Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Last Week!!!!!!!!!!

Ciao di nuovo!

I just can't believe I am in my very last week in Italia. It's kind of hard to think about sometimes, but at the same time I am so excited to see all of you!!!! I'm just trying to live every moment to the fullest and be prepared to embrace the future with open arms! I am so happy to be here in Genova, Italy, and I will be so happy to be at home too! Espcially right in time for conference! Best welcome home party I could ever think of!! 

Well, let's talk about the week, shall we? Genova is just lovely. I feel like this is the first time in my mission that I've had a never-ending pool of work to do. It's probably a combination of the fact of me having learned how to use my resources and also that Genova is just booming with potential! We had a really fun experience this past Monday night. I don't remember if I told you all the story of when we were out searching for a less active and weren't able to find the address. We started going around asking people on the street how to get there, and finally one lady suggested that we go into a bar to ask for directions there. We went in, and there was a cute lady from Santo Domingo sitting at one of the tables. When she saw that we were lost she offered to help and went outside with us to try and point out the street. She ended up going all around the mulberry bush with us for about half an hour until we finally found the address, only to discover that the family didn't live there anymore. She was so concerned and asked if there was a number we could call or anything- she was so determined to help us! We ended up having a pretty good conversation with her as we walked back to where we had met up before. Before we parted ways she told us that she was so happy to have met us telling us how we were so friendly and cute, etc, and she basically insisted that we come to her house one day to talk more and share our message. She even pointed out where she lived to us! So anyway, we finally were able to get around to seeing her this past Monday. She has the funniest little Italian husband who makes great facial expressions and hand gestures, we got pizza together, talked about the restoration, and she told us to come back on Saturday when her daughter will be there along with her husband. She is set on coming to church on Sunday (when we invited them the husband said "Si, andiamo- tu! or, yes, we'll come, you! indicating his wife) using the excuse that he had to stay home to guard the house. hahaha, oh how I love Italians. As we were leaving she said she would love for us to come back with our parents some day to spend the whole day together to pray! Che brava! 

We were pretty excited this past Sunday because we had about four less active families in church, along with our investigator from Poland who came for the first time! She only stayed for sacrament meeting, but at least she came! This week is really just going super well. We have a lot of appointments lined up and have a super cool activity on Saturday where there's apparantly going to be about 90 non-members there! Wow! Genova's great, basically. As I've started to say to myself, it's like the cherry on top of my mission. What a great way to end- with a bang!

Vi voglio un sacco di bene... un baccione a tutti! 

Sorella Lyman

Pictures from Nervi- the shore of Genova. Me and my MTC comp, sorella Harward, and then sorella McCann!

Gelato and Sorella McCann, Genova!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Chocolates at 18 Months

Buongiorno a tutti!!

Crazy things have been happening in Genova this week. Sorella McCann and I have certainly had some fun and interesting experiences! 

Let me just start with Monday. So last week Sorella McCann and Seare were doing a scambio and got two new investigators from Equador who are devout Evangelists. They were actually trying to find a less active member who didn't live at the address anymore, and instead this young evangelist couple who now lives there let them in. We were a little nervous that all they wanted to do was bible bash with us and so we were definitely planning for our next lesson on Monday to explain our purpose to them. Well when we came into their house we found four other people all sitting around the room who were obviously expecting us (sidenote, they didn't tell us these people were going to be there). We weren't exactly sure what to do so we just sat down and started talking to all of them. It turns out that they're all from the same Evangelist church and had come to hear our message/share their message with us. Let me just say, they're part of the evening took about the entire time and involved lots and lots of prayers, praising the Lord, singing hymns (all standing up), and a very dramatic sermon. They asked us if we sang hymns in our church and so we sang "I am a child of God" for them. I was getting kind of nervous by the end because we weren't going to have any time to even have a little lesson. But then at the very end they asked us if we had a message to share. We decided to read a little scripture in 2 Nephi 31 which talks about the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost being one and they really like it. In fact, it was probably thanks to that verse that we were able to find some common ground and spark their interest in our message. So, we have a return appointment for the following monday and four new investigators! It was interesting because they were all genuinely interested in our message but it took an entire evangelist church service basically to gain their trust. I've definitely never had a more informative and cultural experience about another religious faith and it ended up turning out pretty well in the end. 

We didn't think that the night could get any weirder, but THEN on the way home from that appointment (we were already running late) we ran into one of our less actives from Russia who is a little interesting, we'll say. We had about 15 minute conversation/lesson with her and at the end she gave us two huge bouquets of flowers that she had picked from the ground to give to someone in our ward on Sunday. It was perfect cherry on top of a very weird evening to begin with. 

If there's one thing I've learned from this experience as well as from countless others on my mission, it's that you NEVER know what to expect!!! You ALWAYS have to be on your toes and ready to accept and embrace anything that comes your way. It's just like Forrest Gump would say- "Life is like a box of chocolates- you never know what you're gonna get." It is so true, ragazzi. I am so grateful for ALL of the experiences I've had on my mission, good and bad, and the best part is IT'S NOT EVEN OVER YET! I still have three more weeks to go, and they are going to be glorious!!! 

Non posso descrivere quanto che vi voglio bene... alla prossima!

Sorella Lyman

P.S. Today is my 18 month mark!!!!! WHAT?!!?!! Here's a picture with me and Sorella Harward to celebrate. :)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Mission Prep


Well, here we are, almost two weeks in Genova down. So much has been happening! The highlight of the week actually probably happened while I was gone on a scambio in Savona. Sorella McCann was here with Sorella Hatch and they were planning to go see a potential investigator that we had been trying to see for ages. They were finally able to see her this past Friday. It turns out that since the time the the sisters gave her a book of mormon on the street a while back that she had already read the entire thing!! I have been able to meet her since then and she has such good questions and understands everything we say. She has been keeping all of the commitments, reading the things we assign, the next one we're committing her to is coming to church- she really wants to come!

On Sunday we were able to meet another lady from Brasil who lives way out in the mountains in a beautiful area by this huge bridge. We were able to take one of the young single adults with us who right now is thinking about serving a mission. She was so brava in the lesson! It had actually been a while that I'd had a lesson like that- cioè a mom, dad, little girl, in their home, teaching the restoration with a member. It felt so good to be in that situation again! It was a good thing we had the member with us because she is familiar with the are and we probably wouldn't have been able to find their house without her! 

Thus far in Genova we've had a pretty equal mix of rain and sun. The bad thing about the rain here though is that it is super fat and comes down in torrents. Not the same as Verona! At least we're not on bikes! :p But we actually had kind of an adventure on Monday getting to an FHE with one of our less actives. The family's palazzo was up a HUGE flight of stairs going of this big hill (that's one thing about Genova- there's palazzi basically like staircases going up the hills there isn't really much flat ground to work with!). So anyway, it took us about 15 minutes to get up the staircase with our less active who was just huffing and puffing and saying "non ce lo faccio!" but we managed to get to the top finally. This particular lady is quite a character- I don't think there was one instance where her mouth wasn't running a mile a minute about topics that I could barely keep track of. Una donna propria italiana! 

I'm just having a blast right now, especially with Sorella McCann! she is so funny. We especially like to talk in accents together- british, southern, filipino, african, indian, australian- Right now I'm working to perfect my filipino and she is trying to perfect her australian. Anyway, we just have so much fun together and I'm learning so much and loving every moment! 

Abbiate un sacco di divertente questa settimana... vi voglio bene!

Sorella Lyman

Two pictures of Sorella Lyman with chocolate foccacia, which she bought just a block away from her apartment:

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Super Fancy Elevators

Hi Everyone,

So here I am in Genova! So far it's been really great and I love it! Sorella McCann is the best and we have so much fun together. She's from Orem UT, but has also lived in Texas and southern Virginia. She is so goofy and makes me laugh all the time. The other two people in our apartment are Sorella Harward (my MTC comp!!!!) and Sorella Carlock, who are both wonderful. We've had lots of good times so far! It's been fun to catch up with Sorella Harward since we haven't seen each other for practically the entire mission. 

Genova is so great! I haven't seen a lot of it yet but what I have seen is beautiful. It seems that each Italian city has it's own particular characteristics and flair. For Genova I've noticed that almost every palazzo has the same super fancy, old fashioned elevators that you'd typically imagine in Europe. I've also seen lots of laundry lines hanging above all the streets which I haven't really noticed much before in my other cities. Just one of those typical Italian things you would never see in America. :) Another thing that's kind of cool is that each city has differet foreign influences- in Milano I felt like I was in Peru, Verona felt like Africa\Romania, and now Genova feels like Equador! There are Equadorians everywhere here. Another thing that I love is that we have so many people to work with! Overall there are TONS of less actives, and so that's mainly what I've been doing since I've been here. I'm excited to meet all of our investigators- I've heard about all of them and planned for them but it will be so much better when I'll be able to put a name with face! That's going to be one of the challenges of this transfer- I have to get everyone straight, familiarize myself with the city, make friends with all the members, and be able to help all these people come closer unto Christ in just six weeks! Bring it on!

Another thing I'm super excited for is all the sisters I'm going to be able to work with as a sister training leader! The cities we are over Savona, San Remo, the ones here in Genova naturally, Alessandria, Torino and... COLLEGNO!! I am SO excited to go back to Collegno and see all those dear members and my new converts! It's such a blessing to be able to return right before I end my mission. I'm also super excited because my other baby, Sorella Hoffman, is in Alessandria!! Like I said last week, this new place has been the biggest blessing I never thought I would get at the end of my mission. It's really helping everything come full circle for me. 

Next week I'll try and send some pictures of the city and my companion, etc, and hopefully have some fun stories to share as well! 

Buona settimana a tutti e vi voglio bene!

Sorella Lyman

P.S. I forgot to say that I've also eaten some delicious chocolate focaccia in this past week. It's a Genovese specialty, along with pesto. I'll send along some pictures of that too. :)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Wandering Sister

Buon dì!

Okay everyone. Are you all about ready to have your minds blown? Guess what? I'M GETTING TRANSFERRED!!!! I am going to GENOVA 2 to be a sister training leader again with Sorella McCann!! That means that I will be spending the last six weeks of my mission in an entirely new city. AND DO YOU KNOW WHAT ELSE IT MEANS?!! There will be two completely new sisters here in Verona (not sister training leaders anymore... I have no idea where they're moving them)- Sorella Alley, who will be training a new sister! It was actually kind of comical when the phone rang around lunch time on Monday. We had just gotten done cleaning the apartment and I was just so content to be staying in Verona for my last transfer, not worrying at all about what could possibly happen. I didn't even freak out when the phone rang because I thought they were just calling Sorella Willis to tell her all the details about going home on Friday. And THEN they asked to talk to me and I started to wonder a little bit. When they told me I was going to Genova I thought it was a joke! I guess that's what I get for being so comfortable with where I'm at. God certainly has His way! 

But really though, I am SO excited to go to Genova. I always speculated about going there but never thought it would actually happen, especially in the last six weeks of my mission!! I am so excited to be with Sorella McCann- I've gotten to know her a little bit throughout the mission and she is so fun and cute! She will be my very last companion! Mamma mia. I've also gotten to go to Genova a couple of times when I was with Sorella Stewart way back when, and it is BEAUTIFUL!! It is on the west side of Italy, sort of in the mountains, and right on the ocean. It is going to be such an adventure to go to a new city knowing that I only have a very short amount of time to be there. It makes me determined to discover why the Lord wants me there and to fulfill my purpose to the fullest extent as a missionary. I'm so excited for these new experiences, meeting all these new members and investigators, and just everything that's about to hit me! OH, one other bonus is that I will be living in the same apartment as Sorella Harward, my MTC companion!!! I haven't seen her in almost a YEAR. It will be such a blessing to start our missions together and also be able to end them together. Really, this whole thing is just a huge blessing from God that I wasn't expecting in the slightest! Isn't it amazing how he works sometimes?

I'm also thinking a lot these days about when I got transferred to Collegno with Sorella Haslem, when WE were both new to the city. Now I get to be on the other side of that spectrum, seeing what it's like to have both me and my companion leave and have two new people come in. The minute we found out on Monday we have been scrambling around getting everything in order for the new sorelle, saying goodbyes, and packing our suitcases. It's been sad to have to say goodbye to all these people, not thinking that I would have to do it so soon. I know that this is the right thing for Verona, having two new sorelle come in, because they will both have a new and different perspective about the people we have been working with and I think will really be able to turn the work around here. I saw it happen in Collegno and I know it can happen here! 

Well, this email is getting pretty long. I realized that I haven't really told you anything from this week as far as our work goes. The main highlight is that on Saturday we had an awesome music night at the church featuring all the missionaries from both wards in Verona. I got to play the violin for two numbers and there were a lot of other really cool things too. It's sure been fun for me to be in this ward that has so much talent and appreciation for music! 

Vi voglio bene!!!! Have an wonderful, amazing, awesome week and always look for the hand of God in your life! 

Sorella Lyman

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Why We Love Miracles

Buon GIORNISSIMO!! (Yeah, I just heard the cashier guy say that... not sure if it's quite grammatically correct :P)

How are yall doin?! Staying warm, I hope- I hear it was -29 at one point in Rexburg?! I can't even imagine that!!! I hope you're all putting a gazillion layers on. If there's one thing I've picked up in Italy, it's that. And wearing scarves- it really works! 

Well, this week has been dandy! Aside from the rain, which is basically a given these days, we've seen lots of great miracles! By the way, Dad mentioned the fact that I always talk about miracles in my emails. That's because we really put an emphasis on that in this mission. We write about one every single week to president, and every night before we plan for the next day we think of a miracle that's happened that day. It helps keep you aware of how many there really are in this work! 

So yeah, I think my favorite miracle from the week happened on Sunday. The week was about to come to a close and we hadn't found ANY new investigators. Our plans for the day had sort of fallen through and we were left with an entire evening of finding. So we headed over to an area to do some casa (knocking on doors) and luckily got into a palazzo pretty quickly. One of the first doors we knocked on a woman from Sri Lanka opened up. As we were explaining who we were and about our message the number of people at the door slowly started to accumulate until there were about six people standing there. They all seemed very interested so we asked if we could come in and share a short message. And... they said YES!! So we walked in and before I knew it I was sitting in front of eight people from Sri Lanka talking about Jesus Christ and the restoration of the gospel. It was so cool! We ended up getting five new investigators (three of them had to leave for work) and it was really just a great experience. Afterwards I was just thinking to myself that experiences like that probably don't really happen outside of being of missionary and I want to treasure them up as much as I can! 

Another great miracle we're having right now is our investigator from Nigeria who has a baptismal date for the 2nd of March! We've actually had to move it a couple of times because she's had a hard time getting to church with her four-year-old and one-month-old baby, but yesterday we discovered that she really does have real intent- when we talked about having to move the date again at the end she sort of laughed and told us that she knew that was coming because she wasn't able to come to church again last week. This week she's really going to try and we're going to pray so much for her! 

Well, that's about it I think. I hope you all have a wonderful week filled with your own little miracles and that you STAY WARM!! Vi voglio un sacco di bene.

Sorella Lyman 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Che pioggia!!

Buon giorno, bella famiglia e amici!!

First of all I just have to warn you that there might be a lot of uncapitalized i's in this email because my shift key doesn't really work at all. I know most of you probably don't really care but i just wanted to let you know. :p

If there's one word i have to decribe this week it would be "wet". It started raining last Wednesday and hasn't stopped until yesterday evening. someone told me that tomorrow's supposed to clear up but then the day after it will go back to rain rain rain for the rest of the coming week. I might as well be in London! The cool thing (as Sorella Willis pointed out) is that this is probably the only time of my life that i will have the oppotunity to go outside in the cold rain on a bike where i'm guaranteed to get wet, so i might as well live it up! Really though, i just love riding around Verona with my bike, helment, and skirt, even in the rain, because it's one of those sensations that only a sister missionary can get! Plus, you get a really good view. :)

Reflecting back on the week, the thing that really made the biggest impression on me were the two scambios I got to have with sorella carter and sorella seare. I love scambios because they give me a new perspective on how i could be better in my own companionship and in my work. I love every single sorella in this mission, even if i don't know them all personally. Did you know that there's actually four sorella carters in this mission?!!? And two of them were actually together for a transfer. Carter 1 and Carter 2. :p Sorella Carter came here to verona and we had a great scambio where we saw our indian family and a couple of less actives. the indian family is doing well, but i don't really know how much they are going to progress. They aren't really interested in coming to church because it's just too much of an ordeal for them, and basically they told us that they're just interested in us coming to see them to talk about Jesus. i guess we'll see. It's interesting because i was just reading in jacob 5 this week and was making a bunch of crazy parallels to missionary work- investigators, x-investigators, senior companions, junior companions, and it just helped me realize that we need to be patient with our investigators. As we teach them about the gospel and help them to recognize these precious truths they will want to start making changes in their lives and "cast out the bad fruit." But that's only as we help them to grow the good fruit- there has to be a balance.

I also had a scambio with sorella seare in bergamo and it was so fun!! We are basically twins- we're both violin majors , both have really big, musical families that love to harmonize things in every possible way, and she knows jocelyn! She actually reminds me of her a lot- their smile is really similar! It was so fun to be able to do two scambios with her and just talk and learn from each other!

I'm so grateful to be a missionary and especially for the atonement of Jesus Christ which allows us to turn over a new page whenever we've made of mistake and just try again. It is unconditional. It gives me so much hope, especially as a missionary and i just want to spread it to everyone around me!

Vi voglio tanto tanto tanto bene... buona settimana a tutti!

Sorella Lyman