Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Italy, Week 23 (4/8/15) - Happy Pasqua and Happy General Conference!

What a strange week this has been.Oh, first of all, I realized after email that I didn't tell y'all that Sorella Burt and I went to one of the biggest caves in the world last P-day. Oops, sorry.... But yeah! IT WAS HUGE! It's called Grota Gigante and the name fits it well. In 1995 it won the Guinness World Record for the largest cave (I think in the world...) Either way, We walked down about 500 steps, walked across about maybe 100 meters or something I can't remember, and then walked up 500 steps. Yes, up 500 steps. And we didn't stop, we just went until we got to the top. Trieste stairs are legend. Anywho, so that was cool, just wanted to let you guys know about that fun little adventure :)
So on Thursday we had an FHE at the church to show the new Easter video the Church made and it went really well! I mean, other than the video not working and everything not working for about 20-ish minutes, it went well! Only one person invited a friend,  but it was a cool little miracle! This member had been out of contact with this friend for some time, but she ran into her on the street and was like "hey! Do you want to come to my church and watch this awesome Easter video?!" (not necessarily in those exact words. This member is like 75 years old.) And she came! So we got to talk to her and while I was talking to her, it led perfectly and beautifully into the message of the Restoration, but right when I was getting to the First Vision, she inturrupts me. And everytime I try to bring it back she's just like "yeah yeah yeah, I know, that's so great you believe that. Everyone has their own religion, we all have the same God." Blah blah blah all that stuff and the wonderful moment was lost. And it was really sad. But it's okay :) We saw her on the street last night and we asked when we could come over to talk more about the Gospel and she was like "Whaaaat?? I just want to give you all my old clothes. I don't want to hear about your Church. I studied to be a nun for years. I'm done studying." And whatnot. So that was a super bummer. BUT she's super indecisive, so I'm hoping one day she's suddenly like "Tell me everything!" And we can finally teach her about the First Vision :D
Oh, plus this one girl that we had met on the street a few weeks ago randomly showed up at the church. I think she thinks we live there because she's done it before... Anyway, she came after we showed the video, so we invited her to stay and listen to the testimonies of the members and then eat and play games with us and she did! It was cool! She's got a few problems and we're not sure how to handle the situation quite yet (she's kind of turning to us as therapists so it's a little tough to explain that that's not what we do...) But we told her that the message of the Gospel can help a little. Anyway, so there's that...
Friday we had interviews in Mestre! President Dibb basically told me that he wants me to the be the kind of missionary that baptizes in each of my cities. No pressure. But he told that to Sorella Burt too, so I think he's telling everyone that... But hey, it's still important! Then we got KEBAB. It's kind of like a greek gyro + taco bell combination with strange mystery meat inside. It was super good! Look it up, they just have this GIANT thing of meat just turning by a flame and they just shave off pieces, stick it in a tortilla with other yummy-ness and ya eat it! I'm a keabap fan :)
Saturday we got to watch the women's session and the Saturday AM session! We watched the women's session in Italian so I didn't catch all of it... But what I caught was super good! Also, FUN FACT: The woman that they talked about that served a mission in Italy years ago or something like that is the ancestor of one of our Anziani here in Trieste! 
Luckily we got to watch the rest of the sessions in English :) 
Sunday we hid little chocolate eggs around the house for each other to find which was super fun and adorable. Plus we bought these giant chocolate eggs. So in Italy, they have a thing called Kinder egg Surprises and it's a hollow chocolate egg with a little toy inside. For Easter, they have GIANT versions of these. Like, giant. So we bought one and one was given to us, so we hid those for each other :)
Then while we were at the church watching Conference, our Ward Mission Leader walks into our little room for us English people with two people who have giant Backpacks and are clearly living out of them. It turns out that they're both from California and they're backpacking around Europe and Thailand and whatnot. THEY WERE SO COOL. Anywho, so the girl is a member, but clearly less active. But they got to Trieste at like 2 in the morning the night before and were super lost trying to find a bus to take them to Slovania. They were luckily lost by the church and what they thought was a road turned out to lead them right to the church and she recognized the writing and was like "Hey! This is my church!" 1. it was a MIRACLE they found the church. It's up in the mountains in the middle of nowhere. 2. It was during CONFERENCE!!! SO COOL! So the members invited them to stay and join us for a BBQ that we had the next day and then they would drive them to the border. So we got to chill with Americans for about a day. So strange but so great! Anywho, she recognized it as a miracle and we invited them to go to a service next Sunday wherever they were so her boyfriend could see what they were like. She said she thinks she wants to bring him to her home ward since it's where she grew up and everything. Um, yeah, that's a great idea! Our fingers are crossed! We feel like this was kind of like a call for her to come back and she recognized it :)
Monday we had a great BBQ with the most amazing meat that I have come across. They had burgers that were sooo tender and seasoned soooo amazingly and they had this Triestino meat that had a super fun name that I can't remember that was INCREDIBLE. and the Chicken was soooo tender. Gosh dangit I ate way too much but it was so dang good.
Tuesday morning we had a lesson with an investigator that was passed to the Anziani because her mom wanted them to teach her, but we all agreed it would be better for us to teach her (she's 14...) so we had a little joint lesson to explain that we (the Sorelle) were going to teach her outside the house and help her specifically and the Anziani would teach her and her family (mainly to help reactivate the father). It went so well! It was so strange teaching a lesson with Anziani though... But she's so ready. She has a baptismal date and she said herself that she feels  a lot more ready than a year ago when she had a bap date then. She knows all the answers and is super awesome. I'm so excited for her!!!
And yeah, that was my week :) OH MY GOSH! And then that girl that showed up randomly Thursday night for the activity randomly came on Sunday and was able to watch the Sunday AM session with us. She just randomly shows up at the church and she's been having really good  timing lately. We just hope she understands that we're here to help her by teaching the Gospel. She seemed like she understood, so we have hope!
Anywho :) I love you alll soooooo much. This weekend was such a beautiful weekend, thanks to the wonderful opportunity that we had to hear from the Lord through His servants. Every talk was so beautiful and so inspired. I know that the Lord truly does speak to us through His prophets here on the Earth today. And I am so grateful for the modern-day counsel that we receive.
I love you all with all my heart! I hope you have a wonderful week and know that I pray for you every day :) Vi voglio un sacco di bene!!

Sorella Hawks :)

Italy, Week 22 (4/1/15) - Mystery Birthday Chocolate Turtle and Suprise Breakfast

Well we just have the greatest ward members everrrrr. On Sunday a few of the kids came up to me and brought me into the kitchen to ask if this giant chocolate turtle in there was for me. It said "Happy Birthday. Sorry for the delay. To share with your companions" Clearly the kids were in on it, I think the parents sent them to get me. So I think I've figured out it's the Bishop's wife. Anywho, it was supperrr cute and sooo nice! Then one morning we get a random call in the middle of our studies from a member and he's like "ciao. Are you guys home right now? Am i disturbing you? Okay, come downstairs." We come down and he hands us a bag and says "for breakfast" And rides away on his vespa. And inside were magical brioches and doughnuts. It was soooo good!!! Our members are just SO GREAT. WE'RE SO SPOILED!!!!Anyway, that was just to describe the title. This week was good! We didn't get a ton of lessons because we were asked to work with the ward members and talk about the new Easter video (  just in case you want to watch it in Italian ;) ) Anywho, so we saw sooo many members this week which was sooo wonderful :) This video is great! Everyone watch it!!!
So we had a exchange/split (I'm not sure what you call it in English... sorry...) This week with our STL's and I was in charge of Trieste! GAH! But I did it!! Yay!! Saturday morning we called that woman that I talked about last week that we met who has the really serious addiction (sorry this is so broad. hashtag privacy. ) And she canceled our appointment that we had had for that night, BUT! She told me that she was talking to her friend and her friend was having a really hard time lately. She was really down and sad and stressed and all that bad stuff. Our investigator decided to pray with her, like we prayed with her when we first met her. She prayed that her friend would have peace and everything would be okay and after the friend felt very calm and felt a lot of peace. She told us that we will for sure meet this next week and that she would bring her friend as well and we could all talk together and have dinner. SHE'S ALREADY DOING MISSIONARY WORK AND WE HAVEN'T EVEN HAD AN OFFICIAL LESSON WITH HER YET. I love Brazilians.
Yesterday We were doing finding in a park and we were talking to this very sweet woman from Romania and she agreed with what we said about God is our Heavenly Father and we can pray to Him and have a relationship and she was feeling it and everything. When we asked if we could pray with her however, she was very against it. She was like "no, I'm not about that praying in public thing. I have to go to work. I don't have time" all that jazz. But we explained that it would only take a minute and we just pray from our heart and we can pray anywhere at anytime. She finally was like alllllriiight sure. And we prayed and after her whole demeanor changed. She was nice before, but after we prayed with her she smiled at us and said she had goose bumps and it was so beautiful. She told us she was there at that time almost everyday and that she would love to talk with us again. We've had experiences in the past and seen how prayer can really change people, but it finally hit me in that moment why. I never really thought about how that praying with us is people's first experience actually having a conversation with Heavenly Father. By agreeing to pray with us, they open their heart and the Spirit can touch them. That's why prayer is so important. In our mission a lesson doesn't count as a lesson unless there's a prayer involved, even if it's on the street or on the bus. I'm really understanding why. It's interesting for me, who was born into the church, that when people think of praying, they don't understand that's it's communication with our Father in Heaven. They believe in the recited prayers and praying to saints and whatnot. But they don't understand that it's just like a telephone and you're talking to Heavenly Father and He's responding. When we pray with them that's the first time they've felt the Holy Ghost. It's interesting because for me, I feel normal. I feel peace and happiness like always when I pray, but that's because I always have the Holy Ghost with me. For those who have never felt the Spirit before, It's a totally new, beautiful experience. Being a missionary has truly opened my eyes to things like this, that I never thought about before, since I was born into the church and grew up being taught and knowing how to truly pray to my Father in Heaven. I love seeing the peace, hope, and happiness in people's eyes after we pray with them. It's one of my favorite parts about being a missionary. I LOVE BEING A FULL TIME MISSIONARY!!!!!!!!! Gosh dang it, I'm so grateful for this beautiful time in my life. Thank you everyone for helping me get here. Thank you for teaching me the right things and helping me to stay on the right path. Thank you for your examples and for all your love and support. I can't thank you enough. 
Have a great Easter! Make sure to remember why we have this holiday. Christ died for us so we can repent and be clean and live with Him and God again. He was resurrected so we can be resurrected and become as Him and our Father in Heaven. What great, amazing, miraculous gifts that we continue to try to comprehend. I love each of you so much. 
Sorry this email was all over the place. That's just my brain :)
HAPPY PASQUA!! Oh, plus, Italy has a holiday on the Monday after Easter called Little Easter (Pasquetta) How cute and fun is that?
Plus, sorry no pictures again this week. Last week the computer at this internet place wouldn't let me send any and then deleted all of them. Yay! Again, this is why we're in two. I just steal all my companion's pictures :) So I don't want to risk anything again because that wasn't the first time it's happened! Fool me once, shame on you, internet point. Fool me twice, shame on me. I've learned! So you'll just have to wait a couple weeks and then I send lots from the church computer! Woo! 
Vi voglio un MONDO di bene!! Buona Pasqua!!
Con affetto,

Sorella Hawks :)