It's sure been an awesome week up here in the beautiful land of ROMA :) A week full of lots of prayers, pasta, and Gods children being placed in our path to hear this bellissimo messaggio!
Francesca is one of the greatest things that has happened to us all week! So the sorelle had taught her about a year ago & we read about how amazing and ready she was on her scheda but haven't been able to get a hold of her for months. Well we decided to give her a try this last week and we finally got a hold of her sister who gave us Francesca's new number yay! Well, we went over and taught her and I don't think I have ever taught someone so prepared on my entire mission. She is 16 years old, she knows the church is true and has a spot in her room where she keeps her libro di mormon, personal progress, family history, liahonas, she's been studying ever since but because of some family issues hasn't been able to meet us. She's BRAVA, and we had a beautiful lesson with her. It was so sweet because she told us she feels alone because she feels she's the only one in her school who doesn't drink, smoke, party, and she doesn't do those things because she has a "grande amore per Dio." We just testified of Gods plan for her as His daughter and she began to cry and then said sorelle these aren't tears of sadness these are tears of JOY! As of now she is waiting to receive permission from her parents to be baptized so we will keep praying with grande fede!
One of my favorite parts of the week was that the First Presidency asked all the members in Italia to fast for the temple this past Sunday to show our gratitude to Heavenly Father. It was the first time they had been asked to do this and I think it was so eye opening for everyone that we needed to replace our doubts and impatience for the construction of this temple with pure gratitude! During the testimony meeting I just was so overwhelmed listening to everyone's humble and sweet testimonies and desire to follow God. These people truly are preparing so much and are truly becoming so humble and patient in HIS timing and it has touched my heart. I thought about truly how beautiful the day will be when these people I love will be dressed in white, being sealed to their family for the first time for all eternità, and doing these ordinances that will change their lives! I am so full of gratitude that I have this knowledge I can be sealed in the beautiful temple to my family. Afterwards we missionaries headed to the Mentana Rodeo and went around asking all families if they believed they could be with their families forever, and taught about what they could do to make Gesù Cristo the center of their family....it was pretty beautiful because Italians sure love their families and we had some amazing conversations!!! It was such a powerful and spirit filled Sunday :)
I got to do exchanges with Sorella Carver up in Roma and we had such a good ol time! As we were walking around this park we ran into this sweet British couple who were on vacation...it didn't cross my mind to really talk to them because we were looking for people in the area but then we ran into them a couple more times and by the 3rd time it finally hit me that we NEEDED to talk to them, so we did and we had such a beautiful conversation about the gospel. The wife began to get a little teary eyed and said, "I don't know how to explain it but you two have an aura around you." We exchanged our information and praying they will meet with the missionaries there. She just grabbed us and hugged us right as we were leaving and it just hit me so strongly how we can feel such a strong love for people just seconds after meeting them if we look as them as God sees them. These people do so much for me than I can do for them!
One of my favorite experiences this week was going to the sweet Marataros house last night....they are living in a difficult situation right now and don't have any electricity in their house up in the mountains but are some of the happiest people I have ever met. We had a candlelit dinner with them last night and read one of my favorite talks "lascia che le cose accadano e poi amale" I think that translates to come what may and love it and talked about learning to laugh. As they were reading that part of the talk they couldn't even get through it because they were laughing so hard!!! I would not have even noticed how dark their house was because SO much light was being radiated from them and their sweet spirits, they just bore testimonies to us at the end of how much happiness the gospel has brought them and it just touched my cuore so much. It doesn't matter what we're going through, or the world we live in, we are blessed with so much and have such a beautiful knowledge! I can't help but just smile! I love this gospel! I love that God has a perfect plan for all us imperfect people! I love sharing this with everyone! Have a beautiful week tutti!
I don't even know how to put into words or express how beautiful and spirit filled this whole week has been! We've had some unforgettable experiences and moments that have changed my mission and VITA:)
The mission conference with Presidente Kearon and anziano Sabin and his wife was amaaaazing! It was something I will definitely never forget and I will treasure all the things that I learned for the rest of my life! One thing they really focused on is how we need not only teach the message but we need to BE THE MESSAGE in everything we do! And one thing he said that hasn't left my mind since is how when we leave a house they should know and feel that two angels have just left! He talked about when he met the missionaries in London for the first time it was like he walked into a wall of light, he didn't remember one thing they said but he did remember the way they made him feel. So we have just been trying our best to BE that message and truly show people how happy and peaceful this gospel makes us!!! And we have seen such a huge difference in the way people are responding to us!
An experience we had with that this week was with adorable Mimo and Silvana! Mimo is a new convert and his wife took the lessons in the last year but really struggled quitting smoking. Well one day we were in the area and my sweet Sorella felt so prompted to go pass by their pizzeria so we did and we found Silvana feeling so down and nervous. Her brother had just gone into a coma a few days before and she hadn't slept at all the night before. We sat down with her and just tried our best to bring a little light into her day, get this situation off her mind and bring her happiness! For the first time since I've been here in Passo she was so open and started talking about how much she loves the gospel and everything we believe in. By the end we were testifying of Gods plan for her brother and by the end she lifted her head up from her hands and said "you two have completely changed how I feel today and how I feel about my brother. HE IS IN GOOD HANDS"
Next experience was with Gianni...he's been VERY sick the last little while and unfortunately can't leave his house very much, so we've just been leaving notes in his mailbox and passages to read in the Book of Mormon:) We were able to get him out for 30 minutes the other day and all the light he had in his eyes before was completely gone, I have never seen him so sad or empty! He started talking to us about how young he is and how angry he is with God because he should have so much more life to live and immediately this love just came over me that I have never felt for anyone in my life! I can't explain how I felt except this: I wanted so badly for Him to know that God loves Him and wants Him to be happy during this time and that's why he sent Gianni to us so he could hear this message. There's nothing more beautiful than telling someone they are a child of God un figlio di un RE and feeling the spirit confirm those words to me and to Gianni just brought tears to my eyes!!!!
Our sweet hermana Luisa came to church again on Sunday for all three hours and absolutely loved it! During gospel principles we were talking about the family and all of a sudden she stood up and bore her beautiful testimony of her role as a mother and the family and afterwards she told us she had felt a hand push her out of her chair to share those feelings:) We went to her house Sunday afternoon as well and taught her about receiving answers and how God didn't send us here to be confused and alone. He will always respond, and we just testified of how pure and HAPPY we felt at our baptism and she just began to cry and said she is looking for that happiness and doesn't know where to find it. At the end we all knelt down and in her beautiful Spanish prayer she asked God so sincerely to know if this church is true and if she should be baptized and if this will bring her HAPPINESS. The joy we all felt in that moment was indescribable!
One of my favorite things mentioned from the conference was when elder Sabin said " the thing that will surprise us most when we pass through the veil is how well we know HIM." What was the first word that Heavenly Father spoke in this dispensation? "Joseph." He knew him by name and He knows everyone of us by name and He LOVES us no matter where we've been or who we were yesterday. None of that matters, it's where we are going:) WE ARE his children HE IS OUR PADRE! and it doesn't matter what anyone or what the world thinks about us what matters is what HE thinks about us and he LOVES us! I testify to that with all my cuore! Let's go BE the message, show people how happy this knowledge makes us!
I think the happiest thing I heard from this week is my dear Samantha from Messina turned in her mission papers!!!!! I can't stop smiling!!! This work is HASTENING!!!!!! Have a belllllisssima week!
WHAT A WEEK! It was a never ending flow of adventures. I have so so so much to say, but can't describe it with justice. I have no idea where to start either.
So Vasilika.....we are now to the point where we are teaching both parents and all three children and we saw the beautiful hand of God in every moment with them this week...it has been absolutely incredible. We have been going there with Bishops wife and she has connected so well with them, including her kids have completely befriended their kids at church!!! We are having family night with them this week and I just can't wait. I have never really taught a whole family this constant in my entire mission and it has been such a beautiful experience.....the fact that they are all reading the Book of Mormon together makes my heart want to burst of joy!!!! What's incredible for me to see is how every time we meet with them they tell us all the changes they have been making in their life to be more in harmony with this message, the blessings they are seeing and happiness they feel...they are truly repenting, changing and becoming converted to this gospel and Christ and there is a beautiful spirit in their home! The kids are praying for the first time and developing that solid relationship with God...and learning how He talks with them. Wow. This family is going to enter the waters of baptism I can just feel it:) it has been an incredible experience.
Us sorelle just learned this week we have been living with mold for all this time, hahaha. Bishop came and cleaned our whole house, well 3 of the 4 rooms. He cleaned them with a mold killer that resembles bleach. It was so strong.....strong like we walk in our house and can slowly feel our brain cells dying. This begged the question of where we were going to sleep that night. (Bishop said it was only going to take one night) There was no way we were going to sleep at a members house because that would just have been really stressful. Us being the sisters we are decided....hmmmm, outside looks good:) We might as well just camp for a night (on our balcony). We go to bed only to wake up at 3:11 to RAIN. We take the mattresses in, the next morning we laughed about it all, hahaha. We started our studying and bishop come to finish the job. After 20 minutes he comes and tells us it is going to TAKE A WEEK to finish, which means we get to camp for a week....The second night it rained at 5:30, it was not worth it to move, so we just slept in the rain. Night three, last night, it didn't rain and we were such happy campers. This whole experience is quite entertaining. :)
We thought we might go pass by adorable Sorella Garcia, we had some time one night and when she saw us she was like sorelle you were inspired to come over, my joints have really been hurting today and I need someone to go walk my dog!!! We were so happy she was going to let us give a hand, little did we know her dog Luna is furbo, (clever!). As soon as we walked out the door she slid out of her leash and escaped going 100 mph I swear, haha. We both panicked because it was a really busy street and so we chased and chased and chased after her, she was running through people's yards, knocking over things, headed for the pool, Sorella Garcia had seen the whole thing from the window...so she came out and eventually we got hold of il cane cattivo....(the wicked dog!) We had a pretty good laugh after that, and got to know all her neighbors really well through the whole fiasco:) Last time the sorelle get to walk the dog...all we wanted to do was help relieve Sorella Garcia from some of her joint pain...instead.
I feel like I have focused a lot on all the funny and entertaining things of the mission, but this week has been so full of miracles for us. We went and saw an investigator of the anzianis that they passed to us, her name's Louisa from Peru and she is amazing!! Her daughter is an active member in Peru and wants so badly for her mom to join :) Anyways, this week we went over to do a service at her house and move all this wood and the son and his little family (who have always avoided the missionaries) were so touched that we wanted to help them and invited us over for lunch and asked us soooo many questions about the church--it was incredible! The wife began to talk about her experience she had with cancer this last year and began to cry...we testified of Gods plan for us and the Spirit was just pounding in my heart! It's amazing how these peoples hearts were softened because of a simple service.
I absolutely love love love being a missionary...I am so happy and beyond excited to be re energized and learn so much from the mission conference this week in Rome. This week one of the elders in our mission called and asked me if I could do the musical number with him. He ask me if I sing soprano, and I told him I sing alto. Then he says, "great, well at mission conference we need you to sing soprano and I know you'll be happy to do it." Haha, so I guess I will be singing at the conf, and I am feeling bad for all these missionaries, General authorities and our mission president......
I am just so grateful this week for the simple knowledge of how we can strengthen our testimony...it's ours and no one else can take it from us. We will talk to so many people in the street about the gospel who can try and prove us wrong and tell us what we're saying isn't true...but as soon as we bear our testimonies the atmosphere always changes and those people can't tell us that what we truly KNOW isn't real....I KNOW this church is true. I know God loves us and gave us His perfect son Jesus Christ and I KNOW he is our Savior and is ready to help us in any and every moment. I KNOW this gospel has been restored. I KNOW THIS WORK IS OF GOD! :)
Buona settimana carissimi,
It's been such a beautiful week to be una missionaria di Gesù Cristo! Satan threw a whirlwind of temptations and trials at our investigators this week and unfortunately we weren't able to see as many of them as we would like to...and because we had more time God helped us use that time to find some people who have been SO prepared. And we were blessed to just add so many more people to our teaching pool! This work is so guided by il Signore it amazes me everyday!!!
So many good things where to start....Vasilika and her family are doing amazing! We went over there this last week and for the first time the 15 year old son as well wanted to listen to us and he asked SO many questions and was so interested. At the end he asked us how he could become a missionary as well to go around and share this message with everyone. HA! :) we told him of course he needs to be baptized in this chiesa first and he asked us everything he needs to do before to prepare. When he and Vasilika walked into church on Sunday I almost fell out of my seat, it's the first time they have come! They absolutely loved church, testimony meeting was incredibly spiritual yesterday, and in Relief Society the lesson was beautiful and all about the family and Vasilika just sat there and cried! We had the wonderful opportunity of having President and Sorella Pickard and they were so sweet with our investigators in church and afterwards President took us into a room and said "I felt such a special spirit about this family." He then went through all the Albanian members he knows in Rome and is working to find some who can help us during our lessons! Such a beautiful experience!
This week we saw this woman sitting on a bench and asked her some religious questions and she didn't seem too interested but allowed us to sit down and share a message with her! We began to teach her the restoration and as soon as the Spirit came it was amazing how much her attitude changed...she asked so many wonderful questions and thought it was beautiful and was so d'accordo with the Book of Mormon. By the end of the lesson she told us to give her one month...and that she wanted to take this time to read and study and pray about the Book of Mormon with sincerity (obviously we're not going to let her get away from us for a month:)), but she was so sincere and I could just feel her intent was so strong. As we walked past the park a little while later she was sitting there...reading the Book of Mormon:) I LOVE IT!
Today for p day we had the opportunity to go see the temple site!! At first I was a little bit heart broken because I just miss the temple so much but then I was just so full of love and gratitude that all these people right now have the opportunity to prepare themselves so they can go and do the most beautiful and important work there is to do here! We are teaching 2 part member families in our ward right now and I KNOW that both of these husbands will be baptized in the near future, they are absolutely incredible and so prepared and I know that these wives will be able to take their sweet husbands and be sealed for eternity with their families! I am so grateful to be a part of this work, I love it with all my cuore!!!!!
Okay funny story of the week...my dear collega of course went out of her way to go talk to all these Ragazzi about English course! And instead of saying "facciamo un CORSO di inglese gratuito" she said "facciamo un CORPO d'inglese gratuito" (we do an English body for free) hahaha. I think it was a "you had to be there" experience but the ragazzis faces were priceless.
Well that's a wrap for this week tutti!!!! I have never been happier in my entire life and am so grateful for the blessings I see in my life everyday!!!! I have learned so many things on my mission but I think one of the biggest things I have come to learn is how aware our Heavenly Father is of us and how GREAT and perfect and sweet His love is...with a full awareness of our weaknesses and shortcomings He loves us the same. When we fall He is there to pick us right back up and get us going again!! God is so good to us!!! Have a beautiful week I love you all!!
Crystal's current area is Passo Corese, Italy.
Her address is:
Via Giacomo Matteotti, 187
02032 Passo Corese RI