Taking My Wand for a Nametag

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Chapter 58: Gelato is an Emotion, Yeah?

Well folks, it's been a week. Like literally one of the funniest/weirdest weeks ever. Oh hahaha as I'm writing this on the train, this guy just came to check our tickets lol... and as we tried to grab them, all these Jesus pass along cards just leapt out of the bag... and the train guy was like "oh! Hallelujah!" Hahaha, oh how I love Italy.🇮🇹

Also, idk if I've ever been more tired. Literally Arndt and I are up in the night like every hour thanks to the mosquitos buzzing in our ears. Also, we've been having issues with sleep talking with each other in Italian😑 this morning at 2:17am I apparently went off at Arndt for trying to teach the resto for a girl named Deborah...? Literally she was sitting up in bed sleep-teaching. Missions are weird, and I'm tired😂😴

We had scambio this week with Sorella Johnson and Sorella Roloff from Rimini! I was with Sorella Johnson, which was cool since it was her last scambio before going home! I seriously learned so much from her, and it really makes me sad knowing she goes home next week! I think the thing I loved the most is that she's let the mission change her and better her, but she's stayed true to herself! The highlight of that scambio was definitely visiting Ida again! She made us bread that tastes like animal crackers, and we talked about Jesus. It's the best. I feel like she's my crazy nonna or something❤❤❤

It's been an interesting week in regards to food... When you think of Italian food, you probably think of delicious lasagna and pizza and gelato and everything in between. It's all so good. You probably don't think of mayonnaise. I didn't either, back when I was innocent and naive. Well friends, there is far too much mayo running through my veins right now. Saturday, my bff Sorella Larrain invited us over for lunch. The meal was amazing, except for this random bowl of purple death that resembled jello... it was literally sliced beets and carrots... in like 7384927 pounds of mayonnaise. Kill me. Ugh, it's a good thing I love the heck out of this woman. Even though she died of laughter when she saw I didn't know how to make coffee😂 sorry that's not in my skills set🙃 we also had a sweet member who wanted to make lunch for us and the Anziani after church. Bless his heart, he brought out a couple of vending machine sandwiches that had nothing on it except a few little chunks of ham and tuna floating around in- you guessed it- an inch-thick slab of mayo. I think I felt my heart literally stop😵

On the better end of the food spectrum, we also went to Europe's annual gelato festival!! ASHFKDJWHAKDK!!! I heard about it so much in the MTC, and boy did it live up to expectations! We took some of the youth and it was seriously a blast. Just picture food trucks set up in this palazzo with every kind of gelato imaginable. We got through 16 cones of gelato... idk if I should feel proud or embarrassed about that🤷🏼‍♀️ they had normal flavors but then there were others made of flowers, curry, cheese, etc. It was delicious and crazy, and I think I need to go on a gelato fast for the rest of the summer. Walking back, I told Arndt that if I were to die suddenly and they did an autopsy, my blood stream would be filled with mayo and gelato.

She laughed.

But I wasn't joking.

Meno male we had so much gelato, because it was much needed after Sunday's fiasco... church was amazing as always, and Norca came to sacrament meeting!! Theeeeen it all went downhill... our ward was hosting a classical music concert for members and nonmembers. Most of the performers hadn't heard of our church before, so you'd think it'd be the perfect missionary activity. 


One of our members, bless his heart, decided to bring some of his nieces and nephews- ages 6, 4, and 2... because we all know how much toddlers love classical music concerts🙄🤦🏼‍♀️ oh my heck, it was horrendous. I kid you not when I say it was probably the most stressful experience of my mission. And that is saying something because I am a pretty stressed person. Ok well the two older ones kept slapping each other and asking when it was gonna end, but the real kick in the face was the 2-year-old girl. Holy freak, she kept getting up and running around. During one piano performance, she started rolling all over the place. Literally Arndt and I just closed our eyes and tried to ignore the chaos. It worked up until I heard a little "ciao!" and opened my eyes to see that she'd rolled all the way over to our side. Ah man. Finally someone caught her and took her to the back to color. All seemed to be well... that is, until this crazy Russian lady in the ward asked for an encore. And then the two-year-old dropped the whole bin of colored pencils everywhere. Twice. Finally the concert from hell was nearing its end. My comp and I finally relaxed thinking the nightmare was over, but we were once again mistaken. A guy from the stake stood up to share what we thought would be a short spiritual thought. However, he awkwardly targeted the nonmember guests and performers... and then he took it one giant leap further and brought up baptisms for the dead...?? I think I gave myself an aneurism from all the stress. It was easily the longest day of my life🙃

In happier news, we started visiting bishop's fam to do lessons for their daughter Sara who is getting baptized this month. They are like my favorite family in firenze😂❤ we have all these deep gospel convos + watch vids of bishop and his wife's wedding + bishop wore a star wars shirt the whole time. All over an amazing Italian meal. I love my life💁🏼❤ Haha seriously I haven't laughed so much this whole transfer! And bishop promised to show me a movie trailer each time we come as an incentive for us to keep visiting😂😂😂😂

We also met with Carolina this week, and she is progressing so well! Seriously, she's just so ready! We had some appointments with a few other investigators and members and whatnot, so it was a pretty good week! And Pday today was spent touring cute little Arezzo, which is where they filmed the movie at the top of every Italian missionary's bucket list, "Life is Beautiful"/"La Vita è Bella"😍😍😍

Aaaand I'm too sleep deprived to give any cool gospel stuff (which is quite a shame since I'm still studying stuff from Paul and he is the BEST!) soooo here are some fun quote things instead haha! Sorry not sorry...

"This is a simple story, but it's not an easy one to tell. Just like a fairytale, there is pain, wonder, and happiness..." -Life is Beautiful 

1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

I'm so sorry for this sorry excuse for an email... but hey, at least you got to hear about my super crazy Sunday concert🙄 oh whale. God loves us all, even if we don't know how to behave in public.

Sorella Smeds

1&2- Scambio with Sorella Johnson  3&4 Valentino & Sara  5-8 Gelato festival!
9–17  Pday in Arezzo  18&19 Currently dreaming of Netflix & Taco Bell   20-I’m a missionary, what’s your superpower?

21&22 Only God can judge :)





Thursday, April 20, 2017

Chapter 57: "Happy Easter, Harry!"

That 👆🏼is how my comp greeted me Easter morning, since she knows how much I love Harry Potter. What a gem.

Hey friends! I hope you all had an INCREDIBLE Easter!! Alright I'm not gonna lie, it's been a really hard week. Buuuut luckily it's also been a week of awesome miracles and crazy good experiences, so I can't really complain🤷🏼‍♀️ gotta love the rollercoaster of life, yeah? And we woke up at 5am to spend today at *wait for it* CINQUE TERRE!! It was insanely beautiful!! Get excited for these pictures 😉

Ok so last Wednesday after Pday stuff, we went out with the youth to do some finding, specifically based on the Book of Mormon. We did splits with them, and had some super cool experiences. One was with a guy who claimed to be an atheist. Sorella Arndt and I love talking to Atheists because so far, we've been able to get 100% of them to admit by the end of the conversation that there IS, in fact, a God! This guy was super awesome, and he even admitted in the end that he thinks God migh have sent us to specifically find him that day. I think he is right😉 It was awesome overall- these youth are so amazing!

Thursday was a day of member appointments, extending President Allen's invitation for members to invite their friends and family members to meet with the missionaries. It's been such a humbling experience. So far every single member we've extended this invite to have called or texted friends about meeting with us. They've all had various fears and excuses at the start, but in the end have all gotten up the courage and faith invite their friends and family to come uno Christ. It's super inspiring to me- I think of how often I was the member at home who was too scared or too busy or just too awkward to share the gospel with friends and whatnot. Gosh dang it, these Italians are just too good❤

Friday, we got up dark and early to head over to Pisa for scambio. I was with Sorella Arkell, a young but awesome missionary! I've never met a missionary so good at being lovingly bold- I'm pretty sure I learned more from the scambio than she did! We biked from appointment to appointment, so that was new. I mean, awesome because who doesn't want to ride a bike through beautiful toscana? Buuuut also pretty rough when we rode for literally hours in the hot sun. And I haven't been in a biking city my whole mission. Oh mamma, my butt still hasn't recovered, lol.🚲 Make fun of me if you want😂but hey, you try riding a bike for two hours after a year of not doing it, and then lemme know how your booty feels. Gosh. It was fun though because we got to meet with some people who knew both my trainer Sorella Smith, and my bff Sorella Anderson! Super cool to spend a day serving in their birth city! We got home from Pisa Saturday morning (after doing morning workouts at theLeaning Tower, of course). Literally none of our investigators could meet last week, which was a bummer. Buuut we made good use of that time by meeting with some more members and less actives, so yay!

Sunday was EASTER! So many awesome lessons during church! And then we went over to the Morelli family for Easter lunch! Haha, and so many members gave us food for Easter lol. Easter egg hunts may not be a thing here, buuuut Italy does have giant chocolate eggs with a surprise inside and who doesn't want that??

Remember how Italy likes making up their own holidays? Same. So Monday was essentially Easter part 2 lol. So there was a super huge Easter lunch at the church, so that was fun! ALSO we were out doing passbys (since holidays in Easter typically mean no busses and no one wanting to meet, lol). We saw the name "Cabezas" on a citofono and were like "oh that's funny, there's a fam in our ward with that last name" and so we rang. And it wasn't them. But it was their niece Carolina and her family. And they are not members. And they let us in. And we had an amazing lesson with them. And we are coming back Friday. I. Love. Them. I can just see this adorable family getting baptized, and I'm sooooo stoked we were able to find them!!🤗❤ they have a 2 year old son named Christian who kept playing his accordion and pretending to be a dinosaur during the lesson. I want to adopt him.

Yesterday was awesome! We had normal Tuesday stuff like English class and district meeting, but we got a new investigator and she is amazing! She is also named Carolina lol, but she's like 19 and is basically our new best friend. Like seriously it was one of the best lessons ever! She is sooooooo ready for the gospel! She talked to us about how she is missing peace in her life, and she wants what we have! She had so many awesome questions, and we are seeing her again on Friday as well! Seriously, a miracle week!!

Well friends, this is the last week of video-themed spiritual thoughts (although if you STILL haven't seen the actual video, here ya go https://www.mormon.org/?player=bc lol)

3- Prince of Peace

This week has been pretty hard. Just physically and emotionally and just all the ways. Obviously tons of miracles as you've seen, but a rough week nonetheless. Interestingly enough, I was rereading my journal from the MTC, and realized last year's Easter week was pretty hard too! I don't remember all that went into it, but it was apparently a difficult week. I remember last year on the Friday before Easter, our district was having a hard day. Our teachers came in and noticed that something was off, and decided to change our lesson to talk about Easter, and specifically the death, Atonement, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And that changed everything for me.

I remembered it then, and I remembered it this week- that Easter week was also hard for someone else. It was easily the hardest week for Christ. There's a quote by Joseph B Wirthlin that I love (shout out to mom for randomly sending it this week, you champ!)

"It was a Friday filled with devastating, consuming sorrow. Of all the days since the beginning of this world’s history, that Friday was the darkest.
Each of us will have our own Fridays-those days when the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. But I testify to you, in the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come. 
The Messiah overcame all, that we could live forever.”

Meno male it's been Easter time, so that I could remember and reflect upon His hardest week. Sorella Arndt and I have been memorizing The Living Christ in Italian, and I'm so so so grateful for the knowledge and testimony we can attain of Him during this life. Plus, I'm studying Romans in the New Testament (Paul is just a boss. I'm loving it) and chapter 8 is literally the best. Just look at how it ends👇🏼

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So I guess those are my scrambled thoughts after this awful, no good, really bad week that also happened to be full of miracles. 

He lives

Nothing can separate us from His love. 

Through Him, we are conquerors

And Sunday will come.

Sorella Smedley 🌷🌿🌸🌻🌱💐

1-4 Pisa scambio   5-8 Leaning Tower   9&10- Easter!    11-23- P-day in Cinque Terre

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Chapter 56: "Are You a Jew?"

Once upon a time, it was Pday. This Pday was a tad different than your average Italian Pday, because there was a huge youth activity going on in the evening. Thus, the day was spent signing up Sorella Arndt for some classes, and chilling around centro. As the two lovely sorelle were walking around centro, a random man tried to do what most weird Italians do: determine who exactly these "Sorelle" are. Today was a new one though, he looked me straight in the eye and said "Are you a Jew?" Huh, I've gotten Amish, nun x200, and polygamist, but never "Jew"... 

*Disclaimer 1- My dear greenie Sorella Richards: Do you remember the one Jewish conversation we had one time?😏😏😂😂😂😂😂😂*

*Disclaimer 2- Thanks to the youth activity, personal email responses will be sent either tonight, tomorrow morning, or not at all... we shall see...*

Thursday and Friday were absolutely crazy! Ok so one of the companionships Sorella Arndt and I are over is Sorella Zombra (my companion during my fourth transfer) and her companion Sorella Ruby. Well, Sorella Zombra had to take a flight to Sicily to renew her permesso (we've all been there, amiright?) so we were in charge of getting them to and from the airport in Firenze. Then we had Sorella Ruby with us in a trio while Sorella Zombra was in Sicily. It was all rather exhausting, but also fun...?🤷🏼‍♀️ Well, when we weren't busy traveling and whatnot, we did some finding in centro and we saw our investigator Elizabeth, who had a ton of random & deep prophet questions. Gotta love it when lessons somehow make sense despite being 100% improvised, aaand in Italian. Go team. 

The weekend was literally full of back to back meetings with the stake leaders and then the zone leaders. Pretty boring stuff. But hey, we got pizza! And saw a movie poster for the second Guardians of the Galaxy movie. That's what missions are all about, right? Luckily church was great- full of translating for tourists and then doing a special missionary lesson for the youth. 

This week was also zone conference, which meant we got to spend the day with Presidente and Sorella Allen!! Tons of trainings and just awesome stuff. Our stake president spoke, which meant I got to translate for Sorella Allen😅 Sorella Arndt and I also were asked to give a training and a role play about the church's new push to share the gospel through social media. Lemme give you some backstory. It used to be that missionaries spent a good amount of time doing "casa" (aka good ole fashioned knocking on doors). Presidente talked about how when he was on his mission, they would go out doing casa for a couple hours and they knew they be let into at least a couple of homes. Now, it's not that way. I've been let in maybe 3 times in my entire mission. Presidente' current challenge for us missionaries is to meet with members, share a message, and then invite them to use technology to share the gospel. However, President Allen isn't just wanting us to send out a video link or something. He wants us to invite the members on the spot to text a couple of friends inviting them to meet with us missionaries the following week. Pretty nerve wracking for both the missionaries AND the member involved. So that was what our role play and training was supposed to be about. We started working on some stuff for it over the course of the weekend.


The day before zone conference, we met with Betty. She's seriously one of my favorite people! She's had the hardest life and had phases of time where she wasn't super active in the church. However, she's back now and is super strong. We watched the new Easter video with her (https://www.mormon.org/?player=bc in case you STILL haven't watched it🙄) and talked about the peace and happiness we can receive thanks to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The conversation continued forward, and we decided to extend the invite pres had talked about. Betty was so down hahahaha! She pulled out her phone and started calling people right then and there! She has so much faith, and such a willing heart!

We got a new investigator this week named Pillar. We met her in the most pigeon filled park I've ever seen. I wanted to vomit. Oh well, she seems cool and we are seeing her again tomorrow!

Lol so we had  an appointment to see Maria (sorry there are multiple investigators named Maria, yay Italy. Buuut she's the one who we usually met in her car). Well this week "Car Maria" shook things up and invited us to her home! After an hour of riding the bus through beautiful Toscana, we got to her house. We were greeted by this giant puppy named Benji, so I was stoked🐶 theeeen it got weird... in fact, it's an appointment that I feel describes missionary life in Italy fairly well. First of all, we were not the only guests lol. There was a catholic tea party going on lol. I'm not joking, like a whole group of catholic women, holding their palms (because palms Sunday, duh) and sipping tea. Lol, so we joined. Yay for church conversations with a group of devout catholic women...? They watched the Easter video with us though and then left. It was fun but we were secretly glad to have just Maria there so we could teach her. Lol, jokes on us, because her atheist husband came out within 10 minutes. He proceeded to smoke and bash Christianity. 

Atheist: Tutte le chiese non sono vere. L'ho provate. (No churches are true. I've tried them)
Smeds: hmmm, ma ha mai provato la nostra chiesa? (Hmmm but have you tried our church?)
Atheist: No.
Smeds: ah, ecco perché non l'ha trovata la verità! (Ah... that would be why you haven't found the truth!)

Smeds: 1 
Atheist: 0

Anyways, it went well given all of the craziness haha, and we are seeing her again this week! 

Hopefully alone this time, lol.

Anyways, EASTER IS THIS WEEK!! Gotta love talking to people about Christ, aaaaaand showing them the stellar video @ https://www.mormon.org/?player=bc ❤ In following last week, let's take a lil look at the second title assigned to the Savior in this stellar video!

2- Lord of Lords

I am beyond grateful to have Jesus Christ as our Lord. There is no one else who has the perfect balance of justice and mercy. What is it that makes Him our perfect Lord? Well, there are lots of reasons, but I believe the ultimate is that He represents His father. He is exactly like our Heavenly Father, and we see that anytime we look back at the scriptural accounts of Christ's ministry and works.

Elder Holland said: "Jesus did not come to improve God’s view of man nearly so much as He came to improve man’s view of God and to plead with them to love their Heavenly Father as He has always and will always love them. The plan of God, the power of God, the holiness of God, yes, even the anger and the judgment of God they had occasion to understand. But the love of God, the profound depth of His devotion to His children, they still did not fully know—until Christ came.
​​​​So feeding the hungry, healing the sick, rebuking hypocrisy, pleading for faith—this was Christ showing us the way of the Father, He who is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, long-suffering and full of goodness.”​​​​ In His life and especially in His death, Christ was declaring, “This is ​God’s​ compassion I am showing you, as well as that of my own.” In the perfect Son’s manifestation of the perfect Father’s care, in Their mutual suffering and shared sorrow for the sins and heartaches of the rest of us, we see ultimate meaning in the declaration: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”​​

I'm grateful for both a perfect Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, and for the loving Father who sent Him here for us.

Enjoy Pasqua 🐣 

Sorella Smeds

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