Ciao ciao :)
We have been working a lot with the less actives in the ward here...there are many! We saw some sweet miracles with them this last week :) we have been meeting with the lagatollas for a while now...greatest couple I have ever met! Also the loudest people I have ever heard in my life. Only 70 year old Italians have voiceboxes like that haha. They are so great, they have a pet turtle and a cat in their little one room apartment and fratello lagatolla is always grabbing the cat by the neck and throwing him around.....haha anyways, we've been able to work with them the last month I've been here, and have been praying to know how we can best help reactivate them. I have grown to love them so much and Sorella lagatolla came to church yesterday! First time she's been since May :) also, fratello lagatolla has had a smoking problem for 60 years now...and at church yesterday he said it's been 95 hours since he has had a cigarette. The longest he has ever gone since he was 10 yrs old! It made me so happy :)
Sadly michela told us that her parents won't let her meet with us anymore...I think that was the first time I've really felt like my heart was breaking but I guess it's just not Gods timing for her right now :) it's hard because not only do I love teaching these people and seeing a different light in them, but I really have grown to love them and miss them when I don't see them!
On Sunday, Isaac walked home with us after church (he still isn't sure if he has received an answer so he didn't get baptized on Saturday unfortunately) and he asked me what I had learned in church that day...this really hit me. Earlier this week I had read the talk "is it still wonderful to you?" by bishop caussé. It talks about how the gospel is a fountain of knowledge that never runs dry-"never tire of discovering or rediscovering the truths of the gospel. The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. We should hunger and thirst every day after spiritual knowledge. This personal practice is founded on study, meditation, and prayer. If we seek, we shall find." Anyways it completely opened my eyes when Isaac asked me this. being born in the church I think I often take for granted the beauty of the gospel. It can offer us so much every day, only if we have the eyes to recognize these things. I hope the gospel is still wonderful to you :)
One of my favorite experiences was today in Trani. We took a train to go visit leondra, the only member living in that area. She was baptized 5 years ago, both of her children died, she is divorced, and she wakes up every Sunday morning at 5:30 am to take a train to church. (All the times I woke up for 9 am church complaining) She has made her own pass along cards, and has posted pictures of Joseph smith, the Book of Mormon, and the church address outside of her house. she is soooo brava, one of the strongest members I have met here in Italy :) she was so excited for us to come she waited outside all morning for us. the faith these people have is incredible, and has strengthened my testimony so much.
I love you all! Thank you all for the love and support. Spero che tutto bene. Vi vogliamo molto bene :) happy halloweeeeen amici!
Dearest family and friends :)
This week was SO amazing!
Wednesday was just loaded with miracles! We went and visited Sorella Aventaria, an adorable less active woman, and on our way home when we were waiting for our bus this lady from Ethiopia came up to us and said she met with missionaries in Ethiopia but then moved here 4 years ago and lost contact. She straight up told us she wants to be baptized...we've met with her twice and gave her a Book of Mormon in her language-Amharic :) her faith in Christ is so inspiring, she has been through so much! after that we met with cute 15 yr old michela, and showed her the restoration video. At the end, with tears in her eyes she said "why don't they show this movie in my school? If everyone knew they could pray to God and receive answers from Him life would be so much better. Joseph Smith is genius!" Haha I love her SO much...she prays every day and is so excited to go to seminary every week. Later in the day we had a lesson with Isaac...he is progressing so much and doing so well! he's just trying to learn how to differentiate his own thoughts from the Spirit, so he hasn't received an answer if he's ready to be baptized this Saturday...but he is so close and so prepared :) he calls us every day and tells us what he has learned from reading the BOM. Our lesson on Wednesday was just so guided by the Spirit, I am so excited for him!!! On our way home that night, Sorella dew had a feeling we should walk home on a different street. As we turned the corner, some car started honking at us and pulled over on the side of the road...haha we were a bit nervous, but we walked up to the car and it was ANA :) English course student, around 60 years old who treats us like we're her granddaughters...she ended up giving us a ride home and told us how lonely she is because her husband just died. She told us she wants to learn more about this "plan" that God has given us...she found so much comfort hearing that she will see her husband after this life :) she invited us over for pronzo this week and asked us to teach her more about this plan, I can't wait! right as she dropped us off at our apartment, Antanella called us and told us her boyfriend wants to meet with us so now we're teaching the whole family tonight (they have a 2 year old son) anyways I am so so grateful she called us. For the last 30 min of the night we thought we would just go finding near our apartment...so we turn the corner and guess who was standing right there! Maria Teresa and Giuseppe :) we had our first lesson with them this last week and Maria Teresa is soooo prepared and so interested, she loved it...but Giuseppe is HARD core catholic and is holding her back unfortunately...anyways, Maria Teresa told us she wants to teach us how to cook her favorite Italian pasta!! So we met with her Saturday night and she taught us how to make this orrechia pasta:) we ate together with Giuseppe in the church kitchen (because they don't have a house right now, they are living with a friend.) at the end we showed the Mormon message "Grazie a Lui" (because of Him) and bore a simple short testimony of Christ at the end. The Spirit was very strong and Maria Teresa was crying...I know she wants to hear more so I'm just praying that Giuseppe's heart will be softened :) anyways I was just so grateful for this day! It taught me that God really is in every single detail of our lives. He guided us to each one of those people because they needed to be lifted in some way :) he helped guide us down a street we NEVER take so that Ana could hear she would see her husband again. God is SO real and so mindful of us and knows each of us personally.
yesterday they found out I played the piano and assigned me to play for the primary program which is next Sunday, momma Mia please pray for me. Haha our practice yesterday was so intense, the kids are so so cute and wild....little danielle and Samuele are screaming through the whole thing it is mad chaos! So I have about 30 new grandmothers from the ward, haha every Sunday we are swarmed with wet kisses :) for Sunday pronzo we ate at Sorella Spognolettis, she reminds me of grandma Taylor :) I love this Sorella! her husband died 8 months ago so she is very lonely but her testimony is SO solid. She just laughs at everything, especially me trying to speak Italian hahaha but she is so loving and so funny. i have now learned my lesson that I'm not going to eat after Saturday pronzo or else I literally will blow up...me and Sorella dew just waddled home yesterday...
I loved loved LOVED president monsons talk from general conference. I know that as we develop light within ourselves we can light the way for others :) "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?...you have come from His presence to live on this earth for a season, to reflect the Savior’s love and teachings, and to bravely let your light shine for all to see."
Let your light so shine :)☀️
Hello my lovely family and friends :)))
Ahhh this week was incredible! I'm sorry I don't have a lot of time today, haha but I will try my best to tell you some of the highlights from this week...mama Mia there were so many :)
So every weekend we go to centro (this huge outdoor shopping center,) and we write questions in chalk on the street like "who is Jesus Christ to you?" And all these people, literally crowds and crowds of people come up to us and we have the greatest conversations!!! Ahhh it's so fun, it's my favorite thing :) I have all ready seen so many peoples hearts completely change in the past 2 weeks I've been here and there is nothing in this world that compares to it. It just blows my mind that there are people out there who have never heard of Jesus Christ....and getting to share that message with them is such a wonderful blessing. I love this Gospel with my whole heart!!!
Okay so at English course this last week this adorable couple came-Giuseppe and Maria Teresa. Oh my I absolutely adore them the are the greatest couple ever!!!!!!! They have been married for 25 years and haven't had the opportunity to have children so this has been really hard for them. Anyways we met with them on Sunday night and it was the greatest!!! We went on a walk with them around Bari and I was able to have such a wonderful conversation with Maria Teresa....she used to be Christian but left the church many years ago....however she opened up so much and told us she wants Christ in her life again. she asked to meet with us again on Tuesday I can't wait :)
Okay so my first pronzo,....hahaha oh boy. In Italy, everything shuts down from 1-4 and everyone eats TONS AND TONS of food and sleeps. So during this time we do our studies and eat lunch and everything because no one is out/nothing is open. Anyways, the members feed us every Sunday so sister cedia fed us this Sunday....it was quite the experience. Haha so first we had pasta, and I was like mama Mia that was delicious I am so full. Then she brought out prosciutto, then mozzarella balls, then pizza, then breadsticks, nuts, grapes, meatballs, focaccia bread, mystery meat, and gelato. I thought I was going to DIE hahaha it was delicious but this was probably the closest I have been to a near death experience on the mission so far.....
I absolutely am loving the mission!!!!! Going to church yesterday for the first time was amazing.....because Sorella dew is in the choir I have to be in the choir and it is the best thing!!!! Haha I have no idea what's going on half the time because it's in Italian and all the Italians are yelling and laughing and kissing my cheeks but the songs are incredible and spiritual and these Italians definitely know how to belt it :) they also randomly asked me in the middle of sacrament meeting to come up and bare my testimony, haha it was in engli-talian...probably threw some Spanish in there as well...anyways I love these people :) I love this work and I love the Lord with my whole heart! So Che Gesù Cristò e il nostro Salvatore :) have an amazing week!
Ahhh I'm finally here and I couldn't be happier!! This week has been sooo amazing and crazy and busy and I have loved every single second:) for the most part I have no idea what's going on, no idea what the Italian men are saying to me and my comp hahaha (I don't want to know,) no idea which way is north or south, no idea how I even got to Italy yet I am absolutely LOVING it :) I have seen miracles upon miracles this last week and am so grateful for Gods constant hand in my life!!
Arriving in Rome was one of the most exciting and exhausting things, president and sister waddoups picked us up and took us straight to the temple site, they are AMAZING. mama Mia the temple is beautiful. I know that God is preparing these people for this place, in His own time. it is incredible. NO one in this country knows how to drive, haha the tiny cobble stone streets are full of Vespas, smart cars, and impatient Italians :) Wednesday night I found out I was being transferred to BARI :) (Poggiofranco) sorella holiday got transferred to Ragusa, Sicily (haha a 15 hr train ride) and the anziani got transferred to Napoli! Thursday I took a 6 hour train ride to Bari, it didn't take long to fall in love with this place. It is right next to the sea, and is a very, VERY poor area full of lots of graffiti, smoke, and thousands of apartment buildings and I love it so much :) everyone in the mission calls it the promised land because there are
90 MEMBERS. Which is insane for Italy! it is such a blessing to be serving here :) the people are so humble and each day I see God putting people in our paths to talk to.
Sorella DEW :) I didn't think I would ever get a companion again that I loved as much as sorella holiday but God is just pouring out blessings upon blessings to me. Sorella Dew is my trainer for the next
2 transfers, and is an INCREDIBLE missionary!!!! Ahhh I LOVE HER. We have all ready grown so close. she is from alpine Utah, went to lone peak, went to NYU (yes she is a Broadway singer) transferred to byu and now has been on the mission for a year!!! She has the most beautiful voice in the world, she was in a band that was nominated for the Grammys a couple years ago so yes I make her sing to me every morning :))) anyways she speaks perfect Italian, has such a strong love for these people and is SO in tune with the sprit which has been such a huge blessing to us this last week. I live in a cute little apartment in the dead center of the city With Sorella tapia and Sorella rackem, oh my goodness I love them so much...haha Sorella rackem is 23 from New Jersey and is by far the funniest person I have ever met. there are pigeons EVERYWHERE in this place and the other day a pigeon flew into the kitchen and started eating our food on the stove..Sorella rackems reaction was priceless hahah it was so funny
Like I said, I have seen miracles upon miracles this week :) yesterday was incredible! Isaac, one of our investigators from Peru came to general conference yesterday and he absolutely loved it, he has a baptismal date for October 24th :) he has so much faith and took off work every Sunday just so he could take the 7:30 am bus every morning to church. also, me and Sorella dew teach English course every Tuesday and Thursday night and it is SO fun! On Thursday we had about 20 people, (no members) and I was able to share my testimony with them at the end :) After the class, michaela, an adorable 15 year old girl came over to me and Sorella dew and told us she is atheist yet has been feeling so confused and lost in life. When we told her she had a loving father in heaven, her eyes just LIT up. It was the most beautiful thing to see. She told us she wants to learn more and we gave her a Book of Mormon and are meeting with her tomorrow I am so excited :)
The gift of tongues is so real. Yesterday we had a lesson with cute Christina, she is from Romania and is homeless and looking for work. I prayed all day to have the gift of tongues so I could somehow express the love God had for her. I was able to share my favorite scripture with her and bare testimony, saying things that I had no idea I could say. The spirit was so strong and I felt gods love so strong in that moment :) she just kept hugging and kissing our cheeks. The most amazing part of the lesson was when we taught Christina how to pray...there is nothing in this world that compares to hearing someone pray for the first time. It was so special. So Daniel-I handed out my first BOM in Romanian :) I don't have to know this language to be able to communicate with the people, it's all the spirit.
I am absolutely in love with these people :) this past week was so amazing! I hope you all loved conference as much as I did...I was able to watch a few sessions in English thank goodness :) I am so grateful to have a living prophet on the earth that speaks to us today. Each talk was so inspiring and uplifting.
Until next time Mia familia :) I love you with my whole heart and miss you all so much!
Crystal's current area is Passo Corese, Italy.
Her address is:
Via Giacomo Matteotti, 187
02032 Passo Corese RI