Friday, November 27, 2015

Italy, Week 55 (11/25/15) - Tiny Thanksgiving Turkeys

Hello! Happy Thanksgiving! I'm grateful for YOU. :) 
Sorry last week's email was super lame, I ran out of time so I didn't really get to write anything.  Things are going well here in the wonderful place of 
Cimiano. We're seeing miracles right and left! Last night we went to a less active family's house to do an FHE but the mom wasn't home yet so we looked at baby pictures with the daughters and one of the girls' boyfriend came over. When the mom came home she straight up told the boyfriend that he should become a member because youth that were member were better off and were smarter. It was really funny. But we got to teach him the plan of salvation and we invited him to pray about it to know if it's true and he was all for it and actually seemed pretty excited! At the end he told us that maybe the reason he met his girlfriend was so he could meet us and know the Church. How cool is that?! So we're super stoked for that. :)  On Thursday we did a scambio and I got to be with a brand new missionary in her first week in the field! It was AWESOME. I loved her energy and excitement. She was SO funny and so fun. She's from Spain and her name is Sorella Tolosa. I wish I had a picture with her, but we forget to take some... Oops! 
So there's this member in out ward who is a professional violinist.  He plays in orchestras in the Scala and everything. A few months ago when I was playing for the choir he said he wanted to do a musical number for real some time (because we did a surprise one during sacrament meeting once) but we just never got around to it. But, seeing as I might be going in a few weeks, we finally picked a song to do. We got to practice it on Sunday and while I was playing the piano, I had the most wonderful thought; " I am playing a duet with a professional violinist. In Italy." And then my heart was full and my joy was great. 
We showed Meet the Mormons in Italian in church a few nights ago and it was awesome! A bunch of people came and brought their friends! It was so fun! One member had just gotten back from her mission in Salt Lake City a few days before and she spoke and I cried. I had a moment of realization that that's going to be me one day and I freaked out a bit, but it's fine. Meet the Mormons is a great movie and you all should watch it :)
I just finished reading the chapters in the Book of Mormon about Alma’s and Ammon's missions and man, you learn a lot about how to be an example of Christ and how to do missionary work. They were so reliant on the Lord and loved everything they were doing.  The other night, during the 
scambio, we talked about missionary work with this one family. The husband and wife had both served missions and we talked about the talk from a few Conferences ago, "Is it Still Wonderful to You?" And how doing missionary work is a way to increase our joy and love of the Gospel. What better way to increase your testimony than by sharing it with someone else? You learn so much more and grow so much when you're sharing what you do know with those around you. Don't be shy!
I know in America it's awkward and can be considered rude to talk about religion. That's silly in my opinion. But we start with our example and being open about who we are and why we do what we do, and then we invite! People won't act or progress if we don't invite them! Member missionary work is the most effective missionary work I've seen. Don't do it to help out the missionaries. Do it to help out those you love.  Even if you don't know them that well. "Heaven isn't heaven if we don't have our friend and family there with us.“
Oh! Also the young women did a sacrament meeting on Sunday and it was so good! So many of them talked about how they were grateful for all the missionaries and how they wanted to go on missions, it was so cool!
I love you all so much, thank you for everything! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and know that I truly am grateful for each and every one of you and the  influence that you have had on my life. 

Vi voglio bene!
tanto affetto,Sorella Hawks :)

 Dramatic Glamour shot

We bought a tiny chicken to celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow :)
Thug life Milano

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Italy, Week 54 (11/18/15) - Pictures

Ummmmm so this week was really good. We're working really hard and I'm really tired but have a lot of energy. I think I'm feeding off of the work. LOVE IT.
Well, I love my comp, she's a hard worker, we have a lot of fun, and we're killing it here in Cimiano. Oh, and her name is Sorella Avila.  :) I'm sorry this is short and lame.... But....

I'm trying to make Mom and Dad proud.

 My shoes are very broken.

I don't think I've been to the Bone church enough times.

Horrified by the bone church

Love you all! Happy Thanksgiving!
Vi voglio bene!
Sorella Hawks 
Inviato da iPad

Friday, November 13, 2015

Italy, Week 53 (11/11/15) - Finding Sorella Hawks

Hello and welcome to Milan Italy! Where cultures from all over the world meet and mesh together. And great news. I get to stay.
You heard right! I'M STAYING!!! Haha! I'm so happy. I feel bad for my comp because she got transferred and she only has one transfer left and she only did one transfer here.... But she gets to go to Siena.  It's a beautiful place to die.
I just love being a missionary and doing missionary work.  This week wasn't very different from any other week. We still had scambi, we still got bidonies, we still had crazy FHE. So yeah.  Although I do have to say, this FHE yesterday night was wonderful. We taught and we did an object lesson on the Holy Ghost and what you do is you blindfold two people and one person has to try to feed the other yogurt. You can imagine how well that goes. Then they do it again, but this time with the help of someone who can see what's going on. It's really entertaining. At least until someone's tie gets ruined.... We felt really bad about that....  
, I'm going to go off on another note today.... This transfer was a weird one. When I got the call at the end of last transfer that I would serve with my companion that I have now, I was afraid. We had met a few times before and I always felt like she didn't like me or thought I was annoying. So I mistakenly assumed that this transfer would be rough, although I did have the hope that it would be great. When we met up at transfer circles, we didn't even say hi. We just went on our merry way after saying goodbye to everyone else. That made me even more scared. I kept my distance and held back, testing the waters to see what she thought of me. I analyzed her every word, move, and blink. In doing so, I shut down. I tucked myself, the person who I had worked so hard to become, away and built a wall, waiting for her to break it down so I knew that it was safe. But obviously that didn't happen. My life became an emotional roller coaster and I resorted back to my high school self; irritated, negative, bitter, quick to blame others, and self-pitying. And I hated it.
tried so hard to overcome it but nothing was working. Then one day I exploded. I had been carrying a load and literally putting more and more on myself, then the final straw fell on top and it all came tumbling down. And it's finally what humbled me enough to get me to stop asking God to change me, to change my companion, to take away the pain, and I simply asked for guidance to find myself again. I so wanted to be me again. And the wall fell like a soft curtain. Nothing loud, nothing dramatic. Just calm, peaceful, and I didn't fear anymore. I didn't pity myself anymore. I had finally stopped covering myself and just let it out. And guess what? My companion and I have never been closer. Not much else of how we do things is different. I'm just myself. And it turns out that we like each other for who we areHaha. It's kind of ironic, huh? But it was an incredible learning experience for me. God puts us where we are and with the people that we're with for a reason. We are needed. The person that we are in that very moment is needed, for other people but also of ourselves, so that we may improve as well. I feel really silly about it all now, but I'm really grateful for it. Just be YOU! Don't feel scared or embarrasses to be yourself.
I know that this is kind of a weird mass email to send out, but it's what happened this week. If I had tried to write anything different it would have just been almost the same as last week and the week before.   And that's lame and boring.
I found out he the Sorelle in Trieste, my last city, were taken out.  That was really hard to hear and it makes me sad, but I know the Lord is watching over that city and those people. And when the time is right, Sorelle will be sent there again. I just hope I'm still in the mission that day!
I love you all so much and I wish I could thank you enough for all that you have done for me. Have a wonderful week and know that you're  in my prayers.
Vi voglio bene!
Sorella Hawks :)

 District pictures! Believe it or not, this was the best one...
Also, our Elder from New Zealand, Anziano Te Maari, did a Haka for us and it was the most terrifying thing in the world.  

 Family Home Evening
Companion Activity

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Italy, Week 52 (11/4/2015) - Sei la Rosa più bella nel Mondo

A guy playing the harmonica and tambourine on the metro begging for money said this to me. It wasn't enough for me to give him money. :) 
Welp, cari miei, this week was another week. Lots of ups and downs, but I had some really incredible ups :)  Thursday I had my interview with my mission president and it was awesome! Some people give him a hard time because they were offended once or they don't like how he does things, but he's a great mission president. Yes, sometimes he struggles with names, but if you give him the chance to get to know you, he will. I really love him and we had a wonderful interview. I always used to be afraid of him, which makes me laugh now haha.
Then right after we set a bap date with our seventeen year old investigator!! We set it for the second of January so she has time to make the necessary changes in her life. She's so cute and always gets so excited whenever we call.  Then we saw our gelato friends, the ones that let us take pictures behind their counter and serve ourselves gelato, and they were so happy! I love them so dang much! They laughed about the fact that Elders are called Anziani, because unlike how in English we don't really used elder to describe an old person, anziano is used very frequently. So they got a kick out of that. It's really fun going to see them and answer their questions
Friday and Saturday we did a scambio with the Sorelle in Lugano and I was with an Italian Sorella, Sorella Distante. It was amazing! I felt like I was a greenie again! In the sense of how I looked at missionary work. It's interesting to see how with time, you start making assumptions because you get a feel of who's going to accept you and who's not. But she's a wonderful example of just literally talking to everyone. In fact, we met this AMAZING couple who has a daughter in Utah right now living with an LDS family. They told us that if it wasn't for that they wouldn't have talked to us. They had so many questions and although they told us that they didn't believe in God, you could tell that they felt the Spirit. It was definitely one of the greatest miracles I've experienced in my mission so far. Timing was perfect and everything was so perfect. The only problem is that they asked for my email address, which I gave to them, then when I asked for their info, they just said, " we have your email, we'll write you." So they wouldn't give me any info. Grrrrr.  I'm just waiting for that email!
To celebrate Halloween we just bought way too much delicious Italian chocolate and other assorted nummies. There were some regrets, but it was so worth it. I'll lose those kili when I get home. :)  We did another scambio in Como and oh my gosh, Como is so beautiful!  Especially in the fall! I was so grateful I got to go. And the church there had a Madonna. It used to be owned by a Catholic Cardinal.
Well, this week has been a week of reflecting. We talked about our purpose as missionaries in district meetings and we read some examples of men being called to missionary work in the scriptures, and it made me think....  We read about Paul, in 2 Corinthians 12:1-2,7-10 and how he came to see that he was nothing and he was humbled and felt a thorn in the flesh. He saw and felt with great sorrow his weaknesses. Then there was Isaiah, when an angel pressed a burning hot coal to his lips. That sounds painful to me! And he talks about how we are but the dust of the earth. Then I thought about Nephi. It's cool in the first two books of Nephi seeing the change in him, as he matures and grows in
faith and knowledge of the Gospel. And then you see chapter four of 2 Nephi and he talks about all his weaknesses and you feel his sorrow, but then he rejoices in all that Christ does for him. Well, as a missionary, I have definitely come to see a lot of my weaknesses in a burning bright light, and it sure does hurt. It's interesting that as we come closer to Christ and we are completely in the service of Him, it initially hurts. We are humbled because we see our weaknesses and realize that we truly are nothing. We are stripped of pride, and being stripped of pride is not walk in the park. But then we find strength and joy in the Lord. He comforts us. That pain we initially feel does not last long because God doesn't want it to last long. It is not meant to last long. He wants us to be happy and rejoice and who we CAN be in the Lord. So although at times we feel weak and useless, don't worry. Find strength in the Lord and He will help make you into the strong person He sees you to be. But it is only through Him, only if we give all that we have and all that we are, to Him
love you all soooo much. Thank you for everything! For your love and support. This transfer wasn't the easiest, but you guys helped a ton, just by sending your love. It meant much more than you thought :)
Con tanto amore,
La Sorella Hawks :)
 Last week Pday with the Muggio Sorelle!!Last week Pday with the Muggio Sorelle!!
 The Catholic Madonna in the Como church :)
 There was not a good Spirit here. It was scary....


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Italy, Week 51 (10/28/15) - An Abundance of Bidonis

Bidoni means "stood up" it's technically Italian, but us as missionaries like to take Italian words and American-ize them and use them incorrectly. But yeah, basically we had a lot of people cancel on us, so that was cool. But it was a great week nonetheless :) 
, it honestly wasn't super eventful.... We talked to a lot of really cool people. Had a. Ton of appointments set and about 7 out of 11 either canceled or just decided not to show up or answer their phone. So that was cool. It's not like we wanted to talk to them anyway.  J
Sunday we had stake conference, but it started at three so we had some good time to do some stuff before that. We had a lesson and went all the way down on the metro, to call and have them cancel on us because they were sick. So we turned right back around and went to the church to pass by a referral we had received. When we got there, their
neighbor showed us where they lived, but the whole way up the stairs kept looking back at us over his shoulder like we were going to steal his wallet out of his back pocket or something. He pointed us to their door and slowly, ever so slowly, walked into his house, staring at us the whole time as he painfully slowly closed the door. I'm confident he probably just watched us through his peep hole and listened as we got straight up rejected to the face through a two-inch thick door.  The woman we were trying to talk to was very much not interested and even locked the door as we tried explaining that they had met missionaries before and told THEM they were interested. So we just went to the church and tried to recover from that by eating mac and cheese and watching President Monson's talk from conference. Then we went to stake conference and because I had to play the piano for the choir, I had people right and left asking me to play prelude, for the primary, postlude, and all the in betweens. Sometimes I wonder if I
should pretend that I don't even know what a piano looks like. But then I remember that that would not be a good thingAnywho.
And our investigator who we've been trying to get to church for FOREVER came!! And turns out she already knows like everyone! Sweet!  That night we learned how to make EMPANADAS. Yes. Empanadas. Sometimes I feel like I'm in South America as I've been serving in this ward and I love it. I just need to learn Spanish
A few days ago we got a call from the missionaries in another city in the mission saying that one of the Anziani, who is Italian and is going to America for his mission but is serving here until he gets his visa, has a friend in Milan and wanted to teach her. But because from that point on we would teach her, all four of us taught her and it was super awesome! She's really philosophical so she asked a lot of cool, deep questions. Which I loved. I'm super stoked to teach her.
And now I'm here, with the wonderful Muggio Sorelle. My companion is going to go see an opera with the Sorelle from Lampugnano, but since I had already seen one, I couldn't go again. So last night I called the marvelous Muggio Sorelle and now we're in a trio for the day! I love these Sorelle. It's my adorable Italian friend Sorelle D'Aleo and Sorelle Taylor who I recently did a scambio with. They're so much fun!  I've had a blast today :)
now I'm sitting in a library and I feel like I'm back at college a little bit and it's a little bit weird... Sometimes I miss being in school, but now I'm scared to go back.  ANYWAY. This email was kind of lame and boring. But it was a good week:) I'm happy :)
I'm learning a lot about going back to the basics this transfer. I needed to go back to the fundamental things; of the Gospel, of who I am and who I want to become, and missionary work. Sometimes it's good to just take a moment to calm down from trying to learn something new and new and new and go back to the basics. Refine the old things.  Figure out again why you do them, why it's that way. If you want to  improve yourself, take a moment to stop finding new things to work on and go back to those things that you were working on in high school or something. Had you really improved it or just tucked it away? Perfect those things, and them move forward again. It's been really interesting. I didn't realize how hard it is the refine those basic things that I had thought I had checked off my list.
I love you all so much and thank you for putting up with me all those years when I was an angsty, angry, negative, bum teenager. Thank you for all you've taught me and teach me and for being an example for who I'm trying to become. You are the best! Vi voglio un mondo di bene!!
Con affetto,
La Sorella Hawks :)

I didn't attach this picture last week, but it's all the Sorelle in the mission! Scary, huh? :)

Really disturbing dark Catholic cathedral that we checked out today. We didn't stay long, it gave us the heebie jeebies.