Friday, November 27, 2009

Sorelle Wilcox Says Good-bye to Milan♥

 So Kayla has been transferred. I enjoyed her letter so much that I just shared the whole thing with you! No pictures until next week I hope...

Ciao from Pordenone!

Well, I made it! It was quite the adventure too. But I have to start off with the night before. To be honest, when I got the call to go and open a new city, close to Venice and with a companion I already knew I was really excited. We went out and bought new shirts that are bike friendly and boots for Slla Simons. Then we went to the Cemetery and then we went to the church. That was where it got me that I was actually leaving. I walked in the gate for the church and saw Slla Savino and Irene and I asked them to put in their information so I could keep in touch. Then I walked in the church and saw Slla Grimaldi who started crying and came and hugged me and I couldnt contain myself. I started sobbing and she was too and I felt like my heart was breaking. Then, Sussanah, a young woman who I really worked with, started crying and I was so sad! Then Maria, our beautiful investigator came, sick, to say goodbye and I cried, she cried, but with her I felt pretty certain that I would see her again so it wasnt so hard to say goodbye. We had gone to the church to teach a lesson with Victoria, an INCREDIBLE woman from Peru, and so I was a mess, she was sad I was leaving and goodness I didnt know what to do. So, I pulled myself together and we went and taught a great lesson about the Plan of Salvation. Coincidently, that was the only thing that was really getting me through this transfer because I know that I will live with these people again if we live the way we should. It was beautiful and I really loved it.
Then Slla Fiorenza, her husband and their 2 children came. She came up to me, crying and just clung to me. I cried and told her how much I loved her and she told me thank you a million times for all that we did for her and how much she loved me too. We had gone to her house during a really hard moment for her and had an incredible lesson inspired from D&C section 25 (could be wrong, maybe 24?) when the Lord is talking to Emma Smith about being an elect lady. I saw the darkness lift from her eyes and saw them being filled with love. She is incredible and I want to stay incontact with her and her family forever! She gave me a purse that I had told her months ago that I thought was cute and she said that it was for me to always remember her.
Emily and her boys came to say goodbey too and they are so sweet. I loved doing service with them every week and Emily saved my summer when she got me my shoes! Im really glad she is from Utah and lives in Italy. Little does she know that Im moving back to Milano and paying 1/2 rent for a while!!
As hard as all this was, the hardest part of all was when I had to say goodbye to my sister, Valentina. It was the hardest part of all. She was upstairs making Christmas ornaments with  the Relief Society (she is Secretary!) She came downstairs to get me and then we went upstairs where Marco was playing the guitar and there were a lot of members around. She took me by the hand and let me over to where Marco was and gave me two presents. One was a little Hello Kitty stuffed kitten that I love and keep on my bed now and the other was the movie "Questo Piccolo Grande Amore" and the cd with the song that I love from the singer Claudio Baglioni. She then gave me the biggest hug and told me how much she would miss me, how much she loved me, how I am her sister and how grateful she was for me. I cried and cried and cried. My heart was truly broken and I clung to her, not wanting to ever let her go. If I could hug men, I would have hugged Marco too, but I couldnt. They are the biggest reason of why I love Milano so much. Every appointment with them I learned something that made me a better person. Her baptism was the most spiritually powerful baptisms I have ever been to. Their wedding was so incredible and there was a beautiful spirit of love and devotion there. They gave us a ride home from the church and Valentina held my hand the whole time. I loved sitting next to her in church because the spirit is always so strong wherever she is and the love she has for me and the love I have for her is so strong! I love her as a sister and she really is my sister! If all I ever got out of my mission was the chance to meet her, it would be enough. She and Marco are incredible, strong members and I know the church in Italy is much stronger thanks to them! Leaving them was just as hard as leaving you all back in America.
Well, I got home and couldnt stop crying. Slla Simons tried to be simpathetic, but to be honest, I was unconsoleable. Plus then I had to pack all of my stuff! AHH! But in the end, it was all taken care of and we got to go to bed fairly early!
The next day Slla Simons and I got ready and headed for the train station and oh my goodness my bags are SO HEAVY! I was really afraid for us because both Slla Doxey and I have been in our cities for 9 months and you collect a lot of stuff in that amount of time! But we managed it. I cried in the trainstation, not too much though because I got to see a lot of people I havent seen in a long time! Like Anz. Franklin (not since the MTC) and Anz. Bowman and Anz. Toronto! So exciting! Plus, all of the Sorelle were there except the ones in Genova and Bergamo. We had to wait at the trainstation from 9 something until 12:30 and then we almost missed our train! Ha! We would. We ran with all of our stuff, the Anziani helped thank goodness, and then we jumped on and settled in for a long ride. At the trainstation we talked to a girl on her way to France to visit her boyfriend and who would be interested in learning more and on the train from Milano to Verona we talked to another woman who wasnt too interested, but was really nice anyway!
We had to say goodbye to the sisters in Verona and switch trains to Mestre. Yes, we had to switch trains with all of our stuff! Ah!So heavy! But there were Anziani to help us. We ran to our train (again almost missing it) and realized that we had all of my stuff, but none of Slla Doxeys stuff and only one bag of one of the Anziani and the other Anziano had all of his stuff. Turns out, one of the Anziani got left with 4 bags and didnt catch the train in time! So he caught a EuroStar train (really fast) and beat us to Mestre. While there, we had to fight off gypsies and then got on the wrong train! Luckily, one of the Anziani realized this and blocked the door with his body while Slla Doxey and I climbed out and made it just in time! We all laughed, watched the preview for the New Moon movie (train stations have preview things, like tvs) and finally got our train for Pordenone.
We were all so tired! We got on the train and then made it just in time off the platform to meet Slla Durazzani who took us to our apartment. Oh my goodness, our apartment STINKS!!!!! 20 years of Anziani and it smells like a locker room. SICK! So, we drop off our stuff, have about 30 minutes and then we get picked up again by Slla Durazzani and her husband to go teach a lesson to our baptismal date Hilarios. We teach, half dazed, and get home in time to program. The couple at the millitary base here brought us some food because we didnt have a whole lot in our house and then we slept. We get up the next day, unpack and then the Martins (the couple) pick us up to go to the American base to eat TACO BELL!!!
So, we get there, eat Taco bell and Cinnabun and then we are on our way to go see the Commessary. I have to buy a bike, grrrrr, but we found one! We called President if it was ok if we bought it and he reminded us of the rule that we are not allowed to give people money to buy things from the American Base for us. So, since we arent allowed to actually buy it ourselves, we have to give the Martins money because they have id for the base, we dont get to buy it. They were all for letting us twink the rules, but we stood firm and decided that it was better to be honest and just wait for the Lord to provide a way. We are currently still waiting and doing A LOT of walking, but its going to be ok. We may go and buy a bike today at a store. That night we were picked up by the stake president (talk about nerves! I hadnt even showered yet because I didnt bring my towel but was just going to buy one here!) to go and teach Hilarious again. It was a great lesson on repentance and I fell in love with Slla Chieasurin and Pres. Chiesurin. They are incredible! There is always a family that is just YOUR FAMILY and I found mine! In Milano I had a couple and I think it will be the same here. Sunday came and we both just felt like we were in a whirlwind!
However, your prayers were COMPLETELY AND FULLY answered! The ward is absolutely in love with us! Everyone was so excited to see us and wanted us over to their house and everyone is feeding us! We are both afraid to gain weight! The ward leaders are incredible and so happy to be working with us and this ward is so full of unity and love! Everyone is so nice! It was the Primary program and the kids are so cute! I love Italian children who sing the primay songs! So adorable!
There is a big American ward here too and we are invited for Thanksgiving and they are ok with us bringing our incredible less-active almost reactivated member Orietta Giovenazzi. She is just beautiful and we are so happy to be working with her.
We do have a baptism this Saturday, yeah, I know right?! And he is incredible. His name is Hilarios, he is from Ghana and his wife is taught by the Martins. She, Diana, will be baptised in January. I will for sure send pictures!
Ready for some miracles??!!
Ok, so we offered to help our neighbor load groceries into her home and turns out they know a lot about missionaries. Sylvanna is 25 and a baker, Marilenna is her mom and works at home as a massage therapist and her daughter Katia is a high school student. We taught them a lesson Sunday and they are incredible! Got to help them quit smoking. I really hope for the best, especially Sylvanna.
Then, we were doing casa (knocking doors) by the church and we got into an apartment! They are the Artan family from Albania and they were so nice! They let us in, gave us water (wanted to give us tea or coffee) were mildly interested and said we could come back. They are muslim, but not really practicing. They have 2 sons and are truly so precious.
We have so many people we have met on the street or who have said to call them or anything really and its just a city of miracles! Not to mention absolutely adorable. Very 1950's feeling.
There is a great market here every Wednesday and Saturday and their town square is so precious! They have a two level carosel that lights up and plays every night. I really feel like Im in some sort of amazing dream. The work is growing, our members are incredible (model perfect) the city is so charming and we get along so well! What more can you ask for, except maybe a really strong candle. Our apartment is getting better, kind of. Stinky Anziani!
Anyway, this is my week so far! Its been quite the ride! But Im happy, really healthy, but still a little heartbroken for Milano. Its really hard at night. I miss it so much! But, like Slla Simons told me, its a part of the mission. I just have to work on feeling that way about Pordenone.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sorella Wilcox♥

Kayla is doing so well. I am going to share paragraphs from some of her latest emails. They might not  be in order, but they will give you enough information to see how well she is. What a missionary my Daughter is! I love her and we miss her so very much. Her release date is March 26th as of now. They have changed it once on us so we are being flexible with this one. We thought she would be home on Feb. 12, but they changed that one. She has been in the Milan 2 district for quite a while now, we will hear Wed. if she is getting a transfer, she feels like she just might be.  The mission home address is the safest address to use for writing her. I will put it at the end of this email again in case anyone wants it.. Cards and letters is all she wants for Christmas this year, which is a good thing because packages just don't get to her very often. Enjoy the reading!!!
Ciao Madre Mia!

This week sped right on by! It is so weird how time flies and personally I am not the biggest fan. Well, thats not true, but it is a little. I want to just stay in Milan forever! Plus Slla Simons is pretty much my best friend. She is so incredible! We both have some pretty rank garlic breath right now because we made some bruschetta con aglio, pomodorini, olio di oliva, mozzarella e un po di oregano e sale. We over did it on the aglio (garlic) and it was SPICY! I brushed my teeth, swished mouth wash and chewed gum and Im still rank! But it was scrumpcious. I wrote what we ate in Italian so you can be oh so impressed with the gift of tongues and plus it sounds better in Italian. Doesnt everything though?
 Dont you worry, I am taking notes and am prepared to cook away for you when I get home! Slla Kone, a member here in Milano, taught us how to make an incredible pasta when we went to her house yesterday for lunch and invited us over for Christmas! Im praying Im still here. She is so great. She married an American who served in Milano 2 and speaks incredible english. She is so fun and said she would come visit me in Utah when they go to America.

We have some really great investigators right now too. We invited one to baptism yesterday, Elizabetta. She is african, but has lived here since she was 5 or so. Here meaning Italy, the south in Puglia. She is incredible! She told us she had been praying about whether to introduce us to her family or not and she decided that she should and the spirit was just so strong! She said once she knew that everything was true and she felt confident in the decision to be baptised, she would do it. Im so excited! The work here is growing slowly but surely. I betcha I will be speaking at her baptism too! He he he. I prayed a lot about my talk for Isaiah and I got some great insights. It is going to be two talks. One in Italian and one in English. Lots of Emily (his mom)'s friends only speak English and so I get to do it bi lingually. It really gives me chills to see how incredible the gift of tongues is. I mean honestly, who would have thought that this was even possible! To speak fluently two languages and just go back and forth between the two? I love it!

This week Maria is doing so good! Her mom has noticed a great difference in her and now wants to come to church! Can you believe that? Her mom accepted a book of mormon, but didnt want much of anything else. But now thanks to the example of Maria, she wants to come to church. We are lights unto the world and they do see us. Especially in families.
Elizabetta, our other investigator, is doing incredibly well. She is having spiritual experience after the other and really loving learning about the gospel. She doesnt really understand the apostacy, but she believes all of it. Valentina bore such sweet testimony about the scriptures to her that had us all near tears. She is a powerhouse! Marco doesnt have to work Sundays anymore and will give his first talk in Sacrament Meeting the 18th!
These people are incredible. Marco and Valentina are buying a car and they said that they are going to name it Wilcox. Yep. They are so funny! Marco said that I have to stay in Milano at least until Christmas and I hope so!
We found a new investigator! Her name is Martha and she has 3 adorable children. Antonio 6, Carolina 2 and Diana 6mos. Her husband left her because he didnt want to have they third child and she wouldnt abort it. We found her on the street a week or so ago and turns out we are next door neighbors! We finally got to see her and she is doing great! She agreed to have us back over and her children are so calm and well behaved. This gospel will bless her life so much.

I love the Germans! We went to Diechmann's ( store a billion miles away or so it felt) and they had MY SIZE!!! So I got some really nice brown shoes that are just what my doctor ordered (at least 3cm heel) and firm sides to keep my foot in place. Then These KNEE HIGH BOOTS!! Arent they beautiful! I am so excited! A year of walking paid off! Well, more ways than one, but I am thrilled. What do you think? I love them. Slla Simons approved them so I wouldnt just buy for looks and they feel great.About the journey, we had to go to Monza, a province outside Milano, and we had no idea where to go. So, naturally we were asking everyone. NO ONE KNEW! Every person we asked told us a different answer. Very frustrating.  It took us a good 2 hours to get there, but it was well worth it. We ended up having to walk across a construction site that would be closed when we tried to get back, but we took it with faith and went for it. Then, on our way back we were lost and inbetween two major interstates so crossing the streets were out of the question. We called the Elders there and they were going to have to come get us, but luckily Heavenly Father took care of his helpless daughters and Slla Simons felt inspiried to walk towards a buiding. By doing so, a bus drove past us, we followed the direciton it came from and found our bus stop!!! It was a miracle! We also invited a beautiful mom named Lucia and her 2 year old to hear our message and they said ok! Well, the mom did. Maybe Sunday, but we will see. I also talked to a girl on the bus who had a pug! She was so cute and agreed to have us over on Friday! Unfortunately, she lives just outside our area so the Elders get her...:( but its ok! She was adorable, mid 20s named Federica.

All worth it for these gorgeous shoes! Heavenly Father loves me.

This week we were inside a lot. The flu caught Slla Simons off guard and we were inside Sat-Monday. That may not sound like much, but oh, it is! There are times when Im so tired and would give just about anything for a nap, even the flu, and then we get it and are inside and I realize how much better it is to just be working! No, it was fun though. I got to be very experimental with my baking and made those yummy treats! Plus, after sleeping all day Sunday, Slla Simons was a rock star and got dressed up really fast, we snapped some pics and then she passed out again! That girl goes through Camomille tea like its nobodies business! Im partial to blueberry and mixed fruits from Bolivia, but that is just me. Herbal tea rocks! And its really cheap so we are drinking hot things that are good for us!
However, Thursday I went to a reflexologist , Sorella Darwish who is our Gospel Principles teacher, and she worked on my feet. It was so nice to finally be relaxed! I didnt realize how much stress I was under until she pushed on parts of my feet and I wanted to cry! She got me spot on in a lot of things too, like how my life was pretty serene until my mission and I got thrown into an environment where I had no control and it was hard, to when I had some really tough times here and how Ive seen and heard things I havent wanted too and instead of letting them run out of me Ive tried to supress them. There is a lot of nasty pictures on billboards, lots of dirty things in general that are normal now, but that isnt good either. But, she gave me some great advice on how to work out in the morning, how to relax at night and what to do for my bruises. I have really fragile veins and need to eat blueberries and other berries. So, slowly Im learning how to take care of myself. Which is great because in my P.B. Im told to take the best care of my health! Im learning how to on my mission! I wonder a lot how I would be without my mission and it make me want to cry!
We had a door knocking miracle this week! I have been really struggling with faith in doing casa and believing it works because I see so much success outside of doing that. But last friday, Slla Simons and I decided to be completely obedient and stick to our schedule. As a part of that, we decided to go do casa for out morning finding before programming. We had picked a street, but it didnt look very promising, but we decided to go down it anyway. Slla SImons then got a stomache ache out of nowhere and we thought it would be best if we went home. Then, we saw this apartment door wide open on our way back and decided to go in and knock doors. So, we were doing it, starting on floor 5 down to floor 1 and everyone either said no or they werent home. It was the last door, we decided to introduce ourselves as disciples of Christ and sing I am a Child of God at the door. A very pregnant woman answered to door and let us do just that. She then invited us into  her gorgeous home for a drink of water. We talked a little, taught about the family proc and set an appointment for Monday! She is married, this is their first daughter and they are from Puglia. Her name was Patrizia. On Monday we went back and taught the Restoration, but she couldnt see the difference from us and the Catholics, even though our lesson was clear and she stated herself what was missing from the Catholic church. So, we are not going back for a while, maybe after her baby is born, but it was really sad. However, the faith is renewed that casa does work and people do let us in! That was just a little taste of what awaits later when the real people are ready! And who knows, maybe in a week or two when the baby comes they will be ready. Funny note, the baby kept kicking her during the lesson like MOM! Listen!

Fall leaves outside her window!

Her life is complete now,,,she's been to the Opera!!

New camera..outside her window.

 Just one photo of a dish she has perfected. Kayla cooking - - -Miracles are really happening!!hahaha.........

New boots she spoke about in her email.

On top of the Duomo!! How Italian is this picture !!!!

7th Grade Football..Go Kambren!!!!

Another year of football!! Kambren was the Center again this year, but they didn't have a number 54 jersey like last year. They had a large team, but not a very successful one..

The game against Beaver was their one and only win! It was so exciting!! 14-6 and our boys were very happy. 

Kambren is in the middle with a great offensive play, protecting his quarterback.
We just love watching Kambren play football. He just looks good out on that field. We hope his year next year will include more wins, but at least they had a good time. He did get to play defense a couple of times and he does like to tackle, but he was their only center, and he did his job really well!
This is the only sport that Kambren likes to do, so now he will spend the rest of the year traveling around with us pretending to really love girls basketball!!! haha...gotta support the Sister.

Jaisha's Sophmore Soccer Season!!

Jaisha had an amazing soccer season this year playing Goalie on the Varsity Team!! The Lady Eagles were undefeated in their Region! We had so much fun following the team to every game this year! Jay was totally into this season and took vacation to watch each game. Such dedication from such an awesome Dad. We even drove to Moab to watch them play, 31/2 hours one way....I'm thinking that's dedication! 
Jaisha had a 6 Shut Outs!!! Yep, six games where nobody scored on her. It seemed the only time someone could score on our defense was when there was a penalty kick, and stopping the ball from ten feet away is definitely a challenge. Just standing behind the net taking pictures scares me enough. I don't know how she does it!

One of the neatest things I witnessed our Ladies do was to link feet and fold their arms and offer a prayer before every game. I am so proud of our Team. Then after the prayer they  jump around in the circle and yell "Pump it Up, Pump that Eagle Spirit Up..... etc.. The crowd yells it with them and it really fires the team up.

State Semi-Finals we met St. Joseph, a private Catholic school. We made it to the bottom three teams, the other team being Waterford, another private school who took state in 3A last year and moved down to play in 2A this year. It seems Millard makes it every year to the finals with these two teams, or at least two private schools. Last year they took second place and we were proud of them. This year we held St Joseph scoreless until the last four minutes of the game. The other team was able to score and then three more followed rather quickly. It was heartbreaking, but we are so Proud of our Lady Eagles, and feel they played as a team and did their best.  Hugging them when it was over and seeing their tears was pretty tough, I'm not gonna lie....

Jaisha was chosen for the All State Second Team her Sophomore Year!!!! Yep, we're  proud!


Sunday, September 6, 2009


We had a baptism this last week! Yep! Irania was baptised and it was incredible! Lots of her inactive family came and she was promised in her blessing when she recieved the holy ghost that she would be an example for them and a great help. I believe anyway. They were all litereally BAWLING during the baptism. It was incredible. The spirit was so strong!

Well, let me tell you what, Italian weddings are a riot! Valentina and Marco were so cute and Marco was SO proud of his suit. I was a little confused about the choice of dress that Valentina had, but it was cute. Just not wedding. Most of Marcos family was there and then all of a sudden Valentinas family showed up! They werent going to be able to come because they live clear down in Napoli, the grandma is house ridden, etc. But they came! At least her aunt, brothers and father. She was so happy! Plus, Valentinas first missionary was studying in Spain and was able to come and see the wedding on her way home. A couple friends were with her and guess where she was studying? SUU. Yep! Way too close to home. The two girls, Courtney and Cindy were so cute and they were missionary crazy! They gave out a couple Book of Mormons and pass a long cards and now are both seriously considering missions. The ceremony was short and sweet and they played really fun music in the back ground, all in English, about love and marriage. Everyone was so excited because there were Americans. I even got a pictures with the man who married them!
I did cry when they got married because the spirit was so strong there! It was a confirmation that marriage is ordained of God.

And BIG NEWS! Marco and Valentina are going to come to America next summer and be sealed in the Salt Lake City Temple! They were already coming, but now they are coming to Utah as a main stop and will be sealed there!!!! AHH!!! Im so excited!

I just saw Valentina, a 25 year old Italian who has been living with her boyfriend for 1 year be married and then the next week be baptised and confirmed. She is adorable and she is ready to do this, but to see the light and the joy she had when she was baptised and confirmed is incredible!! The world cant give that. It cant give you the feelings of complete joy and love. It can make you feel like you are only worth what someone will pay for you or how much you pay for yourself, but to feel completely sure and satisfyied inside and out? It cant do that. It cant give you peace and satisfaction. It cant make you feel beautiful, loved and sure about who you are. But it can make you feel completely worthless and not worthy of love and dependent on everything but goodness. Ive seen both sides in people. Ive seen people who dont know if anybody is there as in God. They honestly dont know if He is there. They dont feel love and secure. On the other hand I have seen pure joy and happiness and a complete change of character. Its incredible! Do we realize what we have? Sure I have really dark moments out here when I just cry because I cant handle how my heart hurts, but as I cry, He is with me. He listens and just lets me cry. Then He sends His spirit and I can go out for the rest of the day and do the work He has called me to do. Its incredible! He takes away my pain! Thats how great the atonement is. It is for everyone for every pain, for the moments too rough, He is there. Waiting! D&C 84:88 and 3 Nephi 13:28-34 are my scriptures of comfort. A mini warm blanket if you will!

Kayla has sent home yet another companion! Sorella Smith (in the green) has been a great companion for Kayla and she is really going to miss her. It didn't take long for them to find their comfort zone and they enjoyed great success with their three baptisms. Here is what she said about her new companion...
I am now Senior Companion. Its really easy when you have a great companion like Slla Simons! She is so great! I truly just love her. Plus, she absolutely loves Milano! She thinks its beautiful and loves the ward. We have already had some pretty great experiences! I will write about them in a minute. The weather is much cooler. We can wear our hair down! Its not way cool, but cooler. Im so grateful! My head was starting to hurt from always having my hair up.
So, about my newby, Slla Simons isnt really from anywhere. Her dad is in the Navy and so she moved every year or so. She has moved over 20 times. She did live in Napoli (southern Italy) for 3 years in High School so she speaks really well. She is so cute too. She looks like Belle from Beauty and the Beast mixed with Sandra Bullock. She talks like Sandra Bullock too. She is a great cook and is going to teach me!

Now Im going to fill you in on some great new experiences! Oh the adventures of Milano!

1. We were on the train yesterday and this Orthodox priest in full robes and a square hat sits next to us and starts talking to us. He was sweet but very on the defense and told us all about the marriages he has performed and waves his arms about, nearly knocking out the girl sitting next to him! He accepted a pamphlet about the book of mormon and gave me a card with a picture of Mary and Jesus.
2. I am talking yet again at a baptism...makes for 4 times now. It is for Isaiah Nelson, Emily's son. Im honored to be asked, but clueless about how I can make my talk different than the other 3!Ideas? Its next wednesday.
3. We have a brand new Egyptian Christian investigator! Her name is Erinny (Eereenie) and she is fabulous! She prayed to God to know how she can get closer to him and then the next day she was at the trainstation during transfers. Slla Rossi, one of the sisters here, stopped and talked to her and got her number! We are an answer to her prayers! She is very curious and open and we will teach her again tonight.
4. We were in district meeting and talking about our investigators when Anziano and Sorella Lisonbee started talking about the new Outreach center and I just teared up. The spirit was so strong and just a great confirmation that this is exactly what this city needs. We are so excited for it to start!
5. Slla Glass is officially engaged!! To Adam. the same one who broke her heart. She is excited to see you!
6. We went and did finding work with our Relief Society president and it was incredible! She served in Rome in 2001 and her sister served with Matthews wife Lilian! We did a power lesson with her, a lesson where we pray for where we should go and find people and then we went out in Sunday together and talked to people on the street and in the park. I went with Slla calderon, the president and Slla Simons went with her sister. I love Slla Calderon! Our relationship is so much stronger and the desire for the relief society to do missionary work is so much greater! Does Dad do that with the Elders there? If not, he should look into it! It really helps the work grow so fast! When the ward puts forth more effort as a whole, we get baptisms. I cant wait to see what happens soon with a few of our investigators!
7. For example, 2 days ago we had a full schedule and got stood up on all of our appointments and then the next day we had nothing in the morning. We werent discouraged though because its not our work it's the Lords and there is a reason for everything. So, we went to a less actives house and randomly during the lesson their friend showed up, listened and agreed to come to church (maybe) but definitely for a return appointment! Then we decided just to pass by Rosa (an investigator) at work and we ended us meeting her friend Hilda again and teaching about tithing because she had a question about it. Her brother recently joined the church in California and she had seen the temple in Peru. She agreed to still see us and we sang How Firm a Foundation to her and Rosa and there was a sweet spirit in that store. You really never know what blessings the Lord has in store. You just have to be patient and keep your trust with Him! Thats a major lesson I have learned on the mission

Thursday, July 23, 2009

First Baptism!!!

This is Kayla's new companion Sorella Smith, but she has been with her for a while, I just haven't posted a picture of her yet. They are working together really well and have had their first baptism! Meet Carmen. I will post some of Kayla's thoughts of this day, they are pretty entertaining and they really say it all:

Carmen (she's from Sicily) was incredible. She took the baptism gown home and sewed on beads because the white dress was too plain and not "her" enough. So she fixed it the way she wanted it! She was just beaming and a lot of ward members came, except the Bishop. I was so stressed! I mean he was supposed to give the talk, he had the keys to open up the font, the font water was green because they didnt run the pipes long enough before filling it (long time since this ward has had a baptism) and while it started at 6, it didnt really start until nearly 6:30 because people were late. I was dying/still really happy. We managed to find one key that opened one side of the font, the water got drained a little so it didnt seem too bad and Fratello Fiorenza came to fill in for Bishop and gave a talk. Carmen didnt even notice she was so happy and the Relief Society President was AMAZING! She calmed us down, helped us out and her Presidency was just as amazing. They were so sweet with Carmen and really, everything worked out fine. Slla Smith and I ended up speaking as well because those who were asked to speak said they couldnt (most everyone is out of town on vacation. Its normal to take 2 months or more for vacation). But in the end everything really was ok. Our Ward Mission Leader was so sweet and he made the most beautiful programs! He even made Slla Smith and I our own colored copy and a thick nice one for Carmen. He is so humble and so hard working. I just love our ward!

So the week was crazy!! But when Carmen recieved the gift of the Holy Ghost it was incredible! She has the light with her She is so much happier and I thought to myself, wow, she is a perfect person right now! I just love her and am so happy to know her? She is so funny with me too! She keeps telling me, Sono la tua madre qui, la tua mamma Italiana! Which is Im your mom here, your italian mom! She fixed my shirt one time and asks how we eat, etc. Shes so sweet! She said something really sweet the night after she was baptised. She called our phone and she sounded a little sad and I thought, oh no! What is it? But she said, I just needed to tell you that I needed you and slla Glass, but I say you both but I really needed you. As in me! She said, I dont know what else to say but God bless you. I cried! She is so amazing and I dont think she needed me at all, but to hear that was pretty incredible. She gives me hope that there are other people out there and every no brings me closer to finding another Carmen. My mission was worth it after that phone call. You know, I left for my mission thinking I was going to "pay back" Heavenly Father for some of my mistakes, but it turns out He keeps giving me more than I ever could repay. I am indebted to Him forever.

Friday, July 10, 2009

"Warm Blanket"

Kayla has started sending a fun little commentary about her scripture study, I hope you enjoy them! It's call Warm Blanket:

"Ed io suppongo ch'essi sono venuti fin qui per udire la piacevole parola did Dio, si, la parola che guarisce l'anima ferita" Jacob 2:8.

Alright, so this is the first edition of Warm Blanket! My findings in the scriptures for this week and how the scriptures really are a comfort for us, just like a warm blanket on a cold night.

This edition is thanks to Preach my Gospel! I did an excerise on p. 63 and really found some amazing insights to repentance. Repentance = Joy
Basically what I did was chose one scripture under each black heading in the blue box and studied it out.
Romans 3:23: We are all sinners and by ourselves we all fall short of Gods glory. We cant make it on our own.
D&C 58:42-43: the Lord forgets our sins completely when we repent. we remember them to help us learn and to keep us humble and remember always how merciful He is. The trick is to not do the sin again or especially dwell on them. He has forgot them and we are clean. Its kind of like what my mom always said, "take it as an experience and move on".
Helaman 5:10-11: repenting activates the Atonement. When we choose to repent and DO IT, then Jesus works to free us. The Atonement is already done, but He helps us in the process. He knows how hard it us for us because He ALREADY suffered for what we are currently going through. Here is an analogy that I thought of... the Savior is like an 2010 Astin Martin that is perfect. We have to get somewhere and we have the keys and are standing there next to the car. All we have to do is climb in, and start the engine. We have to ACT. Thats it, then we can go! The car is ready to go and will take us where we need to go, its us that has to ACT. If not, that amazing 2010 Astin Martin just sits there and we go no where.
Alma 12:32-35: This one I learned a lot from! Vs. 32, God gave the commandment AFTER teaching the doctrine of the Plan of Redemption. The people had an understanding before He gave the invite (commandment). Vs 33, God called men in the name of His son. This could be prophets, apostles, missionaries or anyone who "takes upon him the name of His Son" like baptism. Aka all of us. He told them that if they repented and hardened not their hearts they would have mercy.
Vs. 34 He repeats vs. 33 in more simple terms and words it differently so there is no room for error or confusion. Vs. 35 a warning for if we dont obey. There is a consequence for everything and He lets us know what the consequences for the commandments He has given.

Well, these are just my findings, my opinions and what Im learning. The great thing is that each of us can read these exact same scriptures and learn something completely new for ourselves to help US! The scriptures are amazing!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Pictures from Kayla

This little girl is Kayla's favorite primary girl in her ward! When she sends me pictures of the missionaries in her area the pictures are never serious, wonder why?! Sorella Glass was transferred so they spent an afternoon at the park with one of their ward friends. Kayla says the pizza is to die for...guess we just have to take her word for it.. This little grandma speaks Italian and interprets for her family into spanish. They have had some very neat experiences with them. Hope you like the pictures! Kayla is enduring very hot/humid weather and just a little worried about the month of August!

Catch up Pictures!

Seminary Graduation was really good. This class has so many great kids! The pictures are out of order, but you know it takes so long to load them, I'm not changing! Gotta love the classic 'M' pose. I have so many pictures, but these will just have to do! I'm not gonna lie, I'm really sad to loose my Jarom :( I know he needs to move on, but I am sure going to miss him!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

I have really been a slacker lately and have been spending too much time on facebook! I know, not much of an excuse, but the month of May was such a whirlwind!!! Wow, I am so glad to have if over..even though it means one more child of mine has graduated and will be moving on. So anyway, I plan on submitting news from my missionary, some pics of graduation, youth conference, and yes - girls basketball.......

Here are some of Kayla's letters over the last few weeks...

I cant wait until the Rome temple is finished. Right now we are praying really hard for it even to start. The general authorities have asked us to include that in our prayers every day. Right now the church isnt recognized as a certain level of churchiness (not a word I know, but I dont know how to translate it) and to have a temple, you have to be well established. So we are praying like crazy!

About the religious background of those we teach, here they are. Most of them were all born Catholics, but nearly ALL are not practicing, dont really believe its true and some how have mostly a half belief in Christianity and half in reincarnation and budhism. Not sure how they make the shift, but alright. Its kind of hard because just getting the basic knowledge of the personality and characteristics of God is so hard! Its so sad because honestly people dont know that God is like us. He is our Father in Heaven, has a body of flesh and bone, LOVES us (big one) isnt out to get us and wants us to be happy. I have learned a lot more about the Catholic church and mostly figured out one thing. No one really knows what exactly the Catholics believe, not even Catholics. Thats why its so amazing to some about our church because you can walk into any one of our churches and hear the same things! Not so with catholocism. They teach good things, but not all the same beliefs.

As for me in this gigantic city, a few things are changing. The first and foremost is transfers. I am staying here (YES!) and Sorella Glass is headed to Torino 2. Im happy for her, Torino 2 is the beautiful, non slummy area and she will do great! Im going to miss her, but I think you are right. We were both up for a change. But I think we will miss each other a lot more once we arent with each other. I am getting Sorella SMITH!!! remember her? She was the blonde sister from Torino 2 when I was there! We had all the fun pictures and what not! Anyway, Im so excited and cant wait to work with her! She is an amazing missionary and is so hard working! I got a letter from Sorella Doxey, my MTC companion, and she is doing really good. I think she is training this transfer. She is in Modena and is such a good missionary. Honestly, this mission is blessed with such good people!
As for our baptisms, Carmen is doing so good! We had a lesson in McDonalds with her and a member named Lucia. It was going to be outside, but these Italians cant handle a breeze to save their lives. Love them anyway! Anyway, so there we were in McDonalds and we decided to read the Jospeh Smith story together. We were reading in the pearl of great price about the 1st vision and Carmen taught us the apostacy! Basicall this is what she said: so, God and Abraham made covenants in the Bible, then Jesus came and made it possible for us to make covenants with God and then there wasnt anyone to help us make covenants until Joseph Smith came! So now we can make covenants with God! Mom, her eyes were shining and you could just tell she knew that what she was saying was true! S. Glass and I just about died! How amazing is she? I mean really! There is such a difference from the time we met her until now. Im so grateful to be able to be apart of her story. We dont even have to teach her, she is open and ready for the gospel. She is ready to pay tithing! So incredible. The 4th of July is going to be the best day of my life.
Valentina went home to Napoli to tell her mom that she is going to be baptised. We dont know how it went yet, but her mom is a staunch Catholic and she freaked out when Marco (Valentinas boyfriend) was baptised. We fasted for her and know everything will work out. Im so glad Valentina has such a strong testimony. Her mom and her are SO TIGHT. I really am praying and hoping for her.

I am having problems loading pictures off of my laptop, so I guess I will just load them in another post from my home computer... Until next week!!

Friday, May 22, 2009

News from Italy

Ok, so the most AMAZING THING EVERY HAPPENED!!! Remember Carmen? Our amazing Sicilian investigator who came to conference and immediately started progressing? We just set a baptism date with her for the 4th of July!!! AHHHH!!!! I know!! Im so happy! She is doing so good mom! After we set the date and talked for a while, she asked if we would like to go talk to her friend! So, we walked on down and talked to her neighbor and her son! She is incredible. The bishops wife invited her to dinner Saturday night and everything is just going so well. So for July we will have a baptism the 4th and then again 11th with Valentina. It is going to be one crazy week that I am so ready for! Everything is just really falling into place. After Zone Conference I felt so pumped for the work and have been an inviting-finding machine and its been wonderful. Today a lady who we gave a card to 4 months ago called us and asked us if we could meet with her! That so rarely ever happens and I cant believe how amazing that is! We are meeting her in church this sunday. The ward members here are way into missionary work too and one family in particular is really helping us out. They are the Fiorenza family and their son has a lot of problems and is struggling. He has a tube in his throat, cant talk and cant walk on his own yet but he is adorable! His physical therapist comes every Friday and the family asked if we could come by Friday morning and talk to her. They feel like she is really ready for the message and of course we jumped right on that! Im really excited. We tried a really cool thing with them. We go to the members house a little bit before the lesson, a day or two, and teach them what we want to teach their friend or referral. That way when we teach the friend or whoever it is, they already know what they are to do and what we are going to do and it goes so much better. I like it a lot. That way they feel more involved. Cool, eh? I like it.

I have AMAZING news though!!! Remember my investigators in Torino? One named Victoria from Nigeria who had a really hard time reading and didnt speak Italian or English very well and what not? Well, she is getting baptised this month!!!! And also, if that isnt great enough, Sebastian, a nine year old in the Diaz-Moreno family we were teaching is also getting baptised!!!! I was really so happy to hear that! Mom! They are making the best changes ever in their lives! I got to see some of the progress and now, things are amazing! I found out this morning. Sorella Pitkin wrote me and told me and I couldnt be happier. Wow. I feel like I really did something in Torino, at least a little bit. I dont know, I know that numbers dont mean all that much and that its not how many baptisms you get, but really, baptisms are the only VISUAL way you can measure progress on the mission. Sad but true. All in all, it makes me all warm and fuzzy inside! I worked really hard in Torino and really tried to help those people and to hear that makes me so happy!
Anyway, so you are going to the MTC this morning, eh? Wow! Flashback! I love that place. I was thinking about it the other day about how strange and wonderful that place is and how I miss it like non other sometimes. I always felt like I was under SO much stress there and that I had so much to do, but now, heck! I would take that amount of stress for anything! If only! he he! Tell Ephraim I love him and that I need his address because there is an Elder here with a load of referrals from him! Anz. Carter lived in New York for a really long time and has a lot of friends there. The work never really ends.

As far as geneology bug, yeah! Im all for that! There is a really good scripture about geneology in D&C 128:15 that I like to use when we teach Geneology. S. Moreno was really into that because hardly any of her family members are members so genology is big. But it says that we cant be saved without our dead, so if we dont do the work for our dead, we cant get into the celestial kingdom either! Its like we have our key and we are standing infront of this huge door. there are tons and tons of locks and in order to get to the other side of this door and enter the kingdom of God we have to unlock all the locks. But, the problem is, we only have one key that unlocks one of the locks. So, we have to go and find the other members of our family with their keys! When we are all together, then we can finally recieve all the joy, rest, peace and happiness that we want so bad! Thats how I like to see it. So go for it girl! Go find our dead! I will be helping you when I get back!

This week, 20 of May:
Our week went really well! We have been outside, teaching and really trying to get to as many appointments as possible. I have been trying really really hard to organize myself better and to make it so we have time for everything and being with Sorella Acerson and DeVocht helped a lot. I went to Milano 3, the east half of the city, Monday night, Tuesday and then we swapped back today. It was like a breath of fresh air! I am right in the center of the city of Milan and in Milano 3 there is SKY AND GRASS!!! I was awestruck! I havent seen so much in so so long. I really missed it. Yeah, me, wanna live in a city for the rest of my days in an apartment and so much sidewalk and buildings that you cant even see the sky, is so out the window! I have absolutely NO desire to live like that after the mission! I want to have a house and a little yard in a smaller city so I can go outside and not see my neighbors on all four sides! Dont get me wrong, I love my area and I love my part of the city, but for when I return to Babylon, I want to take a much different route in life! Thats just ONE of the beautful things I have learned on the mission!

So, guess what I learned to do! I learned how to teach an Italian write off the street! Usually they are a little cold to you when they see your nametag, but I found a way! Here is what you spot one, smile and start waving and say Signora or Signore!! like you know who they are. They will act a little confused, but they will come over and then you shake their hand and jump right into what you are doing here! We placed a BoM that way and it was awesome! I really like it! Wanna know how to soften an Italians heart? Tell them this...when they start going off on how awful the world is and how they just dont see any good, tell them how one time you ate pasta al forno or lasagna or something food related from THEIR part of this country and go off on it! Then they warm right up, ask you how it was and go off on how they make it better than anyone else in the world! Works like a charm. Enthusiasm for wherever they are from, honest enthusiasm is the trick. At least thats what works for me. And to be honest, usually Im fascinated by their parts of the country! I did this with a family we were teaching. They are from Puglia, in the south, and they just werent happy and so I went off on how I loved the food from there and they perked up, asked me about such and such and we started talking and then they told me to come back and we will eat! But, I was only there for one day, so they told me to get their number from the Sorelle there and that I always have a place to stay in Milano! They were so sweet! I so hope that Jarom gets to come serve here or at least have a ton of Italians wherever he gets to serve!

I have a cool quote from President Hinckley! Ready?

"Anyone who imagines that bliss in life is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he has been robbed. the fact is that most putts dont drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to be just people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. Lif eis like on old time rail journey...delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cindrs, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride!"

I agree. And it helps to think about that and just being content and happy where you are. Even if its sweating like a banshee running to an appointment or ridin
g the metro and having no one on board wearing deodorant, but the teenager next to you accepts a pamphlet for the Book of Mormon! I love you mom. I love my mission so much and I love being where I am right now.

I know this is a long blog, but I didn't even share everything!! I just love how her personality comes through :)