Taking My Wand for a Nametag

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Chapter 52: The Anniversary Special

{Mission Journal of Smeds} March 16th, 2016
"I was sitting in the shower, just thinking about today, honestly just feeling stressed and tired and sad. Buuut then I was like 'Self! You're finally on a mission, and you're here with amazing people getting ready to bring the gospel to Italy!!'  and I felt better. Until I realized I'd left my towel back in the room. It's gonna be a long year and a half..."

Welcome to what I like to call "the Anniversary special edition of smeds' weekly emails" lol. My emails are already long enough as it is, so we'll just give you some highlights:
- Cabezas: We taught them the Plan of Salvation and it was awesome! I love that family sososo much!
- Weird guy on the train had his shoes and socks off and I was absolutely disgusted.
- Seclens: Less active fam that is now planning to come back to church! Also, they made us an amazing Peruvian meal during which Orr and I each tried a spoonful of the spiciest sauce I've ever tasted in my life. Hotter than peperoncini 🌶  But it was a great night!
- My comp and I were chasing a bus (classic) and she managed to take out a hedge...? We caught the bus though so it's worth it, yeah?
- Titziana: Cool less active member who actually messaged me on fb before the mission! Crazy how things turn out, yeah?
- Cattaneo: Stopped by to see dear Gianna (the lady with short term memory loss and an obsession over her stupid dog Margo) and we've determined she's literally crazy. She kept talking about people and swearing and you'd think that after a year of this stuff, I'd be all mature and used to it lol. In reality, no lololol I was literally losing it the entire time😂
- Nonna Uras: Precious woman who will be translated one day. She told us we were beautiful and amazing, which is a nice change from the comments we normally get. She fed us and taught us and loved us, and I basically want to be her when I grow up. Our time with her made me sit and reflect on how much I love this country and these people.
- aaaand a million other awesome appointments, funny memories, and stellar meals. Oh also we saw this beautiful guy strutting down the street. We couldn't help but stop and stare. And he knew we were staring. And so he kept strutting. And then he found a curb. And toooootally fell on his face but then kind of caught himself on a wall thing. And we lost it😂
- Today's Pday was spent in beautiful Bellagio! No, not the one in Vegas lol although this is where the hotel was based off of. Just imagine a beautiful town bordering lake Como (which is where they filmed the scenes for Naboo in Star Wars, fun fact). I was in heaven. So it was a great day.

Well, it's been a heck of a year! I could sit here and be cliche talking about how it's been the best and hardest year of my life (because it has), but I'd rather just let Elder Holland explain it. He's said it multiple times, but I'm biased and prefer the account he gave in Milano six months ago:

"Why is it so hard?! I have a theory about that. I've thought about it for fifty years- since I was a missionary. 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. It's just symbolic. You're not going to feel much anguish. You're not gonna bleed. You're not gonna die. But you're entitled to feel some pain for the sins of the world. You're entitled to feel something about the Atonement. Because you're running around the Milan mission saying that you've got the truth. 'We've got the truth! This is it! We're the true disciples of Christ!' Well, if you're disciples of Christ, you'd better be prepared to walk where He walked, and feel what He felt, and shed some of the tears He shed! Or else I don't know what 'discipleship' means. It's a funny kind of discipleship that doesn't do anything that He did! 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."

The mission is hard. It's the most exhausting thing out there- physically, emotionally, mentally, ALL THE WAYS. However, President Allen told Sorella Orr and I something I really loved, and this is how it went down:
Pres: I kind if lose it when missionaries say they're tired.
Us: *nervous sweating* 
Pres: Yeah, we don't do 'tired' in this mission. 'Weary' however, now that we do. Coming in at the end of each day and crashing because you've given all you've got to the Lord's work.

I love that with every part of me, because here's the thing... if we look at Holland's theory, this idea of 'weariness' makes perfect sense. And I'm not just talking about missionaries here. All who choose to be His disciples are committing to be like His disciples when He was on the earth. We're choosing to walk His same path and do as He did. So how beautiful is it that we, the lil incompetent mortals that we are, are granted this opportunity to stand side by side with the Savior. We can do a lot of amazing things in this life- through work, athletics, schooling, music, and a million and one other things. And those things are pretty great, but none of them quite rank with the salvation of the human soul.

Looking back on this year, and looking forward to these next six months, I'm feeling pretty weary. And the natural man in me is just wanting some Netflix right now, but the rest of me is just beyond stoked to be livin the dream in the *cough* best *cough* mission in the world.

Like I said, it's been the best year of my life, and a lot has changed. I don't stop and take a mediocre picture of every cathedral I see (cuz, you know, it's a daily thing). I'm surrounded by people who talk so loudly, you can't tell if they're upset or stoked or just normal. I make pasta and pizza and tiramisù like it's nothing lol. I only sometimes get lost now. The ambulances finally sound normal. Sometimes, I can actually Italian. The culture shock is 95% gone. I eat vegetables sometimes now. I don't get quite as freaked out by the fact that Italians drive like it's grand theft auto. Random dance parties... well... they still happen actually. Chasing after buses and trains is the norm. Christian music is my jam. I have no qualms with breaking into my own apartment. And I've gotten a bit better at not forgetting my towel when I go to shower, lol.

There's a lot of things that have made this year the best one of my life. Maybe the fact that I live in Italy. Maybe it's the spiritual high that comes from bringing others to Christ all day every day. Maybe it's the insanely good food. There's a million and one amazing things, but just like our pal Holland said, one thing takes the cake. The answer is clearly the Atonement. Utilizing it to better myself as a missionary, but better yet, using it to bless these crazy Italians who've essentially stolen my heart. I love these people and this country more than I've ever loved anything. Yeah, gelato and Venice are pretty stellar, but nothing brings me more joy than being with these people who've become my family. More than that, getting the opportunity to share this gospel that I love so so so very much with the people I love more than life! My understanding of our relationship with divinity has completely changed as I've witnessed the love our savior and our Heavenly Father have for these Italian people, and for all of us honestly.

So here's to six months more of lots of pasta, lots of love, and lots of group emails that are waaaaay too long😉

Sorella Kaylee Smedley🇮🇹

1-Titziana  2-Seclens  3-More grafitti  4-New converts  5&6-Sorella Uras  7-16 Pday in Bellagio!  (#13- Celebrating 1 year with Sorella Anderson from my MTC group!)





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