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


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