Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Italy, Week 45 (9/16/15) - Gratitude Lessons Learned From Drama

Hello my wonderful beautiful family and loved ones. I love you all so much. I'm so grateful for all of you.
I'm so tired.
I'll get back to that later.
So on Thursday we celebrated a new convert's birthday with banana bread that we managed to turn into a cake by topping it with buttermilk frosting. It was good.
Okay, I'm going to skip boring stuff, I'm so tired and my brain is fried. Friday morning when we were going to start weekly planning, we get a call from one of the companionships of Sorelle that we're over saying that they were straight up depressed and didn't know what to do. Needless to say we didn't get weekly planning done. That night we got to participate in a young women's activity and it was so good to be back with the young women! Sometimes I forget how much I miss being in with them.
Anywho, Saturday we had time to go out and do some finding (I still can't believe I just said that. I remember when we would spend about 6 hours a day (at least) doing finding in my last city. It's GLORIOUS.) and we stopped and talked to this older guy named Enrico. At first he was just asking questions about why we were here and details about what we
do, but he told us not to preach to him. He did, however, let us pray with him. And after that prayer he was so different. When we ended it we looked up and he was looking straight ahead very quietly and had a single tear in his eye. After that he asked us more about our church and wanted to see us again. It was such a tender moment
Oh! And on Wednesday night we taught this woman from Ukraine who just showed up after church one day and then came again to sacrament meeting two weeks later! We taught her the restoration and it was
awesome! She is so wonderful! I love her so much!!!  Sunday we went over to another companionship of Sorelle that we're over with Oreo cheesecake and determination. Their companionship is really struggling. They both opened up to us on our exchanges and we decided it was time to take action and make them tell each other these things. It took a while and there were tears and tension, but it all worked out in the end :) We hope it actually helped. They said they've seen some improvement, so that's great

Monday we had consiglio (missionary council) and it was so fun! We talked about faith and how faith will cut out all our fears, and we talked about how we're going to help other missionaries grasp this and apply it to their work. I love consiglio because we really get to know President Dibb more and see his true character. He is so great! I love him so much! Then we did another exchange and we heard more companionship problems. Like, where they went three days without talking to each other at one point. This, this right here is why I am so tired, so emotionally drained. I love these Sorelle, but sometimes they can be such GIRLS.
And you know, a lot of the problems in one of these companionships started because of gossip. Three words: GOSSIP IS DUMB. Another three words: DON'T DO IT. It doesn't do any good whatsoever. There's a very fine but definite line between opening up to someone about your hardships and struggles that you may be having and gossip. Don't.  Cross. It. It drives me NUTS.  Anyway, I love being here and helping others, but sometimes when they've already given up and don't want to listen or try anymore, it's like bashing your head into a brick wall
It's really not that bad, I promise. I'm just ranting.  Speaking of rants, I LOVE THIS GOSPEL SO MUCH. I just love reading the scriptures and praying and being able to open up to my Heavenly Father who I know loves me and will be bold enough to chastise me because He knows my potential and He knows how to get me to reach it. I am so grateful for the lessons I've learned on my mission so far. I hit my year mark tomorrow and I love taking the time to look back and see such a change. My companion and I will talk about what changes we've seen in ourselves and I realized that I am absolutely the same person.  Same personality, I am still Danielle Elise Hawks, that doesn't change. But I have learned to be more humble, to listen more, to be
more confident and bold. I have been stripped of all pride and sent raw into hail storms of trials and tears and sweat and a little bit of blood sometimes. I have learned an immense amount of patience and trust in the Lord and His timing. I've been blessed with the opportunity to be placed in the hottest part of a refiner's fire and I have been blessed with the cool soothing, healing balm of the Atonement. I've been put in so any different situations where I've been able to grow in different ways. The work here in Cimiano is so good and it is such a well-taken care of city. And because of that I can focus on helping others with new responsibilities that I am given.  I'm learning to be a leader, not the kind that is in the midst guiding people along, but I'm trying to learn to be the kind that leads from the front. It's super uncomfortable and I feel like a fool most of the time, but I'm learning! That's the point, right? Sometimes I feel like I've seen it all and experienced it all, what more could I learn? And then I get hit in the face with something else and I realize, mamma mia, I have a LOT to learn.  And I thank you all for always being there for me. For supporting me and for helping me before to prepare me for this. Thank you for your examples and kind words of love. I love each and every one of you so much, you are all so dear to my heart. Have a wonderful week, vi voglio bene.
Sorella Hawks :)

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