August 17, 2016 – Lucia’s final letter as a full-time missionary
Well, it’s been a great run. (: I am so grateful for the opportunity I have had to serve the Lord here in Italy. I CANNOT believe it is over. It doesn’t feel real, even slightly. My heart is full as I end this fun period of my life. I have LOVED my mission. It’s been so much fun, I’ve learned a lot, I’ve grown a lot, and I’ve been tested a lot. Most of all, I’ve grown closest to my Savior. It’s been an absolute pleasure. Many say it’s the best 18 months of your life, and in a way that is true; but more so than just that, it’s the best FOR your life. There are lessons I’ve learned on my mission that I could not have learned in any other place in any other way. It’s been so humbling and so wonderful to go through it. I LOVE Italy with all my soul, I ADORE the people with my heart, and I am AMAZED by my Savior. I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that He lives, He loves us, and that this church is HIS church. It has been restored and by obedience to His commandments and through repentance, we can be happy and feel peace every single day. The gospel is the answer. It will always be the answer. The simple things are the big things, and the Savior is the way.
This week was full of a lot of fun, and a lot of lasts…sadly. But, there weren’t tears shed -for the most part. (:
Thursday one of my companions got sick, and so we weren’t able to go to the majority of our appointments. We did get out long enough however to do some passbys and some finding. We handed out lots of pamphlets. (:
Friday. Wow, crazy day! We went to go see a part member family. And they fed us lunch, and thank the heavens. She called and asked us if we liked fish. They were planning on giving us a huge “buffet di frutta del mare” lunch. YIKES. so glad we avoided that one! My comp is worse than I am and won’t eat fish. At all. I’ll eat it if needed. And I’m happy to say that God has been VERY kind to me during my mission, and I’ve only had to have tuna (MANY TIMES) and anchovies once. It’s just one more thing that tells me God knows me. (: He is the best – just in case any of you didn’t know. Anyways. We had a good lesson with them on authority!
Then the Sorelle from Alessandria came for my final scambio! How fun. 7 scambi later, and we are finally done! I went with Sorella Perkins. It’s kind of fun, because I trained someone from her group. (: We went and saw a new convert. (: We read the Book of Mormon and found the hidden treasures! (And by that I mean lessons.) Then we went to go be supportive and see a less active member dance for a second. (It’s the really cool cultural dancing; I sent a video a couple weeks ago).
Then we celebrated with gelato – and not just any gelato. It was the best I’ve had on my mission…a waffle, with Nutella, AND gelato, and strawberry something and cream. Ah. So yummy (:
Saturday all our lessons cancelled (classic scambio) but, we did make homemade ragu for lunch, so I’m not even mad.
Saturday night we went and saw “momma” and the girls (: (the Repoyo family. They’re Filipini, and I love them with all my heart and soul. They’re the best. The mom makes us call her momma. And she calls us her girls or her kids. It’s the best.) We talked about our true identity and the love God has for each and every one of us!
OH. AND WE MET A GIRL NAMED LUCIA. And she had a Book of Mormon that, “some American boys gave it to her,” and she’s been reading it!! And she wants to know more. So that’s amazing.
Sunday. We had church. And it was well, odd. Here in Italy, it’s FerAgosto, which means the country is on holiday and everyone RUNS to the sea, and doesn’t come home for a month. And the 15th of August, NO one is out. Well, it was the Sunday before, so TONS of people were gone. It was good though. I kept trying to take it all in, and my head kept telling me, “Don’t worry, you’ll be here next week too”.
Coming home doesn’t feel real at all folks. Not at all. I keeping feeling like I’m gonna wake up from this dream and have a year left on my mission. But, so far that hasn’t happened. It sure is what my head thinks is happening though.
Monday was quite interesting. We had tried to set appointments up, and NOTHING was working except one with the Repoyos.
Well, we got a call before studies inviting us over for lunch. We said yes, and about an hour later the elders called saying they’d be late for district meeting, because they needed to go meet a lady from Las Vegas and bring her to the church. Well, we get to the church, and soon after the elders and this lady come. And that, that is when the day changed.
She walked in, hugged us, talked to us and asked if we had any appointment she could come to, and offered to spend the whole day with us. Needless to say we jumped on it, and she spent all day with us. And it was SO FUN. she served her mission in the Philipines many years ago (she’s around mom and dads age). Anyways. She even sat in on district meeting, which was really good. Anziano Pyper gave a training on the priesthood and women, and how they’re both important. He got emotional as he talked about his mom, and then all of us got emotional.
And then he decided to keep being emotional (aka, making me emotional) because he had everyone go around and say something they’d learned from me. At that point, it started feeling a little more real. Then Sorella Stone (our visitor) instead of something she learned from me, because we’d known each other for only about an hour, gave me some “going home” advice – which was really wise and helpful. (: She was oh so nice! They also had me give yet another dying testimony (pretty sure I give one about every other day.) Anyways.
After district meeting we went to lunch at a member’s house, and that was fun. (: We had another appointment in between, and then we went to go to the Repoyos. It was SOOOO fun to see “mamma” and Sorella Stone talk. They both served missions around the same time, in around the same areas. They chatted about their missions, they laughed, and they were both so happy. It was THE greatest ever. We had a lesson with them, and it was amazing to have Sorella Stone with us. She bore fervent testimony, and it was amazing to see her connect with momma and see momma listen. It was so good.
I’m telling you. That woman, Sister Stone, who randomly showed up, asked us if she could spend the day with us…she, she is my miracle this transfer. She was amazing. And I think she not only really helped me (we had a heart to heart on one of our walks and it was SO needed) but she also helped a less active who really needed her.
Tuesday. We went and saw new convert Laura! She’s fabulous. (: We had a lesson with her about genealogy. I LOVE IT. (: So much fun. And we had serata! It was so much fun. (: I did yet another dying testimony. And we played ninja, (: il rospo, e le mosche – which was really fun, other than one of the elders nailing me in the face on accident. I won though, so we’re good. Haha.
Today is p-day and it was fabulous. We went and picked up the final things…and did something I really wanted. And by that I mean we had lunch at a restaurant named Lucia’s. (: And it was absolutely delicious. (: It was super fun too. We even got the waiter and the owner to take a selfie with us – and mind you, HE, the owner, took the selfie, and then he took a photo.) We were all dying laughing. It was a good “goodbye” to Milano.
Well, I sign off my last email as a full time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, and I say thank you. Thank you to all those who have supported me, loved me, prayed for me, and been there.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
In the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and my best friend,