Wednesday, January 29, 2014

01.29.14 {week 27}

My dear family!

Email time is always so stressful!  I have so much to say and so little time!  This week flew by (again - seriously where is the time going?).  :)

Where to start?  First things first:  A's baptism.  Super frustrating.  Okay, so our Ward Mission Leader is awesome, but....for some reason he refuses to let her be baptized this Saturday.  We seriously can't figure it out.   So I'm just gonna have to leave you all in suspense.  Luckily, the zone leaders are the Anziani in our ward and they're totally on our side with this, so we have correlation tomorrow and we're just gonna see how it plays out.  Wish us luck!  She needs to be baptized.  Not just for her, but for her family.

We had one of the best lessons ever this last week.  We have an investigator named H. - he's from Peru (just like basically everyone else in Italy) and he's awesome.  He's the one we set a bap date with a couple of weeks back and he is progressing SO much.  We could tell he was super confused about prophets.  He wanted to know more about Joseph Smith, in general, and about prophets.  So we had this super awesome lesson.  The spirit was so strong.  I explained, in my limited Italian, about Priesthood keys and prophets and all of a sudden you could just see the light bulb turn on in his brain.  It was awesome.  He just kept saying, "I understand now.  I get it now."  Hopefully we won't have problems with his baptism like we're having problems with A.

We had a really great zone training thing yesterday.  We learned a lot about how to be better finders and better teachers.  We also had interviews with President.  I was super nervous, but it went really well.  Everyone had to bring their area books and he told my companion and me that he can tell by our area book that we're really working hard and trying to build up the kingdom here in Torino.  He actually said that if President Monson were to look at our area book, he would say the same thing.  We definitely took that as a compliment.

It's been so cold here lately!  In fact, it started snowing today!  It's so beautiful!  We're thinking about getting the Christmas tree out again.  ;)  I'll send pictures in separate emails.  Thanks for the love and the emails!  AMORE.

Sorella Gunnerson

Beautiful Torino last week and my six month mark!  
Sorella Gross made me stay out of the kitchen 
and then surprised me with six month pancakes!  She's the best.

Today in Torino!  I love my cloudy days. 

love locks on the bridge!

Just doin' some casa!  ;)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

01.22.14 {week 26}

Ciao ciao.

Well another week has come and gone!  This was probably one of the fastest weeks of my whole mission.  I have no idea why.  I guess I'm just finally getting into the whole swing of things as a missionary.  Yes, it has taken a whole third of my mission (Didja hear that?  I'm hitting my six month mark this week!  Crazy), but I think I'm finally getting there.

The work is progressing!  We've been teaching this little 9-year-old girl who has less active parents.  We thought she had a bap date for February 22nd.  So one morning I had this idea to make her a paper chain with a scripture on each chain, counting down to her baptism (Yes, Bethany, our Christmas chains totally inspired me).  So we worked on it all morning and that night we headed to her house to teach her and we were just talking and I told her how excited we were for her baptism.  Then I asked her if she remembered when her baptism would be.  And her whole family was like, "Yeah!  February 1st!"  So my companion and I looked at each other and we were like, "Yep!  February 1st is right!"  I hurried and ripped off half of the chain under the table and we were good to go!  So we'll have a baptism in about a week and a half.  Her name is A. and she's super cute.  We're excited.

We're pretty sure we met two of the three Nephites the other night.  Disguised as our bishop and one of his counselors.  We had just finished with a lesson and we were in the lobby, looking at a map, trying to figure out how to get to our next lesson.  When, all of a sudden, the bishop and his counselor just happen to walk into this apartment lobby.  We talk for a bit and realize that we're looking at a totally wrong part of the map, so they give us the right directions and then they just leave the building!  It was so weird.  They didn't even see anyone in the building!  It was awesome.

We have a lot of old ladies in this ward who invite us over and let us talk to them about the gospel and then stuff us full of chocolate and tell us to call them "grandma."  They're seriously so sweet.

Today we went to the Egyptian Museum!  It's the second biggest in the world, only second to Cairo.  And now I've been to both!  Anyway, sorry this email is kinda short.  Just livin' the dream here in Italy!  AMORE!

Sorella Gunnerson

gettin fancy and eating green jello out of goblets!

and my favorite wall in our apartment!!

oh hey, italy!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

01.15.14 {week 25}

Buongiorno from Torino!
Apparently Torino is called The City of the Devil.  So that's a fun fact.  Someone should probably confirm that for me.  It might not be true.  Sometimes Torino is a little scary, but it's all good!  Luckily the Lord is on my side.  ;)
So I guess we should start where we left off!  Last Wednesday was HARD.  I had to say goodbye to so many people I love.  After doing emails, we did some shopping (I looked UNsuccessfully for a sleeping bag coat, but I DID buy the first Harry Potter book in Italian.  So it was an overall sucess.  THANKS SHELLEY!  :)) and then we went to the Church (okay for some reason this computer won't let me type "Church" without it being capitalized.  It's really annoying.  I'm really sorry about that) for my last Serata Familiare.  We usually have a spiritual thought and then a game and treats, but this time the spiritual thought took, like, an hour and a half.  So when the time came to actually say goodbye to people, there was no time!  It was awful!  So I was basically just hugging people while running out the door.  It was probably for the best because it was really hard to say goodbye.  Giulia and I just cried.  It was bad.  I miss her tons.  TONS, I tell you.  And I had to say goodbye to N. and M!  So sad.  And then, after all of that, we missed the metro, so had to wait for a half an hour.  Ah, the life of a missionary.  I stayed up way too late that night packing and writing letters and then finally headed to bed.  I woke up the next morning and we got ready to head to Centrale for the transfer circle.  Basically, all the missionaries just go there and wait for their new comps.  Transfer circle's the best cuz I get to see so many people I love!  Like Sorella Carter!  Ah, she's so great.  And Sorella Harward!  She goes home in two transfers, but we are lifelong friends, so it's no big deal.  Also, she and Sorella Carlock are companions this transfer!  I basically freaked out when I found that out because I love them so much.  We accidentally called them the other night, looking for our Sister Training Leaders.  It was the best accident ever!  Oh, I love them.
Anyway, then I finally met Sorella Gross!  SHE IS AWESOME.  Let me tell you a little bit about her.  She grew up on an Indian Reservation in New Mexico, but she's this little redhead with a British father.  It's awesome.  She trains horses and sings and is so cool.  I just love her so much already.  And she's an awesome missionary.  I'll send pictures.  So we had to take a two-hour train ride to Torino (and by "had to" I mean "IT WAS THE BEST THING EVER" - did you know I've always wanted to ride on a real train?  I finally got to!).  She was in a threesome last transfer and she told me the other sisters had left it kind of messy.  I wasn't too concerned.  Mamma mia, the mess!  So we basically tried to get settled and then headed to correlazione and consiglio.  The ward is awesome here.  Another big one with lots of people interested in doing missionary work.  I love it!  This last week I was able to meet a lot of investigators and less-active members, we set a bap date with one of the investigators (February 22nd - cross your fingers!), and I'm basically just trying to get my bearings here.  We apparently have bikes somewhere at an old apartment, but we don't use them, especially because it is FREEZING here.  So we usually just bus it.  But I bought a sleeping bag coat today!  I'm super excited about it!  Also, whenever people here find out I've only been here for four months, they're shocked!  So I guess that's a good sign that my Italian is improving.  :)  But I've still got a LONG way to go.
Anyway, I think that's about it.  I've got some pictures to send.  But I love you all tons and thanks for everything!  Being a missionary is the BEST.  :)  AMORE.
Sorella Gunnerson

My last night in Cimiano.  :(

Two of my favorite Anziani!

with sorella gross!  on the train!  eating gelato!  doing fun things!

Transfer Circle!  Sorella Harward and Sorella Carter!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

01.08.14 {week 24}


Mamma mia, I tell you what.  I felt so loved last Friday!  I received so many letters and packages!  It was finally Christmas and it was awesome!  Thank you thank you thank you.  You guys are literally the best.  And my Reeses Puffs are already gone, so thanks, Mom and Dad!  They were SO GOOD.  I already blew up Amy's balloons (and I already deflated them again because I'm moving!) and I already listened to Aunt Jan's CD (and ate the chocolate!). Unfortunately, I have not yet had any of Bep's hot chocolate because we ran out of cinnamon (Don't judge.  I really like my cinnamon...).  But we bought some and I plan on having some tonight - my last night in Cimiano!

So you're probably just dying to find out where I will be serving starting tomorrow.  I will be heading to the beautiful (and big) city of Torino!  All I know is that my new companion's name is Sorella Gross.  So, from one big city to the next!  I wasn't really expecting that.  But since when do the things I expect to happen actually happen?  ;)  To be honest, I'm sad to leave Cimiano.  That's no surprise.  I started out here in Milano wishing I could be in basically any other city.  I didn't want to be here.  And now, there's literally nowhere else I would rather be.  Funny how that works, huh?  So here I am, leaving my new family and going off to find another!  We'll have a little shindig at the church tonight - a little "ciao" for the four of the six of us who have been serving in the ward who will be leaving.  The only two staying behind are the new ones who've only been here for a transfer, but I know they'll do great!  And Sorella Russell will be training!  I'm so excited for her and her little verdino - they are going to do a great job here and take care of these people that I love so much.  I'm sure I'll have some stories to tell next week about my first week in Torino.  :)

We actually had a new missionary staying with us for the past 24 hours - Sorella Boscia.  She's 35 and from Sicily (she actually knows Sorella Palumbo!) and she got in from the Spain MTC yesterday afternoon.  So President and Sorella Dibb escorted her to our house yesterday afternoon, informed us that she spoke zero English and then went on their way.  She is AWESOME.  I have so much respect for her.  And it was actually really fun to be forced to speak Italian 24/7.  It proved to us that we can actually do it.  It wasn't easy.  And our brains were fried by the end of the day, but it was fun!  So she came with us to a couple of lessons yesterday afternoon (one of which was my last lesson with N. and her little sister, M.  :(  That was sad), taught us how to make a mean Tiramisu this morning, and then we dropped her off with the office elders and she'll hang out with the other new missionaries this afternoon and then get her trainer tomorrow.  It was lots of fun.

We had our last night of caroling as a district on Monday night.  It was super sad.  After Christmas, we've done it a couple more times but just with regular hymns and it worked!  People still listened and (sometimes) talked to us!  But, alas, our district is now being split up.  We all got really close this transfer, especially because it was the Christmas transfer, so it'll be sad to see everyone go, but I know it's for the best!

We had a miracle happen this week - one of our new investigators came to church.  Her name is C. (or M. - take your pick) and she's from the Philippines.  She was actually a referral from her cousin who lives...I can't remember where.  Somewhere in America.  And she's pretty awesome.  The miracle is that, not only did she come to church, but she stayed an hour and a half after to see a baptism of a little boy in our ward!  So she just hung out with us from 9 until 1:30 on Sunday.  It was awesome.  I have a good feeling about her.  Oh, this is random, but I realized this week that both Wendy (if she moves into Grandma's house) and Keith will be in Giulia's mission!  So starting in May, y'all have to keep an eye out for the missionaries.  And if one of them is Sister Sammartano, just love her to death.  (That'll be easy!)  And feed her lots!

Well, until next week!  In Torino!  :)  AMORE.

Sorella Gunnerson

Sunday, January 5, 2014

01.01.14 {week 23}

Buon Anno!

Well it has officially been a week since our crazy, but perfect, Skype call.  Thank you guys for taking 40 minutes out of your hectic Christmas mornings to Skype me.  It was the best Christmas present I could ask for.  :)

One of my favorite pieces of news from this week:  Giulia got her mission call! I may or may not have gotten a little teary-eyed when she opened it.  And Salt Lake City!  Our house isn't in her mission, unfortunately, but that won't stop me from taking her out to lunch and hanging out with her on P-days!  Mom, I'm pretty sure she has cousins in Provo, but if for some reason they can't get her from the airport or anything, I already told her you would be happy to help.  :)

We had a scambio this week.  I was with Sorella Hanson in Naviglia and it was...something!  It started off with this guy talking to us on the metro about how we must not know about the history of our church.  We must not know that Joseph Smith "changed the Bible."  And all of these things.  We obviously explained everything we could and just bore our testimonies as much as possible.  But when people aren't actually wanting to know the truth, it's kind of pointless.  Then he told us we wouldn't be saved and that there was literally something wrong with our brains and that they should be studied.  He was dead serious.  We had a good laugh about that one afterward.  ;)  The next day, a couple of appointments cancelled, so we ended up doing finding in the rain all afternoon, with my bum foot and my scambio backpack was pretty interesting.  But it was fun!  I love scambi because I always feel the urge to be a better missionary afterward.

Our New Years was a bit strange.  By President's orders, we had to be in our houses by 5:00.  So we went home, did daily planning, and then cleaned our apartment, made brownies, worked on the area book, watched Legacy...all before 9:00.  So my comp went to bed and I stayed up and watched "The Testaments" while painting my nails.  I thought about trying to stay up til midnight, but gave up around 11.  I was a little sad to miss the midnight celebrations, but then I was awoken at 11:58 to what sounded like constant gunshots right outside our apartment.  Fireworks were going off EVERYWHERE.  We thought Cologno would be this sleepy little town on New Years Eve.  Not so.  Then I heard people outside counting down.  And the fireworks just kept going.  And going.  Finally, at about 12:20 I went to a window and poked my head out.  I was able to see fireworks off to the right and fireworks off to the left.  It was pretty cool.  And then I closed all the doors leading to our bedroom, to try to block out the noise, and finally fell asleep a while later.  Sorella Russell slept through it all.  ;)

We had quite a few meno-attivo lessons this week, and quite a few no-show lessons as well.  I suppose that's to be expected during the holidays.  No one has work, which would be ideal if that didn't mean that they went on vacation til the middle of January!  This coming week will still probably be strange, and then hopefully it will start to get normal again!  By this time next week, we'll know about transfers!  I'm praying that I'll get one more transfer here in lovely Cimiano.  Who knows?  :)

I love you all and wish you the happiest of new years!  AMORE.

Sorella Gunnerson