Thursday, May 21, 2015

Italy, Week 28 (5/20/15) - Baptisms and iPads. Whut.

ALICE GOT BAPTIZEDDDDDD. Pictures to come next week :) (hopefully) Oh my gosh, that was so stressful. I remember during that day being like "Why wasn't I this stressed and freaked out during Giovanni's baptism?" It's because I was a greenie and really had no idea what was going on other than the basic facts, so nothing could stress me out. Poor Sorella Yost, she must have been dying with all the stress and work on her. but yeah, so many emotions that day. So the day before we spent some time cleaning the font, which, in the words of Anziano Horne, "I have never been so excited to clean something." It's true. That was the funnest, most exciting time I've had cleaning anything. I LOVE BAPTISMS.
But yeah, so we got there a few hours early so we could start filling up the font, because fonts here in Italy take years to fill. So we start and there's no hot water. We flip some switches according to directions and no hot water. Panic sets in. So we call people. no one answers. So we just nervously play piano and sing Italian Children's song from the song book trying to calm nerves when finally Bishop calls back and is like "yeah, someone shut off the water for the whole church building. We'll send someone over to turn that on for
ya." you think they would have thought of that before, like when we had reminded everyone about the baptism the night before. It's okay, he's busy and super wonderfully great. I love our bishop. Anywhoosle. Thank goodness someone showed up and turned it on and made us nervous that it wouldn't fill in time. But it did :) PRAYERS ARE ANSWERED. Speaking of which, we had an amazing experience about that recently. Get excited.
Anywho, so it went great, nothing too damaging happened. her blessing with her confirmation the next day were beautiful. I gave a talk in church (first official talk) and it was rough (I found out the night before. yayyy!) I don't want to talk about it.
Okay, so on Monday we were doing some finding, walking around, when we see this girl that we had met in a park(right next to where we
wereat the moment) a week or so earlier. She saw us and met up with us and was super excited to see us! She was like "I was really hoping I'd get to see you guys. I wanted to thank you. Literally a few days after you prayed for my family with me, my mom called me and we had just gotten money, practically out of nowhere. and my mom is way more tranquil and happy. thank you so much! I'm way more available to meet with you guys!" So we were like uhhhhh yeah! And she toldus that she's the type of person that doesn't really believe in soemthing unless she sees it or feels it. She believes there's something out there, but not totally sure about God. So this answer to this prayer was SO perfect! SHE SAW the power of prayer! And she said once she believes it, nothing can shake her beliefs. It's so cool that she recognized it too! GAH! God answers prayers everyone! For your missionaries, always try to pray with the people you stop on the street, bus, metro, wherever! It has SO much power!!
Oh, and we got iPads.
We had a Zone Training which was so great! I <3 Zone Trainings.
But yeah! we had a wonderful week full of laughs, tears, rejections, and kisses on the cheeks. Italians love to kiss you on the cheek. Thank goodness I love it when they do, especially the really cute old ladies. Those are my favorite kisses.
VVB, hugs and
baccis all around.
Sorella Hawks :)

Italy, Week 27 (5/13/15) - The Past Two Weeks: Venice, Gelato, and Miracles

What more could you want?  So yeah, I FINALLY got to go to Venice andd it was ammaaaaazingggggg. I looveeeeee it soooo much. I hope I get to go back there again someday! And yeah, I've been fed gelato I think every single day since last Tuesday. There's no escaping it. Not that I would want to though. I'm pretty happy ;) And yes, we saw so many wonderful, beautiful miracles this week.
First off, last week I did a
scambio in Mestre (hence why we were able to go to Venice) and it was so fun! My sister training leaders are soooo cool! I love them so much! And that's really all I can remember from last week. It was a good week though :)
Anywhooooo this week we had a lesson with a potential that Sorella Burt and her comp before me found forever ago. And it was amazing! She said she knows there's a reason we met her and she's ready to make this step! She's so WONDERFUL. And then right after we had another incredible lesson with the friend of all the old people in this little group of old people friends that we have in our ward. They're sooo wonderful. And it was incredible! We were able to answer a lot of her questions and she felt the Spirit and said she believed everything we said!! Plus she lives in the MOST AMAZING HOME IN THE WORLD. It was an appartment, but it was HUGE. I felt like I was in a tour of a mansion, like the one we saw in New York for one of those famous families... So unspecific but Mom and Dad know what I'm talking about :) It was incredibleee I was in awe the whole time. And we made it home just in time to not have to call President :) We ran, of course.
Saturday was the baptism of an investigator of the
Anziani and it was sooooo incredible. The Spirit was SO strong, I can't even describe it. And he bore the most beautiful testimony. And after you could tell there was something different about him and he just seemed so purely happy. It was sooo incredible. I <3 baptisms.
Before the baptism we had an incredible lesson with an investigator and our Ward mission leader and it was just what she needed. I would talk about it, but if I start I would never stop. It was that good. But I'll just say that he invited her to come to the baptism and she could meet a bunch of the YSA's (which are the most wonderful people in the world) and at first she was like
noooo, I'm nervous, ehhh I don't really want to, all that stuff. So we talked to her for a bit so she wouldn't feel as nervous and after talking for a bit all went silent. and she had her head down for a bit. Then she looked up. And said. "What time is it?" my goodness I have never felt so much joy and happiness. I mean, I have, but that moment was BEAUTIFUL. AND SHE CAME!!!! ANd made soooo many friends with all the YSAs and LOVED it! My gosh, it was PERFECT. Anyway, I'm going to stop talking about that now because I literally will tell every detail if I keep going. I just get a little carried away...
Sunday I got to meet
Sorella Burt's lovely family which was so fun! they're so great! And I got to color with markers with some bambini, which brought me so much joy. That night we were doing finding when S.lla Burt was like "Let's talk to this woman" and it was so inspired! After praying with her she was crying and asked where our church was. She's going through a really hard time right now and it was such a miracle that we found her. Oh, and an hour earlier there was this crazy woman walking down the street SCREAMING at the top of her lungs about who knows what and she was coming up behind us and starts screaming at us and LUNGES towards Sorella Burt because she's screaming about her standing there or something and lunges and her to point at her shoes and it just SCREAMING. It was pretty terrifying actually. I will never ever forget that image.
But yeah! That's pretty much the most exciting parts of our week! It was great!! We got lots of rejections, lots of people laughing at us, staring at us, yelling at us (just one) but it was all worth it because of all the people that we helped invite the Spirit into their life for just a moment, which brightens whatever darkness they were in. It's so beautiful seeing the light that comes into people's eyes after we pray with them. There's so much pure joy that comes from the Gospel and I wouldn't trade this opportunity to bring that joy, that chance to live with our Father in Heaven, to others for anything in the world.
And I am forever grateful for all of you, for helping me get here. For giving me this opportunity. For teaching me so I could teach. For helping me so I could help. For loving me so I could love. Thank you so much. I wish someday I could express my gratitude, because words are not sufficient. I love you all so much. have a wonderful week and find joy in all you do.
voglio literalmente un mondo di bene.
Sorella Hawks :)

Italy Week 26 (5/6/15) Preparation for Mother's Day - no letter this week! Happy Mother's Day

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Italy, Week 25 (4/22/15) - I Experienced the Best. Day. Ever.

So I've had many really good days in my life. Some I would have dared to title "best day ever" in the past. Like the day I walked across the stage and graduated high school, never having to go back to that place ever again. Or when I got into BYU. Or when I went to BYU. Or when I received my mission call. Or when I started my mission.  Anyway, I've had a million "Best Day Ever"s, but this day. 27 April 2015, was The Best Day Ever..The day Anziano Bednar came and my life changed.
Oh my goodness gracious I'm still 
geeking out so hard over that wonderful Conference where the Spirit of the Lord taught me so much as an Apostle of the Lord spoke directly to us missionaries of the Italy Milan mission. First of all, all 241 missionaries of this mission in one room together at the same time: Incredible. Singing our mission hymn all together to an Apostle of the Lord: Indescribable. Just that whole day was amazzzinggggg. I die.
Anziano Bednar just asked such inspired questions and the Spirit was so strong and so many questions were answered and I learned so much about myself and what I need to work on and how I can be a better missionary, a better person, and how to help our investigators and my city more. 6 hours flew by way too fast. But it truly was the most beautiful experience.
Okay so that first paragraph was a little dramatic, I'm not going to deny it. But i just learned so much and the Spirit was so strong that I'm still on that amazing Spiritual High. I'm so excited to see how making these changes-in myself and how I do missionary work-are going to affect this city, and every other city and person I meet for the rest of my life.
Gosh, I could just write my whole email on that Conference, but y'all probably want to hear more about what I did.... Last Wednesday we met a wonderful woman on the street and we talked to her about how Christ helps us in our lives and she was agreeing and was like "yeah, this is cool. But hey, I 
gotta go, sooo..." So we're like "let's say a prayer!" And after the prayer was asked if we could see each other again and she got sooo excited. She was like "yes please! look, I live literally right here. This is my name on the [ringer thing]. Come any evening. I work at home. Also, here's my number." So that was exciting. Power of prayer is SO real. Use it!!!
Then this one woman that is friends with a member that we had a met a few times called us and was like, "get on the bus with me" so we got on the bus with her when it pulled up to our stop, we went to her house and she gave us a TON of old clothes and a little tray of food that she had made for us. It was so cute! She told us that she was making one for her daughter and she thought of us because we were so far away from our friends and families. She's 
suuuuch a gem!
Our investigator with a bap date passed her interview!!! We had to move her date back two weeks because she invited her non-member father to come who lives in Rome, thus giving him time to work out his schedule and come up. He wasn't happy when she told him she was getting baptized but she just straight up told him that she knows this is the true church and that she's making the right decision. She's such a boss, i love her so much. But she passed her interview with flying colors because she's so fantastic.
We went to Verona Sunday night to stay with the 
Sorella there because we are the farthest away from Milano in our mission :) So we went there and that was sooo fun. One of the sorelle was Sorella Burt's companion in the MTC and she was my "day companion" when we traveled to Verona together when I was transferred to Trieste. So that was fun! and her greenie is from Maryland so I had a fellow East Coaster with whom I could enjoy company :)And then Monday was the conference and it was so great to see so many wonderful missionaries again!!! And Tuesday morning we headed back to our little home in Trieste :)
Have I ever told you I love missionary work? I do. I just feel so happy and blessed to serve God's children here in Italy. Times sure as heck get hard and sometimes it gets hard to go outside knowing that most of the people you talk to will reject you, some being very rude. We had a woman ask us how we could be so stupid at such a young age when all we said was "hello how are you". But out of all the rejections we get, those beautiful souls who stop and find hope and joy and feel the love of God through the Spirit make it all more than worth it. I'm here because I've been sent by God to find those people that He has prepared to hear this message. Who's hearts are ready to accept it, whether they know it or not yet. The badge I wear is truly an honor, that my name can be so close to Christ's as a full-time, set apart, representative of Him.
I continue to thank you all for your help in getting me here. your examples, love, support, and teachings have been a greater blessing that you know. I love you all so much and pray for you. Remember who you are as a son or daughter of God, and what that means. To me it means that you are worth more than anything in the world. Vi 
voglio un mondo di bene
Sorella Hawks J

Italy, Week 24 (4/15/15) - Chocolate. Chocolate Everywhere.

We have a lot of chocolate and other various sweets. And they keep coming. It's really hard to try to lose this food baby fat when we keep getting more delicious food. Anyway, it was a good week! This will probably be short and I apologize in advance (for those who just die and wait for my emails will I got into perfect detail about everything that happened, especially the food I ate) but your welcome to those who like short emails! (aka missionaries.)
We saw 
lotsss of miracles! Oh, I forgot to tell you that right before I emailed last week, Sorella Burt and I had stuffed ourselves obese with Sushi...Like we straight almost threw up. That'll hold my sushi cravings over for the rest of my mission for sure.
One of our investigators told us she knows it's true!!! The only problem is that when we brought baptism up again, she said of course!.....after years........ 
Sooooo yeah, there's that. She definitely wants to go slow... and now she's ignoring us... BUT THAT'S OKAY BECAUSE SHE KNOWS IT'S TRUE!!! Which means we'll get a hold of her again, so I'm not worried :)
We had a wonderful dinner this week with a few members and their non member friend who lives in the very apartment where the ward used to have their church building 
yearsss ago. And she's wonderful!! She's super excited to see us again and learn more :) I love her, she's so wonderful.
Oh man, we had the 
ugliesstt day this week weather wise. We went running in the morning and there was a little sprinkle of rain, but that doesn't phase us! It was actually very wonderful! Then after studies and whatnot 3 hours's straight a little bit of the Bora. Whut. Yeah, it was pretty ugly. And it bent my nice umbrella that I took from the house in Busto! I was really sad and gave up and just shared the umbrella with Sorella Burt. We saw this cute little old woman walking down the street with her walker with no umbrella! She was just walking alonggg. So we ran up and I gave her my slightly broken umbrella. she was super grateful for it and she said that she was 93 years old! Just going for a lovely stroll in a hurricane. She was super awesome. And when we told her we were missionaries she was just like "OHHHH!!! How wonderful! You know what, come to my house. Here's my address." So that was super cool. Cutest most brava 93 year old everrrr.
Sunday these two wonderful older women in our ward fought over who was our moms so they did the equivalent of rock paper scissors and called who was their daughter. It was really entertaining.
Monday I received the greatest compliment of my life: "Your defense is on FIRE!"
I'm really improving my 
calcetto (foosball) skills :)
Our investigator with a bap date is 
sooooooo WONDERFUL. She's sooooo ready, she basically taught US the Plan of Salvation. She's so excited and so ready. I'm so stoked for her! I love her so much!
Yesterday we ran into that Korean woman I told y'all about forever ago on the bus! She was 
sooo excited to see us and we were soooo excited to see her! Then later we ran into that woman that we had dinner with all the members the other tnight that I just told you about it this email! Miracle daaaaayyy. It was so great. :)
Anyway, It was a great week. I love you all and thank you all for your love and support. Monday we get to sit at the feet of an Apostle of the Lord. I can't wait!! It's going to be 
Just know that I love all of you lots and lots and want a world of good for you :) I love this time in my life to be a missionary. I pray for each of you every night :) Vi 
voglio tantissimo bene :)
Sorella Hawks :)