Taking My Wand for a Nametag

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Chapter 40: The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway

Except it does.

Happy {almost} Christmas 🎄I'm assuming you're all as stoked as we are for this holiday weekend! I don't know if I've mentioned already how awesome Italia is at Christmastime... but just imagine how beautiful Italy is all the time, and then add twinkling lights, late-night markets, and decorations and music everywhere🇮🇹 Essentially, I'm in love. And so naturally, my dear greenie and I have been playing a heck of a lot of Christmas music, so I figure this week instead of the typical "missionary group email", I'd share a bit of our current Christmas playlist with y'all😂❤️

The Polar Express Soundtrack🚂❄️
Well folks, literally all of Thursday was spent on a train, because we had the mission conference in Modena! President Johnson from the seventy came and spoke, and it was super awesome! Highlights include:
  • There's a difference between things that are hard and things that are impossible.
  • Don't just memorize with your head- memorize with your heart
  • You want true freedom? You be obedient. Give yourself to God and he will open the doors for you to go and do and be
  • The only impossible thing in the world was already accomplished by our Savior Jesus Christ, so now everything is possible!
  • Seeing some of my favorite missionaries!!
Also, bimba and I calculated and last week, between traveling for scambio and for the conference, we had approximately 17 hours of train travel...😑 but eh, who am I to complain about taking a train through foggy Italia💁🏼

Something about December by Christina Perri 
Friday we had institute in the morning. Cute Silvanna taught another awesome lesson as usual, and she brought us and the Anziani a Christmas treat! She's just so caring! We tried doing some finding and didn't really have any luck finding people to teach. However, we've been having a lot of nice convos with people anyways. Seriously, something about being close to Christmas really changes people's attitudes! We also had our "Meet the Mormons" movie night! Well... just like the last few weeks, there weren't a ton of people. But there were more than normal, and none of the families or individuals there had seen it before! It ended up being a pretty awesome night!

All I Want For Christmas is You by Fifth Harmony
👆🏾 me @ all the people in Savona who I want to teach lol😂 Saturday was a day full of attempting to find new investigators, although we didn't necessarily get those results. We did have another lesson with Francesca though! We've been continuing to read the Book of Mormon with her, and my love for the Book of Mormon grows more and more each time! It's one thing to read it on your own, but it's a whole new experience reading it with someone for their first time! She asks so many questions, and although some of them are the most random things ever (like why the records were written on metal, or why certain people had certain names...?) but in all honesty, it's easy to take the Book of Mormon for granted when you've grown up with it or when you've read it multiple times. I look back on my life, and the Book of Mormon is totally integrated in me! I love it and have studied it multiple times, but this fresh perspective just reminds me of why it's important for us to be continually studying it: because there are always new truths and principles for us to learn and apply. It's awesome!❤️

Hallelujah by PTX
I feel like Sunday was literally just a mix of heartbreaks but also beautiful moments. Church was good but also hard, because I realized it might be my last time seeing some of these amazing people. We get transfer calls on Christmas Eve, and so there's a chance that this time next week, I'll be heading somewhere new. This city has been extremely hard but I also love it so much, especially as I was watching our branch members interacting with one another. After church, we went to the rest home and sang Christmas songs to the residents😇

You may be thinking it was sweet and serene, and that perhaps tears were shed.

But you would be wrong.

I don't think there's ever been a more tone deaf choir in all the world😂 literally somehow our branch was sooooo off on "Joy to the World" that sweet Silvana had to stop playing the music in attempts to save the performance😂😂

Oh well. I love this bunch of crazies nonetheless.

We had an appointment with Sorella Nieddu in our branch, and my love just continued to grow. This woman is such an example to me! She's been through challenges I can't even imagine enduring, and she's come out as a strong mother for her family and a leader for the members! We left her house feeling overwhelmed by the spirit and by the love we have for these beautiful Italian people!

That evening, we had an appointment with Constanza, and it was by far the hardest lesson I've ever had. We had prepared really well for this, and put in a ton of thought and prayer. However, we noticed literally the minute we walked in that something was off. The entire lesson, we were blindly attempting to try to bring the spirit into the lesson, but it was essentially impossible. Constanza started to legitimately attack us and our beliefs, despite all our attempts. Once we realized the lesson wasn't going anywhere, we decided that truly all we could do was bear testimony of this gospel that we knew to be true. 

And I'd like to say it went perfectly, and you'll find our story in the next edition of the Ensign, but I'd be lying. So we left with a prayer and a promise to see her around Christmas, but honestly we came home emotionally exhausted. I mean, it honestly would've been easier if she was just insulting us or something; that's normal, that's the life of a missionary. But the hardest thing was having my core beliefs attacked and disrespected. It was heartbreaking, especially because I honestly love Constanza with all my heart. I truly believe God prepared her to received the restored gospel. However, one thing I was grateful came out of this experience was the realization of how firmly rooted my testimony is. Because as she said these things and attempted to make light of key truths such as the Book of Mormon and the restoration through Joseph Smith, we were able to bear witness of these truths, and that this truly is Christ's church! How grateful I was, in that moment, that I didn't need to use the words "I think" or "I believe", but instead used the words "I know!" 

Justin Bieber's Drummer Boy 🎧
Yes, we did stoop so low as to download JB's Christmas album as well... but, to put it in the words of my dear Sorella Richards, "Just because we like the rap part of 'Drummer Boy' does NOT mean we are 'Beliebers'!"

So... there you have it folks...

But yeah, we decided to take a train to Loano to try to pass by a less-active. The town is sure beautiful, but it was pretty deserted Monday... She wasn't there, but we tried to talk to people on our way there and on our way back.

Three exciting things happened during this journey.


2. We found a strange man who was very much not interested in our message but was very interested in informing us that, and I quote, "there's no such thing as an American! Y'all are just nasty immigrants from Europe!" To which I responded,"Haha ok, well we love Europe" while internally I'm like MURICA🇺🇸 

3. We did, in fact, memorize the rap part of drummer boy during this voyage.

Winter Song by Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson☃️
Coldest Winter by PTX ❄️
Tuesday was absolutely freezing! Rain everywhere and super cold, but the worst part was the wind! It was literally miserable! Whiiiiiich naturally means no one wants to meet with us🙃 but all was well. We had district meeting (followed by a trip to McDonald's for the first time in forever because it was needed) and then spent the rest of the day updating our area book and getting stuff ready for this week's Christmas party!

  Also, we were walking beside a lil bakery and saw some most wonderful
  desserts. I did what one always does and went to the window to
  investigate... but... I was investigating too hard... and slammed my
  forehead into the glass... so that's how that day went...

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas by Michael Bublè
Today for P day, we did a lot of shopping! We had to do some Christmas shopping for our meals and parties this week, and getting gifts for each other and the Anziani. We spent a few hours in Genova Centro hitting up the best shops. It's fun to hear the Christmas Music and see all the decorations! It's def one of my fav parts of the season! 

Buuuuuuuuuut we all know what the BEST part is much much more than that...

Mary Did You Know by PTX and Silent Night by Enya
So far, this Christmas season has been one of my favorites! {And it's not even Christmas yet!} I didn't imagine it would be this way; I figured December 2016 would be filled with missing home, family, friends, gifts, Star Wars, food, etc. And it has been, for sure. But it's also been more fulfilling as my thoughts have naturally veered more around our savior Jesus Christ❤️ I've never been as close to Him as I have been during my time on the mission! Mainly because there are all these people who I love so much, and I know that He's the only other person who can understand the love, the heartbreaks, the joys- all of it! He's literally the ONLY one! Because He literally has experienced it all.

And this doesn't just apply to missions or missionaries. All of us have, at some point, questioned why life is difficult. This principle is something we've all experienced. There's a part from the conference Elder Holland did for us a few months back that I feel illustrates this better than I could ever try. He said "My doctrinal theory is that it's hard because it was hard for Christ; that salvation is not a cheap experience. Nobody ever said it was gonna be easy. Nobody ever. I think it's hard, because salvation was wrought by anguish, and tears, and blood, and toil. Christ died of a broken heart, and He died bearing the sins of the world, feeling the contrition of everyone's sins and sorrows since Adam and Eve. Well, you're invited to feel a little of that."

During our pretty heartbreaking lesson with Constanza this week, my dear greenie shared at one point that we were here as the witnesses of Jesus Christ here in Savona. And it's true- that's how life is as a missionary. Elder Holland goes on to say "What does it mean to be a witness?! Well, I think we bear witness of His tears. I think we bear witness of His pain. We bear witness of His anguish and His sufferings, and we have to feel a little of that. Don't spend your entire mission wondering why it isn't easier! It's never going to be easy. It is rewarding. It is magnificent. But it's not easy, and that's what I think it means to be a disciple: we go where He goes, and we do what He does, and we feel what He feels."

And so that, my friends, is why I say that Christmas as a missionary is turning out to be the best thing ever.

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Sam Smith
I'll wrap things up now (🎁🎁hehehe get it?) but I hope you all know how much I love you and how grateful I am for you. You're in my prayers constantly and I sincerely hope you all have an amazing Christmas! More than that, take a moment this Christmas weekend to strengthen your relationship with He whom we celebrate during this season, our Lord, Savior, and Brother Jesus Christ❤️

Buon natale cari miei! Vi Voglio Bene❤️
Santa Smeds 🎄🎅🏼🎁☃️🇮🇹

1-4 Trains, trains, and more trains(  5-17 Mission Conference

18& 19  Look, there’s snow…and there’s us!



No comments:

Post a Comment