Thursday, June 25, 2015

Italy, Week 34 (7/1/15) - Cranking Out the Miracles

Oh my gosh hiiii! So after a great P day last week, we met this wonderful woman doing finding and we starting talking about Gospel things and she was asking some really great questions, so we ended up talking a lot about the Plan of Salvation and we planned to meet up again the next day. She's obviously going through a really hard time and she really appreciated our encounter M it was so cool!
Thursday came around and we had a stellar morning but then evening came and tiredness hit us like a giant sack of really comfy, fluffy pillows. We were walking and by the end of a few minutes we were walking soooo.... Sloowwwww.... We could hardly move. We were planning on getting gelato later that night but both us agreed that we needed it then. So we're getting our gelato and the woman serving us is just staring at my tag and asks, "you guys are here too?" So we start talking to her and she's not a member, but she's very religious and said she's been lacking in the Spirit lately and needs a spiritual pick me up. So we exchanged numbers and said we'll meet some time. It was so cool! Then we saw the woman that we met the night before and she actually called us and asked us where we were! So cool. So we had an incredible discussion with her and she really needed it. Oh and the night before after we prayed with her, she suddenly said, "I have my religion and I don't want to change." (Like in a nice way, that kinda sounded rude how I typed it...) and we hadn't said anything about
changing or taking lessons with us or anything. MEANING that the Spirit told her what she needed to know, that this was true and she recognized that it would mean she would have to make a few changes
THE CHURCH IS TRUE! God speaks to His children today because He loves us and will never leave us. Don't forget it
Then yesterday. Ah man, yesterday. What. A. Day. We had a scambio (exchange – time with someone other than their normal companion), but it was a double scambio, meaning that both the STLs came here and we were all on the city, just split up. So we saw a lot of miracles in general, but the craziest was in the afternoon. Me and my companion had a lesson with a woman in a park, but we were unable to find her.  Plus we had a member with us... So after about half an hour we gave up and decided this lesson wasn't happening. So we told the member she could go home if she wanted but she said that she didn't have any plans and that she would love to do some finding with us. (Have I ever told you that the members here in Trieste are INCREDIBLE?) so we started walking around and talking to basically everyone and ended up teaching four lessons! It was amazing! And it was so cool to have a member with us to bear her testimony and people could see we're normal and not just weird missionaries in our church. It was incredible! Talk about scambio miracles. And it was just in a matter of an hour and a half! It was amazing! That NEVER happens. Well obviously it does because it did, but it was still super cool! I love scambios and members.
And I love all of you! And I love the mission. It's amazing how much inspiration you get on the mission. Because you're always thinking about spiritual things, so you're always open and ready to hear from the Spirit. The mission is really shaping me and I'm so grateful for it. 
I'm so grateful to all of you! Thank you for your love and
support and for always backing me up. Vi voglio tantissimo bene!
Sorella Hawks :)
I got to see Sorella Burt! She had to come pick up her permission to stay in the country thing so we got to say hi and talk for a bit.  It was so great!

Italy, Week 33 (6/24/15) - Dreams of Baptims

Hellooooooooo! Mamma mia, what a Week!  As always. Haha! This week was definitely much better than last week. Last week nearly no one was stopping for us and if they would it would just be to answer a question and walk away. So it was starting to wear on us. But! As we always see, the Lord always rewards us for our work and tests us and prepares us for greater things ahead. This was has been great! 
So last Wednesday we had a lesson with an investigator who we invited to baptism and the first time she said, "sure, why not? I've already been baptized twice before!"  Scary.  But it's a start. We went a couple weeks without seeing her and then we saw her last Wednesday and had a bap date lined up for her. When we brought up baptism, this time she said, "yes, I would really like that. I would really like to be baptized in your church. " yay!  Sadly she can't be baptized until September, due to health, but still! Her heart is changing and she's getting closer! 
Also, our one progressing investigator who told us that she doesn't want to get baptized now, but maybe in a year or so, is starting to have the desire to baptized! Thanks to a husband who told her she can't be baptized :) She told us it's her choice and she'll darn well get baptized if she so pleases. You go girl! Gosh, I love that woman.
On Friday we got caught in a very strange situation. So I told y’all about our cute little Welch friend we met a couple weeks ago. Well we set up an appointment with her and she asked if she could bring a friend. When she showed up, she had three friends with her. All male.  All old. We didn't think anything of it until us three girls left the table to go order our food and she starts telling us about how these are great guys with good intentions who would never do anything bad to us. We could go dancing with them and they wouldn't try anything on us. Even though they're a bit older than us, they're great guys. So we start wondering about her intentions with this whole thing. But it was a fun night and we showed them “Because of Him” and talked about it. And one of the guys turned out to be an investigator of the Elders that they were trying to drop because he wouldn't keep his commitments. But he and his friend decided they would come to church, and they came!
Sometimes it just takes the
Sorella touch.  But whenever the Anziani try to set something up with them, they're
very adamant about making sure that the
Sorelle are more than welcome to come. So we've got a situation on our hands that's starting to become slightly sticky and we need to wash before it takes some heavier duty cleaning supplies to clean up... Hehe....
Yesterday we talked to a wonderful woman on a beautiful pier with beautiful wind and weather and it was such a dream! And after we prayed she was almost crying and thanked us so much for the encounter.  It was so perfect! She's so great! I love great people.  Just like all of you! I love you all! Thank you for everything! You're
the best! Remember that although life is a roller coaster and you may be doing everything God asks of you, things aren't always perfect. But God is always with you every step of the way, cheering you on, holding
your hand, and at times carrying you when you just can't seem to put one foot in front of the other. And things will look up. Just have faith. Keep doing what you're doing, and love every minute of it. Vi
voglio un mondo di bene!  (I want a world of good!)
tanto affetto, (With much love)
Sorella Hawks :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Italy, Week 32 (6/17/15) - Livin' On A Prayer!

Whoaaaaaaa I’m halfway theeeere! Whoooaaa-oh!  Livin’ on a prayer!  But really though, I can't believe I've actually reached this point, and so soon!  It's gone by so fast!  But at the same time when I look back at my first transfer it feels so long ago and then when I think about the MTC it feels like a completely different life. Time on the mission is such a strange thing.... But all I can say is:  I’m so excited for the next nine months! These first nine have been incredible and I’m so stoked for the adventures, miracles, tears and laughter that await me.  Woohoo!

So we had such a good week! We had Zone Training and it was incredible, as always. But we met this super cool girl on the train on the way there that was our age, half Italian half English, and was interested in reading the Book of Mormon! She was super nice and it was such a cool experience! High hopes! The next day we had a woman go off about how great we are and how proud of us our mothers must be and all this stuff and she just made us feel so good and warm and fuzzy inside.  It's funny how being on the missions, compliments mean so much more. Probably because we get so many rejections that every compliment is like finding gold. We had a lady on the street wave us down to salute us and tell us that she took lessons in the past from missionaries, which was super cool! Her mom was so gosh dang adorable, she just kept smiling so big at us.  She was so cute.  Sunday was a very interesting day. So we were out walking and we see that a storm is brewing in the skies and we're super stoked because it's been so hot here lately. And we just love storms. So we're standing at the bus stop and we feel a couple drops and we're getting super excited. And then the Italian skies unleashed their fury. It was like the whole Adriatic Sea was above us being held by a tarp that was slowly getting stretched thinner and thinner until it just ripped and all the water came down in one giant downpour. The streets were flooded instantly. And we were soaked in a second. It was so fun. We were going to go "knock" on some doors, but after walking in the cold rain we decided it probably would be more effective to prepare ourselves for this instead of risking ourselves getting sick and getting bed-ridden and losing a week of work. So we get back on the bus and head towards home. And on the way home we were stopped by three creepy men. We're pretty used to old guys calling us belle ragazze (beautiful girls), like that's nothing new. It's the life of a sister missionary in Europe. One of them actually told us he took lessons and had a BoM and everything. The third guy however, is where this story gets interesting. We were walking toward home when this younger guy comes between us and is asking us what time it is, but he's speaking in Triestino, the dialect here. So we don't understand him. But he starts pointing at my companion's wrist (where there is obviously no watch) and so we tell him what time it is and he's just like "hmm. Cool. So what church are you guys for? Where's your church? Do you live there?  Where do you live?" And all this stuff. So we give him a pass along card and invite him to church. And he's like "sweet cool. My name is Alex. I’m a masseuse." But neither of us recognizes that word and he just keeps saying it over and over even though we don't understand.  Finally it clicked in my brain (aka the Spirit told me what it meant and was like "get ouuuuttttt") and we're like ohhhhhhhh haha no. And he's like we can go to my place or yours! And we're like leave us alone. And Sorella Christensen says, "in fact, we have an appointment and were just heading home to change out of our clothes." And he's like "Va bene! Andiamo!" (Okay! Let's go!) finally we stopped trying to get out of it the nice way and be sweet little sister missionaries and were like no, we're going. Bye! And we took a nice little detour home. He wasn't dangerous, so we were not in any sort of danger. It was just a really funny situation. Creepy Italian men, woooo!  We had a great day yesterday too and saw and met a lot of great wonderful people. 

In Gospel Principles on Sunday we talked about Sacrifice and we talked about Abraham being asked to sacrifice Isaac. I had the sudden thought about how the parents of missionaries are like Abraham, being asked to send their children off, far away, with no way to take care of them. No, they're not sending us to our death, but they are putting us in God's hands with a full trust in the Lord's plan for us. It wasn't easy for Abraham and it's certainly not easy for our parents.  But how beautiful it is that they have enough trust in God, and in us, to pretty much lay us on the altar, as an offering to God, for us to do His work. It gave me a new understanding and renewed respect and love for my parents for doing that. Their testimony and faith in God to take care of us and in His plan strengthens mine. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for not only allowing me to do this and be here, but for supporting me. Thank you for all the sacrifices you make so that I can be here. So I can continue to follow the path that God has set for me and help others find theirs. I love you so much and think and pray for you each day.  I love you all and I appreciate all your love and support. Keep looking for the miracles and the hand of God in your life and always seek to follow His will and walk the path that has your name on it. Vi voglio un mondo di bene! (I want a world of good)!
Love, Sorella Hawks :)


Italy, Week 31 (6/10/15) - Are We In Slovenia Yet?

Hello wonderful people of my life! So yeah, we may have walked to Slovenia this week, who knows. All we know is that we were on a bike path (which we do know goes to Slovenia) doing finding when it suddenly turned into a dirt path. Not sure if that means "new country" or what. But either way it was fun! Our feet were killing us though.  We hardly made it through the door when we got home. We slept real good that night.  This week we actually got let into a house! That never happens!! We were ringing "doorbells" at this one building and someone just let us
in, so we went to the top to start knocking on doors and the first door opened and it was a young girl and her mother and they were so nice! The mom knew who we were right away and said they were busy but to come back the next day. So we came back and had a wonderful time with them! They're just a little family of three and the husband is from Argentina and he was sooooo funny. You don't find a lot of funny, goofy men out here, so it was nice so have a good laugh at some good ol' Argentinian humor.
That same day we were walking down the street when suddenly this cute woman turns around and says "are those American accents I hear?" She was from Wales and is teaching English here. We talked with her for a bit and walked with her and ended up walking into a grocery store
while she bought some white wine. I now know how to know if wine is good quality or not. You learn the most important things on your mission. (That is actually true though) she wanted to buy us some drinks after so we went to a bar (in Italy bars are not as bad as
American bars. So it was okay that we were there. They're more like cafe's) and got coke and orange soda and clinked glasses. It was so fun! She was so cute and you could tell how much brighter her day was made just from the little moment we were with her.  The other day we were doing finding on a bike path near our church and we stopped this woman who was kind of exercising (aka walking slightly faster than a normal pace) and she was inching away so we asked if we could walk with her and we taught her a lesson. We asked if we could pray with her and she was like "yeah!"  But then kept walking and she wouldn't stop so we were like, okay, we'll just go for it. So we said a prayer while speed walking down the bike path. Oh man, I just love moments like that. Moments that you would never have if not for the mission. They just bring me so much joy. Also after we were talking to this chubby shirtless man about God and heaven. He gave us candy because we were belle ragazze (pretty girls). He was really nice :)
Oh man. Then yesterday we were at a members home who have a less active daughter that we work with, the father is super musical and has all these really cool instruments. I've heard him play most of them, but never the accordion before. Until yesterday.  And it was so magical. I
was just sitting there and was like "I feel like I'm in Italy and I love it!" He played a swing and it took all of my power not to get up and start dancing. It was so fun!! I could've listened all day.
And now we're here, still in the wonderful, magical land of Trieste, off from the rest of the world, with only Slovenia as her real friend.  And the Adriatic Sea. Where men of all shapes and sizes roam shirtless and free, and women walk their cats on leashes. I love it here. I love the people, my companion, the beauty, the laughs, tears, achy gross feet, and full chubby bellies. Sometimes I stop and think about the fact that I'm on a mission and what that means. I'm here helping to further the Lord's kingdom so that others can enjoy the happiness that I get from this Gospel and the covenants that I have made with my Father in Heaven in this life, but even greater, in the life to come.  Thank you again, all of you, for all that you have done and continue
to do. Thank you for your love and support, now and in the past. I love you all and pray for you always. Keep the faith, stay strong in times of trial knowing that God is always with you, no matter what mistakes you may have made. Vi voglio un mondo di bene!  (I want a world of good)
Sorella Hawks :)

Italy, Week 30 (6/3/15) - What a Strange Week!

Whelp, first of all, sorry I didn't get an email out to y'all last week! We were emailing outside this little caffĂ© with free wifi (and eating gelato. Obvi.) and I lost the connection while I was writing my email. Sadly we didn't have enough time to wait and fight to get it back, and when I looked just now, it didn't save it in the drafts.... Heh heh, sorry..... But it's fine, y'all didn't miss that much.  Basically we got transfer news and I am now captain of the Trieste Sorelle (aka, my new companion is one transfer below me) and Sorella Burt is off to Milano for bigger and better things as a Sister Training Leader. That's basically all I talked about last week. We had
a good week saying bye to all our simps and members, so it was fun! We were exhausted by the end though and I'm still suffering for it haha.  And now we're here, in good old Trieste for my fourth and possibly last transfer with the wonderful Sorella Christensen :) she's really cute and in some ways reminds me of Emma Ricks. She's a head taller than me, my first companion that when I saw her the first thing that popped into my mind is "oh. She's tall." Obviously all my companions have been taller than me, but not this much! Haha. She's really cute and really good at the language and missionary work. We've already seen tons of miracles together! We taught 6 lessons in one day! That might not seem like a lot, but here it's, like, huge. So we were
stoked :) plus we already found a new investigator together! So yeah, great things are coming. Brace yourselves. Miracle emails are coming.
We had a really funny encounter with a less active woman that we work with. She is such a character and she loovesss missionaries. She got pretty attached to Sorella Burt and I too, so when we walked in she attacked. She's never hugged and kissed me like this before... But first, when we first walked I we look up to see her walking away from us ( thank goodness) in nothing but underpants... And she was like "come in! HAWKS! COME IN!" And we're standing by the door like, we don't want to.... Luckily she put sufficient clothing in before turning around to hug and kiss my face all over. But she liked Sorella Christensen right from the start! Normally she doesn't like the new missionary and takes a while to warm up, but it was good! So I'm happy
:)  But yeah, that was interesting. Then she showed us a video of her belly dancing, which is a classic move of hers. I've seen her belly dance more time to count. Gosh, I love that woman.
But yeah, we've been doing a lot of finding lately because we just saw everyone before Burt left, so we're trying to fill our time with finding and whatnot :)  Being in charge of the city is stressful and I don't feel cut out for it, but my comp is a fast learner so all is well :)  All is well, I'm happy and tired, stressed but healthy and jolly :) I love you all so much! YOU DA BEST. VVB!!!!
Sorella Hawks :)

Italy, Week 29 (5/27/15) - Transfersss!

Hello all! Yes, it was transfer news week. This transfer went by so dang fast... But, the news is that the Burt-Hawks team is finally being split. After three wonderful, miraculous transfers together, it was time for our adventures to come to a close (for now). So I get to stay here in the wonderful city of Trieste and I will have Sorella Christiansen (not totally sure how to spell it yet...) as my companion :) she is one transfer below me, so I'm excited that we're so close in
mission age. It does mean however that I need to know this city.... Like, it has been 4.5 months, so I do know it pretty well, but we'll see! Wish me luck! I'm excited though. It'll be fun to have someone new here so every time we do finding in an area that I've done finding in more times than care to count, it'll be like it's new again! So I'm happy :)
But yeah, this week has been pretty crazy. We've been out out out running around from appointment to appointment. Most of them were member visits so Sorella Burt could salute everyone before she left.  It's been crazy but so much fun!
We got the call Friday night instead of Saturday because Sorella Burt has been called to Milano as a Sister Training Leader! STLs and Zone Leaders get called the night before, so we were surprised to see the office calling that night. We did not expect it at all. But Sorella Burt is going to be an incredible STL! 

Well, to be perfectly honest, there's really not much else to say...  We've just been all over this city seeing our incredible members and investigators. I'm healthy, happy, and loving every minute of this wonderful opportunity to be a missionary of the Lord. I love you all so much! Be good, choose the right, and find the light in the tunnel ;) Vi voglio un MONDO di bene!!!

Sorella Hawks :)