Thursday, August 20, 2015

Italy, Week 41 (8/19/15) - Free gelato and Transfer News!

Transfer news!: Sorella Nilsen and I are staying the same!! Woohoo!  Thank goodness too because I did not know the city well enough for her to leave me. Haha. So happy!!
This week was AMAZING.  On Thursday I got to do a
scambio in Lugano, just like the old days in my first and second transfer. Haha, so weird! It was really cool to be able to see it all green in the summer time because last time it was all barren and cold. It was so fun! I got to serve with Sorella Kras who's from Germany but apparently I'm more German than her haha. It was super fun! This woman stopped us on the street and told us that we shouldn't have another book and that we worship Joseph Smith, but she
wouldn't give us any space to say anything. I was getting really frustrated and annoyed, but luckily my
scambio companion was really calm and nice. I just had to keep telling myself that this woman was saying this because she loved me and cared about me and thought she was right. Basically doing what I'm doing, but just going about it the wrong way.
Nilsen and her
scambio companion had an awesome scambio here in Milano! They went to get gelato and while the member that was with them talked to the owners, the Sorelle talked to a guy in there from Peru who wanted to learn more about our church. MIRACLES. The owners told them to come back the next day and they'd give us free gelato.  When we went back on Friday, we got lots of free gelato haha. They started with the normal two scoops, we talked about families and the gospel and then we took pictures with them. They let us behind the counter and they gave us even more gelato. They offered some for us to take home, but we weren't going straight home. But they were so fun!  Plus they said that they would let us help them make gelato sometime
when they get back from vacation. SCORE. 
Dibb called us on Friday night at 10:31 so we knew it was exciting news haha. He was in a super good mood and super happy to tell us the great news :) so happy!  Sunday we went to pass by an investigator that we haven't been able to see the whole time I've been here and she wasn't home. But right as we were walking out she pulled up over bike: miracle! And she was so happy to see us and asked when we were going to come see her again!
Okay, our members here are absolutely incredible. Best member missionaries
everrrr! Two different women in our ward brought women that they had just met a few days before on the metro to FHE with them. THEY hardly even knew them! And one of the women that brought a friend was less active! Then a member brought the two daughters of one of his friends to FHE as well. So many people came last night and it was so awesome! Missionary work: just do it! There's a member here from Russia named Tatiana who is the most incredible member missionary I have ever met. She has a friend here from Russia and she's been talking to her about the Church and gave her a Book of Mormon and last night she told us she's ready to be baptized! Now we just need to meet with her... But still, so cool!!
I've had so many good studies in the morning this past week. First off, I'm studying Genesis and I've been reading the story of Joseph.  He is such an incredible example. I am so impressed by how forgiving he is and how he makes the most of every situation he is in. He was sold into Egypt by his brothers and is made head over the household of
Potiphar because he worked so hard. Then he finds favor in the eyes of the prison guard because he was a hard worker and good even when he was in prison. Then he becomes just below
Pharoah. What?! And then when he sees his brothers again he tells them that he is not upset with them because it wasn't them that sent him to Egypt, but God, so he could help his family. Talk about hard work and forgiveness. I hope
I can be like Joseph some day... 
Then I was reading in Mormon chapter nine this morning and a few phrases stuck out to me; "o then he unbelieving, turn ye unto the Lord;" (Mormon 9:6) don't just believe, don't just turn your mind or just your heart. But turn all that you are, your full body, mind,
heart, strength. Focus completely on the Lord. Try with all your might to become like Him. Carve His name into your heart and reflect His image. "Work out your own salvation..." (Mormon 9:27) God has given us all we need to return to Him. Now it's our turn. We need to act.  Salvation doesn't just come. It wasn't easy for Christ and it doesn't come cheap for us. But it is worth it. Oh, is it so worth it. Don't just go through the motions. Live and act and love the things you are doing. Do them for the Lord, your family, but overall for yourself.  This is YOUR salvation. Is that important to you? Show it!  I love you all so much! Have a wonderful week, and don't forget to always strive for perfection. Work for that Salvation. I promise you it will come when you do your part.
You are in my prayers, I love you all so much!
voglio bene!
Sorella Hawks :)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Italy, Week 40 (8/12/15) - The Fury of the Heavens Unleashed

It's been so long! Haha just kidding, it feels like it was just Pday because it was....
To start things off, the opera was INCREDIBLE. So funny, the singers were so talented, and the seats were so awful. They were €11 so I didn't expect much. We had to stand if we wanted to see the stage. But hey, it was totally worth it. Those singers are soooo incredible, I don't know how they do it. After we ran over to the Duomo to see it at night because it would be our only opportunity and it was so fun! An African guy came up to us trying to sell us bracelets and after we said no thanks, he said "hakkuna mattata" as he walked away. It made me so happy.
A few nights ago we were woken up to the craziest storm I have ever experienced. I can't even describe in words what it was like, all I can say is it sounded like the world was splitting in half.  The thunder was so incredibly loud and powerful. At one point an alarm started going off and it stopped, but then went again, which made us think it was some kind of "run to safety or die" type of alarm. We didn't know what to do in such a situation, so we just laid in bed until it stopped.... It didn't take too long, so we were totally fine :) but gosh dang, that storm was incredible.  Lightning that made you think it was mid-day and thunder that made you think you and your house were going to drop into a giant hole in the earth.

Monday night I got to teach a new convert piano lessons for a couple of minutes after a lesson and it was awesome! I forgot how much I love teaching piano, it was such a blessing to have that opportunity again.  Last night we taught the ward FHE about follow the prophet and it went super well! We played a game were we had a bowl full of pieces of paper that have good things that you did and bad things and there was a picture of Christ at the front of the room. If you "did" a good thing, you got to take a step forward. If you "did" a bad thing, you take a step back, both show that when we follow the prophet, we are coming closer to Christ and to Eternal life. It was so fun!
Last week I got to do a scambio with one of Sorella Nilsen's old companions which was so fun! She was super great and I got to stay in the city and get lost and whatnot :)  
I started studying the Old Testament a few days ago and I'm currently reading about Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. One thing that stood out to me most as  I'm studying this is how much faith and patience all of them have. They're promised that their posterity will number more than the stars in the skies and the sands of the sea. And yet some of their wives, through whom this blessing was to come to pass, were unable to bear more than one child. And yet they knew that this blessing would come. How often do we feel like the Lord is not upholding His promises? How often are we impatient for the fulfillment of His blessings? I know for me it can be pretty often, certainly more often than I wish. But one thing I've learned and am continuing to learn is that God never leaves a promise or a blessing unfulfilled. He never goes back on His word. His timing is MUCH greater than ours. Trust in Him, believe in Him. Miracles are coming, and are already all around us. God loves us and wants to bless us more than we can receive. At times we just need to be patient.
I love you all so much, I hope you have a wonderful week :) transfer calls are coming up on Saturday, so I'll let you know what's happening next week!
Lots of love,
Sorella Hawks :)

Friday, August 14, 2015

Italy, Week 39 (8/8/15) - Poppin' Wheelies with Babies and Strollers

This week was long, stressful, busy, crazy, fun, hilarious, and overall just great :)
First off, I'm sorry about the tardiness! We're allowed to see one opera on our mission and so we decided to go this week! We got permission to move our P-day from Wednesday to Saturday so we could go
to the opera. We're seeing the Barber of Seville! So excited!!
Exciting news: I'm engaged!
Sorella Nilsen and I saw this woman waiting at the bottom of the stairs at the metro with two large grocery bag stroller things, so we helped her carry them up a few flights. When we got to the top she said her husband was coming and she wanted us to meet him. When he got there they took pictures of us with her and then asked if we were married.  Upon discovering that we were in fact not betrothed, they proceeded to tell us about their two sons who were about our age and even picked who got who. They showed us their passport pictures. It's love. Forced and arranged, but love, right? Haha.
Sunday we got the mom of a new convert who is inactive to come to church! She has only come to church for the full three hours maybe two or three times in the past twenty years that she's been a member, it
was so exciting! After church we visited a less active family and talked about temples. The mom really wants to go to the temple and be sealed, but her husband really doesn't have the desire. So we brought a bunch of pictures of temples and the kids and the mom put them up all around their little apartment. The mom was so excited and her kids were so happy. It was so fun!!
On Tuesday we went to go help a member go into the city to pick up diapers. She has a 27 day old baby and a four year old, so the task was a bit daunting.   I never knew how hard it would be to have to take a stroller on the metros. Such stress. At one point I was pushing the stroller and had to go up on a curb and I wasn't expecting the stroller to be as light as it was.... Thus the title of this email.  The baby was fine, she just slid down a little... Later Sorella Nilsen did the same thing when getting on the metro. It's not as simple as it

Then when we got back to their house and they let us cook for them!  They just told us what to do and let us do it all! It was so fun cooking for Italians!
Friday night there was a baptism for the Zone Leaders in the next city that we got to go to! Sadly they didn't realize there was construction that day and their directions became useless.... We got very lost, kept bugging the bus driver trying to figure out when and where to get off, and got there right after the baptismal ceremony... Bummer, but it was still good to go and feel the good spirit there :) then getting
home that night sure was an adventure haha!
Dang, this week I had a lot of teachings from the Spirit. I really learned a lot and I'm really grateful for this week. I learned a little about humility and selflessness. I'm currently reading third Nephi, the teachings of Christ, and it's amazing how you learn so many different things at different points in your life. I invite you all to take moment and read the chapters in third Nephi in the Book of Mormon when Christ comes and teaches them. There's so much to learn, that we can only learn as we continually study it.
We're currently at a really fancy restaurant with really fancy dresses on. It's slightly intimidating... Bah.
Anywho. I love you all SO much. Thank you thank you thank you for everything! You are all the BEST. Tons of love being sent from Milano Italy to New York, Utah, Arizona, and all over the world.
Sorella Hawks :)
P.s. Sorry for being lame by just sending a mass email and my lack of personal emails this week, next week will be better, vi prometto!