Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Italy, Week 70 (3/9/16) - The End of Another Chapter: The Mission

Well, this is it. I have officially served my 18 months as a full-time  missionary for the Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. How do I feel about that?

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
.

That's really the only way I can describe it.
Anyway
, I'll give a quick summary of the week and then get on to the sappy, emotional stuff.  Wednesday we went to Trento, expecting to go on a hike. Instead we got there and realized that there was no chance of getting to the hike. So we just hung out and walked around Trento. The worst part was that we were in pants. I felt so scandalous. We ran and put skirts on as soon as we got home.
That night the Sorelle from Mestre came over for scambio! We saw Giulia and talked more about recognizing the Spirit and really letting it enter and touch our hearts. It was gooood! After lunch we did some role plays in Italian for lingua study (the Mestre Sorelle is a training coppia). After, Sorella Burgess and I went to go do finding and while we were at the door praying, we felt inspired to ask that we could find someone to whom we could teach the restoration and set a bap date with. We went to a little park near our house to discover that there was pretty much no one there, and the five people that we tried to talk to wouldn't listen. So we started heading out when we saw a woman sitting on a bench down yonder, so we went to talk to her.  And guess what. Yup. We taught her the whole restoration. And she loved it! She said she was going to come to church! So for weekly planning Sorella Bradshaw and I picked a date for her :)  And then the rest of the week was spent visiting people and eating gelato and everything I could get my hands on. Nothing new :) 
Well, it's strange. That's really the only way to explain it. I can't really believe it's over. Like, this is my life. I don't know anything other than this. Normal life has become a thing of the past, something I can hardly remember.
This past year and a half has been nothing less than amazing. It's funny looking back at all those times where I would cry about how hard it was. You forget the pain, really. It's like when you stub your toe.  A day later you remember that you stubbed your toe, and you've done it multiple times, and it hurt like no other. But you don't remember the
pain. That's how it is now. I remember crying and why I was crying, but it wouldn't make me cry now thinking about it. It was just for a small moment in reality, although it may have seemed like an eternity.  But the most beautiful moments I remember so clearly and they still have an effect on me. It's because those moments were able to touch my heart. Even if all those moments weren't so beautiful. It was in those moments that I turned to the Lord, that my heart was opened, and the Spirit entered. Those moments still bring me to tears because they were so powerful. It was THOSE moments that changed me. That made me into who I am today. Sorrows only make you grow when you open your heart and just follow the Lord.
I have met and come to love so many people here. I can officially say that my heart is scattered all around Busto Arsizio, Trieste, Milano Cimiano, and Verona. And there will forever remain a very large part of my heart here. A part that I can never get back, mostly because I don't want it back. That spot had been filled with those people, with
those cities.
It's hard to go because you truly are leaving your heart behind with these people. You put so much of all that you are into this work, into trying to help these people. You're number one worry is their salvation and happiness. What greater work is there?  But I know that this chapter must come to a close. They're not kidding when they say these are the "best two years" of your life. What other set of 18-24 months of your life teach you so much? Humble you so
much?  The more you give, the more you get out. That applies to everything in life! The more time and effort you put into your studies, the more information and education you have. The more effort you put into your callings, the more joy you get out of it and the more you benefit others. I'm not saying it's easy. The Lord doesn't ask us to do a lot of easy things. Because He knows that we will only grow if we overcome difficulties. But it's all so very simple and beautiful. And with the Lord's help, we can do it.  I don't even know what to say more, what really is there to say? I
love my mission. I can say without a doubt and with 100% conviction that this was the absolute best choice I have ever made. I love my mission. Yes, it did do so much for me. But I love it even more for the COUNTLESS number of opportunities I had to do so much for others.  And above all for my Heavenly Father, who gives me so much, and for my Savior, to thank Him.
For you missionaries still out in the field: DON'T STOP. Give all of your heart might mind and strength. Do all you can to overcome your natural man that tells you to go home because your feet hurt or literally no one will listen. THIS WORK IS NOT AN EASY WORK.  It requires diligence, patience, obedience, humility, etc. but especially love. Find what you love about the mission, be it the people, the city, the companions, whatever it may be! Work off of that and  make the best of every moment you have and learn to love the rest.  For everyone back home: always remember what you've learned in the past. Like the prophets in the Book of Mormon always say, remember the tender mercies of the Lord, towards you and also your fathers. Let every experience push you forward toward God in the path of life,
don't go backward and have to relearn things.  Remember that God loves you and He is there for you to help in all
things. He sent His Son to Atone for our sins, and in the process Christ chose to also suffer our afflictions, so He can know how to succor us. To help us. To comfort us. To guide us. Use that gift.

I just want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart. You have all given me so much love and support. I can say that each one of you has personally helped me in some way during my mission, whether it be from your mass emails, or even just a little note of encouragement. You are all so wonderful and I love and care for each of you so very much.
Thank you.
Vi voglio davvero un mondo di bene.
La Sorella Hawks :)

 Last Pizzas in Italy!

Presto!

 One last rainy day 

District meeting with the Italians!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Week 69 1/2 (3/5/16) - Reminiscing on Danielle's Mission Call

As Danielle's mission draws to a close, I thought it would be fun to share the video where it all began.  Always fun to see people learn where they are going.  Danielle studied Italian from 8th through 12th grade in school then took a semester at BYU.  She would have been happy to serve wherever the Lord wanted her, but we all knew she was going to go visit Italy at some point in her life!  What better way to visit than as a missionary in the service of the Lord!  Here's the video where she got her call:



Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Italy, Week 69 (3/2/16) - FINALLY!

We had a lot of "FINALLY!" Moments this week.
Wednesday we FINALLY got to go to Bolzano.
Thursday we FINALLY got gelato and set a bap date with Giulia!
Friday we FINALLY got to see a less active we've been trying to meet with since I got here.
And we FINALLY got to meet with Bishop's family!
Saturday we FINALLY made contact with a less active pass by a member gave us, so now we know when to go back.
Sunday we FINALLY got to attend all three meetings for Verona 2 ward.
Monday we FINALLY got to teach an investigator the restoration and it went so well!
Tuesday we FINALLY finished weekly planning by making goals for the week and doing comp inventory.
And Wednesday (today) we're FINALLY going to Trento to do a hike!!
Well that was basically a summary of the week.... It wasn't super exciting... We keep getting bidonies, but then it gives us the opportunity to meet lots of wonderful people! And although most of them aren't accepting the Gospel right now, they've now had their first or second encounter with missionaries/the Church and they know that whatever it may be we're offering is good. More times than I can count, we'll try to stop and talk to someone and when we say we're missionaries for our church, they groan or shut down instantly. But that doesn't stop us! We keep talking to them and they see that we're almost normal and that we're truly happy, but also that we respect them. They may have to run off in the middle of our sentence or tell us that they really have no interest. But now they know that when they meet someone wearing a tag, they should talk to them and they don't need to be afraid. They meet these young people who have chosen to devote 18-24 months of their life to God and this work. It sticks, it makes an impression. We're far from our homes and families, we had to learn a language that is nothing like our own. That's not something that a person forgets like that. It's so cool! I'm grateful for this responsibility and privilege.
In my studies this morning I was reading chapter one of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price and that chapter is filled to the brim with gems! Let's take a look shall we?
1 The words of God, which he spake unto Moses at a time when Moses was caught up into an exceedingly high mountain,
2 And he saw God face to face, and he talked with him, and the glory of God was upon Moses; therefore Moses could endure his presence. (God has a body)
3 And God spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I am the Lord God Almighty, and Endless is my name; for I am without beginning of days or end of years; and is not this endless? 
(God declares His identity is and His power)
4 And, behold, thou art my son; wherefore look, and I will show thee the workmanship of mine hands; but not all, for my works are without end, and also my words, for they never cease.
(God tells Moses his identity)
5 Wherefore, no man can behold all my works, except he behold all my glory; and no man can behold all my glory, and afterwards remain in the flesh on the earth.
6 And I have a work for thee, Moses, my son; and thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten; and mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior, for he is full of grace and truth; but there is no God beside me, and all things are present with me, for I know them all.
(We are created in God and Christ's image. We only worship Heavenly Father, no matter how great other things may be)
12 And it came to pass that when Moses had said these words, behold, Satan came tempting him, saying: Moses, son of man, worship me.
13 And it came to pass that Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten; and where is thy glory, that I should worship thee? 
(Moses received strength, council, and teaching from God according to his needs to prepare him to face the temptations of the devil)
14 For behold, I could not look upon God, except his glory should come upon me, and I were transfigured before him. But I can look upon thee in the natural man. Is it not so, surely?
(Moses calls Satan Shirley)
15 Blessed be the name of my God, for his Spirit hath not altogether withdrawn from me, or else where is thy glory, for it is darkness unto me? And I can judge between thee and God; for God said unto me: Worship God, for him only shalt thou serve.
16 Get thee hence, Satan; deceive me not; for God said unto me: Thou art after the similitude of mine Only Begotten.
(Same as verse 13)
19 And now, when Moses had said these words, Satan cried with a loud voice, and ranted upon the earth, and commanded, saying: I am the Only Begotten, worship me.
(The irony! Christ, who is actually the Only Begotten, never tried to steal the glory from God. Everything He did was to fulfill the Father's will and He always commanded men to worship the Father, never Himself)
20 And it came to pass that Moses began to fear exceedingly; and as he began to fear, he saw the bitterness of hell. Nevertheless, calling upon God, he received strength, and he commanded, saying: Depart from me, Satan, for this one God only will I worship, which is the God of glory.
(In times of fear and temptation, no matter how bad, even if we're literally looking in the depths of hell, we will receive the strength necessary from God to overcome all things.)
23 And now of this thing Moses bore record; but because of wickedness it is not had among the children of men.
Well this is extremely long and I apologize. But it's not like anyone is forcing you to read it sooo... I won't blame you if you don't. BUT I just wanted to share with you how amazing these verses are! God comes, declares His identity and then immediately after declares Moses'. Or ours we could say. We are children of God and that is so important to Him! And to us! When we fully understand that we are made stronger, we know that we are special. And God teaches Moses the things that He knows he needs to face Satan. And it's so simple! Moses receives the strength he needs from knowing his identity. That's so beautiful!
And then we see in the last verse that all of these beautiful simple truth contained in these chapters were hidden from the world because Satan saw what power Moses received from it and he didn't want others to have that advantage over him. Guys!!!! YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN OF OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN, GOD, THE ALMIGHTY. He has asked you to turn to him as you would to an earthly father, mother, friend. He knows your name, He sent you here and He has a plan for YOU. I promise you as you come to learn and fully understand this, Satan will never gain power over you. You will know your self worth and no temptation, no lie from Satan will deter you or trip you up or lead you astray. 
I love you all sooooo much! If any are curious, yes, I will be writing next week. 
Vi voglio bene!!!!!
La Sorella Hawks :)


Bolzano - A town with everything written in Italian, German and English! 


Bolzano Plaza


Bolzano from the outside

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Italy, Week 68 (2/24/16) - Locked Doors can Only be Opened by the Hand of God

ooooooood morning everyone! Or afternoon or evening, you all live all over the place, so choose that which applies to you :)
This was another CRAZY week. It's good though, I like being busy. Although most of the time I feel like a chicken r
unning around with its head chopped off.
Thursday we saw some wonderful people! We invited one of our
investigators,  who is 16 years old, to be baptized and she said she'd pray about it. We're going to set a date with her tomorrow! That night we saw our investigator who is originally from Brazil, but looks like she's from Ireland haha. She fed us tea from London (fruit tea. It's okay) with honey from Brazil and a cake called "Panettondoro" which is a combination of two classic Italian cakes "panettone" and "pandoro". Needless to say it was delicious.
That night we ate more horse. My companion didn't find out that she ate horse until I said something about it
last night hahaha! We were walking and talking and I mentioned how this family always feeds us horse and how they had done it when we ate with them Thursday and she just stopped in her tracks and her eyes went huge. I cracked up haha poor thing! Maybe it was better that she hadn't found out until a week later...
Friday we did a
scambio with the Brescia Sorelle and it was sooo fun! I got to be with a sister in her second transfer, Sorella Lau. She is a boss. She's already an incredible missionary. The next day was her companion, Sorella Montagnoli's birthday, so Sorella Bradshaw and I woke up a few minutes early and decorated the kitchen and put a cake in the oven and made chocolate chip pancakes. We put a candle in the pancakes and sang to her haha. For lunch later that day, we got pizzas and went to a park near our house, hiked down a little hill and went among ancient ruins to sit in a flower bed to eat our pizzas.
Needless to say it was amazing.
After we ran home, put candles in the cake, and sang to her again. It was so fun!!
And then...
They were at the station when they realized they forgot a scarf, so we ran it over to them. In our rush we forgot to unlock our door (the key is broken and we have to do funky things to get it to work) so when we came home we saw that we were locked out. We pushed, we tried to pick the lock with Bobby pins and pocket knives, we called everyone and their grandmother to see if someone had our spare key; nothing. We said a prayer in the midst of all this chaos and both of us felt very calm and knew that the door would be opened. After a while we were a little surprised, both of us thinking that the door would've been opened by then. At one point, while my comp was talking to the bishop, I went to the door and just leaned my head against it, said a tiny prayer, and barely pushed on it
One
Two
Three times.
And all of a sudden it opened.
Needless to say we were stunned.
Of course we said a prayer right after to thank our Heavenly Father.
It's such a testimony builder. God loves us! He cares about even the smallest things. Miracles aren't just for splitting a sea and allowing people to walk on dry ground. They're not just for raising the dead or healing the sick. Yes, those miracles still exist today, I know that, I believe it with all of my heart. But God also works miracles for the simplest things. For his two young daughters who foolishly forgot to unlock the door. He doesn't just do it to show off or to show His powers. He performs miracles because 
He loves us. We are His children and He cares for us and even our tiny worries, which seem so meaningless in the grand scheme of things. But sometimes we have to wait. But we cannot lose faith. Never let doubts overcome faith. Continue to go forward, keep doing all you can on your part, and God will take care of you. Never forget that, never doubt that.
Monday and Tuesday were good, nothing super exciting. Tuesday morning we were doing some finding and we talked to this old man in a park. That was an exciting little lesson. He asked us about everything, kept asking what was different,
then not accepting our answers, and asking for PROOF.
Needless to say our patience was strengthened.
Anwho, that's the summary of the exciting lives of the Verona Sorelle this week. Stay tuned for next week's adventures.
Vi
voglio TANTISSIMO bene!!!!! Siete bravissimi, sono così fortunata di avervi nella mia vita. Grazie dal cuore per tutto!
(Translation? I know, I hate it when missionaries speak in another language in their emails too.
I love you all
sooooo much! You are amazing, I'm so lucky to have you all in my life. Thank you so much for everything!)
Con
affetto,
Sorella Hawks :)
 We're so Artsy!
 Birthday party at the ruins!
 Striking a pose at the birthday party at the ruins!
 We had a photo shoot....
Pizza to go at the birthday party at the ruins
 Birthday cake!
 Happy Birthday, Sorella Montagnoli

You may as well have some fun when you're locked out.


 Fun fact: if you zoom in on the moon, there's a castle underneath it. :)


VVB!

The special prayer position when praying for keys...

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Italy, Week 67 (2/17/16) - POLINE IS BAPTIZED AND MARRIED!!!!!!!!!!

Story time. And this time, it's a love story.
Once upon a time there was a girl. She understood the importance of marriage and made the decision that she would only marry once in her life, and no matter what would make sure that that marriage worked.  But she had to wait a while. It was hard to find that right man where she was. The Filipino men just weren't quite making the cut.  One day, she met an Italian man. They talked, they laughed, and eventually they fell in love. She made plans to go to Italy to visit him and miraculously her job paid for the trip and she was able to go.  There, she
and her fiancé spoke about each other and God. The Italian man a proposition: she could meet the missionaries of his church and learn about it and one day she could get baptized. She said yes, but on one condition: the missionaries are American. You don't find many Americans in Italy. Unless they're missionaries.
She began meeting with these two missionaries who called themselves sisters, but they had different last names. Strange, but I guess it's true that we're all children of God, she thought. At first she was
skeptical. Who is this boy Joseph Smith? What is this new book of scripture? I've never heard of it. There's no way Christ made it ALL the way over to the Americas...  But she decided to try what they were all asking her to do: simply pray to know if it was true and to read the book.  It didn't happen immediately, but slowly her questions were being answered. Her prayers answered. She felt good, she felt happy. And then one day she realized that she knew that this message, this church that she was learning about, was indeed true. She saw the hand of God taking a big role in her life. She went back to the Philippines, but continued meeting with these Americans over Skype. She asked how soon she could be baptized and they decided three days after she came back should do it. She continued to grow, but so did her trials. As the day came closer to when she came back to Italy, things seemed to keep going wrong, but in the end they were always made right. Anytime she
questioned being baptized or marrying this man, her backup plans would fall through. There was only one way that was going to work. Her flight back was long and tiring, but finally after nearly two months of being separated, she and her Italian man were reunited. Three days later, Valentine's Day, she entered the waters of baptism. And it felt wonderful. She knew this was true and that she had made the right choice, for herself. That night her father from California surprised her by arriving in Italy with her only little sister. And the following day she was married in the rolling hills of Fair Verona.
How beautiful is that?!?!?! It's a dream.
  And that's a quick summary of Poline's story told from the perspective of one of those strange sister missionaries.
So
Poline was baptized on Sunday and married Monday morning!  Friday we had our Zone Conference and it was so good! My comp and I prepped hardcore for our part and we feel super satisfied! People were participating and the Spirit was there, it was wonderful :) at the end of that conference, however, I had to bear what we call my "dying testimony" but President likes to call it our "commencement testimony". I got up and had no idea what to say, but it felt good. I only teared up a little. The feeling after I sat down however was the absolute strangest feeling. I can't quite put it into words, but it was strange...
Yesterday and the day before we had a scambio with the Bergamo Sorelle  and it was fun! I was in a trio and I got to be with a sister that I did a scambio with in her second transfer! It was super fun and cool to see how much she had grown.  It was a super stressful, busy week, full of meetings and preparation, but not sufficient time to prepare.... All in all I'm just grateful to
breathe now :)
I love you all
sooooo much! I hope you have a wonderful week! Know
that I love you all so much and pray for you! Vi
voglio bene!!!
Sorella Hawks :)

Dad's comment:  Lots of White for Poline - a baptism one day and a marriage the next day!  If she had just done an Elvis impersonation on Tuesday, she could have kept the streak alive...

 Sorella Bradshaw, Sorella Hawks, Poline, and her fiance (the mysterious Italian man) in front of the font.
 Poline's last few moments as a non-member prior to the glorious covenant of baptism! :)
Poline with her two favorite American Young Women...Sisters, sorry
 Poline and her Fiance/husband - not sure exactly when this shot was taken, but I'm guessing husband at this point.

And the fitting finale to two life-changing events in two days!  Wow - what a whirlwind for Poline!
 When you are almost done with your mission, you owe it to yourself to load up on the gelato!
 City Square in Verona, Italy, the city of Romeo and Juliet

A beautiful shot of Verona from across the river

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Italy, Week 66 (2/10/16) - Soaked in Rain and Smoke

It's raining! Which means spring is on the way! Yayyyyyyyyy!!!!! It's super warm in the afternoon but still cold in the evening, but we're getting there, small small.  All is well here in the wonderful land of Verona! We have an investigator with a bap date for 14 February and Thursday we did her practice bap interview and it was amazing!!!! She's so ready! When we asked her about her testimony of the prophet today, she smiled and said she believed. The. She asked us to ask when she got that testimony and she said she got it while Sorella Bradshaw was saying the opening prayer. How cool is that?!?! And her actual interview went perfectly! She gets back from the Philippines today so we'll see her tomorrow! Finally! After two months of teaching her over Skype, it'll be so good to see her in person again! Yay! 
Saturday
 night we went out to do finding and we stopped this one woman. She didn't seem very happy, not like she was mean to us, but in the way that you could tell her spirit was just sad. We asked was makes her happy and she said she couldn't answer. She told us she doesn't believe in God. She prayed and prayed in the past but never saw anything to "prove"God is there. So she got angry and now feels that He must not exist. My goodness, it was so sad. My heart was just breaking and yearning for her to feel that love from God that gives ME strength. I felt such a love for this woman and wanted soooo badly for her to feel this love too. We talked to her for a while and whenever we bore our testimonies she would watch us so intently. At the end we asked if we could pray for her and she willingly accepted. My goodness, I know she felt it. It was too strong for her not to! I remember thinking afterward how good that felt. It is THE GREATEST FEELING to help someone feel loved, from you but more importantly from God. To help someone who has lost so much hope and is so sad to regain that hope, to see that light enter their eyes. I turned to my companion and said, "this is why I'm on a mission." Every person we pass by is a beloved child of God and many don't know that. But it is always the greatest feeling so see someone regain hope and a little bit of joy in their life.   And her name was Tamara! People named Tamara are great people ;) 
Sunday we had a similar experience, but with two less actives. Both of them were struggling with feeling loved and watched over by God. Also yesterday morning we taught an investigator who said up to this point in her life she hasn't felt God's love. My goodness.  How sad is that?  Do you feel God's love? Do you know that He is watching you and is fully aware of all of your heartaches, pains, and sorrows? Do you recognize that He is with you?
That is one of the greatest joys on my mission. Yes, it's so fulfilling to see someone enter the waters of baptism after teaching them and seeing the change in them. But that's not what a mission is. I just love teaching people and being the means through which the Lord can send His Spirit to testify of the truth and help change people.
I'm rambling, but I just want you to know that full-time missionaries aren't the only ones who get the wonderful opportunity to experience that kind of joy.
Anywho, back to filling you in on my week...(so boring)  Monday we had consiglio, fficially my last one. That hurt my heart.  But it was so good! The spirit was so strong and delicious! I'm excited to put all the things that President taught us into practice!
All is well. We came home last night soaked and smelling like cigarette smoke, so you know it was a good day ;) 
I'm so happy! I love being here and I love this wonderful opportunity to serve the Lord and His children.
Thank you so much for everything! You are all such an amazing support!
Vi
voglio un MONDO do bene!!!!!!

Con amore,

La Sorella Hawks :)

Consiglio! My companion is third from the right... We got separated...


Cimiano Sorelle!!

And that's all. I'm running out of room on my iPad so not many pics this week. Sorry!
L

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Italy, Week 65 (2/3/16) - Transfers!

Hello! Okay, first off, we literally have no time. My new companion got here today and we're in four until tomorrow morning when I send my companion and another sister off for home. So my apologies! This will be short and I won't really be able to write to many people specifically, so I'm sorry! But know I love you!
This week was a little rough because my comp and I both got sick. Ah!  It's sooo annoying. I've been so blessed my whole mission though to never get so sick where I can't work. But this time hit me pretty hard, then it hit my companion hard and we were both trying to survive and recover.
But! Our ward had an activity one night and we brought the investigator that's Muslim and she had a ball! She was dancing, singing and laughing and the members were so good about welcoming her.  It was amazing! This ward is incredible!!!!!! 
We learned how to make lasagna this week. Like, real itLian lasagna.  It's amazing.
What else...
Oh! Transfer calls! I'm staying STL and my new companion is Sorella Bradshaw. It's funny because she "took my spot" in Cimiano with Sorella Avila, and now she's here serving with me! It's going to be so fun and we're going to kill it! I'm stoked :) miracles are going to be happening here in Verona. Brace yourselves :)
Anywho, all is well, I'm happy, super excited for the weeks ahead and for the opportunities I'm being given. I love you all so much! Thank you for everything!!!!!


Our district! 

An Italian Outhouse

The end of a companionship!  



Chiara Hirsch from Trieste came and found me!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Italy, Week 64 (1/27/16) - Pepper, Tomato, Honey, Pizza, Chocolate, Gelato

🍆🍅🍝🍕🍫🍦
So that was basically my week. Food. And the rest of the week is continuing as such. So. Much. Food. Forget losing weight before I get home, that idea is thrown out the window and shot in midair. :)

Well, this week was wonderful
:)
  
On Wednesday we watched the worldwide mission broadcast and it was
so good! I loved how they talked about the Spirit's role in conversion.  We as missionaries and members in general have no power to convert others. We are instruments in the Lord's hands, without the Spirit sent from God, we make no sound. We can speak, but the message of truth will not be carried to their hearts if it is not down so by the Spirit. It was so cool to hear from some of the apostles and other leaders over the missionary department of the Church. They're so inspired!
On Thursday we had lunch with a young family in our ward as part
way through our message to them, their neighbor knocked on the door. So we went from talking about missionary work and tactfully moved it to prophets (we were talking about Noah) and then onto the Restoration.  Woot woot yeah. Haha it was really cool though! He was very open and willingly accepted to receive a copy of the Book of Mormon!

Friday and Saturday we had a
Scambio with the Sorelle da Vicenza – they’re so fun! I went with Sorella Stephens who just so happens to be my mission niece and we both served with her "mom", so needless to say it was a fun scambio :) that night the other sisters had received a phone call from a less active family saying that they have two kids about to turn 8 and they asked us to come teach them so they can be baptized. It's cool because we had never met this family before, but for Bernice's baptism we literally sent an invitation to every number in our phone.  They texted back and said they couldn't come but invited us over for lunch. We didn't have time to go that day but we said we'd schedule for another. And then they called us! They live waaaaaayyyy out there though, up in the mountains. It. Is. GORGEOUS. So we ate lunch with them, and then taught their kids. My gosh, I love teaching little kids! Why haven't I done this more?!?! They're so cute and know way more than we think.

Sunday Bernice was Confirmed!!!!!! Yay! After we asked how she
felt and she all she said was "good" because that's all you gotta say, you know? Bernice, she's so wonderful :) after church we went to a member's house for lunch and she had her friend over. We had taught him the Resto. Before and this time we talked about the Book of Mormon. This guy is a boss. He had called this member a few weeks before and told her he was coming to church. She didn't have to invite
him! And he has been working the night shift, so from 12am to 6am.
And he still came to church and 9:30am. Ummm what. There are MEMBERS who don't even do that. I want to be that committed when I grow up, and now. I'm not waiting.

Poor guy was pretty exhausted, but he said he's going to read the
Book of Mormon and keep praying! It was a very spiritual lesson.  As we were walking out, Sorella Griffin and I were talking about how blessed we were and how many miracles we keep seeing in this city, when all of a sudden a car drives by and the people inside are waving to us. They halt to a stop and this girl jumps out (in the middle of the road, mind you) and runs toward us yelling that they're Mormons too. She's like come over! Teach us! Let's make pancakes! Haha so we jump in the car and head over. We didn't have much time so we just talked about Christ as our Savior, took pictures and headed out. We went to visit a referral the Anziani had sent us a while ago that we kept trying to see, but things kept getting in the way. But we finally got to see her and words cannot describe this woman. She's from Morocco and lost her dad when she was a baby, lost her mom when she
was eight, went to France to study, and five months ago just lost
her only brother. And around the time of her brothers death, her boyfriend who she was in love with broke up with her. And now she lives by herself in a TINY one room apartment that fits a bed, a tiny table, and a tiny night stand. Like picture small and its smaller than that.  Everything's bigger in America. Umm yeah. And yet she was smiling and so positive. She kept asking us how to find comfort and how to overcome this. She said as of right now she's just doing all she can to stay busy. She has two jobs and she says its to keep herself from thinking because she knew that if she wasn't always busy, she would turn to other things like drugs and alcohol to try to forget it. But she kept asking us "how do I overcome this?" She's Muslim, so we showed her the Christmas video "why we need a Savior." She only believes in Jesus as a prophet, but we know that it is only through Christ that we can overcome things. So that's going to be the main focus of our lessons :) she's a BOSS.
On the way home these two guys from maybe Ukraine or something sat next to us on the bus. Now, I normally don't talk about when people catcall at us or try to hit on us, but this was too funny,p. We're sitting there and talking in English and Italian. These guys are obviously talking about us in their language and I hear something that sounds like "Jehovah" so they obviously think we're JW's. After a while one says to us "do you guys want to get breakfast with us tomorrow morning?" Luckily I was looking something up and showing my comp so we just acted like we didn't hear hoping they would leave us alone. After a while, I just said, "meh, è la vita.....delle suore.“  Which means "meh, that's life.....for nuns." And they went SILENTBahahahahaha! They didn't try to hit on us anymore after that :)  Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.  Monday we visited a woman we haven't seen in a while and her grandson was there, sitting at he table reading the Book of Mormon. Yeah. It was a good lesson :) although they kept arguing during it haha.  Italians.
Yesterday we ate lunch with an old couple in the second ward and that was fun :) they kept arguing too and saying how sometimes it was hard to love each other, but when the sun is out life is great! Haha Whenever I see them it always makes me see and drills into my mind HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO MARRY THE RIGHT KIND OF PERSON. It scares me a little, but it's fine.
And yeah, that was my week in a nutshell! Teaching people and helping them come unto Christ.
This church is true. There is only one true church on the face of this earth, and it is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. And it is only through covenants that we make with God through proper authority, which only this Church holds, that we can return to God. I know it, I've felt it, I've witnessed it.

I love you all and I wish you a wonderful week full of joy
and sunshine! Vi voglio tantissimo bene :)

Sorella Hawks :)


Showing a video to the people at a French fry place. They loved it and we sent it to them in an email :)






Our friends from Sunday :) my favorite part is the kid digging for gold.

Love you guys!