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 :)