1- 5 Omar, Zacariah, Barbara, and Dan the dog having lessons and making pizza❤️I'm gonna apologize in advance for the length of this email, but it's simply because this has probs been one of the best weeks of my mission so far! This week was "21 Lesson Week", which is when you try to get 21 lessons or more that week. Basically everyone I talked to here said getting the 21 lessons was basically impossible, but that it pushed you, and you usually ended up with more lessons than usual, so I was excited! My comp and I set up a ton of appointments and set aside time every day to go do finding. However, almost everything fell through, & it kept on raining, so there weren't many people for us to find and teach☹ needless to say, we didn't get our miracle 21 lessons. However, it was def a week of miracles for us, & I feel so blessed🤗Thursday, we met with Barbara. I adore her family so much. Cute Zachariah is my lil buddy- he always offers his hand to "help" me out of the car😂He and Omar have this stuffed dog named Dan (lol perfect dog name, right?) & basically I'm just always laughing with these precious kids! Anyways, we really felt like we wanted to talk with Barbara about the atonement. During personal study, I found some stuff that I felt really might apply to her needs. However, we didn't want the lesson to be too crazily long so I just picked one. As we were doing the lesson, I felt like I still needed to share both of the things I'd found. She really reacted well to both of them, & I was glad I'd followed the prompting to share them. Always a good reminder to me that when we feel prompted to do/share something, we need to do it. We typically have no clue why, but we need to be faithful & go for it. I can't even count how many times I've gotten an email or something from one of you that was something I needed to hear, or gave me an idea of what to teach a specific person! You never know when you may be the answer to someone else's prayer❤️Barbara fed us (What a gem!) & dropped us off at the church. We finished our stuff there, & we got ready to leave. Buutt there was a car full of people just chillin outside the church gate... kinda freaked us out, cuz our church is out in the middle of nowhere. Like legit in a field lol. And they've been having problems lately with people breaking in. We called our zone leaders & bishop, & kinda just waited it out. After almost two hours, they finally left. Def a weird day...Friday, was weekly planning. Then, the day was spent with appointments falling through, & a ton of rain. Oh joy. Luckily, we had English class that night still, so it didn't feel like a total waste lol.Saturday was probs one of the craziest days of my life! Or at least of my mission lol! We'd lined up a ton of stuff for Saturday, to try and meet our goals. It was a miracle day, but not in the way we'd expected...That morning, we did some service for Barbara. Then we had an appointment with the Vicedominis in Rivoli, my favorite part of our area! Barbara was kind enough to drive us there❤️ now lemme explain a bit about the Vicedominis. Fratello Vicedomini is super strong in the church. Sorella Vicedomini is darling and amazing, but doesn't come to church anymore... Why? Cuz she's into voodoo... Literally it's her job. Her apartment has all the curtains & candles & all of that. And yet, it's not cuz of the voodoo stuff that she doesn't come to church (although obvi our church doesn't believe in that kind of stuff). Nope-she felt like the members were judging her for her career. Kind of broke my heart to hear that. Cuz I realize that I'm kinda a judgy person... I mean, we all are to an extent! But I certainly don't wanna be the reason someone doesn't come to church! I def don't wanna be what stands in the way of someone coming closer to Christ! We had a super solid lesson with her, & I loved getting to know this lovely, crazy lady!On an unrelated note, she made us hot chocolate... Hot chocolate in Italy is different. They typically use milk & other ingredients, giving it a thicker consistency, kinda like pudding or something. Whale, she starts making us this hot chocolate & she brings out like boxed milk and all these random ingredients. She takes a sip & was like "ugh this tastes too sweet" & of course we're like "duh don't even worry I'm sure it's awesome"... Holy heck, this was probs the nastiest hot chocolate I'd ever had in my life. I legit wanted to vomit. She said it tasted too sweet... But it was so bitter & weird! My comp and I decided afterwards that it kinda tasted like wheat... Well anyways, we both forced it all down lol... And ya know what? It was nasty but I def will not judge her for it and make her not come to church bc of it. So let's not judge people, yeah? 😂Even if they are into voodoo & hot chocolate/wheat drink things. My new life motto, basically.When we left, we started walking through Rivoli. We were gonna take the bus to see Berta, our investigator. Whelp, as per usual, Satan made it rain on us. I didn't mind at first, cuz it wasn't too hard & it made the streets look super pretty. Then it got a little harder. Side note: I'm weird & awkward & sometimes just have little mental prayers/convos with God lol. Well I was having one as we were walking, & it kinda went something like this: "Ok Heavenly Father... It's raining, & I wanna throw up my lil hot chocolate thing. But I promise we'll still go over & see Berta if you help us out a little" And so I felt pleased with this little arrangement, & kept going, ignoring the fact that I felt like I needed to vomit. (Don't worry- I didn't! It's not one of those kinds of stories lol) But I think Satan was annoyed at this little mental promise I'd made, cuz then he made it rain harder... Like legit, the streets were flooded. We see our bus and hop on super fast. My comp sits down and is like "yeah, we're not gonna see Berta today. This is crazy and probs not safe." And I'm over here like oh crap, but I already made a mental promise with God... So this is gonna be awkward. And I wait a bit as we drive and then I'm like "uhhhhh Sorel... Don't hate me... But I really think we need to go see Berta..." And she just kinda looks out the window and is like "fine. But we're going home and getting umbrellas first." A reasonable request obvi. But then I felt a crazy prompting that we needed to go right away. And agin, I'm just sitting there like are you kidding me? Ugh this sucks lol. So I wait a sec, and then am like "uh yeah... I kinda think we need to go straight to her house...". And she turns to me and is like "you're really feeling like we need to go there now, it can't wait?" And I can tell she's annoyed- I don't blame her, this seems like an awful idea😂 and I'm like "ummm... Yeah..."Utter silence till we get to our stop. We get out and still had to walk a ways, and we are literally soaked. There were oceans in my shoes pretty much & I don't think it's possible for us to have been wetter... And I hear my comp yell through the rain "you'd better be right about this!" And I'm just like oh shoot I really hope I'm right on this lol. And we can't even see anything, & my comp goes & leans against an apartment and I go by her and I can tell she's just done. And I just kinda look up & start doing a verbal prayer/convo (cuz the rain and thunder was too loud for anyone else to hear me) & I legit start yelling "okay God! You brought us out here! And I'm wet! And cold! And the hot chocolate is making me sick! And we're lost. And I really need you to do something like now... Cuz if not, my comp is gonna kill me... And I'm gonna cry or something... So I'm not asking for anything insane, but just for a little miracle! Please please please please!"And then I hear someone yell at us..My first thought was "God, is that you?" Lolololol😂😂😂 my second thought was that it was probs someone telling us to go away or something.And then we hear the voice again... It's a lady...We look up, & there's this older lady on her balcony smoking in the rainstorm, cuz why not? Lol. And she's yelling "are you guys ok?" & I'm like lolol nope. & she says "do you need to dry off?" And we're like "umm"And then she buzzed us in. We sat on the stairs inside, just grateful to be out of the rain for a minute. Then we hear a door open upstairs, & the lady starts calling for us to come inside. And we're like "oh that's ok, we're super wet" but she insisted that we came inside. She sits us on her couch, despite the fact that we are literally gushing water everywhere. Her adorable dog comes & plays with us, & she gets us some frizzante. Her name is Tamara, & she's gotta be one of the nicest people I've ever met. She starts asking us about ourselves, & asks if we're students. We reply that no, we are missionaries for our church. She starts telling us about how she was raised Catholic & how she loves Catholicism cuz it reminds her of her mom who passed away.Then her daughter Ariana shows up. They both start asking us all these questions about what we do as missionaries. When they found out I was 19, they were freaking out cuz they thought I was essentially a baby. Why wasn't I at home? Why would I choose to come out here? Were we getting paid? Tons of questions. They also brought this really expensive, delicious gelato for us. We were there for an hour! Then, the rain slowed a lil bit, & we got up to go. We gave them some info, including stuff for our English class that they were both interested in. As we were leaving, I decided to play my "adorable, innocent, 19-year old" card & asked if we could leave them with a prayer out of gratitude for their kindness. They thought that was adorable lol. So I prayed for them specifically. They hugged us as we left. Both Tamara and Ariana were fascinated my hair, and just kept calling me their beautiful little girl. I just adore them. Then as we were leaving, Tamara made us take her umbrella with us, saying we could just bring it back next week & visit her😁 YAYAYAY! As soon as we got home, I threw my sopping wet self onto my knees, so thankful to God for leading us where we needed to go. It was one of those beautiful moments of being in the right place, at the right time!Sunday was another special day. It was the Western Europe conference, and our whole ward was so excited to see the broadcast. As we were walking home, the darling Quaresimas saw us and offered us a ride. During the drive home, they gave us a miracle referral! A woman with 4 kids who is interested in learning more about the church! Best of all, the Quaresimas want to help us with this family, and even offered to make us dinner when we go teach them! Their family is such an amazing example to me! They go out of their way to help the missionaries, and to bring all family members and friends to the gospel of Jesus Christ! Needless to say, we're pretty excited!This week has been uneventful so far cuz my comp & I are both sick from being out in the rain😂So 21 lesson week could be seen as a failure week or a week of success, but I prefer to view it as our miracle week. We definitely did not get our 21 lesson goal, but it was beautiful for us to see how God blessed us for our work. I can honestly say we worked harder and prepared more (and prayed more) this week than we ever had before. And as a result, we got more lessons this week than we ever have, had our miracle with Tamara and Ariana, and got our new referral! And I feel super achy and tired and sick as I write this, but I've also never been happier. I will gladly feel sick and face literal floods and drink nasty wheat hot chocolate EVERY DAY for the rest of my life if that's what's necessary to bring these souls back unto Christ❤️Alma 29:99 I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy.Have a lovely week, my dear humans❤️XoxoXOXOSorella Smedley
6-10 Rivoli (Before the flood)
11- Our "we just survived a flood and a miracle and just tried blow-drying ourselves” selfie
12-Victory gelato for making it through 21 lesson week!