Taking My Wand for a Nametag

Friday, January 27, 2017

Chapter 45: "I'm A Hot Mess! Except Not Hot..."

Note: This week's title is indeed a quote from yours truly💁🏼

Family and friends, hello once again. Hope you're all staying warmer than me, because although Savona is by no means the coldest city in the mission, the wind is horrendous and like nothing Ive ever experienced! Definitely not the funnest weather option when you a) wear a skirt and b) have crazy lion-mane hair🙃 

Friday and Saturday, we had scambio in Milano with Sorella Williams and Sorella Castro! SOSOSOSOSO great! I was with Sorella Williams this time, and it was the absolute best! We met with a couple of families, and it was honestly just amazing! One of the families we visited just immediately stole my heart. The lesson was great, and we were all pretty much crying by the end. We came in with a plan, cioè, various principles to teach and some important commitments/invitations. Honestly I was almost a little nervous going into the lesson, just because the things we were going to ask them to commit to doing we're going to be extremely difficult for their family, personally. Buuuuut I've been out here long enough to know I shouldn't have been worried lol. The spirit was there from the minute we entered the home. Not only did they accept the commitments, but they had actually started doing a couple of the things on their own just that day! It was seriously amazing. Plus, I've never been able to feel as comfortable teaching with someone after so little time as I was with Sorella Williams. We have so much in common, it's almost kind of scary lol. Let's just say, I wouldn't mind becoming comps with her for more than 24 hours... we'll see if Presidente feels that way as well hahaha😉😂

Funny story... we all know that prayers work. It's both a fact and a miracle. But we also know that sometimes God blesses us with what we need rather than what we want...

Well, Saturday night, our train didn't get in from scambio until 10 and I was as tired as could be😴 I KNEW I was going to struggle getting up the next morning... so I prayed specifically asking for help to not only wake up in time for church, but to wake up at 6:30 like normal, feeling well-rested.

Whale... I woke up and indeed felt well rested. 

Although, that was probably because it was 9am.

Oh, our church starts at 9am, btw.

I was only a little bit stressed.

Lol, yeah not exactly what I was praying for. Alarms had been set and everything so honestly idk what happened. I'm just gonna say that God felt we needed more sleep but honestly I got nothing😂😂 ah, life.

We redeemed ourselves that day by going over for another lesson with Constanza. It was a bit hectic, as the 90 year-old lady she takes care of was in a mood... she has Alzheimer's instead of teeth so that makes all conversations very interesting🙃 Haha at one point Constanza stopped mid verse during our Book of Mormon reading and asked the old lady if she could understand what was being read. The lady nodded her head and then Constanza started dying laughing about how obviously that wasn't true because this lady is not all there. And because she was reading in Romanian. Definitely a weird appointment and I was fighting not to die laughing at the weirdness😂 comunqs, I love discussing the scriptures with Constanza and seeing the little changes week after week that I'm hoping will eventually develop into a testimony of the restored gospel❤

Monday, there was a strike for the transportation systems, which means we couldn't leave the city. So we got creative and baked a ton of cookies to drop off to all the members and less actives who live within our lil city! Granted, it involved walking for like 5 hours total in the freaking wind. Up a mountain. Through sketchy alleyways. The works. And only one person ended up being home after all of that. But that one person was Silvanna, the amazing lady who teaches institute and seminary. And even though she's an extremely strong member, it was definitely a needed visit. Plus fun to chat with her crazy husband who's obsessed with geography (esp of the US). And we all know how much I love geography🙄😂 But we came home tired and happy from a good day of missionary work, so all was well💕

Tuesday was full of cancellations, followed by a couple of shining moments. First, I found a wooden shark on the beach. After confirming it was, indeed, wooden and not fleshy, I sat upon it. Then while arising, I hit my head on a palm tree. That is what my life is like right now, folks. But after that 48 seconds of childish nonesense, we were ready to be missionaries again and headed to our appointment with Sorella Nieddu. Oh, how I love her. By far one of the strongest people I've ever met, while also being extremely sassy. You could say we get along real swell💁🏼

Aaaand that brings us to today! Pday spent in Genova doing some last-minute saldi shopping. Afterwards, we had the worldwide missionary broadcast. Tons of amazing things were said, and changes to our daily missionary schedule were announced so it was pretty dang exciting!

 Its been kind of a stressful week, honestly. However, personal study has been rather on point so I can't complain🤗 I made a goal when I came into the mission that I wanted to read every book of scripture again; once in English, and once in Italian. Not just reading, but fully studying. Right now, I'm reading in the New Testament. As I've been studying the first four books, I decided I didn't want to just study the history; instead, I wanted to study the characteristics of the people. The characteristics of Christ, His disciples, the people, etc. Anyways, I'm learning a lot. But there were a couple things I really liked from the last few days.

You see, I'm kind of a super stressed out person.

And based on some things I found this week, I'm thinking God wants me to be a bit less stressed. Here are a few of my favs

1- In Matthew 6:34, it says "Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." #preach We have enough to deal with right now in the present- it does us no good to spend all our time worrying about things in the future.

2- Presidente Uchtdorf said "I think of our Lord and Exemplar, Jesus Christ, and His short life among the people of Galilee and Jerusalem. I have tried to imagine Him bustling between meetings or multitasking to get a list of urgent things accomplished. 
I can’t see it. 
Instead I see the compassionate and caring Son of God purposefully living each day. When He interacted with those around Him, they felt important and loved. He knew the infinite value of the people He met. He blessed them, ministered to them. He lifted them up, healed them. He gave them the precious gift of His time."

3- Uchtdorf, again said "Doesn’t it seem foolish to spoil sweet and joyful experiences because we are constantly anticipating the moment when they will end? Do we listen to beautiful music waiting for the final note to fade before we allow ourselves to truly enjoy it? No. We listen and connect to the variations of melody, rhythm, and harmony throughout the composition. Do we say our prayers with only the “amen” or the end in mind? Of course not. We pray to be close to our Heavenly Father, to receive His Spirit and feel His love. We shouldn’t wait to be happy until we reach some future point, only to discover that happiness was already available--all the time! Life is not meant to be appreciated only in retrospect. “This is the day which the Lord hath made … ,” the Psalmist wrote. “Rejoice and be glad in it.”

Yeah, I'm a fan of this idea of life. No clue how exactly to make it happen yet, but I'm sure it'll come up in next week's studies😉

Sorella Kaylee Smedley🇮🇹




Chapter 44: Oops- I Did it Again💁🏼

This week's email title could be alluding to a number of things, including but not limited to the fact that we had alcohol chocolate again, or that I bought another pair of shoes 👠sue me lol. P-day got changed to Thursday this week because of some appointments we had scheduled. Honestly, I've been pretty sick this week so the days have kind of blurred together... but let's look at some highlights, shall we?

The Breakfast Club
So I've mentioned our English class a few times, but idk if I've shared much about the people we teach on a regular basis. It's honestly such a mixed group of people, we're basically "The Breakfast Club"! So, allow me to introduce our main cast of characters:
👵🏼Louisa: The grandmother. She claims to have zero interest in the church, and yet she's constantly bringing up religion. We've finally convinced her that we are not, in fact, out here against our will lol. However, we have yet to dissuade her from trying to set us up with the Anziani 🙄😂
🤸🏽‍♂️Eugenio: The 50 year-old gymnastics instructor. His new year's goal was to master the splits, and he informed us he is indeed getting close. We were impressed.
👴🏻Angelo: Close your pretty lil eyes... What image pops into your mind with the words "creepy old man"? Yep, that's Angelo. A lil old man who's studied English for forever but refuses to actually speak it. Which makes English Class a struggle since majority of it is conversation... lol, the other day he started reciting a poem he'd written about a garden. In Italian of course. All I'd asked was what he'd done for New Years... lol, odd dude... brings us sorelle chocolate or gifts each week {note: there's indeed alcohol in 1/3 of this week's candy🙄you could say I'm starting to recognize the flavor...}
👩🏽‍🎨Paola: The artist who's always about 5 minutes behind in the conversations. Needless to say, I'm learning lots and lots of patience😂😉 although she did invite us to an art exhibition she's in, so we'll see how that one pans out.
🏊‍♀️Nicole and 👨🏽‍🍳Omar: The adorable millionaire couple. If they aren't your #goals, you're wrong. Because they're practically perfect. Nicole is an amazing swimmer and athlete, and Omar is a waaaaay good baker. And they ride on a motorcycle and have a ton of money. And they sass the Anziani and it's just great, they're my absolute favs.

Spoiler Alert!
We went over to see Constanza again (Romanian Seventh Day Adventist, hard to miss lol). This time, she had the Book of Mormon out and ready and turned to the right chapter! Haha, we're reading about when Nephi and his brothers are going to get the plates from Laban. We finished the chapter, and she started asking about what would happen next, or if they'd figure out a way to kill Laban! 😂Meanwhile, I'm trying to figure out an accurate Italian translation for "spoiler alert"! I forget sometimes how great the Book of Mormon is- I mean, it's a super entertaining story to begin with, as Constanza is figuring out! But it's also got so many amazing principles for us to apply to our lives. Truly, where else can you more fully discover the will of God and the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ??❤

Attack of the Nonna
Ok, so I've been dying to visit Caterina Aramu after the last time we were there {as a recap, we went to visit her one day and were let in, only the door was answered by my precious Camilla from Collegno}. Nonna Aramu was totally stoked that we'd stopped by! We read a scripture with her and talked for a while, and it was honestly super great! Although, I do see where Camilla gets her sass from! Nonna is partially deaf and uses it to her advantage sometimes😂 At one point randomly in the conversation, she turned to me and said "now don't you leave here today and find some 'beautiful' guy and start having babies"😳🤔 It was so random I literally just burst out laughing, to which she responded "why are you laughing? I'm serious!" Ah, one does not truly serve in a Italy without finding a crazy nonna or two😂

"Ciao! Sono Francesca" -Francesca
And that 👆🏼is how she answers the phone every time we talk with her. We continued reading the Book of Mormon with her, and she's slowly getting a bit better at understanding the things we read. It's kind of a little miracle in itself to realize "hey, I'm sitting on a bench in Italy across from a cute lil bakery reading the Book of Mormon with this crazy Italian woman!" I mean, how often does one get to say that that's their life?? Although, I do have to fight to keep from laughing at her green fur coat...

Problematic Passbys Plus Peaceful Paradise 
We've gone out to do a ton of passbys this week, trying to meet with less actives, potential investigators, and ex-investigators. Bad news: none of them let us in ☹️ Good news: one of the failed passbys was in beautiful Celle! And since we had a bit of time before our train would arrive, we got to sit and watch the sea. Again, when else in my life am I gonna get to do this? Just go de-stress & sit on the beach in Italy? No complaints here, friends❤🌴

"Yer a Wizard Smedley" -the Anziani 
Honestly, not much context on this one... but I was telling the English class about how awesome Harry Potter World was... other humorous moments from this week include doing hair and face treatments during weekly planning (one of which had me lookin like Professer Quirrel, with my little pillowcase turban waaaaay too on point), and drinking camomile tea in my Marauders Map mug every night😎

Life Lessons with Rosa
We had the opportunity this week to visit one of my absolute favorite people, Rosa Asturi. She's an extremely faithful member of the branch {half of the branch is made up of her kids, their spouses, and the grandchildren}, and I once described her as being an adorable raisin of a woman haha! And she is sassy as frick. Haha her phone ringtones are all Italian rap, and she has pictures everywhere of her puppy. Basically, she's me in 50 years lol😂 But one thing I love so much about her is her beautiful testimony. She has had an extremely hard life, with trials I can't even fathom. Literally, as she shared her life story, my heart broke. At the end of the conversation, she mentioned how many have asked her how she made it through all of her trials in life. Her answer was the atonement of Jesus Christ. She mentioned that although it didn't make her problems disappear or become easy, they became feasible. 

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, in the face of my own trials and in trying to help address some concerns our people have. I've found so many amazing things throughout my study of his (trials, life, the atonement), and I'd like to share a few favorites.

One talk, by Elder Bowen refers to some immense trials his family faced. He brings up the sorrow, anger, and guilt he felt at times, and how it seemed that no one understood. However, through the atonement, he was able to continue on with life. He says, "Sometimes people will ask, 'How long did it take you to get over it?' The truth is, you will never completely get over it. But in the meantime, as the Savior taught, we can continue with good cheer. I testify that because of Him, even our Savior, Jesus Christ, those feelings of sorrow, loneliness, and despair will one day be swallowed up in a fulness of joy."

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin also stated: “The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. … Every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude.”

John 16:33 has recently become a favorite of mine. It says "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."

I see the trials these amazing people have gone through. I see the struggles companions and other missionaries have endured/are enduring. I'm grateful I haven't had to go through some of the life-shattering experiences so many have had. But I do have my own set of trials and challenges. And it's exactly as Rosa Asturi said; it is impossible to get through it all without the atonement of Jesus Christ. I'm still trying to figure out how to more fully utilize the savior's atoning sacrifice in my life, but I do know it is the one pure source of comfort, love, and peace available in this world. Best of all, I know that this is a gift free for us all, paid by a loving brother. And wow, I look at how much I love these Italians, and how much love I have for you family and friends. And the Savior's love for you supersedes mine by a long shot. So surely He's waiting with open arms to take our burdens upon Him, and give us the strength to endure. We just have to make that choice- the choice to give Him our faith, our love, our obedience- and turn it all over to the healing power of His infinite atonement.

Sorella Smedley

1-On our way to visit Rosa  2-Visiting Rosa  3-Face treatments
  4-Wingardium Leviosa & hair treatments lol 

5-6 Celle  7-9 Italian Graffiti tho   10-16 Pday at the Savona fair


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Chapter 43: The 'Porsuit' of Happiness

Title creds go to the grievously misspelled graffiti we saw in Genova today🤦🏼‍♀️

*This week's email contains various reports of law breaking, lil miracles, and alcohol consumption... reader discretion is advised*

Alrighty, so Thursday we met with Francesca again to read the Book of Mormon. Interesting and a bit odd as usual, although the lesson ended a little differently than normal. I've really had to work to stay patient with Francesca. She's always late, she impatiently corrects our Italian, she never keeps commitments, and for some reason she continually asks us to buy her hot chocolate despite the fact that we're poor missionaries! Lol, but Thursday was different. Well, the appointment itself was basically the same: She showed up late. She told us more of the weird stuff going on in her life (definitely sharing waaaaay too much personal info). She corrected our Italian rather rudely like always. She hadn't kept her commitment from last week. And yes, she did try to get us to buy her some freaking hot chocolate😐 however, after all that, she pulled me into a huge hug. She started crying and thanked us for always meeting with her, and said that we've helped her a lot. Definitely a great moment that really humbled me, and reminded me why we're out here doing what we're doing.

Friday, we got a new investigator named Sandy! She's the sister of the less-active Garcia family that has slowly started coming back to church! So we took a train up to Celle and searched until we found her home. We had a fairly short lesson with her since had work that evening. However, meeting Sandy and her three-year-old son Eric was the neatest thing. The minute I met them, I had such an overwhelming feeling of love come over me, and just this sense that they are part of why I'm here in Savona. I mean, I get attached to people pretty quickly, but this was something totally different! Sandy is a little hesitant about religion, but she really wants it for Eric. She want it to first become part of his life, and then to let it be part of her life bit by bit.❤

Also, Celle is absolutely beautiful. Plus, they had floating lanterns up all over centro and I was basically just pretending I was Rapunzel during our walk home🏮

Saturday we awoke to another strike going on outside🙄 whatevs. But we got to meet with Maria and Aurora Carnemolla! Oh how I love these crazy Sicilians hahaha!

Sunday was church come sempre... although there was an unexpected guest... Crazy Dario. Who is Crazy Dario, you might ask? Well, I'd seen stuff about him in our area book... words like DO NOT CONTACT and CRAZY and POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS were used various times... apparently this guy has been baptized into about 5 various LDS branches or wards that we know of... he stood up in the middle of our sacrament meeting and started yelling, and then sat down and apologized, saying he was just talking to himself? And he kept trying to talk to us and the Anziani and we honestly got really creepy vibes. When he was found smoking in the bathroom, that was the final straw for our branch president haha. Pres Dotta has called us sorelle now multiple times this week warning us about Dario, so that's been fun...

Monday came around, and we had an appointment to meet with a less-active Peruvian woman named Maria. I was super stoked, because we haven't been able to meet with her or her family for the past two transfers I've been here! They are absolutely adorable! Fed us an AMAZING Peruvian meal and we had some awesome convos! I seriously love them so much!

And then... they brought out the dolce...

Some chocolatey things wrapped in red and black. Looked harmless enough. I asked what they were, but in all honesty did not understand the response per niente lol. Well first, Maria's sons told us we weren't allowed to eat the black wrapped ones because they had coffee in them. Ok, whatevs. I grabbed one of the red wrapped ones. Immediately as I bit into it, mysterious liquid started gushing everywhere... I was not a fan, to say the least. I mean, I don't really even like it when American chocolates have the random fillings because, well, honestly I feel like chocolate is fine on its own... and I always make a mess of myself and, like, the filling is usually cherry or something... so, like, then I look like a freaking dinosaur or a shark or a vampire who's just had a crazy meal or something... and like, no one wants to be friends with that girl amiright? Wow, long explanation short, I don't like chocolates with mysterious liquid inside. And these chocolates were gushing with it. Worst of all, this stuff was NASTY😷😷😷 Like, the only thing I can compare it to is something along the lines of expired cough syrup... you all know what nasty stuff I'm referring to... 

Well anyways, the rest of the appointment was awesome! However, as we were walking to the train station, Sorella Carter and I were talking about the meal we'd had... and eventually, our conversation went a little something like this:
Sorella Carter: That meal was amazing! Besides the chocolates though.
Me: SERIOUSLY THOUGH! It tasted like freaking cough syrup haha che schifo
Sorella Carter: Sorel... you do realize what was in those, yeah?
Me: ...
Sorella Carter: ...
Me: ...
Sorella Carter: congrats Sorel... you just had liquor shots for your first time🥂

Shut up. Did I really just have alcohol😂😂 haha well that would explain why it tasted so frickin nasty😷 Here's the issue though... we ate soooooo many cuz I didn't wanna make them feel bad... and then they gave us tons to take home... Who'd have thought this sweet little Peruvian family was secretly trying to get us missionaries utterly intoxicated?! 

Am I exaggerating a bit? Why yes, that is very plausible.

I mean, can we take a couple moments to address a few things:
- The fact that that liquor was by far one of the nastiest things I've ever had in my life... And yet people drop so much money on alcohol when they could be buying something else like, I don't know, gelato... or a nice scarf... or a new book...
- The fact that they were extremely quick to take the coffee-filled ones away, but saw no problem in letting us partake of the liquor-filled ones... Because THAT makes sense...
- The fact that, in an effort to be polite, I went out of my way to assure them that I most definitely DID enjoy the cherry liquor... Because heaven forbid I let anyone in on the fact that I did not, in fact, enjoy my lil sample of alcohol🙄🤦🏼‍♀️

Whatever, I'm over it.


That night, we met with Constanza again! That night's lesson with her went better than many have. We're still trying to read the Book of Mormon with her during appointments so that we can establish her testimony and build from there. It can be pretty funny, because she has a lot of good questions... however, she reads in Romanian while we read in Italian, so figuring out how to explain and answer her questions is definitely a challenge! It's so neat though to see how the Spirit truly makes up for the rest. I mean, it's definitely a miracle of sorts to have a Romanian and two Americans sitting together discussing the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Italian! Constanza kept drawing amazing comparisons between the things we were reading in the Book of Mormon, and things she's studied in the Bible. She applies it all to her own life without us even prompting her in any way. It's seriously the coolest thing!💕

Tuesday, we went back to Celle to meet with Sandy, and we had one of the most spirit-filled lessons I've had out here. We really felt beforehand that we needed to take the lessons slowly with her since she's so hesitant. We really want this to be done at her pace, so she understands it all. So we mostly talked about God- His role as a loving father, and the importance of having a relationship with Him. We went in with some set stuff prepared, but isn't it funny how the spirit likes to change things up on you? It turned into an amazing discussion- us teaching principles, her asking questions, and then us finding the answers together. Sorella Carter shared some beautiful spiritual experiences! And idk, I just felt 100% like I wasn't the one teaching- it was the spirit teaching through me. I was saying things and answering questions in Italian without a single struggle. I just immediately knew what to say and how to say it in the language, and it was so humbling. I felt such an overwhelming love for Sandy❤

Aaaand that brings us to today! Pday started off pretty great because we got to see Presidente and Sorella Allen!! Oh how I love them! We had interviews with them in Genova in the morning, and it was seriously the best way to spend the morning! I love Presidente Allen, and every moment I spend with him reminds me that he truly is called of God, and that he has such an immense love for all of us! After we finished interviews, we headed out to centro to do some saldi shopping😍👢👗👜 Sorella Allen even joined us for some of it!

This email is already waaaay too long again, so we'll end things✨ Idk, I guess this week was just humbling and fun! I just felt again and again that I'm not here for me. I'm here for the people- here to serve them and teach them and help them. I'm here for the Sicilian Carnemollas. I'm here for fur-cloaked Francesca. I'm here for Constanza the Seventh Day Adventist. I'm here for our amazing branch. Im here for crazy Dario... ok... maybe not for him... lol... I'm here for Maria... and her liquor-filled chocolates. I'm here for Sandy and Eric.

And with all these lovely people, what can I possibly complain about?💕


1-Porsuit???  2-5 Beautiful Celle  6-Floating lanterns  7-Another Strike

8- Hopping fences like its my day job LOL  9-11 Saldi shopping in Genova with Sorella Allen




Thursday, January 5, 2017

Chapter 42: I See Dead People...

To those who haven't already abandoned their New Year's resolutions,

Heyyyyyyy party people- welcome to the 2017 edition of "La Missione di
Sorella Smedley" lol🎉 fun fact: we tried talking about New Years
resolutions with our English class, to which they informed us that
"resolutions are stupid and only ever done in America". As a follow
up, during Thursday's session of English class, we were informed that
"the true meaning of New Years isn't meant to be wrapped in
commercialism... the true meaning is simple: drinking and

Whale, there you have it folks... now without further ado, let's get
onto this week's highlights✨

Thursday was crazy and sad. We had to pack Sorella Richards up and get
her ready to leave, and say a few last goodbyes! Then that night, I
sent her on a train to Milano💔 I was dying basically. And stressing
all night wondering if she'd gotten there ok. And being super sad to
lose one of my best friends. But it's all good cuz I also got my
amazing new comp, Sorella Carter from Alaska! She and I went to
English class, and just like that the day was totally over!

Friday, I wanted to show Sorella Carter around Savona. So we challenged the
Anziani to some finding and had a way good time! A lot of our people
have been out of town this week, so we called a few of them to check
up on them💞We also met with Francesca again to read the Book of
Mormon. Lol... never a dull moment with her. She got a new fur coat
for Christmas... it's green... #italianfashion #amiright

Saturday, we had weekly planning. It was fun telling Sorella Carter
all about these crazy people I've grown to love!! We also had our
branch New Years party! Wow, and I thought Christmas was crazy!
Italians sure know how to party! Especially our branch! Seriously,
there's nothing like an Italian party. A frick ton of food (plus the
branch teasing me for my lack of love for insalata rosso, a nasty
concoction of vegetables and mayo created by satan himself), more Just
Dance, (the missionaries totally stealing the show, come sempre),
talking shots of cider (at least, we think it was cider... lol), and a
New Year's countdown featuring my fav Italian hit, "Tutto Molto

And yes, I got a kiss at midnight 😉💋

Okay fine, it was really just all the women "bacci"-ing us haha, but
that counts, right? Once again, we missionaries left and the branch
was still going strong. I mean, I thought I was a crazy partier, but
these people are something else!

{haha, who am I kidding- my idea of a crazy party is staying up past
10 and maybe ordering a pizza... #itsfine}

Sunday was, in a word, exhausting! I'm glad New Year's Eve isn't every
night hahaha. It was fun to come to church though haha even though
everyone seemed basically dead😂 we met with Constanza again, and
started reading the Book of Mormon together! She's so sweet, and I
really think establishing a solid testimony of the Book of Mormon
is our best shot at helping her!

Monday, we decided to pass by Rosa Asturi. She's the
mother/mother-in-law of half our branch hahaha. We did some finding in
the town she lives in, and then tracked down her house. Such a
surprise when we opened the door to find that THERE WAS A FREAKING
FESTA GOING ON 🎉 Lol, it was the eight-year-old birthday party for
one of Rosa's granddaughters, and all her family was there! Which, of
course, means half our branch was there lol.

You know that feeling when you're home alone binge-watching Netflix
and then you check Instagram and see your squad having a party without
you? Or like when you hit up arctic circle for a milkshake, and you
run into half of your high school... and you play it off like you're
waiting for a friend but really you're single as a pringle? Lol that
was us... jk jk not quite😂

Sweet Rosa insisted we stay for the entire party, and she kept
bringing us food and drinks. Cute Giulia and Martina (the lil girls
from the Christmas party pics) were there! Giulia is the daughter of
our branch president, but Martina's family are all non members! She's
so cute, she kept asking me to be her dance partner, and asking when
we were going to come to her house 😂❤ her mom and I were talking
later, and we ended up exchanging numbers, and are going to see each
other sometime next week! After some cake and being pelted with
confetti by the girls, we headed home.

Tuesday in addition to normal missionary work, we had a special
district meeting where the zone leaders came to teach us about some
things Presidente Allen had brought up in leadership council. There
was one thing I really liked. He said that relationships between
mission presidents and missionaries, within companionships, and
between missionaries and the people can have four potential
combinations and outcomes:
1. High expectations + low love = defiance
2. Low expectations + low love = rebellion
3. Low expectations + high love = friendships
4. High expectations + high love = miracles
I absolutely love this. I think we sometimes focus too much on the
"friend" aspect that we lower our expectations for others, whether
it's with kids, family members, comps, friends, students, etc. Other
times, it's the opposite, and we focus so hard on the expectations on
ourselves or on others, that we end up severely lacking in the love
department! I've seen both of these sides in my interactions with
comps, investigators, family/friends, etc. It also made me think of
times in my life where the roles have been reversed (my relationship
with my parents, with teachers, with Presidente Allen, and with God).
This combination of high standards of discipline and high volumes of
love is essential, and it makes all the difference. Someone once said
that "the greatest lesson you can learn is to do the right thing,
because you love the Lord". Friends, it's only when we have both love
and high expectations that we see the miracles. So let's not complain
about the high expectations and focus instead on disciplining
ourselves whilst living a life of love ❤️

We ended the day with family home evening with the Africans in our
branch. It's always SUCH a blast being with them😂 we played
"spiritual ball" and some other mind games, and then had a lesson.
It's so funny because they get so into the games😂

Today, we spent p day in Genova checking out this super cool cemetery
"Stagliano Cimitero Monumentale" we'd heard a ton about! It was huge
and beautiful! Aaaaand kind of creepy. Really though, I'd never seen
anything like it!! Elaborate statues and buildings and towers, and by
far the biggest cemetery I've ever seen! Super cool! Did I mention it
was creepy though? I mean, they spared no expense, even having creepy
crows and cats! Also, a pigeon ran into my head mid-flight, which was
pretty disenchanting tbh. Oh whale. Point being, don't be too shocked
when Stephen King's next novel takes place in the gorgeously horrific
Stagliano Cimitero Monumentale.

On that lovely note, buona settimana e buon capodanno cari miei🎇🎆


1-3  Goodbye Sorella Richards 💔  4-7 New Years Eve

8-19 Cemetery