Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bicycle Struggles.......

So I thought I would share some of this letter. She does have her struggles, so I didn't want you to think she was on a wonderful Italian vacation! haha ;) I love sharing all the pictures and great moments. However there aren't any pictures to send this time, there doesn't seem to be much to take pictures of in Modena is the reason she has given me. Guess I'll just have to tell her to take a few pictures of all the Ferrari and Lamborghini that I am sure she is seeing......... Enjoy the letter!

About the bikes...I have about had it with them! This week has been a trial of our faith, I think. So, I'll start with the trama and end with the annoying.
There we were, Saturday, and we were on our way to Coorelation with our ward mission leader. Sorella Stevens was riding along and got her skirt stuck in the brakes which is normal. But, after adjusting it, it got stuck a little again. I saw it, but didnt think anything of it. Then, as were were racing to church, she tried to break, but since the skirt was jammed up really tight by this point, the bike came to a complete and sudden stop and she flew over the handle bars and then the bike landed on her! This caused her chain to fall off, but thankfully we are wearing our helmets, so she was ok. That and the 8 layers of clothing helped to soften the fall! Since we were late and couldn't fix the chain, she just held on to my arm as I pedalled and we "glided" her to church on her bike. It was true teamwork and a test of unity! Oh yes, we passed. Then, as we were parking our bikes in the bike rack, I tripped and fell flat on my bike. Classic.
The meeting went well and the Anziani fixed the chain and off we went again. On this same street, I saw a woman I wanted to invite to church. So, I signaled to Sorella Stevens to turn around. I started to talk to her while Sorella Stevens was coming and as I looked over to see where she was, I saw her get hit by a car. My heart sort of sunk I didn't know if it really happened or if I was dreaming. So, I left my bike and the woman and ran over to her. Luckily she was fine and the old Italian man driving the car was going slower so all is well, but it was so scary! Typical of Italian culture, the man who hit her jumped out of his car and started yelling at her to be careful. She just cried and I was restrained miraculously from starting a fight. He softened a little, patted her cheek and drove off. Sorella Dunaway was furious that he didn't even give his number or anything! We had to call her to see if we had to go to the emergency room. Sorella Stevens was thinking, if only we had another companion because I could be helping her and the other one could be passing out pamphlets with invites to learn about the gospel and how she was saved because she is a missionary called by the correct authority and about the Plan of Salvation!
Ah, but only if that was the end of our drama...
So, that very same night, as we were 2 blocks away from home, I was struggling to pedal and low and behold there was a snap and my pedals refused to move. The main wheel that holds the chain had broken off and was against the actual bike part, thus making it impossible to pedal. Fabulous. So, we had to get that fixed, 50 euros (I just about died because I had to use my money). But, there is a silver lining. At the bike shop we invited two women there to learn about the gospel and they accepted! We will have an appointment later this week! And the bike shop owner as well! He offered his shop for us to teach in. So, there is a reason for everything, but MAMMA MIA!!!!!! Che stress!
That is my drama this week. We had some fun door knocking experiences too though! Ok, so, sometimes people are NOT HAPPY and want nothing to do with us, right? Ok, so we were ringing the bells to see if someone would let us in to knock doors. One woman had NO interest. So, as we finally got in, Sorella Stevens accidently knocked her door! We ran down to the next floor hoping she wouldnt find us, but she walks down and glares at us even as we were apologizing and says, "You have 5 seconds to get out of here before I call the police!" I had fear! But is was fun. Sometimes we get crazies, but don't worry, I'm writing down fun experiences like this in my journal! I bought a journal for Christmas that has one page per day, numbered so I write down just a bit and it really is so much better!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hello Modena!

Here is her new address! Hope you enjoy her letter, I just don't think I need to add anything to them...

Sorella Kayla Wilcox
Via G.B. Amici 28
41100 Modena Italia

So, I've been transferred. I really feel like its a natural whirlwind if that makes any sense. I know I'm supposed to be here, but I feel like I just dreamed up Pordenone! Modena is very charming. It's bigger than Pordenone, but we are still on bikes. I think we look hilarious because we have our hoods on and then our helmets on top of the hoods to keep warm! How ridiculous, right? But if it's what the Lord wants, so be it. Plus, Sorella Stevens is a riot and we are best friends right off. It's a big relief because we weren't close like this in Milano, but I adore her now. It just goes to show how your companion is inspired when you are to be with them.
Our apartment is very Italian. It is such a relief to finally have a sister apartment again after all those Anziani apartments! It doesn't smell like a locker room, there are a TON of curling irons and other fun girl products and plus it is so much cleaner. I like it. Although, the mattresses I have aren't very fun. Oh well, I guess I cant have it all, eh?!
About New Years, well we had a rocking good time here in Modena! We partied to the missionary limit! woot woot! We ordered Chinese food from a semi-sketchy Chinese restaurant (ended up getting numbers from 2 people as potential investigators!) and then ate that, did a toast with grape juice and then did a tradition that Sorella Steven's family does every year. They write down 7 or 8 things they wish to forget that happened during the year, things they did or otherwise, then they burn them. After that, they do their New Year Resolutions. Fun eh?! We did that and it was good. Although, I did my resolutions after wards. Next year we should do it. That and really party. This is the second year in a row that I have had to be inside at 8 pm. Uncool. But, in Europe, it is much better that way.
My companion, Sorella Stevens is the "casa queen"! Meaning she has mastered, at least according to me, the art of knocking doors and getting in to teach lessons. We have gotten in more times and taught lessons than in any other transfer in my mission! We have 6 new investigators since I have gotten here! Plus one more last night! One of the stories is really cool.
My second night here, we were riding our bikes a long ways away from home for an appointment with a potential, who gave us a wrong address, lot's of fun. We got a flat tire. Even more fun. So the next morning, we met the Anziani at Esselunga (grocery store) to have them help us. We bought a few things, then walked to a mall to buy a new tube. Turns out, we had to buy a whole new tire because the threads were showing. So, we bought it, they fixed it (love them!) and then off we went. Later that night, we were off to go knock some doors and I was thinking/praying for us to find a family, a family of 3. I prayed so much and thought it over and over and knew it was possible. As we got to where we were going, we rang nearly every bell and nothing. Then it was the last door and Monica answered. She is divorced, mother of 2 and saw us earlier at Esselunga! She let us in, we had a beautiful lesson and she agreed to have us over again. We are bringing a member to her lesson tomorrow! This member has 2 sons on missions right now. Perfect! It was so exciting and I knew that my specific prayer got a specific answer!

The duomo and me! In all of my helmet glory. We put it over our hoods to help keep us warm. It works like a charm! Oh, when it rains we have these giant, bright orange trashbag things to put over our coats to keep us dry. When Sorella Stevens showed me them I thought, well, if I had any pride left in my appearance, it is all gone now. I have been HUMBLED to the depths of humility when it comes to my appearance. But, its ok. Heavenly Father gives me a good hair day every now and again to let me know He loves me.

Isn't Sorella Stevens so cute? I swear we laugh so much!Her on the bikes. What a super star. Don't worry, even with the helmets we are still getting "ciao bella" multiple times a day.

Well, here in Modena, everything is going really well. We have been finding so many potential baptisms and are just rolling in the blessings from the Lord! Plus, we have had one strange adventure after the other. This week has been mad. Truely pazzesco. But, hey, we don’t watch tv, so we need a little drama!
Our maind drama has been our bikes. Sorella Steven’s bike got a flat tire after having put a whole new tire on the rim. Then, after we herorically fixed up a different bike (there are three in our garage) by putting on a new pedal, lifting and adjusting the seat and getting everything ready to go (we felt so proud) we rode for about 30 seconds and the tire which was just fine went flat. So, there we were thinking, ok, what is the Lord trying to tell us? We decided to break down and go to a repair shop. Luckily we did and found the South American chain! In our district we joke about racial chains and if we latch on to one, we can convert a people. We already are on the African chain, have a slight grasp on the young Italian family chain and now we found the South American chain from Bolivia! All we need now is the Eastern Europe chain and the Philipino chain. Different countries cling to one another in foreign lands and we can use it to a serious advantage.  Anyway, so the Lord had something in mind for us when He kept breaking our bikes!  I’ve come to develop a very strong testimony that there are no coincidences. The world really isn’t that complicated. The Gospel really puts all into perspective. I mean, seriously, we are here to have faith, repent, be baptised, recieve the gift of the Holy Ghost, Endure to the end and live worthy to recieve and maintain our temple convenants. Then we help others. That’s it! Everything else is just apendages to it.
I read a great talk this morning by Elder Corbridge from the November 2008 conference and he says this, "The Lord's way is not hard. Life is hard, not the gospel." Isn't it so true?!
Plus, I have a great quote I put on my study journal: "When I know who I am, I can do ANYTHING He asks me to do." Elder Dickson.
He was the priesthood advisor for the General Young Women's Presidency when Susan B. Tanner was president. But, I'm pretty sure you already knew that, but it was news for me! I am a quote freak! I love good inspiring quotes and we have so many all around our house! It makes me stand a little taller and want to be a little better.
I love hearing how you go to the temple together so often! It makes me so happy. I just love you both. There are ten things that President Hinckley said that every missionary should come home with and one of those things is a renewed respect, gratitude and love for parents. I know that is true. I love both so much! I loved you before, don't get me wrong, but there is something about being here and seeing how vital it is to have both parents in the church continuously teaching and loving their children and desiring their success and striving for an eternal family that just puts everything into a greater perspective. I'm so grateful for you! Thank you for putting our names into the temple. I honestly can't wait to get back to the temple! AH! I miss it so much! I crave the serenity, tranquility and love that is found there. We need it so much.

Well, I love you so much and pray for you always. This church is the true church of God and the only one that holds the keys of salvation. I'm sending a huge hug and a baccio from Modena! Ti voglio un MARE di bene!

Sorella Kayla Wilcox

Friday, January 8, 2010

 Buone Feste!

I cant believe Christmas is almost here. In about two days. It is really strange, to be honest. Ive been thinking a lot about last year this time and I cant believe how it feels like yesterday! Back then, it felt like the next Christmas would never come and that I had forever and a day to be in the mission. Now, I feel like I blinked and a whole year is gone.

How many changes have I seen? How much have I grown? How many incredible experiences have I had? How grateful am I for this opportunity? Words really cant describe all the feelings I have. I have a little more time to think as we are on bikes going from place to place (well, when there isnt ice on the streets) and its so overwhelming for me to be where I am. Slla Doxey and I are in the same boat in a lot of ways. Both of our trainers are married (slla Moreno got married Friday) and we are both have the same amount in the mission and left, heck, we are both companions and have had the same companion before! But I dont know how much it helps. It makes it that much easier to see the changes and realize how precious little time is left.
This week has been really good though. We have both been well, no sickness! We have taught lessons knocking on doors and we have a baptism coming up on the 9th of January and our ward is just incredible.
We actually have had some interesting adventures!
One of them happened 2 nights ago. We were going to do a Power Visit with a member family. Its when we go, do a short thought and then pray together to know where we (le sorelle) need to go to find people. They took us to their old neighborhood and we started ringing doorbells. We unfortunately had little time and had to wait for the bus (which never came). So we were miles from home, no bus because of the snow and not really sure what to do. So, we say a prayer and start walking. We see a man making a snow man in his front yard and decide to talk to him. His name is Francesco and is so nice! He asked some very good questions and we sang a Christmas carol, shared a scripture from Helaman and then Moroni about how we can know the truth of all things. He seemed genuinely interested. This was all outside by the way, in the snow while it was snowing. His wife however came out and started yelling at us about the Jehova witnesses and how her husband has been studying with them for 3 years and its tearing apart her family. She jsut screamed and cried and humiliated her husband in front of us. We wanted to help her so bad, but she didnt allow us. She said she has her religion (catholic) and doesnt want to hear from us. Francesco just smiled a sad smile, had teary eyes and allowed us to pray for him. So we said a prayer and gave him the book of mormon. He was really happy to accept it which is good. I hope he is able to accept us in the future.
As we continued our walk, we got a phone call which I answered. Slla Doxey started talking to a woman named Faustina from Ghana and she said there were no more buses, but that we could come to her house and call someone to come and get us. So, we went to her home, she gave us some lemon herbal tea and introduced us to her 4 children. There were very sweet and luckily, we were able to call for a ride from the Martin couple who serve as missionaries on the American base. Faustina's son is 14 and interested in religion so we will go back and teach him on Thursday afternoon! Quite the adventures, no?!

This is Juliet's balcony, as in Romeo and Juliet!
Me and my girl Juliet. One breast is lighter than the other
because it is good luck in love to rub on it.
Weird and twisted, I know. Dont worry, I didnt do it.


My favorite view.
Me in
Piazza di
San Marco!

     This is Angelo, my favorite Gondolier. We had just gotten lost in Venice, happens really easily, and we were working on getting back to St. Marco's when we saw him. He watched us for a while and then when we got closer he asked, "are you Jehova witnesses?" we said no. Then he asked "are you Mormons?" and we said yes. He then said, Good! Then we can get married! I thought, hmm...very tempting! Apparently he has been studying with the Elders in Mestre and is preparing for baptism! How cool is that! We got to bear some awesome testimony and really have a great chat. He is awesome and yes, Im still considering the offer to marry him.

Oh my goodness mom, Venice is a dream! I am absolutely in love with the place! I cant wait to take you there! We got to stay from 10 am to 8:30 pm! ALL DAY!! It was incredible. We took a water bus which is just a regular boat but its the bus system there to the Piazza di San Marco and then walked everywhere from there. It was low tide so we didnt have any problems. It had recently flooded and snowed so Heavenly Father loves us so much to give us a bright sunny day. We went inside of the Basilica di San Marco and it is all done in Mosaics. I have never seen a church so beautiful in my life! Mom! It was all gold and just incredible. Of course, doesnt even begin to compare with our temples, but it was a lot better than the usual Catholic dark Cathedrals. I bought some ink and a journal too! Oh, the journal story is fun. We had gotten lost and found a cute little journal shop. Venice is full of ink bottles, journals and anything for writing. I wanted to go in, but it didnt open for an hour or so so we came back afterwards. When we did go back, it was closed still. I was way bummed, but luckily, an old man came out of the shop and started to lock up. I asked him if I could go in for a bit and he said no, but he was going to his other shop more in Centro (center of the city). So we followed him and he gave us a history of venice discorse and told us all about how he makes the journals, about the theatres, Marco Polo's house, everything. I bought a beautiful journal from him and now am just deciding what I will use it for. I had just bought one from another store for this coming year. His name is Paolo and he said he wants to do internships so the younger generation can learn how to make journals like in the old times. Interesting no? It was all in Italian too which made it that much more special.

I'm not adding anything to this post because what could it possibly need??? 


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Letter from Pordenone

Hey there!
I sent a bunch of pictures and I hope they got there. I dont know if they did, but if they didnt Im going to be so mad because I spent a lot of time doing that!
Anyway, Im going to answer all your questions now:
My apartment smells ok. Its not as strong of a stench, but its still pretty bad.
I was in Milano for 9 beautiful months. Valentina wrote me this week! Im so happy!
My companion is amazing and its so easy to get a long. She says I have grown up a lot since the MTC, especially confidence wise. She said before I wasnt very sure of myself and now I am. That and anger wise too. I control my temper much better. She would know!
We did get bikes! Slla Durazzani is letting us rent hers for 25 euros a piece and another sister sold us hers for 50!So basically we are really happy. Surely it is a miracle from Heavenly Father.
I will be going to Venice next Thursday! I still cant believe it! What a dream! Plus it should be overcast so it will look just like the opening scenes of The Italian Job! So watch it for me ok?

  We have had a bunch of fun here in Pordenone. Although, its been a learning process of how much we have to grow as Daughters of our Heavenly Father and especially of how much growth we need as missionaries. They members love us, maybe a little too much, and especially love to feed us. NOT GOOD. Ok, there are worse things, but still. Not good. We havent been able to really get into a groove because we have been at the mercy of members and their knowledge of the city. Its been great getting rides everywhere, but its taking a toll on how we feel as missionaries and the work we are doing. So, after a lunch appointment, we knelt in prayer and listed all of our weaknesses and then worked on finding solutions. We really felt the spirit help us and now we are looking into the scriptures to find the answers more fully. I love being able to pray for anything! Isnt it just great? I have learned so much more about my relationship with Heavenly Father in this short time in Pordenone! I didnt even think it was possible to learn so much so quickly! Plus Slla Doxey is just a gem. I love this girl! She is one hard worker.
Yesterday we had quite the adventure. So, we had interviews down in Mestre (about 15 min or so outside of about temptation!) and what do you know, we miss our train. Yep, we ran for a good mile and still missed it. So, there we were, breatheless, hair trashed, and UPSET. The next train was in a little over an hour and all we could do was sit and wait. So we did. I was livid, but I decided there must be a reason for it, so we sat and decided to write letters and read PMG while waiting. It turned out to be a great experience! Plus on the train ride there we got to talk to a man from Rome. When we arrived, we had to wait for the bus and then determine where to get off. Yes, we nearly got off the wrong stop. Typical and by this point I was mad again. As we got off of our bus, I happened to catch my reflection in a store window and what I saw was awful! My eyes were so dark and angry and the solemn expression was so annoyed it actually surprised me. I thought, this is no way for a representative of Jesus Christ to act or look, so I immediately started praying silently for the hate to be taken from me. As I did, I could feel it leaving me slowly. Its like after you have been sick and you have a fever and are sweating. After awhile, you can feel the sickness leaving you bit by bit until you have sweat it all out. It was like that. After about 4 or 5 minutes I was fine and happy again. That is the power of the atonement. It can completely change us if we allow it.
The rest of interviews went wonderfully. The Anziani are fabulous, a couple from the MTC! and my district in Torino!, and President is inspired. He gave a beautiful blessing and I was told that my family is in the Lords hands and that the memories I will have of my time here will be precious to me. I also need to study my patriarchal blessing so that I can chart out my life. Other things were mentioned and I wrote them all down, but in short, it was just beautiful. I truly respect and love Pres. Dunaway.
Well, that is about it for here! All is wonderful and I will be buying a coat VERY SOON because it is COLD! But not nearly as bad as Torino, thank goodness!
I love you mom! Please take care and just love every moment you have! I am learning how important that is. You have always been a great example for me of this and I love how I can look up to you. Jarom is right, we have been incredibly blessed with the family we have! Whatever we did in the Pre-earth life must have been really great!

I love you so much! Hug everyone extra tight for me!
Slla Wilcox