were you as sad as i was that there was computer malfunctions last week? well dont' get mad, get happy! because i have been feeling sad about it all week and instead of being too sad i got happy and i prepared a fun time for us right now. good thing lots of silly things happened this week because my goal is to make up for the errors of last week with the laughter and joy of this week.
-we did a scambio (splits) with the sorelle in pescara. who are the sorelle in pescara you ask? SORELLA MISTURA, sorella spicq (the classiest little french gone italian girl you ever will see ... plus she was companions with the famous and holy sorella taylor so obvs she rubbed off some of that taylor magic and is everyone's favorite frenchie because of it) and sorella knudsen (a greenie, forced to speak all italian, all day errday because she is with two italians/a real italian and a frenchie that refuses to speak anything but italian). i was with sorella knudsen and we had some GOOOOOOOD times. we dedicated an evening to some good old fashion casa to casa (knocking on doors). confession: i think this is the least effective finding tool on all of the planet, but it feels like old school missionary work (especially when there is rain and dogs chasing you and stuff) so we do it sometimes for that reason. and guess what?! scambio miracles!! so many people wanted us to come back and to talk and to share and to offer them eternal life. so we did. and it felt great! also it was like culture night in passo corese (that is where we live btw) because we met people from india, the phillipeans, moroco, south america and ... that's all. so that is always fun.
sorella knudsen and i in a flower wonderland
-we went on a bus adventure. so once upon a time we got the bus schedule from the bus captain of passo corese. really he is like the closest thing to a king that exists in our town. everyone wants to be on his good side because he commands all of the busses. some might say that it was our american charm but i am convinced that he saw our light of christ and recognized it, but this man, the king of the busses, LOVES us! so anyway friday morning, sorella knudsen and i RUN to catch a bus to leave for this mini city far far away that only has a bus every 4 hours. we show up, 5 minutes early according to this schedule that we had, only to find out that the busses change their schedules every couple months and they had been changed. so we run into the bus king and he says the italian equivalent to "i'll take it from here" and before we knew it we were on some special bus for friends of the bus king, on our way to castelnuova di farafa (what a name, right). we met with a member family that is the greatest thing since figs (ps i hear they grow figs in california. consider this my warning that i am moving to cali when i am home, for the figs). funny thing is they actually fed us figs wrapped in prosciutto on their dreamland patio overlooking the city of farfa. dream life. i also discovered this day that fratello guidara (the dad of the family) served his mission in rome from 1990 to 1992, same time as grandma and grandpa wightman. and guess what?! he knew them!! he said he never spent more than a couple of zone conferences with them but heard great things! yay!
-after scambi we all had this relit fire of missionary work. sorella wiltbank more than anyone since i sit down in the train and notice that she wasn't connected to my hip as usual but was talking to some cute, young, italian mom on the train. i was beaming with pride! my daughter is growing up!!
-we met with one of our very favorite potentials named noel. he is from the congo but he and his wife moved to italy to go to medical school 11 years ago and have decided to raise their family here. they are gems. he brought his priest brother with him to the lesson ... which is always scary but instead of being mad we got happy because we felt the spirit testify as we opened our mouths and simply said the simple things that we know to be true. we talked about how not being able to say exactly what you would normally say in english is actually a blessing. this way we stick to the basics and we refrain from saying something that might be offensive. anyway we are excited to meet with him again because we know that the spirit will testify to all those who truly seek the truth. however he did tell us to "study up" on the madonna (have i ever told you that that is maria, the mother of jesus? it is not the one you are thinking about with a cone bra and framing her face ...). so yeah, wish us luck. or better yet, pray for the spirit to be with us and this man, who is a little confused.
-i read this quote in a talk called "help them aim high" from pres eyring this day that made me think of my sweet parents and my really special home that i was blessed enough to grow up in: "there are others ways to reach out; you are already engaged in many of them. your habits of family prayer and scripture study will create more lasting memories and greater changes of heart than you may realize now. even apparently temporal activities such as attending an athletic event or watching a movie can shape a child's heart. what matters is not the activity but the feelings that come as you do it." lucky to have grown up in a family that understood this principle. so i had a little prayer of gratitude as i read this and thought of the many byu games and movie nights and family home evenings and lessons and scripture studies and family prayers that i have experienced with the coolest people that i know.
-we got transfer calls. sorella wiltbank and i are staying in roma 5!!!! yay!! but our beloved third half, sorella mittens, is being transferred to OPEN FOGGIA (in my beloved puglia) with a really young missionary!! if anyone can, mitsvotai can!! we are real sad to say goodbye to our threesome fun but we can't selfishly keep this light from the foggia folk!!
the famous three, knocking on the cutest doors
-we invited magged to a baptism in rome 2 but he called us last minute and said he couldn't make it. bummer! but it was a really great baptism. they had a testimony meeting as the girl that was baptized got ready and an investigator got up and said that he was now more sure than ever before that the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints was christ's church. he said he would do anything to have a turn in the font. as far as i know he had an interview that night. hopefully we will get to see his baptism here soon too! i just love baptisms and i hope i have lots of opportunities to continue seeing them here and at home. there really can't be a better feeling than watching someone come out of the water, almost visibly cleaner and full of light, with the biggest smile on their face. i get chills just thinking about it!!
-sunday the theme of the talks in sacrament meeting were how to have a life centered on christ. it was a goodie. man we have some rockstars in our branch. i was super impressed with the 16 year old that got up, after a member of 30 years, and explained what she does to make christ the center of all that she does. how many 16 year olds can do that with the power that she did? what a blessing it is to have the gospel so early on in your life. we also got to help in the nursery. and i got hit with that same gratitude for being born in the church again when the teacher asked all the 3 year olds to find jesus christ in a picture then asked them all kinds of questions about him and they were able to answer them without a blink. THREE YEARS OLD!! and saying things like "jesus hugs babies because he loves all of them" and "jesus will hug me too". it was an honor to be with the most pure members of the branch ... plus coloring and crawling through tunnels and singing primary songs in italian is just a good way to spend church time. THEN we got to hear the greatest lesson in relief society. they talked about how with god all things are possible. the discussion eventually turned to how grateful they all are for the temple. that is where we all lost it. tears for days. the rs pres talked about all the lessons they are learning as the temple goes up. they talked about the time delay and the missed deadlines with all the building stuff, but they say that they won't complain ever because never in their wildest dreams did they imagine a temple in rome "the city of the pope", a 20 minute drive away. they never imagined that their kids would be able to watch a temple get build and learn that good things take time, require patience, and are worth the best efforts and whole hearts. they never imagined that their kids wouldn't have to save up all kinds of money to fly their families to madrid or switzerland to attend their weddings. they never imagined having temple nights with the ward or stake. all of these things i have taken for granted as a girl who grew up within a 10 mile radius of a few temples. man! these people spend their ONE week that the are given off of work a year to travel 10 hours away by bus to dedicate a full week to temple work. they prepared all year to gather their family history work and prepare their kids and neighbors and friend to come with them. these italians ... PIONEERS ... deserve to be celebrated and honored today (happy pioneer day)!!! i will celebrate them forever!!!
-we spent a day in poggio mirtetto, the city where the anziani live, to do some finding work. we found some really nice potentials there too. we are mostly excited about these two younger gentlemen that were so genuinely trying to find the truth that they willingly stood in the burning hot sun to hear three americans blubber out their testimonies in broken italian. but the greatest miracle of all happened to them ... they listened, pondered, and accepted the invite to learn more! yippie!
-since mittens and an anziano in our district are being transferred we all met up with their luggage at our house so the senior couple in the district could take it all to the mission office so we don't have to lug it on the train (tender mercy). while we waited for them we discussed how anziano wolzl (the austrian) hasn't gotten a candy package in forever. his mom used to send him a packed FULL of the greatest chocolate known to man but she has been slacking as of late. sorella wiltbank was saying "we never get packages ever because it costs a fortune so your mom should send us a package instead!" as she finished that lament the postman came with a package! haha! good timing right? best thing, it was for me from my creative and adorable little family!! we went nuts about those m&ms. and the shirts ... ADORABLE, and the stationary ... perfection, and the love ... priceless!! guys THANKS!!! i love love loved it!!!!!! but now the anziani's moms aren't going to send us pity packages ...
my package party!!
WELL here you have it, a week in the life of the luckiest and most blessed missionary on the planet! imma end with this FABULOUS quote, that has given me a greater sense of urgency and fire to do what i have been called to do while i still have that calling. but also, to continue doing so for all of my life. also i feel like it describes our transfer really well, full of unexpected road bumps (literally and figurtively) that only brought a greater abundence of blessings and reasons to give thanks. from anziano christofferson. for the whole talk click here. it is a gem gem gem!!
Work through Large Problems in Small, Daily Bites
Asking God for our daily bread, rather than our weekly, monthly, or yearly bread, is also a way to focus us on the smaller, more manageable bits of a problem. To deal with something very big, we may need to work at it in small, daily bites. Sometimes all we can handle is one day (or even just part of one day) at a time. Let me give you a nonscriptural example.
A book I read recently, titled Lone Survivor, recounts the tragic story of a four-man team of U.S. Navy SEALs on a covert mission in a remote sector of Afghanistan five and one-half years ago. When they were inadvertently discovered by shepherds—two men and a boy—these specially trained Navy servicemen had a choice either to kill the two or let them go, knowing that if they let them live they would disclose the team’s location and they would be attacked immediately by al Qaeda and Taliban forces. Nevertheless, they let the innocent shepherds go, and in the firefight that followed, only the author, Marcus Luttrell, survived against well over 100 attackers.
In his book, Luttrell recounts the extreme training and endurance required for one to qualify as a SEAL in the U.S. Navy. In Luttrell’s training group, for example, of the 164 men who began, only 32 managed to complete the course. They endured weeks of near-constant physical exertion, in and out of cold ocean water, swimming, paddling and carrying inflatable boats, running in sand, doing hundreds of push-ups a day, carrying logs through obstacle courses, and so forth. They were in a near-perpetual state of exhaustion.
I was impressed by something a senior officer said to the group as they began the final and most demanding phase of their training.
“First of all,” he said, “I do not want you to give in to the pressure of the moment. Whenever you’re hurting bad, just hang in there. Finish the day. Then, if you’re still feeling bad, think about it long and hard before you decide to quit. Second, take it one day at a time. One [phase] at a time.
“Don’t let your thoughts run away with you, don’t start planning to bail out because you’re worried about the future and how much you can take. Don’t look ahead to the pain. Just get through the day, and there’s a wonderful career ahead of you.”1
Generally it is good to try to anticipate what is coming and prepare to deal with it. At times, however, this captain’s counsel is wise: “Take it one day at a time. … Don’t look ahead to the pain. Just get through the day.” To worry about what is or may be coming can be debilitating. It can paralyze us and make us quit.
In the 1950s my mother survived radical cancer surgery, but difficult as that was, the surgery was followed with dozens of painful radiation treatments in what would now be considered rather primitive medical conditions. She recalls that her mother taught her something during that time that has helped her ever since: “I was so sick and weak, and I said to her one day, ‘Oh, Mother, I can’t stand having 16 more of those treatments.’ She said, ‘Can you go today?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Well, honey, that’s all you have to do today.’ It has helped me many times when I remember to take one day or one thing at a time.”
The Spirit can guide us when to look ahead and when we should just deal with this one day, with this one moment. If we ask, the Lord will let us know through the Holy Ghost when it may be appropriate for us to apply in our lives the commandment He gave His ancient Apostles: “Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient is the day unto the evil thereof”.
and because today is one of my favorite holidays: a) mom's birthday and b) the party of the greatest state at the center of my heart, and also cause we sang this morning and i cried and cried and cried for the wightman and wood pioneers, for the italian pioneers that i get to call my friends now, and for the pioneers in missionary tags all over the world ...
Come, come, ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear;
But with joy wend your way.
Though hard to you this journey may appear,
Grace shall be as your day.
'Tis better far for us to strive
Our useless cares from us to drive;
Do this, and joy your hearts will swell--
All is well! All is well!
Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard?
'Tis not so; all is right.
Why should we think to earn a great reward
If we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage take.
Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we'll have this tale to tell--
All is well! All is well!
We'll find the place which God for us prepared,
Far away in the West,
Where none shall come to hurt or make afraid;
There the Saints will be blessed.
We'll make the air with music ring,
Shout praises to our God and King;
Above the rest these words we'll tell--
All is well! All is well!
And should we die before our journey's through,
Happy day! All is well!
We then are free from toil and sorrow, too;
With the just we shall dwell!
But if our lives are spared again
To see the Saints their rest obtain,
Oh, how we'll make this chorus swell--
All is well! All is well!