Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Be bold and loving

We have begun another transfer here in Genova!! It is sooooo weird to think that I arrived here 4 months ago in March. So much has changed - io, la mia collega, il nostro lavoro, il nostro rione, i nostri simpatizzanti, il mio italiano, etc. Being a missionary is something that just feels like a part of me, like I have been doing it all along. I really love it so much! Yes, there are times when it is hard and I feel like it would be easier to go home, but there are more moments of complete joy when we help others come closer to Christ. Such as ...

M!!! As I am sure you know, she was baptized on Friday and received the Gift of the Holy Ghost on Sunday. Oh mama mia... it was an absolutely beautiful ceremony. We have been working so hard with the ward, with M, with the Presidente, and with each other to get every thing ready for this baptism. It has been a long road but M has finally made it through the first door of baptism (next stop... the TEMPLE!!!) M has changed sooooo much since the first night that Sorella Gomez and I found her at the bus stop one April night. There is a light and joy in her eyes and face and she just GLOWS with faith in Christ. She told me on Sunday how much peace and tranquility she has found in this church and how happy she is to have found it. The baptismal service was absolutely beautiful as well. We had 4 simpatizzanti come and at least 6 others of the other missionaries come. There were several ward members and 3 of M's children came. We performed a musical number after (there is a recording on my card) and the spirit just FLOWED into the room. The funny part of her baptism: When she was baptized she let go of her nose.... when she came out of the water she was chocking and coughing up water. It was absolutely hilarious because she just started laughing, saying how buffa (funny) she was. Oh M.... Now she is a huge beacon of faith for us and other members. I love her sooo much!!

Some other miracles...These miracles came slowly throughout our day's work on Monday. We had a District Meeting that morning and talked about our calling as missionaries, sopra tutto as representatives of Jesus Christ. We have been set apart and have the power and authority to do this work for our Savior. Our district leader, Anziano Edwards, gave us the battle cry to be bold and loving with our simpatizzanti, meno attivi, and membri as we help them come closer to Christ. As we worked throughout the day, I had this thought and challenge in my mind. I felt our lessons come out more powerfully as we taught simpatizzanti, meno attivi, and membri. It made a difference for the entire lesson, the entire atmosphere. The people we taught were touched and we could see and feel this Spirit working with them. It was an amazing experience that I hope to never forget as an authorized representative of our Savior, Gesu Cristo.

Grazie per tutto voi avete fatto per me and la mia collega. Sono molta grata. Continuate con fede and speranze perche Gesu Cristo vive!

Vi voglio bene!!!

Sorella Jameson
Codi's zone, meeting President and Sister Dibbs

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The time is NOW!

I AM STAYING IN GENOVA!!!!! I am soooooooo happy!!! Sorella Lemos and I were jumping up and down with joy and crying together. (We were both terrified I was leaving) Presidente did not change very many copia this transfer but then again he has only been here for about 4 weeks. Plus that means we get to stay here for M's BAPTISM!!!!!!! It is this FRIDAY!!!!!!!!!!

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I am soooooo excited for that and to be here with the people I love soooo much!!! It is amazing but also a huge shock - 4 transfers in the same city! Also, our capi zoni opened my first transfer here and are staying the same next transfer (Anz Hatch and Gibbons) Anz Hatch is dying this transfer (meaning he is finishing) There is so much we want to do together this transfer! YAY!!!

Now for a quick update on my week...

I love Genova! I love Sorella Lemos!!! I love being a missionary!! But I must admit that it was a little hard for me last week for some strange reason. I felt tired. More than just physically tired (which is everyday especially in this heat) but a little spiritually tired. Satan was working hard on my heart and mind last week because I started having thoughts of "well I almost have finished 6 months of a mission. I have done my time" More than anything, my thoughts started turning more inward than outward to the people around me. Why? Well I am human. The thing that I learned from this is the importance of just praying my heart out to my Father in Heaven and to just focus on loving and serving those around me. I talked about this to Sorella Lemos (who I just love so much) and felt so much strength and support from her. Sometimes I try to do things on my own - especially because I feel like I MUST since I am the senior companion and example but we are in copia for a reason. Adesso me sento pu forta! :) PRAY!

Our miracle occured last Friday when we worked with two young women - both 18 years old  It was a beautiful experience to work with these young women who had a fire and zeal for preaching the Gospel. When we arrived at the church to meet up with them, they were excited to get started. I worked with a young woman who was baptized about a year and a half ago whose dream is to serve a mission. We ended up teaching a new simpatizzanti and visiting a meno attivo famiglia. She told how forte this experience was for her and how excited she was to serve her mission in the future! The Lord is preparing the youth for the mission work!!

M is going to be baptized this Friday and she is so excited!! She was so giddy after her baptismal interview last week and is ready for this next step. When her baptism was announced in church on Sunday, the ward gasped with Joy! She has been coming to church for 3 to 4months now and is known and loved by so many members. (Insert emphasis on member work!!!! GET TO KNOW YOUR MISSIONARIES' SIMPATIZZANTI!!!)

To finish I want to share some of my thoughts of the broadcast given, the Work of Salvation. We had a chance to watch it yesterday as a district. Mama mia... it was sooooo good!! The time is NOW to share the gospel. It doesn't mean we need to go out and force our beliefs on others. No, we can share the gospel through service, through friendship, and sopro tutto, through our example. My challenge is to get to know the simpatizzanti of the missionaries and find new ones for them to teach. Make a list of friends, prayerfully selecting names of those you want to share the gospel with. Where can you find these friends? This is how you do your missionary work. Also, visit the less actives in your wards. Don't wait to be told. ACT!!! God loves all of His children and wants us ALL to have happiness in this life. That is through the one, true gospel of Jesus Christ, RESTORED through a Prophet in these latter days.

The church is true. God loves us. Ti voglio bene!

Sorella Jameson
My desk, BEFORE morning study

My desk, AFTER morning study!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Nesquick and Slums

We finally made 20 lessons!!!!!!! Oh it felt sooooo wonderful to reach our goal! We have been working SOOOO hard for the past 5 weeks to make it and we finally did. It has created a spring board for us in our work - we have seen more success with our investigators and have better relationships with our members! I love Genova. So much more than I did last transfer. The members, the simpatizzanti, the city - EVERYTHING! The thing is... I don't know if I am going to be here or not next transfer. Part of me says OF COURSE!!! This work is going so great and Sorella Lemos and I can do sooooo much more!! But at the same time I feel it is time to move on. We will find out soon. 

We saw so many incredible miracles last week - our hearts are full of so much joy! One of the biggest miracles came on Friday night with M, who has her baptismal date scheduled for the 26th of July. She has tried to stop drinking coffee in the morning multiple times by substituting Orzo and other beverages. Finally we bought her some Nesquik to drink in the morning instead. When she arrived at our lesson, she stood up proudly, with her hands on her hips, and declared that she stopped drinking coffee that morning! She was so happy to reach this goal and continued to repeat it all night (Sorella Lemos and I displayed our excitement for her by squealing with joy and eating pizza to celebrate.) Afterwards we watched the Testaments - the room was filled with the Holy Ghost by the end of the film. M then shared her testimony of how she knows Christ has been with her throughout her entire life and how she wants to be close to Him SEMPRE. The entire lesson was beautiful and we were filled with so much joy. M is still drinking Nesquik and not coffee. 

Another amazing miracle came with a family that we have been working with every week. The father is Meno Attivo and the rest of the family is active. (Remember the member who we ran into on the bus and brought with us to J? She is the wife in the family) We absolutely LOVE this family and feel like they are a part of our own family as well. The other day, we met a young man at a bus stop who wanted to have a lesson with us. While we were thinking of who to bring with us, this MA came into my mind. Il F came to our lesson on Friday and then came to church to greet the simpatizzanti. Oh donna... it is was BEAUTIFUL!!! He came to church!!! There was a beautiful light with the entire family and soooo many members welcomed both il F and the simpatizzanti with love. Sorella Lemos and I later went to their house and shared our love and gratitude for them - tears were shed and our hearts were full of love and joy. 

To end our beautiful story... we tried taking a train from Principe to Sampierdarena (where we live - a 6 minute train ride or 15 minute bus ride) Well... you know me and how my head is not always aposta. We took a train that normally stops in Samp. but this one was different. It was a fast, regional train that made only big stops. So we ended up in Savano Sunday night ... and then took another train back home. (Savona is about an hour away from Genova) Presidente Dibb has heard more from me in the 3 weeks he has been here than Presidente Wolfgramm in 3 months. Perfetto. :) 

Spiritual Thought: I was reading the Liahona from March 2013 - The Power of the Word of God. It is about how daily scripture study changes our life and empowers us so we can press forward, holding onto the rod of iron in the mist of darkness. President Ezra Benson said "The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world takes the people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold time by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior but Christ can CHANGE human behavior." I love this soooo much!! When we accept and KNOW the gospel of Jesus Christ, our entire life changes. It is not only a religion that we declare and a church we attend on Sunday. It is our way of life because we are changed by Christ. We can continue to have this strength through the scriptures. I recommend reading this article. :) 

Thank you for your love and support!! 

Vi voglio bene!

Sorella Jameson
Sorella Fava. Their adopted Gma. She has emailed us a couple of times to assure us that Codi is in good hands. We LOVE her!!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Promised protection to His faithful

I LOVE GENOVA!!! Last week I was hit several times with the realization that I could be transferred to a different city at the end of this transfer and I have decided that I could stay here for my entire mission with Sorella Lemos. It is interesting how much I have learned to love the members and my companion. Sopra tutto, the simpatizzanti. I cannot bear the thought of leaving M or J - my heart will break. When you share the gospel with people, you learn to really love them. That is why it is so important to build a family around the gospel of Jesus Christ.

As always, time is going faster and faster and the weeks are getting crazier and crazier! We had a baptism in our ward last week by the Zone Leaders (Anz Hatch and Gibbons). Sorella Lemos and I almost reached our goal of 20 lessons but ended up getting 19 which is an amazing miracle. When we work our hearts out, we really do receive so many more blessings and a sense of satisfaction.

This past Sunday we had no one in church for the first 20 minutes and I was starting to get a little worried, especially for our baptismal date, M. After saying a prayer, I turned around to find that not only M had come but the entire family of J that we have been teaching. We have been working with this family since the first day I started working in the mission field and my heart was about to burst with joy when I saw all of them enter into the sacrament meeting. J, her mother, and 3 children stayed for the entire 3 hours and even thanked the teachers for the things they had taught. It was a satisfying miracle that brought joy and happiness to both us and our simpatizzanti. :)

Yesterday was probably one of the craziest days of my entire mission! We had interviews with Presidente Dibb but I was also scheduled to pick up my Promesso di Sorgiorno (basically my legality to be here) as well as meet M for her baptismal interview. SO we went out at 8 in the morning to try to pick up my promesso but the told me to return at the scheduled time of 15:00. Well... by the time we left interviews, it was almost 15:30 and it was 16:00 when we arrived at the questora. Our train time to go to the church was at 16:30. We were literally in the hands of the Lord ALL day because we were able to pick up my promesso, meet M, go to her interview on time, and return to another scheduled appointment that night. It was a miracle to pick up my Promesso becuase this was a legal intistution that is really strict and I was late but they gave it to me anyway. The only down side is that we literally RAN all day to get these things done. So we "ran and were not weary" until about 19:00... and we were also SUPER sweaty. hahahahaha M even made comment about this.

As I have been reading the Book of Mormon again with this challenge (also because I literally finished reading the entire book last week after starting in Jerusalem) I have found so many beautiful truths. This is because my mind is set to think like a missionary I think but also because I am studying even more carefully than I have ever done before in my life. It is so important to pray before you study the Book  of Mormon affinche you can receive revelation and enlightenment. My favorite scripture in the first chapture of 1st Nephi is the last verse. But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender cmercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.

This is one of the messages we can see throughout the entire Book of Mormon and also the Bible. God loves all of us because we are His children but he promises protection and blessing to His faithful servants. When you read the Book of Mormon, try to find these truths. :)

I love you so much!!! Thank you for the amazing e-mails. I really love receiving e-mails (and letters) from you all every week. I miss you but I know this is only for a short time (13 more months) and we will be together again. Warning: I might be un po piu grossa. (I just have to eat gelato in the heat or I am going to die - it is hard to be out all day in the heat but I am grateful for my efy experience and Indiana humidity to prepare me)

Vi voglio bene!!!!

Sorella Jameson

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Little miracles are AMAZING!!


Okay... believe it or not but I have been set apart as a missionary for 5 months today. WHAT?! Yep... it is incredible how fast time has gone by but then at the same time, a whole 13 months feels like a really long time. When I think like that, I just try to forget myself and get to work. Oh, and have a TON of fun with Sorella Lemos. :) (I am teaching her how to speak English right? I thought it was necessary to teach her how to speak Canadian because she has a friend from Canada. Pretty cool, eh?)
Last week we had sooooo many little miracles that were AMAZING!! On Friday, we went to visit one of our Meni Attivi (who has an even bigger story behind her that I need to share one day....) and her nonmember husband was there. We have been trying to work with him for EVER and we finally had the chance to do it. Well... the entire family came to church on Sunday! We have been trying to get J back to church and she has been wanting the support of her husband to do it. It was beautiful! 

After that we went down to Savona di fare un Blitz con le Sorelle. I had the chance to work with Sorella Pace (who used to be in Genova 2 last transfer.) We found and taught two people on the park bench and taught a beautiful woman who became a new simpatizzanti. It was an incredible experience because I felt my faith grown in the process of doing finding work. While we taught the simple truth of the gospel, I wanted to cry because I just KNEW it was all so true. Now because nothing is normal for me, our blitz was also crazy. My poor companion fell while she was on the bike with Sorella Hansen and an old man tried taking me home to be his wife. (He literally grabbed my arm and started pulling me)
Sunday night we had a lesson with one of our new investigators, Y. She is from the Dominican Republic and is the cutest person I have ever met. Literally. Unfortunately, she cannot speak or understand Italian so I cannot do very much in the lessons. (I try to piece together the words I know in Spanish but it isn't much) We brought with us a member and another investigator to this lesson which was also a dinner. It was a wonderful experience for our other investigator because Y is progressing a lot with reading the book of Mormon and praying specifically. At the end of the lesson, Sorella Lemos set the baptismal date for the 20th of Luglio. Unfortunately,... we didn't arrive home until almost 10:30 so I had to make a call to Presidente Dibbs, our new mission president. Great first impression right? hahahah. He was so very kind though. :)

Our miracle with M started last week when we ran into a member on the bus. We had planned to give her a call and try to visit her that day to ask for some more help with M (and because we love her so much). While we were talking, she said that she wanted to have our investigator over for Serate Famigliare for this week. WOW!!! We had wanted to ask her that very same thing but she asked US to do it! So last night we had our lesson at the members house - she prepared dinner and shared a powerful message or love. M had to make a call and said that she was having dinner with her sorelle. :) She also explained how she wanted the people she was talking with to come to her baptism on the 26th of Luglio. It was a beautiful experience! Afterwards, we had to hurry home so we would not have to call Presidente again. We prayed together (with M) that we could arrive home in 30 minutes or less because it was almost 9:30. After running / sprinting to get the bus, we arrived home at 9:45. It was a miracle. :)
So I wanted to share a little scripture I read the other day and just couldn't help but think of you. :) It is Moroni 8:2-3 - an epistle written by Mormon to his son Moroni

2. My beloved son, Moroni, I rejoice exceedingly that your Lord Jesus Christ hath been mindful of you, and hath called you to his ministry, and to his holy work.

3. I am mindful of you always in my prayers, continually praying unto God the Father in the name of his Holy Child, Jesus, that he, through his infinite agoodness and bgrace, will keep you through the endurance of faith on his name to the end.

I just imagine you and daddy doing the very same for me in this time and for Buddy. It brought so much peace and comfort to my heart and soul when I read it. Thank you for your prayers and for your support. Being on the mission is the most amazing experience I have ever had. Now you have 2 children in the mission field. How blessed is our family! :)

((Edited to add: On Wednesday June 26th, Codi's younger brother, Jarom, entered the Provo MTC for his mission to Fukuoka Japan.))

Vi voglio bene!

Sorella Jameson