Taking My Wand for a Nametag

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Chapter 24: Venice is Great (And So is God!)

Hello loved ones❤️ How are you all?! I'm doing ok I guess. I mean, just hopped over to Venice for the day! No big deal. Lolol but really
though, today was one of my most favorite P-Days so far! Venezia is by far the most beautiful place I've been to in my life! So much water
and beautiful buildings and shops and cathedrals. Basically I'm kind of in love. Let's pray I'm here for a while so I can spend Christmas
in Venice, yeah?🎄 Bought myself some gorgeous Italian oxfords and, of course, a legitimate hand-painted mask🎭 Cuz let's be real, one
doesn't simply walk into Venice... Aaaaand not buy a mask😏 (10 points to gryffindor if you know what movie the first part of my statement
alluded to). Ha but more than just a beautiful day spent in Venice, this week has been super awesome!

Thursday, we had an appointment with an investigator, but she lives kind of far out so it took us about an hour to get there. Any guesses
on what happened when we were 10 minutes away? Yeah, she canceled on us. But we decided to pass by a member who lived nearby, and I'm so
glad we did! About 15 minutes after we got there, 2 of her nonmember friends showed up! So we asked if we could share a quick spiritual
thought with them. We talked about Christ and showed one of the holiday videos the church puts out! It was really a eat experience!

Friday we had weekly planning and correlation mtg with the ward mission leader. Afterwards we had an appointment with our new convert
Micaela! It went so great! She made us dinner of course, and then we went out on their balcony and had a lesson. It was super cool to be
under the stars✨ It was NOT super cool to be amid the mosquitos😶 But the COOLEST thing was that her family (all non members) were there for
the lesson! And her youngest son has started coming to church with her! It's so exciting to see the potential for her whole family to
eventually take part of the blessings of the gospel as she has!

Saturday we had an appointment in the morning with the Mateazzi family from the Italian ward! Later that evening, we had kind of a funny
experience. I've started picking a new attribute of Christ to work on each week. This week's attribute was patience... And any of you who
have ever chosen to improve in patience know it's kind of a mistake, because then God puts you in situations where you need to be patient😂
whelp, such was the case on that hot summer evening. We'd scheduled an appointment with a less active couple from the American ward... I
asked my comp if she knew how to get there. She said yes, so we headed out. Whelp, 30 minutes later, the bus full-on stopped in the middle of
nowhere... We got out, I pulled up my maps app... And saw that we were waaaay far from their home... At this point, my comp informed me that
she actually had never been to this house before.😐 But she said we could probably walk there... So I put that into my app and saw that if
we did indeed walk, it would only take us 3 short hours. Haha yay for working on patience hahahahaha. So we took the bus back a ways, and
got on the stop I thought we'd need, and then saw that the actual bus we needed wouldn't come for 30 minutes. But luckily God blessed us and
it showed up within 5 minutes (what even is Italian public transportation?!) and we made it to the Armstrong's home! I was so
glad we did, because they are amazing! And we found out the husband is going to be gone for about 6 months, and sis. Armstrong is worried
because she doesn't know anyone! So it was the perfect time to meet them!

Sunday was church with both wards which I love!! I'm so grateful to have a solid relationship with a lot of them already! That evening, we
had an appointment with a less active family from the American ward, the Carluccios. It makes me so sad, because she wants their family to
go get sealed in the temple, but her husband doesn't want to! So strange to me, but that's why we're here to help them! We had a good
lesson with them, so hopefully the husband's heart will begin to soften!

Monday we had an AMAZING appointment with our investigator Lindsey! She has a 7 month old boy, and her husband is a member! She shared
with us how she'd been having a hard time reading the Book of Mormon, but that she'd prayed for God to help her to read it. And she felt
prompted to first listen to the chapters, and then read them. So get this- Lindsey listens to the Book of Mormon every day while she runs,
and then reads the chapters she listened to afterwards. She said it takes longer, but it's worth it because now she understands, what
she's reading! And then she talks to her husband about the things she read that night when she gets home! She's so solid, and her testimony
is such an example to me! Then that night, we had an appointment with the Thompson family, where we extended the "Milano 300" challenge!

Tuesday was zone training! Holy freak I was so excited to see my people! Sorella Arndt, Anziano Rogers and Anziano McIver! Seriously
made my whole week! Plus we had some really awesome trainings! I really liked something one of the STLs brought up. She talked about
how God can do anything and everything. He could easily fix every problem and give us all the answers. For us missionaries, He could
find and teach all the people on His own. He doesn't need us to do anything for Him; no, Hes perfectly capable of doing all of this on
His own (and I can guarantee He'd do a much better job than me😂). However, He allows us to be His hands, so that we may partake of the
blessings. We get the privilege to serve others; to solve problems; to beat challenges. We get the opportunity to feel the joy that comes
with success. We get the chance to learn and grow and rise to our full potential!

So idk about you guys, but this week I'm definitely going to start treating the things in my life (missionary work, challenges, etc) as
the blessings and privileges they are. Because the fact that we have these various things reeeaally shows how much God loves and trusts us.
And that's pretty neat❤️

Sorella Smedley

1- walking to an appt. 2&3- Zone Training
4-19 Venezia (Venice) ❤️







Thursday, August 25, 2016

Chapter 23: Hello From The Other Siiiiiiideeeee...Of Italy...

Well folks, I've survived week one as senior comp in a new city😅 Not gonna lie, the first couple of days were rough. I missed Collegno. I felt overwhelmed between the two wards. I missed Collegno. Trying to make plans and take the lead in a brand new city stressed me out a lot. Oh, and did I mention I miss Collegno? Yeah, but moping accomplishes nothing, so I put on my big girl pants and started to work, and oh the difference it has made!🤓

So last Wednesday, I took a train to my new city Vicenza. While on the train, I helped some American tourists, and tried not to think about the fact that I was leaving Collegno haha. Vicenza is beautiful though! It's really green- lots of trees and hills! We live in the upstairs apartment of a cute yellow house. Plus, Vicenza has a US military base (which is where the senior couple is). My new companion Sorella Zombra is awesome😊 We speak straight English in the house and straight Italian all the rest of the time. As we're re walking from place to place, we pick topics and teach each other the words, so it's been great so far💚 I'm shocked by how much I've learned already!

Anyways, back to Wednesday. I arrived in Vicenza around 5:30 and then Sorella Zombra and I headed to an appointment with the Mariani family in our ward. They're totally amazing! They gave a referral to the missionaries a while back for their friend Micaela, and this week, she got baptized! But I'll get to that later🤗

Thursday, we went to the church to take care of the program for the baptism. Then Sorella Zombra and I made some calls, and then made cookies for the baptism.

Friday, we had studies and weekly planning, and then an appointment with our investigator Orfel. She's originally from the Philippines, but she's married to a guy in the military, so they're living here on the base. She's awesome! We mainly went over the first lesson, The Restoration. She's so neat, because she truly wants to find the right church to join. She has such a strong testimony of God, and the plan He has for us!

Saturday, we had the baptism for Micaela! It was so exciting! A ton of the ward came to support her, as did President and Sorella Allen! Micaela is so amazing! She was so happy and excited to be baptized, and her testimony is so solid and beautiful! Her husband and her kids, who aren't religious, came too! The ward was so good to them! It was a great opportunity for me to meet some of our members!

Sunday was kind of crazy but super fun! Here in Vicenza! We have two wards, which means we spend a lot of time at church haha. First, we have the American ward! It's the ward for all of the LDS families who are on the US military base here. It was strange to have church in English haha, but kinda fun too! We also have the Italian ward, which isn't as large as the ward in Collegno, but pretty close. We had Micaela's confirmation during sacrament and it was amazing! Her family came again!! So exciting! That night, we had an appointment with the Cowells, a less actives family from the American ward. They made us steak and potatoes😋 I thought I'd died and gone to heaven👼🏼

I noticed something interesting this week. I've tried asking the other missionaries here in Vicenza about the members and less-actives in both wards and, well, none of them know more than a couple people! Very strange for me, since back in Collegno, I knew everyone and had visited almost every person by the time I left. So on Sunday, I decided to try and introduce myself to as many people as possible! And some interesting things happened... I had multiple people in the American ward who didn't even realize there were missionaries here in Vicenza😳 Also, as I tried to get to know the people, we received soooooo many invitations for meal appointments! I had members offer to visit my family when they go to Utah, or bring things back and forth between us. The bishops from both wards gave us some names of people they wanted us to contact! And I had members from both wards say they wanted us to come teach the youth sometime, or come help with activities. Plus, a ton of the American members ask me if there were things in the American base they could get for me... Guys, they have Doritos! And peanut butter! And Taco Bell! 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 No, but even better than those things, I noticed a lot of people were surprised to have the missionaries talk to them. It makes me so excited to think of the good things that can be done with these members and less actives! And I'm in no way saying that the last/current missionaries here aren't doing things right or anything like that, but I feel truly blessed because I feel like I'm being guided by the spirit to know what this city needs!

Monday we had district meeting, followed by sushi for Anziano Sosa's birthday! Remember how much I love fish? (For those of you who've forgotten, fish are about as low on my list as kebap burgers so...) But I did it lol😅 Then we had an appointment with the Williams from the American ward. Sorella Zombra got to try bacon for the first time!! Unsurprisingly, she loved it! And it was so great to talk with them for a while, and learn about what life is really like in the military, for both the actual person, and for their family. It really helped me to assess the needs of the American ward, especially since they've been neglected for a while. Plus, we found out Emarey Williams totally lived near  me all growing up, so it was a crazy awesome night!

Tuesday was boring in some aspects but really beneficial in the long run! Aaaall of our appointments for the day cancelled on us. So we took the ward lists for both wards and spent hours organizing and figuring out who we needed to see. We also called every single person the bishops had given us! Got some solid appointments set up (mainly for next week). Not a major number day, but so many good things were accomplished!

And today for P day, we went on the American base! We got to buy American food😍 cuz Sorella Zombra hadn't ever tried any of it!! Aaaand also cuz I maybe sorta kinda miss American food😅 We saw a ton of ward members on base who we stopped and talked to as well, so it was a super fun morning! Then this afternoon, we went to centro to do some shopping since Saldi (Huge sales in Italy that only happen twice a year) is almost over, and tonight we're going to a less active's house, because she's decided she wants to come back to church and go to the temple! All in all, an exciting week!!

So many things learned this week, but perhaps my favorite was the reminder of how aware of us God is! I was really nervous this week, but I had 2 people email me reminding me how the Lord qualifies who He calls (divine inspiration, yeah?) and that is sooo true. God is with us for every step of the way! He puts people and situations in our life for a specific reason (even though it's sometimes difficult initially, or we don't understand the reasons behind it). And why is He so aware of us? Love. I didn't even begin to grasp His immense love for us until I left out here. I look at the crazy, unconditional love I have for the people of Collegno, and now for the people of Vicenza, and I can begin to comprehend a small bit of God's love for us.

So if you don't get anything else from my crazy, scatterbrained email this week, at the very least, remember this: God loves you. Not "you guys"- you. Individually. And how neat is that?🤗


1-3 Train station goodbyes
4-Micaela’s Baptism! 5-Pres. & Sis. Allen 6-Church selfies
7-Sushi with my new District 8-The Williams 9-Our American stash!!
10-The Duomo  11&12-Bella Vicenza




Saturday, August 20, 2016

Chapter 22: The Only Thing Worse Than Food Poisoning and Mafia Threats

Well folks, it's been a crazy time here in Italia because IT’S TRANSFER WEEK!! I apologize in advance for not answering all personal
emails this week... Buuuut I kind of don't get a P-day today cuz I’m taking a train to the other side of the country so...

The craziness of this week actually started out last Wednesday. Remember how we went to Aosta and had all those adventures? Yeah, one
of those adventures was getting lunch... As usual, we went to a kebap place, but this time we smelled something different than the usual
spinning mystery meat... Burgers! Legit American burgers😍😍😍😍 so of course, that's what we ordered! It looked so perfectly American, and
it smelled like beef and freedom. Bald eagles were soaring overhead, and the Star Spangled Banner was playing in the background.

And then I took a bite.

And I've probs never experienced deeper disappointment in my life. Lol I have no clue what I ate, but it was definitely not beef. A disgrace
to the name of "burger", honestly. And so we spent Thursday throwing up. So much fun lol. Moral of the story: when at a sketchy Middle
Eastern food joint, only order sketchy Middle Eastern food; NOT burgers...🍔

Friday was a nerve-wrecking day... About half-way through English class, we got a call from President Allen... TRANSFER CALLS WERE UPON
US! He talked to my comp first, telling her she would be staying in Collegno to train! Then he gave me my transfer news! *drumroll* I'M
GOING TO BE SENIOR COMP IN VICENZA! A beautiful city near Venice, and it has an Italian ward and an American ward because... It has a U.S.
military base!! Haha yay cuz that also means American food lol! My new comp is going to be Sorella Zombra who's from... Sicily! Haha guess
I'd better start learning Italian, yeah?😂 No, it'll be good. She’s only had Italian comps, so pres said she can help me with Italian, and
I can teach her English! I'm so excited! It's gonna be such a good experience!

Stefano Quaresima was in the church when we got the call. We told him what was happening, and he was like "No Sorella Smedley, you're
staying here forever! I'll write your president! 'Yes President Allen, you do realize we have the mafia here in Italy... It'd be smart of you
to leave Smedley here'..." Lol ok Stefano 😂😳

So now we get to the title of my email, the ONE thing worst than mafia threats and sketchy food poisoning: goodbyes☹️ A lot of the rest of
this week was spent saying goodbyes... My least fav thing. I of course had to do the usual goodbye testimony in sacrament meeting. Which I
started crying during haha💔 And then came the goodbyes. A lot of members were out of town for ferragosto, but there were still a lot of
hard goodbyes to be said. I'd said goodbye to the Furias last week thankfully, but I still had to bid farewell to some of my favorite people.

Saying goodbye to our investigator Gabriele was so sad. He made a little business card for me with all his contact info so we could keep
in touch. He shook my hand for the longest time, and then started crying. He said that of all the missionaries that he's met with over
the years, I was his favorite. I was shocked. I mean, I felt like we had a good relationship and I'd really worked hard for him, but there
have been a lot of awesome missionaries who've met with him in the past. He told me it was because "ho sentito che tuo coure e vicino
mio". I felt that your heart was near me. Which of course made me start to cry, so we left and bought a pizza for me to drown my sorrows in lol.💔🍕

We had to say goodbye to our crazy Nona Luciana. Any guesses on what she gave me this time to play with? Since she still views me as a 5
year old lol... Well folks, joining my crazy collection of stuffed birds, Italian readers digest, tea sets, and jewelry, I now have a
miniature guitar and a butterfly hair clip the size of a baseball. #blessed

We went over to the Gallo's house. Fratello Gallo was at work, but we had lunch with Olga and Sara and played Liar's Dice (the game from
Pirates of the Caribbean) as usual. All these little normal things that I took for granted... And now I'm leaving😅😥

One of the hardest goodbyes by far was with the Aramu family, because I had to say goodbye to my precious Camilla. We played a bit after
church as usual. Then, it was time for me say goodbye. It was one of the hardest things I'd ever done, because she doesn't understand. I
kept trying to explain that I was leaving, but she kept saying “no, we're going to play next week!" Finally, I just told her I loved her,
after which she threw her arms around me and hugged me while I attempted not to cry. When I said goodbye to her parents, her mom told
me she'd continue sending me pictures and updates so I could see Cami grow up. At this point, I truly did lose it. If you'd told me a year
ago that I'd be living in Italy, crying over leaving a 4 year-old, I probs wouldn't have believed you, but that's kind of where I'm at right now😅😂

Last night, we had my other hardest goodbye. We went over to the Quaresimas to say goodbye. My Italian family❤️ Had some awesome food
and waaaaay too many laughs. I got to hold their snakes (I felt like I was Voldemort or something!) and then hold their newest pets: flying
squirrels...? Because why not. Craziest night ever. Saying goodbye sucked. Fratello Quaresima made me promise to visit them first if I
ever come back to Italy ("hopefully with an Anziano" he added. Lololol). I hugged Sorella Quaresima for what felt like forever. I
just don't want to leave these people!

And now I'm sitting here in Porta Nuova, waiting for the train that will take me to my new home, new comp, and new people. I'm excited and
anxious, but it's also been a sad/stressful week as I've worried about leaving my people here in Collegno. I worry about the different trials
these people I love are facing. I worry about new missionaries loving and taking care of these people. However, the scripture in 1 Nephi 21
has given me a great deal of comfort and peace🤓

14 But, behold, Zion hath said: The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord
hath forgotten me--but he will show that he hath not.

15 For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have
compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I
not forget thee, O house of Israel.

16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls
are continually before me.

Yes, the people of Collegno have been mine for the past 3 1/2 months, but they've been God's people for a lot longer. As much as I worry
about the welfare of these people, I'm rather certain God is even more invested. Above all, I think of how much I love these people here in
Collegno... And as hard as it is for me to comprehend, I realize that it's only a fraction of the immense love Heavenly Father has for them,
and for each of us. And that gives me comfort. These people will be in my thoughts and prayers for forever. However, I'm excited to go give
Vicenza my all, trusting that God will take care of Collegno while I’m away😌❤️

Until next time💕 The church is true and God loves you🤗

Sorella Smedley

  LOTS of goodbye pics:( 
1&2- Gabriele (My favorite investigator) 3- Ada, the English class student
4- Sis. Tribastone  5-Allesandro 6-‘Back row crew’
7- The Sassis  8- Francesco 9-Sassy Fratello Lusso who always curtsies at me
10- The Petrarulos  11- Bishop and his wife
12-14 My hardest goodbye: Aramu family, Camilla
15- My church  16-first house I ever taught at 17- S.Caruso, first member I taught
18- Crazy Luciana  19- Owners of our favorite gelataria  20-Olga & Sara Gallo
21- My District  22-Selfies with my main man Big Daddy G!
23-25 My Family- The Quaresimas (Ft. their snakes!)