Taking My Wand for a Nametag

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!)

XOXO
Sorella Smedley
sorellanza


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