Wednesday, November 20, 2013

11.19.12 {week 17}


So.  Family.  Let me explain why you're getting a random email at 6 in the morning on a Tuesday.  I'M GOING TO AN OPERA AT LA SCALA TONIGHT.  Okay, so it's not for sure for sure 100% for sure, but we're freakin' out.  So basically, last p-day Sorelle McPeek and Harward visited from Monza again and Sorella Harward just knew there was some way for this to happen.  So we made a last ditch effort and went to the ticket office again and the guy was like, "Yeah, whenever there's a performance, they save 140 tickets and then the afternoon of that day you come stand in a line and try to get your name on a list and blah blah italian words blah..."  SO.  The four of us got special permission from President to be the guinea pigs for this.  So we switched our P-day, because tonight is the last night of Aida, and here we are!  So we just came from getting our names on a list (number 74!) and then Sorella P needs to go to the dentist and then we'll go back at 4:30 and they'll call out the names and we'll hopefully get tickets and then at 7:30 we will (hopefully) be IN LA SCALA WATCHING AN OPERA.  We're pretty stoked.  :)  I'll definitely have pictures next week.  Ah, I love Italy!

But!  More important than any of this....N. IS OFFICIALLY A MEMBER OF THE CHURCH!  :)  Okay, I really need to cool it with the caps lock.  I'm just really excited about everything, I guess.  The baptism was perfect!  And we didn't even have to boil pots and pots of water because the water heater magically works now!  Thank goodness!  N. and her family showed up at the church, like, an hour before the baptism - she was so excited.  And then the time came and she got in the water and I have never seen a happier face than hers when she came up out of the water.  Just beaming.  :)  Ahhhh it was perfect.  Then Sorella P and I sang (apparently this is what we do now - we're singing at another baptism this Saturday).  And then on Sunday she was confirmed!  She is seriously incredible.  And then she came to the ricerca again on Sunday and brought her little sister, M., who is ten years old and is also incredible.  This family, man, I tell you what.  So we've decided M. is next...  She just doesn't know that yet.  And neither does her father.  Haha we're working on it.  I'll send pictures from the baptism in another email.

Oh, funny story.  After we sang at the baptism on Saturday, this really, REALLY intense Italian man in our ward, Fratello C., came up to me and said, "Do you have relatives from Italy?"  All intense-like.  (Italians always talk like this - intense-like.)  So I laughed, said no, and he said, "An uncle?  An aunt?  A grandparent?"  Again no.  "Because only people with Italian in their blood can sing like that!"  He's hilarious.  Also, the bishop came up to me randomly on Sunday and asked if I would sing "The Prayer" with him this Friday night at a ward activity.  Haha that should be interesting...  (Spencer, have you been talking to my bishop?  ;))  Anyway, it was a great week and the next one will also be amazing!  Two of the anziani in our ward have a baptism this Saturday, so that should be awesome.  AND we get to go to a special training this Saturday in Lampugnano.  Then next Monday/Tuesday ish we'll find out about transfers!  WHAT?  I know, right?  Crazy.  I love my life.  :)  I hope you all have a wonderful week!  Have the missionaries over for dinner or something!  ;)  AMORE!

Sorella Gunnerson

Sorella Palumbo and me on an empty metro.  This NEVER happens, so we had to take a picture!

N'S BAPTISM!!!!  :)

N. and her family!

I've basically adopted these three girls as my Italian nieces.  I adore them.  We had FHE with them last night and I seriously cannot get enough of them.  And every time we leave their house, little A. (the curly-headed one) says, "Dopo venite?  Dopo venite? - "You're coming after?"  And then I was spinning her around and she kept saying, "Ancora!  Ancora!"  "Again!  Again!"  UGH.  I can't leave them!  They're so cute!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

11.13.13 {week 16}


So I'm just going to start off with the news that I've been bursting at the seams with since Monday night...  N is getting baptized on Saturday!!  Mamma mia, I don't even have words to express how excited I am.  So here's what happened:  Obviously last week things were a little unsettled.  She wanted to get baptized but there was this minor issue with her dad.  And then she came to church on Sunday and sang with the Young Women in Sacrament Meeting and all of this stuff and we had a lesson with her afterward.  In the lesson she told us that her mom was thinking it would be nice if her uncle baptized her in Ecuador sometime in the not-so-near future.  (Her mom was baptized when she was really young, but moved to Italy and lost contact with the church - the rest of her family in Ecuador is very much active.  She has a brother serving a mission right now and everything.)  Anyway, we heard that and we were super stressed.  Because, let me tell you, this girl is ready to be baptized.  So we had another lesson with her on Monday and her mom was there, so we were able to kind of talk about the whole situation.  Her mom said that she had been talking to N's grandpa (her dad) and that he had said that she shouldn't wait to be baptized - that she should be baptized as soon as possible!  Thank goodness for this grandfather.  He knows what's up.  So she said that the three of them would sit down that night and figure out what was going to happen.  Fast forward 6 hours.... Sorella Palumbo and I are sitting at our desks planning for Tuesday and we get a text from N - "My dad said yes!  We did it!"  Yeah.  I started crying.  SO.  Now we just have baptism on the brain and we have so much to do in order to prepare for the baptism, but we're just so excited.  :)  Basically we'll be at the church all morning on Saturday boiling pots of water for the font.  The water heater at the church does not work so well...  And we're hoping that her dad will come and feel the Spirit and be the next one in that font.  And her 9-year-old sister.  This family will be sealed in the temple someday.  I just know it.  So that's that.

Other than that, this week was good!  A man came to our house last week and tore out some tiles in the bathroom and redid all this stuff.  We've been leaving windows open a lot more, which helps with the mold.  (Don't worry, Mom!)  Also, the conference with Anziano Texeira was amazing and I got to see so many people that I love!  Also, I don't think I mentioned this before, but Sorella P and I sang at the conference!  A few weeks ago, Pres. and Sorella Dibb were at a baptism that we sang at and afterward Sorella Dibb asked if we would sing at the conference.  So we did!  It was fun.  We (as a district) are trying to plan a Thanksgiving dinner for the ward.  We'll see how that goes...  Anyway, other than that, we're just livin' the dream.  ;)  Oh!  Mom!  At the conference they brought me your postcard, the CD, the candy, and the card!  Thank you SO SO SO much!  They made my week!  I'm hoping to get the makeup at our zone training this Monday.  We'll see.  Anyway, thanks again, as usual for everything.  Pretty sure I have the most supportive family and friends in the WORLD.  Until next week!  AMORE!

Sorella Gunnerson

SORELLA CARTER AND ME!  Together at last!

Sorella Condie, Sorella Palumbo, and me.  
(In mission terms, Sorella Condie is my sister because Sorella P trained her also.) 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

11.06.13 {week 15}

Ciao ciao!

WOW.  Okay, where did the week go?  Seriously, this week wins the "Fastest Week of the Mission So Far" Award.  My mind is drawing a blank as to what I actually did this week though...

First of all, yes, our house is still moldy.  Not as bad as it was, but it's still there.  They're looking for a new house for us, but we wouldn't be moving until the end of January, so I probably won't even still be here at that point.  But on Friday and Saturday some man is going to come into our house and tear out/rebuild our bathroom wall.  Which means that we have to basically stay home all day on Friday and Saturday.  So that should be interesting.  Hopefully we won't go crazy.  Also, tomorrow we have a zone conference with Anziano Texeira of the seventy.  We're pretty stoked about that.  So the next week should be an interesting one.

Yesterday was pretty crazy.  We woke up at five in order to be out of the house at six in order to fulfill a "commandment" (as the office elders called it) from President Dibb.  So here's the thing: we live, like, 30 minutes away from La Scala.  When will I ever be able to say that in my life?  Never.  SO about a week ago, Sorella Palumbo and I decided we were going to take this matter into our own hands and try to see an opera at La Scala.  So we called President.  He thought it was a great idea and said that he was actually wanting all of the missionaries to do something like that at least once while on their missions.  So we found out that in December they're doing "La Traviata."  AND we found out that they do a special one night, under-30 thing where the tickets are only 10 euro and it's earlier in the night AND it just so happened to be on a Wednesday.  Basically, it was meant to be.  But in order to get tickets to this thing, we would have to go stand in line at 7 in the morning (by orders of the President) to put our names on a list.  So there we were, yesterday morning, standing in the Duomo piazza for literally 3 hours, hoping to get our names on this list.  We were finally getting toward the front of the line when they said, "Welp, sorry, we're done taking names."  So the 16 of us missionaries just sulked away really sad.  (But then Sorella Palumbo and I quickly got some incredible hot chocolate at this gelato place and we were happy again.)  And then we tried to do it online at noon yesterday, but still to no avail.  There aren't any other showings on Wednesdays and there aren't any that are before 8 pm, so it's kind of a bummer.  Maybe someday I'll make it to an opera at La Scala.  We'll see.

We've been seeing people like crazy, trying to find reasons to fill up that font.  We're still praying that everything works out for N. to be baptized in a week and a half.  She is the most prepared 13-year-old I've ever met.  She is just smart and knows that this is true.  She is seriously incredible.  The only hiccup is her dad.  He's Catholic and has actually technically given the permission for her to be baptized but he kind of wants her to wait a few months to see if she still feels the same way.  She doesn't want to wait at all, but doesn't want to disobey her dad and all of these things.  It's a hard situation.  But we're praying for his heart to be softened so that she can feel fully supported by him.  She is incredible.  We do a less-active member search thing every other Sunday with members from the ward.  Usually only a couple of members show up and we go on splits and everything.  This Sunday, N. came.  Yeah.  I'm telling you, she is incredible.  Please pray for her.

Anyway, other than that, things are just great!  Italian is sounding less and less foreign to me every day, although speaking it naturally is still a chore.  (But then I have to remind myself that I've only been in this country for two months.)  It's coming.  I've started listening to Christmas music, much to Sorella Palumbo's dismay.  ;)  She secretly loves it.  And whenever I choose the song we sing for companionship study, it's a Christmas song.  She rolls her eyes, but she was totally singing a Christmas song in the shower this morning, so I know where her heart truly lies.  ;)  We have the April 2008 General Conference on DVD at our house, so sometimes I watch it specifically looking for mom in the choir.  Whenever I see her, it makes my day.  We've attempted making brownies from scratch a couple of times, but our oven is weird and the top keeps burning.  Also, we might just be bad cooks...  If anyone wants to send me a yummy brownie recipe I would not complain!  We spent our P-day today with a couple of sisters from Monza.  One of them is in her first transfer and hadn't seen the Duomo, so we went there and did the usual stop inside, looked at the dead people, went to Luini's for panzerotti, went across the street for gelato, walked down the street to La Scala and dreamt of going inside, and THEN we did something we've never done!  We went to a castle!  It was pretty neat.  We also went to the museum inside.  Good times.  And now here we are doing emails and, alas, P-day is almost over!  But it's all good.  Oh and tonight we'll have two sisters staying at our house in order to be able to be at the conference tomorrow.  Slumber party!  Anyway, all is well!  Thanks for all of your love and support, as usual.  :)  AMORE!

Sorella Gunnerson


Sunday, November 3, 2013

10.30.13 {week 14}

Well, hello everyone!

It seems like last P-Day was only a couple of days ago!  This week was a busy, but good, one.  To be honest, last Wednesday was pretty rough for me, so I'm sorry if the email seemed down.  But this week was full of lessons and brownies and good times.  
We've been seeing tons of people and trying to help people understand why they should want eternal life.  ;)  Some lessons are harder than others.  And some people understand better than others.  The girl I talked about a few weeks ago that we had set a baptismal date with decided she doesn't want to get baptized until next August because it's near her birthday and it's also the month when she was baptized into the Catholic church years ago.  ...Yeah.  That's a hard one.  We tried to explain that God really doesn't care when she was baptized into the Catholic church, but...there's only so much you can do.  So we're working on that.  But there's also a thirteen year old girl who is incredible and SO ready to be baptized.  Her baptismal date is in about three weeks, so we're excited for that.  And we set another one this week with another lady.  Yay for baptisms!  The trick is getting from the baptismal date to the actual baptism, but we have faith that it will happen!

Something strange happened this week.  I know that The Book of Mormon is true and that the people really existed and that the events actually happened, but one morning this week during personal study I just had so much sympathy for Moroni.  The end of The Book of Mormon is kind of sad.  He's just all alone and if he goes to the Lamanites he'll be killed because he believes in Christ.  And all of his people are gone and he has no friends.  He's just all alone.  I seriously got strangely emotional about it.  And we don't know what happened to him!  We know what happened to everyone else because it's recorded in the book, but he hides the plates...and then what?  Man, I have so much respect for him.  I love The Book of Mormon so much.  Every time I read it, I feel so much peace and comfort.  I regret all those days in the past when I didn't read it.  If you're not reading it every day, DO IT.  :)  I promise that you will gain more strength and happiness in every facet of your life if you do.

Funny story that happened last night:  Every Tuesday night we have English classes at the church and this week it was our turn to teach the advanced English class.  This basically means that for an hour we just converse in English with these people.  So we had four people there (only one of whom was a member) and we decided we would play this game - two truths and a lie.  So we did and it was fun, but at the end we needed to connect it to some sort of gospel principle and share a scripture or something.  (Because, hi, we're missionaries.  That's what we do.)  I thought we were just going to talk about how we shouldn't lie or something, but Sorella Palumbo pulls out her scriptures and starts reading about secret combinations and about how someday all of these awful secrets will be told.  I wasn't quite sure what to do and then all of a sudden she says, "Like, you know, someday we'll know who killed who..."  In the moment it was just very awkward and I think they were a little afraid so I said, "The moral of the story is, we shouldn't lie UNLESS it's Tuesday night at English class and we're playing two truths and a lie."  And then the tension eased.  But on the way home, Sorella Palumbo brought up how weird it was that she had said that and how it made sense in her mind, but to them it probably sounded so weird.  We were cracking up about it.  Good ol' Sorella Palumbo.  Never a dull moment.

Anyway, the language is coming along.  Very slowly.  But I have faith that it will get better.  And I'm doing my best to act on that faith.  I love this city and this country.  But most of all, I love this gospel!  I feel so lucky to have it in my life every day!  And I'm so thankful for all of you!  Happy Halloween tomorrow!  (I can't believe it's Halloween!  They don't really celebrate it here. They're not really big celebrators here...)  And Happy Birthday to Caleb this week!!  AMORE!

Sorella Gunnerson