BUON HALLOWEEN! Wow this week has been incredible!!! I don't even know where to begin....have to sort through all the miracles and amazing people we met and were able to share the gospel with :) Yes the earthquakes, there were two this week and the one yesterday was pretty forte...it was weird watching our whole house shake and the ground moving underneath me. We just had one hour of sacrament meeting for church and it was pretty neat because all the talks were centered around preparing ourselves to return to God and keeping that close relationship with our Heavenly Father! Something I won't ever forget.
First I just want to talk about my amazing comp....so her grandpa and his wife served in this ward here in Roma 5 years ago, and blessed the lives of SO MANY. Well, on Tuesday morning my collega received really sad news that her grandpa was killed in a car accident. I just have to say there's no other place my companion could be than here in this area at this time....immediately all these people and members were coming over and telling her of all the lives he changed, gave her blessings, food, and just so much PURE LOVE. That day she was feeling so down and I just prayed and prayed that we would have the opportunity to share the plan of salvation with someone. Well later in the day this missionary who served here a little ago called me and told me that Silvana, a new converts wife had just lost her brother and wanted to meet with us and talk about the plan of happiness. So we went to her pizzeria that night and it was so sweet and really special for my companion. I know that in the temple the family can be sealed together for eternity! It's amazing because I have felt so strongly Gods love for my comp this week..He gave us sooooo many opportunities to teach the plan of happiness this week it was incredible.
One night this week we headed to English course and sadly none of our students showed up, and then immediately after Vasilika called us and said come over right now! HUGE miracle because they have just been so swamped with school, sports and work and haven't been able to make time to see us. Right as we're walking out of the church Alessandra (member who just got back from mission) shows up and tells us she wants to come to the lesson with us. So we went and ate dinner with them, the whole entire family, they immediately took Alessandra in and were hugging and kissing her. I have never seen a family full of more love for everyone and anyone. Alessandra was able to bear the most beautiful testimony of how she came to know this church was true. At the end the father, who's heart has been soooo softened since the first time meeting with them told us how every time we come over its almost as if they can feel Christ in their home. I never expected those words to come out of his mouth but it was the most beautiful thing...considering our first encounter with him months ago.
We got to meet with one of the people from our area book this last week....wow it was amazing. She is the sister of Franca (Franca was baptized a year ago) and get this her name is VERA. (True) Well we found her, she lives in this tiny little cottage and when she opened the door my heart was about to explode I just felt so much love for her!!! She's 70, her husband passed away 8 years ago and she now lives with her boyfriend and when we taught her the restoration and the keys of the priesthood that have been restored that we can use to seal our families for eternity, I can't even describe the SPIRIT and joy I felt for Vera!
Okay I am so scatter brained today. And so happy. A quick update on our amazing investigators....sweet Louisa came to church yesterday! She decided she was going to go to the Catholic Church for a month and see how she feels and she couldn't even last a month...she gave in and came yesterday:) I love her so much. We taught Danilo the plan of salvation the day slla Ericksons grandpa died, it was super special. I just have a strong testimony of when suffering ourselves if we turn outward instead of turning inward and focusing on our own problems we experience true joy and I saw that with sweet my sweet Sorella. Unfortunately Danilo has looked everything up on the internet and Satan is doing all he can to confuse him but in some way I'm super grateful that he's being tested...because in the end he's going to be so much stronger. I know he will come around!!. We taught Teuta and Bryan yesterday and my heart melted a little bit after them telling us the first thing they did when they woke up was read the Book of Mormon together. Teuta wants to be baptized so so so badly (she's one of the top runners in Italy) and trying to make time between sports and church is a big obstacle right now. But we will work through it with her :) sempre nel tempo di dio! We taught Ada yesterday, she was really shook up after the earthquake, and I think it has really humbled her and helped her to think more about Gods plan for her:):) piano piano
Last experience of the week was last night...one of my favoriteeee families, the Garcia family from Argentina called us up and told us they had a family they wanted us to meet. SI. Well last night we go over and WOW such a beautiful family, the wife is from Honduras (we bonded over that a bit:)) the dad is Italian and they have two beautiful girls and immediately the wife was like WHY are you guys so nice? You don't even know us yet at the same time I feel like we've known each other forever. Well, as we're eating the Garcias start talking about the Rome temple and eternal families and it just segued beautifully into what we had prepared that the gospel of Jesus Christ blesses the family. Then the sweet dad, Nicola got all emotional and talked about how his brother died and then again there comes my sweet collega and she just testified so strongly with the spirit about eternal families and Jesus Christ and his atonement for us. So beautiful. I love eternal families.
Favorite quote from this week :))
Do you want to be happy? Forget yourself and get lost in this great cause. Lend your efforts to helping people...stand higher, lift those with feeble knees, hold up the arms of those that hang down. Love the gospel of Jesus Christ. Hinckley
Vi voglio un mondo di bene,
This week was GREAT as usual, full of all sorts of little miracles and tender mercies!
First of all, I just have to say the mission conference with anziano Nelson was one of the coolest moments of my life! As soon as he walked in the room all of us missionaries stood up and the spirit was just flooding the room. We got to shake his hand (you can only imagine how sweaty my hands were) along with the rest of the general authorities and all I can say that I felt in that moment was LIGHT. Anziano Nelson was just this glowing ray of LIGHT! I felt so strongly as he walked past us that he truly is an apostle of Jesus Christ and that he has been called of God. What was so beautiful is that when he got up to speak he just completely spoke from his heart and expounded on the scriptures, and talked about the 12 tribes and gathering of Israel. It was so powerful and something different than I've ever experienced to be in the presence of an apostle right there in the mission field and engaged in the hastening of this work and gathering of Israel.
This week my testimony of prayer has just been strengthened so much. We had so many experiences that tied back into prayer...first off was with sweet Danilo! Well, awesome member Alessandra just got back from her mission in Spain and is on fire and wants to help us every second of the day. One day she prayed to have a missionary opportunity and later that day was standing at the bus stop in the pouring rain and this guy asked her why her Italian accent was so weird and Spanishy so she got to tell him about her mission and she said immediately he started asking so many questions and was interested. Turns out later in the week she invited him to the Ward Conference with elder Nelson and HE CAME! Haha first time going to church and he meets an apostle of the Lord, well we meet with him and teach the restoration and it was beautiful, hes been raised Catholic his whole entire life, he's 24 years old and I don't think I have ever seen anyone in my entire life with more intent than he has. I see Joseph smith through him! He literally asked "what church is true and how am I supposed to know it?" I just sat there in awe...it's just a treat to see people so prepared for this gospel:):) Well that night he went home and read the chapter in the Book of Mormon we gave him and then he called us and excitedly talked about how he prayed after reading and these were his words....always more beautiful in Italian...but he said "sorelle I prayed and I felt....light....I felt a peace inside of me....no I felt like there were hands on my shoulders telling me that I am on the right path." It was so neat....all it took for him to feel that way was a simple heartfelt prayer....also forgot to say that was the first time he prayed directly to God...not through some saint or the Madonna. So cool to watch people develop that solid relationship with God :) it sure does bring us light and peace. And, I just want to say that every single one of us can receive those same confirmations every time we just kneel down and ask...no matter how many times we've done it before. He loves us enough to tell us again and again and to strengthen that answer. We've just got to show our faith first and do our part.
Next experience was in tiny town of Scandriglia where everyone is past the age of 90 and is missing their teeth! It's so great we have so many amici there. One day we decided to pray and go knock some doors with a less active. He told us to knock on this house and we did...the wife came out and excitedly told us to come back in 10 minutes. We did and we were able to meet her husband and 2 children....beautiful Italian family, we asked if we could come inside and share a message, the husband said no but then the wife put her hand over his mouth and said we had to! We were able to teach a small restoration lesson and the wife wouldn't break her eye contact with us, she was so receptive and the spirit was just so strong. Unfortunately, they live in Rome and were just visiting for the weekend but she took the Book of Mormon and promised she would read it all before contacting the missionaries there. It's just so neat to see how quick God is to help us find His children who are ready and in need when we humble ourselves and realize we can't do this work on our own...and rely on Him. I'm just so grateful that we can have that one on one dialogue with Padre Celeste in any moment of the day and ANYWHERE! It's been such a blessing on the mission to learn the importance of solid sincere prayers and allowing God to speak back to us. He hears us and loves us and is waiting to hear from us daily....
One day this week I told my sweet collega how awesome it would be if one day we could sit down and call every single number in the area book because there's lots of people in the past missionaries have seen who could be ready now. Well the very next day she was VERY ill in bed and we stayed home for a good couple days haha! Most I've ever stayed home in my mission--I thought I was going to go crazy.....but we were able to call almost every single number in that book...and we're seeing 4 new potentials this week who want to meet with us again :) and a FAMILY.
I absolutely love being a missionary per la chiesa di Gesù cristo dei santi degli ultimi giorni!! So con una certezza che questa chiesa è verissima!!!!! I know this is true....I wouldn't be going around every day for a year and a half telling people that it is. I know it is true because I asked Heavenly Father and He answered me....you can do the same :) I love you all! MUAH un abbraccio
Buona settimana cari vi voglio bene
Wowwww this week has been absolutely incredible.
One thing that has really just hit me this last week is how NO EFFORT is wasted!!! It says in pmg "when people choose not to investigate the restored gospel, your work is not wasted. Your consistent efforts in serving and teaching as many people as you can is one way God prepares His children to eventually receive His servants. He often reaches out to His children through you. Even when people do not accept the opportunity to learn the gospel, your service and words are evidence of God’s love for them and may plant seeds that future missionaries and members of the Church will harvest"
I have such a strong testimony of this!!! Yesterday at conferenza di zona they showed a slideshow with some pictures of baptisms that have happened in the last month. Well, rewind many many months ago to when Sorella Nelson and I were in Bari looking for some less actives in the pouring rain and we got off the bus, not even knowing where we were and then decided to talk to the first person that we saw to ask her for directions. We began to talk to her about who we were and it turned out that sweet girls mother was a member from Peru. After I left Bari the sisters continued to teach that family. Yesterday I saw the picture of the daughter who just got baptized this last month! You never know what can happen when you open your mouth and help others to feel the Spirit, and it was just so sweet to see all the little seeds every missionary helped to plant in that sweet new converts life!!! Along with that sweet Nino from Messina was baptized on Saturday! That all just started with a smile on the bus and offering to help him with his groceries! Don't ever underestimate what a small smile, service, words or act of love can do for someone!!!!
One night Sorella Erickson and I headed to go drop off some brownies at investigator Veronica's house! Well, she didn't answer the door but her mother in law Concetta who lives right next to her excitedly invited us in and we ended up teaching her and it was such a beautiful experience! There is something so special about not only testifying of Gods love to someone, the same moment you meet them, but truly FEELING that love for them and a desire to help them come to feel the truth of this restored gospel. We had not known about her situation but both began to testify of God's plan of happiness and how we can be united with our families for eternity, when immediately she began to talk about how she lost both her husbands and has felt so alone, lost, and sad. There was such a powerful spirit in her home and she told us she wants to start developing her faith in Christ again. I promise that there is no sadness or trial or pain or sin or loss that can't be fixed through the atonement of Christ and that because He lives we will live again with all the people we LOVE so dearly! He has broken the bands of death!!!!! She is excited to read the Book of Mormon to develop that faith and excited to meet with us again...such a special moment! As far as with other investigators things are only going uphill with everyone, we're just being very patient in Gods timing with all of them and meanwhile trying to find more people who are ready NOW. Sweet Gianni has finally come to really understand the restoration, we had an amazing lesson with him and he is preparing for baptism for November! Che bello!
In my interview with president on Sunday the first thing he asked me when I sat down is if I have ever been happier in my entire life! And I truly haven't! This is the greatest joy I have ever felt, of course the mission has tested me in every way possible but because of the experiences had here I have come to develop a relationship with my Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ that I didn't even know was possible! And it brings me PURE JOY!! That night we got home late from Rome and only had about an hour left so we prayed to know what we should do and immediately a name of a less active man in our ward came up. We drove up to the tiny teeny town of Scandriglia in the mountains and found him sick at home with bronchitis and were able to sing "I know that my Redeemer lives" and he joined right in even though he barely had a voice, it was such a beautiful moment and the truth that came from those words as they came out of our mouths was just SO FORTE!!! I know that my Redeemer lives what comfort this sweet sentence gives HE LIVES!!!! At conference yesterday a missionary said that when the pioneers were crossing the plains, we as angels were right by their sides guiding them and pushing them along. And now they, those angels, are right by our sides lifting us up and guiding us in this beautiful work to help others come to know our Savior and Redeemer!
D&C 84:88 And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.
I love my mission! I love this gospel and I love these Italian people! I love how much they love Christ and I love that we can help aid them and help them find the restored gospel! Have a beautiful week :) VI VOGLIO TANTO BENE!
Wow what a busy week I can't believe it's all ready Monday!!! We've been able to see SO many of our investigators and meet so many new people, and I heard the great news that NINO in Messina is getting baptized on Saturday❤️THIS WORK IS MARVELOUS! Anyways, here its been great, sent off my dear Sorella Frogley to the beautiful land of Sicily and am following up training Sorella Nelsons last greenie who is amazing and so hard working. Awesome cause we've all ready been able to do scambios and I all ready have a lot of love for her! And were staying in the great Passo Corese and couldn't be any happier. I know the Lord needs us here and we're going to see even greater things happening! Just want to send a little shoutout to Sorella Ferre who came out and joined the mission field this week, ti voglio bene carissima!! Hope to give you a big abbraccio soon :)
Wow, we really saw Gods hand every moment this week it was bellissima......On Monday Sorella Frogley wanted to say goodbye to our investigator Anna Rosa who we unfortunately had only been able to see a couple times because she has been working so much. So we went over and passed by her house and turns out it was her birthday so she had all of her family over! She excitedly let us in and sat the whole family down and started telling all the grand kids about how we pray and about the Book of Mormon. It was so powerful watching our investigator teaching her family the things we believe. Even better we were able to teach the whole famiglia the restoration!
Okay Friday was such a beautiful day:) That morning we had a leadership conference in Rome and our GPS Tom Tom decided to take us for a big giro in the pouring rain around Italy where all the kids were going on strike from school and flooding the streets and blocking all traffic.....I thought I was going to have a heart attack because we were going to be late and just kept pregando and all of a sudden in all the midst of traffic and chaos there was the TEMPIO right next to us! What a beautiful sight:) The spirit was so strong just being so close to the temple grounds....God works in mysterious ways, was able to bring me so much comfort and we ended up being exactly on time to the conference. (Even after waiting for sorelle and hauling them to the conference in the pouring rain!) After the conference sweet Francesca canceled on us because she is having some serious family issues (please keep her in your prayers) so we headed to Poggio Mirteto, this little city on top of the hill where God has been preparing so many of His children! Mamma mia we had some beautiful experiences and it was neat seeing how God changed our plans that day to find some of His other sheep who are ready for this beautiful gospel. We parked the car and walked maybe 20 feet and stopped the first woman we saw and turns out she was a religion teacher for the awesome Guidara family children in our ward years ago and lost contact with them but she had been to all their children's baptisms, church, and read the whole Book of Mormon. We talked to Sorella Guidara in church yesterday and she about died because she was so excited and we're having dinner together this week! We then walk maybe 5 feet after talking with her and there's this cute girl on her bike, Caterina, and long story short we end up teaching her the whole restoration and she accepted baptism and she has 5 brothers and sisters!!! Another eternal family!!!! As we were teaching her this woman just came up and started listening to us...we asked her if she wanted to sit down or listen and she really didn't say anything just stood there and stared. So we continued teaching and at the end she sat down with us and asked us so many questions and read the whole restoration pamphlet with us on the bench and wants us to meet her family! God knows where His children are and is sending them to us!
I don't know if you remember about Ada but she is probably the most Christlike person I have ever met. The Sorelle met her about a year ago and we have had difficulties meeting with her because she works every single day until late at night, it just wasn't the right time. Well, because Sorella Frogley was leaving she was able to organize her schedule and see us and we showed her Anziano Uchtdorfs talk "fourth floor last door" and it was esattamente what she needed to hear...she was so touched and told us that God has sent those words to her and that she needed to completely put her foot all the way in the door and show 100% her faith in praying, reading the Book of Mormon and doing all she can to come to church. So she talked to her boss and was able to work out Sunday's and SHE CAME TO CHURCH for the first time yesterday!!! We've been able to use a lot of members in our lessons which was such a huge blessing because seeing them run up to her and hug her and love her was so sweet, especially because she lives alone and doesn't have a lot of friends you could tell she just felt so loved. Sorella Marataro sat by her in sacrament meeting and just held her hand the entire meeting it was the sweetest thing. Every member a MISSIONARY!
We were able to eat dinner with Vasilika and the whole entire family last night it was sooo special I love them so much. Vasilika has been looking for work ever since we started teaching her and has been praying and guess what...she got a job last week at a restaurant in Rome and she told us she knows it's because she's been putting the things we've been teaching her into practice and that God is showering her with blessings..... Bryan told us that he's been praying and really feels in his heart this gospel to be true. The most beautiful thing when we were talking about the Sabbath day he said "when I go to your church I feel like I am home and with my family." We hope and pray for this baptism the end of this month!
Sorry this is a novel....I could go on and on about how happy this work makes us!!! And, how marvelous and real it is and true this beautiful gospel is. It is a message of happiness!!!! And when we share it with others we realize how precious it really is and appreciate it that much more. And we realize all the blessings and happiness it has brought us. So go try it and share this beautiful message with everyone!!!:)
Words can't even do this week justice.....too beautiful to even express :) I AM SO GRATEFUL to be a missionary in this dispensation! I love the pure simple gospel and the immense joy it brings that we can't find anywhere else! Some exciting things happening here...and we're preparing for Anziano Russell M. Nelson who is coming to visit in a couple weeks! We're soooo spoiled!
Every day was amazing and full of so much good this past week GOD IS SO GOOD to us. Yesterday, because we didn't have to watch the conference until late Sunday evening we had all Sunday morning to go out and do some good finding, which was great because so many families were at home:) We knocked and knocked and knocked and just as we were about to head back home this woman came out on her porch and smiled at us. We talked to her and she smiled even bigger and ran inside to get her daughter...this little girl then explained to us that they're from Albania and the mom still doesn't speak Italian. Well, I had just downloaded a video about Christ in Albanian for Vasilika and her family, so we asked her if we could share a message and the little son came out as well. We watched it with the family and lo spirito was SO strong and just flooded the little alleyway we were standing in!! We then began to bear our testimonies and it was incredible, even though we knew she didn't understand Italian we KNEW she understood what we were saying. The Spirit was taking everything we were saying and taking it to her heart and bearing testimony to her. This sweet woman (her name in Italian is luminosa, "one who emits light"...it's not a coincidence that is her name, she was glowing.) just began to cry and hugged us and said "GRAZIE" over and over and over again. It was such a special moment I will never forget, and she asked the daughter to ask us to come over as soon as possible. I am praying that we get a Sorella missionaria from Albania down here, transfer calls are tonight so we will see ;)
I hope you all enjoyed general conference as much as I did!!! Last night Bryan came to conference all by himself! He's absolutely incredible and I know he's the key to getting his whole family to accept the gospel as well. One of my favorite moments was when we all stood and sang "sono un figlio di Dio" and then Bryan telling us afterwards that he doesn't remember everything that was said in the conference but he does remember how he felt and loves that everyone emphasized how no matter where we have been or who we are or how far we may think we are from coming back we can ALWAYS repent and be cleansed through Jesus Christ!!! We are seeing so much change in him and he told us again how important he knows this decision is and the prayer and study and thought he is putting into his decision to be baptized! He seems so much happier than the first time we met him, I love seeing so much light coming into people's lives after them hearing the gospel for the first time. This gospel is the only way to true HAPPINESS.
We haven't been able to see Gianni for quite some time because his health just won't allow it but when we called him and asked him if he wanted a priesthood blessing he was more than happy. We went over last night with the Anziani and before the blessing Gianni put his huge Dalmatian outside because it was so loud. During the blessing it kept barking and whining and I was just praying and praying that it might stay quiet or at least Gianni would be able to feel the Spirit!! It continued to be loud for a while but then all of a sudden it went completely silent and the anziano giving him the blessing just simply started talking about our Heavenly Fathers love for Him and how Padre Celeste can't wait to embrace Gianni in His arms again one day and I can't even describe the feelings of peace and love that came over me for Gianni as a child of God!!! After the blessing Gianni was so calm and peaceful and couldn't stop thanking us it was such a beautiful thing and I know he felt those strong feelings of love that His Padre has for him. I am so grateful for this restored priesthood authority that allows us to see and feel the power of God in our lives and the lives of others every single day.
One thing that stood out to me so much during la conferenza was just understanding our Saviors and Heavenly Fathers love for us and filling ourselves with that PURE love. This week we went over to a members house and taught her friend Sabrina who lives next to her about Gods love. All the little kids were running around everywhere, screaming, spitting and throwing everything and at first I thought there's no way this is going to go well or she's going to feel the Spirit. But as soon as we starting testifying of the simple truths that she is His daughter and He loves her, her eyes just locked with ours and like it says in dottrina e alleanze "he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together" and it's true we all just felt SO happy amidst all the chaos around us. As we bear testimony of these things our own testimonies become more firm and we experience and taste a happiness sharing this knowledge with HIS children that we can't find anywhere else. I love my Heavenly Father and Savior and I know they love each and every one of us!!!!!
"We love Him because He FIRST LOVED US."
Crystal's current area is Passo Corese, Italy.
Her address is:
Via Giacomo Matteotti, 187
02032 Passo Corese RI