Ciao a tutti....vi voglio troppo bene lo sapete?!?! Questa settimana è andata benissssimo!!! Vediamo la mano di Dio in ogni momento, ogni giorno nella nostra opera. Il mio cuore sarà a Messina per sempre!!!!! I am so overwhelmed with love for my mission and this chance to share my simple testimony of Jesus Christ with these Italians! There have been so many instances and experiences this last week that have filled my heart with so much gratitude and love for this work and my Savior!
One night walking home we had 10-15 minutes so we walked up to the first girl we saw sitting on a bench in piazza and it turned out to be such a sweet miracle. Her name's Bridget, she's about 20 and studying at university, we immediately said a prayer with her and began to teach her the restoration. She explained how that night she was feeling so sad and alone and then we walked up. We asked her how her life would be different if she knew that this message was true and
she said it would be a "beautiful thing" because there are many things about the Catholic Church that confuse her. We had her read Moroni's promise in the Book of Mormon and she began to cry. She told us she believed she could find an answer to this and had a desire to know. She said the closing prayer, we exchanged numbers and gave her a Book of Mormon and she just seemed so serene and said she would read it before our next visit, she was so ready for us to come and talk to her
that night. The next day as we were walking home from an appointment we hear someone calling our name on the side of the road and it was her and we talked a bit and set up an appointment:) God is literally leading us to her and she is searching for something. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY
The other day this lady named Pina texted us and told us she missed us and felt something missing from her life and so we met with her in the church. She had met with the missionaries 5 yrs ago and was progressing towards baptism but then got a job and had to work on Sunday's so the missionaries dropped her. Well, for the last year that no missionaries have met with her she has been reading the Book of Mormon EVERY NIGHT. She basically taught us the restoration and bore
the most sincere testimony of Joseph Smith. We invited her to be baptized and as I was telling her that God wouldn't give us commandments that we can't follow I just felt the spirit testifying to ME of these things. She began to cry and said I know if I put Christ and his church as a priority in my life everything will fall into place. She's going to need to stop working on Sunday's so please pray for Pina because she is so ready!!!!
We saw Sorella Lilia and so boldly testified (but with lots of amore) how if she stops making excuses and comes to church God will bless her and provide a way to do all the other things she needs to get done. It was awesome and so bold but the Spirit was guiding our words. She cried and said she would pray for the strength to come and grow her faith. Sunday morning I was playing the prelude music and when I saw her walk in I couldn't help but run up to her and hug her, my heart
was about to burst! There were many other less actives that we have been working with for months who all came to church yesterday (including Janina, the first time she's come to church since I've been here) and as I was playing the hymn "I believe in Christ" the spirit was so strong in the room and I just looked up for a split second and our little Messina chapel was so full we had to bring some extra chairs in! Such a beautiful sight!!!!!
Well Davide is getting baptized tomorrow and let's just say Satan has thrown every curveball at him you could imagine, so much as to put our district leader in a coma so Davide couldn't get his baptism interview (don't worry, Anziano McKennas fine he should be out of the ospedale tomorrow, haha it's been a crazy week) It's amazing to me what lengths Satan will go to to stop someone from doing this special ordinance because he knows the blessings waiting for him and the strength that
Davides going to be for this Messina branch! The Catania zone leaders drove down and interviewed him and said he was amazing, especially after telling them he would be going on a mission and then going to the Salt Lake temple in 4 years to be married for eternity:) Tomorrow is the day! Let's pray all goes well!
So funny story, we go and eat with member couple Namolie and Kushan from Srilanka (no idea how to spell that) They had prepared for us lots of curry and rice with mystery Srilankian fish and eggs and lentils! So so nice of them.....well after we say the prayer we were just kind of waiting because there weren't utensils on the table and then Kushan yells at us "EAT EAT!" Haha, and we realize we're going to eat all this saucy curry and all with our hands....that was quite the experience :)
Well I am sooooooo so happy beyond words. Nino should be getting baptized this Saturday at the ocean before our ward bbq. We are praying all goes well--but with some doubts and things he is having I have just been made aware that this will all be done in the Lords timing. We can only do all that we can and leave the rest up to these peoples sweet libero arbitrio and to the Lord and His timing:) I love this gospel con tutto il mio cuore, it's true and is the most beautiful thing in my life! Buona settimana a tutti di voi,
Ciao a tutti WHAT AN AWESOME WEEK HERE IN MESSINA SICILIA :) I am loving the mission so much. More and more every day and I know that I am serving in the city of miracles right now!!!!!!
Just a quick update on the investigators.....
-jasmine Lorenzo, her boyfriend Antonio, Nino and davide all came to church yesterday! And davide will be getting baptized next Tuesday and we all just can't wait! He is doing so awesome, he fasted for the first time yesterday about questions regarding a mission and he said he felt a sensation he's never felt in his life before. he texted us one night his whole testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and all of a sudden all these huge fireworks just started going off right by our house. Illegal but I felt like everyone was just celebrating for Davide! Awesome moment:)
-Antonio & jasmine are so great, they will need some more time because they're living together but hey we might just be seeing a wedding in a short amount of time!!!!
-Ninos birthday was last week and no one knew or did anything for him that day so when we found out we threw him a party and brought balloons and watched the restoration movie...it was pretty awesome :) We went to pranzo at his house last week and when we opened the fridge all the wine was GONE! He has completely stopped. He says the most heartfelt prayers, when he prays you know he knows God is listening to Him and aware of his situation and it's been such a good example for me.
-We haven't been seeing Irma in a couple of weeks because she wasn't keeping her commitments but we felt we should one day and we went and she told us she had prayed to know if this church is true!!! The first time in 5 months! She said she knows with her heart the Book of Mormon is true and Joseph Smith was a prophet. It was the biggest miracle, I
know if we too ask God for the truth He will tell us. We will be praying for a miracle that she can change her job and come to church.
-We pranzoed with Fabiana, her new convert sister and less active mom in Capo Dorlando last week and it was amazing to be with this part member family and teach them all at the same time:) They are the only members out there, about 2 hours away from the church but Stefania wakes up every Sunday morning at 5 and makes the two hours to church, 30 € every Sunday. Such an amazing example per tutti! Unfortunately, Fabianas really struggling with smoking but we will just keep loving encouraging and praying for her! God is on our side :)
-Cetti called us this last week, turns out her son has been sick so she has been in the hospital and guess who the doctor is taking care of them? BISHOP. We will be seeing them and teaching them as soon as he's out of the hospital:)
Again, there were a million other miracles we saw this week but I really just want to write about one experience. Yesterday we ate lunch with Bishop, his wife and the Stake presidency who was in town. It was such an incredible experience and they all are such amazing examples, some only converts of a couple years and since their conversion have all completely devoted their lives to serving Christ and helping the people here in Sicily to find Him. At the end we shared a spiritual
thought with them on missionary work and as we were talking I felt prompted to share the experience when I prayed to know if Pres. Pickard, the knew president coming in was inspired to be serving and leading us in this mission. At the same time I again prayed to know if God had called me here to serve the people in Italy and if I really was supposed to be here in Sicily right now and I receive such a strong and clear confirmation that God needs me here and all these leaders during this time! And that there are so many people around us who are searching for Christ and are ready for this gospel, we
testified of the miracles we have been seeing and Bishop just broke down and started crying. He works so hard and I don't think people realize or maybe appreciate all that he does but he has really devoted his life to Christ and it was just such a beautiful moment! I'm so overwhelmed with gratitude to be serving with these amazing faithful and humble people, these people are changing my life! This gospel is changing people's lives here in Messina! The atonement is real and Christ is changing people's hearts, grazie a lui. I love this work! I love my Heavenly Father for sending me here and I know that there are people all around us searching for the truth so let's go out and FIND THEM!!!
Okay....I'm really sorry but I have about NO time today. We went hiking for Pday today in what looked like the redwood forest it was so beautiful, didn't realize how much I missed the mountains and a breath of fresh air till I was there today:)
It has been such a BEAUTIFUL WEEK. I am so grateful to be here!!!!!
The miracles are incredible and unforgettable and are changing my life. I read this scripture this morning and it just really hit me!!!
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, as I said unto my disciples, where two or three are gathered together in my name, as touching one thing, behold, there will I be in the midst of them--even so am I in the midst of you."
I know that we are not alone in this work, I have felt the Savior by my side all though out my mission but especially these last couple of weeks here in Messina, He is so aware of us and everything that we are doing and is doing all He can to help us look for His sheep and help others to come unto Him and experience pure joy :)
We had a beautiful lesson with Nino this last week, we taught him the plan of salvation and never have I felt the spirit so strong telling this cute 82 year old man who is heartbroken and misses his wife so dearly that He will be able to see her again and live with her for all time and all eternity. He kneeled down at the end of the lesson and said a prayer and cried and thanked Heavenly Father for the beautiful things he learned and heard.
We threw a talent show for the branch and after about 5 talents everyone decided instead they just wanted to have a big dance party....oh my goodness it was such a huge turnout and SUCH A BLAST!
Haha, it just turned into a huge dance festa with all our contacts and my big Italian family....not to mention my ward mission leader and his wife dancing the whole night away. I love these people so much.
I did a scambio with Sorella Mckenzie this week in Messina and we went over to cute Cettis house, a woman we met on the bus the last week and we taught her, her 5 children and her friends the restoration and invited them to baptism and they accepted! Even though it was our first time teaching together we were able to teach in such perfect unity and the spirit was so STRONG! It was incredible!!!
All of our investigators are still progressing and doing wonderful!!!
It's so beautiful to see! I love you all so much thank you for all the support and love!!! This gospel is so true and has brought me so much peace and happiness!!! I am so happy!!!!! :)
Well, just have to start out by saying that there is nothing better than hearing that your best friend is coming to join you in this work here in ITALY!!! auguri Elsa I could not be any happier :) This week has been really beautiful, despite the amount of mosquito bites & sweat haha...it's all about the experience right! I'll share just two or three experiences.
This week we had an incredible lesson with the one and only Nino. We had been praying all day that we would have the gift of tongues and be able to teach in such a way that could touch Nino because we just feel and can see that he has so much potential. Well, we walk into our lesson and Nino offers to say the opening prayer & says one of the most beautiful and heartfelt prayers I have ever heard. He prayed that he would be able to know for himself that this message is true, that
he would continue to feel the happiness he has felt since meeting with us. We then taught the restoration for the third time and it was one of the craziest feelings, we were all able to understand each other perfectly and I felt the spirit guiding me and my companion in everything we said, it was tangible in that room. At the end Nino told us he has abandoned the Jehovah's Witness church and asked what he needs to do to prepare himself for baptism! He began to tell us, with
tears in his eyes that he knows there is a reason we met on the bus that day, and that he has known since the second he met us that the message we were sharing was true. He told us he didn't know how to describe the happiness he has felt in his heart. July 2 he is preparing to enter the waters of baptism!
With Davide and his new job I felt a little bit discouraged because of working so late he has struggles coming to church. Sorella Crandell and I realized we need to put more trust in Gods timing and I really came to understand how this is not our work!!! Well we go and have a lesson with him one day and both felt prompted to ask him if he could talk to his boss to get Saturday nights off so he could come to church. He started laughing and said SORELLE! I all ready talked to him and told him I was getting baptized, I asked him when I will be able to get Saturday's off so I can go to church, and in fact I shared
with him a Book of Mormon and this beautiful message that has come into my life and I told him that I would be leaving for 2 years to go share this message with others one day! Well.....:) we just sat there kind of dumbfounded, hahaha I couldn't stop smiling! He is so prepared.
Sunday morning comes and we have the European conference broadcast with Elder Christofferson and for the first time in my mission we had 6 investigators come to church! Patrizia and her daughter Giada; Jasmine and her boyfriend Antonio; Nino, and last but not least DAVIDE! Davide had gotten home from work at 5 am, and didn't want to go to bed cause he knew he wouldn't wake up so he started reading the Book of Mormon until it was time to make the 1 hour bike ride to the
With Fabiana living 2 hours away from us it has been difficult meeting with her to prepare her for baptism next week but she is still doing wonderful! She asked for a priesthood blessing to help her overcome her smoking addiction and so we met with the anziani last week and anziano McKenna gave her a really beautiful blessing. Afterwards she couldn't stop smiling and told us she has never experienced a joy like she feels right now. I am beyond grateful for the priesthood and the
power that we have seen working in Fabiana :)
16 And there was no inequality among them; the Lord did pour out his
Spirit on all the face of the land to prepare the minds of the
children of men, or to prepare their hearts to receive the word which
should be taught among them at the time of his coming--
17 That they might not be hardened against the word, that they might
not be unbelieving, and go on to destruction, but that they might
receive the word with joy, and as a branch be grafted into the true
vine, that they might enter into the rest of the Lord their God.
I read these scriptures this week and was just so overwhelmed with all
the people's hearts that Heavenly Father is preparing to hear this
message and to receive it with JOY! I am so happy to be here!!! I love
you all :)
Crystal's current area is Passo Corese, Italy.
Her address is:
Via Giacomo Matteotti, 187
02032 Passo Corese RI