Wednesday, September 25, 2013

So many beautiful miracles

This week has been one of our off weeks but we have still been able to see so many beautiful miracles. For a start, we found 6 new investigators! 6!!!!! At the same time we have been receiving un saco di bedoni (cancelled lessons). We are all trying to work on being better missionaries because we know we will receive blessings according to our faith and obedience.

We were doing some phone finding the other day and stumbled upon number for a N. So we gave her a call and asked if we could visit her on Sunday. As we met up with her, we found out that she was from Nigeria and had not really had any lessons before, just meetings from the missionaries. We walked into her house and found a beautiful family, all sitting in the living room watching the Bible episodes from History channel. WHAT?! How beautiful is that? As we began explaining the Restoration, particularly Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, her Husband, E, stopped to ask us questions. He began asking us how the Book Of Mormon and Bible relate,why it is important, and how he can know. In the end, he explained that he really wanted to know the truth when the other missionaries came but they never came back and how he wants to study this out to know for himself. He also said "I also have the same questions that Joseph Smith had - how can I get salvation? If you have the answer I want to know." It was such a beautiful and SPIRITUAL experience. As Sorella Brown was testifying of the Book Of Mormon, I felt my own testimony burning within me. If I had any doubts, they would have been smashed by her testimony.

Early that day the Son and daughter in law of the Jefferies came to church and I had the opportunity to translate for them. OH it was sooooooo amazing!!!! I felt as if I was the one bearing my testimony while I spoke for the speakers. It also made me realize just how much I am able to understand and comprehend with Italian. Another HUGE blessing to working with Sorella Lemos. :)

Last night we had a lesson with a very faithful and very observant man from Africa, named R.We have been struggling to get him to really commit to things but he has enough faith to move mountains. Earlier that day I had studied for and prepared another lesson for other simpatizzanti but saw the scripture references flash in my mind in the middle of the lesson. We read James 2:17-26 with him (faith without works is dead) and then brought it together with 3 Nephi 27:19-21 (the gospel of Jesus Christ). It struck home to him. Before he had always said to be saved you need faith and the word of God. This is true. But you also need these works. We set a baptismal date with him for the 19th of October. :)

One of the biggest lessons I have learned this week is the Holy Ghost. This Spirit is here as a guide, a comfort, a help,and a witness of Christ. We need to humble ourselves, slow down, ponder, and open our hearts to the promptings that he whispers.

Vi voglio bene!!!
Sorella Jameson

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Radiating JOY and happiness

I just love being a missionary and working here in Forlì. There are times when I feel like I never actually worked in Genova. Then there are other moments when I think I was never anything BUT a missionary. I love it. :)

This week has been long but also full of many little miracles. Forlì is beautiful but it is also hard work. We have an amazing Branch with AMAZING members, not to mention some pretty fantastic missionaries ;) . And yet there hasn't been a baptism here for the past 2 two years. Why? I am not sure. But we have faith and are going to change it!!!

In the pictures that I sent, you can see that we are wearing white blouses -this was for a branch activity that was a trip around the world. It was beautiful and had so much success! For me, the biggest miracle of the night happened when a youth began talking to me and just opened right up. It reminded me so much of why I love working with the youth and how special they really are. Most of them are just trying to figure out WHO they are and they need to learn that they are literally sons and daughters of Heavenly Father who not only loves them, but cares about their happiness. I hope to keep working with the youth and help them find the same joy and peace that I have found.

Another miracle came after a long bike ride into the country side with an Ex simpatizzanti that we found doing phone finding. MAMA Mia! I was absolutely in LOVE as we headed out into the country (about 7 kilometers out of town) to a little farm house. This ex (now current) simpatizzanti is a single father with amazing children. Here is one of the best parts. He invited friends to meet us! We ended up being interviewed for an internet radio station as well about our daily lives and our work. As we finished up our lunch with them, they said to us "Look! They are radiating JOY and happiness. They must have a beautiful purpose!" It was an amazing opportunity. Also we have a return appointment with them next Saturday as well. :)

This is a miracle that was not necessarily a direct miracle that we could have seen in front of us. We had a lesson with a simpatizzanti, si chiama A. He is a wonderful man who is very intelligent and loves everything about our message and the church. We had planned to set a baptismal date with him (he said yes earlier to the soft baptismal invite) at our last lesson with him. In the end, he told us that he could not have a solid date to work for even after much explanation for the reasons of WHY. The thing that was a miracle is that he can see the great importance of BAPTISM. He even asked that we not call it a "cosa" but rather some other word to describe the sacredness of the ordinance. This is something he wants to ponder more and study more before being baptized, not because he is not wanting the commitment but rather that he understands it is more than just the dunking into water and he wants to understand it. He even told us that he felt he was already a member of the church, a part of the congregation (we really do have an amazing branch). This reminded me of Brigham Young - it took him 2 plus years of seriously studying the Book of Mormon before he was ready to be baptized. Even though we may not see the actual baptism in our time here, we know that when A is baptized that he will be converted.

Funny Story: We were at a dinner the other night with some AMAZING simpatizzanti. They have a difficult situation that they are facing right now and have always asked for prayers and support. At the end of the lesson, Sorella Bennett offered the prayer to close. While she was praying, she asked that they could have more "pazza" which translates to "crazy" After she realized she said that, she tried saying "pace" but ended up saying pazza again!!! The simpatizzanti burst out laughing, pleading that they not actually have any more crazy but rather that God knew what she really meant. It was HILARIOUS and we all just laughed. Nothing can get better than that.

Finally, I wanted to share a scripture that I absolutely loved while reading this past week. If you were on schedule, you probably read it too. 2 Nephi 22:2 (and the entire chapter). "... I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also has become my salvation." Our Savior, Jesus Christ, is the source of our strength. It is through His Grace that we can become uplifted in times of trial and feel the force to do what is right. When it comes down to it, it is only through the Grace of the Savior that we can do the things we do in this world. I am so grateful for his Grace.

I love you so much!!! Thank you for your support for me, which also gives me strength.

Vi voglio bene!!!

Sorella Jameson

PS: the second set of pictures are just an example of the craziness we experience together. :)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A little bit of Indiana

I absolutely LOVE it here right now!!! Seriously, this little city is amazing. I love the bikes (yes my bum is a little saddle sore as Sorella Bennett would say) I love the little branch that we have. I love our simpatizzanti. I love Forlì. It is a little town that reminds me so much of Indiana. Flat. Cute. And nothing super significant which makes the gems even more precious. Having the Senior couple here is also an AMAZING blessing!!! I feel like I am at home with them - they are constantly taking care of us, coming to lessons with us, or just swinging by to give a treat. It is amazing how different the world of Genova is compared to the world of Forlì. At first I was afraid that I would just end up comparing everything about Forlì to Genova and not love it but I just can't. It is too special to do it. Another thing I have also learned about myself - I do NOT like big cities. I didn't realize how exhausting it was to live in Genova and always be in this fretta. Forlì is so tranquil and peaceful. It is exactly what I need.

Sorella Brown, Sorella Jameson, Sorella Bennett
As for my companions. I. LOVE. THEM!!!! I didn't think I could love people so fast after being so nervous about them. There is a definite reason that I am here - I know it. Sorella Brown is from Florida and is sooooo wonderful. She is a GEM. When I was at the train station, I saw a group of missionaries approaching me and there was Sorella Brown, standing out in the midst of them with a glowing smile on her face. I felt her love immediately and she helped me feel comfortable instantly. She has about 3 or 4 transfers left on her mission (depending when she wants to go home.) The thing I love about her too is that is so patient with me with the Language - she is great with the little details of grammar and other things and take the time to help me learn well. Sorella Bennett is an absolute HOOT. She reminds me so much of my friend Kjersti (from EFY) and we are already insane together. I don't know how it happened but we just laugh non stop together. She is a transfer younger than me but knows how to work so hard.

One HUGE blessing that I have seen from being with Sorella Lemos is my new ability to be clear and direct.
Transfer day complete with silly socks!
Sorella Lemos was so great with that and it has helped me as we've worked together as missionaries, with members, and with simpatizzanti. I have also seen how blessed I have been with the language. Speaking all the time with Sorella Lemos has really helped me become much more fluent.

Within our work this week with a meno attivi that the Jefferies has found. They had tried scheduling and passing by several times for an appointment to visit E. (I am not sure what her last name is at this moment) Finally they were able to meet with her during a time that she needed this help and support. We came back to visit her on Sunday with the Jefferies to share a message about the Book of Mormon. The Spirit was so strong, especially when Sorella Jefferies shared her testimony of the Book of Mormon. It was a beautiful experience that opened the heart of this meno attivi - she wants us to continue coming back to visit.


I just started reading D&C because I feel the need to know that book a little better. I know the Bible well and the Book of Mormon even better so it is about time to start the Doctrine and Covenants. The first section is so powerful, it is no wonder why it was the Lord's Preface. The first verse begins with "Hearken, O ye People of MY church..." This is Christ speaking. He is the leader of THIS church because it is HIS. Not Joseph Smith's, not Thomas S. Monson's, it is CHRIST's church. He leads and directs it through his servants, the prophets, and revelation. Oh how wonderful this is!! We are a part of the Church of Jesus Christ.

Sorella Jameson

PS: I did cut my hair (finally) you just run out of time as a missionary. It looks a lot better now.
PSS: My companion thinks I am a crazy squirrel. She compares me to a squirrel off of Over the Hedge? IDK. But I guess I am insane. :)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

FORLI, here I come!

Okay this week has been absolutely crazy and I don't even know where to begin telling you things.

First of all: I am obsessed with thinking about Jarom. I pray for him constantly throughout the day and hope all is well. In all honesty, the first week in the mission field is a little brutal, as is the first entire transfer. Don't send him peanut butter. He can find some, somewhere. Maybe not on the little island but he is bound to go to an international market somewhere. (I must admit that peanut butter is a food that I have been severly missing here in italia.Especially American Peanut butter)

Second of all: Transfers. I am no longer going to be in Genova. After almost 6 months here (7 months as a missionary - WHAT THE?!) I will be packing my bags and heading to Forli. Dovè? That has been my reaction when I have told people where I am going. I have a feeling it is going to be very similar to Indiana - no one really knows much about it. It is a little city with BIKES!!!! Oh yeah!!! So you will have 2 children with bruised bums, biking their hearts out. And here is the other part. We will be in 3. I must admit I am a little shocked, nervous, excited, and anxious for all of it. Sorella Lemos, on the other hand, will be here with another sorella from her same group but she will be Senior companion. She is scared out of her mind - unfortunately, she does not have a very high self esteem and cannot see what she is made of. I can see just how STRONG and amazing she actually is so I am excited for her to have this experience. It is a little sad to be separated but I know it is time for us to go our own ways and grow.

Okay as for an update on this week. Woah was it INSANE. I really cannot believe that another transfer came and went. It is not real. This transfer has been a lovely but also challenging transfer here and I am ready for some change. SOOOOO to start off with this week I need to explain what happened just hours after my last email to you. It was Y's birthday so we went out to a Japanese Restaurant to celebrate (funny and ironic since Jarom was probably eating sushi at the same time I was.I have had sushi before and loved eating some more with Y, L, and Sorella Lemos. About 30 minutes after we ate, I started to feel a little sick - light headed and a tad nauseous. We were on our way to visit Sorella Fava  for the afternoon and I literally felt like I was going to pass out. By the time we arrived, I was very sick. Luckily we were in the hands of our nonna and she started to take care of me. Two members came to give Sorella Fava a blessing and they decided to give me one as well because I had no color and slept for an hour and a half. One of the members happened to be a nurse and told me that I had probably received food poisoning from the fish (apparently we don't have an enzyme to break down the fish here in Italy?) They told me I had to go home and sleep because this was SERIOUS but I thought I felt well enough to try to keep going. Plus we had 3 lessons planned for the night, one of which with a golden investigator (Sadly, Codi's email cut off and I have no idea how the story ended. She must be doing better since she will be moving to Forli!)
One last visit to Cinque Terre