Right now I'm way up high in the hills of Genova, and it's beautiful. We are spending p-day with Ester, the lady who was in the hospital, but is now out. She lives way out of the city in the trees and hills. We stopped by an older lady's house and now we are just waiting for Ester to finish doing something with her, and so I decided to take time to write. This older lady is from Sicily and she is a little crazy. Haha! I can understand her well enough but Sorella Goethals can't at all. She lives in the tiniest little house. It's quite adorable. So Italian :)
Anyway, this week was hard at times but really good at other times. I wasn't able to email yesterday because we had a sister's conference with Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson and Sister Linda K. Burton. We were able to meet them and give them both hugs! We also ate lunch with them. I got to sit across from Sister Osarson during lunch :) the conference was a.maz.ing. I was spiritually lifted and inspired. The spirit was so strong, and I learned so much. It was the same spirit that I felt during the conference with Anziano Bednar. I just love these inspired teachers and the words they bring to us missionaries. That church in Cimiano Milano will always be a sacred place for me. I have been able to learn at the feet of apostles, prophets, general authorities, and inspired leaders from our Heavenly Father. They really talked about the mission being a time to really grow and prepare for life after. To become that disciple of Jesus Christ and keep that spirit with us and the things we learn forever. I think I learned the most through their example though. One of the things we're really focusing on as a mission is becoming the message and these wonderful women truly are the message. I could see it in the way they talked, how they held themselves, the testimonies they bore, and the way they treated everyone. They truly take their callings seriously and work out of revelation from God.
Sister Burton shared a little experience where she was asked by President Russell M. Nelson to listen to his talk before he gave it at this last conference. He was on his 24th draft and he wanted the Relief Society's perspective. He gave the talk on "The Plea to Sisters". It just made me realize how sacred these words are and how much time our prophets and apostles spend on them. Each word is so exact. The words from our prophets and leaders are truly revelation from God, and i'ts important that we treat them that way. I just gained so much more appreciation for the opportunity we have to receive guidance from our Heavenly Father in this day as well. They really talked about our role as women and and how much we can contribute in the Lord's work.
This week has been a time for a lot of reflection about a lot of things for me. It was my Hump Day yesterday! CraZy! And it was the best hump day I could've had because of the conference, and I got to see all of my past companions! So fun :) I just love each of them so much! I was able to get a picture with all of them together :) It also made me think of things I've gone through with each companion and things I've learned from each of them.
|Left to right: Sorella Goethals, Sorella Russell, Sorella Griffin, Sorella Dixon,|
Sorella Pulli (MTC), Sorella Nedelkov, Sorella Gregg
I thought a lot about what I've done so far on my mission. What I've learned. Who I have become, etc. I have learned so much and have grown so much spiritually. I've learned how to recognize the spirit more and how to respond to promptings. I've learned how to pray more specifically and personally. Especially in those hard moments when I have no one else to confide in. I've learned what it means to have faith in Christ and how to use the Atonement daily. I've learned patience and what it means to really love someone. Even someone you barely know. I've learned how to ponder and cherish the scriptures. And so so so much more. I've especially learned a lot through training. It has taught me a lot about motherhood. It's also neat to see how far I've come because Sorella Goethals is a lot like me when I first got here, so I can totally relate to what she's feeling and thinking and going through.
I've also grown a lot in Italian. I still learn new things everyday which I love, but now Italian just feels a part of me. It was pretty neat the other day when we met with some members and I was telling them about FHE that we're going to do every other week. But to say every other week you say "una settimana si, una settimana no" or one week yes, one week no. And the older son, who's in his 20s and served his mission in Rome, was shocked that I got that right. He said he had never heard a missionary say that right before. Haha so that was pretty neat :)
It's so weird that I've already been on my mission 9 months. 9 months!! That's practically a school year! It does not seem that long and I'm pretty sure these next 9 months will go even faster! I'm glad I still get 9 months to be in Italy and serve the people here.
This week we did a lot of finding and talking to people. We also found 2 great less-active families to really work with. One wants to start doing FHE with us every week so we're pretty excited about that. And we found some new people to teach through English class! We've been passing out English class flyers like crazy and lots of new people have come because of it! Yay! Hopefully we keep seeing miracles through that.
Well, Genova is still as beautiful as ever and I still love every second of my mission! Remember that Christ loves you and is ALWAYS there for you. For anything.
Vi voglio bene!