Thursday, January 29, 2015

Italy, Week 13 - The Windiest City in the World

Hello all from Trieste!!!! So, Trieste is windy, yes. BUT, i have yet to face the Bora. They actually named this crazy wind that gets up to 100km/hr here. That's how intense it is. I haven't come across it yet though. But it's still pretty windy here. but it is absolutely GORGEOUS!!! It's really old and by the ocean and in the mountains and absolutely georgeous. There are a LOT of stairs here because it's all up and down. My calves will be enormous by the end of this transfer. The people here are very different from the people in my last city. The people in both my cities were your stereotypical Italians for the most part, but the different stereotypes. In Busto they were warmer and more loving and over-all a little more friendlier. And they fed us a LOT. Here, however, the people are more traditional and very set on their ways. We get a LOT of people say that they're Catholic and they don't want to change, they like the way things are. So the work here is a little slow, but we're speeding it up ;) No worries.My new companion is Sorella Burt from Utah and she is so fantastic!! We get along super well! And she loves food as much as I do, so everything's great :) 
She asked me to cut her hair, so i cut off about 3-4 inches... I'm sensing a pattern here... By the end of my mission I'm going to be an expert barber. It's going to be great. 
Last night we tried to talk to this woman on the street and she told us that she was Catholic and that we're young and we still have time to change our ideas. She told us that we were too young to know anything regarding religion for sure and that we still had time to find the truth. Dang, it was hard not to get mad haha. I did not like what she said to us one bit. But it sure strengthened my own testimony. i would NOT be out here if I didn't know without a shadow of a doubt that this church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, was true. Nothing would be keeping me here. All the rejection we face everyday, all the pain, physically and emotionally that we go through, wouldn't be worth it if I didn't know it was true. I know that i am here truly doing the work of the Lord and I am helping to further His kingdom here on the earth, and here specifically in Italy. I know that God has a plan for us and that we are all His children. I have never been more sure of it in my life. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY. We had an AMAZING lesson with an "eternal investigator" the other day. She was having a hard time with receiving answers. She said God doesn't give her answers and she can't wait forever. But we talked about how we were her answer and we bore our testimonies, and the Spirit was incredible strong. Gosh dangit it was strong. And everytime after we bore our testimonies she would say how beautiful it was and how good our words made her felt. It was the most amazing, Spiritually intense lesson I've been in. We were sooo reliant on the Spirit haha. Any thought that popped into our heads, we just did it, without thinking. And we think she really changed. Sorella Burt said that she's never seen her change like that before. IT WAS AMAZING. So if anyone ever tries to tell you there's no way you can know it's true or that you're too young to be able to know God, don't listen to them! It's true! and if you knew it once, that hasn't changed! It's still true, just remember those times when you knew it.
Anyway, sorry i went on that testimony rampage... I just really did not like that comment and i think this was the first time I could just let it all out. Woo. I feel good. The church is true. Punto.
Anywho, I absolutely LOVE Trieste! The work is hard, but that just leaves more work for us to do and to see miracles. We've already seen soooo many. I am SO stoked!! We're doing another 21 Lesson week here, just for us. And it's going to be so great!!
Thank you all soooo much! I just love you all so much! YOU'RE THE BEST!!!
Vi voglio un MONDO di bene!!!
Love, Sorella Hawks :)
P.S. one of my favorite things I saw this week was a 70+ year old woman wearing a black beanie that said "SWAG" on the front. it was so great.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Lots of Pictures

Varese District 1
Varese District 2

Top of the World

The Girls

New Year's Cookies

Giant Pizza & Gypsy Pants

English Class Sign

Pizza Box

Roasted Chestnuts

Sleeping Under the Christmas Tree

Snow on the Balcony
Lugano 1

Lugano 2
Lugano 3

Sorella "Haks"

Making Cookies

Ecuadorian Family

Giovanni 1

Giovanni 2


Como Tunnel


Italy, Week 12 - Scambios and Transfers

Allora, this week was crazy. It was soo great, but sooo crazy. We had another scambio after our scambio on Monday with the Sorelle in Como. This time I got to stay in Busto and lead the ropes, which was super fun! And we saw a super cool miracle! So there was this woman that we met our second week in Busto (way back in November) and we taught her a lesson and she called us her daughters and we gave her a pass-along card with our number and she said she would call us! A few weeks later  we realized that the stamp that had our number on it that we use to stamp the cards was missing a number. So this woman didn't have our correct number. We were so bummed and we prayed so much that we would be able to find contact with her again. During this scambio this past week, my temporary companion and I were rushing to the bus and we walked quickly past this group of people, but I suddenly realized that I recognized one of the people. It was the same woman from November!!! She gave us big hugs and kissed us on the cheeks and was so happy to see us! She had to run on the bus but I was able to give her a pass-along card with our correct number on it! We hope for the best! God does answer prayers! Even if we have to wait. It's interesting too, because back in November we had both gotten the feeling that we should exchange numbers and get her number, but neither of us did it and we ended up just giving her a card with the wrong number. So God taught us a lesson there by making us wait... But it was good! Now I know!! It was sooo cool
Anywho, second part, transfers actually affected us this time. dun dun dunnnnnn. Yeah. We got the call from President Saturday morning and you know it's big with the President calls.  Sorella Yost gets to stay in Busto as an STL, but she's training again (for the third time in a row!) I got kicked out and I'm going to Trieste, which is as far East as a sister can go in our mission! I've heard it's absolutely beautiful there, so I'm super excited! But I also heard it's very cold and there's a certain wind that it's known for with a specific name that I can't remember right now. I'm sure I'll learn it soon... I've had a lot of people tell me I would be blown away with the wind these past few days... haha but I'm really excited. I'm sad to leave Busto, this city is amazing and every person I've met here is incredible. I'm also sad that Sorella Yost and I don't get serve together for her last transfer, but it's all for the best. Trieste, here I come!! 
Well, this week has been full of goodbyes and big hugs and big handshakes (from those who can't hug me). It's really hard saying goodbye, which I kind of expected, but not after only being in a place for only 3 months. It's amazing how much you really grow to love the people here. I love everyone person we teach and all of the ward members. Everyone is so great. And it's amazing to see the impact that you have wherever you go even if you don't see it. It's also cool how that shows how you are called to each city for a specific reason and you play a very important part there, even if it's only in the life of one person. I'm sad to leave, but I'm excited to go to Trieste and meet new people and learn more. Wish me the best of luck and pray that I won't be "blown around with the leaves!" (yes, someone said exactly that to me. It was very comforting).
I love you all so much! sorry, I can't think of anything really funny. We had a lot of funny things happen, but they're just kind of everyday things that I can't remember..... Sorry! Plus, most of them are embarrassing... Like eating Nutella out of the jar with a spoon with tears running down your face laughing at the fact that right after you bore your testimony and said goodbye to the whole ward, someone came up to you and commented on your language. Yeah. That happened haha. At the end of Sacrament meeting, one woman came up to me and said that hopefully I'll have more opportunity to improve with the language in Trieste. It was so funny. She's right! Hopefully I do improve there! My new companion is only one transfer ahead of me! 
Anywho, I love you all sooooo much! Thank you so much for everything!! Vi voglio bene!!! 
Love, Sorella Hawks :)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Italy, Week 11 - GIOVANNI GOT BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!!!!

Giovanni did it! The big reveal! Our investigator who had the baptism did it! Giovanni is 17 and he was baptized on January 10th and Confirmed on January 11th. And everything went beautifully :) It was crazy stressful at the beginning, making sure that the font would fill up in time and that it would be warm and then finding translators and everything. But once it started, everything went very smoothly :) Giovanni's family came and they were all dressed up really nice and they were so supportive of him. Two of the anziani's investigators also got baptized that day, so three baptisms in one day! How cool?! It was awesome. And after he was baptized, Giovanni bore his testimony and it was soooo cool and so beautiful. He talked about how grateful he was for this new start and how excited he was to start this new life. He also thanked us for what we did. I almost cried, it was so sweet! And his blessing the next morning when he was confirmed was super cool. It talked about how he was going to do great things and other things along those lines. I'm telling you, this kid is going places. He was so prepared when we met him, he's going to do great things. 
So that all happened Saturday and Sunday and the rest of the week went really well! Friday I had the most amazing lasagna in the world. We have the best Ward Mission Leader in the world. The Busto Arsizio ward is one of the most amazing wards ever. Things are great :) Monday we did scambio and I went up to Varese. Varese is soooo pretty! And we saw a ton of miracles! So, to start off, we accidentally went on the wrong bus trying to get to an appointment, which was weird because we don't understand how it was the wrong bus, but whatever. Anyway. We got to talk to the busdriver and he was super cool and nice and really helpful. We ended up going all the way up to the boarder of Lugano, Switzerland.... But it was the most gorgeous drive in the world. Anywho, so we got off in Luino to switch to the right bus and we met this woman who had met the sister missionaries six months ago! She said they came and taught her twice and she had a Book of Mormon and she was reading it! So we got on the wrong bus so we could meet this woman :) We gave her a pass along card and told her to give us a call. Hopefully she does! Then we had FHE with the cutest family ever and the mom made these AMAZING pizza bites things. They were these little balls of fried goodness with cheese and prosciutto. I died. Anyway. Then later that night, we decided to pray and look through Potential sheets and read through the names until we got to a name that we felt like we should call. After a few failed attempts we talked about how we should go about it, picked a name and she picked up! she told us she was too busy now but to call her in two weeks! I hope it goes well! Then on the way back to Busto to re-scambio, we met this girl from Jerusalem who speaks English and we talked to her for a bit and she actually asked for our number! It was an awesome scambio!!
Last night we went to our Bishop's house for dinner and on the way there,the wife told us that she was having a surprise birthday party for him after dinner. So at 8:30 all of their family showed up and it was sooo fun! I absolutely LOVE this ward. And they seem to really like us! 
While we were on scambio we taught this lesson to a girl that they've been teaching for a couple weeks in Varese. She has a lot of interesting views and tough questions, I was warned. And it's true. We taught the Plan of Salvation and she asked a very interesting question that I had never heard before. It was really hard trying to answer it at first, but after a little while, I just started saying something. I honestly don't remember what I said, but it was just what she needed to hear. That really strengthened my testimony of always being prepared. Thank goodness I studied that lesson earlier that morning. Because the Spirit reminded me of something I had read earlier that morning and from there carried me to say what she needed to hear and it answered her question perfectly. It was sooo cool. It just goes to show that the Lord truly does give you what you need to say when you need to say it, we just need to always be prepared. Even if that's not what you prepared. If you do your part, the Lord will do His.
It was such a great week! Thank you everyone for everything you do! I love you all sooo much!!! Vi voglio TANTISSIMO bene!!!!
Sorella Hawks :)

Italy, Week 10 - Happy New Year and Happy New Shoes!

I did it. I bought my first pair of proprio Italian shoes. And they're beautiful.  Okay, anywho. New Year was super fun! We went to Como and went up this thing that takes you up to the top of a mountain and you can see pretty much all of Northern Italy. Sadly, it was a little cloudy/hazy that day, so we saw Como and some hills in the distance. But it was still super pretty! And super fun. Then for New Year, our mission president said he didn't care what we did that night, as long as we were in our house after 5, so we ended up staying up until 12 (we weren't planning on it though, it just kind of happened...) and we went out onto our balcony and watched some fireworks in the distance. It sounded like a warzone though. We couldn't see most of the fireworks that we heard but it was ca-razy.  It was super cool though! We also bought a family sized pizza earlier that evening and ate it in our gypsy pants (pictures will explain all.). It was a super fun New Year! I hope all ya'll's went super great!!
Then we ended up going to Milano 5 days in a row... Friday Sorella Yost had Consiglio, so we went to Milano for that and I got to do another scambio (Split) with Sorella Snow! Woot!! And this time we got to do a trio scambio, so we had another sorella (Sister) with us and she's from the Phillippines and she just arrived in the field. She was super sweet! We had a lot of fun together. She had gotten hit by a car while she was on her bike the day before though, so we stayed in and worked on the area book and all that good stuff. This is why Sorella Yost and I don't bike in Busto. We would be hit by a car in a hot second. 
Saturday our Anziani had a baptism with one of the African men that they teach, so we went to Milano for that because our building doesn't have a font (not even a blow-up font...) It was so cool! It was super spiritual and just super amazing. It made me all the more excited for our investigator's baptism that's coming up! Then Sunday we went there after church for another baptism, then Monday we had zone training there, and then we did scambio and we had to re-scambio Tuesday morning in Milano again. Lots and lots of travelling... And then we went to Como again today... GAH!
Anywho, zone training was super cool! One sorella in our zone bore her dying testimony which was really sad, but she said a lot of cool things. My favorite thing she said was that she once heard the mission compared to a field of roses. Before you go you just see all the beautiful roses, and you just run in, but then you stop and realize your legs hurt and they're bleeding from the thorns. But you just push through and it's hard but when you get to the end, you look back and all you see are the roses. And I like to think that even when we're in the thorns, when we look down, we still only see the roses. It's hard but it's so worth it and it's so beautiful.
Then I went up to Lugano again for scambio and it was really fun! We did a family home evening which went really well. And I got to get to know this sorella better. She was so sweet and so cute! It was a really good scambio :) And Lugano is still as beautiful as ever, don't you worry.
Yesterday we got gelato. It was amazing.
Today we went to Como to get a tie and then shop at Tiger which is like the Dollar section of Target basically and it's amazing and you find the most random things every and they've figured out how to make anything mustache themed: tape, white-out, clothes pins, clips, you name it. It's great. And then I bought my wonderful shoes.
Okay, now I must gush about our wonderful investigator with a bap date. So we hadn't seen him for over a week since he was in France for vacation. But we finally saw him again at church (he made sure that his family got home Saturday night so he could go to church on Sunday. I know.) And we taught him his last lesson that night! He's seems really excited about the priesthood and whenever we talk about missionary work he gets very quiet and thoughtful. I'm stoked. Then he had his interview Monday night while I was away, but Sorella Yost told me alllll about it. IT WENT PERFECTLY! HE'S GETTING BAPTIZED!!! Our district leader said he's super bravo and he did perfectly and he has no worries or concerns for him. He knows he's going to be a strong, super solid member. And after his interview, our simp kept talking about his baptism and how excited he was! GAHHH!!! I'm so excited, I can't even express myself. 
anywho, things are going great. I'm getting worried about transfers. I had a dream that I was staying but I was becoming the Senior companion and that Sorella Yost was leaving and training somewhere else. I'm sure I will be having plenty more transfer dreams over the next week. I'm getting super nervous, but I know I'll go where I need to go and where I'm needed. 
The mission is fabulous, it's the greatest thing in my life and I'm so glad I'm here doing this. 
Thank you all so much for all of your support. Shout out to my AMAZING ward Poughkeepsie First!!!!!!!! Thank you for your wonderful cards and your words of encouragement and love, it meant so much for me! When I got my mom's package with all of the letters, I almost cried! Thank you so much!! And thank you to the PK1 Youth for your package!! The Ressee's and Gold fish or WONDERFUL. And I love all of your letters!! Thank you thank you thank you! YOU'RE THE BEST!!! 
I love you all sooooo much! Thank you for EVERYTHING!!! Vi voglio un MONDO di bene!!!
Sorella Hawks :)