Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Italy, Week 21 (3/25/15) - BEST WEEK EVERRRRRR!

Ummmmm so this week was pretty much the greatest week we have had in my entire time I've been in Trieste. SO MANY MIRACLES. So warning, this email is probably going to be long and probably all over the place. Sorry! Anywho, so Thursday we had some plans that inevitably fell through, so we passed by a referral that we've been trying to meet for a while now, and of course no one was home. We had about an hour and a half and we didn't know what to do with it. So we said a little prayer and decided to go to a park that was close by and then just walk around that part of the city for a bit and find (people) that way. This park pretty much never has anyone in it, but we figured we had time so we might as well go. So we go and there was one woman. We started walking toward her but then she suddenly walked down this hill somewhere and disappeared. So we turned around and talked to a woman that had just walked into the park and she was clearly disinterested, but after talking to us for a bit about her beliefs she says "Excuse me, I have to follow the dog." And walks away. Yes, there was a dog, she didn't just make things up. Just using her resources as an excuse. Anywho, so the first one reappeared and we jumped on that. And she was amazing! Long story shorter, she said she's searching for the truth and asked why there are so many churches out there. What a great question!! SO we taught her the Restoration and set up a return appointment :) Woo! Friday was MIRACLE DAY. We taught an AMAZING lesson with the sister of a member and her husband and it was great! The member has been trying to work with her for like 30 years now, and she felt like she should give them a call and set up an appointment with us and they were like "yeah!! Come on over!!" They were soooo sweet and cute and definitely ready. We're so excited to continue working with them!
Then we had some time before another appointment, so we hit the pavement “finding.” And we found the most amazing miracle!! We stopped this one woman who was very preoccupied trying to find something in her purse. At first she seemed very uninterested, but was willing to talk with us. After a bit of talking and telling her that God is our loving Heavenly Father and he helps us with any difficulties in life, she just opened up. She's from Brazil and she has a very serious addiction that has become so bad that one time she stopped a stranger on the street to help her for a moment. She recognizes how bad it is and once so badly to be able to stop. We had the beautiful opportunity to tell her that we could help her with the knowledge we have and that God will help her. It was amazing seeing the change. At first she was very hard and kind of angry, but then the light of hope made her so much happier. You could see the hope in her eyes and it was soooo beautiful.
We've been praying for so long to find the people who are ready and who need help. Finally we're finding those people. It took some time, but it's happening! Never doubt that God hears your prayers!! It may take two months for you to find His answer, but He's always watching you and He's always there to help. He loves you! He never ignores you. Just remember to keep going forward, no matter how hard it is, and always look for the good and the miracles. You'll see them everywhere :)Then we had a beautiful lesson that night with a “less active” and she had a friend over who's family had taken lessons a bit but were scared off by baptism talk. This friend asked her about the church a bit and we were able to teach them together that night. She said she hoped that we could see her again and meet her brother! We sure hope so!! She's so cute!! 
Saturday morning we had our first lesson with a new investigator and it went well! We taught the Restoration and invited her to baptism! She said not now because she's scared, but she definitely wants to learn more because she sees a difference in us and likes that we do what we say. She's so great!!! That night we met a woman who the whole time we were talking was working really hard at rubbing my hand to make it nice and warm. It was soooo hard not to laugh. 
So our mission president gave us the goal to teach 15 lessons every week about a month ago and we have been unsuccessful up until NOW!!!! Sunday we had four lessons and about three hours to teach them. We were sooo determined!! AND GOSH DANG EXHAUSTED! BUT WE DID IT!!!! We showed ourselves it was possible, even here in Trieste! And that with God's help we could do it!!! It was so great!!!
Monday we got to go to the cutest city called Gorizia for district meeting and it was so fun! We brought banana bread and after everyone got a piece, there was just one slice left. And three Anziani wanted it. So what did they do to compete for it? Long jump, obviously. It was so entertaining. And somehow the smallest anziano won... I think there was a breeze that pushed him forward a bit.
Tuesday was THE BEST BIRTHDAY EVERRRRRRR. One, I have a greatest companion who made the cutest little Kinder egg hunt ever. Then she gave me one of her dresses that she knew I loved so much. And left cute little notes everywhere for me. Then we had a wonderful lesson with the woman we met in the park on Thursday and invited her to baptism. She said she wants to study more, but it's clear that she knows that when she knows it's true, she'll be baptized. We had piadinas for lunch and I opened my presents from my family. THANK YOU!!!! Then we got gelato with a young girl that we're working with which was fun! Plus, throughout the day I was getting phone calls from ward members either Auguri-ing me or singing to me and it was sooo cute. Then we had English class that night and our three students sang to me and one gave me a Kinder egg and took a thousand pictures of me. Then a ward member gave me SKIPPY PEANUT BUTTER!!!!!!!!!!!!! And everyone was giving me big hugs and so many auguri's and little presents. THE MEMBERS ARE SOOOO GREAT!! I don't even know how they knew!!! We had told a few people and they must have just spread the word. They're so great!!  Then today we went to a castle which was built in the 1400's which was INCREDIBLE. SO COOL. And we went to a member's restaurant that he works at (the one that gave me peanut butter) And he gave us nutella crepes as a present. BEST BIRTHDAY EVER!!! Plus, birthday miracle, we got our letters a day earlier than normal so I got my mom's letter on my birthday!! GAH!!! I'm just sooo grateful for everyone. Then we ran to get little pizzettas at the end of the day and ate those after planning and chocolate cake. Gosh dang it, it was just so great. I just love you all soooo much!!! Thank you for everything!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Vi Voglio un MONDO di bene!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 Sorella Hawks :)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Italy, Week 20 (3/18/15) - Nasty Cookies and Delicious Gelato

Hello wonderful people of my life! I love you! So this week was fun, I hit my 6 Month Mark!! Weird. When I woke up Tuesday morning (before the alarm, as usual) I just laid in bed and thought of how weird it is that I've been a missionary for 6 months now. SIX MONTHS!!! That's a whole half of a year!!! Six months ago I was just entering the MTC, having no idea what I was doing, how to speak the language, or really how to be a missionary. And now look at me! It's really not that much different! Hopefully the next 6 months we'll see more improvement... But to be honest I really have seen miraculous changes, for example, I can hold a decent conversation in Italian now! Thank goodness, that'd be super awkward if I couldn't... But these 6 months have really been the most amazing, life-changing months of my life. I'm so excited for this next year. I can't believe I only have a year left! It's going by too fast! There's so much to do!!! GAH! Yeah, all this and more was going through my head at 6 in the morning as I stared at the ceiling. Anywho, enough about that. I'm becoming a nonna, it's fine. 
So we had zone training this week in Pordenone and there's an English military ward and I felt like I was almost in America in that building! THEY HAVE A DRINKING FOUNTAIN!! Beautiful flowing waters of life. Anyway. It was awesome! Our zone leaders are super awesome and we had a blast and learned a TON! After that, when we got home, we went to Piazza Unità and basically just found like bosses, cornering people right and left. It was like a game. We would stand there and find someone that we wanted to talk to and start walking towards them without making it too obvious. So we would kind of saddle up to them, walking faster, then slowing down until we met up with them perfectly and would just stop them and talk to them! It was awesome! We didn't get to pray with them because they were all in a "fretta" (lies, everyone has time to pray.) but we taught them great things and had great conversations with them! It was so fun!
Sunday was awesome! A bunch of less actives came which was sooo cool! After church, one member had a party and invited a bunch of YSA's (gans) and asked us to give a spiritual thought thing after lunch. So we ate a marvelous lunch (the anziani made chilli!!) and then everyone that we wanted there for the thought left... But we still taught like the most active gans there, but it went well! We had two activities to introduce what we wanted to talk about. The anziani did this crazy balancing act thing and then did it with the birthday boy who is very tall would be intimidating if he wasn't so nice. So that was cool. Then we did this thing where the anziani made digusting cookies to show that we need all the ingredients in cookies to make it good (relating the ingredients to us) and they didn't tell us HOW gross they would be... they just told us they weren't good. Oh man. They were disgusting. Che schiffo. Luckily we cleansed our mouths with good ones afterwards. Then we talked about how we're all where we are for a reason and we have a part to play. We have talents that God gave us and he put us where we are to affect others and we're in their lives for a reason. It was really cool! It's cool to think how God sent us where we are for a reason and the people that are in our lives are truly in our lives for a purpose. Are we fulfilling that purpose? It really made me think, especially looking back and realizing there was so much I could have and should have done. Now I know!
We also met the most wonderful woman in the world from South Korea on the street. She has this fabulous purple hat and we had seen her before but never had the opportunity to talk to her. She ended up passing us then turning around and we talked for over an hour!! She's recently Catholic, but almost everything she said was basically what we teach and definitely not what the Catholic church teaches... When we asked if we could pray with her she got so excited and said "OHHHHH YES PLEASE!!!" Oh my gosh it was so precious. I just love her so much!!!!!!!!!
We had three people come to English class last night!! And one woman, when she found out that it was my birthday next Tuesday, was like, "Oh! I will definitely be there! Just for you!" It was so cute!!! 
Also, we're getting iPad minis! Woo! That's why Anziano Bednar is coming. Woot woot!
But yeah, it was a great week! We're doing a lot of finding still, but we're still getting lots of referrals which is awesome! I love Trieste!! It's like spring here! 
I love you all soooo much! You're the BEST!!!!! Vi voglio un MONDO di bene!!!
Sorella Hawks :)

Friday, March 13, 2015

Picture Dump


The Alps

Little Church

Street Mirror

Mini Castle

Miramare 1

Miramare 2

Sushi Night

Slovania Selfie

Piazza Unita

Piazza Unita....At Night

Night Sky


The New Yorker Shop

The Ocean


Venezia & Bologna Sorelle

Wind Defense

Waiting for the Bus

Venezia Zone

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Italy, Week 19, (3/11/15) - I Place my First Book of Mormon doing Strada!!

For the first time in my mission, I was able to give someone we were teaching on the street a Book of Mormon right then and there. It was so fun!! I just want to do it all the time....We stopped this younger woman and asked what made her happy and she said the Bible! Umm, cool! She was super nice and it turns out she's pregnant (we just teach all the pregnant ladies in Trieste.) She said she's read the JW's bible and didn't like it, so she threw it away. She said she was interested to read the Book of Mormon. She didn't seem super interested to learn about the church in the sense that she wanted to change, but she wanted to learn more just to learn. But hey, that's a step! Hopefully she reads the Book of Mormon and recognizes the Spirit she feels when she reads it and gains more desire! She was so cute!
Soooo confession, I forgot my old planner from last transfer, so I can't really remember what we did from Wednesday night toSunday.... I know we had a little FHE Wednesday night which was really fun. The woman who's house we did it at is super sassy and adorable. She's like 75 and soooo blunt and hilarious and sarcastic. I love her to bits and pieces. And we got to go to another FHE Monday night at her house, so I was happy :) 
Oh my gosh, I just remembered! THIS WEEK WAS CRAZY!!! I can't believe I forgot.... Okay, so we got this referral from a senior couple that had stayed at a hotel in Trieste and the owner of the hotel had a Book of Mormon and everything so they gave us their info. They didn't actually live in the city of Trieste so we had to take the tram all the way up to the tippy top of a tall mountain (it was cold. We were not dressed for the cold) and then we got a little lost, but we finally found our way to this itty bitty "town" called Banne, which isn't really a town because it's literally only one street... I don't know why they call it a town. But whatever. And It took us a longgg time to get there and we were really cold. But we finally got there§! and we met the guy and we asked if he was interested! And he said!! No. So we just turned around and left, super bummed. But we got to take the bus that goes to Slovania home, so that was pretty neat. So that was Saturday night. Then Sunday after lunch we get this random mystery text of a referral so we jumped on that because we love referrals. We're all about that referral life. And we're all about that contacting within 24 hours business. Heck,  we step it up and contact it within 24 minutes. It took a lot longer than that, but we tried. Anyway, so we had to take the bus that we took home that went through Slovania again, Bus 39, so we got to see Slovania...again. That was super cool. Then it took us about 2.5 hours to find the dang house. The numbers in this town we went to made NO sense. They went from 400, to 100, to 200 to 16. It was so. confusing. Luckily we dressed warmer this time. We FINALLY found it (we had to go to a bar and ask the bar tender. He had this fancy little map with all the house numbers on it. The must have lost people come in and ask for directions a lot.) Anywho, and we rang their "doorbell" about 7 times, a guy came out of the house (they had a really big yard, so the house was fairly far from where we actually were), went to his garage, stared at us from the door, then went inside. And never spoke to us or anything. Super weird. So we just figured he was uncomfortable with strangers coming over in the dark around dinner time, so we decided to go back the next day! Fourth trip through Slovania in three days! YEAH! And no one was home. Super bummer because this referral sounded SUPER legit!!! Hopefully she'll call us, we left a cute little note on a cute little pass along card. Because we're cute little Sister missionaries and that's how we do.
Also! Sunday morning we missed the bus to go to church because some strange man was talking to us, so we just hopped on the next one that came that we knew we could take to get home FROM the church, so we figured it should take us TO the church. Not so. We went up up up up up up up up up up very far away from the church. and THEN came down. So we were late. But only by about 10 minutes, which wasn't nearly as bad as we expected!! So we had a lot of adventures this week! But after Monday we decided to slow down on our adventures to little podunk rich towns by Slovania and just do some finding in our own little beautiful city of Trieste :)
But man, while we were out by Slovania on our way to the bus, I looked up and the big dipper was HUGE!!! We could see SOOOO many stars and they were soooooo close!! I felt like I could just reach up and grab them! It was INCREDIBLE!! I've never felt that close to the sky before, we were sooo high up in the mountains. It was the most amazing, beautiful thing I've ever beheld with my own eyes. It's amazing the immensity of God's creations. As I looked into the sky and looked harder and harder I could see more and more stars farther away, it was incredible!! Gosh dangit it was incredible. I really can't put it into words. But it was so beautiful and you just feel so close to God when you're so far up and surrounded by His creations, on earth and far beyond. It was nice to get away from the city and be in nature again. I loved it :) Just remember to look around you at all that God has given you! He loves you! And you can see it in everything around you! Sometimes you just have to stop and take a moment to look ;)
I love you all sooo much. You're the best!!! Vi voglio un saco di bene!!!
Love, Sorella Hawks :)

Italy, Week 18, (3/4/15) - Transfer news, Running through the Bora and Sushi

TRANSFER NEWS: (drumroll please.) I'M STAYING IN TRIESTE WITH SORELLA BURT!!!!!Woot woot yeahhh woot woot yeahhhh. So stoked!
So yeah, we're pretty excited. We did not expect that at all. Both of us expected that I would leave, but no! I'm staying! It was a very strange transfer day, but we finally got our news at 9:15 at night (more or less) and it was great news! 
Last Wednesday we had a lesson with a family and made a family mission plan with them and afterwards they gave us a huge bag of blood oranges from the wife's dad's garden in Sicily. Like no big deal. Anyway, that's not really that exciting, but I was pretty excited about it. 
A few days ago we met this old lady who was soooo funny. She was standing at the bus stop and asked us if we knew when the bus was coming. We talked with her a bit and she asked us if we were students. When we told her we were missionaries and asked if she had heard of the church, she just got the wide eyes look of "yeah, I know that church" and did the laugh to go with it. And she tried to get away from us, but then she would keep coming back and talking to us. move away, then come back. She like, was incapable of not talking to us, it was so funny. Then we get on the bus and she sits down and as soon as the bus starts going she's just sliding around all over her seat and looking at us and kind of laughing. She was sooooo funny. I can't even describe her, but she was just so unique and wonderfully hilarious.
We had a baptism in our ward this week!! The Anziani were teaching a 17 year old kid from Africa and he got baptized Saturday! Finally! They've been trying to set bap dates and everything for a while now, but it finally happened and it was so great! in his testimony after he said that he wants to serve a mission and share the word of God!
Sunday we had an investigator come to church!!! She's the pregnant one that I talk about all the time and she finally got to come to church! She could only stay for the first two meetings, so she missed Sacrament meeting, but she said she really liked it! The members were soooo great and made her feel so welcome and you could tell she just felt really loved and she was really happy and just loving it the whole time. Members are so great! Always keep your eye out for new people that you can fellowship!!! It may  mean little to nothing to you, but it means the world to them!!
Yesterday we decided to do a little bit of English class finding and we wrote "Would you like to learn English? For FREE!" And walked around the busier parts of the city and gave out bigliettini. At one point this girl walked by us and right when she walked past me I heard her say "really??" and maybe 5 minutes later we hear "Wait! Excuse me!" And it was that girl! SHE CHASED AFTER US!!! It was a pretty far distance too... she seems super legit!! Whiteboards work! We had a lot of people either come up to us or just star at the sign or keep looking back at it that we would walk up to. It was so fun! Hopefully they come to English class and we can start building it up! Because right now we only have one student... BUT! Yesterday the anziani called us and said our one student wasn't coming that night, so they were letting us know so we could decide if we wanted to still go or not. We decided that we would go and show our faith that at least ONE of the people that we gave English class bigliettini to would show up. And this guy that we had talked to a few days earlier after the baptism came! we were waiting at the bus stop and he was on the other side of the street and he crossed the street and asked us if we still taught English class. We gave him all the info and everything then went our separate ways. And he came!!! He was the only one that came, but he came!!! AND! Our English class lesson turned into a Full on Restoration lesson! It was one of the most beautiful Restoration lessons too! (Not just because we got to teach it in English. But that's part of it.) he was just asking questions and we were explaining what we do as missionaries and one thing led to another and we told him we have a living prophet today and that the church is the same church that Christ established on the Earth but restored by a prophet Joseph Smith and it was incredible!! He hadn't known that we have the same church that Christ established and that we have a living prophet and he was really intrigued by it. And the Spirit was really strong and it was sooo great! Hopefully the Anziani can start teaching him soon!!
I LOVE THIS CHURCH!!! It's just so true!!! What other church can claim that they are the very same church that Christ had established on the earth 2 thousand years ago and have all the scriptures and everything to prove it? NONE! I'm so grateful that we have a living prophet today that through him God can guide and direct us to know how to live the best lives we can live in TODAY's world. And I know without a shadow of a doubt that Thomas S. Monson truly is a prophet, just like the prophets of old in the scriptures and that he truly does receive direct revelation from God for us! His word is scripture and I'm so thankful that we have these words and the specific guidance for us today. It's just more proof of Heavenly Father's love for His children. 
I love you all soooo much! Thank you for EVERYTHING you do. Vi voglio tantissimo bene!!!
Sorella Hawks :)
Favorite Sorella Burt quote of the day: "Sketchy internet points are always sketchy."
She's so wise.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Italy, Week 17, (2/25/15), Buses Come and Go, but Calcetto is Forever

Hello my beloved family and friends! I love you! Also, this week was great! We had a youth activity after P-day last Wednesday and it went really well! We had a scavenger hunt around the center of the city and we had to take pictures of different statues and other whatnots around the city. it was so fun! Afterward we had pizza and OREOS and ROOT BEER!!!! It was soooooo yummy.The next day was a little rough. Our investigator who is super interested that we had met with the week before and had another appointment for that morning called us and said she fell and was in the hospital (she's 7.5 months pregnant). So we're very worried about her. We've trying calling and texting to see if she's okay, but she hasn't been answering. Please keep her and her baby boy in your prayers. That night we had another lesson with an investigator we taught a month before. She's the one who we had that amazing lesson with and the Spirit was so strong and we broke down a few of the walls that were holding her back. We were really excited to teach her the Plan of Salvation and it was going really well until we got to the end. She said she believes in reincarnation (although she's confusing it with the Resurrection...) and that she's convinced. We asked if she's prayed about it to know if it's true and she said "no. But I'm conviced this is how it is" and we kept trying to tell her she needs to pray about it to know if it's true but she just would not listen to us and kept interrupting us. As soon as we were out of that lesson I just lost it. The Spirit is always incredibly strong in our lessons with her and I feel God's love for her so incredibly strongly every time. But she won't accept it. But I can see it in her eyes that she knows it's true, deep down, that her Spirit is crying out, but she won't let it. She won't listen for an answer from God, and she won't let the Spirit touch her heart, or at least change it. At the end of our lesson, she paused and asked " Are you always happy?" And we testified about how yes, we are. That yes, we still have challenges and we do get down, but we're still happy. We have this eternal, fullness of joy that even when we're sad, we still know that we have eternal potential and that we have a loving Heavenly Father who is always there for us. She said Happiness is a strong word, but we told her that we can say that we are truly happy, always, without a doubt. I've never felt so heartbroken in my life as I did after that lesson. I've never really known the true meaning of devasted until after that lesson. I can only pray that someday she will recognize the truth and be open to it.
This past weekend we had a LOT of conferences. We had Zone Conference on Friday and it was sooooo good! We learned SO much and it was an answer to a lot of my prayers. It made me want to go out and teach EVERYONE. Not just stop them, teach them!!! Plus, we got to watch Meet the Mormons and eat popcorn :) We also found out that Elder Bednar is coming in April!!!! Just for our mission!! GAH!!!! SO STOKED. THIS IS GOING TO BE THE BEST YEAR EVERRRRR!!!! With the Rome temple coming and everything! :D 
Saturday and Sunday we had Stake Conference and we had two members of the 70 there because they changed the stake presidency. Elder Texiera and Elder Defeo (sorry, don't really know how to spell their names) came and spoke both nights and it was sooo great! And our girl Susanna from our ward bore her testimony because she left Monday for St. George! Keep an eye out for Sister Mervar!!! She'll be in St. George in 2 weeks!!
This week we met a woman who had taken the lessons a long time ago but stopped because life got crazy. When we found her, she said she would love to learn more and really enjoyed the lessons she got before and that she will come to church next Sunday!!! Fingers Crossed!!! She's soooo nice!
Yesterday we had a lunch appointment with this sweet woman named Paola and man, she's so sweet, but she just really likes oil. I had a pool of oil on my plate after that meal. First Pesto pasta. Then veggies that she COVERED in oil. What's the point of veggetables if you pour oil all over them? No point. Then we had these fried cheesey, mushroomy, prosciutto-y things that were delicious, but fried in oil. the only things we ate that weren't oily were the dessert... Which doesn't really count. I still feel a little sick thinking about that meal. It was delicious, don't get my wrong, but i could feel my insides just covered in oil. 
Today we saw Miramare!! The big gorgeous beautiful wonderful castle on the OCEAN that Trieste is well known for and it was BEAUTIFUL. 
All in all it was a really great week :) Also, Calcetto is Foosball (don't know how to spell it.) aka, little soccer. Gotta love Italy :)
I love you all soooo much! I think and pray for each of you everyday! I love you so so so so much! Vi voglio un MONDO di bene!!!
Sorella Hawks :)
PS  Also, some funny #italy moments that I saw this week: One man we said hello to had a cigarette in one hand and an inhaler in the other.A woman was really struggling to light her cigaretter (oh, the Bora is back. Not as bad, but still pretty close...) When we saw her later, she was crouched behind who I assumed to be her husband or at least friend, trying to light her cigarette, using him has a shield from the wind. 

Italy, Week 16, (2/18/15), Miles of Smiles and Carnivale

This week was Carnivale and it was pretty much just like a week long Halloween. We saw random people around the city dressed in costumes all around the city and the streets were covered in confetti. Tuesday night was the last night of Carnivale, so they had these random little ghetto parades going through the streets and everyone was dressed up and there was a huge party or something in one of the main piazzas. and confetti EVERYWHERE. At one point Sorella Burt and I couldn't handle it anymore so we picked some confetti up from the ground and through it in the air. There's still confetti in my shoes.Yesterday morning we decided to change up our finding a bit and we took a whiteboard and just wrote "Smile!" on it with a bunch of smiley faces. It was SO MUCH FUN! We got so many people to smile. A lot of people tried to fight it, but we saw it ;) a couple people said it was a beautiful thing that we were doing that. One woman actually stopped and said how great that it, read our tags and called us great girls. It was so sweet! We got quite a few giggles too, mostly from older men, which was really funny. They'd look like these grumpy old men and then they would giggle like little girls. And we just smiled really big and said hello to everyone we saw. It was so fun! One guy even patted me on the back! It was SOOO incredibly fun. Some people won't stop to talk to us, but they'll smile at us! And one guy on a vespa honked at us and we got a lot of people in their cars to smile at us. 
On Sunday we had a ward lunch where everyone brings their own lunch and we all sit and eat together. We had ward council at the time though, so we missed most people, but there were still a couple people when we got there. We had forgotten the pizza we were going to bring, but one ward member gave us a bunch of ravioli. Sorella Burt and I ate that and were pleasantly full when another ward member gave us a scoop of some mayonese, potato salad type thing and two giant scoops of rice salad. I felt like I was going to explode. And then the passed out the dessert. My stomach hurts just remembering all the food we ate. I could hardly make a dent in the rice it was sooo much. Everyone is just so loving and wants to feed us.... It's just really hard on our stomachs... 
Saturday we had a Primary activity that we were asked to help out with some of the games. It started out super awkward because we didn't know how to describe the games... We started out with the  youngest group and they eventually all scattered, so we were put with the oldest group and eventually they all left and went outside to play soccer. We didn't know what to do so after eating some of our sorrows, we just went over to help out with the youngest group. When they saw our group was missing, they went hunting for them while we stayed with the youngest group. Once we were settled and knew what we were doing, everything was pretty smooth from there. And we had so much fun with those little kids! And one point this little girl didn't want to play the game and she looked sad, so I slid up to her really close and said "ciao!" And she just stopped, looked at me, then started stroking my face and then kissed me on the cheek. IT WAS SO PRECIOUS!!! 
We had a scambio with the sorelle in Mestre this week and being in Mestre reminded me how gosh dang beautiful my city of Trieste is. Mestre reminded me of Busto (but nicer.. people laugh whenever I say that because they think Mestre is pretty ugly and ghetto. They haven't seen Busto) But coming back to Trieste I was in awe yet again. I got to do a scambio with a girl from my group which was super fun!!
So we have a new investigator who is amazing. We had our first lesson with her and we taught her the Restoration and she agreed with everything. She really liked the message and said she would read the Book of Mormon. She told us she's going through a really hard time right now and it's hard to ask for help, but she knows she needs it. So we were able to tell her our message can help bring peace and happiness in her life during this time. It's such a beautiful message that we have. That the church that Christ established when He was on the earth is restored to its fullest now. And that God, our literal Heavenly Father who loves each and every one of us, has a plan for us. A plan for us to not only be able to return to Him after this life, but so we can have His love and influence with us throughout this life and have a fulness of joy in this life. What more could we ask? I know that when we are doing to things God has asked us to do, that we truly are happy. He doesn't give us commandments just so He can boss us around. It's for our happiness here and now. We have them  so we know how to live this life to the fullest and happiest as well as so He can bless us and help us. What a blessing! I'm so grateful for this beautiful opportunity to share that message that has gotten me to where I am now. And thank you all for helping me to learn that. Each of you has had an impact in my life and have taught me this beautiful message more fully. I love each and every one of you so much and I'm so grateful for your examples and all you have taught me. Vi voglio un MONDO di bene!!!!

Italy, Week 15 (2/11/15), We Survived the Bora

So the "Bora" that I talked about last week was not the Bora. That was like the warning that the Bora was coming. It was so funny, that night we were on the bus and we ran into one of our English class students and he said "that Bora's coming" and we just stopped and looked at each other. But the next day we realized he was right, the Bora really only was coming. The next day was insane! We could hardly walk sometimes, or we would be pushed to walk/run faster in the direction we were already going. At one point later that night, we were in a particularly windy section of Trieste and I almost got pushed in front of a car... We were walking and a HUGE gust of wind came and I tried to resist it, but I ended up getting pushed backward and I realized that I was being pushed right in front of a car coming down the road. Luckily I was able to turn and hide behind the building from the Bora. Sorella Burt was hanging on to the wall for dear  life. IT WAS INSANE. But it's okay. The Bora tried to kill me, but I outsmarted it. It kept Sorella Burt awake all night that night and we had to tie our door to the balcony shut because it seemed like it was going to burst open at any second. We had another "almost pushed into the road by the Bora" incident again on Saturday, but thank goodness there was a railing there. The wind actually picked up my back about to the height of my shoulders, with my scriptures and everything in it! And everytime these things happen, there's always some random guy just chilling near by, either hanging onto the wall, or chilling on a Vespa watching all of it happen. So yeah
Just wanted to let you all know that I'm okay :) Came close, but I did it. I survived the Bora. :)
Anywho, this week we saw two miracles going house to house! It is so hard to get into a house here because usually it's just a set of buttons with names on a building and you just talk to them through these speakers (it's called a citofono) and nothing ever really comes of it. But we found a set of actual houses without citofonos and they instead have to come out to the gate and see us and we can talk to them face to face. One woman we taught a lesson to through her gate and she said we could come back the next Saturday! Last night we came back and did more houses and we met a 13 year old girl (with red hair... Coincidence?) and we taught her a lesson and she said she would be interested to learn more! It's so exciting!! It was amazing! We call them our miracle houses.We also met a man (doing casa) who had taken ALL the lessons from the missionaries 20 years ago and he said that he was ready for baptism, but all of sudden he just went back to the Catholic church. It was crazy! But he said that he might stop  by the church or something. Hopefully! We told the anziani to look for his information in their area books to see if he's in there. It was crazy! Miracle houses for real!
But yeah, we've just worked a lot with the members this week and done  a lot of finding. It was really hard to do finding in the Bora. Bora finding is not effective. 
It was a good week! We're exhausted and we've seen so many ,miracles. We know there's someone out there here in Trieste that needs us to find them. We're still looking! It's been great though. We've learned so much. I've really learned how to turn to the scriptures for comfort and support in times of difficulty and trial and it's been really beautiful. The scriptures truly are a gift from God to help us survive this life.
Thank you everyone for everything! I love you all soooo much! I miss you and pray for you always. Vi voglio tantissimo bene!
Sorella Hawks :)

Italy, Week 14, (2/4/15) , The Bora Struggle is so Real

I have experienced the Bora. And it is so real. And it is such a struggle. Especially in a skirt.Anyway. This week was crazy. So we tried to do another 21 Lesson week because we really need more people to teach and we KNOW there is at least one person here that is willing and ready to hear the message and change. So we figured the more people we stopped on the street that more likely it would be to find them (which still holds true) Sadly we didn't get 21 Lessons, and it was a super bummer, but we learned a lot. We talked to a lot of great people and we were rejected a lot, but the miracles we saw made up for it all. We didn't see any crazy big miracles, but just being able to talk to certain people and meet them and the little things like that. We met one woman that is friends with nearly everyone in the ward and was a referral that a ward member ALMOST gave us (this close) but said she wanted to talk to her first. Now we met her and she knows us! It was amazing! Also, Sunday night was awful. It was freezing and raining and super windy and after doing strada for about 1.5 hours, we decided to just get on a random bus and try bus finding. While on the bus we realized it was one that takes us to a less active's house that the sorelle have been trying to get a hold of for a really long time. And we got to see her! She didn't let us in because she has the flu, but she said hopefully she'll feel better next week and we'll be able to see each other! It was amazing!! And she's super duper cool.
But yeah, we had some crazy times this week... Sunday night we stopped this one woman and she shared some very interesting beliefs with us, one of them being that she was God, Sorella Burt was God and I was God. All the while stroking Sorella Burt's hair. It was sooo funny. Italians are really touchy. One woman that I tried to stop just patted me on the cheek, smiled and walked away. Little old Italian woman are so funny and so fabulous.
Also, the people here in Trieste just fall. Like, all the time. They'll be walking and all of a sudden they just fall. It's so odd. One time we were standing at a bus stop when a little old woman walked in front of us (in the road) and all of a sudden she just fell forward... It's probably because she was going down hill. I'm convinced it's because of how hilly an windy it is here that people just fall s frequently.
Anyway, yeah, I  can't really think of anything else to talk about from this week. We saw a castle today! Cause, you know, we can just walk to castles here. It's whatever. 
It's whatever but I still geek out hardcore about it. It's fine. Anywho... Yeah, it was soooo old and so cool! And oh man, the view. THE VIEW. We could see the ocean (with the OTHER castle of Trieste (so much royalty here...)) and the hills and oh man. It was just too much. But the Bora was pretty intense today. But yeah, it was super cool! 
I love the mission! Sometimes it's incredibly hard and you don't know why it's hard. You do everything you're supposed to and more and yet no one will talk to you and all your appointments fall through. It gets really hard sometimes. But it's such a beautiful time. Because when you're low and feel like you just can't do it anymore. You feel heartbroken and weak and like you can't bear to walk another step or to have someone say "no" one more time. That's when you just give your whole heart to God. Because you can't do it. But God can. And God can help you and will. Things don't always get easier, sometimes they get harder. But you know God is right there with you. And you know Christ is right there with you because He knows exactly how you feel. He's been through it, and you are standing shoulder to shoulder with Him. He knows what it's like to be rejected and left alone and to feel weak. And He knows exactly what you're going through. This time has truly been the most beautiful time of my life and I'm coming to understand what all that truly means more and more. Thank you everyone for all you have done for me. Thank you for helping me get to where I am today. I love you all so much!! Thank you!! Vi voglio un MONDO di bene!!!
Sorella Hawks:)