Taking My Wand for a Nametag

Friday, January 27, 2017

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


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