Taking My Wand for a Nametag

Friday, February 24, 2017

Chapter 49: The DUFF: Starring S'morr

This week's title comes as a result of two things from this week:
1- We realized the other day that the comp name for Smedley and Orr is obviously s'morr (like 's'more', but with more 'Orr' lol) which is pretty dope 
2- It's Fashion Week. Today in centro Milano, there were models and photographers everywhere. Yep, I'm living in the fashion capitol of the world, during fashion week... aaaaand I look like I'm Amish. Lolololol jokes. Although Orr and I couldn't help muttering "We. Are. Potatoes. We are the DUFFs" as we shopped through Milano lol. Got to meet up with the Lampugnano sorelle for lunch though, meaning I got a few hours with my perfect greenie Sorella Richards❤❤❤❤ We were pretty content. Aside from fashion week, we had a lot of other crazy adventures!

Last Thursday we finished up in Cimiano. I had such a blast doing exchanges with Sorella Anderson, reliving the MTC days! Then we headed back to Muggiò for an appointment with the Huapayas, an adorable Peruvian family! That's one of the really fun things about this area: it's an awesome mix of Italians, Africans, and South Americans! Makes lessons interesting at times, when it's a random combo of Spanish and Italian, or maybe even Portuguese... buuut luckily the gift of tongues is a thing😂 it was also my comp's birthday🎉🎁🎈 you'd best believe we had some stellar pizza and cake to celebrate!!

Friday we had an appointment with Chirico, who is basically the coolest lady ever! She served a mission in Rome, but was super tight with the mission president and ended up serving for 25 months! Literally over 2 years, what a champ! And she's currently working as a CSI, so that's pretty dope🕵🏽‍♀️👩🏽‍🔬. And she made us some killer lasagna, which was a life saver since we weren't going to have time for lunch that day!❤ we also met with the Ponce family. They are from Ecuador, and are currently trying to get their son here. Seriously breaks my heart, but also inspires me to see how strong these people are despite INSANE challenges and trials💕

Saturday we met with our nine-year-old new convert and her family! She's seriously adorable, and totally knows her stuff! Plus not gonna lie, Sorella Orr and I loved being greeted at the door by hugs from all the kids!❣️ we also got to meet with Sorella Bassi, a stellar old woman with a life full of surprises! One minute she was showing us her cross-stitch projects, while the next minute we were looking through her books from law school! So cool! Plus, we've started reteaching the missionary lessons with all of our members and less actives. It's so cool- there's always more we can learn and more we can to do be converted!

Sunday was amazing as usual! Love love LOVE our ward! Only downside was the Relief Society president  came and asked us not to pass by or visit members and less actives...? And she was pretty dang condescending about it, and you know how well that works with me😑 lol jokes, we were nice. But you'd best believe we went straight to the Bishop after to see if this was legit. It most certainly was not, and the Bishop said "Well.., if that were true... missionary work would go down the toilet" true. "Plus, we honestly can't tell you what to do... we aren't your mission President..." also true. So we did some passbys Sunday night just to spite her.

Er, I mean to share the gospel...

Monday was a day of finding. Always fun but kinda rough. We took a break at one point to ride the pony things in the park. And we watched an awkward couple and provided commentary. Also, observed a squirrel swan dive into the lake... a mistake on his part, given that it's totally freezing. But whatevs... Breaks are much needed sometimes. We met with Sorella Sacco too. The lesson was a success. Well, minus the fact that she kept telling her 30 year old son that he needed our message more than her, and that he was stupid. Also, she said she couldn't read the Book of Mormon cuz her leg hurt...🙃

Tuesday was District Meeting, correlation, and ward council. In between, we were able to visit Vanja, an amazing woman with a rough life! She talks your ear off, which is rough cuz her couch is really comfortable and the desire to nap is so real. Seriously, she's amazing though and it was a great lesson🤗

We had some solid finding this week, both on its own and in between our appointments. No new investigators, but had some funny and solid experiences, including but not limited to:
- Finding a million and one cute couples and having super cool convos about life. Also, we did not feel trunky at all...😅
- Trying to stop this girl and talk to her, and instead of rejecting us or talking with us, she literally froze mid walk😳😳 legit just froze on the spot...? Awkward.
- Meeting a Muslim guy who claims to believe in all religions. He was unimpressed that we didn't know specific details regarding how Abraham, Christ, and Moses were born (apparently all occurred under a tree that still stands today...?). He informed us kindly that it was cute of us to try to teach people, but that we knew nothing lol. It took a lot for Sorella Orr and I to not just completely shut this guy down haha but when you're a missionary, that's not in the job description😂 so we thanked him and promised to study instead of teaching people🙄 he said we were welcome to come to his mosque anytime...

Wanna know a cool thing? Ok, so most of us have heard the story of Christ feeding the 5000. 🍞🐟He's out teaching and everything is going swimmingly until everyone starts getting hangry. We're talking the people, the disciples, EVERYONE! And at some point, the disciples realize there are no kebab joints in sight, and the pizza delivery guy only accepts cash (sound familiar, Italian missionary friends?!). Well, the disciples ask Jesus what they're supposed to do, and He tells them to go figure out the food situation. So then the disciples go around asking if anyone has any granola bars or beef jerky or other road-trippin snacks lying around. They find only 5 loaves of bread and two fishes (ew) so they come bring it to Jesus, probably feeling a lovely mix of discouragement, embarrassment, and hunger. What does the Master do? He thanks God, blessed the meal, and then asks the disciples to start passing it out. Miraculously, the entire crowd of 5000 is fed (plus leftovers!), aaand not a soul complains about the fact that it's literally fish and bread lol. This story teaches us of the reality of miracles, but it also provides insight on something a little greater. 

Let's take a second and analyze what just happened here. You've got, like, five steps that led to the miracle after the initial problem was addressed:
1- Christ asks His disciples to feed the multitude, a near impossible task. Had they gone into town and purchased food for the multitude, it would've cost nearly eight months' worth of wages. Truly, this task was beyond the disciples' present ability.
2- The Savior asks instead, "ok, well what can you provide?", at which point the disciples find the loaves and the fishes.
3- The Savior instructs them to bring the loaves and fishes unto Him.
4- The disciples give Him that which they have.
5- The Savior blesses and multiplies that which the disciples were able to provide, and miraculously meets and surpasses what was originally needed.

Cool lil miracle, kinda like His infinite Atonement and grace. Although with each of us, it's an internal miracle rather than an external one, the same steps are followed:
1- During our mortal existence, we are asked to do a variety of difficult tasks. Obeying the commandments, persevering during trials, and fulfilling God's will for us are not impossible tasks. However, there may be things that are literally beyond our current ability to do.
2- The Savior asks us instead, "ok, well what can you provide?"
3- He asks us to give Him all we have. All our efforts. All our faith. All we can do.
4- We use our agency to offer Him all that we have.
5- On our own, we fall far too short. However, the abundant power and grace of His Atonement more than compensates for our shortcomings.

Elder Holland said, "Don’t worry about Christ running out of ability to help you. His grace is sufficient. That is the spiritual, eternal lesson of the feeding of the 5,000". 

Like, wow- the miracle of feeding the 5,000 is pretty dang cool🍞🐟

But it's nothing compared to the miraculous nature of His grace, which cleanses us and makes us whole.

Sorella Smeds 

1&2- Exchanges with Williams & Anderson  3-Sorella Orr’s Bday pizza! 4- Tiramisu 

5-7 Our favorite place for Finding 8-9 Playing with Micaela  10-11 Fashion Week featuring the real potatoes of Milano




Saturday, February 18, 2017

Chapter 48: Galentines💕

Well friends, it's been a crazy great week! Started out pretty sad,
saying goodbye to Savona and the amazing Sorella Carter! Also,
traveling alone with all your luggage sucks lol! However, I LOVE
Muggiò so far!! In Milano, the days are either 100% grey and gloomy,
or it's clear blue skies. Absolutely love it! There's about 3x the
work here compared to my past cities, and it's such a blast! The ward
and investigators are so great! Still a ton of people I need to meet,
but I've honestly looooved everyone so far! My companion Sorella Orr
is amazing!❤❤❤ We have so much in common, and it's great to just be
working so hard while also having the best time ever!! Plus, it was
Valentine's Day, so here's the obligatory love-themed group email💁🏼

I ❤ Italian Transportation (kind of...)
- To get to Muggiò on Thursday, I took a three hour train. You would
think that'd be an awesome experience. However, it was one of those
lovely trains that has assigned seats. And my seat was on the opposite end
of the train. Which meant going back and forth with each suitcase
through eight train cars. It took 45 minutes. I got a lot of weird
looks. Idk why, I mean what's so weird about a girl essentially
dressed like a pioneer moving three bags through a crowded
train?🤷🏼‍♀️ I did become friends with the train conductor though. He
was a Jehovah's Witness, so that made for interesting conversation...
then I got to change trains at Milano Centrale, still with all my
luggage. Somehow I made it to my new city... I deserve a medal or
something honestly🙄
- All of Italy uses public transportation, but I've never seen it
utilized as much as in Milano. In one given day, we use the metro,
trains, a million and one buses, and the trams. We are only slightly
confused and only get lost a couple of times a day😅

I ❤ Italian Food... In Moderation
- Sorella Orr and I baked pretzel bread during weekly planning. We are
so domestic🙄😂
- FHE with the Ferranti family, was as carb-filled as it was
spirit-filled. We're talking 3 types of focaccia, 2 types of pizza, 3
types of bread, farinata, and 2 other bread-ish items I'd never had
before. Literally our plates were filled and it was nothing but
bread😂😭 the voyage home was 100% spent trying not to hurl
- I ate a whole fish, completely raw this week🐟 I honestly wanted to die.
- Gotta love how even if you aren't having a meal appointment at
someone's home, they feel obligated to feed you something. Which is
great until your days are filled with appointments... eh, guess that's
why Orr and I have started doing planking contests in the morning💪🏼

I ❤ Italians
- Literally every appointment we went to left me with such a full
heart! The people in this city are so amazing!! I never would've
thought I would be so at home sitting in a kitchen talking in
Italian with a beautiful group of people living in essentially a whole
separate world from me! It's seriously the best!
- Church was a dream. Literally it was like I was in an American ward-
so many people and they're all so strong! I seriously love them
- Our investigators are awesome! And we have two families we are
teaching! Gosh, this work brings me so much joy!
- We also met with a few less-active families, and I seriously just love it!

I ❤ Funny Moments
- "Your mother and your father made you, and so you are full of sin!"
    Pastor Emmanuel, an African we met on the train
- Getting Frozen temporary tattoos for Valentine's Day
- That awkward moment when you're praying before ringing the citofono
to an apartment building& someone walks into the apartment and
treats you like you're a jehova's witness or something
- "He'll come back for us- we're basically Amish" -us making
commentary as people stare at us.
- "Well... they're temporary tattoos... so... they're technically not
against the white handbook... right...?" -me
-  The Cattaneos wiping us down after a powdered sugar explosion.
Also, the fact that the mother has short-term memory loss, which makes
lessons interesting lol
- "We are West of the hospital!" -Sorella Orr, using her new compass
-*random dance parties to high school musical whilst getting ready*
- "So sorry, so so so so sorry" -Orr and I, daily

I ❤ My Companion
- Yeah, I seriously lucked out. It's only been a week and yet I feel
like Sorella Orr and I have known each other for forever!
- Seriously, so many deep convos, dance parties, etc. We're laughing 24/7
- She's such a hard worker! It's so easy to teach together, and we've
made a lot of good plans for our area!
- We had the best ever Galentines Day❤ Which included a fancy meal +
gelato! And almost throwing up but then not! Also, too many laughs😂

I ❤ Italy
- I could have like 284649264 bullet points for his one, but for
time's sake we'll just talk about Pday! Sorella Orr and I met up with
Sorella Williams and my bff Sorella Anderson to go to the Milano
Duomo! And by "go to", I really mean "go on top". It was pretty much
the best ever! Brought back so many memories of my first day in Italy,
when we crazy greenies were released outside the duomo to attempt to
proselyte. Although, today was a tad different given that I didn't
nearly fall on my face walking up to the duomo this time, and I know
how to say more than "ciao" lol.

Well, I already gave my spiritual spiel on love last week, but here's
a couple fun valentines-themed gems I found during studies🤗
- 1 John 4:19 "We love Him, because He first loved us." I remember my
MTC group coming across this scripture together, and I've loved it
ever since. Pretty self-explanatory, pretty awesome💕
- When it talks in the Bible about Christ healing the lepers, there's
something pretty neat. Like, it's already pretty cool that Christ was
able to use the power of the priesthood to heal them. However, an
interesting point to recognize is how much that must have meant to
these people. I mean, the healing obviously meant the world to them-
it changed their treatment by society, and honestly completely changed
their lives! However, it's also interesting to note that because of
society's fear and disgust towards those with leprosy, and due to
guidelines in the Mosaic law, these people would've been subject to a
ton of awful stuff. The loneliness, the pain, but more than that, they
would've gone a loooong time without the comforts of physical touch.
And what does Christ do? Like always, He puts the people above all. He
was moved with such compassion towards them, and He placed His hands
on them and healed them. Isn't it just lovely to realize that along
with being our savior and redeemer, Christ is also our loving brother.
This is so beautiful to me, because truly through His loving
sacrifice, we receive the physical and spiritual healing that we all
desire and need❤

Buy some chocolates. Tell someone you love them. Take yourself on a
date to the movies. Until next time💋

Sorella Smeds💌💝❣️💕💋🎀❤

1-3 Enjoying Muggio & Sorella Orr  4-6Valentines Day!

7- 23   The beautiful Milano Duomo






Friday, February 10, 2017

Chapter 47: in which smeds 'salutes' savona

Well folks, I hurt right now. My head hurts. My heart hurts. My body hurts. Why, you may ask? {Granted, my body hurts from doing the worm a few times too many on Monday, but that's besides the point} Well friends, this past week was the dreaded day that comes once every six weeks for us missionaries: transfer calls.

Duh duhn duhhhhhn

And the verdict is: Milano! Yep, I'm headed to the area of Muggiò in Milano to be sr comp with Sorella Orr! I'm beyond stoked because she's also a dancer from Utah, and I've had multiple people tell me that we'd probs be perfect comps, so it's funny that it's actually happening! And I'm extremely excited to go up to Milano! Lol, my suitcases are already bursting at the seams with Italian clothing so this should be interesting😅 I'm so happy I've been able in so many different zones! However, it's been a rough week saying goodbye to the people who, for the last 4 1/2 months, have become my family and my best friends💔

Fur-Cloaked Francesca☕️
Ah, crazy Francesca... well, she claims she's gonna come visit me in the US lol. Honestly though she's pretty crazy but I'm definitely going to miss her. I've seen the changes happening in her life, and it's honestly such a blessing to get to be a part of that❤

The Branch of Savona💕
The last Sunday in Savona nearly killed me. Anziano Jones and I had to do our "goodbye" testimonies in church, and I nearly lost it. These crazies have literally become my family. The youth were pretty sad, which was really touching given that I normally refer to them as my precious little demons lol. Marco, the 15 year old ringleader texted me after church, thanking us for all we'd done and saying he was sorry if we'd ever "despaired" because of their craziness, but that they'd really changed a lot because of us! Pretty neat especially since during the lesson, he kept typing things into google translate so it would speak English at us... "Shut up Elder Jones. We are tired" lol😂 Seriously though, saying goodbye to comps and cities and people is by far harder than any challenge faced during the mission.

Anziani (ft. My Son)👔
Saying goodbye to the Anziani was def easier than saying goodbye to the Italians, but it was still rough! I met Anz Alder in the MTC right before my group left, and he's going to do amazing training in Savona! And Anziano Jones... well, I've spent 1/4 of my mission with him, and it's been amazing seeing him grow! He's easily become one of my best friends, but I know he's going to do amazing things in Milano Lampugnano! Plus we can see each other at zone conference, so all is well🤗

The Epic English Class🏆
Oh my heck, this group of people lights up my life! By far my favorite English class out of all of my cities! I've learned so much from their life experiences, and we've had more than enough awesome gospel convos! Seriously such a special group❤

My Sicilian Family🌴
Saying goodbye to Maria and Aurora was extremely difficult. They are some of the people I'm closest to out of all of Italy! I've felt so much love from them! Ive never felt so comfortable in someone else's home before! What can I say, the pink walls and spazzy puppy just suit me😉 Maria is essentially my mom in the mission😂😂😂 and Aurora is more than an investigator- she's like a sister. Literally counting down the days till I get to come back and see them!

The "Nonni" 👵🏼👴🏼
The De Milatos invited us over for lunch when we told them I was leaving! I was super stoked to go visit their home up in the mountains and say goodbye!⛰The senior couple wanted to tag along, which was fine until they got us rather fantastically lost winding up the mountain... see, this has never been a problem for me because we've always taken trains up there. Whale, the winding and starting and stopping didn't really do much for the weak stomach of Smeds. {Yeah mom and dad, you already know what's coming} I'd thought I was past my car sickness days, but circling mountain roads and crazy driving proved me wrong on that fateful day. The funniest thing was the senior couple kept asking me if they were going the right way... I mean, we've got 2 huge problems going for us here folks... 1) There was zero chance I'd know the way up the mountain 2) Even if I did know, I knew if I tried speaking I was gonna literally hurl. Then, they kept asking me questions and asking me to call the De Milatos. If I hadn't felt so sick, I'd probably have laughed at the whole situation. Honestly I'm pretty sure the only reason I didn't end up totaling puking was my ego, since I was sitting there like "ok, I'm annoyed and sick as frick. But I'm a mother-hugging missionary, and I refuse to let these people see me vomit." Not the best or most humble thought process, but it worked so...
We finally made it to their beautiful home and had the biggest meal I've had in at least 4 transfers. We're talking salad, pasta, meats, breads, tuna (#why), pizza, eggplants, cheese, chicken, turkey, fruit, and dessert lol. The adorable De Milatos gave me a decoration from their house, and they said that I was considered their 12th grandchild. I basically died on the spot, they are too cute for me to handle. I didn't even feel sick the drive back because my heart was too busy hurting💔

The Romanian Seventh Day Adventist 🌻
Saying goodbye to Constanza pretty much killed me. The experiences we've had teaching her have been some of the most challenging and most amazing of my whole mission. It made my whole day because when she got her Book of Mormon out to read, she was chapters ahead of where we'd left off! It seriously warms my whole soul because I know that her gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon is what will help her overcome the roadblocks standing in the way of her conversion. As we finished the lesson, I bore testimony to her of how I'd felt like God had helped us to find her. In her prayer at the end, she specifically asked God to bless the people of Muggiò and to guide me to find those in need. I was so touched. As we left, she hugged me and told me she knew our message was true, and to continue praying for her to overcome her doubts. I know without a doubt that she has been prepared to receive the gospel, and I feel with all my heart that she eventually will accept it!❤

My Moroccan Best Friend 👯
We met up with Asmaa one night to say goodbye. She kept stopping me and hugging me for no reason haha. I remember the first night I met her feeling the distinct impression that we were meant to cross paths. Literally its so rare to click with someone as easily or as quickly as she and I did. It's so surreal, and such a beautiful little miracle to me honestly.

There's so much more I could say about these beautiful people. My people. But honestly it just makes me too sad thinking about it! It was fun seeing how excited they were when I told them I'd be back in September at the end of my mission! {They are under the impression we will be playing Just Dance. They are correct💃🏼} 

I look back on how my mission has gone, and it is literally such a miracle to me. Every transfer it has been so clear to me that this is God's work. You know me, I'm a planner and I love having things go my way. Funny thing is, the mission has most definitely not gone according to my plans. And that can be a tad frustrating at times😂 however it's so beautiful to have seen how God's plan is a million times better than my plans have been! Of course, we all like to think we know what's up lol, but honestly He sees so much more than we do. I've been in the right cities and with the right companions, and it amazes me daily how aware of us God is.

Also, I hate the feeling we get with goodbyes. It hurts and is honestly annoying. I was recently talking with a friend about how it's kind of easier at times to just not love. Whether we're talking about mission love or family love or friend love or romantic love😉 or whatevs, love is hard. You run the risk of rejection. It involves sacrifice. Worst/best of all, you leave a part of your heart behind with each person our place. And it's rough! I mean, once you start loving people, you start worrying about them. You think about them. Their sadnesses or their successes are yours. And that's a bit of an emotional overload! And sometimes it's like "actually I cannot deal right now. I just want a nap". I mean like guys, im a mess trying to deal with my own stuff, let alone other people's craziness. And yet, for some reason, we keep on loving. We humans are obsessed with love. And why is this? With all of the pain and problems associated with love, why do we continue again and again to love? 

Well, because it's worth it. 100%. No matter what happens as a result. Whether there's rejection or acceptance, loss or endurance, pain or joy, ANYTHING! Somehow, in spite of all that, it's worth it. It's a privilege to love someone or something with your whole heart. In fact, rather than in spite of those attached issues, maybe it's because of them. I mean, what other experience in life allows you to give all of yourself to another person or group of people? There's nothing in life better than the opportunity to love. I mean yeah, we could sit here and complain about how love hurts and you run the risk of losing so much. However, I feel like love is the most beautiful thing we've got as humans and as children of an almighty God. During my studies this week, I realized what a risk the Atonement was! I mean, if Christ had slipped up even one bit, all would have been lost! His sacrifice and life and His father's plan would be completely void! You look at all the events of Christ's life leading up to His atoning sacrifice. You look at the pains endured for the Atonement itself. Then everything leading up to and including His eventual death on the cross. So many opportunities to mess up or give up; chances for Him to say "No, it's too much. I'm out". Even the most minuscule sin, and every child of God would've been subject to the eternal torments of the Adversary. Like, no pressure or anything! And how was this miraculous feat accomplished? How was the war of Salvation won? It was through Christ's pure love for each and every one of us. A love so complete we can't even begin to comprehend it! A selfless love, a love unconditional (for surely He knew even during His great sacrifice that not all would accept). 

And so, what a privilege is is for us to be able to feel a small portion of that love for someone else. I can't even pretend to understand or see the full capacities of Christ's love for us. However, my time in Collegno, Vicenza, and now Savona has made me begin to appreciate it more fully. In summary of my rant {lol, sorry}, yeah my heart is kind of breaking a bit this week. It's by no means the most comfortable feeling. And yet, I feel beyond blessed to have been given this time to love the people of Savona❤

Muggiò, I'm ready for ya!

Sorella Kaylee Smedley 🇮🇹

1- Saying goodbye to the branch   2-Rosa Asturi  3-5-Giulia  6-Marco the thug:) 7-The crazy legend that is Rose
8-Deborah   9-More branch goodbyes   10- Maria & Aurora  11-We found donuts!!  12-15  De Milaltos  16- Constanza

17-18 Asmaa  19-20  English class  21-27 Goodbyes & goofing off with our Anziani