Wednesday, June 25, 2014

06.25.14 {week 48}

Wow, what a week!  Where to begin?

On Thursday we had a scambio with our Sister Training Leaders - Sorella Hoffman and Sorella Jameson who are stationed in Alessandria.  So Hoffman came here with Lawrence and Jameson and I went to Alessandria.  Now, I was super nervous because I knew Alessandria was a biking city.  But thanks to a couple of Saturday mornings at the park with Mitchel and a random night in the church parking lot with Bethany and James I was practically a pro!  I was even riding on streets and stuff!  Up hills!  Down hills!  On cobblestone!  (Okay, so I'm not a pro by any means, but I didn't die, so I'm pretty happy about it.)  I was sore for a couple of days.  And I probably looked like a dork the whole time because I couldn't stop smiling, but it was so fun!  Anyway, it was basically one of my favorite scambios of all time.  And not just because I was on a bike.  I don't know, it was just awesome.  And I got to see my favorite senior couple - the Molinari's!  So the scambio ended on Friday night and I came back here to Torino!

The next main thing that happened this week happened on Monday...  So here's how it works:  if you're training or becoming STL or zone leader, you get a phone call from President or the Assistants on Monday.  If you're a "regular missionary", you get the phone call on Tuesday from the zone leaders.  So we were at a lunch appointment with S. (a member in our ward from Texas - love her) and I kept checking the phone cuz....I dunno.  I couldn't help it.  I wasn't necessarily expecting a call for me, but I knew that if other people in the zone got a call, they would let us know.  And I was starving for information!  So we leave her house at 3 and as we're waiting for the elevator, I finally just decide to call the zone leaders and see if they know ANYTHING.  They didn't.  But we were on the phone for a few minutes and then when I hung up, I look at the phone and it shows a missed call.  But from whom?  PRESIDENT.  I gasped.  And put my hand to my mouth.  And my heart started beating really fast.  So I hurry and call him back and he doesn't answer.  I was dying!  So finally, a half hour later, I get a call from the Assistants and they said, "Pack your bags, Sorella Gunnerson!  God has called you to serve in....Alessandria!"  Me:  "NUH-UH.  ARE YOU SERIOUS?  NUH-UH."  Anyway, I freaked out a little bit.  And then they told me I would be a Sister Training Leader!  So I'll be there with Sorella Hoffman and it's going to be incredible!  I'm stoked.  And I already know a bunch of the members because of the scambio and I already know the city a bit and....basically it's perfect.  So, you may be asking yourself:  What is a Sister Training Leader?  Well, I will tell you.  Basically it's the female version of a zone leader.  So we do scambi with a bunch of sorelle and help with training at zone meetings/conferences and go to a meeting with President and the zone leaders once a month.  It'll be great.  I'm excited.  The strange thing about it, though, is that I'll be STL over Torino, Collegno, and Vercelli - so the three companionships that I was in/serving with for the past 6 months.  Not only that, but Russell and Ervs are staying in Collegno and Lawrence is staying here in Torino.  So I'll be STL for two of my ex-comps.  Super weird.  Ma va beh!  Alessandria is basically inbetween Milano and Torino, but a little south.  So I've decided I'm just gonna be in this same general area for my entire mission.  I'll probably never make it east or south.  But whatever works!  ;)

That's about it for the week.  We had our last FHE last night.  It was bittersweet!  And we'll have our last English class tonight.  I've loved Torino, but I am ready to go to Alessandria!  Anyway, wish me luck this week!  I'll need all the prayers I can get!  Came across this talk this morning during personal study:

Read it!  The church is SO true.  Love it.  And love YOU.  AMORE.

Sorella Gunnerson

Proof that I rode a bike!  Also, the house we had just been in had a lot of cats....hence the skirt.  And the face.

Me with S. and her family!

Last FHE.

Lunch today.  (Try not to be jealous.)  ;)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

06.18.14 {week 47}

Proof that Heavenly Father loves me:  It's been raining in Torino for the past four days.  Everyone's complaining except me!  I'm eating this weather up.  Because I know what's about to happen...

It was a great week!  It started after emails last week when we went to the museum of the Sindone (The Holy Shroud of Turin).  So, basically, there's this shroud with the imprint of (they think) Christ - the cloth he was wrapped in for the three days he was in the tomb.  A. in our English class volunteers during the week at this museum, so he invited us to come and he got us in for free and gave us a tour.  It was pretty cool.  I'm still skeptical, but all of the science behind it is still interesting.  And we didn't even get to see the real shroud, because that only comes out every few years and....this year is not one of those years.  But they had an exact replica, so...ya know.  Basically the same thing.

Thursday was Zone Conference and I SAW MY BABY!!!  Oh, I have missed Tokarski so so so so SO much.  It was so good to see her.  I am so glad she is my descendant.  It was one of the best zone conferences I've been to yet.  We talked a lot about these family history books that they want our new converts and members to start working on.  It was just so good to see so many people.  Also, Pagano, Christiansen, and I did a musical number - "There is a Green Hill Far Away."  Pagano on piano, Christiansen on violin, and me singing.  We actually did it for a baptism a few weeks ago.  It was fun!  I just love zone conferences.

Sometimes doing parco is really frustrating (see last week's email) and sometimes it's super awesome!  Last Friday we met this lady - M. at the park.  We just stood in the midday sun for a good half an hour and talked to her.  She was awesome.  She's super into yoga and feelings and stuff.  When we went to say a prayer at the end of the lesson and I explained how we pray, she saw me folding my arms and was like, "Do I have to do that part?  Because to me, that looks very closed off.  I like to do it like this:"  And then she put her hands palm to palm and got ready to pray.  She was awesome and so funny.  And she just loved us.  She was like, "Wow you guys walk around all day in the sun talking to people about God??  Wait, you're saying this book is free??  Wait, you're saying these English classes are free??"  It was awesome.

Sunday started off with us getting up early to take the bus to F.'s house in order to pick her up and ride the bus with her to church.  Once we got outside her apartment building and called her, she was like, "Oh sorry I can't come."  It was frustrating and I was just really sad.  She was only baptized in December but hasn't been to church for at least the last two months and before that it was very on and off.  But I told her that this Sunday is probably my last in Torino, so she's planning on coming.  Speriamo!

And then on Monday we had our last district meeting of the transfer!  I just love my district!  And there are two Anziani dying next week - Christiansen and Andersen.  It was a bittersweet district meeting.  And then we ate a bunch of brownies and peanut butter cookies and took pictures.  I loved it.  I love these people, dang it!

Anyway, I think that's about it for the week.  Transfers happen next week, so I'll let you guys know in my email next week where (if?) I'm going!  (Cross your fingers for Firenze!  ;))  Who knows?  I could always stick in Torino for another transfer.  Whoo.  That thought makes me really tired.  No, I really do love Torino.  I'm just ready for a change.  (Amy - how did you do it??)  So we'll see.  Wow, I just love this work and I love this gospel.  And I love you ALL!!!  AMORE.

Sorella Gunnerson

P.S. Happy Birthday today, Tiff!
P.P.S.  Happy Birthday tomorrow, Mitchel!
P.P.P.S.  Bible update:  Finished Joshua yesterday.  Slow and steady, people...  ;)

The chapel that's connected to the museum of La Sindone.  The replica of the holy shroud.  And then the ceiling - it's the ascension of Christ.  I loved this painting!

Torino Zone

MY BABY!!!!!

The district and the missionaries in our ward.  Love them!!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

06.11.14 {week 46}

Well hey, everyone.

Wow, what a week.  First off, LOVED the pictures of Scotlyn!  What a cutie!  Can't wait to meet her in person.  Hope everyone's doing well.

Okay, can we just talk about how hot it is here right now?  I am just constantly sweating.  The heat here is definitely not like the heat in Salt Lake.  It is so wet and awful!  I am not a fan.  I'm just constantly sticky.  And the bus is miserable because there's no AC and everyone stinks and.....this is just the beginning of summer.  Everyone keeps warning us about July and August.  I am so afraid.  All of a sudden the heat struck on Friday.  And ever since then it has been death.  I'm just praying I survive at this point.  Also, apparently I have allergies and they make my acid reflux a million times worse.  Fun!  Wow, I'm complain-y today.  Sorry about that.

We had stake conference this weekend, so that was exciting.  We headed down to Alessandria on Saturday afternoon for the session there at a hotel.  It was good!  All focused on missionary work.  Although, strange story:  One of the members of our stake presidency decided that in order to talk about missionary work he wanted to show a clip of Forrest Gump.  So it's the part where Forrest is talking about how he just felt like running one day and so he started running and then just kept running.  For, like, years.  And people start following and blah blah blah.  There's a part where a car drives away and the camera does a close-up of the bumper sticker.  The problem is, the bumper sticker has an English swear word on it.  But, apparently the guy in the stake presidency didn't know that...  So it comes up on the screen and all of the missionaries in the room just gasp and look around at each other and then all of the members were like, "What!  What did it say?"  Oh man, so awkward.  Ya know, sometimes these things just happen here in Italy.  We're constantly reminded that the church is still pretty young here.  Also...language barriers.  And then the stake conference on Sunday was actually President Uchtdorf in Switzerland.  It was broadcast to stakes in Italy and Switzerland and France, maybe?  I can't really remember.  But it was really good!  Although he talked about how apparently they have to re-dedicate the country of Switzerland for missionary work or something?  Has anyone heard anything about this?  Anyway, it was great.  The church is true.

Friday was just...not a good day.  We had a full day of appointments and then they ALL cancelled.  I was so frustrated.  But we tried to be positive and we went to the park to go do some finding.  (A classic back-up plan activity.)  So we get there and we start talking to this man.  He didn't seem very interested.  But usually when we walk up to people and they say they're not interested, I try to have a conversation with them anyway.  Because usually we can get somewhere.  But he was like, "Oh you guys are Mormons.  I know exactly who you are and what you believe."  And I was like, "Oh really?  How do you know so much about us?"  And he was like, "I saw a movie about you guys."  RED FLAG.  Once upon a time there was a movie made about Amish people and when it was translated into Italian, the word "Mormons" was used instead of "Amish."  So people think we're Amish ALL THE TIME.  So, naturally, I started asking what he had learned and then I started explaining that that's not us.  And then he was just being SO frustrating.  He wouldn't let me speak!  He was talking about my religion as if he knew what it was and he didn't know anything!  And he was like, "Oh, I just feel so bad for all the Mormon children."  Cue blank, confused stares.  "...Why?"  I asked.  They can't be children!  They don't play!  They have to live out of the world.  Look around this park!  See all the ragazzi playing?"  (It was the last day of school so the park was FULL of ragazzi and they were all just playing water games.)  "Yeah, we see them..."  "Mormons can't play like that!"  At first I thought I was maybe just understanding him incorrectly, so I was like, "They can't do what?  ...Play?  ...With water?  ...Of course they can..."  "Nope. They can't."  And then he started talking about how we must not believe in the same Jesus that he and all the Catholics believe in.  Pretty sure we read the same bible, sir.  But he didn't believe that either.  And then he started talking about how thank goodness the Pope isn't Mormon or else everyone would have to walk around in top hats and beards and cloaks down to their ankles.  At this point I started to realize how confused he really was.  A Mormon Pope.  Ha!  I kept trying to clarify, but to no avail.  I was getting so frustrated and it was just growing and growing inside me.  Finally I was just like, "It was nice to meet you!"  And we walked away.  And then, for some reason, I just sat down on a bench and started crying.  Haha, I don't even know why.  It's not even the worst rejection I've ever gotten as a missionary.  For some reason the whole conversation just really bothered me.  And then I got over it and went on with life as usual.  It was just so frustrating.  So, if you guys want to send me your best/worst/funniest/most ridiculous rejection stories from your mission, that would be great.  Then we can all just laugh about it together.  :)

We finally got to see M.H. this week after, like, 2 weeks of nothing.  She got really sick for a couple of weeks - like, stomach problems so bad that she had to go to the doctor and get blood drawn and an ultrasound.  But she's doing better now.  Thank goodness.  Also, we went to E.'s yesterday and made brownies with her.  (Her son wants her to have the that she can make them for him.  Classic Italian Male.)  She still has a lot of doubts.  We're trying to help her grow her faith, but there's only so much you can do when they have a really hard time acting.  Faith without works is dead, y'all.  Anyway, we tried setting a baptismal goal with her and she wouldn't do that either.  She was like, "When I get the answer, I'll know and then I'll be happy to be baptized the next day!"  The thing is, she's gotten her answer, she just doesn't realize it.  Anyway, it's all good.  I know she'll be baptized someday.  Unfortunately, I won't be here to see it.  I just love her and I've seen her progress leaps and bounds in the last 5 months.  The mission is the worst but also the best.  There just really isn't an accurate word to describe it...  I'm just happy to be here!  Anyway, I think that's about it for this week.  :)  AMORE!

Sorella Gunnerson

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

06.04.14 {week 45}

This is going to be a super short email because...not a whole lot happened this week.  I feel like we were mostly just on a bus a lot.  That's what we do these days.  Now that we're over the females of two wards, we're just....constantly on a bus.  It's starting to get old.  And I'm SO over public transportation.  Bring on the car.  But not in Italy.  I don't want to drive a car in Italy.

Comunque, yeah.  We had another lesson with the D. family on Sunday night!  We taught them about the Plan of Salvation and then gave them the soft baptismal invite.  And then the dad was like, "Oh yeah, don't worry, we've all already been baptized in the Catholic church."  And I had to be like, "  That's great and all, but it doesn't really count."  For those of you who have watched The was basically the same conversation they had with that guy with the bullet wound in his head.  Except for it was in Italian.  And it was a family from the Philippines.  And don't worry, I didn't actually say it like that.  I feel like I was a lot more tactful.  We basically just reminded them of authority and the restoration and the priesthood and all that fun stuff.  I still think it's a little hazy for them, but we're getting there.

We were supposed to have a scambio on Thursday, but we showed up at the train station and there was some train strike somewhere in Italy, so half the trains were cancelled.  And ours happened to be one of them.  These strikes happen all the time here.  Especially for the buses.  At least once a month, we're just out of luck.  Life in Italy!  ;)

Today we just walked around the city with the Collegno Sorelle.  Went to Burgheria.  Oh my goodness, we felt like we were in America.  It was actually a good burger, which is pretty much impossible to find around here.  And the fries!  Oh, the fries.  Just, everyone do me a favor, and go eat a really good burger this week in my name.  Please and thank you.  Anyway, after that we just walked around, ate some gelato, window shopped, actually shopped...  Just a (p-)day in the life.  Hope you're all doing well!  SO happy to hear about the arrival of little Scotlyn.  Can't wait to see pictures!  I hope Heather heals quickly - she'll be in my prayers.  Love you all!  AMORE.

Sorella Gunnerson

BURGHERIA!  We were too embarrassed to take a selfie across the street, so we slyly took pictures in the reflection instead.  Yummy!