our number one fan came to church like this ... sorellina guidara!!
my baby has arrived!! more on that to come.
miracles exist! more on that to come.
but i live in a house of order (ha!) so let's do this right ...
since we last spoke:
wednesday--we got a private tour of saint peters basilica(spb). WHA?! yeah. it happened. we got da hook ups. hook ups=our pride and joy, aka investigator named amède. he worked there. but he stopped working there last week. but he loves us so much that he came back to give us a free tour. and now, sorella wiltbank and i are spb pros. plus i couldn't help but love hearing him give the tour, then stop and think about some of the stuff he was saying then bring up the restoration and how it just makes sense. cool right? we even got a free ride in the elevator up to the cupola. the cupola is like the empire state building of rome. great view of the city, rip off cost. (side note: shout out and extra love to my nyc today). so basically if anyone wants to know something about the basilica, "call me, beep me if you want to reach me" and i will educate you about the finer things of the catholic church. we also had a lesson with our favie less active, ricardo. he told us about some really sad problems that he is dealing with but how he is seeing how the gospel is helping him overcome them. what a peach. as we walked home we were just feeling this crazy gratitude for this city and our service together. when we got home we prayed and sorella wiltbank just cried her way through it. it was one of the most beautiful things ever. after all we went through--car accident, flooded apartment, the woes of opening a city, transportation mishaps, losing her beloved camera--that prayer of gratitude that she offered ... it is just proof that god gives us trials to help us become strong because HE LOVES US! and that love was felt so so much as we did our very best to serve his children together.
the view from the top
thrusday--was the day. the wiltbank and wightman era came to an all too sudden end. man i love that girl. she is so great in every way. besides the fact that she loves country music ... i love her enough to overlook that. i think she was pretty scared but she was so brave. plus she is in good hands. she was happy and excited and maybe only a little bit nervous by the time i left her. i also got my new baby!! SORELLA JACKSON!! she is so wonderful for lots of reasons but the best thing is that she reminds me of libby. SO MUCH!! like the way she talks and walks and laughs and just almost everything about her is like my first cousin love. so it was great because i have just looked at her as if i was looking and living and being with my libby and it is great. immediate love. plus she is just great! she did the fast track program in the mtc because she studied italian at byu for a year. so she was only in the mtc for 10 days! wha!! yeah. she ENTERED the mtc on the 21st of august. that is just crazy to me. but she is a trooper. and i can just tell we are going to see miracles together. in fact, we already have!
saturday--heavenly father is so clever. so a while back we met this lady named gladys. she told us that we could come over whenever we wanted and she would love to hear our message. so obvs we went over but she was never there. meanwhile, while bopping around the city we would often run into this kid named alessandro. he is the smiley-est kid i ever did see. so nice and happy and excited to see us, even when he is with his cool friends. turns out alessandro is gladys' son. so we were led right to him! alessandro and his brother have been progressing beautifully. so well in fact that we set baptismal dates with them both this week. they gladly accepted but alessandro dropped the "i go to boarding school in the middle of nowhere and i am not allowed to come home or have a cell phone" bomb. we tried to figure out a way for him to still be able to progress and prepare for baptism. he said that he already got permission to come home for his birthday so he asked if he could be baptized then instead. haha! he is such a gem. we had a fhe with him and our branch president and family this week. and it was just one of those dreams come true moments. like it would have made the best mormon message/music video thing. just fun and uplifting and alessandro pretty much won all of our hearts with his simple and honest testimony at the end. also my love for our branch president like tripled afterwards. he just understands how to do missionary work in a normal friendly way. for example he set up a tennis match with alessandro before he leaves to school. also at the end of our little lesson at fhe he just asked alessandro if he believed what we had just said. then he asked how he knows. alessandro just said how happy he is when he is with us. president criscione just bore the more powerful testimony about the promptings of the holy ghost. whoa i just am not giving this justice but just trust me, it was just too great!
--yesterday we invited one of my favorite ladies ever (sorella mannino) to come to a lesson with my other favorite ladies ever (our investigator named rita) and it was just perfection at its finest. ritas husband died 3 years ago, leaving her with 2 young boys that have now completely lost their faith in god since their dad died. but she has just gotten stronger since the death of her husband. she shared some really sacred experiences she had with her sweetheart as he was in and out of a coma. the veil was thin for him and she recognized it. she said she sort of wished that someone would tell her someday that she existed before this life and that she can be her same self after death, with her husband and boys. so you can imagine the joy and the spirit that filled the room as we confirmed all of her biggest dreams. heavenly father prepares us for all of our trials. i am sure of that. rita has made me SURE of that. investigators like ours are like dessert. just too good to be true. SO prepared. SO ready. i feel like it is too good to be true to get to be one of the missionaries that gets to serve them and learn from them and love them and hear them tell me how my eyes are proof enough of the things that we say. what a life!!
so that is my dream life that i am living. really. i couldn't be more grateful for what the lord is letting me do right here and right now, with my sorella jackson, the support of the greatest family in the world, and surrounded by the greatest of all people. SO grateful to be me today. hope you are too. just look around and remember why it is good to be you today.
read moses 6:31-34. one of jackson's favorites that is now one of mine.
i love you all!!!
sorry for the lack of pictures ... i grew a third eye this week, as if i never suffered the woes of accutane, and was too ashamed to take lots of pictures.