Taking My Wand for a Nametag

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Chapter 59: Fish are Friends NOT Food!

Well friends, what a week it has been! This week marks one year in this beautiful country🇮🇹❤ It feels like it's been forever, but also like it's been only a week😂 Shockingly, I've grown accustomed to a lot. It's normal to see models on the metro... aaand also people willingly wearing adidas or crocs. I'm used to seeing cathedrals every 10 steps, and sitting next to nuns on the bus. I thought I was used to eating both amazing Italian food, aaaand super weird food... eh, I guess that one won't ever be completely normal, buuuut we'll save that story for a little later...🦑

We had our last scambio this week!! I got to be with Sorella Zombra, my comp from last August-September. It was crazy seeing how much we've both changed in the last 9 months! We met with a couple of less actives, which was super fun! A majority of our less actives here are only considered less active because their work schedule makes it impossible to come to church. Thus, our goal with them lately has been getting them to read from the Book of Mormon each day. We also had another appointment with Carolina Cabezas! Sorella Zombra and I taught her the restoration and it went so well! She doesn't have a ton of religious background, but she is learning and progressing so well!

While Sorella Arndt and Ruby were together on scambio, they found a new investigator named Pilar! We've met with her twice since, and she's awesome! It's been a challenge, because she's had a lot of really tough questions. However, the spirit has been soooo strong in these past two lessons! Sorella Arndt and I have really been trying to play off of each other well and be better at discerning the needs of our investigators. It's hard because with Pilar, the lessons are a bit of a roller coaster😂 but hey, nothing like telling the amazing account of Joseph Smith's first vision whilst sitting in a beautiful garden in Toscana🌻

We met with various members this week, including my favorite Sorella Larrain! What a gem, that one❤ I don't remember if I explained any background on her... basically, she's the most amazing member. She has two kids- one is active in the church, and the other is not. About three months ago, her husband passed away from cancer. And yet, Sorella Larrain is the most caring, positive, funny person I've met. Well, her son Peter came home from his mission yesterday! We helped her a lot with the preparations on Monday, so she invited us to stay for lunch... well, she thinks it's hilarious that I'm not much of a fan of fish, so she decided it'd be funny to have some after we'd finished lunch... literally she plops this big ole squid up on the table, chops it up into pieces, and hands me this bowl of tentacles. Lolol so naturally I decided to try it... and it was all nasty and rubbery and fishy... and it was taking me FOREVER to finish my tentacle... and then I did something I've NEVER done in my entire year here in Italy... I TOTALLY HURLED. I kid you not, I vomited that whole tentacle right into my empty bowl. Omg. I have eaten raw meat, scallops, cat, raw fish, and a million and one naaaaaasty things, but never ONCE have I thrown up in someone else's home😳😳😳 thank goodness we were with Larrain and not someone else😂😂 she literally laughed harder than I've ever seen someone laugh😂 we were all dying.🦑🦑🦑

We also had an amazing appointment with Maria (formerly known as "Car Maria"). We were a bit worried going in, given that the last lesson ended up being a catholic tea party, but it ended up being one of the best lessons we've had!! We taught her about the restoration, and the spirit was just so strong. She had a ton of questions too, and I just felt the spirit totally guiding us to know what to say and how to explain things. At the end, she hugged us and told us we were like daughters to her❤

There's been a pretty continuous trend I've noticed in our lessons this week. And I mean, technically it's always been there, but I guess I really saw it a lot this past week.

The true, restored gospel of Jesus Christ changes lives.

There hasn't really been a time in my life when I didn't know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was true. However, this week has strongly reconfirmed to me that's not only is it the true church, but that it is the only true church on the earth today.

In preparing for these lessons this past week, my companion and I have been studying the talk "The Blueprint for Christ's Church" by Callister. https://www.lds.org/broadcasts/article/ces-devotionals/2014/01/what-is-the-blueprint-of-christs-church?lang=eng This talk breaks down the essential elements of the church Jesus Christ established during His life. It's super interesting, especially since I've been studying the New Testament lately. There are some essential parts of the church that Christ established, including but not limited to: the calling of 12 apostles, Priesthood authority, baptism by immersion, commandments, temples, the sacrament, miracles, an unpaid ministry, the Holy Ghost, the scriptures, missionary work, praying to God alone, the nature of the Godhead, ordinances for the dead, etc.

These are the elements that made up Christ's church.

Interestingly enough, there is only one church on the earth today that contains every single one of these elements.

In the first section of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord makes this bold and significant statement: “[This is] the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth” (D&C 1:30). What does this mean? It does not mean that other churches do not have some truth, for certainly they do. It does not mean that other churches do not render good, for they render much good. What it does mean is that this is the only church that has all the truth that has been revealed thus far in this dispensation—the only church that has the ordinances necessary for exaltation and the only church that has the priesthood of God to perform those ordinances with divine validity. 

I mentioned the interesting trend of this week. With both Maria and Pilar, we asked them how there lives have changed in just the short time we've started meeting with them. Here are the already-translated responses

Maria: My family is doing better. I am more at peace. I finally feel that I have a relationship with God.

Pilar: I feel peace and other feelings I've never felt before in my life. I have to continue meeting with you, because I have to have these feelings in my life. I can't go back to where I was before.

Why is there a change in their lives? Why were these feelings NOT in their lives before, with their current religious practices? Why are people like Sorella Larrain able to find peace and joy in life, so soon after having a loved one pass away? These are all just blessing that come with the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I mentioned before that all of our investigators (But especially pilar and Maria) have a ton of questions. We know the answers to a lot of them, but some things are hard to move past. However, Callister brings up something that I believe to the core:

Suffice it to say, I can live with some human imperfections, even among prophets of God—that is to be expected in mortal beings. I can live with some alleged scientific findings contrary to the Book of Mormon; time will correct those. And I can live with some seeming historical anomalies; they are minor in the total landscape of truth. But I cannot live without the doctrinal truths and ordinances restored by Joseph Smith, I cannot live without the priesthood of God to bless my family, and I cannot live without knowing my wife and children are sealed to me for eternity. That is the choice we face—a few unanswered questions on one hand versus a host of doctrinal certainties and the power of God on the other. And for me, and I hope for you, the choice is an easy one and a rational one.

I know this and believe this so deeply. Yes, we are faced with the mysteries of God and the imperfections of man. They can easily raise some doubts, but any number of questions or concerns is merely a drop in the bucket compared with the waves of blessings that come from this true church of Jesus Christ! It's not just something I want or believe- it's something I need. It's a need that Maria and Pilar have recognized. It's something we all need.

Ew, I was never going to be that overly preachy missionary that tries to extend invitations via email (yes, to all two of you who might have made it down this far lol) buuut I'm making an exception for this week. Study the "blueprint" of Christ's church, whether through this talk https://www.lds.org/broadcasts/article/ces-devotionals/2014/01/what-is-the-blueprint-of-christs-church?lang=eng or just straight through the Bible. Whether you're reading this as a missionary, an atheist, one of those weird Mormons, a catholic, or if you're of no religion at all, put it to the test. But I'm going to  echo Callister and warn you...

If one were to match the blueprint of Christ’s original Church against every church in the world today, he would find that point for point, organization for organization, teaching for teaching, ordinance for ordinance, fruit for fruit, and revelation for revelation, it will only match one—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If one rejects this Church after studying the blueprint, then it will likely ruin him for any other church because he knows too much.

Sorry not sorry.

Sorella Smedley 

1-Bringing out the Disney side of this missionary!  2-“I’m not Muslim”-Sorella Zombra   3-‘Spleen’ graffiti  4-My comp is a crazy cat lady!
5- Sunday❤︎   6- ‘Babe’  7-Food from the Philippines  8-I love visiting Sorella Larrain…   9-…but I hate when she feeds me squid🐙😷

10- time for our massages!    11- District Mtg. & burgers, so much better than squid!


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