Tuesday, February 25, 2014

02.25.14 {week 31}


Where to even start?

Alright, well I'm sure you're all dying to know about my little verdina.  Her name is Sorella Tokarski and she's from Oregon (yes, we're twin souls already - you know my love for the northwest).  She's 19 and really great!  I guess we'll just start at the beginning of this last week.  Sorella Gross and I woke up dark and early on Thursday morning and headed to the train station.  (This really nice family in our ward always takes the sisters to the train station when there's a transfer.  That was SO nice.)  So we headed out on the 6:50 train and arrived in my lovely home of Milano around 8:45.  I met up with some other sisters who were also heading to the Cimiano church for the training meeting and we headed over.  Meanwhile, I'm mostly just on the verge of throwing up...  But I didn't!  So that's a success.  We finally got to the church and President met with all of us trainers for a bit.  I believe there were 11 new sisters and about 8 new elders.  So there were 19 trainers just hanging out talking with President.  And yes, I am the youngest missionary (in mission age) training in the mission right now.  So that's...scary.  It was actually kind of funny because President mentioned something about how nice it is that he doesn't have to call missionaries to train after their second or third transfers anymore (he had to do that for a while when there were big groups of girls coming in).  He didn't say anything about not calling them to train after their fourth transfer, because there I was, getting ready to train...  Anyway, finally the little verdini came in and President talked to all of us.  He kept telling all the little verdini about how experienced their trainers would be.  I was kind of just laughing to myself the whole time...  And then it was finally time to get our trainees and I read the paper with her name on it and I was really afraid she was from Poland or Russia or something.  But she's not.  So that's a relief.  :)  BIG HIGHLIGHT:  While we were all sitting around eating after the meeting, GIULIA walks in!  Oh my goodness, it made my life.  We just hugged and almost cried and hugged some more.  Oh, how I love her.  I also got to see Sorella Russell and Anziano Lindsey!  Oh my goodness, it made me miss Cimiano so SO much.  But that's okay.  I'm starting to love Torino.  I don't know if I'll ever love a ward as much as I loved Cimiano, but we'll see.

Anyway, that's how the new transfer started off.  And we've already seen some miracles!  In fact, Sunday was a day of miracles.  Two big things happened:  1. We have this investigator named M. who I had never met.  She was being taught for a couple of months but then went out of town for a couple of months.  Apparently she already has a testimony of the Book of Mormon and wants to be baptized.  The only problem is that her husband is super contro.  Anyway, they were out of town and Sorella Gross would call her, like, every week to see when she was coming back.  Finally on Friday, we get a call from her!  And she was like, "Hey I have some questions about the Book of Mormon.  Come over at 5."  But we couldn't.  Cuz we already had an appointment.  But I reminded her of church (honestly not really thinking she would show up) and she said she might show up.  So there we are at church on Sunday and who walks in?  M.!  And her husband!  It was a miracle!  So they stay for Sacrament meeting and then they head to Gospel Principles with us.  And they have some great questions and they're just getting really into the conversation.  And it was awesome.  They didn't stay for Priesthood/Relief Society, but that's okay.  So we're seeing her in a couple of hours tonight and we're going to try our hardest to set a bap date with her.  I'm super excited.  2. Last week Sorella Gross and I were at F.'s house - she's this adorable 16-year-old new convert.  And we were just hanging out talking at the kitchen table and F.'s mom had some friends over.  So they came into the kitchen too and the Book of Mormon was just sitting out on the table.  So the guy asks about it and before Sorella Gross and I can even breathe and respond, F. is ON IT.  She just went off about the book and about her testimony and it was awesome.  So we were like, "Hey, if you want a copy, we can bring you one."  So he gave us a bunch of business cards and it was kinda cool.  So I call him up on Friday to see when we can meet with him and his wife and he tells us to come over on Sunday night.  So we went over on Sunday night and they were there with the wife's brother and we just went through the entire Restoration lesson and it was INCREDIBLE.  The whole time they were just nodding and super into it.  They had lots of questions about the organization of the church and the prophet and stuff, so I pulled out a Liahona and showed them the pictures and they were just....so shocked.  He was like, "Wow this makes so much more sense ..."  Haha.  Anyway, we're going back on Sunday again to teach them about the Plan of Salvation.  I can't wait.

So those are the miracles for the week.  AND H. WILL BE BAPTIZED TOMORROW.  :)  I'll definitely have pictures from it next Wednesday.  (And hopefully I'll be at a computer that can actually send pictures.  Unlike this one.  Sorry.)  That's about it!  Dang, I love missionary work.  I have such a strong testimony of this gospel.  Not only can I feel that it's true in my heart, but it just makes sense!  Just like that guy we taught on Sunday night said.  We are SO lucky to have a knowledge of it.  And there really are people around us who are searching for the truth but know not where to find it.  Anyway, I love you all lots.  SIBLINGS: SEND ME EMAILS.  Okay, that's it.  ;)  AMORE.

Sorella Gunnerson

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

02.19.14 {week 30}

"Time never stands still; It must steadily march on, and with the marching come the changes."
-Pres. Monson

Well, transfers happen tomorrow!  And guess what?  I'M TRAINING.  Yeah.  Trust me, no one is as shocked as I was.  This is how it happened:  President came to our ward on Sunday.  We have a baptism a week from today (Yay H.!) and President needed to come and interview him.  So he came and our WML was freaking out (it was kind of really funny).  So he meets with the anziani in our ward first, and then he interviews H. and it goes wonderfully!  Then he asks Sorella Gross to step in the office with him.  We found out some really sad news on Valentine's Day - that Sorella Gross' grandma passed away.  So I assumed he just kind of wanted to talk to her about that and make sure she was okay.  Honestly, transfers were the LAST things on my mind.  Both Sorella Gross and I were positive that we were sticking together for at least one more transfer.  So she's in there for a while and when she comes out she shoots me this really quick frowny face.  I was so confused.  And then he called me into the office.  We started talking about "Life of Pi" and Catholics and all sorts of stuff and then the subject changed to a recent convert that we have.  He really wants her to get to the temple, so we were talking about it and then he said, "The reason I'm telling you all of this is because Sorella Gross will be leaving you this week."  I gasped.  I'm pretty sure I said, "Oh no!"  Involuntarily.  And he kind of laughed and said, "And you'll be getting a new sister.  Sorella Gunnerson, you will be training."  Deer in the headlights.  I was shocked.  I'm still shocked.  I just barely finished being trained!  I thought for sure I wouldn't train for a few more transfers because there are a ton of sisters older than me in mission age.  I've never even been senior comp!  And yet, here I am.  Training.  I, of course, didn't say any of this to President.  I just nodded, attempted a smile, and said okay.  When the anziani found out afterward, they just started laughing - which did not help my confidence!  Haha.  Anyway.  So that's what's going on here.  Tomorrow morning, Sorella Gross and I will take a very early train to Milano (Cimiano!  My home!) where I'll drop her off and head to the training meeting.  Then I'll get my little greenie!  Oh my goodness, I am so nervous.  But I do have a huge testimony of the fact that Heavenly Father doesn't ask us to do things that we cannot do.  Heavenly Father has asked me to do this, so apparently that means that I can.  If you all could just send some extra prayers my way this week (or for the next 12 weeks....) that would be great.  :)  I can do hard things.

In other news, H. will be baptized a week from today!  He is so ready to be baptized and we are so excited for him!  After the interview, President said that he had been taught well, that he has a strong testimony, and that everything was set for the baptism.  The only bummer is that Sorella Gross won't be here for it.  My little greenie is lucky!  She's just walkin' right in to a baptism!  Because the baptism is next Wednesday, we might have to switch our P-day.  So I might end up having P-day on Tuesday or Thursday.  So write your emails early!  ;)  We'll see what happens.

Anyway, I'm quickly running out of time but I love you all a ton and I hope you had a lovely Valentine's Day!  Ours involved a creeper on the bus (that's not anything new in Torino...) and taking roses and a spiritual thought to some of the widows in the ward.  It was lovely!  (Minus the creeper, of course.)  

I can't believe I'll hit my seven month mark this weekend.  Time really is flying!  Thanks, as always, for the love and support!  AMORE!

Sorella Gunnerson

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

02.12.14 {week 29}

Hey hey hey!  (Fat Albert voice.  Obviously.)

How's it going over there in the states, y'all?  (I have a really hard time saying "you" to multiple people now because of Italian - there's the "tu" form and the "voi" form.  How do you know if I'm talking to just one of you or a bunch of you?  You don't!  So "y'all" has started happening.  I'm trying to stop...)  It's a sunny day here in Torino - but still pretty cold.  Luckily I'm used to the bipolar weather, thanks to Salt Lake.

But wait!  Good news!  A. was baptized on Saturday!  Ah, it was such a beautiful baptism.  There were a couple of scary moments beforehand (like when I talked to the mom on the phone an hour and a half beforehand and she said they didn't have enough seats in the car to get their whole family there, or like when the family finally got there and we brought the dad his white pants and he was like, "where's the top part?" and we were like, "we told you to bring an extra white shirt!") but it all ended up working out and it was just lovely.  I'll send pictures in another email.  She was confirmed on Sunday and so she is officially a member of the church!  We're so happy for her and her whole family!  They're so awesome.

Random news:  We had some really good Indian food last Wednesday.  We ended P-day in centro, only to find out that there was a bus strike going on (they happen ALL the time here - and at the most inconvenient times).  So we waited for an hour and a half at a bus stop.  In the freezing rain.  With lots of cigarette smoke around us.  So that night we treated ourselves to some takeout Indian food.  CURRY, I'VE MISSED YOU.  It was so good.  Also, last P-day I bought another Italian book!  This time?  Pride and Prejudice!  I'll send a picture of my slowly-growing Italian library.  I might end up with a suitcase full of books.  I'm trying really hard not to, but I make no promises.

Anyway, not a lot else happened this week.  Remember that lady that Sorella Gross accidentally kissed?  We had the most amazing lesson with her on Monday.  We taught the Restoration and the Spirit was SO strong.  Just another testament to me of how true this gospel is.  Guys, it's just so true.  It was probably the best Restoration lesson of my mission so far.  So we've got high hopes (sing it, Frankie).  Sorry this email is short.  Love and miss you all lots!  And Happy Valentine's Day!  AMORE.  :)

Sorella Gunnerson

A's Baptism!!!

 i know i'm a nerd.  it's okay.

zone trainin'

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

02.05.14 {week 28}

Hey Family!

So this is the third email I've started now.  This computer is driving me nuts.  It keeps deleting my emails while I'm writing them.  Frustration.  Anyway, in other news, it's super cold and rainy here!  Probably similar to how it is in the US.  I hear the temperatures over there have been crazy lately.  Italians love talking about anything and everything that is wrong with the world, so the weather in the US has been coming up a lot.  ;)  In fact, there's a member in our ward whom we've been trying to go see lately.  We keep scheduling appointments with her but then she calls us the morning of and says that it's raining so we can't come over.  Haha, we're still trying to figure that one out...

Bad news first:  A. did not get baptized last week.  Good news second:  A. will be getting baptized this week!  (Hopefully.  Just....you never know with these things.  Keep your fingers crossed.)  We're super excited for her and her family.  They're adorable and I love them so much.  We're working with H. to get him ready for his baptism in a few weeks.  Cross your fingers for that one, too.

We had a blitz this week, so our two sister training leaders from Genova came to hang out with us for 24 hours.  It was super fun and pretty productive.   I finished the Book of Mormon again this week.  :)  So good.  And then I came across a General Conference talk by  Elder Holland - "Safety for the Soul."  I've seen it before so I vaguely remembered it.  But it is so powerful.  And it's even more powerful to watch it.  So that's your homework for this week!  Find the talk and watch it.  It's incredible.  It made me cry.

Funny story:  So in Italy you kiss people on the cheeks instead of hugging, right?  So the other day, Sorella Gross and I were talking to this lady at a bus stop.  She was super interested and just kept asking all these really great questions about the prophet and how the church is organized and all of this stuff.  So the three of us get on the bus, but we don't have a ton of time to talk before she has to get off at her stop.  (Don't worry, we got her number.)  So she's getting off and she hurries to kiss us.  But while going from one of Sorella Gross' cheeks to the other, Sorella Gross got pushed from behind and.....yeah.  It was so awful.  So she hurries and kisses my cheeks and hops off the bus.  There's a moment of silence and then I said, "Did you and that lady just kiss?"  We started laughing so hard.  I'm still laughing about it.

That night we had an FHE planned with an inactive family in our ward.  She has three sons (two of which are members) - but none of them have been to church in a long time.  So we show up at her house and this really confused-looking girl answers the door.  We clear up the miscommunication (she's the girlfriend of the 23-year-old son) and realize that the mom was called in to work and no one else in the family knew we were coming over.  But the son and the girlfriend were the only ones home and they INSISTED that we stay and have dinner with them.  So they invite us into their house and they're like, "Okay, we just have to run to the pharmacy and the grocery store and then we'll be back."  So they left us in their house while they ran to the store...yeah that was strange.  (But we found the room full of foosball trophies! (Picture attached to another email.)  But then they came back and L. made us some really yummy pasta and we all ate together and talked and it was wonderful.  Seriously one of my most favorite nights of my mission.  And then we shared a message before we left and L's eyes lit up when I mentioned temples and that we are sealed with our families for eternity.  They gave us a ride home and as we were getting out of the car I gave her a Book of Mormon.  She'll be a member someday.  I just know it.  (Also, I accidentally left my umbrella in their car which has made for a very wet couple of days BUT a reason to see them again!)

Anyway, that's how my week was.  :)  Love you all lots and can't wait to hear from you again next week!  AMORE.

Sorella Gunnerson

My district.  My sister and me!  (Sorella Condie - trained by Sorella Palumbo.)


We took a tram up to Superga today.  It was so foggy and beautiful!  Here's a view of the city from the tram.

The foosball trophies!