Okay first off happy birthday to Arial, Jada, jones, Dave, Peggy,
Becky, Rev, Audrey, Daniel, Katie and Grandma this upcoming little
bit! If I forget anyone know that I love you just the same. I love you
ALL so much and wish you tanti auguri! I have the best fam fam in the
Next I just want to thank everyone in the ward who wrote letters-from
what I read I think those were supposed to come around Christmas time
but they couldn't have come at a better time in my mission, it was so
sweet of all of you and I wish I could explain the love I have for you
all! I was so overwhelmed with gratitude and love! GRAZIE MILLE
It has been a good week here in Messina! Things are coming along, the
work has been a bit slow, lots of people have been busy with Pasqua
and don't want to see us but we definitely saw the Lords hand this
last week and have found some amazing potentials! If anything this
last week I am so grateful for our Saviors love. It is so much more
than we can comprehend!
One night we went and saw the Zahaitu famiglia that we have been
teaching. They are wonderful, they have 4 children and they have been
going through a rough time and have barely had enough money to pay for
food and their house and everything the last little while. But, not too
long ago the mother met the sorelle missionarie on the street and
realized that something is missing in her life. So last week we went
over to teach them and her brother happened to be there, Davide, and
turns out he was best friends with a girl who was Mormon growing up so
he knew a lot about the church :) A few visits ago we gave the
family a Book of Mormon and I guess the mother had told Davide about
the book one night. One night last week Davide broke up with his
girlfriend and was very sad and couldn't sleep that night, So he
searched on the Internet "what do I need to do to forget about my
girlfriend" and one of the first things that popped up was to think of
something positive, and the first thing he thought of was the Book of
Mormon! Haha God works in mysterious ways:) So he went over and
grabbed the book in the middle of the night and started to thumb
through it and read a few things here and there and said that as he
was doing this he felt there was something about the book that made him
feel like there's something missing in his life! We had a wonderful
lesson with them, it was very spiritual and so special to see how
prepared Davide is. He said he's always wondered why his Mormon friend
was always so happy and different from everyone else in school, and
now he has begun to feel and understand why. That our message truly
brings that happiness and hope!
One night we went and saw cute Leona from the Phillipines, a less
active. She has been coming to church off and on for about 2 years
now. Her husband passed away 2 years ago and it's been very hard for
her. This last week she fell and broke her arm and has had to do
everything by herself and is just so sad. So we went and shared a
message with her and asked her how she felt at the end and she just
broke down with tears and bore the most beautiful testimony of the
Savior and how patient He has been with her, and even though she has
messed up she can always feel His love for her and He still is always
there for her to bring her back on the path. Well yesterday when
Sorella Cueva and I were walking to church guess who was walking right
ahead of us? LEONA :) She said it took her 2 hours to get ready with
her sling, (not to mention it was daylight savings) anyways it made me
so happy, and she was just glowing!
I really am so grateful for the peace and hope the gospel of Jesus
Christ has brought me and brings me every day. Something that made me
really sad this last Easter week was there was a parade in centro one
night, and everyone was walking around with big crosses with the
crucified Jesus, and they were all mourning and singing the most
depressing songs!! It made me so sad and also so grateful for the
knowledge that He truly lives! He can heal us, literally change us and
make us the person God wants us to become:) Meno male because I am
very imperfect, I make dumb decisions and maybe I forget sometimes
what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ but hey guess what! I
can start over and over again and truly find a new life through Him!
Happy Easter week and buona conferenza generale, I love you ALL!
Alma 7 11-13
I am definitely not on the mainland anymore mamma mia....this past week has been full of miracles, saying goodbye to people I love so much and saying hello to new experiences, there are so many new people here to love and I can just feel that there are so many people ready in Messina for this GOSPEL.
SICILY is beautiful! I love it. There's orange and lemon trees all over, lots of sheep, the sea is bright blue, I don't understand a word of Siciliano, it's nice and toasty with a lot of 99% humidity, the people are beautiful with olive olive olive skin. I'm already addicted to arancini, balls of fried rice. The 10 hour bus ride with 4 anziani was about as crazy as it sounds haha. Once we took the ferry to Sicily we took an hour bus ride to cattania and I met my adorable COLLEGA. sorella cueva, i love her all ready. We then took an hour bus ride back to Messina-the country side looks a lot like a European version of Hawaii. Where we live it's a big big city and we live right in centro wahoo. Sorella Cuevas from Ecuador, lived there for 11 years then moved to Verona Italy for 10 years (close to Venezia) She's wonderful, makes the BEST food #ohno and has a beautiful testimony of the Savior. I'm grateful for Heavenly Fathers hand the past week, it's amazing how well we communicate with each other and she doesn't speak English. I'm starting to think in Italian, dream in Italian, sleep talk in Italian, use way to many hand gestures......forgetting English ayy ayy
Church yesterday was awesome, I love the members aleady. We meet in a cute little apartment, there's about 25 active members and they are SO wonderful, humble, full of love.
I can promise you that nothing, NOTHING compares to the joy that missionary work brings. Before I left Bari, I gave Isaac his favorite picture of Christ, as the shepherd, and a picture of the Rome Italy temple. He is saving money and preparing to go to the temple in September when he goes to Peru, I am so happy for him. He then gave me a letter, and I want to share a small part of it...
"I thank God to have known you in this period of my life, because thanks to your testimony I am more close to our beloved Heavenly Father and I could deepen my knowledge of His gospel, becoming, after baptism, a follower of the true church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I feel so happy taking the sacrament every Sunday....I hope the Spirit will continue to be with you so that you can bring more souls into the presence of our Heavenly Father."
Never in my life have I felt so full of gratitude for the Savior and for the opportunity I had to watch someone make the necessary changes to bring themselves closer to Him and His gospel. I am so grateful to celebrate the resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ this week. I know He was resurrected on the third day, He is risen and HE LIVES. I have a testimony of prayer and know that our Heavenly Father didn't leave us alone here on the earth. He gave us HIS SON. The other night I was struggling with something and I went into another room and prayed and I felt so strongly God listening to my prayer. We are not alone! I know that Christ suffered everything before any of us, and because of that He knows exactly what we need, how we feel, and how to help us. He is HERE with us, all we have to do is open the door to let Him in. I love my Savior, I know He lives because I have felt His love and seen the difference and change He has made in my life and in the life of so many others. Through HIM we can change and be perfected. HE LOVES US.
I invite you all to read "None Were With Him" by Elder Holland and remember all that Christ has done and does for us:) Spero che durante questa Pasqua possiate ricordare quello che Gesù ha fatto, e come tutti muoiono in Adamo, così in cristo tutti risorgeranno.
Ok, well to start we received our transfer calls this last week and I am being banished from the mainland and headed to the island of SICILY! I'm going to Messina, about a 12 hour bus ride from here with the anziani so that will be fun haha. So I think I'll be closer to Africa than I am to Rome. My new companion is Sorella Cueva, she's from northern Italy so you can bet I'm really going to forget how to speak English hahaha. She's a transfer younger than me and it's just us 2 sisters there so it will be quite the adventure. I have heard tante belle cose about the members there, I guess the church is in a little cute apartment. I couldn't be more excited and grateful! I'm definitely leaving a piece of my heart here in Bari, it's going to be hard but I will never forget the experiences I've shared with the people here. Looking back on the last 6 months my heart is so full of gratitude for all the people I met, loved, and all the spiritual experiences I've had. God has been so good.
This last week I have really come to understand how this is not our work, but the work of the Lord. He has been so aware of us and we have seen so many beautiful tender mercies!!! One miracle was one afternoon everyone we planned to see had bailed on us so we decided to take a bus out to Triggiano and stop by the member families there! It was pouring rain so not very many people were out, and I didn't remember which stop to get off so we just got off a random one. We asked the first girl we saw walking down the street if she knew where this address was, and she stopped, smiled at us and in half Spanish/Italian she said, "I moved here a month ago from Peru, so I don't know. But I do know you're Mormon and my mother is Mormon!" It was so exciting! We got both her number and her moms number and she told us we could come by :)
Something fun this week is we got phone numbers from people from Poland, Latvia, Peru, Ukraine, Nigeria, Georgia, and Italy of course! Made me realize how there are people ALL over the world who are ready for this message and it really is being taken all over the world!
The Lagattolla couple, the ones who wanted to prepare to go to the temple came to Stake conference yesterday-the second time the wife has been to church since I've been here. We've been helping her move around her work schedule so she could come to church, and her husband Angelo told us he feels a piece of him is missing when he sits in church alone. And yesterday when I saw them walk into church together I think I almost fell of my seat! They were so happy to be sitting together in church. Angela, our other less active was sitting next to me as well yesterday. She's getting back on track! and told me yesterday she wants to go on a mission. God is so good.
Haha something funny this week, one morning we were headed to go see cute Angelo our less active who's struggling with smoking. We're walking to his house and all of a sudden we turn the corner and there he is with these 2 huge water jugs and he yells SORELLE! The water went out in our house so I'm going to the fountain (a public fountain in the middle of the park, not meant for drinking) to fill them up haha COME with me! So we did and then we had a lesson with him in the park. After our lesson he was so excited to go do missionary work so were walking back home and he's literally talking to everyone about how the gospel will change their lives. As were walking and talking and he was looking at me all of a sudden BANG he ran straight into this pole! It was so loud haha. He grabbed his head and then gave me a huge smile under his HUGE mustache. Going to miss that man.
After I found out I was leaving Bari I texted Priscilla, this cute girl from our corso (English class) and told her I was leaving and we would love to meet with her. So she met us in the church and we had such a wonderful lesson. We have never really been able to get a hold of her so it was such a miracle and we asked her if she was interested in taking the lessons and she was more than excited, and took a Book of Mormon!! I see more and more every day why there are missionaries here in Bari, there are so many people ready for the gospel! Priscilla said "I love the way you pray after spiritual thoughts at English course much better than us Catholics pray, it's so much more personal and real.." We also found a golden woman Leonarda this last week and started teaching her, she was about to become a religion teacher so when she found out we were Mormon and she didn't know anything about us she was so excited to learn! YAY. Going to teach our family tonight and then invite them all to be baptized, we prayed about a date and felt inspired for May 1st. There's something special about this family, they are just so full of light and desire to learn!
I love being a missionary! So excited to go to Sicily! LOVE YOU ALL. THANK YOU FOR THE SUPPORT.
It's been a real good week to say the least. Super grateful to be serving here in Bari. Hence the title of my email, couldn't think of anything else and that's how I'm feelin. I'm never going to forget these experiences that I have been having!
We taught Giulia again and it was amazing! We went into the lesson planning to teach the restoration but within a few minutes both of us were prompted to teach the plan of salvation, and with her parents dying when she was little and her best friend dying in that car crash 3 months ago it was so beautiful to be able to promise her she can see all these people again! I just want to say the gift of tongues is REAL, I have felt that way my whole mission but especially in this last lesson, she was using words I have never heard in my life but I knew exactly what she was saying, and when speaking I was using words that I didn't know I knew it was so amazing! I love being a missionary. One thing I am grateful for this week is the Spirit, it teaches us missionaries just as much as it teaches our investigators.
So a huge tender mercy, we have been working with these 2 less actives the past 5 months trying to help them get to church but nothing has seemed to be working. And really just pushed them and made plans with them to come and yesterday they both came to church AND bore their testimonies. It was one of the most beautiful things to see, the gospel changes people and anything is possible with the Lord I promise you! The members were all so loving and helped them feel loved and welcome. My heart was so full of love I couldn't have been happier.
We threw a pancake party for the ward on Saturday, haha about 15 minutes before the party the electricity went out in the church kitchen classssic but meno male we said a quick prayer and things kicked back up again! It was so fun, we had 3 of our contacts come! Haha if American food is involved we always see many miracles. At first everyone was putting the scrambled eggs on top of the pancake and folding it and eating it like a taco and they were like this is so good! and we were like NO and we showed them how it's done with syrup and powdered sugar and Nutella and whipped cream. They tried to tell us how unhealthy Americans are ayyy ayy ay (coming from the people who eat pasta pizza gelato focaccia panzarotti every single day) it was a good time :)
The family we are teaching is doing wonderful! The other day we went over and taught them and Rodolfo, the father, offered me chocolate and I thought he said with "cuore" (hearts) but he said liquore! Haha I told him yes and then my companion got all uncomfortable and awkward. Anyways, I love teaching them, all of them (grandma and grandpa, daughter and granddaughter) have real intent and I'm so excited where things go with them, they are super special.
We're still teaching Remmo, haha he's doing so great. We taught him the plan of salvation this last week and when we were talking about the restoration his wife excitedly looks at him and says "you'll have hair!!!! You'll have a beautiful smile!" And he just got his toes cut off in a surgery and I wasn't really thinking and I said Remmo avrai un corpo perfetto! You will have a perfect body! Haha and then I was like oh no I hope that wasn't offensive, but then he just started laughing and was so happy and was like you're right! That's beautiful! Phew. Anyways he's doing wonderful and coming closer to our Savior it's a beautiful thing to see.
Well that's a wrap for this week! I'm just so grateful for the gospel and for my testimony. Yesterday we were teaching Lucia and she got a little upset and said I just want you guys to have a normal life, you're young and I want you to go to the cinema and listen to music! And we just told her how fortunate and lucky we are to be devoting every moment to Jesus Christ every day for a year and a half. And I told her that I've never been happier in my entire life and as I was saying that I was like wow. It's TRUE! Those other things don't even matter in comparison to the big picture, Christ is the answer to true and lasting happiness. I love it. I'm so grateful for the restoration of the gospel. It's a light in this often dark world, and has shaped and changed my whole life. Siamo così benedetti, potete oppure trovare la pienezza della felicità tramite questo messaggio. Trovarlo:)
Crystal's current area is Passo Corese, Italy.
Her address is:
Via Giacomo Matteotti, 187
02032 Passo Corese RI