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.
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

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