Wednesday, November 26, 2014

11.26.14 {week 70}

Hey Family!

Honesty time: I have, like, ten minutes to write you guys, so let's make it fast.  (Sorry, mom!)  Things are so great here.  We had the Fingerle tour last week and I'm probably the biggest fan ever of the Fingerles.  They are seriously incredible.  So down to earth.  So sweet.  So willing to get our opinions on things (especially at the special mission consiglio we had with them last Friday).  One thing that Elder Fingerle really focused on was improving ourselves, only 1%, in every area.  He quoted Alma 37:6-7 and talked about how these teeny, tiny improvements we make will make a big difference.  I really do believe that's true.  And I believe it applies to everyone in every stage of life - not just to us missionaries.  Oh, before I forget to mention this: my p-day next week will be on Thursday.  I repeat:  my P-day next week will NOT be on Wednesday, so don't worry that I've, like, died or something when you don't hear from me on Wednesday.  But I'm really glad you will all have that extra day to write me emails!  (*winkwink* *nudgenudge*)

Can y'all believe that Thanksgiving is tomorrow?  Well, they don't celebrate Thanksgiving here, so we're trying to spread the Thanksgiving cheer to all these Italians who don't know what they're missing!  To make it short:  I'm grateful for all of YOU.  I've realized on the mission how blessed I am to have the family I have, the friends I have, the home I have, the life I have.  And I'm especially blessed to have the gospel in my life.  It really makes such a big difference.  I've seen it so clearly here.  I'm grateful to my Heavenly Father - that He loves us so much that He was willing to sacrifice His Son.  Wow, I don't think our human brains can really understand the magnitude of that.  But I am grateful.  I hope you all have a lovely Thanksgiving.  Sorella D'Ambrosio and I will be stuffing our faces with pumpking chocolate chip cookies and spreading the gospel.  :)  There's really nothing else I'd rather be doing.

And as Thanksgiving comes to a close and the Christmas season begins, please begin it with the video you'll find on christmas.mormon.org.  It really puts into perspective the real meaning of Christmas.  Love you all tons and tons.  AMORE.

Sorella Gunnerson

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

11.19.14 {week 69}

Buongiorno tutti!

It was a great week here in Italy!  Dang it, I always sit down to write and can't remember a thing to tell you all about.  First of all, I had my first italian hot chocolate of the season this week and it was INCREDIBLE as always.  I think, in heaven, waterfalls will be made out of this stuff.  I don't even know what to compare it to....it's a mix between regular american hot chocolate and pudding.  It's just thick and warm and wonderful.  Also, the leaves on all the trees here are changing and I love it!  It's been fun seeing Sorella D'Ambrosio's reaction to all the pretty trees - she's from Arizona so she just has never really experienced it before.  Anyway, the point is:  it's a great time to be living in Italy!

Last Thursday I got to go back to my "second home" of Torino!  It was so fun!  I walked in that apartment feeling kinda like I had never left.  The next day was full of cancellations (hey, welcome to missionary work in Torino!) BUT we got to go have a lesson with our eternal investigator, E.  I've been thinking about her a lot lately with this colder weather, seeing as I wear the scarf she gave me when I left Torino practically every day lately.  I worked with her the entire six months I was there.  She was a really frustrating one for me, but she was also really special.  I saw her progress a ton in those six months that I was there, so I know that she'll be baptized some day.  It was really awesome because she didn't know that I was coming.  I walked in and she started FREAKING out.  Haha it made my day!  She's just this little lady but she was practically jumping up and down and hugging me.  We had a nice little lesson with her and then she fed us cake and juice (come sempre) and then as we were leaving she started talking to Sorella Ostvig about how she has this "weakness" for me.  I guess sometimes I feel like I didn't really do a whole lot for her because she wasn't baptized while she was with me, nor were we ever able to set a bap date with her, but at least we were able to go teach her about Jesus every week, and that's something.  Anyway, Sorella Ostvig is an incredible missionary.  Her Italian is astounding (seriously - she made me want to work so much harder on my Italian because she's already so far along) and she is such a good example of following the Spirit.  It was lots of fun!

We've been having a really hard time lately getting our investigators (even those with bap dates!) to come to church.  I've been really frustrated some Sunday mornings when they just...don't show up.  You feel like you're making so much progress with these people and then they don't come to church and it's just frustrating.  We've been trying to really put forth every effort that we can to get them there - cio√® we've been teaching lessons dedicated to coming to church and the importance of the sacrament and this week we decided to leave home an hour early in the italian fog and go around on our bikes trying to get people awake so that they can come to church.  And two of them finally showed up right after Sacrament meeting!  Yay C. and F.!  C. and F. both had bap dates for the end of this month, but C. has word of wisdom problems and F. just....is gonna get baptized soon.  Not sure when exactly, but soon.  She needs to be actually coming to Sacrament meeting regularly in order for us to feel good about it.  No one wants to baptize a less-active!  E. wants to be baptized so badly and is currently working toward the 6 of December (it's most likely my last Saturday here and she really wants me to be here for it).  She also has major word of wisdom problems.  Those cigarettes, man.  I literally want to burn down the cigarette factory.  (I dunno, maybe it's something Christ would actually do?  ;))  Anyway, other than that, we have quite a few less-actives and new converts and ex-communicated members that we're still working with.  I love Alessandria a lot and I love being a missionary.

Tomorrow will be the Fingerle tour for us up in Milano.  Then we'll come back tomorrow night, only to go back up again on Friday morning for Mission Consiglio.  Then Saturday and Sunday will be Stake Conference (yay!) and then we'll start our week of consecration, which I'm super excited for because it basically means that there are no extra conferences or trainings that week.  We're not even allowed to do scambios!  So we'll be able to really focus on the work here.  I'm stoked.  And it's Thanksgiving I think!  (Right?)  Well I love you all a lot.  Thanks for the love and support!  AMORE.

Sorella Gunnerson

Finally went inside the Alessandria duomo today.  Not bad, huh?


It's fall in Italy.  :)

The Citadella

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

11.12.14 {week 68}

Hey Family,

So, just in case anyone was wondering, TAYLOR ORTON RETURNS next Tuesday.  Please give her my regards in the form of hugs and treats and messages on FB.  Please and thank you.

Also, just in case anyone wanted to be incredible and send me birthday and/or Christmas packages/letters.  Apparently our last chance before Christmas to get packages will be December 3rd.  Which is just....really sad.  But you have time! 

It was a pretty normal week here in Alessandria.  I actually...can't really remember what happened.  But I'm sure it was great!  Yesterday I was pretty sick, so we were told to stay inside, but the day before that we headed down to Savona because I had to do a training at their joint district meeting with the missionaries of San Remo.  It was lots of fun!  Tonight I'll head to Torino to do a scambio there.  Then hopefully we'll have a scambio with the Genova sisters next Monday/Tuesday.  We were supposed to do one with them after the district meeting on Monday, but they had really bad flood warnings so they had to stay inside for a couple of days.  Anyway, needless to say, it's really rainy here in Italy these days.  And it's getting COLD.  Hence all the Christmas decorations in our apartment.  I mean if you have to go out in the cold all day, you might as well have Christmas to come home to, right??

Anyway, that's about it.  The missionary work here is just plugging right along.  Can't believe we're already to the middle of November!  Hope you're all loving late fall/early winter.  It's the most wonderful time of the year, after all!  Love you lots!  AMORE.

Sorella Gunnerson

We got a little bit obsessed with Christmas this week.... And made a paper Christmas tree.  And then ate lunch at the foot of it.  :)

Us on Halloween with the girls

Me and my dear, A.

One night we were TRYING to teach the girls a lesson, but M.V. and S. disappeared.  We finally came and found them in the kitchen making us a treat.  What great hostesses!

Us with G.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

11.05.14 {week 67}

Buongiorno tutti!

What's up?  Congrats to Amy and Tommy on the new baby!  My comp is a big One Direction fan, so she LOVES the new little one's name.  ;)  You know what I just realized?  I don't know 25% of my nieces and nephews.  I'm gonna change the subject real quick before I start wallowing in self-pity.  ;)  Besides, I'll know them soon enough, right?  #gunnersonfamilyreunion2015airportedition

Oh, Happy Halloween by the way!  Or should I yell in your faces: "DOLCETTO O SCHERZETTO"?  Unfortunately, Halloween isn't really celebrated over here.  It's super American, apparently.  We were eating lunch with one of our members on Friday and she was telling me about how about ten years ago it was the night of October 31st and some kid suoned her citofono, said "dolcetto o scherzetto" and then expected candy from her.  She literally had NO idea what was going on.  So, yeah, it's a new thing here.  But we had a primary party at the church and all the little kids were dressed up and it was adorable!  Sorella D'Ambrosio and I got really creative with our costumes... Okay, all we did was switch our nametags and our glasses.  I mean, there's only so much you can do as a missionary.  Everyone thought it was funny though, so...success!

We had a really great Saturday this last weekend!  We were able to see all four of our baptismal dates!  We had really awesome lessons with them, worked out detailed ways in which they would get to church and then?  NONE of them showed up to Sacrament Meeting.  I...wanted to cry.  But I didn't.  Luckily, two of them showed up right after Sacrament Meeting.  Yay for C. and F.!  We'll get the rest of them there this week!

On Monday, we headed to Milano for Consiglio.  We dropped off Sorella D'Ambrosio in a different part of Milano to do a scambio while I was in the meeting all day.  She was with an even greenier greenie than her!  A sister who had only been here for four days.  But they seriously killed it.  Like, in the best way possible.  I was so proud of my baby!  Consiglio was probably one of my favorite consiglios I've been to so far.  At one point the Assistenti were training us on finding and how we need to be talking to everybody.  Usually at this point we would do some sort of roleplay, but instead they just passed out bus passes and they were like, "Okay, be back in 45 minutes!  Go do some finding!"  Um, it was so much fun.  And so much better than a roleplay.  And President has challenged us to read the book of Matthew before our conference with Elder Fingerle in a couple of weeks.  I love challenges like that!  I've learned so much already, and it's only been two days!  Yesterday was somewhat strange.  I did a training at our district meeting, we had lunch, did language study and then went to go visit one of our ward members.  We got to her house only to find out that her hand/wrist had just been broken.  So we walked with her in the POURING rain to the ER and stayed with her for a little bit while she got an x-ray and a cast and all that stuff.  I'm so glad Heavenly Father placed us there RIGHT when we needed to be there.  I've seen that so many times on my mission and it really is incredible.

Anyway, I hope you're all doing well!  Stay warm and eat some extra caramel apples for me!  :) AMORE.

Sorella Gunnerson

Me with Sorella Hoffman (she dies this transfer!)

The number of sister training leaders in the mission has been whittled down to seven.  Eccoci qua!

Our Halloween costumes!

Mission Leadership Council

Me with the Elders in my MTC group that are zone leaders and were, therefore, at Mission Consiglio.  The first picture made me laugh - they were all trying to indicate where I was supposed to awkwardly stand.  Right in the middle.