Ahh such a special week.....I will never forget my Christmases in Italy.
Well do you remember Renata and Patrizia? The mom and daughter that we met when we went caroling in the park last week. We have met with them twice and taught them and they have been so prepared for the gospel. Renata has 70 years (yet acts as if she is 40) and her daughter Patrizia is married with a little boy. Renata's husband just recently passed away and Patrizia pulled us aside after one lesson and said "you found my mother in the most perfect moment of need. She needs this message." :) When we came back the second time Renata had read all the introduction, testimonies and most of 1st Nephi and highlighted everything she liked or had questions about in red...Almost every verse was red. The end of our last lesson she prayed for the first time and started crying and thanked Heavenly Father for the strange sensation she feels reading the Book of Mormon and the joy it has brought her...she then stood up, looked us in the eyes and said "I'm so curious about this and I am looking for truth." It was a beautiful thing telling her she will see her husband and can live with him forever :) She then noticed her cat was stuck in the top of this tree so we got a ladder and went and saved her cat while she chased these huge dogs away with a rake, hahaha it was quite the scene. Then one day this week we went caroling with the Relief Society at the old folks home--it was so special and RENATA CAME! She immediately bonded with everyone and it was neat for her to see how service oriented our church is. She loves music, and took all the hymns home with her and has been practicing them on the piano, (the very first gift her husband gave her:)
This week was beautiful. Full of writing our testimonies in many Books of Mormon and gifting them at the park, caroling with Bishop and his family, doing the nativity with our investigator Sabrina and her kids, delivering cookies and the sii una luce video to all the neighbors, making American breakfast for new convert Franca on Christmas Eve (she was all alone,) and gifting the Living Christ and Joy to the World movie to all our investigators:) It was special, especially for investigator Massimo..he was all alone on Christmas. Gods timing was perfect in us meeting Massimo.
One of my favorite things during Christmas in Italy is that people don't focus as much on the tree as they do on the nativity. All down the streets in our little town people have set up massive nativities, that cover their whole front yard. I am so grateful for the Italian people's faith in Christ:) Heavenly Father could not have given a symbol for Jesus Christ more perfect than what He used--light. He is the light of the world and has brought so many moments of light into my life:)
When Brayon and his whole entire family walked into church yesterday I was playing the piano for the opening hymn and completely lost my spot and caused a little scene. My heart felt like it was going to explode seeing the whole family sit in church together. At the end of the meeting the dad, Miriam walked up to bishop and said "bishop one day we will arrive, just have patience but we will all be in this church one day." I am so happy.
At the old folks home this week this sweet little lady looked at me, grabbed my hands, and then said "forza, coraggio, la vita è formaggio." (Strength, courage, life is cheese) hahaha, she then went on to explain how cheese has holes and sometimes we fall down into a hole but we can always get back out with strength and courage. I thought that was so cute.
I love my mission, it has blessed me in ways that I never expected. I want you all to know that what I'm doing here in Italy and what I have grown up believing my whole life is true. I know this is the truth with my heart. Bringing this truth to the people here in Rome Italy is a great thing to witness, I know this gospel changes people in a way that can't be described until you let it change you yourself. What I cherish most is how my relationship with my Savior has been strengthened. Now that I have a better grip and understanding of what He did for me I know the things I want to do for Him. I am so overwhelmed for what He has done for every single one of us & I am forever grateful that I got to gift that message to Italians this Christmas. I know this is the true church of Jesus Christ.
9 I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy.
10 And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me.
13 Yea, and that same God did establish his church among them; yea, and that same God hath called me by a holy calling, to preach the word unto this people, and hath given me much success, in the which my joy is full.
I can't wait to see these people dressed in white one day enter the Rome temple, oh how this work makes my joy so full :)
Crystal's current area is Passo Corese, Italy.
Her address is:
Via Giacomo Matteotti, 187
02032 Passo Corese RI