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 <3XOXOSorella 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…
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!