It's been a really beautiful week:) We spent four days out of our area, two in Catania for zone conference, one in Reggio for their baptism, and one yesterday on the other side of the island in Palermofor Stake Conference. All such uplifting and incredible experiences that I won't forget. Elder Adonay Vindas from the Seventy came to the conference yesterday and bore a beautiful testimony about running and finishing the race with Christ, there was such a strong spirit in the room and it was really powerful being united with all these faithful members here in Sicilia:)
One of the biggest miracles from this week is when we went to go visit Jasmine & her son Lorenzo for the first time. She is from the Carribean, she married an Italian and he's passed away so now she lives with her boyfriend and 18 yr old son! We taught them about the Restoration, and about halfway through the boyfriend walked in and wasn't too happy that Jasmine was meeting with us, he started yelling at her and said a lot of rude things and then stormed out of the house. She began to cry and we bore testimony of Gods love for her and her worth as a daughter of God, and how he has a plan for her. The spirit was so strong and we proceeded to invite them to be baptized. Lorenzo immediately turned to his mother all excited and said "mom can I?" She said, of course, and told us she wants to be baptized as well. They came to Stake Conference (along with the boyfriend) and absolutely loved it. Three of the four talks were on strengthening the family, and the boyfriend told us how much he enjoyed it! It was all very inspired.
We had a lesson with Nino and cute Fratello Impollonia this last week, I'm telling you they are best buds! We have had a harder time trying to communicate with Nino, not just because he only has a couple teeth but more because he speaks more Siciliano than he does Italiano! Well, in our lesson last week Nino still wasn't quite understanding the
restoration so all of a sudden Fratello Impollonia started using all these metaphors and comparing the restored gospel to different gelato flavors, pasta, and panini. And CLICK! It's like this light just went on in Ninos head, I'm telling you the way to an Italians heart is always through food:) When we invited him to be baptized he told us he's too old and doesn't swim. I had to keep myself from laughing, this was by far the most interesting lesson I've ever had haha. I love him though and he's praying for an answer to know if the church is true. Who knew a simple bus convo would turn into something so great:)
We had a lot of incredible experiences this week, but I just want to really focus on one:) We had one of the most beautiful moments the other day with Sorella Muscolino. She's in her 50s, her husband passed away a few years ago and she suffers from cancer. She now lives with her boyfriend and feels like she's too far from Heavenly Father to come back to church. (she hasn't come in 6 years.) Well last week we decided to make the trek up in the mountains even though she hadn't been answering our calls and I'm so grateful that we followed that prompting. When she first saw us I don't know how happy she was that we were there, she seemed very tired, and was just quietly folding her laundry and didn't really want to talk. She eventually came over to the table and sat down with us and said a prayer, and we had one of the most spiritual lessons I think I've had on my whole mission. She explained how she knows Heavenly Father has always been there for her but she hasn't always been there for Him. She began to cry and told us she wanted to return. Immediately the Spirit just flooded my whole body there was no way in that moment I could deny what I was feeling and the love of Heavenly Father for this Sorella! I have never felt so strongly the love of god for his children. I began to tell her the parable of the lost sheep and told her that it doesn't matter how far we have strayed from our shepherd or how lost we feel. He is constantly searching for us and when he finds us he rejoices! The spirit was so strong and I was able to see Sorella Muscolino in a different light than I have ever seen her. I referred to Pres Uchtdorfs talk from this last conference and explained that if we only lift up our hearts to the Savior he will find us, rescue us, lift us up and place us on his shoulders and carry us home. And REJOICE! I felt I was in just as much need to hear what the spirit was teaching just as much as her:)
“What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them,
doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after
that which is lost, until he find it?
“And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.”
WOW it has been such an awesome week Messina is on fire right now!!! I don't even know where to begin. Sorella Crandell and I have been trying to strengthen our faith that the Lord is preparing people here in Messina ready for this restored gospel and we have seen some beautiful miracles! In pmg (Preach My Gospel) it says, "He will lead you to them or He will lead them to you" and this last week he has led so many people ready for the gospel to us!!!!!:)
Fabiana! So a little bit about her, she's 24, her sister Stefania is a new convert as of February and their mother was baptized 40 years ago and is inactive. Well Fabiana came to church again yesterday and we had one of the most beautiful lessons with her and Stefania last night!!! She explained how after taking the lessons with the sisters she began to smoke again and was so discouraged and told us she felt so lost and empty and far from God. She expressed how she had been praying for the strength to overcome her smoking addiction the past little while and felt she needed to come to church again. Now she wants to continue meeting with us and she accepted to prepare for baptism for June 18th! Stefania started crying (it was her birthday yesterday & explained later how this was the best birthday she's ever had). We are going to get this family to the temple to be sealed together for all time and eternity!
Today as we were walking around in Catania this lady named Jasmine calls us, and tell us that a year ago her 18 year old son was preparing for baptism and got nervous, felt like he wasn't ready and told the missionaries he wanted some time. Well his mother called us and told us she and her son BOTH have interest in meeting with us again! It was the biggest miracle, I can't wait to meet them! They are from the Carribean but have been living in Italia for years :)
We did a huge party for corso d'inglese (English course), and watched Meet the Mormons together and ate so much good food. It went soooo well, we had a such a great turnout:) Well we had to escape before the movie finished so we could be home on time and after walking for about 15 minutes this cute couple (corso students) pull over on the side of the road & asked if they could give us a ride. They began to explain how much they loved the movie, and how it's so beautiful that we actually live what we believe! They especially loved the story about the bishop, and how the family was central in his life. (whereas here in Italy the priests can't be married.) We asked them if they would have interest in hearing more about our message and they said "OF COURSE! In fact we were wanting to ask you!" We will be meeting with them this week:) this is truly the hastening of the work!!!!
Nino came to church again yesterday and absolutely loved it!!! We also had pranzo with him and his neighbors and taught them the Restoration!!!!:) Fratello Impollonia, the 2nd counselor in the bishopric has become best buds with Nino and it's so awesome to see Nino so happy. His wife died about 15 years ago and he has been so lonely ever since. He is a Jehovah's Witness but explained to us how the members there don't always live what they believe and he has felt a peace and sense of direction in his life since he met with us and coming to our church! He asked us if he could take a hymn book home with him so he could play them on the piano (he writes music). This week we will do a lesson with him and fllo Impollonia and invite him to come unto Christ and be baptized! I can't wait:)
Davide is still doing wonderful, unfortunately with this new job he works Saturday nights till 3-4 am and hasn't made it to church-he is heartbroken that he hasn't come and asked us to pray for him, he is still doing awesome and is still preparing for baptism whether that be in a few weeks or no! We will not let Satan discourage him or us, we just got to keep that FAITH in him and help him continue on this path!!!!
Well funny story, a year ago when I was skating with friends my tooth chipped out! Well it was a beautiful morning over here in Sicily and I took a bite into a yum peach and there goes my tooth! Let's just say I never want to go to a dentist outside of America ever again:) Besides that hahaha all has been beautiful here in Messina! I love the mission. It's one of the only times in my life we will have this divine power and I have never felt so close to God, our Savior and the Spirit ever in my life!! I have never been able to see other people in a small sense of how Heavenly Father sees His children like I have in the mission. I have never experienced the joy of seeing someone completely change their life around in order to come to know their Savior Jesus Christ like I have here. I have never found so much meaning and light and beauty in my life like I have in the mission serving others. All the hard times, the sad moments don't even matter in contrast with all these sweet moments and tender mercies!!
I LOVE YOU ALL
VI VOGLIO BENE
Ciao a tutti
Awesome week as usual here with Sorella Crandell, we are loving Messina! God is so good to us. Have to go to a funeral in just a bit we don't have much time so this might be a little scattered....scusami
Davide is doing so well! He prayed last week to find work, and a couple days later he got a job washing dishes at a restaurant-he has been without a job for almost a year! He was so happy and was so touched that God was so aware of him. He hasn't smoked in over 3 weeks now and told us he has no desire to ever smoke again! During one of our lessons this last week, we asked him "who is Jesus Christ to you" and he told us that Christ is his Savior. He talked about the past 7 years of his life he didn't know who Christ was and how lost and empty he felt! and then told us that thanks to our Savior Jesus Christ he has now found a new life, and he has never been so happy or ever felt this much peace. The Spirit was so powerful in the room! The Davide I met 2 months ago is a completely different person now-it's so beautiful watching the reality of Christ and His atonement changing people.
The other day we were on the bus and this cute old man got out of his seat so I could sit down! We started to talk and exchanged numbers to meet one day to share our message. Well, we called him on Saturday and invited him to church (he doesn't have a car and lives about an hour away) and he said he wouldn't be able to because his daughter was coming into town. Well right as sacrament meeting was about to start yesterday in walks cute Nino all dressed up and excited to see us! Then in walks Fabiana!!!! Biggest miracle of the week-we taught her a couple months ago and she was doing wonderful but started smoking again and it made her discouraged and she told us she didn't want to meet anymore. Well she came to church yesterday and told us she wants to start meeting again! They both loved church, Nino (86 yrs old) especially loved singing the hymns it was so great:)
One night we went with all the ysas downtown and did a huge gesso, with surveys, English course, & Mormon messages it was so much fun and such a huge success! At the end of the night this older man came up to me and explained how he had met with the missionaries 15 years ago and read the Book of Mormon, but eventually the missionaries lost contact with him and he hasn't met with them since. We set up an appointment with him and met last night, the lesson went so well, he explained for the past 15 years how hard his life has been and some trials he has gone through, & expressed his love for the Savior during this time. We both felt prompted to invite him to baptism for June 18 and he asked us if he could be baptized sooner! Haha that's definitely not the answer we were expecting but we couldn't be happier for him:)
I feel like it's getting harder and harder to write every week! It's hard to put into words all the countless miracles we see every day and the Lords hand in guiding us in His work...but what I can say is this is the greatest experience I have ever taken part in:) like Davide I have never been happier or felt so much peace in my life like I do now, sharing the gospel! I know it is true! We got to do scambios with the sorelle in Siracusa last week and had the opportunity to share the gospel where Paul preached the gospel....it was incredible! I will never forget these experiences! Have a settimana meravigliosa!
15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth;
Hello all! Don't have too much time today but just wanted to wish all you mothers a buona festa della mama🌸especially my beautiful mother! One of my favorite talks is behold thy mother from Elder Holland:
"No love in mortality comes closer to approximating the pure love of Jesus Christ than the selfless love a devoted mother has for her child." Thanks to my beautiful mother and her selfless love! I LOVE you mom!
I especially loved this Mother's Day not just because I got to talk with mom but also because we went downtown that night and talked to all these families and shared a message about mothers and how grateful Heavenly Father is for their divine love and service-it was really cool and so beautiful to talk to so many families. Saturday night our plans fell through so we thought we would go stop by Leonas apartment because she hadn't answered our phone calls and texts all week. We went over and she said she hadn't left her house all week because she was sad with Mother's Day coming up because her children haven't talked to her in a very long time and she misses them and her husband. She just sat there and cried, it was so sad but we had the opportunity to talk about Christ and His perfect atonement! And immediately a peace just came over us and Leona. I love being a missionary because I love seeing the reality of the atonement and how we can be lifted through His sacrifice. She walked with us to church the next morning and there was just such a beautiful spirit, I'm grateful she was able to come and feel the Saviors perfect love for her during the sacrament.
This week has been really amazing, I love this work so much. Sorella Crandell & I fasted on Sunday for a way to help all our investigators progress more towards baptism and for their hearts to be softened and accept the dates we had prayed for. Well, Monday night Davide called us and told us he had received an answer to his prayers and wants to be baptized! We are so happy for him, we might need to push his date back until June because he is doing the smoking program and we want him to be as prepared as possible, but he feels at peace and believes this is the true church of Jesus Christ. One of the most beautiful things is seeing him pray for the first time in 7 years and developing that relationship with Heavenly Father again. I'll never forget the first lesson we had with him and how sad and lost he seemed and now seeing him and the joy and light that radiates from him! God is working some pretty great miracles here in Messina :)
We taught Anna and her husband Giovanni the restoration last week at their shoe shop! They are devoted Catholics, some of the first I have met here in Italy who go to church every Sunday and pray and read the bible every day! We gave them a Book of Mormon and they have been reading it together! Tonight we will invite them to baptism, we have faith that if they keep reading the Book of Mormon with open hearts they will receive an answer and make this change that will change their lives! I can't wait.
Have a happy week tutti! I am so happy to be here and see Gods hand in my life every day. He is so good to us, don't ever forget He is there!
What's upppp! This week has been AMAZING. First off my greenie is Sorella Crandell from Utah she is so great, her mom is from Peru so she speaks Spanish and because of that her Italian is all ready sooooooo good:) #hasteningofthework She also lived in Spain for a year as a foreign exchange student! Anyways, I'm super grateful, she has taught me so much all ready and helped me to remember my purpose and have the faith and courage needed to be the best missionary I can be! As we were planning for our lessons the other day the first thing she asked me was how can we make Jesus Christ the center of our lesson? It just really hit me, she does all she can to make Christ the center of everything we do and it has been such a blessing and good reminder for me. We have seen SO MANY MIRACLES
Our very first day together we went and taught Irma, the cute bedante at the rest home that we've been teaching for awhile, and unfortunately she hasn't been able to come to church cause she works every Sunday! Well, as we were planning for her lesson we both were strongly prompted that we needed to ask her to pray for the help to change her work hours or to even change her jobs so she will be able to come to church on Sunday! At first I was a little bit nervous to do this, she is a single mother with 3 children and is all ready working 2 jobs to try and pay the bills....but we knew that that's what Heavenly Father wanted. We went in and taught her about prayer and at the end the Spirit was so strong and I invited her to pray and ask for the help needed to change her work schedule and she told us that she would. It was incredible, I know the Spirit was testifying to her of the truth of what we were saying. She texted us during the week and told us she is still waiting for her answer....pray for Irma:)
Sorella Crandell and I made it a goal to ask all of our investigators to be baptized this week with a specific date, so we prayed and selected dates for all of them that we felt they could prepare for! One night we went over and taught Zahaitu and Davide the restoration again and at the end invited them to be baptized and Zahaitu explained some of her doubts and challenges but accepted the invite to pray which is such a huge miracle! Davide on the other hand accepted and said he will pray to know if he can prepare himself for the 28th of MAY! He realizes the importance of this decision and how it will change his life and it's just so beautiful to see how much intent he has and how he wants to be sure this is right for him. It was so cool to see.
We taught Patrizia and Giada last night the plan of salvation and it was one of the most incredible experiences....a little while back Sorella Cueva explained how they had been thinking about dropping her because she has been taught for so long but is having a hard time progressing. Well, we kept teaching her and meno male because the GREENIE just completely changed everything. Sorella Crandell had experienced some very difficult family situations right before coming out on the mission and during the lesson yesterday she started sharing this particular experience and Patrizia just broke down and said "that's exactly how I feel!" We finally figured out what has been blocking her from progressing and being baptized thanks to my companion following the Spirit!!! We invited her to pray for the help to make some changes in her life and invited her to be baptized and to partake of the JOY of the gospel and promised her she can be happy again! She told us she would pray about it and I know that God is preparing her and she is getting so close to making these covenants with Heavenly Father!
I love this work and am so grateful! Thanks for all the prayers, support and love I feel so blessed! This church is true :) There's nothing else that could possibly bring me this joy or the miracles that I see every single giorno!
Have a happy week
Crystal's current area is Passo Corese, Italy.
Her address is:
Via Giacomo Matteotti, 187
02032 Passo Corese RI