Wednesday, August 6, 2014

18 months a missionary

TODAY I have been in the mission for 18 months. WOW!!!!

This past week has flown by so incredibly fast. :) I remember waking up on Saturday morning and thinking to myself "Wow!! It has been a whole week since our baptism with Mauro!" Then I realized that the following Saturday I would wake up in AMERICA!!!! AHHH I go through moments of excitement, anxiety, nervousness, happiness, etc. Truth be told, the last week, I have woken up every morning, STANCA MORTA (dead tired), and thought to myself "Ohhhhh mamma mia... only X days until I get to sleep in." I haven't slept in past 6:30 (with the occasional 7:00 by permission or mistake) for 18 months. Pheeeeew! Hahahaha :)

For some reason, our Thursdays are always packed, a little crazy, but always full of miracles. Last Thursday we had planned on seeing many people but everything got turned upside down. Three appointments all wanted to see us at 5 pm. Oh mamma mia... it was stressful! But we got to see EVERYONE that we had planned on seeing. N and A in the morning loved our lesson and Alberto said "Quasi, quasi divento un mormone." (Almost, almost become a Mormon) :) Later, after another lesson, we visited our precious referral F and had an amazing lesson with her before she left for vacation (she has been texting us since). To finish, we had a member present lesson with another referral who we haven't been able to see in awhile. As we were talking, L (simpatizzante) expressed how much she LOVED the Book of Mormon. Last time that we saw her, we had invited her to read Mosiah 2-4 and she has read those chapters several times since. Miracles are happening here in Busto!! :)

On Sunday I gave my final testimony in Italiano here in Italia as a missionary. As I was walking back to my seat, I realized how incredible it was to share my beliefs, joy, and testimony with the Italian people in this people's country. Not only the Italians but all of the South Americans and Africans too. Sorella McPeek put her arm around me as I started to cry. It was a little heart breaking. That being said, I thought about sharing my testimony in my own beautiful country and it made my heart lift up with joy. One thing that I have learned on my mission is just how EASY it is to share the Gospel with others. Just live what you believe, open your mouth and share the love you feel, and never be afraid to say that you are a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. :)

Monday came around and EVERYONE wanted to feed us. We ate 5 meals. FIVE!!! We had Brazilian food, Peruvian food, Filipino Food, and Italian food. Mamma mia. Luckily I had the excuse that I couldn't eat a lot because I was feeling nervous about leaving. True story. :)

Today I am going to spend all day with our favorite member family and we are going to make Italian food!!! I have always wanted to do this and now I can :) I love being a missionary soooo much. It has been the BEST decision that I have made in my life to this point. A member asked me what my favorite part was about my mission and told him that it was inviting people to come unto Christ, especially myself, to feel of His LOVE and HELP. I LOVE my Savior soooo much and I love my Heavenly Father. My relationship with them has been amazing in my time of service. Now I hope to continue it. :)

I love you so much!!! I cannot believe that it is time to come home. :)


Sorella Jameon :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sprinting to the finish line

Well I feel like I am definitely sprinting to the finish line! It has been a crazy week - we really cannot believe that we have arrived to another Pday. These last few nights I have been SUPER tired, more so than usual and just have to go to bed a little early or take a few moments to consider the lilies. :) I am so grateful that I have been called to serve here in Busto with Sorella McPeek because I wonder if staying in Alessandria as an STL would have killed me. Hahahah plus Sorella McPeek is sooooo laid back and wonderful. She reminds me a lot of Sorella Andromidas in that aspect. Just willing to do what is good but at a good, healthy pace.

This has been such a rewarding week and month. Last week we found 9 new simpatizzanti - 5 of them were referrals and the others were elect people that the Spirit led us to. Up to this point, we have found 28 new simpatizzanti which is almost 1 new simp everyday. Our goal is to find more and help them come unto Christ. :) Also, we had a BAPTISM on Saturday!!! :)

It was such a beautiful baptism. It honestly felt like a dream. Mauro was the perfect person to teach - there was ALWAYS a member present and he consistently went to church. He is solid and strong with the support of the members. We have at least 2 short visits with him every week - one with the family who baptized him and the second one with a another member. We have no worries about his segue into member life.

After the baptism, we went to F's home!!! FINALLY!!!! It is soooo hard to get a hold of teenage girls......We went the day before to make enchilada's with her but she totally spaced the day and forgot! So we talked to her father and planned a family dinner. It was wonderful! They loved the enchiladas (thank heaven's I am obsessed with food - it is a footstep into the hearts of many people) and we were able to leave a small message with them. Only her little sister, father, and grandma stayed to listen. At the end, Nonna said that she wasn't going to change but said that she would still be our Italian nonna. :) Her father agreed to have us over again tomorrow night for dinner. PLEASE pray that their hearts will be softened and that they can accept this message. This weekend F will leave for vacation until Settembre. I was here literally the PERFECT amount of time to see her. She wanted to come to Milano with us but couldn't today. :)

So we are starting to teach the husband of a member who is SO faithful and one of her friends. Their children joined the church too and are all incredible. His name is R and he reminds me a little bit of a snail or crab - super hard and crusty on the outside but kind and sweet on the inside. BUT he mocks us when we teach and laughs at the testimony of his wife. On our last visit, he and the friend snickered and laughed at our invites, saying that praying at least 2 times a day was too much. In that moment, I felt a little bit like how Jarom much feel. He has this BEAUTIFUL message that people don't even TRY to take because they are content and don't want to bother themselves with more work to do, even if it will bring them true happiness. It was frustrating and heartbreaking. Most of the time people reject us because they are either faithful in their religion, believe there is not importance in Christ's church, or they are Atheist. We are praying to know what to do.

This is my final week as a servant of the Lord. It is a weird limbo state as of now but as I said before, I am at peace with everything and content, excited, but of course a little sad to come home. One thing that we talked about with R was WHY we serve a mission. His son served one and he couldn't understand  WHY. He just compares it to military, which is something that he did and didn't love.Sorella McPeek and I explained it simply to him - We LOVE Heavenly Father. We LOVE Jesus Christ and His gospel. We are HAPPY and want others to feel the same way. The Lord has given me MUCH more than we ever gave to Him in this short 18 months of service. I will be eternally grateful for my chance to serve as Sorella Jameson in the Milano Italia Missione. :)


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Gospel is my life!

I definitely have not forgotten to sing in the rain. :) It has been raining on and off here which is fantastic because it keeps the air cooler (but then that also means that it will be a little hard to go out and find people. Italians are so weird about the rain.) Sorella McPeek is so great in helping me stay on track. She makes dead missionary jokes all of the time which just makes it feel like a funny thing. They other day I said that I had 3 weeks left and she patted my back and said "No no... you only have 2 weeks. Sorry." Hahahah

These past few days have been absolutely amazing! Unfortunately we have not been able to see F yet - we are doing EVERYTHING that we can to see her without overwhelming her. But she wants to go to Milano with us and hopefully we will see her on Friday. Last Friday we were in the middle of weekly planning when someone rang our doorbell. We answered it to find a man standing at OUR door asking for a hair school. Of course we were not the people that he was looking for but we did get to start a discussion about who we are. We taught him a lesson on our door step and he said that he wanted to come to church. Hahahah so funny!

Saturday we had a cook off that we organized. Guess who won best dessert? We did of course. :) We made red velvet cake. There was a great turn out and a beautiful Spirit. Earlier that day, we went to teach one of the less actives in our ward. We feel completely lost in trying to help her because she just doesn't understand anymore what is the gospel of Jesus Christ. While we were talking about the importance to prepare NOW to return to our Father in Heaven, she made the comment that she didn't understand that earlier. I was impacted deeply by this. After we left, I asked Sorella McPeek how someone could FORGET these simple and important things. She was a strong and faithful member, went to the temple, raised many children in the church and now she cannot remember the basics of the gospel. Sorella McPeek simply stated "She had forgotten because she doesn't read her scriptures." I never imagined forgetting things of the Gospel because it is my life right now. It is so important to do the small and simple things however to keep our faith STRONG.

We had an incredible miracle last night! Yesterday we had planned on receiving 2 new investigators (we have gotten at least 1 almost every day this month) because we haven't found someone in the last few days. We prayed that we could find these special people. At 8:30 pm, while we were in the middle of teaching M our final lesson before the baptism, someone knocks at the door of the member's home. In walk a beautiful couple from Madrid who recently moved here. We talked to them and explained the basics of what we believed and they both expressed interest in learning more. While we were discussing what we believed, M nodded the entire time and at one point stated "Yes! That is what we believe too!!" He loved experiencing sharing the gospel with others. :) Tomorrow we are going to meet again at the member's home with them!

Life is amazing and the Gospel is true. It is the only way to true happiness.

Vi voglio tanto bene!

Sorella Jameson

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I love being a missionary

It has been quite nice here in Busto Arsizio - it just barely started to get hot which is OKAY with me!! Last summer was killer! We bought some popsicles to help us stay cooler in the hot weather. :) Speaking of food... we planned a ward activity for this weekend. A COOK OFF!!! :) It is going to be so great because Italians are super prideful of their food.

Oh my goodness... there have been so many miracles here in Busto!! We have officially found 17 new investigators since the beginning of the month. We don't even go for hours out to find. We just talk to everyone and help them feel a little bit of God's love for them. There are just people waiting and ready for the Gospel.

My miracle story for this email comes along with our scambio that we completed with Sorella Egbert yesterday in Busto Arsizio. I loved being with Sorella Egbert - she has always been an example to me. We went to teach our simpatizzanti M, the young woman that Sorella McPeek and I found my first Friday here in Busto. She is amazing and has been slowly progressing (even though she asks many questions based off of the Jehovah's Witness's beliefs.) We were finally able to have a lesson in her home and relied a lot on the Spirit to answer her questions - mostly on how to receive the answers to prayers and then the importance of the Book of Mormon. M LOVES the bible and believes so much in it that it is hard for her to understand why we need or even have the Book of Mormon. We shared the introduction with her again and just bore powerful witness to it's truth while stating our purpose. M accepted the baptismal date for the 6th of Settembre. We now have two baptismal dates here in Busto! One of which passed his interview for the 26th of July!

Ma (our baptismal date for the 26) is such an amazing person. He was introduced to the Gospel by his ex-girlfriend whom he was dating until late. Last week we had a lesson with him about the Prophet Joseph Smith and Thomas S. Monson and asked him if he knew that they were prophets called of God. He explained that he wasn't 100% confident in responding YES but he said that things are slowly making sense and that he feels good about it. We asked how he felt about the Book of Mormon. Mamma mia.... his response was amazing. "At first, I wanted to read the Book of Mormon because of curiosity. But the more I read it, the more I felt my soul being filled with peace. Now I read it because it FILLS my soul and it is a need." We explained to M that THIS is the Spirit bearing witness of the truth of the Book Of Mormon. He knows it is true. And because he knows the Book Of Mormon is true, he then knows that the Prophet Joseph Smith was truly called of God. Later that week we taught about the Priesthood organization in the church and then he received a blessing of comfort. On Sunday, we had a practice interview with him for his actual baptismal interview. Tears ran down his face as he expressed his faith and the importance that this has to him. At the very end, we asked if there was anything that he needed. He only shook his head and said in tears how grateful he was for us and our time to bring this happiness to him. :)

One thing that I have been trying to focus on the last few weeks of my mission is to just use the Spirit. While I was on my Scambio with Sorella Egbert I could literally feel peace and love radiating off of her because she was a pure conductor of the Spirit. What I had noticed from her was that she was a natural missionary that followed the higher law, if you will. It was beautiful! She studied so intently, prayed so fervantly, and followed the schedule exactly. The Spirit was with us and it was strong. But we still had fun and laughed. I want to make this a part of my life ALWAYS and not just the last few weeks of the mission. :)

Malpensa Airport Hahahahaha
Adventure story: Today we went up to Como but before we left I sliced my thumb open with the kick stand on my bike. Note to self. Never try to put the kick stand down with your hands. It is called a kick stand for a reason. Then on our way back, we took the wrong train and ended up at the Malpensa Airport. I know that Sorella McPeek's mom got an email from Mom asking her to tell Sorlla McPeek to keep me from getting trunky but it didn't work.... :) Hahaha just kidding. It was actually really funny to end up there so close to the end of my mission.

I love being a missionary. We have a message of happiness and JOY! We are not here to convince ANYONE only to bring them closer to Christ. That is why we have the Book of Mormon. That is why we have a Prophet Joseph Smith. That is why we have the restored Gospel. It doesn't matter what the name of God is. It doesn't matter that Revelations states at the end that nothing can be added. What matters is JESUS CHRIST.

Vi voglio tanto bene!!

Sorella Jameson
Como Lake

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

It all comes back to one thing

Things are so great right now!!! Life feels a little bit weird because I know that a month from now I will be home. When we do planning and pick dates for different things I have to take a step back and remember that I am almost done. During the last General Conference, there was a talk about 4 minutes called Your 4 Minutes. Your Four Minutes I heard this talk when I had a bout 4 months left in the mission and I thought about how I had only 4 minutes to make my best performance happen. Now I am down to my last minutes. I want to make it count more than ever and I want to work hard. Busto Arsizio has given me this chance to do so - there is SO much happening!!!

My companion and I. She braided my hair!
Last week was a little bit crazy because it doesn't feel like summer. It felt like spring time or fall. Our 4th of July resulted in soup eating and Hot Chocolate drinking. We just laughed under all of the rain fall and the cold weather. (We are so much happier in this weather anyway) We found 7 total new simpatizzanti last week and 2 this week - one everyday. It is incredible!! Now we are trying to meet with them again to set baptismal dates. :) We are still trying to work with M - the African from last week. Her mother is Jehovah's Witness so she asks really deep questions from the bible that we honestly cannot even answer. But then it all comes back to one thing - the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ. If all of this is true, then we have the revelation of the Plan of Salvation, we have clarification from the Bible, and we have the comfort of knowing that there is no confusion anymore. I love the church!!!

We have an amazing story with a family that we have tried to start working with. F was a referral from the United States and she recently returned from a study abroad program from Cedar City. She has asked us to try to work with her family because she would like ALL of them to be part of the church. (She is currently an investigator as well). During our visit on Saturday, her father N sat down and started to ask many questions about the church. At the end of the conversation he said that he is very content with our visits and that with time, they will all decide to become part of this "Mormon church" as well. :) He knows our purpose and is open. We pray to work more with them and help them come unto Christ. :)
Italian fast food!

I just wanted to share a little video that my companion shared with me this morning.

Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind

I love you!!!

Sorella Jameson

PS: Please pray for F and her family! Also for M - he is our Baptismal Date for the 26th of July.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

God works in mysterious ways

I do not have very much time because I was chatting and reading a TON of emails. But I have to say that it was amazing finding F. When I first got here, I was asking Sorella McPeek about the simpatizzanti that we have and the work. There is not much here. They have been only getting around 5 to 7 lessons a week and only found 3 people the month of June as new simps. One of them was F. While Sorella McPeek was explaining the story, all of the memories from Brad's e-mails hit me. Oh. My. Gosh. I told my companion about the crazy connection and told her that I had to meet F. We biked out 30 minutes to "stop by" and I asked her if she knew Elder Christensen. She smiled and said yes. I jumped up and down and hugged her. God works in mysterious ways. It was so hard to leave Alessandria with all the work to do there, with the people that I loved, and with the city that held so many special memories but I have to remember that this is the Lord's work. Not mine. I know that I am called to be here for a reason.

(A friend of Codi's, Brad Christensen, is serving a mission in Utah. This winter he met F, who was a foreign exchange student, and he reached out to Codi to see if she could help find F's family in Italy. Of course Codi would end up teaching her in Italy!!)

This was a message from my mission Presidente....

We do want someone to bring these investigators the rest of the way home. You will do great in your new assignment as well. You, sister Hoffman and Sister Gunnerson will all make your mark on Alessandria.

I am so grateful for my companions too. Sorella Hoffman taught me way more than I could have ever taught her. She is my inspiration as I go forward here in Busto. Sorella McPeek is absolutely AMAZING. She is HILARIOUS and has many interests that are similar to me. So we laugh throughout the day (like on Sunday when we were literally walking through flooded roads, and followed by drunk men in the stations.)

WOW!!! We have had SOOOO many miracles these last few days in Busto!!! Since arriving here on Thursday, we have taught MANY lessons and have found 6 new simpatizzanti! :) The Lord has been placing them in our pathway and we are just talking to everyone - in between lessons, on the train, on the way to eat gelato. One of these simpatizzanti is M. We stopped her on our way home for lunch. I just HAD to talk to her! She is from Cameroon and she is 23 years old. Years ago, she met with the missionaries and the only thing that she remembers is the Law of Chastity. M explained that this is something that she 100% agrees with too! We have met with her a second time and she accepted the soft invitation for baptism.

Things are great here. I love it! I know that this is the Lords work and I am called to be His servant. There are moments when I forget that and think about me - like leaving Alessandria. But I know that He wants something that is better for me, for His children, and for His work.

I love being a missionary. I love Busto Arsizio. I love Sorella McPeek. I love everything. It doesn't mean that things are easy, just that I find the joy in the midst of the work.


Sorella Jameson :)
Leaving Alessandria... with one of the 4 cakes I received. There is a picture of two cakes that I got too - one was pineapple and the other pear I think. Mamma mia... no more cake!!! 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Leaving Alessandria and Ending with all my heart, might, mind, and strength

I got a transfer call from Presidente on Monday to go to Busto Arsizio. It is west of Milano. I have never heard of it before! He released me as Sister Training Leader and thanked me for the wonderful, wonderful work that I have done and has asked me to continue to help the work go forth in my next city. I will be with Sorella McPeek who I know a little bit (she is from Sorella Andromidas's group and is sooooo cute) Sorella Hoffman will be staying in Alessandria for a 5th transfer. The poor thing already said goodbye to everyone and packed her bags. Presidente told her that she needs to finish what she got started. My goodness did she start a beast. Presidente put two crazy people together when we were called to be STL's here. We have done SOOOOO much together and love each other sooo much. Saturday night we both cried together about leaving. We feel like we have become sisters. We are sisters.

This transfer news however really upset me. I cried all Monday thinking about the people that I fell in love with on the first day here. It didn't seem fair. One of the reasons why it was hard too was that I felt like I didn't fulfill my purpose here. I thought "what was I supposed to do here?" I asked sweet Anziano Johnson (my BFF who followed me up from Pisa - I am REALLY going to miss him too) to give me a blessing. It was powerful. He said that the Lord has blessed me by showing my how His hand is extended into His work. Now it was my job to do the same thing in my next area. Many other things were said but that is what impacted me the most. Alessandria was a DREAM. It felt like I had walked in the District (film) but this was the first time that I felt like I wasn't doing much of what Sorella Jameson was meant to do. (Do you remember me sending you that letter about what I thought was my purpose. I have always walked into struggling units that needed help. Alessandria was helping me.) Sorella Hoffman is INCREDIBLE. She has taught me sooooo much about VISION and what can be done with the FAITH of a hard working missionary. She is going to move mountains and change Italia. My purpose here? To train Sorella Hoffman how to be an STL. I did it. Now it is time to move on. This is the Lord's work. Not mine. While I am sad, I am also excited to go forward and do His will.

Something else that I have learned from this humbling experience is that the Priesthood is real and amazing. I love getting blessing. God loves and KNOWS every single one of us individually. He has always answered my prayers and always will.

Last week, we received a referral from our Bishop. Actually, an entire family. E L is the sister of one of our other simpastizzante who is married to a member. We went on Wednesday night to visit them. It was amazing. E has been sooooo ready to join our church for years but has needed to fix several things. Now, she is ready and wanting to be baptized. Her, her husband G and their two younger daughters, G and S all accepted baptism for the 20 Luglio, the same day as E. We have gone back to visit several times and they are reading the Book of Mormon together as a family every night. :) Miracles are happening here in Alessandria and Sorella Hoffman is the perfect person to see them through to the end.

To finish, we will be having a baptism on Sunday for E B. Oh how I love her so much! We set a baptismal date with her the first Sunday that I arrived and now she is getting baptized. Anziano Ostergar and Speiser started teaching her almost a year ago.

I have 6 weeks left... going into my last transfer and I hope to work with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. The Gospel is restored and real.


Sorella Jameson