Taking My Wand for a Nametag

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Chapter 3: What Not To Tell Your Investigators

Happy (belated) Easter everyone!!!!!!! It's been a CRAZY week like holy heck! We've been teaching a TON! We taught "Angela" (s. Donakey) for her 6th and final time. It was cool cuz afterward, S. Donakey told us about the real Angela and showed us pictures and it was just so neat!!!! We've also started teaching "Rafaella" (S. Russel) and "Mercy" (S. Bucco), and started TRC which is when they bring native Italians or returned missionaries from Italy for us to teach. Teaching Rafaella and Mercy has been harder, because Angela was truly a golden investigator- she was just ready! Rafaella is super apathatic towards our message and will not keep commitments! She asks super deep questions which is hard because I know what to say to her, but not how to say it in Italian so it's super frustrating. Mercy does pretty well but is illiterate. We legit found this out like after our 2nd or 3rd lesson- turns out it's hard to ask people to read the Book of Mormon when they... can't... read... yeah… lol. I'm making a fake audio version of the Book of Mormon to give her today so we'll see how that goes (assuming I can give it to her without laughing). TRC is neat but hard because we know nothing about the person beforehand, and we have to try and identify what their needs are. Which can be hard when you're in a tripanionship and sometimes you feel different things. And you don't understand the Italian being spoken lol. But the spirit was there and the TRC volunteers were really touched so evidently it worked out! I saw the guy from gma's ward who just got back from Italy at TRC! And the cute Italian couple who came into Seagull that one day! So that was a fun time! We've also had a lot of "district discussions" where our entire district teaches one of our teachers a lesson. with no prep time. Which is hard. Here we get to the reason behind my email title lol. So we talked about Christ being the son of God, and our teacher/investigator was like "well aren't we all children of God" and we were like yes. But... then S. Anderson said something about how we were His Spirit children, while Christ was the literal son of God. Which would've been good except our teacher/investigator then wanted to know how that occurred. Which led into the most awkward and confusing lesson ever, lol we sucked! Note to self: Do not talk to investigators about the rather immaculate conception of Christ...

Teaching is definitely stressful. We've really been feeling the brunt of it lately- we teach at least one lesson each day, sometimes close to 4 a day. A lot of times they're back to back, and we have less prep time because we've done things like choir and hosting the new missionaries coming in (side note: hosting was a blast! Except at one point I had 3 girls at a time and one of them wouldn't take any of her luggage so I had all of hers and some from the other two. And one of them was supposed to live in an older building, which meant no elevators. So we went up to the top floor (of course it was that one) and I'm like dying. and then turns out we couldn't get to the other side from up there. So back down the stairs we went and then walked all the way around the building and up all the stairs again and I've never missed naps more than i did at that moment but I promise it was still a fun experience!). My point is, we haven't had a lot of our study time this week. Which makes the lessons way hard and stressful. Last thursday night my district got like no sleep (don't ask me why) we all felt tired and stressed and when we taught that day, it just did not go well at all! We weren't so happy, and I was honestly feeling so discouraged! My Italian sucked, I wanted a nap (or just some alone time) and I just felt exhausted! I was super salty (and still am most the time) because the Spirit tells me what the investigator/person needs, or how to answer their question! However, at this time, he has chosen to keep the convo in english, which is very much unhelpful. So it's hard because I want to help them so badly and I know what they need to hear! But I can't say it! And Friday we were all kind of struggling and just feeling down, and then Sorella Donakey came in for class. She was supposed to do another workshop on teaching. She'd been sick the whole week and I felt so bad for her. She was going to take the day off, but then she felt like she needed to come, and she needed to teach us about something different than the lesson plan. Boy was it what we needed- what I needed!!!!!! We were sitting there, all kinda sad and quiet. And in her little sick voice, she said "at exactly this time, those many years ago, Christ was on the cross, finishing out the Atonement". How had I not realized?! How had I been so caught up in my frivolous language struggles that I didn't think about the various things the Savior was going through during his last week?! We just sat there. S. Donakey then asked us various questions. Who was Christ to us? What part had he played during our trials? Our happiest moments? Needless to say we were all sobbing. The Atonement was so hard for Christ- He could've stopped at any moment, but He didn't because He loves us so much!!!!! We sat there and watched some of the Easter clips the church puts out, and talked about Christ. What a way to spend that hour during the anniversary of Christ suffering for US. Because He loves US! Once it was finished and she left, our district just sat there. We sat there in silence for 15 minutes instead of going to dinner, because we didn't want to lose the feeling and the experience we were in at that exact moment!

Obviously the Spirit knew I was in need of some uplifting. Later that night, S. Bucco was teaching us. Her testimony is always so neat to me, because she converted to the church when she was 18 years old, and then served a mission in Milan! She started talking about the language, and the gift of tongues. A lot of time I feel like I'm the worst at the language! And it's so hard because I pray for the Gift of Tongues constantly, and really tried to study a ton! And I sat there sometimes wondering why I wasn't being helped! S. Bucco was very profound, and I felt like she was talking just to me. She said that God doesn't give us things (in my case, help with the language) when WE need/want it- He gives it to us when HE needs us to have it! She then said "if you don't feel like you have the gift of tongues right now, it's because for some reason, God doesn't need you to have/use it right now". she then talked about how sometimes, He needs us to have faith. How many times had I sat there thinking "I need to hurry and learn Italian so I can speak well and so I don't feel uncomfortable"- it was all about me! I still struggle with it, but I realized that maybe God needs me to do something else right now- something not involving Italian. Rather than stressing out about language, maybe I should spend my time figuring out what God needs me to do right now! And maybe, it's time for me to have a little more faith- He loves His children in Italy, and He'll help me do what's necessary to bring them back unto Him!

Easter was AMAZING!!!! We had a devotional with Elder Ballard and it was so amazing!!!! He talked about the importance of studying the witnesses we have of Christ (through scriptures and prophets) and wow I couldn't write fast enough! Too many awesome things being said!!!! Plus for our "film" that night, we got to watch "The Testament(s?)" in Italian! So neat and so great! 

Sorry for the excessively long email- a ton keeps happening! I feel like I'm learning and changing so much, and who knows! Hopefully some of this crazy hectic stuff with be helpful to more than just me!!!!!!!! I'll leave ya'll with one more hilarious story! So the Rome district has this thing with bananas- like they get super freaked out whenever our district eats them! So we saved up our bananas and snuck into their classroom and hid the bananas for them to find in all their stuff and they totally freaked! We're planning a good April Fool's trick for them so I'll keep ya posted! Enjoy General Conference <3

Sorella Smedley

1. Cliche MTC map picture  2. My comps- Sis. Fife, Sis. LoRusso and I at the temple! 
3. My District at the temple  4. Sis. LoRusso & I studying hard in the classroom  
5. & 6. What we do instead of studying…
7. Happy Easter from Sis. Anderson & I, Ft. bunny ears and my poofy hair! 
8. We had to take an awko pic at dinner last night cuz we stayed there for so long talking about which historical, movie, disney, actor, singer, etc. guys we'd marry if we could... totally mission appropriate convo. silly s. anderson was like 'it'd totally be FDR for me!"
9. Excited face after getting packages from Meghan in Croatia, home & my Grams! 

Thank you all for the letters, dear elders and emails- I love hearing from you and am grateful for your love & support!


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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Chapter 2: Of Popes and Human Sacrifice

Ciao everyone!!!! I made it one week lol and I consider that to be a great accomplishment! I seriously love it here! It's crazy and hard and busy but so dang amazing!!!!!!! My district is still amazing. They have me as the official storyteller for our zone, like they legit just listen to me tell awkward stories every day and they all laugh like it's so funny! They all told me to become a writer and make them all background characters in my books lol lets just say it'd make for a crazy story ;) They're seriously the best. We got a second language teacher this week- Sorella Bucco. Our teachers are seriously so amazing!!!! They are so loving and act like moms for us and I'm so glad I get to keep in contact with them afterwards!!!! I feel so connected with these people so I'm way glad we get six weeks together!!!!!!!! Leaving them will be so hard- they're my family away from home if that makes sense ;)

I love our classes! All 6+ hours of them lololol. Like I sometimes don't want to leave for meals which is kinda shocking honestly. But it's great! Again, my district is amazing- not a day goes by that I'm not crying from feeling the Spirit, or almost peeing my pants (skirt? idk) from laughing way too hard! This is such a great place!!!! We have devotionals and choir practice every Sunday and Tuesday and it's so great!!!!! The choir director is amazing and hilarious it's so fun! We're singing at the Easter MTC devotional (which will be broadcast to all the MTCs!!!!!) and they said there's gonna be a super special speaker so I'm excited!!!! See if you can find it online or something and maybe you'll see me among our thousands of missionaries ;)

The days kind of have the same schedule, although on Tuesday we got to go downtown to the Consolate to take care of our visa stuff. Which was fun bc I love trains and cloudy days. But then we got lost and suddenly there was a legit blizzard. My hair started out straight and by the time we got to the consolate there was a literal line halfway through my hair where it went from straight to crazy curly (reminded me of that time at disney for dance co when I got half drenched on pirates of the caribbean) but it was a fun adventure and we went to a cafe where they serve half off to the missionaries so I basically got a huge meal for under 5 dollars so yay!

We've taught "Angela" 4 times so far. It's interesting cuz even though it's just Sorella Donakey, when we enter the room to teach, it's like she really is Angela. And I truly want to teach her and help her! It's so neat. I was stressing about the language cuz the grammar is horrendous. But then Sorella Russel talked to us about Nephi's experience. It's in the Book of Mormon where their family is on the boat and his brothers tie him up. Instead of praying for God to untie the bands and free him or strike his brothers or something, he prayed for God to give HIM the strength to free HIMSELF. So sometimes/always its good for us to struggle and work hard- we should ask Heavenly Father to help us have the strength to overcome our trials, rather than expect Him to fix it for us. 

Ok now for the title of my email... I have so many funny stories from these amazing people but I'll share 2 rn. Ok 1- One of the elders was talking about how his brother was serving somewhere in Africa and they invited a woman to come to sacrament meeting and she said yes. Later her friend was like "ew don't you know that at their sacrament they sacrifice people and you eat their flesh and drink their blood?!" Shockingly, the woman still came. However, when it got time for sacrament to start, she saw the priesthood leaders close the doors and stand by them (which they do for reverence) and then saw the priests working under the white table cloth. The elders looked back and saw her literally shaking with fear and they were like "awww she's feeling the spirit yay" shockingly she still stayed and then was so relieved that the sacrament was bread and water and not remains from a human sacrifice. Moral of the story: don't assume people shaking = feeling the spirit lololol. 2 We were teaching our investigator and she asked how Sorella Lo Russo knew so much Italian. Sorella Lo Russo responded in Italian and meant to say "I learned it from my dad" but accidentally said "I learned it from the pope"  lol that was a fun one to talk our way out of!

I love you guys so much! Thanks for the emails and dear elders- they make my day!!!! 

Sorella Smedley

PS did you know the Italian work for mermaid is Sirena? Lol I'm going to show up in Italy and literally know how to say hi, my testimony, and mermaid. It''s gonna be an interesting 18 months ;)

My Comps: Sis LoRusso & Sis Fife

Me,telling my stories of awkwardness, & everyone dying laughing!
Trip into the city in the rain/on a train! 
My District: Sis. McKenzie, Anderson, Perkins,McCormick, Me, LoRusso & Fife
Officially a Missionary!
Our Zone

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Chapter One-LOTS of Italian and LOTS of Love!

Ciao mi famiglia!
Wowowowow this week has already been so crazy and so amazing and so terrifying and so life-changing!!!!!! Aaaand it's not even been a week yet!!! Ok I'll try and use normal grammar and spelling but I have like no time and I've been Italian-ing all day every day soooo... sorry in advance! Lol! Thursday will be my normal P-day, but this Thursday was crazy so you get to hear from me today! Lol!

Okay day 1 was so crazy!!!! As soon as I left mi famiglia at the curb, I was rushed in to get my Italian books (legit like 8000 pounds of books lol) plus my missionary nametag and all that stuff! Getting that badge pinned on was pretty neat, like "wow this is actually happening!" And my host chick (she's going to France in about 2 ish weeks!) helped me take my stuff to my room, and then dropped me off at my first class! Lol like way to throw me head first into the deep end of the pool! I walk in and there were 2 sorellas in there already. I saw the teacher and said hi and she was like "no, salve!" Yup I got Italianed at. For hours and hours. Like I have no clue what these people are saying, so I just keep smiling and nodding and saying "Si!". And we're supposed to introduce ourself in Italian and only speak in Italian during class unless we have permission. And I look down at my paper and see that I have 2 companions. And I'm like wow, can I go home yet? lol. I'm sitting there thinking, wondering what I'm doing here, and I can't understand anything. And probs my comps will like each other more than me. And I'm sitting there like wow, where can I submit my resignation? Lol not really, but I was stressed. Then, Sorella Preston (our intro teacher) bore her testimony to us in Italian. Aaaand no, I did not immediately understand what she was saying. However, the spirit was so strong, and there were a few important bits that she repeated in English (praise the heavens!) and I looked around, and we were all leaking from our eyes lol! Yay for the Spirito Santo (Holy Ghost) speaking to us through the universal language of the Spirit. Because Italiano was not clicking with me at all! Alright, then we went and met the mission presidency and their wives. We sang "Called to Serve" and wow the song means so much more when you're actually a missionary, and singing about our purpose!!!! We also sang the armies of Heleman song (sorry not sorry I donut remember what it's called...) and at the end instead of singing "We will be the Lord's missionaries to bring the world His truth", we sang "We ARE the Lord's missionaries..." so of course, lots of emotions again. Then we had dinner (yay) besides the fact that I was nervous and stressed as always and didn't end up with much of an appetite.. Then we went to "People and Your Purpose" and they brought an investigator in, and had a set of missionaries start giving them a discussion. Theeeeen those missionaries left, and WE had to give them a discussion! This was repeated 2 more times! It was nerve-wracking at first, but as we learned these people's stories and started to teach them of Christ, I was amazed at how much love I felt for these people I didn't even know!!! It was insane! Then we met our Zone Leaders. Ok let me explain a bit. So my district consists of 7 sorellas (who I'll introduce in a moment) and we are all going to Milano. So our class time and study periods are spent just with our district. Our zone consists of our district, and the Roma district (4 sorellas e 4 anzianos) and they are fab! Our zone leaders are a group of Milano missionaries who leave on Monday, so we're sad about that. 2 of them room with my companions and I so that's been super helpful. They gave us a tour and some instruction, and then it was already night so that's crazy! It took me a long time to fall asleep, because as happy as I was about the amazing spiritual experiences, I was still nervous and wanting to leave a little bit... 

Theeennn came day 2! And I'd like to say it was easier, but I'd be lying ;) However, it was amazing! I woke up dark and early ;) lol not so fun. But we got ready and went to breakfast and reported for class. We had a new teacher come in- Sorella Russel. I love her more than life! She's in charge of actually teaching us Italian. However obvi it's full immersion so she's always speaking Italian. She's way fun though and really helps us learn, even though it's wayyy out of my comfort zone a lot of the time. Right off the bat, she had us singing hymns in Italian, and had us pray in Italian. So I know how to (mostly) do that though! Occasionally I have to use an English word here and there, but I've been trying to do my personal prayers in Italian as well. It's a beautiful language, just a tricky one! We learn a ton each day though! We had another teaching workshop as well. Essentially we have about 5-6 hours of class plus 4-5 hours of study (personal, companion, or language) but it's been different our first and second day because we had meetings and workshops. We used yesterday's study time to prepare to teach an investigator Angela. The MTC has some staff and some real investigators used in these simulations, so it just kinda depends on who you get. We were told some basic info on Angela, and then told to pick a lesson/topic and prepare to teach her. In. Complete. Italian. Soooo that was lovely. Needless to say, we used our study time wisely ;) Then we had dinner, and then our zone had the opportunity to meet with our branch presidency and their wives. They had us share about ourselves, specifically about why we were here serving and what our testimony of Christ was. I think it was good for me to remember why I was here learning an insane language and being flown out of my comfort zone lol! But wow, listening to everyone's stories completely changed me! Hearing their struggles- the times they or loved ones were away from Gesu Cristo (Jesus Christ) it killed me! We were all an emotional mess! My love for all my zone grew immensely, specifically my district! Ok let me tell you about them! There's Sorella Mackenzie and her comp Sorella Anderson. There's Sorella McCormick and Sorella Perkins. And my tri-panionship (they call us that, or the golden trio like on harry potter, or the triple threat- probs cuz we're all awkwardly awesome!) ;) My first companion is Sorella Fife- she reminds me of Mia from princess diaries- adorable and funny and awkward like me and it's just great! My second companion is Sorella Lo Russo- her dad is a convert from Italy, and her mom served a mission in Italy. Soooo she's essentially fluent, which is a super huge blessing for Sorella Fife and I because she'll help us with the grammar for the lessons, and speaks mainly Italian to us outside of class to help us learn it all! I seriously love them both so much! I have no clue what I was worried about! We all love a lot of the same things (like Harry Potter) and we just get each other! We're always laughing, or talking about our families, idk it just works out super super well!!! Seriously my district is just the best- yay for new best friends!!!!

Okay day 3 (today) (friday) (rn) Today has been amazing and hard (you noticing a trend yet? hahaha) We had a ton of companionship and language study today to prepare for our investigator this afternoon. My tripanionship prepared a lesson on the restoration of the gospel, to teach Angela, a former Catholic, current Jehova's witness who speaks only Italian... No pressure haha! Part way through our study time, we had class again with Sorella Russel, and we learned a ton more again. It's so funny- the minute I start to feel frustrated with myself for not being fluent after my 2-3 days (lol) our teacher bears her testimony and wow- I can start to understand a few words and phrases, but regardless, the spirit touches me and touches all of us. Our study time is great, because our whole district works together a lot! Obvi not so much when we're preparing lessons with our companions, but we work together on the other stuff so well! Such a team! We all try to speak as much Italian as possible outside of class (when saying thank you, sorry, you're welcome, etc.) and it's slowly becoming a habit! We also had one-on-one interviews with a Sorella Russel and it was super great! I love her and have learned so much from her already! Then we had gym time (finally! you have no idea how stiff and ew you feel when sitting in a desk made for a 5 year old for 10 or more hours a day!) and lunch and then we had an additional hour of preparing to teach Angela. We hadn't met her, but I felt so much love for her already! We were really focusing our lesson on her and her needs, and following the promptings of the spirit. Finally, the time came to teach her. We did a quick prayer as a tripanionship, then knocked on the door and came in. Step one was a success! We had split up sections to teach. I was asked to give the opening prayer. In Italiano. Ahhhh! It was simple and short, but I asked the for the spirit to be there... It was insane- we had to take our time sometimes to remember words or phrases (sometimes even look them up) but the spirit was there! I was teaching last, and was meant to share the story of Joseph Smith. As I looked into her eyes, I felt tears come to mine! I realized how important Joseph Smith and this gospel are to me! I told her in very simple, broken Italian, about how like her, Joseph Smith was looking for the true church, and that he prayed to God to know. I then felt prompted to have her read aloud the first vision found in Joseph Smith History. (Good thing I'd brought my Italian Book of Mormon lol). She read it. And I had no clue what she was saying. But the spirit came in so strongly, I felt overcome! I looked over, and my companions were crying as well! I then bore testimony of Joseph Smith, and how God answers prayers, and that this is Christ's church. Once again, AWFUL Italian and it probs wasn't grammatically correct. But the spirit does wonderful things my friends ;) My companions bore testimony as well, and then we extended an invitation for her to read Moroni chapter 10 in the Book of Mormon. She also agreed for a follow up appointment (whiiiich we have tomorrow at like 7:30am lololol pray for me). We left and were just crying haha! We went back to class to wait for our new teacher. And Angela came in. Lol Angela is a real person in Italy that our new teacher, Sister Donaky, met. Lol Sister Donaky was being Angela for our lesson purposes. But she said we did awesome. Obviously, she said this in Italian lol. But then she taught us about the gift of tongues and many other things. She taught everything in Italian, so it was both a spiritual and language learning experience. I adore her as well! Ha these language classes are a million times better than ones in school bc the teachers hug you! And bear witness of Christ all the time! Ha they're so cute!

So that's been my crazy-eventful three days! And I don't want to go home anymore (this is my home rn and soon it will be Italia!) I've never experienced so much love in such a short time (both from the lovely presidency wives and teachers with their hugs, and the love I've felt for the missionaries I get to serve with and the people I get to teach!) In closing, here's my new montra that Sorella Russel introduced "Non-vi preoccupati, farello!" (Don't worry- just do it!)

Sorella Smedley

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Preface: Why Serve A Mission

A mission hadn’t been on my mind at first. At the time, sister missionaries couldn’t serve until age 21. However, when I was around 12 years old, I realized that Heavenly Father had a different plan in mind for me. I remember sitting in church, and class was about over. Suddenly, I felt the Holy Ghost say in my mind, “You’re going to serve a mission”. It was so distinct and felt so right, that I mentally responded “uh, ok sure!”. It was such a powerful prompting, and it totally guided my life!

Having the goal of serving a mission helped direct my actions and choices all through life. I felt myself more earnestly studying the scriptures, looking for real-life application. I started paying extra attention during church and seminary to see what things Heavenly Father needed me to learn! This choice gave me strength when faced with temptations and challenges. 

On Sunday, November 1st, I opened my mission call! I felt like I’d been waiting for forever!! It had been around 7 years since I’d first made the decision, and it had been 2-3 months since I had started my papers! I promised not to read ahead, but as soon as that paper was in my hands, my eyes immediately jumped to “Italy Milan Mission”. I immediately felt immersed in the spirit, and felt God’s love for the people there. I instantly knew it was the place for me to be!

Now here I am, about 4 months later, a couple days away from finally serving! The time in-between that day and now has presented it’s own challenges, but through Christ, all things are possible! I’m can’t wait to be set apart this Tuesday as an official missionary! I’m beyond excited to serve the people of Italy as a representative of Christ!

Kaylee (for the last time!) Smedley

Monday, March 7, 2016

Introduction- Allow Me to Introduce Myself

Heyyyyy! I’m Kaylee (soon to be Sorella) Smedley! On March 16th, I’m heading out on a mission/adventure to Milan Italy, where I’ll be representing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for a period of 18 months! The majority of this blog will be dedicated to chronicling my many adventures whilst on my mission, but first, here’s a little bit about me!

  • I was born and raised in Utah #mormonville 
  • I would live in Disneyland if I could
  • I was on my high school’s dance company
  • If souls had colors, mine would be mint green
  • I’m the oldest of 4 kids
  • In the last year, I’ve gone skydiving, parasailing, and surfing
  • I graduated Hogwarts Class of 2015 (Gryffindor prefect)
  • I enjoy capri suns and long walks to the fridge
  • I consume more Netflix than the average young adult
  • I’m 19 years old
  • I have an irrational fear of escalators
  • I love reading more than just about anything
  • I was the “dance sterling scholar” for my high school
  • I’m borderline obsessed with all things Disney (including Marvel and Star Wars)
  • I have attended 1 semester of college at the University of Utah
  • I have absolutely no clue what I’m going to do with my life after my mission, but regardless, I plan to take Ben Franklin’s advice to “either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing”.

Aaaaaand that’s me! Now you’ve learned more information about me than you probably wanted to! Hopefully I’ll become a bit more interesting/entertaining during my time in Italy!

Kaylee (soon to be Sorella) Smedley