Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Italy, Week 9 - Chestnuts Roasting in an Open Centro

Hello! Happy New Year!!!! I hope everyone had a FABULOUS Christmas!! This Christmas was sooooo much fun! So first of all, Christmas Eve was super fun! We went to a member's house for lunch and it was yummy yummy! Then we visited a couple people and everyone is just so happy during the Christmas season so it was just so great :) That night Sorella Yost and I slept under the "Christmas tree" and in the morning we had pancakes and green smoothies and Starbucks hot chocolate and it was sooo great. And then we opened our little presents :) We got gypsie pants! WOO! Then we passed by a woman we teach while she was at work (she's a bedante, which is basically a nanny for old people) and the woman she works for is sooooo cute and sooo sweet! She asked us to come back for New Year!! Then we stopped at a part-member family's house for lunch and it was sooo good. They're from El Salvador and it was super simple and super delicious. Then we brought more cookies to another family and sang to them and then we went to member's home for dinner and I got to Skype my wonderful family and it was sooo fabulous. Best 40 minutes ever.  The next day we had lunch with another member family and I ate raw salmon on bread (by choice!) and duck innards. Mmmm...... They really didn't taste like anything but yeah... They wouldn't tell us what it was until after we had eaten it. Then we taught our progressing investigator and gave him a fake practice interview and he did sooo well! He already knows who he wants to baptize him and give talks and such. GAH! HE'S SO BRAVO! Anywho. Then we went to a part-member family's house for dinner and it was sooo yummy! And this family is soo awesome. It's a husband, wife and 15 year old daughter and only the husband is a member. They're all soo sweet and the husband has such a great testimony. We're hoping to get the daughter to come to some youth activities and make some friends with the youth in the ward, we think they'd get along super well!
The week then went on pretty much normally. We got through a lot of meal appointments and they were all super yummy and I got super chubby. (still am. It's fine.) 
Sunday we had lunch at a member's and for the spiritual thought we were going to do 2 Nephi 25:26 and talk about how although Christmas is over, the true Spirit and meaning of Christmas (The gift of Christ) is still here throughout the year. And Sorella Yost had me start it, but I wasn't sure how to. So I paused, trying to figure out the words, and said "Allora........ Natale....non è qua... più. .......é vero?" (Okay.... Christmas is not here any more. It's true?) A few seconds of silence... and then EVERYONE BURST INTO LAUGHTER. It was really embarrassing. But we're super tight with this family so it's fine. Then they gave us this thing of hazelnut chocolate spread that's better than Nutella. I said it. That means it's for real. Apparently Nutella is only 25% hazelnut while this stuff is 45% hazelnut. So yeah. It's real good. And it was super nice of them to give it to us!!
Anywho, the rest of the week has been pretty normal. OH! IT SNOWED!!!! OUR FIRST SNOWFALL OF OUR BELOVED BUSTO!!!! It only snowed for a few hours and it didn't really stick, but STILL!!! It was soo exciting. :) Hopefully it snows more :) Everything's been going super well! We have to be in by 5 tonight because it's too dangerous to be out and about on New Year's Eve here in Italy, so I get to catch up on my journaling! WOOO!!! Finally. Oh, and we got roasted chestnuts! Sorry, I just saw the title and was like "oh yeahhhh. I should probably explain that." So yeah. We got roasted chestnuts in centro. It was cool. They're kinda weird. But we did it! And now we can say we've had roasted chestnuts, That's all that matters :) So yeah!
We went to Como today! I'll probably send pictures next week because I have a lot this week... But yeah, It's been super crazy and hectic but soooo fun. It'll be kinda weird getting back into the swing of things now that the holiday hurrah is coming to an end. But it'll be nice, people will hopefully be a bit more free! 
Anywho, thank you all for your prayers and support! I love you all so much! You're in my prayers and I think of ya'll always! Have the happiest of New Years! Remember who you are and Who you stand for!! I love you!!!
Love, Sorella Hawks :)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Italy, Week 8 - Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!!! I don't have time, we only have half a P-day today and we have a lunch appointment in an hour and we still have to do our grocery shopping! Ah! I just wanted to say that things are going great! Some days are hard we we don't get a single lesson while other days are great and we teach three unplanned lessons before lunch. Woo! Our investigator didn't get called into work, which is such a miracle! Thank you everyone for your many prayers! They helped so much! His family is going away for a week (the week of his baptism) but he'll be with his family and away from temptation, which is a blessing. And this way we only have to push his baptism back a week. HE'S SO BRAVO! He quoted a scripture in our lesson last night!!!! WHAT?! And he's super excited about his baptism. We asked him if he wanted to push it back two weeks because we would have to meet with him pretty often if it was only pushed back one week, but he was totally cool with that and just doesn't want to wait any longer. Need I remind you he's only 17? What? Right? I know. Cray. He's super bravo. This Christmas is the BEST! I'm so grateful for this time that I have to celebrate Christmas as a missionary. I've come to understand the true meaning of Christmas more and more as a missionary. God didn't just give His Son, He gave us the opportunity to come back to Him and live in eternal happiness. To be with our families and with Him for all eternity. And He gave us our free Agency, even though He knew He would lose some of His children to the temptations of the world. God just loves us sooo much. It's so incredible. And I'm grateful for this time to try to give back, even just a little, by serving Him and His children here and trying to help bring as many as I can back to Him. I love this season and the feeling of joy and giving that comes with it. 
I love you all sooo much and thank you all for your support and love! Merry Merry Merry Christmas!!! Vi voglio TANTISSSSSSSIMO BENE!!! Buon Natale!!!

Love, Sorella Hawks :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Italy, Week 7 - Miracles and Green Smoothies

We had a miracle Sunday this week and it was all because of Sciopero!!! (Strike) Who would have thought that any good would have come from all of our trains being canceled? Also, since we're going to be fed 2 times almost every day the week of Christmas, we're eating green smoothies any time we're home pretty much. It's spinache and lots of fruit, so it's our saving grace. I'm super excited for this week though! Italian food for dayyyyyssssss. So fabulous.Anywho, let's see what happened this week.... So our investigator who is preparing to be baptized is so BRAVO!!!!! We taught the Word of Wisdom Friday and Tithing, Fasting and Obedience Tuesday and he accepted all of them! He said when we works and is earning money he will pay his tithing after he's baptized. HE'S SO BRAVO! So yeah, things are going really great with him! The only thing is he might have to work on the day we set for his baptism and that means he would be gone two weeks, so we would miss two weeks of lessons and have to push his date back, which makes both of us nervous, just because that's never a really great thing. Anywho, so we're praying a lot that he doesn't have to work....
Sunday: MIRACLE DAY!! We taught the three daughters of a woman  in our ward who all just joined her here after being separated for a while. They're not members, but they're really open to the messages we teach and they seem to like us! They don't speak Italian, but they understand it pretty well. We just get pretty creative with how we teach, it's really fun! Then we had an appointment in another city, but there was a strike for the trains, so we were a little nervous on our way to the train station. When we got there, ALL of the trains were canceled... And any time a new one came up, boop, it would be canceled too. After a while we went into a corner and said a prayer that we would be able to get a train and get to the city to teach the family of our investigator with the bap date. We went back to where we were standing before and there was this woman who was standing by us before and had kept looking at us. When we came back, she started talking to Sorella Yost. It turned out she was trying to get on the same train that we were trying to get on, so we were all hoping for the same thing. She invited us to sit with her and then she said we should say a prayer. She said it! How cool! So Sorella Yost said a prayer and we looked up at the board and the only train that hadn't been cancelled got canceled. GAH! When we talked about it later, both Sorella Yost and I started praying in our hearts for a miracle. After a while, we looked back at the board and a train that had been canceled earlier was no longer canceled and was instead marked as 15 minutes late!! Okay, yeah, that's a huge miracle. It was AMAZING. And the woman said it was because of our prayer! We talked a little about prayer and our relationship with God. We got to sit with her on the train and her umbrella was broken and she was trying to fix it. All of a sudden Sorella Yost offered to give the woman her umbrella. At first the woman didn't want to take it because she felt bad and asked how she would get it back because we live pretty far from each other. Then, bam, we got her number and said that we'll be in contact with each other so we can meet up and she can give it back. When we were about to leave we said Merry Christmas and she said "No , no, we'll see each other again before Christmas." She's so awesome!!! So yeah, Sciopero miracles. Then we went to our investigator's house and we were just going to teach him and his sister, but his parents decided to stay for the lesson and we taught the Plan of Salvation! It went soooooo well! The dad asked a couple hard questions, but we covered them pretty well, I think. And the mom seemed to be touched by the lesson ( I mean, what mother wouldn't be touched by the knowledge that she could be with her kids and husband for all of eternity. That's pretty amazing) So yeah, strikes are annoying, but God works miracles through them!!
So yeah, the rest of the week we mainly did Christmas finding. We made little pass-along cards with the website to the "He is the Gift" video and we pass them out to people. It's been going really well! People are more open to accepting it and most of them are really nice to us!
Yesterday when we  were walking down the street, this little old man saw us and just had this huge smile on his face when he saw us and started telling us how beautiful we are and asked where we're from. Normally it's just creepy guys that say "bellisime" as we walk by and stare at us which is gross and creepy but whatever. But he was just like this cute little old grandpa and was saying it in a grandpa-like complimenting way. It was kind of random but pretty funny.
Also, random funny stories that I forgot to write in past letters. A few weeks ago we had a man on the train wish "male children upon us" as we left the train after talking to him. 
Another time, we walked out of our house and it was raining, so we were geared up in our rain stuff. We walked past this old man and said hello to him and he stared at us for about 3 seconds and started laughing... Didn't say anything, didn't do anything, just laughed and kept walking... It wasn't like mean  laughter, but he was definitely laughing at us. Let's just say we were a little self-conscious the rest of the day haha. It was super random, but I guess we do look kind of funny wearing big rain boots and skirts. Oh well! It's the missionary life and I love it. Plus I'd rather look funny than have wet feet and be uncomfortable all day...
Anywho, that's about all for this week. It was a good week! I made it through my first transfer in the field and I'm officially in my second! We have a fresh new greenie in my district now, so it's really fun! There's three of us now in our district, so it's pretty fun :) ( I totally just repeated myself. I'm sorry..)
Today we're going to the third biggest market in Europe woo! I'm pretty excited. A little nervous, I hope we don't get lost... 
Anywho, I'm so grateful to be out here serving the Lord. It's so cool seeing how much God loves His children. He has given us so much to be able to make it through this life and return to Him. Although he can't physically be with us, He has given us a means of communicating with Him through prayer, the scriptures, a modern day prophet, and sooo much more. He didn't put us on this earth to be miserable and suffer. Yes, we have trials and we suffer at times, but it's so we learn and grow and come closer to Him. He loves us so much and wants us so much to come back to Him. And He's given us so much so that we can, inculding His own Beloved Son. I love teaching this to people and I'm so grateful for the Christmas season when more people are open to hearing about it. I hope this next week will be wonderful and everyone can enjoy the true Spirit of giving and feel God's love. 
I love you all!!! Thank you for  EVERYTHING! You're the BEST!!! Vi voglio un MONDO di bene!!!! 
Love, Sorella Hawks :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Italy, Week 6 - Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory

Okay, so last Wednesday we went to Como which is BEAUTIFUL. But, it was really foggy and rainy, so we couldn't see the alps.Monday-Tuesday I got to go to Lugano (Switzerland) for a Scambio and it was GORGEOUS. HOLY COW. I can't even. But yeah, it was gorgeous. I told Sorella Yost that we're going back. A lot. Pictures will most definitely be attached.Okay, let's see, first things first, WE SET A BAPTISMAL DATE WITH ONE OF OUR INVESTIGATORS!! He's sooo awesome and we're so excited for him. We also gave a Book of Mormon to another one of our investigators and she seemed really excited and I'm confident she'll start reading it. We have the greatest investigators.
So let's go through the week now that I let that out. Last Wednesday in Como we mainly just did some shopping, which was really fun! We went to this store called Tiger which is like a classy "The Christmas Tree Shop" (is that what it's called?) and I got a mustache pillow. Like, one of those squishy little ones. It's fantastic.
I made Chicken noodle soup the other day and it was fabulous. Like, it didn't taste super amazing, but it was so nice to have home made chicken noodle soup to warm the belly and the soul. I was really excited when I made it. My companion just stepped back and let me have my moment. She's so great. 
Saturday night we were fed half a pizza and a fourth of a cake each... That was something else... We were really full. It was a good thing we had a 15 minute walk to the train station after... 
Saturday afternoon a ward member from Sicily fed us and it was AMAZING. I don't enough know exactly what it was, but it was soooo good. We were really full after that too.... When we get fed here, we get fed a lot. Like, a lot. It's pretty fabulous. 
Monday we had a Zone Training which was so fun! Since it's Christmas time we sang Christmas carols at the end and it was so great! It got me sooo excited for Christmas. It feels like it's forever away. But I'm so excited, this is the best time to do the work, people are so much more open to talking about Christ and sharing their feelings. After the meeting Sorella Yost and I split to do a Scambio and I went up to Lugano and she stayed here in the great city of Busto. My temporary companion for the scambio was from Sicily, so I got to speak only Italian for 24 hours, which was really hard, but it was so cool! It shows me how much I know and how much I need to study.... But she was really patient and sooo sweet! I love her so much! We had such a great time! And I couldn't get over how pretty Lugano is. I still can't. Gosh. So pretty.
Then we switched back, Sorella Yost and I got Burger King (I'm sorry! I know I'm in Italy and should stay away from anything American, but it was close, we were hungry and it was fast! Please forgive me.) Then we ran home, ran to the Questura, I got my permesso for a whole year! Woot woot! Then we ran to the church, taught a lesson, taught English, then had our first ward council since we've been here which means it was my first ward council ever! It was really cool, but really hard to understand everything.... My head was hurting by the end, especially since I had just come back from speaking only in Italian for 24 hours. Language headaches--they're a real thing.
Anywho, today we just stayed in Busto and did some shopping which was fun! Gosh, I love Busto. I love our ward, everyone we teach and see. I'm so lucky! 
Anywho, sorry, it was a really fun week, but not too many crazy/funny stories this week. But gosh, I am so lucky to be a full-time missionary for the Lord. The blessings just flow in from all sides. I couldn't ask for a better way to be spending these 18 months of my life right now. 
I love you all so much! Oh! Also, since I love you all so much, you should watch the video on this site: IT IS SO GOOD!!!!! It gets you in the Christmas spirit so well by reminding us the true meaning of Christmas. It reminds us of the love our Father in Heaven has for us. that love was so great that he was willing to send down His Beloved Son for us, so that we might return to live with Him, if we just do the things He asks of us. I invite you all to share this video with someone you love and who needs a little extra Spirit of Christmas in their lives right now. It's so beautiful.
But yes, thank you so much for everything you all do for me, thank you for your love and support! I love you all so much! Vi voglio tantissimo bene!!!!!
Sorella Hawks :)

More Photos

Danielle's New Family

Hot Chocolate

A Mosaic

Eating Piadina

Makeshift Christmas Tree



View of the Alps
Busto church
Como 2
Como 3
Lugano 1
Lugano 2

Sorella Curtis, Nilson, Hawks and Yost

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Italy, Week 5 - Miracles Abounding

We had such an amazing week this week and the greatest miracle that we've seen while we've been here!So first of all, yes, we went to Ravenna last Wednesday and it was cray. But it was AMAZING. Ravenna is soooooo gorgeous, it's actually just like what you picture when you imagine Italy. I got to see a couple world famous mosaics which was amazing! I also rode a bike past Dante's tomb! I didn't get a picture because we were in a hurry, but hopefully someday I'll be able to go back! I also got a Piadina there which is soooooo good. And the best gelato I've had while I've been here. And I've had some pretty dang good gelato. It was so awesome! Plus, I got to meet my Mission Sister (the other Greenie my trainer trained before me) It was so fun!
Thursday we went to a Funeral. I think I mentioned this last week how we were asked to sing at a viewing on Tuesday but we couldn't make it, so we were asked instead to sing at the funeral on Thursday. We went to the funeral, but it was a Catholic funeral, so we never had the chance to sing. It was such an interesting experience. It was really sad since they don't know the plan God has for each of us and the priest kept saying that we don't know where she'll go or what's going to happen. At the end her son was crying "Momma Momma" as he carried her casket out. It was so heartbreaking. It made me want to just tell them about the Plan of Salvation right then and there. It breaks my heart to know that people don't have the hope that we have for those who pass away. I'm so grateful for the knowledge that God has a plan for each of us and we know that we can live with Him again and live with our families for eternity. It brings so much happiness in my life. It was a good reminder of why I'm really out here; To bring that hope and help families come together to be able to be together for eternity.
That night to celebrate Thanksgiving we got hot chocolate! Hot chocolate in Italy is not like American hot chocolate though... But it was still really good!
Friday we had a lunch appointment with a family in our ward and we got on the train to go to their city, but it passed right by it and went straight to Milano.... So the one week we didn't have to go to Milano for a meeting or something, we ended up there anyway. I don't think there's been a single week that we didn't end up in Milano at one point or another since we've been in Busto... I think it might be a sign... But we finally made it there and she had made fresh pesto pasta. oh. My. Gosh. I love pesto so much. It was sooooo good. So good. And she made Tiramisu (obviously no alcohol or coffee, no worries) and it was sooooo good too! So many yummy things.
Saturday we were invited to a member family's house for lunch that morning and when we got there it was a birthday party for the dad! It was so fun! We got to meet his two sisters and we had a really fun time. We also got to plan with our new WML and he is so cool! We have so many exciting plans coming up for the next two months! I'm so excited!! GAH!
Sunday: MIRACLE DAY! A young man (Danielle's Dad - I'm calling him Michael for privacy) who we've been teaching came to church AGAIN! And this time he got all dressed up in a white sweater vest and everything! He said he tried to get his sister to come, but it was her birthday, so we asked if we could bring over some brownies and wish her a happy birthday later that night. First of all, we weren't sure if we had enough ingredients, so when we were making the brownies, we used a little bit of cocoa powder, and the leftover hot chocolate from Thursday and Italian hot chocolate mix which is more like pudding.... Let's just say the brownies came out very unique... They weren't bad, but they were more like solid pudding bars.... It was really weird. But Michael's family liked them! Which is all that matters. But yes, I spoiled it, WE MET THIS AWESOME YOUNG MAN'S FAMILY! They all came and joined us and we got to know them and taught them and it was amazing! The parents don't seem super interested for themselves, but they're really interested for their kids! They even told their daughter that she should come to church and she said she would!!!!!!! Oh my gosh, this family is soooo stellar. I'm so excited. 
I had my first Kinder Egg Surprise on Monday which was exciting! I got a dolphin that squirts water. I like it but my comp doesn't...
Last night Giovanni came to the young Men's activity! HE'S SO BRAVO. 
But yeah, we had a busy week, but nothing too crazy. Sorry if this was long or kind of boring... I'll try to have more exciting stuff for next week! But I have a ton of pictures for this week!!! :D 
I love you all, thank you for everything! You're all the best!!!! I hope all is well and everyone is healthy and happy. Remember that families can be together forever and we can be eternally happy with our Father in Heaven after this life! But we don't need to wait until then to find that happiness. God loves us! He wants the best for us and He gives us so much to find that happiness! We just have to look for it. 
Have a great week! Vi voglio un MONDO di bene!!! 
Sorella Hawks :)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Italy, Week 4: Eating Peanut Butter with our Fingers

Okay, weird subject, but I feel like it'll get really boring if I just state which week it is or something. So this actually happened. It was fake peanut butter and we were waiting for the bus STARVING, so we just started eating it with our fingers because that's what they're for, right? Anywho, enough about being gross. THIS WEEK WAS AMAZING.Okay, so first of all, we saw soo many miracles from 21 Lessons week between the four of us missionaries in Busto! FIVE investigators came to church on Sunday!!! WHAAAAAT?! I know. Cray. Okay, so we only had two and one of them was a kid we met last week!! He's the one that asked if we live with Jesus. He's super golden! So he's 17 years old, (Danielle's Dad's note: I'll use an alias for his name, since I am posting Danielle's emails on her blog and on Facebook, so let's call him Michael), and he's just super prepared. His family has been to Salt Lake before and he said he's starting to remember a lot of what they learned while they were there. Sorry, I'm getting a little ahead of myself, I'm just really excited.
Okay, so we go to church on Sunday (of course) and we're sitting in Relief Society when the second counselor of the bishopric pops his head in and says "sisters! There's a Michael out here looking for you!" I didn't believe it at first. I was like THE Michael?! No way. But we walk out and lo and behold, it's him! We had given him a bigliettini the week before with the address of the church and told him he was welcome to come. We were going to send him a text to remind him, but we just never got around to it. But apparently we didn't need to! He rode his bike 15 minutes in the cold! He was shivering when he walked in! But he stayed for all 3 hours!! And he was answering questions and making comments during Young Men's and Sunday School. How cool is this kid?! We taught him a lesson about the Restoration last night and invited him to pray about it and continue reading the Book of Mormon. He had already read through the intro and some of 1 Nephi between Sunday and Tuesday night! He is so elect.
We're teaching a Romanian woman,(Dad has inserted an alias here  - we'll call her Magda) now and we gave her a Book of Mormon and she seems super interested! Shout out to my Romanian missionary homies from the MTC!! Woot woot
Anywho, Oh, fun fact. The Anziani in Busto told us that a family had once told them that the actually story that the movie the Best Two Years is based off of happened in our mission and in fact happened in Busto! What?! I didn't even know it was based off of an actual story... Who knew? But yeah, how cool is that if it's actually true?! BUUUSTOOOOOOO.
So Sorella Yost and I bought Christmas lights this week and built a super ghetto Christmas tree out of a ladder, a blanket, and padded envelopes. We're not done with it yet. Pictures to come next week. It's fabulous.
(Sorry this email is all over the place.)
I got to do another Scambio with Sorella Snow this week! We were able to find our way around without getting lost AND we even took a bus. Two buses in fact. And we're greenies. What what?!
We had a zone conference where Anziano Fingerle of the Seventy came and spoke to us! It was amazing!! He talked about improving 1% every day. I really liked that. And it doesn't just apply to missionaries! We can't be perfect at everything now, but if we just improve 1% everyday and everything, we improve so much faster! And that way we can focus on the little things that we don't think make a difference in our lives. But we realize it totally does! Such as exercizing 30 minutes instead of just 15. It doesn't seem like much, but it totally makes a difference, especially over time! Also he talked a lot about the move of social media in the church. He encouraged us to encourage the members of our wards and branches to use social media to share their beliefs more and to invite non members to everything! It's really cool to see how much the church uses social media. It's for us! So I encourage everyone to use it to share what you believe. It doesn't have to be through straight up bearing your testimony, it can be something small like sharing a cute Mormon message about families or something. But social media has a huge impact. But no, we're not getting ipads anytime soon, in case you were wondering.
Fun fact, us four Busto missionaries are singing at a Catholic funeral tomorrow and Sorella Yost is speaking and I'll be bearing my testimony. Woooo! Super terrified but super stoked :) I'm hoping we'll be able to bring the Spirit and it will comfort those who are present. The funeral of this woman is the cousin of a family in my ward who passed away very recently. She's not a member, but the sisters before us sang for her and shared the Plan of Salvation with her and she really liked it. So we've been asked to sing at her funeral tomorrow morning. Wish me luck that my voice will magically sound decent!
And last but certainly  not least, we're in Ravenna right now! Woo! So Ravenna is in the more Southern end of our mission and it is world famous for it's mosaics! I'll have lots of pictures next week :) Sorella Yost's Permesso came in, which is why we're down here. It is sooo cute here, it's so what I pictured Italy being. I love it!! But yeah, we got the call yesterday  morning that we have to go to Ravenna today, so we were a little frantic yesterday. We spent the night with the Milano Lampugnano sorelle (aka Sorella Snow and her trainer!) So fun! And then we took the train here this morning. Crazy. But so fun! I got to meet my sister! (The other sister that Sorella Yost trained right before me) I super hope we get to serve together someday, she's super awesome.
Anyway, this is getting long and even more all over the place. I love you all so much! Thank you for everything you have always done for me and for all that you continue to do for me. Just know that I'm thinking of you and praying for you all. Best of luck in all you do, and always look for God's hand in your life. It's amazing the things He does for us. I love you all! Vi voglio bene!!
Sorella Hawks :)-

Monday, November 24, 2014

Pictures from Milan

Clock Tower
Villa Balcony View 1

Villa Balcony View 2

Villa Balcony View 3

Rainy Day

The Galleria

Sorella Hawks and Sorella Yost

Sorella Hawks and Sorella Snow

Villa Interior
View from the plane

MTC Flag 1
MTC Group
MTC Flag 2

The Duomo

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Italy, Week 3

I officially hit my "2 Months In The Mission" Mark on Monday!! So weird! Even though I've only been in the field for like 3 weeks... It feels like Forever. But it's so great. I'm so grateful for this time I have to serve the Lord and His children full time. Okay, let's see, what happened this week...So this was 21 Lessons week, which is where we have to teach 21 lessons. It's a new missionary thing. And it doesn't sound like much, it's only about 3 lessons a day, but it's a lot. So Thursday we had an appointment with this 13 year old girl named Valentina. We were going to go to the church and bake cookies with her and teach her a quick lesson. She always runs away from the sister missionaries and so we wanted to find a way to try to gain her trust and show her that we're really not that scary. She's not afraid of sister missionaries, she just doesn't like them. Anyway, so we went to the church and we both had a feeling she wasn't going to show up, but we were going to go anyway. We show up and she's not there. We call her a couple times and she doesn't pick up. To sum it up, she bidoni-ed us. Which basically means she stood us up. But it's fine. So we were like, well, we'll just make the cookies anyway since we came all the way (the church isn't very close) and we'll do language study while they bake and we'll bring them to the family we were teaching that night. Sounds like a good plan, right? We thought so too. So we're trying to bake these cookies but the church oven is super sketch. While we were sitting there waiting for them to bake, the power in the kitchen and the whole side of the church with the kitchen turned off. GAH! We panicked. Not going to lie... Anyway, after scrambling, finding the breaker box, switching everything off and back on and it STILL not working, we called someone in our ward to help us. He drove 20 minutes, found the second breaker box behind a door, flipped them off and on and tadaaaa, he fixed the church. We felt pretty bad. But he was really nice about it.
So yes, anyway, I was talking about 21 Lessons week. So most of our scheduled lessons fell through, and in the end we taught 17 lessons on the street. That is a miracle. Street finding lessons are the hardest lessons. But we prayed every hour and after each person we taught we said a prayer of thanks. Two lessons that we taught two separate nights ended at 8:59. God was definitely testing us. We pushed ourselves so hard this past week to make 21 lessons and God blessed us soooo much. We saw so many miracles. One young man we found during this was this 17 year old red headed Italian guy. He actually came up to us and stopped us on his bike to chat with us. Clearly he was just trying to flirt with us and whatnot, but we were able to turn it to the gospel and teach a lesson. He was really funny though. He was asking us if we lived alone, just us two, so we said yes and he goes, " Okay, so it's just you two.... and Jesus." He was totally serious but we just cracked up laughing. It was soooo funny. But I see a lot of potential in him. Apparently his family went to Salt Lake a few years ago and watched a video in the Tab or something and they wrote their names down to have the missionaries sent to them! When the missionaries went no one was home, so they just left some stuff, I'm not totally sure what. Anywho, but it's so cool! This random kid comes up to us and his family totally wanted to know more about the church in the past! But I saw a lot of potential in him. But we're sending the Anziani to teach him if his family isn't interested...
Last but certainly not least, I had my first full scambio! (Exchange). I went to Varese with Sorella Richards. Varese is really super close to Switzerland, so it was pretty chilly. And it rained the whole time, but it was so fun! We had a lot of success calling potential investigators and setting up appointments with them! But Sorella Richards was so awesome.
So  yeah! This week was super stressful and by last night we were pretty much completely out of food! (We both eat when we get stressed...) But it was an amazing week. And we saw that through really pushing ourselves and being out until the very last second, God will bless you. He'll make you wait for those blessings and miracles, but he sends them, always. Sometimes you just have to wait and continue to push yourself and work as hard as you can. We also got about 3 new investigators out of it! At least! We're hoping to call some of those other people we met and set up an appointment to teach them more. It was a great week :) I love you all! Thank you so much for your prayers and support! They mean more to me than you know :) Vi voglio tantissimo bene!
Sorella Hawks :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Italy, Week 2

I MADE IT THROUGH THE FULL FIRST WEEK! Oh my goodness that week was ca-razy! But I learned so much. It was definitely a humbling experience. So, happy day, I have rain boots! ALL IS WELL! No more wet feet! I cannot express my joy. Plus we got them for a great deal and the woman gave us a discount on the sock inserts, 19 instead of 30! Blessed day.
Honestly all I can think to write about right now is that I survived last week and I didn't go home. Haha it was so hard, but it was so great for me, I'm grateful for it now that the week is over and I have my rain boots.
It rains a lot here. Like, a lot.
Okay, let's see, what happened. WE MET (Danielle's Dad will insert an alias name - "to protect privacy" - Let's go with Michelle) MICHELLE! Okay, so since we're white-washing, we just had to look through the binder of all the simps and less actives that the sisters before us were teaching and try to get a hold of all of them, but none of them were responding. But they finally started to! And we met Janet! So, Janet is an American woman married to an Italian man with three little kids living in Busto. It was so nice to hear English in an American accent. Anywho, so we tried SO hard to get a hold of her. The sisters before us told us to make her family a priority, but it was really hard to do that when she wasn't answering our calls. But, PERSISTANCE WORKS. S.lla Yost felt prompted to just stop by Michelle's place after a lesson with a meno attivo, so we went over there and rang and no answer. As usual. But for some reason we didn't leave right away. We hung around for a bit, kind of whining (I'll admit) when all of a sudden there's this woman walking down the stars hurrying towards us. And it was Michelle! Oh my gosh, it was a miracle. We're hopefully meeting with her tomorrow night. It was a miracle. 
We met (Dad - I'll use aliases again) Julie and Rene this week at different times. We met Rene on the way to visit a meno attivo and she's from Ukraine and she was soooo sweet. She called us her daughters and said she was leaving for a bit, but she would call us when she gets back. Fingers crossed! We met Julie yesterday and she's also a sweet older lady, but she's from Italy. She's also leaving for a spell, but we got her number and she told us when she would get back. Yay! Fingers crossed! They were both really sweet and I just wanted to give them both hugs. I really hope we see them again.
This is 21 lessons week, so we're cranking out the lessons. It's going to be miracle week, oh yeah. 
Oh my gosh, so yesterday, after teaching a lesson with Julie at the train station, Sorella Yost and I were trying to get on the train. The doors started to close, so I ran and jumped on, but they closed behind me and Sorella Yost was stuck outside. For the next what felt like 5 minutes we stood there, separated by the horrible train door, pushing the button over and over trying to get the doors to open again. We just stared at each other through the glass in horror, but luckily the conductor was at the front and she was able to get on. It was so scary. But we laugh about it so hard now. So all is well.
Anyway, I can't really think of much else to talk about... This week has gone much better. We were able to get a hold of most of our simps and meno attivi and we taught most of them this past week, which was so nice. We're still working on trying to meet with others, but it's going really well! We went to this adorable town call Ferno to visit someone and it was totally what I pictured Italy being. I will take pictures next time and send them out. Speaking of pictures, I have them this week! I don't know what else to talk about. I bought Nutella. It's so good. Oh my gosh, I ate two meals with members this week. SO GOOD. The second meal we had a BIG bowl of pasta as a FIRST COURSE. Italy is my kind of place. I'm getting chubby. But hashtag worth. If I'm going to get chubby on anything, it's going to be on Italian food. Nuff said.
Also, I cut my comp's hair. I mentioned that I cut the back of Mom's hair sometimes and she made me cut her hair. I cut 5-6 inches off. It was a little crooked... But it's okay, she wore a stripey shirt the second time so I could straighten it out :) It was scary... But good practice, right?
So yeah, sorry, I can't really think of much else... We're going to Milano today and we're going to see a castle :D Lots of pictures :) I'll send more pictures to Dad since they won't all fit on this email and he'll post them on the blog (
We've been reading the Book of Matthew this week and it's been such a great experience. I love reading it because I get to know Christ a little bit better each time. Every time I read it it's a new experience because it's at different times in my life. Matthew 10 is probably the best chapter for someone getting ready to leave for a mission. It was for me at least. It's Christ talking to his disciples before He sends them out to do the work and it is so powerful. It's like He is talking directly to missionaries.
I love you all so much! Thank you for all your love and support and prayers! You're the best! Vi voglio un mondo di bene
Love, Sorella Hawks :)
(JK about the more pictures, we running out of time. poop.) More to come later! They're kicking us out...
Pic 1 my district
Pic 2 my zone
Pic 3 my district with our teacher Fratello Knuston

Flying into Italy - the Alps

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My MTC District with our teacher

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My MTC District

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My MTC Zone

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My district with Fratello Knuston (in suit, back = teacher)

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Italy, Week 1

I am officially here in Italy! AHHHH!!! Sooo crazy. So I'm sorry to say, but my last week in the MTC is kind of a blurr now because it's been so busy since I got here. I have a lot a pictures, but alas, I forgot my camera (as sempre), but I will remember it next week! I only have one picture from Italy (the Duomo, what?!), but I'll take more this week. Italian keyboards are weird, so sorry if some random symbols are thrown in where apostrophes (is that how you spell it?) or question marks are supposed to be. Anywho, you probably want to hear about Italy and how everything is going.  First of all, I have been called to Busto Arsizio which is in the zone that includes Milano and the district in Switzerland. Which means P-days are going to be absolutely fabulous. I'm so excited.
My trainer is Sorella Yost and, fun fact, she is the cousin of Sister Smoot who is serving in my home ward in New York!! Crazy! I got to go teach and tract with Sister Smoot and now I'm being trained and teaching and tracting with her cousin. Plus, Sister Smoot totally called that she would train me. How ironic is that? Anywho, she is super awesome. She's a Sister Training Leader, plus she's training for the second time, PLUS we're white-washing the city. She's got a lot on her plate. But she is such a boss.
So yeah, we're white-washing the city which means neither of us have ever served here! So we have no idea where anything is or who anyone is. Thankfully there is one Elder who has been serving here for a while, but he is training as well. So basically he's teaching three missionaries how to get around this city. He's a saint. Also, another fun fact, Anziano Hubbard is the Elder that he's training! Anziano Hubbard was in my district in the MTC so it's fun having a familiar face to see once in a while.
Also, we're living in a villa. In Italy. With a huge balcony. Um. What. It's two floors, it has two bathrooms and now that we've figured out the heating, it is absolutely incredible. What an experience. I'll have pictures next week, I promise. But I still can't get over the fact that I'm in Italy, living in a Villa. So classic, I love it.
So this week has been the CRAZIEST week of my life, it's been fabulous. Other than getting lost trying to find our way around the city more times than I care to count, we have had a lot of adventures. That sentence didn't really make sense... oh well. Anywho, we tried saving a cat out of a tree. That was probably my biggest greenie moment. Let me explain.
So we walked all the way to try to find this one simp. that the sisters before us had told us about. When we got there, I saw a kitten that was stuck in a tree and the first thing that popped in my mind was "what a great opportunity. We get the cat out of the tree, we bring it to the owner, the owner is so grateful they let us in. We teach, they feel the Spirit and they want to get baptized. Beautiful." So I convince my comp. that this is going to happen. So I stand there trying to get this cat out of the tree, but of course I'm too short. So I look at my comp. and with a straight face, she suggests I stand on her back. So she comes over, get's down on all fours and I take my shoes off and get on her back. But of course, now that I can reach this dumb cat and help it, it won't come down. I literally had it in my hands and was trying to pull it down but it wouldn't come down. Stupido. So I finally gave up and as I turned to get off my comp's back, I see this man walking by, looking down and walking very quickly trying to pass us as fast as possible. I was really upset at the moment because I was convinced God had put that cat in that tree for us to find it and bring it to its owner. I knew it had an owner because it had a collar. Don't worry, I'm not just finding random stray cats in trees and trying to bring them to people and convince them that it's theirs. Anywho, that was probably the funniest moment from this week.
Last night we taught an English class of four people which was really fun. I think they had more fun helping me and correcting me on my Italian than anything else. But it was a lot of fun. And I got to bear my testimony in Italian at the end which was really nice, I haven't been able to do that too much yet. 
This city reminds me a lot of New York City, but the smaller parts, like the outskirts I guess. There aren't a lot of really big buildings, but it's busy. But it's still pretty small. I actually really love it. I always said I wasn't a city girl, but I'm absolutely loving it here. Milano is more like the big city NYC.
Yesterday on our way to the church for the English course, I stepped in a puddle that went halfway up my calf. I'm buying rain boots today.
Oh my gosh, this week has been so difficult but sooo amazing. Missionary work is dang hard work, but it is the most satisfying work. 
We met a woman named (Danielle's Dad Insert - I'm replacing names with aliases for privacy - we'll call this woman Kathy) on the train yesterday and she's the first person that seemed really genuinely interested in what we had to say. She's Catholic and she really believes in God, but she really loved the concept of having a relationship with God and how a prayer is a conversation. We got her number! There's hope for a new simp! (Simp means investigator, sorry). But yeah, she's really busy because she studies med, but we really hope she's interested enough to find time. There's another woman named (Another alias: Rebecca) that we met our first night to teach English and we ended up teaching her the first lesson about the restoration. AWESOME. We're going to see her tomorrow night :)
My ward is awesome! Everyone is CRAZY! And so fabulous, I love them all. I'm so excited to get to know them better as time goes by.
The language is so different from the MTC. Not really, it's just a million times faster. So it's hard to keep up. But I get the gist of what people say. Also, I got my first andate via! (go away). It was exciting to see it was actually a thing.
Anywho, time is running short but this email is running long. All in all, things are great :) I was blessed with great teachers in the MTC who really helped prepare me for being in the field. I had a great district in the MTC. I have an AMAZING trainer and we're working together to figure everything out, which is nice. I love where I am. I love the people and I love being a missionary. I have felt God's love more than ever while I've been here. I'm learning more each day about the Lord's time and having the faith that although our prayers may not be answered immediately, the Lord knows everything and He has everything planned just right. 
I love you all so much. Thank you for all of your love and support, now and throughout all the years. Vi voglio un MONDO di bene!!!
Sorella Hawks :)