Monday, April 28, 2014

Lasciate che le cose deboli divengano forti

Ciao, Famiglia!  

The foto uploader is taking forever, so Idk how many photos I will send this week.  BUUUUT, this week was fantastic!  Wow, was it hard, but it was really great.  Maybe if I start from yesterday and go backwards, that will help me remember all the best things from this week!  

So, my favorite bit of spiritual knowledge that we discovered this week was in a talk from the 2008 General conference when Anziano Bednar (he is so cool!) gave a talk about how to say more meaningful prayers.  He recounted an experience from when he and his wife were at BYU-I, giving a talk or something like that and they suddenly found our that a dear friend of theirs had passed away.  Anz. Bednar and his wife had decided that they would offer a prayer on the family's behalf, asking for help for the family.  But, when they were about to pray, an apostle suggested to pray only in gratitude.  Sorella Bednar offered a prayer of gratitude for the Plan of Salvation and for the doctrine of eternal families, and both she and Anziano Bednar felt more comforted than they could have if they had prayed for anything else.  Maybe this seems kind of crazy that a prayer of gratitude to God can change our outlook on anything and everything, but I know that it is true.  The scriptures always tell us to pray in gratitude whenever possible, and there is a reason for that.  I have found since listening to that talk that, if I offer prayers full of gratitude, I will be lifted up in happiness and my perspective is better that is otherwise would have been.  I invite you all to try this!  Especially to try saying prayers of only gratitude.  The results are very cool.

You can find the full story here under the 2nd point:

So, Church was really great too!  We tried to pick up one of our investigators to come to church with Sorella Mazzolari, and it ends up that she didn't want to come because she had promised us the other day that she would come and be ready by the time when we would pass by, buuut it was not so, bro!  It was kind of sad, but I think that going to pranzo at the Mazzolari's house made it all better! 

They are seriously one of the most funny, scerzose families that I have ever met!  They are really kind, and Sorella Mazzolari told us that she was 1.) the first female waitress in Taranto, and 2.) she and her husband were the first couple to be married in the church in Taranto.  It was pretty cool!  And their son, Manuel, reminds me a lot of Andrew because he always has headphones in and he loves rock music!  Manuel is a really great kid.  I think him and Andrew should be friends, haha.  :)

Also!  Ofori is doing great!  We have been working with him to quit smoking, and he really wants to quit, but he is having some issues with stopping completely and with alcohol because he has been doing these things for years now, even since he was with his family in his home country.  And, it is great to meet with him not only because we get to talk about the Word of God, but also because he tells us a little more of his story every time.  This time, he told us this story about how he has had a fear of women since he was a kid because he had a dream about a woman frying him.  Then he recounted a conversation with his friends (all this cam up because he said that when he talks to us, he feels like a sinner in church, but he also appreciates the help that we are giving him.).  And he said to this of this conversation:
"And I tell them, 'they are not my wives,' they help me!"

I imagine the conversation went like this:
Friends: Ofori, why do you talk with those girls so much? Are they your wives, or something?

Ofori: They are not my wives, you understand, they bring me the word of God.

Ofori is the greatest!  :D I feel so grateful to be one of his missionaries! 

Annnnd, we also have been trying to work with this one girl from English course who took the lessons in the past.  She knows so much about the church and she thinks that the Story of Joseph Smith is beautiful.  She speaks perfect English, and we have had to think of creative ways to continue being her friend, but to also reintroduce her to the Gospel. And it is going well!  So, the other day, we went and got gelato and we were able to talk a little about her past experience with the Book of Mormon, and were ultimately able to leave a chapter for her to read.  It was especially cool because she invited us to her house to come see her cat and to talk about the reading that she will have done.  We love her!  She is so great!  :)

And, our friend, Collins is leaving for Denmark today... A week earlier than he had anticipated.  So, he will not be able to be baptized here in Taranto... Just yet at least!  He gave us another bit of info that he will return in 2 months, and he hopes to get baptized when he returns!  But, we discovered that he lives in the Zone of Statte, and even though he spends a majority of his time at Piazza Garibaldi, we have to pass him off to the Statte Anziani when he gets back.  No prob tho!  Because either way, he will have made the first step on the "covenant path," as they say in General Conference, with the decision to be baptized and confirmed.  Really, these are just the first 2 baby steps on a path towards eternal life and being able to be with our families forever. 

Well, that is all I have for this week.  I sure love you guys, and I hope that all is well for you.  Can't wait to write you all again this next week!  

-Sorella Corey Cherrington

(Fotos: Us and Bianca, and me with the Mazzolari family!  :D)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Miracoli per la Pasqua

Sooo, this week was outstanding!  :D  First thing's first!

COLLINS CAME TO CHURCH!   XD  And he now has a baptismal date for the 2nd of May! :D  He is such a good person, and we are convinced that he truly is one of the "elect" people that missionaries are searching to find.  We taught him the Word of Wisdom yesterday and he totally agreed with all of it, and said that he wanted to quit smoking and drinking cold turkey.  WOW!  He is so great!  And he said that he has a testimony of Joseph Smith, that he was a special, chosen man of God.  He is also very serious about baptism and he said in the closing prayer, "Lord, I put my date of baptism in your hands."  He is seriously the greatest!  :D  He also read in his Book of Mormon and he wants to show the Word of Wisdom pamphlet to all of his friends who smoke, to help them to stop.  :)

And Ofori is doing great too!  He has been reading everything that we leave with him, and this is a phone conversation that we had the other day, "So, Ofori, have you been reading in your Book of Mormon in Twi?" 
Ofori: Yes, I read the chapter you gave me.  It is about a man, who, he repents, you understand." (About the Book of Enos.)  This is one of my favorite quotes from my entire mission!  :D

Wow!  He read and he could tell us about it!  When investigators do this, it means that they are committed to learning more and they are serious about it.  The only issue with our friend, Ofori, is that he feels a bit uncomfortable about coming to church because he wants to feel worthy first.  We have tried to share with him our testimony and scriptures from the Book of Mormon that explain that anyone can come into the church, because it helps us to progress in our endeavors to improve ourselves.  We pray for Ofori and Collins all the time, and we have the faith that they can continue to progress in their knowledge of the Gospel.

And the coppia Franceschini have been helping us a lot with teaching Ofori and Collins and gave Collins a ride to church on Sunday and they also gave Ofori a tie (his dress clothes are stuck in Brindisi) and they also gave our new simp, Rosi, a ride to the activity in church for Pasquetta!  We are so grateful for the Franceschini, and without them, we would not be having success così.  

Annnnnd, CORNELIA!  :D  We have been able to see her this past week because she exits the house with the Signora who she takes care of.  The lessons we have taught to her have been both packed with the spirit and also hilarious.  Why hilarious?  Because in the piazza where we teach her, nearly "Every old woman in the city of Taranto comes to salute the Signora and Cornelia," as Sorella Bradford says.  And that is actually quite accurate...  Haha, but it is really fun.  We have come up with some ideas to teach Cornelia in a different post in the future because she clearly believes in that which we teach her and she loves to read the Book of Mormon with us.  She is really sweet.  And she is really strong too, perché she has been having a lot of health problems and not enough money to fix them, so she has been in a really tight spot lately.  We love Cornelia and we want to help her as much as we can with the message of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.  
Other than that, we have had a blast these past couple of days, during Pasqua (Easter).  (Happy Easter, everybody!  :D).  There have been some pretty crazy things going on, like the Processione durante la Settimana Santa with all the odd men in white suits...  and there were big parades for la Madonna, and uau, it was pretty huge.  For Easter, we got to go to Fratello Miccoli's house (love that family!) with Bishop and his family (Bishop is the son of Fratello Miccoli.  It was sooo fun!  Especially because Greta (Vescovo's daughter) is hilarious and they are such a loving family.  :)  They also bought some of the big Easter eggs for us (We had a total of 3: one, we bought together, one from the family Miccoli, and the other from the Anziani!  :D  It was certainly a chocolate-filled holiday.  And it was really cool to be able to do this huge Meno-attivi biglietti per Pasqua progetto where we delivered several cards to less-active families all over  Taranto for the amazing, Sorella Pastano.  It was a really tiring progetto, but we did it!  :D  And it was really rewarding in the end.  

Well, that is all I have for now!  I love you, guys!  And I hope that you had one of the greatest Easters ever.  :)

Sorella Cherrington
Sorella Bradford

Marzipan fish and shellfish!  Look closely at the clams!  

Beautiful Taranto Sunset!

Sorella Cherrington contemplating the beauty of Taranto!

Marzipan for Easter Celebrations

When I google translated this, here is what came up: L. Teresa's Missionary Sisters Institute Primary School Matching cost???

Holy Week 2014
Corey said that these people who dress up and participate in the parade pay 70,000 euro to have their sins forgiven?  Italian religious tradition.

Easter Presents!!

Another beautiful Sunset in Taranto!

Cornelia gave the Sorellas a marzipan lamb.  Awwww!

Corey with a large piece of chocolate!

Easter Goodies!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Rami di ulivo e di palma Fronde della Domenica delle Palme

Soooo, this week was sooo amaz-a-zing!  I cannot tell you how much I loved this week!  :D  Except I will because I am writing about this week in this e-mail!  :)

Allora, we met with Collins again this week and invited him to be baptized before he goes to Denmark.  He accepted!  XD  He is such a good person and he loves the Gospel!  Literally though, he has such a special spirit about him that one can just see and know that he is a good person.  We love Collins!  And we are excited that he will be a member of this wonderful church in just a few weeks.  
Annnd... yesterday was "Palm Sunday"  and it was pretty cool to see everyone selling or buying these cool things made out or palm fronds and these olive branches.  This one nice sorella from church gave us some olive branches and Marianna put an olive leaf in my scriptures at church!  It is a really interesting way to celebrate the holiday.  And, Martin (I will talk more about him in a minute) told us that, in his country, they call this holiday "the day of the many flowers." Because, when Jesus went to Jerusalem, the people brought many flowers.  

Also, Saturday, we had a nice Picnic with the GANS and the giovanni and our buddies from the Pastano family.  It was pretty much amaz-a-zing, and Sorella Bradford made cookies and I made a lasagna.  It was really fun and we got to know a lot of the members better.  We were a bit disappointed that our simpatizzanti couldn't come, but it was all good lo stesso.  :)  And, right before the picnic, we were able to go to Talsano with Sorella Pastano for an appointment with a menoattiva.  It was a really beautiful morning, but the visit with the menoattiva was a bit sad because she has lost her testimony.  We hope to help her rebuild it, but the most we can do is help.  She has to do the things that she knows are right (read the scriptures, pray, and come to church) as well if she wants to nourish her testimony.  

Hmmmm... And we also had a really good experience with our investigator, Giovanna!  W love her sooo much!  And her son is really cool! They both accepted a new baptismal date together and are totally willing to follow the Savior's example.  But, it is very hard for them to come to church because her son's wheelchair is tough to transport.  All the members we have brought with us have said that they will give her a ride, but it has just been difficult form her and we just have to keep praying and trying our best to help her out.  She is awesome, and we live her and Michele.  I love their dog too!  It is a puppy named Lilly and she loves us!  XD  I love dogs.  :)

What else?  English course has been going really well, and Sorella Bradford and I are managing well the 2 classes that we each have to teach.  I know the Lord is helping us because I used to get so nervous before English course, and not I just feel so comfortable walking in and teaching the class.  A lot of it could be because I know all the students and we have a pretty good relationship with all of our students.  :)  There is one girl who I am really good friends with, Bianca!  She speaks English perfectly, and is really fun!  They are all really great, and we love our students!  :D

I think that is all for this week!  I love you guys, and I hope and pray that your guys' week will go well!


PS- I am going to leave you all with an invite this week to pray for a date when you plan to invite the Missionaries over to talk with a friend.  You may not know who will be the friend at first, but once you pra for an choose a date, miracles will happen!  This is a promise that Elder Ballard gave us in his talk "é un miracolo."  Love you, guys!  :)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Challenge of Believing the Lord's Blessings

This week was one of the hardest weeks of my mission and possibly of my life. But I think that that is why it ended up being one of the best, most rewarding weeks of my entire life. So, as some of you know, I started off the week with some pretty bad news that a dear friend of mine who is like a brother to me had lost his life a few months back. I talked to someone about how I was feeling because I was really not doing good for a while as a result of the sad news. But, when I was finally able to talk to Sorella Perry, and she really put things into perspective for me. She told me that, because of the Atoning sacrifice of the Savior, my friend is okay, and that he is in a safe spiritual situation where he is able to heal. I felt peace in this and I immediately began to feel better because I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for my friend and that he has nothing to worry about, and nor do any of us here on earth. I know this is true, because it immediately brought peace to my sad, suffering heart. God lives, and he loves us. I know that for a fact. And he will never forget or hold a grudge against anyone of us.
So, this week was really intense... The other Sorelle also just left the city too, so we are managing all of their work into ours this week. It has been a bit rough, but Sorella Bradford and I are up to the challenge. Also, we got to see our buddy, Martin, the other day, and he is just fantastic! :D He was going through some hard times this week because he had to change classes, and it did not seem possible for him to catch up in school before the grades would be published. So, he came to one of our lessons a bit down. So, we talked with him about how we can face our trials, and I was able to share with him a story about when I was at BYU and I didn't think that I could finish all of my classwork prima di andare to New York for the Model UN conference. It literally seemed impossible. But, my Dad came up from CA and gave me a blessing and some council, and all went right and well. I advised Martin to get a blessing, he accepted the invite with faith, and told us that evening that the blessing had worked! He was able to understand all of the Italian texts that he had to read (he is from Hungary, and has not been in Italy long, so that has also been difficult for him), and he was so excited that his faith, along with the priesthood authority of God, were able to help him through his seemingly impossible trials. It was a miracle!

Also, because this week was a week of break-throughs with all of our Simps, we had a turning point also with Collins, Ofori, and Joseph. It was amazing! The lesson we did the other day was wayyyy crazy because so many things happened like this crazy lady was yelling at us and the pigeons as she waved a bible in the air and fell to the ground in an odd prayer position..., and then the church bells went off as we were trying to give the baptismal invite and... just everything man... BUT! We were able to get through all of the hard things and we really got to know our friends better. It ends up that they are refugees from Libya, and that is why they have had to search for work all around Europe. We told them that we wish we could help them more, but they said that we are helping in the best way we can because we are preaching the word of God, and that is more than enough. Ofori and Collins accepted the invite to battesimo, but said that they would not be able to be baptized on the dates that we offered to them because they will have to move to different countries before long. But they want to find the church in the countries they go to and are not actually 100% sure that they will have to go. All I know is that I really feel like these friends of ours, and also Martin, are our brothers, and we love them as children of God. It is amazing, the profound and pure love that we feel for people as we invite them to come unto Christ.

Annnd, there is also Giovanna! So, this is a cool story: 
Giovanna was an ex-simp of the Sorelle A who we (then Sorelle B) had met when we were with Sorelle Hibbert and Perkins before Zone Conference. We had planned to stop by Giovanna's house and start teaching her, but then we discovered that she was in the Area Book of the other Sorelle, so we gave her to them. Then, the first time that the other sorelle had taught Giovanna after that was when we were doing a scambio with the other sorelle, so Sorella Bradford was able to go to the teaching appt. with Giovanna and be there for the baptismal invite. Giovanna accepted the invite, had a baptisimal date, and we are now the missionaries who will go to see her! Crazy how these things work out! We love Giovanna! And her kids are so great too. Her son (8 years old) is paralyzed and cannot walk, and is one of the coolest, funnest kids I have ever met. :) We love their family, and we are excited to help her towards battesimo and to help her come unto Christ, above all. 
Hmmm... What else? I love you all, and I hope that everyone is doing good. :) Right now is a really good time in my mission, and there is a lot of stress, but it is a good stress because we are in the service of our brothers and sisters here in Taranto, and there is no better thing to be doing than the work that our Savior would do if he were on the earth. Love you guys! Be strong in your hard times and the Lord will bless you. I hope you all were able to see general conference ( because it teaches us how to endure our trials with patience. Some of my favorite words of advice were these:

-When we have an attitude of gratitude, everything will be good. We don't have to pretend that we like our hard times, but when we have an attitude of gratitude, we will find little miracles in every and any situation

-We have to take upon us the right load, or the right preoccupations, concerns, opinions, etc., and that load is the yoke of Jesus Christ. This means that we have to ensure that we are serving others and doing what He wants us to do and then, we will see happiness unlike any other happiness known to mankind, and we will find our way back to our Father in Heaven someday.

Vi voglio bene! :D, 
Sorella Cherrington