Taking My Wand for a Nametag

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Chapter 32: Crazy Has Become Normal

This has been the weirdest week ever.

Viewer discretion is advised.

Thursday, we had studies and then my greenie's first ever Italian meal appointment with Maria, and it definitely didn't disappoint lol! We rolled ourselves out the door and down various flights of stairs! We came home and did lingua followed by a power nap. At least, we were going to have a power nap. But then Francesca called to tell us she wouldn't be able to make our appointment that afternoon. We set up a different appointment and all was well. But then, right as we'd fallen asleep again, I got another call from Francesca, saying she wanted to just chat lol...😐 I tiredly conversed with this crazy Italian for about 20 minutes before she hung up. At this point, I realized Sorella Richards wasn't there... and it was extremely dark... then I saw her in the hallway... she was like "hey! Don't fret yourself, but the power is out!" Thus realizing that evidently the odds of napping weren't going to be in our favor, I started to fret myself lolπŸ˜‚ we tried various things, but nothing worked... we finally called our senior couple to ask what to do. They said they'd come over and fix it, so we hung up the phone and rushed to clean our apartment before they got hereπŸ˜…πŸ˜‚ the power was fixed and all was well, right in time for English class.

Friday was full-blown weird. First, we started making cookies to take to neighbors and less actives! Only we put too many on a pan at once... so we essentially made a cake? Boh. Then the senior couple had us over for lunch. Following lunch, they drove us to our appointment with Rosanna and her family. Their situation was kind of crazy... she and her son were baptized like 5 years ago but never received the Holy Ghost...? Yeah, none of us know how that happened... comunque, stuff was taken care of so they were back on track to be confirmed! So they wanted us to go over and answer any remaining questions. Well the appointment itself was great, but some weird stuff occurred come sempreπŸ˜‚ for starters, their fat wiener dog refused to sit anywhere but on my lap... not that I complained, but it was odd... Then, they brought out these pie kind of things that a lot of Italians give guests, and they gave us a freak ton of it! Well I know that Sorella Richards doesn't like those and was struggling to finish hers, so as soon as Rosanna turned around, I finished the weird pie thing for her lol #compunity lol. Then they brought out chestnuts, which I've never had before. I hate them. But they gave me a full bowl of them. I finished all of them... but ew. That is all I can say. When it was time to leave, Rosanna gave us a bag of random food crap, and as we walked out, she gave us a pumpkin and a squash that had been just sitting on her porchπŸŽƒ oookay? Lol as we drove home, the winding roads through the mountains started to feel a bit more disenchanting this time around. When we got home, I bolted through the door. I came out a bit later and informed my greenie that I had successfully ridden my body of approximately half of the chestnuts... she found it rather humorous that I literally threw up the stupid chestnuts😷 I found it less than funny, but eventually felt ok enough to take model status pictures with the squash Rosanna gave us #stilldontknowwhattodowithit...

Saturday was equally weird. Well actually some awesome stuff too. We did some finding on the beach that morning and talked to this one lady for like 20 minutes!! Her name is Federica, and she's just adorable! We were talking to her about the gospel like always and it seemed to be going great! Somehow, I was italianing at least well enough for her to understand lol. But halfway through talking to her about the restoration, I felt something large on my head making suspicious buzzing sounds. 

Never fear, I kept my cool.

Lol, that's the biggest lie ever.

I start freaking out like a three year old and my comp is fine cuz insects don't scare her, but I see this rather large shadow and I'm freaking out in both Italian and English and Federica is screaming and people were staring. 

And then it left (probs back home to hell idk), and all was well.

I regained what little of my dignity I had left and shakily asked Federica what the freak had landed on my head. 

She looked at me with knowing fear in her eyes and said, "bombo..." 

Bumblebee🐝 I realized I had barely made it out with my life.

"Oh madonna, ma che schifo!" was my disgusted reply.

"Brava Sorella!" Federica exclaimed as she started dying laughing! We joined in too, although I still felt rather shaken up by it all! That near death experience (lol) completely broke the ice and we just started talking like old pals haha❤️ Then the following happened:

Federica: Siete belle e molto gentile, come angeli! Forse voi potete visitarmi un altro giorno!
(You are beautiful and very kind as angels! Maybe you can visit me another day!)

Me internally: um what? YES! 
Me externally: Sì sì certo! Possiamo scambiare numeri!
(Yes yes of course! We can exchange numbers!)

Federica: Dai, certo! PerΓ², penso che voi non potete convertirmi...
(Come on, of course! However, I think that you can not convert )

Me internally: Alright, challenge accepted!
Me externally: Boh, vediamo! È bello di avere amici comunque!
( Dunno, look! It's nice to have friends anyway!)

Federica: Brava esatto! Anche ho tanti amici e penso che loro vorrebbero imparare vostro messaggio.
(Exact Brava! Also I have many friends and I think they would like to learn your message.)

Me internally: wow, it's like you want to do our job for us!
Me externally: Sarebbe bellissimo! Certo!
(It would be great! Sure!)

And that is the story of how missions are dangerous but rewarding. And old people are the best. Then we had an appointment with Francesca. It was awkward cuz some Jehova’s Witnesses stopped us and Francesca actually took some of their flyers so that was odd...😐 That night we did some finding in the rain, and saw a lady leaning over where the riverbed is. Idk man, I was in a weird mood that day from all the craziness. So I just came up and asked what she was doing. She said she was feeding cats. Sure enough, there were like thirty adorable stray kittens chillin in the riverbed. We chatted for a while and it was rather great lol.

Sunday was super neat because Rosanna and her son received the Gift of the Holy Ghost! It was such an awesome thing to be a part of! After church, we had lunch with the senior couple, the Anziani, and Rosanna and her kids. Lol, we had herbal tea after dinner, and my flavor was disgusting. Anziano Jones and Anziano Gibb wanted to try mine lol, and then Rosanna had to make things awkπŸ˜‚ she was like "Careful Anziano Jones, she might have put a love potion in there" and I was like "Well Rosanna, that wouldn't make sense cuz Anziano Gibb wanted to try mine too!" And Rosanna was like "it's cuz you want to be able to choose!" πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ™„πŸ™„ oh gosh. I think the senior couple almost had a heart attack, and the rest of us were laughing too hard to finish our tea. That night, we had an apt. with this investigator couple who both use medical marijuana... it was a rather strange evening, as you can imagine...

Monday was- shocker!- another weeeeiiiird day! We spent the morning at the questura getting permesso stuff for Sorella Richards! Gosh I swear, the only ugly parts of Italy are questura offices, like literally so sketch haha. That afternoon, all our appointments cancelled on us πŸ™ƒ yay more finding!

Tuesday was too fun! So we had district meeting that morning, and then lunch with Deborah, one of our less actives! She's from southern Italy and is absolutely hilarious! Then we decided to mix up our finding routine a bit. We picked a random area of the city we haven't seen before, got a stack of pass along cards, and made a goal to pass out every single one in an hour and reward ourselves with gelato! We made it a competition with each other and seriously just had so much fun talking to people! We were successful, and it was exciting for me to see Sorella Richards improving and getting outside of her comfort zone! She's seriously the best greenie I could ask for! Only bummer was that it was super cold, so for the first time ever, we actually weren't craving gelato🍦 Lol, gave ourselves an IOU on that one. 

Then we had FHE with the Anziani and the Africans in our branch, which is basically just an excuse to play mind games and then talk about the gospel. Literally, I think we had way too much fun... Also, some workers for the church were having a meeting in our building, so I got to see Giuseppe from Collegno! Best day ever!

Today for Pday, the Genova sorelle came down to Savona! Arndt and I have a running joke that I'll just keep following her around Italy, because we've literally spent our whole missions together! And our greenies were in the same MTC district as each other, so it just makes it all perfect! But we had to literally run to help them catch their train, so sorry if I don't have a ton of time for personal emails today πŸ™ƒ

As you've seen, it's been an absolutely crazy week lol. However, it's funny to me to look back and see how normal a lot of this is to me. I realize it a lot more now that I have a greenie- everything is so new and odd to her! And I remember being the exact same way, and saying the exact same thingsπŸ˜‚ I realized that tomorrow marks 6 months of living in Italy. It's both strange and humbling to look back at the person I was when I arrived in comparison to who I am now. My entire view of people and the world and life in general has changed! Plus, there are so many cultural aspects of Italy that have become more than normal to me over these past 6 months. It's more than normal- it's become home.

Boh, I guess I'm just really grateful that God has helped me fall completely in love with a country so different from my own, and with a people so unlike myself! I’ve never felt closer to Him and to Christ than I have these past months. Quite literally shedding tears for these people, and then getting up the next day to go at it again, despite whatever wildly crazy or totally heartbreaking moments come our way. La vita della missionaria Γ¨ bella, no? Seriously, nothing beats itπŸ’• Here's hoping your week is as crazy and beautiful as mine wasπŸ€—


1-3 Weird Day #1 4- Anziani laughing at our weird day  
5- Rosana & her son getting confirmed  6- Ocean walks
7-9 More ocean & I look like a Jedi!
10&11- Questura  12-Giuseppe!!
13-15 Savona at night
16-19 Pday  20&21 Mom & dad took me to St George & Disneyland with them πŸ˜‚








Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Chapter 31: "Look it, look it! It's freakin bats...I love Halloween"

if you don't know what this title is alluding to, google it. This vine will make your day.

Unless you're a missionary... then just chill and enjoy your ignorance...

Ciao tutti! Long time, no see! It's been a crazy and fun week here in Savona! Lots of awesome lessons, crazy meals, and outstanding adventures! AKA just a normal week in the life of a missionary🌴

Wednesday night after English class, we got pizza with some of our students! πŸ•We really connected well with one of our students, Asmaa, and she wants to start meeting with us! So that's super exciting!

Thursday was a fairly busy day! First, we met with a less active named Francesca! We talked to her about God's love for us, and it went really well! πŸ’•That afternoon, we met with Maria and her daughter again! Maria is struggling with a lot of health problems right now, but her testimony is so strong! She talks really fast which kinda kills us, but I love her so much! πŸ’“That afternoon, we got a new investigator! When we'd been going through the area book last week, we found the name and number for Vincenza, an old English class student. We called her up, and she agreed to meet with us! πŸ‘πŸ»She brought her own copy of the Book of Mormon that she'd started reading on her own- crazy beautiful stuff! As we taught, she'd say things like "oh yeah I read about that in this book" and I was like yes, yes you did! We had an awesome lesson with her- she had a lot of questions but overall seemed to really understand our message! We are hoping to meet with her again next week!

Friday, it was literally raining cats and dogs! ☔️️The wind was totally crazy and literally I wanted nothing more than to stay inside wrapped in a blanket! Well, that's a lie- I obvi wanted to do missionary work even more than that! So Sorella Richards and I bundled up and headed out for an appointment with Barbara, a new convert, and her mom who isn't a member. Ha, I thought my days of being insulted by older Italian women were past, but alas, it may never endπŸ˜‚ but it just adds to the adventure, yeah? That evening, we did weekly planning and made tiramisuπŸ˜‹

Saturday, we had an appointment with a Peruvian less active named Mercedes! Ha, it was Sorella Richards' first meal appointment, and those always provide a funny experience! Then that night, we got sushi with the Anziani and our English class students, because they had friends in town! Nothing like talking about the gospel over a plate of raw fish🍣 or, if you're like Anziano Jones and I, over a plate of french fries lol🍟

Sunday we had church as usual. Gotta love it when sacrament mtg ends and the branch president is like "hey sorelle can you guys teach the adult Sunday school class really quick? Thanks bye." Haha but luckily the mission teaches you to improviseπŸ˜‚ then I got to interpret for the Africans during relief society, so it was a pretty crazy but awesome Sunday! That evening, we had dinner with the senior couple, the Anziani, and a less active from the ward!

Monday, we had no appointments to do in the morning, so we decided to do some solid finding. Lol, no one wanted to talk to us, but on our way back for lunch, we stopped and talked with an older lady about Jesus for like 15 minutes and so that was just lovely❤️ that evening, we had an appointment with Happiness- a girl who'd started dating one of our new converts and has started coming to church. We talked with her about the restoration, and it went really well! She was super into it! It'll be hard in some ways, because she can't read. But we plan on reading the Book of Mormon with her next week!

Tuesday, we had zone training in Genova! I got to see my lovely Sorella Fife and Sorella Arndt, so that made my whole day! πŸŽ‰Aside from normal mission things, we talked a lot about consecration, and the ways we can live a more fully dedicated life of discipleship, and better align our will with God's. Super awesome stuff! That evening, we didn't have an appointment so we tried to pass by a potential family. No luck there, so we decided to take the long way home and stop and talk to literally everyone we saw! It took a long time but ended up being super fun! We weren't able to find any new investigators, but we had some really solid convos with people and handed out a ton of pass along cards!

Today for P day, we hiked through some caves! Pretty cool stuff, except I realized about halfway through that I actually kind of have a fear of caves...? So that was interesting 😐 saw a freak ton of bats too, which was pretty sketch lolπŸ˜… no, the caves were super cool and beautiful when they weren't terrifying. Also we met a German family and I died at how cute their kids were! Then we did some shopping and a lil bit of napping😴

Not gonna lie, training and whatnot has presented a lot of challenges. However, it's brought me so many opportunities to see God's love for me, and to remember how aware He is of us. For every challenge or weakness I find, I see how He has blessed me. Yes, I still feel weak in the language, but He blesses me to know the things that need to be said right when I need them. Yeah, training is hard, and I feel inadequate and tired a lot, but I was given a really awesome greenie! Yep, whitewashing a city presents a lot of challenges, but He gave me the abilities I need in order to handle it. I guess, it just really changes everything in a situation when we focus not on the difficulties themselves, but rather look to the things a god does/gives us so that we can accomplish them❤️

Until next time,
Sorella Smedley 

1-3 Pizza with Asmaa  4&5- Mine & Jones’ “sushi”  6- good ole fashioned door knocking
7-12 Zone training  & Lunch at KFC

13-18 Pday at the caves ft. me, my verdina and my new German friend!







Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Chapter 30: Long Walks on the Beach Don't Make Me Trunky

My email title may or may not be a lie.

My greenie and I are both still alive, so I guess you could say week one of training has been a success, yeah?

Thursday, I got matched up with my lovely verdina, Sorella Richards!! We had so much fun moving all our luggage through the metro and around Milano centrale (that's a lie... it was hectic and dumb, but we lived!) and then we took the three hour train ride to beautiful Savona!

Well, 'beautiful' is an understatement, but we'll get to that later😏✌🏼️

We arrived, dropped our luggage off at our awesome apartment, and then headed to English class with the Anziani and our senior couple! Gotta love just jumping right in, yeah? After English class, the Anziani took us to get pizza! (Unnecessary info: It's cool, cuz our district is a full-blooded family, because Anziano Gibb is training Anziano Jones! With mission genealogy, your trainer is your parent, and your other parent is either your district leader or the oldest Sorella in your district. And since our district us just us four, we're a complete mission fam awww❤️ We will now return to our regularly scheduled program.)

Friday started of with weekly planning (which is rather difficult when you're both new to the city, but comunque). We sent off Sorella Richards' permesso stuff, and then met with the Anziani to coordinate stuff for the area. We decided to do some finding, aka walk along the pier whilst talking to people about JesusπŸ€—πŸŒ΄ Then we returned home to start finding potential investigators in the area book.

Saturday started off a bit boring, because a lot of it was filled with organizing the area book and making calls. We mixed it up that night by going finding and then meeting the Anziani for gelato πŸ¦

Sunday, we met our branch! It was a really different experience because my past two areas had wards! Here, it's a branch and our church is really just an apartment that's been renovated. Really cool experience to get to work in an area where the church is still sooo young! The only hard thing is the leadership isn't super organized. The members are great though, and many travel a couple hours to come each week! After church, we walked along the beach to go to dinner at the senior couple's house! Super fun to talk with them, and then we went and visited a less active!

Monday was studies and district meeting. We had two appointments scheduled, but both of them ended up canceling on usπŸ’” so we worked on the area book and called a ton of potentials, some of whom we have appointments with this week! Vediamo!

Tuesday, we went and visited the Garcias, a less active family. They live pretty far out, so the senior couple drove us! It was fun to see more of our beautiful area, and the Garcias are ADORABLE! Then we had an appointment with Maria, a recent convert, and her daughter Aurora who doesn't know much about the church! Ha, Maria speaks really fast which was difficult. I still feel like my Italian isn't all that great. However, talking with my greenie after the appointment, it made me surprised to realize how much my Italian has improved since I first arrived in Italy! Yeah, it's faaaaaaar from perfect! But I can have conversations with people and do basic things, and I consistently feel God helping me when my own abilities aren't enough.

Today for Pday, we decided to explore our gorgeous city! It's amazing here, because you've got mountains on one side and the Mediterranean Sea on the other! Legit, our apartment is like a 10 minute walk from the beach! Cruises dock here, like that's how cool his place is! So we went up in this beach fortress thing, checked out the duomo, and browsed through the little shops in centro (the book store was my favorite, of course!)πŸŒ΄πŸ—»πŸš’πŸπŸ–πŸŒ„πŸŒ…

Isn't it neat how aware God is of us? I was excited but mostly terrified when I got the transfer call to open and train. I still feel really inadequate in most areas, especially the language. However, I woke up today feeling extremely blessed. He gave me an awesome greenie, and outstanding Anziani and other missionaries. He gave me a beautiful area that definitely needs some work, but is already amazing. He's not making the experience easy, but He has made it doable. And I mean, what more can I ask for?

"We can trust in what our prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, repeatedly teaches: 'Whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies' and 'When we are on the Lord’s errand, we are entitled to the Lord’s help.' Whether we are overwhelmed or underwhelmed, whether we are scared to death or bored to death, the Lord wants us to gear down, power up, and serve." -General Conference October 2016

Sorella Smedley 

1- Picking up my Greenie, Sorella Richards 2-Her first pizza 3&4-Awkward family photos with our district
5&6- The Pier  7-My comp being a photographer of me & the Anziani
8-Sunday walk on the beach 9-First kebab in Savona 10-Bookstore!!
11-22 Beach Fortress & duomo