Wednesday, January 21, 2015

01.21.15 {week 78}

Hey Family,

Well it was a pretty great week here in Prato!  I was able to say goodbye to a bunch of people.  It's been kind of strange "dying" in a city that I just got to.  I really did love the people here right off the bat (a perk that comes with the calling, I think).  Everyone's just confused as to why I'm already leaving, even though I just got here.  :)  I learned a lot in this city.  I was able to meet a few people that I know Heavenly Father placed in my path for a reason.  And I hope that I was able to be that person for others.  I was supposed to have my last three REAL hours of missionary work tonight in Prato.  But then we got a call from the APs yesterday morning and our travel plans for transfers are a little complicated...  Basically, this afternoon we have to head to Pisa, where I will say goodbye to Sorella Gregg so that she can head to Firenze with one of the Pisa sorelle.  So I will spend the evening in Pisa with Sorella Griffin (whom I ADORE).  Unfortunately, she and I won't actually be spending time together because she will be in a culture class from 5 to 10 and I will be waiting for her outside in the hall.  :)  Haha, not exactly how I expected to spend my last night in the mission, but I just do what they tell me to!  And then she and I will drive to Milano tomorrow morning.  I'll drop off the car in Cimiano and then I'll head with all of the other dying missionaries to the mission home.  We'll have our exit interviews and have dinner and all sorts of fun stuff that are currently...unknown to me.  There will probably be lots of tears.  And then we'll spend the night in Milano and head to the airport on Friday morning.  After guys know how the rest of the story goes.


It's a really strange thing, writing my very last email home from my mission.  I have a lot of thoughts and a lot of feelings and a lot of...just...everything (literally though, I'm still working on getting my luggage to weigh less...).  But how do you sum up a year and a half of learning and growing and stretching?  You don't, I guess.  This is one of those experiences that I'll never be able to fully describe to anyone.  It was incredible.  It was awful.  It was life-changing.  It was uncomfortable.  It was exciting.  It was just so worth it.  I can't imagine my life without it and I'm glad I don't have to.  A few mission consiglios ago, Sorella Dibb was doing a part of the training and she read a quote by C.S. Lewis that I loved and I want to share it with you guys:  "Isn't it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different..."  That is truth, right there.  Looking back now, everything is different.  My whole eternal perspective has shifted.  My priorities have changed.  But, to be honest?  I don't think that I, as a person, have changed that much.  What I'm trying to say is you don't have to worry about seeing a stranger step off that airplane.  It's hard to describe.  In Abraham, it mentions something about being "added upon."  I guess if there's any way to describe how I feel or the ways in which I've changed, it would be with that phrase.  I truly do feel "added upon."  And I am so grateful for that, because I was lacking.  I'm still lacking and I'll continue to be lacking for a very long time.  But the beauty of this whole experience (life) is to be added upon and added upon, continuously.  Over and over and over again.  And aren't we lucky that the Atonement of Christ gives us the opportunity to be added upon.  To start over, learn, experience, grow.  All of it is "grazie a Lui."  I have grown closer to my Savior throughout this experience.  I have seen Him perform miracles in the lives of those I've taught and those I've served with.  Isn't it crazy how a sacrifice that was made so long ago still provides us with miracles today?  THAT is the infinite power of the Atonement.  I know that He lives.  And I know that He loves us.


Sorella Gunnerson

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

01.14.15 {week 77}

Hey Family!

Last week started off with a scambio in Pisa!  I was with Sorella Griffin and it was definitely one of my favorite scambios.  She is so awesome and so on fire.  She's only in her third transfer but she is so put together.  She understands her purpose and has no fear.  I really did learn a lot from her.  And it was lots of fun.  She kept quoting my dying testimony, so at least someone listened and liked what I said!  :)  Unfortunately Sorella Gregg got super sick from the sister that she did the scambio with.  So we've been inside off and on since then, trying to giver her some rest.  Somehow I haven't gotten the sickness yet.  (Someone please knock on some wood.  Thanks.)  It's some sort of flu/cold thing.  She had a fever for a while and now she just has a bad sore throat.  Anyway, but we have been able to go out and work a little bit, which has been nice.  I'm not sure if I told you guys about this friend of a member - F.  She is really interested in the gospel, so we've been teaching her.  And this member is literally one of my favorite people on the planet.  And she is just so excited about the fact that her friend keeps wanting to come back and learn more.  The people we know really are ready to hear about the gospel.  We just have to have the courage to talk to them about it!  And we have to follow the Spirit about the WAY in which we talk to them about it.  Anyway, it's been a good week.  We've been able to build relationships with the members and talk to them about their missionary work.  It's been really nice.  There are so many Italian families where the parents are totally active and all of their children are totally inactive.  It's really sad.  Anyway, I'll be starting my very last scambio in about ten minutes.  And then the rest of this week will be pretty normal...  It'll be after next P-day that things get really weird.  This week will be full of lasts, but I'm going to try to just...act normal.  I'm still a missionary.  So I'm gonna keep acting like one.  And it's gonna be awesome.  :)  Alright, gotta run.  Love you lots!  AMORE.

Sorella Gunnerson

Firenze from the top of the Duomo!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

01.07.14 {week 76}

Dearest Family,

Wow, time is just flying by.  It feels like yesterday I was skyping you guys.  But nope, it's already been two weeks.  It's hard to believe.  It was a great week!  On New Years Day we had a nice little (and by little I mean "huge".....welcome to Italy) lunch with two of our members and the Hyde's.  It was really nice.  We talked about our New Years Resolutions.  Friday was Consiglio!  So basically we left the house at 6 in the morning to make the 3.5 hour drive up to Milano.  Then I was in consiglio all day (oh my goodness, one of the best consiglios of all time.....just so many funny, random things.  one of which is a video that i HAVE to show you guys right when I get home because it is HILARIOUS.).  Then we drove the 3.5 hour drive back down to Prato.  Let's just say I was really tired when we finally got home that night.  :)  Monday morning was exciting because we had zone training.  I've loved being able to train a little bit while I've been STL.  And then the moment came that I thought would never actually come.  At the end of the zone training I had to bear my "dying testimony".  It was rough.  I cried a little bit.  I quoted Dumbledore a little bit.  And then it was over.  And I was like, "Wow, that means I'm actually leaving soon."  It was definitely surreal.  Last night our ward had a Befana party.  I'll have to explain what that is......someday.  It was super fun but we had to leave early to head to Pisa!  So last night we drove to Pisa and spent the night there.  Then we had studies together this morning, headed to the LEANING TOWER OF PISA.  Oh my goodness, I'm obssessed.  And then we came up here to La Spezia to see Porto Venere.  It was probably one of my favorite P-days to date.  It's about time for us to run to catch a train and then I'll start a scambio with Sorella Griffin here in Pisa.  It will be great!  Anyway, there won't be anything super exciting happening this week, but that's okay.  To be honest, this city has been pretty hard for me.  We're working on finding new people to teach.  Anyway, I hope you're all doing well and that you had a lovely New Years!  We set our alarm for 11:55 in order to be awake for the festivities.  There was this lady on the balcony below us setting off HUGE fireworks.  We kind of thought we were going to die.  Don't worry, I have a video of it.  Anyway, I have to run but I love you all a lot!  Have a great week!  AMORE.

Sorella Gunnerson

Mission Consiglio

Sister Training Leaders

The sisters of the Firenze Zone

Everyone in my MTC group that is now STL/ZL (plus one - Sorella Bringas who will go home the same time we do.)


Me and Sorella Gregg

Pretty self-explanatory

On our way to see Porto Venere

Porto Venere

Porto Venere