Taking My Wand for a Nametag

Friday, July 29, 2016

Chapter 19: Fallin to My Knees (Literally...)

Best week ever... But also clumsiest week ever (cuz apparently all my good spiritual experiences have to be paired with awkward ones lol... Ain't even surprised.)

Ok, so Thursday, our train left Firenze at like 11, so sadly we had to look at the duomo and walk through the leather market. Oh what a sad & difficult life I lead here haha. But we got home kind of late ish & then made calls... traveling makes one tired. Especially when there are screaming children on your train haha but whatevs.

Friday was the usual weekly planning and English class, followed by a lil adventure. We had an appt set up with the Furia family (member family, but some of them are less active). We missed the bus, and after consulting both God & google maps (hehe jk but really) we determined it'd be faster to just walk there. Because google maps said it was easy ish. Never trust google maps... Because I'm pretty sure Satan knows how to mess with it haha. We left & it was taking forever. It started out fairly pretty. We walked down the cute little Italian streets. We passed taverns with musicians, & of course random churches & cathedrals. But then google wanted us to cross a river. And one cannot do that whilst in a skirt without looking less like a sister missionary, & more like a mysterious swamp creature. I wasn't down to inflict that on the Furias. So... We had to go around the river...? At least, until we found a sketchy bridge thing (next to another random freaking church of course). But we made it across the river & thought we'd escaped and troubles. Not so. All of a sudden we were in a field? And then a street? And then we saw a castle (seriously man, what even is italy?!) And then a factory? Whelp long story short, we did end up finding the house! Moral of the story: Don't trust google maps...? Or maybe don't get distracted by Italian castles and prettiness? Or perhaps just always wait for buses? Idk, choose your pick.

Comunque, our night with the Furias went well in spite of the crazy journey getting there. The lesson was perfect for them! I had typical girl talk with the daughters (basically half and half of them telling me their guy drama, and then them looking through my pictures from home and mission and telling me the guys they approve of hahaha) Dinner was fab too, although I got introduced to the summertime favorite of Italians... Cantaloupe wrapped in prosciutto crudo (raw meat salted and left out for a bit). Be proud family: totes ate the whole thing... But also totes barfed when I got home haha apparently that lil delicacy will take some getting used to...

Saturday was a fab day... Thus I will save its story for the end... Legit happiest day ever.

Sunday was a typical great day at church. Although, as we were walking in for sacrament meeting, my favorite Fratello Quaresima stopped me and our convo went like this:
FQ: "Sorella Smedley! Tu sei brava!"
Me: "...Sì... Lo so..."
FQ: "Sei la 'first lady' oggi!"
Me: "...uhh... Cosa?"
FQ: "Perché vorrei che tu fai un discorso oggi... La primo persona per oggi..."
Me: "...Va bene Fratello... Io posso..."
Yay for getting asked to speak in sacrament meeting right as it starts. Plus I told myself Oh yeah, I can figure out stuff during sacrament; assemble my thoughts, maybe translate a few phrase... But I forget that unlike in an American ward... The sacrament gets finished pretty quickly in a smaller Italian ward haha. Oops. But it happened and went well so idk lol.

Monday we had district meeting and had to practice a musical number for this week's zone conf. We also started our mission fast. Our entire mission did a fast from 9am Monday to 9am Tuesday. Such a neat experience, especially at the start and finish, knowing every Milano missionary was on his or her knees all at once! That evening, we met with Gabriele Furia (oldest Furia child). He's our ward mission leader, but is currently inactive because of the huge trial he was hit with. I talked about him 2ish weeks ago, cuz we'd had a lesson with him and he'd prayed for his first time in over a year! Well he met with us again, and it went super well! We talked a lot about Christ's atonement and how it can help us during trials. He didn't pray this time, but promised me he would pray before I leave Collegno, whenever that is. Also it was his birthday, so we made him cookies. I also insisted that he wear a birthday hat. Haha I think my weird combo of awkwardness and sass confuses him enough to make us pretty good friends haha. He's so great.

Tuesday was crazy, because we had half of our Pday that day (because of zone conf stuff) and the other half Wednesday. So we went with the Torino sorelle to Torino centro. We shopped around a bit & got some kebap, & then headed up to Superga (this extremely beautiful and famous cathedral built at the top of a mountain). Literally pretty much anywhere in Torino, you can see this cathedral. So we took this tram thing up the mountain, and then hiked up a bit to the cathedral. It was totally beautiful. Then we climbed through the narrowest, most spiraling staircase through the dome onto the roof. Hundreds of steps. Halfway through, I just kept thinking Huh. I paid 2 mother-huggin euros to climb fetching stairs. But then danggers the view was sooooo worth it! Absolutely breathtaking. Plus now I can say I was literally on top of Superga, so there's that. The rest of the day was normal missionary work, plus ward council (always a happy time cuz our ward is my family❤️) 

Wednesday was zone conf! We had some amazing trainings from our APs, STLs, ZLs, and if course the Allens! A lot of it was for our mission goal of 300 baptisms before the Rome temple is dedicated, so it was a super exciting conference! President Allen is such an amazing man, and you can tell he loves us and has so many great inspired ideas for our mission! Aaaaaand now I'm here writing to you lovely humans. Yay!

Ok now for Saturday. I woke up that morning super sick (vomiting from the cantaloupe + prosciutto crudo haha) and my comp didn't feel the best either. So we made calls and updated our area book and whatnot.


We were supposed to have a lesson with our investigator Gabriele Albano (the one who's wife died and whatnot). And I still felt sick but really felt like we should still go to this one appointment. So we went with Sorella Quaresima. We continued what we'd done last week (having him teach us the concepts used in the baptismal interview ?s without telling him that's what they were) and it went so great! He opened up to us about EVERYTHING in his past, and it was so great to see that he truly has repented. He also came out about his worries for the future; he's lonely since his wife passed, and likes having the option of eventually remarrying someone. However, for months he's apparently been having this internal battle because he thought you weren't allowed to get remarried in our church! For you missionaries and MTC teachers, it reminded me of that episode of the District when German totes doesn't understand the law of chastity😂 We explained to him that he could, in fact, eventually be remarried, and I swear I literally saw a weight get lifted off! We finished going through the questions, and then showed him that the things we'd had him teach and bear testimony of were the qualifications for baptism!


The spirit totes came in and all of a sudden I was talking in my less-than-awesome Italian... I told him that through baptism, his repentance process would be complete and he would be clean again! I told him that we prayed for him, and that we genuinely believed he was ready. And then I asked him if he wanted to be baptized! And he smiled at us, tears in his eyes, and said yes!

Guys, this man has been investigating the church for years! He's had missionaries drop him because he hasn't committed to baptism. But somehow, God blessed us with the things we needed to be able to earn his trust, and help fix the problems standing in his way. I asked him when he would like to be baptized, and he said the first week of September. My heart sunk a little bit, because there's a very good chance I'll be transferred before then. But I was still just too excited for him, so I said ok!


He thanked us over and over again for helping him and not losing faith in him. He asked if we would be the missionaries there at his baptism. Trying not to totally lose it (cuz I do not want to leave Collegno) I told him there was a good chance I would be gone because of transfers. He was quiet for a minute, and then said (in Italian of course) "You had faith in me. You finally answered my questions. You get to be there for my baptism!" He took the calendar again, and chose Friday, August 12th; the last weekend of the transfer. I then started leaking out of my eyes, because that is what one does in these situations. What a tender mercy from God! He said the closing prayer, thanking God for sending us to help him. At this point I was in full-on bawling mode, which is weird cuz ya'll know I'm not a huge cryer haha. But wow, even if he'd kept his bap date for after the transfer, that day was one of the happiest of my life.


We say goodbye and he closes the door... And I'm totes like walking on air at this point... But apparently walking on air makes it more difficult to walk on stairs (see what I did there😏) Cuz then I totes tripped down the flight of stairs and legit landed at the bottom, on my knees😂 Sorella Quaresima was very worried about me but I was just laughing and still crying and probs looked like a crazy person... She was like "Wow, you were just leaping for joy and then fell to your knees to thank God". Yup basically... Haha. But in reality though, so much prayer went towards this man, to try and figure out the obstacles standing in the way of baptism. And I'm not one to try and ask things of you all cuz I know you're all busy cuz you have lives... But this week, I ask for prayers on behalf of Gabriele as we prepare these next 2 1/2 weeks for his baptism! He's finally ready, and I really don't want Satan to come screw stuff up! Thanks thanks thanks thanks! You da best❤️

S. Smeds

1-Adventure to the Furia’s  2-Furia Family 3-Lesson/bday with Bro. Furia
4- Victory Gelato!!   5-pre-fasting pancakes  6-shopping in Torino Centro
7- Tram up to Superga 8-Superga, that thing at the end of the rainbow! 9&10- In front of Superga
11-Inside Superega 12-Maybe one day Sis. Lau & I will see a confession booth & NOT do this pic, today is not that day! 13- Stairs upon stairs…
14&15- The view from the top! 16-The hike was beautiful too
17&18- Zone Conf. 19&20- Selfies with Sorella Bastian & Pres. & Sis. Allen


Friday, July 22, 2016

Chapter 18: Around the World in 80 Days

And by "world", I mean "northern Italy"... And by "80 days", I mean 3 hours... Because we took a frecciarosa... But I'll get to that later😉

Hello loved ones, and welcome to another weekly email of craziness featuring yours truly❤️ Italy is still great, although it's hotter than hades right now... I kid you not, my ctr ring tan line is coming in quite nicely🙃 For those of you with little time, here are the 5 biggest events of this week. 1- I haven't gotten us lost yet! 2- We found maple and so my comp made syrup. 3- We had to go to the anziani apartment again. 4- I got "baci"ed by a dalmatian. 5- I went to Firenze (Florence, for you non-Italians) and I'm shocked I didn't drop 100€ in the first 5 minutes...

Okay, so a lot of this weekend was filled with the necessary but less exciting endeavors that come with transfers (getting bus passes, giving a brief overview of our investigators, members, and area, etc.). And *gasp* there was yet another thing in the anziani apartment that needed fixing, which took up half a day. Love life. But that's ok- we had a long chat with their landlord, and she's planning on coming to our English class which is exciting!

Our ward and the Torino wards were having a primary activity one morning, so we went with our less active Barbara and her kids. It was super fun, and a good way to introduce? McHardy to some of the people in our ward. Plus I just love the kids in our ward waaaaaaay too much, so it was basically paradise for me😍

We met with another one of our less actives, S. Vicedomini (the voodoo lady haha). The lesson went kind of crazy, because she just wanted to rant about something someone in our ward said on Facebook that offended her. Wow I hate Facebook😂 Kills me how people read too much into comments, or how people put rude stuff on there that they'd never say in real life lol, it's kind of ridiculous🙄Lets step away from the phone and go do something else, like serve someone or eat gelato or go to the zoo or literally ANYTHING else😂😂 Anyways, she finally finished her rant and we just told her that God loved her and that we loved her and then we were out haha. With some people, you just do what you can💕

We had another lesson with our investigator Gabriele. We know he's ready for baptism, but he doesn't think he is. He knows it's an important step, and he wants to be worthy and ready. So I had the idea that we use the baptismal interview questions as the framework of our lessons, and let him teach us. We went through the first half on Saturday, and he did amazing! He has such a strong, beautiful testimony, and he expressed that he wants to get baptized! So this week, we're going to go over the last half of the questions, and then show him that all the things he's born testimony of to us are the qualifications for baptism, and that we believe he's ready! Our hope is to give him a solid bap date this weekend, so prayers on our behalf would be much appreciated!

We had another lesson with Machi on Sunday. He's reading the Book of Mormon and likes the doctrine we've taught him so far. We aren't really sure yet how strong the desire is, but he said he's going to try to come to church this week! The rest of Sunday evening, we baked a freak ton of cookies. Our plan is to take them with us to members, investigators, less actives, and potentials. We printed out Polaroids of us baking, and wrote personal messages on the back.

Monday we met with the Aramu family in our ward, which means I got to see my darling Camilla again❣. Update: she can finally say my last name, and she loves it now haha. All during the meal, when her parents would serve her her food, she was like "no, we have to give it to Sorella Smedley first" (said in cute 4 year old Italian of course) haha. They also were babysitting Peggy the dalmatian, who literally tackled me and insisted on trying to lick me to death lolol. Best Monday night ever.

Tuesday, we had district meeting in Torino. Then that evening, our appointments cancelled on us, so we did some finding. Not a ton of success there, but we knew we'd worked hard so it was fine🤗

Now for my email title. This morning we took a frecciarosa train from Torino to Milano to Firenze... Why, you may ask? Well, shortly after S. McHardy arrived, she got a notification that her permesso was ready to be picked up... In Prato... Haha... So thus, we arrived in Firenze, took a train to Prato, got the permesso, and then spent the rest of p day in Firenze! Plus we get to stay the night with the Firenze STLs which means... I GOT TO SEE MAMA SMITH! Lol, has it really only been a week since we separated?! Haha I miss her!

My love for these people grows more and more each day. I pray I'll get more transfers here in Collegno, because these people have become my family. This love is both a blessing and a curse, because the amount of stress and heartache I have over these stubborn Italians is kinda overwhelming a lot of the time. But I wouldn't trade it for the world! I've never related more fully to 2 Nephi 33:3-4
3 But I, Nephi, have written what I have written, and I esteem it as of great worth, and especially unto my people. For I pray continually for them by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night, because of them; and I cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry.
4 And I know that the Lord God will consecrate my prayers for the gain of my people. And the words which I have written in weakness will be made strong unto them; for it persuadeth them to do good; it maketh known unto them of their fathers; and it speaketh of Jesus, and persuadeth them to believe in him, and to endure to the end, which is life eternal.

This applies in large to the people here in Collegno- my people❤️ But it also applies to you amazing family and friends of mine. I hope you all know how important you are to me, and that you are in my prayers and thoughts constantly.

Sorella Smedley

1-Making cookies  2-6-Primary Activity 7-8 Dalmation Love
9-10-Camilla (my fav)  11-12 seeing mamma! And running into Anziano Lott who's visiting w/his fam
13-22 Beautiful Firenze! (Florence) The Duomo, leather shops and a nun!





Monday, July 18, 2016

Chapter 17: Scallops and Wine and Transfers- Oh My!

Well folks, it's been another crazy week here in Italia, and I am no longer a greenie, so that's exciting!

Okay so Thursday, we had a lesson with the Tribastone family (the wife is less-active, the husband is active, and the daughter is not a
member). The lesson went well, and we talked with them for a while. Then they got our dinner for us, and as per usual, there was waaaaay
too much food lol. Pasta, some sort of meat, salad, fruit, cookies, etc. Haha, so my comp asked them what the meat was... And they told
us, but neither of us recognized the Italian word... Then, when we got home, we made the mistake of looking up what it was... Scallops. For
those of you who aren't as familiar with creepy seafood, Anziano England once described scallops as "strange sea marshmallows". So,
yup... We literally ate pounded out scallops... Covered in wine… Gotta love life lol

Friday, we had studies and weekly planning. Then, we had English class. Immediately following that, we rushed over to our lesson with
Gabriele. We were mainly covering the word of wisdom. He's the neatest dude, because he's so open about things! Like he has no problem
admitting he has struggled with different aspects but is actively trying to repent. He's just awesome!

Saturday was a big day because WE GOT TRANSFER NEWS! To quote Sorella Ardnt, "Transfer call day is like Christmas... Minus all the fun...
And with 10x the stress." Anyways, we found out that Sorella Smith was going to Florence to be an STL, and that I was going to get Sorella
McHardy, who's been out for around 6 months! Even though we had figured Smith was going to be leaving, it made for a hectic weekend
with packing and saying goodbye to people! She got to give a final testimony in church on Sunday, and then I got to play photographer,
snapping pictures of her with everyone! Obviously I'm super happy and excited for her, but it is gonna be a sad change! Plus, since she'd
spent 7 months here, the people are all pretty attached to her!

Monday, we had district meeting. Super sad, because we had to say goodbye to Sorella Smith (obviously) as well as Anziano Sanchez and
Sorella Ardnt. Pretty depressing, since I've had them all for 2 transfers, but that's ok! Then, we tried to pass by Machi, but he
wasn't there! So we headed to the church where we were supposed to meet with our ward mission leader. A little bit about him. He's part
of the amazing Furia family, and he's an RM from the Rome mission. However, he was hit with a super tough trial about a year ago, and it
made him angry at God. He stopped coming to church, praying, and even talking to his family. Thus, the bishopric assigned him to be the ward
mission leader, hoping it would re-activate him, because he has a soft spot for the missionaries. Well, he hasn't been able to meet with us
for over a month, but last weekend, we texted him to see how he was doing and if there was anything we could do to help him. 
He responded sarcastically that we could teach him the missionary lessons, so we sassily said "Okay- see you Monday!"

Ok so we were waiting at the church, and he showed up! I was super nervous, because even though this guy is super nice and normal, he's
still kind of intimidating. Ever since before Smith had gotten here, he refused to pray and couldn't talk about anything-gospel related
because it made him so furious. And as we were walking in, I started to feel like we needed to change our lesson plan to talking about how
God is our loving Heavenly Father. However, the situation was already starting and was pretty fragile, so instead I just said a mental
prayer that God would help us. We started off the lesson, and my trainer changed our plan and asked him what his favorite principle of
the first missionary lesson was. He thought for a minute, and then chose "God is our loving Heavenly Father". Well isn't that just
perfect. We asked him to teach that principle to us. Afterwards, Smith asked him if he believed it. He hesitated, and then said it was hard
sometimes, given all the hard things God had put him through. All of a sudden, I got the impression to ask him if he remembered the story of
Job in the bible. He said he kind of did. So I launched into a lil summary of it- how Job had everything in his life taken away from him,
but he still didn't lose faith in God. I then started talking about how even though God loves us, He has to be fair and just. This means
that a) Satan can tempt us and make things difficult for us, and b) because everyone has their free agency, we sometimes have to suffer
from the actions or consequences of someone else. However, these things don't mean God has abandoned us. I brought up our investigator
Gabriele who's wife died. God didn't stop her from dying, but He sent Gabriele the missionaries and the gospel so that he would be able to
make it through that trial. He can't always take our trials and problems away, but He does help us and strengthen us so we can withstand them.

He seemed to take this well, and sat there in thought for a while. As the lesson wrapped up, Smith asked him if he would please pray, since
she was leaving. He said no, and had just about every excuse in the book. His final excuse was that because he was angry with God, he
would probably end up swearing. I said that that was fine, because I wouldn't be able to understand it anyways😂 He reluctantly agreed, and
he prayed. And it was seriously the best prayer of my life. He thanked God for us, and for us never giving up on him. He asked God to help
him to understand why he had the trial he had. He asked for forgiveness and for help. Being me, I peeked open one eye just in time
to see him wipe a tear off his face. It had been so long since he’d talked to God, but he did! When we said goodbye to him, Smith and I
basically died! We were just so happy to see the change, and to know that we'd helped him start to get back in the right path!

Tuesday, we said some more goodbyes. We stopped by Luciana, who gave me yet another Italian book to practice with, haha. Then, we went home
to clean the apartment in preparation for transfers. So... I went to take the garbages out (our garbages are outside on the back porch) and
I totes tripped and knocked over the organic one... So food fell all over and they were suddenly a freak ton of flies... I yelled for Smith
to shut the door, and then I got to spend 30 minutes chilling on the porch with the garbage until most of the flies left... Yes, super
smooth move on my part as per usual... After the fly fiasco, we went over to the Quaresimas. They are seriously my favorite family, and I
feel my language skills improve more as I'm with them, because I'm so comfortable with them. They showed us some journals from their
ancestors dating back to the 1700s... And the book nerd in me literally wanted to die... We partied to the music going on across the
street, and it was a great way to spend Sorella Smith's last night!

Wednesday, we did some last minute cleaning and then took Smith to the train station. Saying goodbye was so hard! Then, I was in a trio with
Ardnt and Lau for the rest of the day, because Sorella McHardy wasn’t arriving until around 8pm. So we walked out around centro Torino, did
some shopping, and just hung out until the train came in.

I haven't had very much time with my new comp yet, but she seems great! I'm excited for the things we're going to do here in Collegno😁
Love you all, and hope you all have a fantastic week!

Sorella Smedley

1&2- Tribastones  3-6 District Mtg.
7- Quaresimas  8-10 Goodbyes & Hellos