And it comes to a close…the end.

August 17, 2016 – Lucia’s final letter as a full-time missionary

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What a great way to say goodbye to Milano – at Lucia’s!

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.

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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. (:

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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. (:

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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!

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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).

IMG_1142 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 (:

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Saturday all our lessons cancelled (classic scambio) but, we did make homemade ragu for lunch, so I’m not even mad.

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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!

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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.

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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”.

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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.

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Yep, it’s time to come home and cut her hair!

Monday was quite interesting. We had tried to set appointments up, and NOTHING was working except one with the Repoyos.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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After district meeting weIMG_1135 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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   It’s time to come home.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

In the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and my best friend,

Amen.

Sorella Montagnoli

Funny stories and being a Filipina.

Letter written August 11, 2016

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Hello dear family; (: I love you all so much. This week was really good. I’m sorry that y’all didn’t get this yesterday, but we didn’t have time! We went to a mall (biggest one n Europe) and it took a while to get there and back, and we had an appointment. So, we only got a little bit of email time, and we had to finish the rest without wifi and send it later! But here it is now!

Thursday we saw a women named Laura. She’s a new convert and she’s super cute. We talked with her about member influence, and we read in the Book of Mormon together. She’s got an adorable dog.  On a side note, my companions decided that I’ve developed this love for dogs…because I can’t hold kids (mission rule), but dogs are fine. And they decided I have a dog personality?

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Sorella Barlow is a cat, and Sorella Adams is a turtle. And Sorella Allen- yes I am talking about the Mission President’s wife, and no we didn’t choose it; she did. She said she’s a gazelle.  I realize I sound really lame right now, but it helps us understand each other. Comp unity? (They have all this cool graffiti all over Milano, so I took some pictures.)

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Then we went and saw Abigail, another new convert. She’s less active, but wants to go on a mission. She’s super, super cute. We talked a lot about the influence of members and how much example means. She gave us a REFERRAL, and we are hoping to see them together on Thursday. (The day you get this. Speriamo BENE.)

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Friday. We had an early morning and a nice long train ride to Verona. And by that, I mean a nice long nap. I woke up long enough to see us pass the “Brescia” sign, smile, and zonk back out for another hour. It was fabulous. We had Zone Conference round two.  Go being STL.  Zone leaders (elders) only have to do 1 zone conference and tops 5 scambi (training exchanges) per transfer. (Some only do two.) We have to do at least two zone conferences and at least 7 scambi. Elders have the easy life. Anyways. It was really good.

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My whole presentation changed, because all of their answers changed. So, that was just a little bit scary. (On the last one I was focusing all on member work and how to do REFERALS and what not. I had asked everyone who was the first member in their family and how they found the church, and almost all were member REFERRALS.) Well, in this conference, all but a few were through finding. So, I had to bag what I planned (Spirit’s orders) and talk about finding and changing our attitudes. I told about when I was first in the mission and how I dreaded it every time my trainer said finding. But then my attitude changed when we started calling it street teaching, because in reality that is what it is. I asked them about what they loved about teaching and why, and then I had some people share some cool finding experiences, and we talked about it. An Anziano made a comment I liked. He said, “We are either teaching people about Jesus Christ, or finding people to teach about Jesus Christ, or planning to find people to teach about Jesus Christ.”  So true. If you’re not in a lesson, you’re finding or planning, or with a member who you TEACH how to do finding. (: It’s great.

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It was also fun to be in that zone again, because 7 of my 12 transfers were spent in that zone. (: It felt like, well home, because a whole year I basically was there. So that was fun for me.

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They asked me to give me dying testimony- which I had already done once, but did again, because the zone leaders asked, and announced it.  I always like bearing my testimony. And good news- not one tear had been shed…until we sang the mission hymn. I realized it would be my last time singing it as a missionary. I was totally fine, until we got to the line, “Sulle montagne, nelle citta!” (in the mountains, in the city)  – and Como popped into me head, and the Brescia popped into my head, and then Reggio and then Alessandria, and then…then I got emotional. I teared up as a sang the powerful words and thought about my mission. Oh how I love my mission. I love it SO much. (: “NON CI STANCHEREMO MAI DI SERVIRE IL SIGNOR!” (We will never tire of serving the Lord.)

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Our mission goal is to have 300 baptisms before the Rome temple dedication.

And speaking of the Lord, we had a kind, tender mercy.  The office bought us freccia tickets home (aka fast and expensive train) and we almost missed it. But we all prayed, and wala! The train was 5 minutes late; the combination of running and faithful prayer worked, and we made the train! Go tender mercies!!

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Funny story for you. So we came home, and we have this bug zapper thing. Sorella Barlow is awesome with it and kills bugs like a pro. Well, there was one in the kitchen. Barlow was in Lodi, so it was just me and Sorella Adams. Well, it’s hot and summer.  We were in our apartment ready for bed, so we were in our night attire. I see the bug, and Adams goes for it. After a good five minutes, I took the zapper and went for it. Adams, thinking she was so brava CLOSED the kitchen door – keeping the bug in. Well, I finally kill it. And then I’m like, “HIGH FIVE;” let’s go to bed. I start to go, and realize there is no handle on the kitchen door…and the door won’t open. At all. Yeah, it’s what you think. Sorella Adams and I LOCKED ourselves in the kitchen. (Just wait, it gets better). We try opening it for a couple of minutes, and finally she looks up and sees a spare house key hanging. She then looks and sees the apron, also hanging. She grabs both and CLIMBS OUT THE WINDOW. I’m sitting there laughing so hard, half dying.  She ran around to the front door and unlocked it and comes over and lets me out. (I’d already locked the house for the night and closed up everything.) It was quite the funny moment. We went to bed laughing.

Saturday. We were on scambio. And like every scambio I’ve done since the beginning of this transfer, all the appointments we had bidoned (cancelled)  (Mom chiming in; this is classic for Italy in August.  Everyone is so hot, on vacation, and people really don’t want to meet.) So we did finding. We talked to some nice people. We even met some inactives who gave us their number and set up an appointment for Tues., so that was exciting! (Except that they didn’t end up coming on Tuesday.) We also did some pass bys, (: and then we had lunch and lingua.

Thennnnnnnn, we missed a metro, and here comes another fun story. So we go to the train station to meet the other set of sisters and switch back, but Sorella Adams had taken the phone.  The other phone from the other area was with them too. So we had no idea how to find them. Milano Centrale is HUGE. We walk around, can’t find them, do another giro, and all of a sudden I hear people running. I see that they are cops, so I step to the side to let them pass, or so I tried. But they stepped RIGHT in front of me. My thought was that they wanted my permesso (papers) or to tell us not to proselyte in the train station (which we weren’t.) Anyways, they then tried in broken English to tell us that two girls asked them to stop us if they saw us. I laughed, and as I told them I spoke Italian, the relief on their face was quite funny. We walked and talked and they told us the story. It was kind of funny though, being surrounded by a cop and two military men with big guns. Haha. I wish we would have gotten a picture of that. Two little missionaries. Two military men and a cop. Haha – too good. Apparently they also had called my name over the loud speaker. Twice. Haha. Too funny. They had us wait with them, and then the other sisters came over to meet us. (The sisters had asked the cop to stop us if they saw us and have us wait with them, while they did a giro to see if they could find us, then they would come back – which they did!)

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Sunday we had church, and I got made a Filipina. Haha. Oh wait, I’m too white. Or so they say. So we got to church and there is the usual group of cute Filipine ladies. They had two boxes of shoes with them, and to make conversation, I complemented their shoes. Well, about 10 seconds later they had me in a chair with a pair of the shoes on. And then they wouldn’t let me take them off.  Well, they had to let me take them off, because they weren’t mission appropriate shoes, but they didn’t let me give them back. They’re apparently shoes from the Philipines, and they wanted me to have them. I just love Filipini.

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IMG_0972I also gave my final testimony at the pulpit. I’m telling y’all, it doesn’t feel real. Not one bit. After church we went and saw Tina again (Filipina. Go team!) and she fed us another Filipino dish (: and it was yummy. After lunch she said to me,”Sorella Montagnoli, you’re Filipina. *Looks at me and smiles* I think you’re Filipina. * Tilts her head* Oh wait, you’re too white .” And then she just laughed, and I just had to laugh along with her. I just love Filipini so much. And then we had a lesson on prayer and being enough and doing enough. And then she found out I was going home next week, so she gave me Filipino money and signed it. (: And of course, just like all Filipini (at least the ones here) wanted photos. So we did that. And then we had weekly planning.

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Monday. We had district meeting…about patience. Ha. Ha. (: And then we had scambio. I was with Sorella DiNicola from Bari. Her dad is friends with daddy. We had 3 appointments set up…in the same hour. All at the church. And they all fell through. So we did pass bys and such. And then we went to see the Repoyos (again, Filipini) and we read in the Book of Mormon and talked about how important it is to read the Book of Mormon and find the lessons in the stories. (:

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And then we had 7 sister missionaries. All sleeping in our house. There was new missionary training, so the people who live far away slept at our house, and we were already doing scambio. Two were greenies. The other two European. And then my two companions – one American, and one English. We did about a million pancakes for breakfast. It was a fun one. That’s for sure.

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Tuesday. We had an interesting day of back and forth. We went to the church, to go home and have lunch, to go back to the church to give a Sorella stuff she left. To go back home to do some other things, to go back to the church for correlation and serata. It was quite the adventure. Serata was really fun. We had a competitive game of ninja. (I came in second. Go team.) We also had a really good lesson on member missionary work – given by the members (: yay!

Wednesday. WE WENT SHOPPING. And it was great. SALDI (big seasonal sales) are a fabulous thing. We also got to go visit a member, and it was super great. They are from Peru, and he was one of the greatest missionaries of all time. The area that he opened now has a temple. (: How cool. He told us missionary stories (60 books of Mormons a day they would give out, and in one Sunday he baptized 27 people. How amazing.) Then he gave us all a sit down talk about marriage and about how we need to go home and get married subito (right away) and about how the leaders counsel us to get married, how it’s part of God’s plan, and all that lovely stuff. My comps and I were about to bust (the trunky jokes and marriage lectures I’ve been getting in the past month are absolutely ridiculous.) Anyways. They then made us a really yummy meal and took us home, (: which was very nice…because Sorella Adams left the keys. Or so we thought. But we did have the house key, just not the gate key. So, being awesome, like this member is, he climbed our gate, got into our house and opened the gate. And then once we got inside, Sorella Adams found the keys. Ha. Ha. Ha. Succede. (It happens.)

Well – that was the week!!!

LOVE YOU GUYS SO MUCH. YOU ARE THE BEST!

Love,

Sorella Montagnoli

All good things come to an end…

Our sweet little Lucia concludes her mission Friday, August 19th, 2016.

She gives her mission report in our Sacrament Mtg. on Sunday, August 28th @11 am.

 (Please note, we now meet in a different chapel – which is east of our home.)  

Chapel address:  1320 West 3540 North PLEASANT GROVE, UTAH 84062  

We know Lucia would love to see you before she begins attending BYU in Provo the next day! We welcome local friends and family who wish to drop by our home to visit with Lucia on Sunday August 28th, after our meetings, which conclude at 2 pm.

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We are so grateful for your love and support throughout Sorella Montagnoli’s mission. Although we can’t wait to wrap our arms around Lucia, we also emotionally close this beautiful season of having full-time missionaries.  Blessed beyond measure, we’ve been uplifted, inspired, and in awe of our courageous, lovely, and faithful girls.  Oh how we love them!  Lucia, you have served with all your heart, might, mind, and strength, and we commend you and honor you for your dedicated and loving service to the Italian people!

All our love,

Martha & Cliff Montagnoli (mom and dad)

 

Fastest week ever.

Letter written August 3, 2016

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I CAN’T BELIEVE IT IS P-DAY ALREADY. IT’S AMAZING (AND HORRIBLE) ALL AT THE SAME TIME. HOW IS TIME EVEN DOING THIS TO ME?

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Thursday. We cleaned. A lot. We are still working on getting the apartment up and running. There was black mold everywhere… (Blame elders who haven’t done cleaning in forever.) Then we went and met Nancy, a cool REFERRAL we received. And then we saw a less active member and talked about the Book of Mormon(:

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Friday. ZONE CONFERENCE. It was all really good. My training went well – at least I felt like it did, (: so that was good. I talked about “DOVE CI ANDIAMO?” I started out by asking everyone who the first member of the church in their family was and how they came into contact with the church. It was amazing to hear their stories. And guess what? Almost all were… MEMBER REFERRALS. I then talked about the importance of members and working with them and challenged everyone to talk to one more person every day, and all that good stuff .(: Then we did scambio (exchanges), and we got bidoned (stood up)!

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Saturday. We had a load of confusion trying to arrange exchanges (and a sick sister) so we called a bunch of REFERRALS we have received and set up appointments. And HAD THE MOST AMAZING EXPERIENCE EVER. We were getting off the metro, and there was a lady and a man getting off with a bunch of bags. Knowing there were no elevators, I asked if I could help. (My Comp was sick, so lifting wasn’t going to be good for her.) They happily agreed to let me help. I gave them a restoration pamphlet after, and we started talking. We then ended up walking them to their apartment and talking more. We came to find out that he has cancer, and that they’re only here in Milano for him to do chemo.  They both wanted to know more, so that was good. They gave us their number and told us they’d come to church. AND GUESS WHAT- THEY DID! THEY CAME TO CHURCH ON SUNDAY, AND IT WAS AMAZING. I WAS SO HAPPY. (:

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Sunday church was so good! I’ve learned that I CANNOT for my life translate from Italian to English, but English to Italian is an absolute breeze. So like, what? Then we had lunch with a member, who invited less active members to join us. It was AMAZING.

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It was us and a whole bunch of Filipini and a whole bunch of Philippine food. It was so good. And I can’t even tell you how badly I wanted to speak Tagalog, because it was flying everywhere, and I couldn’t understand a word. We had a great lesson with them. (:

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Monday. We had district meeting and then scambio (exchanges). And I got to go with Sorella Garcia, my friend from Rome!!

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IT WAS SO FUN – other than yah know, getting lost and walking forever in the middle of nowhere trying to find a REFERRAL. The only thing we found was a Japanese restaurant.

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Tuesday. We once again had an adventure trying to find a less active member. We didn’t find any of them at home, but one stopped us on the street! She also gave us her number, So that was good. Then we had serata, so that was really fun (:

Today is p-day, and we went SHOPPING. YAY!!(: And that was it!! Love you all so much!!

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Love,

Sorella Montagnoli

All good things come in 3.

Letter written July 27th

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Well. I can’t believe it is already p-day again! This week FLEW by.  And speaking of that – we live right next to the airport, and every single time we hear a plane… my companion smirks at me. How rude!   Anyways, this week was really good!

IMG_1023Thursday we went and picked up a third companion. She is from England.. and I LOVE HER! She’s been out a while, but got put into a trio with us, and she is adorable. (: She’s becoming one of my favorite companions I have ever served with. She is a joy.

We also saw Abigail. She’s adorable and wants to go on a mission, so we have been doing a lot of role plays with her! She’s great! I also made empinadas for lunch. The elders’ power went out, so they came over to give us all of their cold food, and in turn we gave them some of our food I’d just made.  Then we then went to go buy a fan, because we now live in 3 and have one fan… and on scambio (STL exchange) we are in 5… so that’s not good.

Friday we had scambio! Yay scambio. I was with Sorella Deem; it was weird to be on the leader side – instead of the,”I don’t have to plan anything! Yay, let’s go see the STL’S and not be stressed side.” Now I am on the, “Oh, we are a trio (and on scambio she can’t be with us) so we have to triple book our area for 4 days a week… and the only days we don’t have sisters with us are p-day, Sunday and Thursday… oh, and we have to move… and plan two hour trainings for zone conferences… oh, and pack the whole house and clean it, move into the elders’ apartment (we are switching with them) and unpack and clean…. ”  Yep, that side… wohoo! Go team. Scambio was good. We got to go see an MIA less active member, and the lesson went really well. We talked about the Book of Mormon and Jesus Christ!

Saturday we went and saw Abigail again, and we had a really good lesson on the plan of salvation.  Then the sisters left and we went to a meal appointment, and it was an adventure. We had some really yummy pasta, and then she pulled out a lasagna… made of eggplant. Well, let’s just say my body had a REALLY hard time with it – aka inconspicuous gagging multiple times, while trying so hard to eat it.  Luckily the member had absolutely no idea, but Sorella Barlow was about to lose it, she was laughing so hard. It was awful. Also, did I ever mention to you all that I ate horse a few weeks ago? I found out after the fact – but it was actually really yummy. Shocked? Yeah, me too.

Anyways. After that rough meal we went to a ward activity, with more interesting food. Yay. Then we went and saw a Filipino family, and it was SO fun!!! Though they also threw in more food…and it was… interesting. The last part of it was fried fish, and I couldn’t handle it. I was STUFFED to the max already, so she didn’t make me eat it. TENDER MERCY.  I was already still feeling a little weak in the stomach from lunch! (Did I mention this city is notorious for weight gain…yikes.) Anyways – our lesson with her was really good. She was absolutely hilarious, and she kept telling me how much she loved my face, and how cute I was. haha –  Then she taught us a little bit of Tagalog.

Sunday we had church. All was good. Then after church we did lunch and lingua and then packed and did weekly planning. Monday we went to… wait for it, wait for it…

BRESCIA: I GOT TO GO BACK TO BRESCIA. I WAS SO EXCITED I COULD BARELY EVEN HANDLE IT. I went with a Sorella named Sorella Williams. We went out on the train in Brescia to go see a referral that had been given to them. It was a long train ride, but it was SOOO BEAUTIFUL!!! Oh my goodness.

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We talked to a nice British man on the train, and I had a “facepalm” moment. So, to help Sorella Barlow (our new “third companion, from England) feel more at home, and really for entertainment, we have been speaking with a British accent.  Well, without realizing it, I not only switched into the British accent while talking to the man, but I also had Italian words flying everywhere, mixed in with the English. After we said goodbye to the man, Sorella Williams was like… Sorel, you realize that was half British and half Italian, right? Yeah, I think I am losing it folks.

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We then met the referral and had an AMAZING lesson on the restoration! It was fabulous!!! When we were talking about prophets he straight up said, “We could use them in our days. The world needs a modern prophet!”  Basically, he’s the coolest, and he will get baptized one day. Then we got back on the train and headed back to Brescia – and went to see… STEFANIA AND SAMUELE. We didn’t tell them I was coming. And they were in shock. It was so fun!!! We had an amazing lesson!!! And on the way home I got to call some of the members. It was so fun!!! YAY!!!

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Monday we went and saw Davide and Simona. (I was there when they got baptized and what not!!)

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And they were so happy to see me!!! They live on a island, and it was SOOO fun to go!

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I hadn’t ever been before, so that was a special treat|| I LOVE THEM SO MUCH!

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Then we had a KFC… like, what? Haven’t eaten that in like 10 years. And it was good, but I got sick from it. haha Food hasn’t been too good to me this week. It came straight on out of me. Sorry for the details. But real life. Anways, it was a super fun scambio with Sorella Williams!

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After we ran home to Milano, and the senior couple had come to get our bags (we are switching apartments with the elders, because OURS IS TINY… it’s literally smaller than our apartment in Paris.  Most of the time, we have 5 sisters – and no walking space. So that is miserable, and so we are switching. The senior couple helped us move all our stuff, so that was a HUGE tender mercy – with having a car.

Then today, we woke up, studied, and then all 3 of us, ZONKED out… on my bed – and woke up 3 hours later, because we were so exhausted. Yay sleep! hahaa.

And that was that!!!

Talk to ya’ll next week!!

LOVE YOU

Sorella Montagnoli

Planning, meetings, and stressing.

Letter written July 20, 2016

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Sister Allen, new President’s wife; I love her!

Hello my dear family and friends!!!  Let’s start off with something my comp said to me last friday, at my 5 week mark. “Hey Sorel, see that plane? About how far away do you think that is?” Me, “Hmm, not that far. Maybe a few miles.” Her, “Ha, ha. I would say about… 5 weeks!”  Cue, me slapping her leg. So rude. 🙂  She was shocked I hadn’t ever heard it, and I was shocked that she had said it! So many “trunky jokes” and “you’re dying” IMG_1004jokes circulate when you find yourself at the end of your mission. It’s funny though, because I am not trunky at all. Not only do I not have time to be trunky, but I also don’t want to come home! I am so not ready for that one!!!! YIKEEEESSSSSSS. Anyways. That was the scherzo (joke) of the week. It took the cake. Speaking of miles… boy have my shoes put on the miles these last 17 months!  They are ready to be retired.

So on with the week? Thursday we ran to the station and did a nice switch of companions. I am with Sorella Adams. She is from Texas and looks like my sister Francesca. (: Then we went and saw a less active.

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Sister Training Leaders

Friday. We PLANNED LIKE CRAZY. Sooo muchhh plannniiiinnnggg. We called lots of people, got lots of IMG_1008things done, and then we went and met some GANS (young adult members) and walked with one who is less active to her Bolivian dance practice. We stayed for a minuted and watched her practice, and it was super fun.

Saturday. We did more planning. HOLY COW SO MUCH PLANNING, I CAN’T EVEN believe it. Then we went and saw a less active member…AND SHE HAS A BUNNY AND HE IS THE FATTEST THING I’VE EVER SEEN. And I love him. Also, all our appointments fell through, and we did lots of casa (: and got lost. yay

Sunday we had church. We had to translate… yeah, I’ve forgotten English. And we had a miracle happen. This lady named Aurora came to church. Her boyfriend is a member, and the sisters ran into him a few weeks ago and invited him to church. He came, and he brought her! She was so happy. She leaned over to me in Relief Society and told me how she really just wants peace. She told me about all of the churches that she has been to and how she hasn’t found what she is looking for. She told me she wants friends. Well, LUCKY HER! She came to the perfect place. As soon as Relief Society ended she got swarmed by the Filipini. (She is Filipina. They are the best!) They went off in Tagalog. Cue – me wishing I could speak Tagalog. (This week I have just really REALLY been wanting to be able to speak every language ever, because that would be the best.) Anyways. I turned around and started talking to a member, and two seconds later I turn my head to see the little group of Filipini sisters all had their phones out and were getting her number and talking and loving on her. I didn’t understand the words, but I sure did feel the love! GO CHURCH!

We also saw a member, and she gave me a piece of anguria (watermelon) bigger than my face! She asked if we wanted a little piece, then came out with the huge piece. BRING IT ON! I love watermelon so much!! I love that about Italy. Summer=watermelon all day, every day. wohoo!

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Monday we had mission consiglio (council).  This is where all the STLs and zone leaders come together and have a conference with the Mission President. Well, it was my new President’s first one, and he is making quite a chunk of changes. IT’S AMAZING. I love him.  I loved my last president… but man, I ADORE this new president. I quite literally had a tear roll, because I was so sad that I wasn’t going to be able to be here for longer with him as my President.  Literally though, he is one of the most Christlike men I have ever met in my life. And I LOVE him.

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Consiglio (Mission Council)

ANDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD GOOOD NEWSS!!!!!  So, as sister trainer leader, I do exchanges with all the sorelle (sisters) that are in my area.  Guess what I found out? BRESCIA GOT OPENED AGAIN TO SORELLE, AND I AM OVER THEM. I SCREAMED AND JUMPED ABOUT 10 FEET IN THE AIR when I heard the news. The AP’s were laughing at me, but like… HOW CAN I NOT?! THAT’S MY CITY!!!!!!!!!!! I was so happy!! I called the sisters and gave them all the details, and they responded, “Yeah, everyone in church was SOO happy to have us back. And your name is pretty much on everything in the apartment.” And I was just dying. So guess what?  I GET TO GO BACK TO BRESCIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Also, I cant even handle how excited I am. I have had members email me and tell me they got sorelle (sisters) back. It’s that big of a deal. I am also over Reggio Emilia, and Alessandria – so, all of my cities I have served in, except the most recent, being Como. So that’s kind of fun. (: I’m way pumped.

Anyways, enough of that. We got to see a less active family, and the dad looked at me after the lesson and said, “Yah know sorella, you are a very patient person, thank you.” I was sitting there thinking… if you would have said that a year ago, I would have laughed.

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Tuesday we had district meeting. It was decided that I am princess leah? (apparently here in Cimiano, they give you a disney character. So.. that was mine, because I have nice hair, and I am a “strong and independent woman.”  Let’s just say my comp has tried a few times to call people for help, and I wouldn’t let her, because in those moments we were completely capable of handling the situation. So now I have been deemed independent. So that was that. Then we had every single one of our appointments cancel; (: we are getting really good at the whole bidone thing.

We did have a miracleIMG_1005, and it was amazing. So the genealogy man in our ward called and said he needed us to cancel an appointment for him, but we said, nah, we got it! (Everything had canceled anyways.) Sorella Adams knows I love genealogy, so we headed to church and set everything up. This girl comes, and she was AMAZING. Also, GENEALOGY IS SO MUCH FUN; I LOVE IT. We helped her go 5 generations back!!! So that was super exciting. She also added me on Facebook already! (I told her I was leaving in 4 weeks and she was sad, but I told her to add me, and mom sent me a list this morning of the people who added me, and she was on it!” So that went fast! She wants me to keep helping her when I get home.

We also had a serata (fireside) after, and she decided to stay, and she loved it! Sadly, she is going to the South for a couple months. Oh well…but that’s okay, because when I come home we will stay in contact! She was so golden. She asked questions and such about why and she accepted pamphlets, and then the serata was all about the restoration. We sang Joseph Smith’s First Vision, and she told me how much she liked it! SHE WAS SO AMAZING!

Today. We cleaned, and man sisters are hoarders. We threw away 3 huge big black trash bags full of stuff today. Seriously, you don’t need to keep everything. Then we took a little nap, (: so that was fun. It was nice to get the house all nice and in order. I love organization!!!!

And that was the week!

LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!

Love,

Sorella Montagnoli

Adiós Como; Ciao Milano.

Letter written July 18, 2016

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Hello my lovely family. You’re probably wondering why you didn’t hear from me last week.  I wrote the email, it didn’t show up in my sent box, then when I checked again it was deleted.

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I got permission at consiglio (mission council) today to (re-write); sorry if I worried anyone.  I’ve been transferred to Milano Cimiano and will be serving as an STL (Sister Training Leader); you’ll hear more about it this week!

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This last week was IMG_0984quite the interesting one, so I’ll get right to it.  Thursday. We went and saw Angela. We had a final, “You’re about to get baptized, are you so excited lesson?!” We reviewed everything, and (: it went really well! Then we went and saw a less active named Louisa; (: it was a good lesson. We talked about scripture study, and it was cool because it was exactly what she needed! Sometimes people don’t tell you, and you just hope it was the right thing. She told us it was perfect; (: we were very happy. Then we went and saw AZZURRA. I LOVE HER SO MUCH.

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We threw a surprise party for her birthday…or tried to. It didn’t quite work. Haha – We ended up having to tell her. But it was super fun and she was really happy. One of the members made a cake, and she was SO happy. Apparently, she doesn’t like nor eat cake – except the very kind he made! I’m so glad the spirit inspires people on food too (; haha. It was a good little tender mercy.

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IMG_0963It proved to me once again how well God knows each of us. And speaking of that, He also knows WHERE you’re gonna be! We were on the bus home, and I had the prompting to get off the bus. I fought it (neither Sorella Mckenzie or I were feeling well). But I told Sorella Mckenzie. She asked why and I said, boy, I don’t know! But we are gonna talk to someone. And we did. We got off, walked, and then two African men spotted us. They came up and told us we were pretty; usually that kind of thing makes me walk straight up away. But, we didn’t. We started talking to them and told them we were missionaries, and it turns out one is an active member visiting here. His brother is even a Bishop! He showed us pictures of the most recent baptism in his ward, so that was cool. (: We talked to them and the friend gave us his number, which we subito (immediately) passed on to the elders. (:

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Friday. We went and saw Chiara!! We did a new member lesson on the Plan of Salvation. It was really good! Chiara is one of those people who is so prepared, that it can be awkward to teach her, because she knows the material, she doesn’t really have questions, she’s active and has a testimony. Anyways. It was good. We ended up talking about 4 kids she lost. All miscarriages. Some were really far along. We talked about how she will have them all again, and how she’ll have the opportunity to raise them. She was SO excited. Her face lit up. She went into the living room and was like, “HONEY. DID YOU KNOW WE CAN HAVE ALL OUR OTHER 4 AGAIN AND THAT I CAN BE THEIR MOM?!” She was so excited. She lovvveeeeess being a mom. So that was special for her. (:

IMG_0960After that we went and saw Alessandra. I LOVE her. She taught us phrases in Albanian and loved on us. This week I had to down a crostata (basically a thin pie). Yay Sorella Mckenzie’s food allergies! Haha. Then we went to Switzerland to drop a Book of Mormon off at a potential investigator’s house.  (: On the way home we met a really cool guy- he will be a Bishop one day, don’t worry. He was not only the nicest person ever, but also the least judgmental. We need more people like him. He also had an awesome tattoo of his dog (with an American flag in the background)… maybe that’s why I liked him. Haha. Dogs, America, classic nice Italian. All my favorite things!

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Anyways. After that we went to the church for a genealogy activity. Yay…. Except it was the most boring thing ever… I couldn’t help but think that’s why people don’t like genealogy. Because you present it like this! It took everything in me not to stand up and tell everyone why I ADORE genealogy and how fun it can be… Meno male, I controlled myself and didn’t say anything. (:

Saturday. We did a market giro to see if we could find a blanket for Angela. Newsflash: no one wants a blanket in the summer. So we didn’t find one. Then we did weekly planning. Yay! And then we got transfer calls…. I got called to go be an STL (sister training leader) in Milano Cimiano. (For those of you who don’t know, it’s basically like a leader over a group of sisters. We will do companionship exchanges with all the sisters we are over during the transfer. And they all come to our city. So, it’s gonna be a busy transfer! It’ll keep me busy and focused for my last 5 weeks!) Sorella Mckenzie will stay in Como. (: So yeah. That was that.

I packed during lunch and then we did some technicalities and went to the baptism. (: ANGELA WAS SO CUTE IN HER LITTLE WHITE DRESS. OH MY GOODNESS. I LOVE HER. Poor thing was super sick though… Not fun! She had to get a blessing to be able to come! But she did it, and all went well. (: I gave a talk on the Holy Ghost and his mom talked about baptism. (: It was a beautiful baptism.  She was so cute!

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Sunday. We had church…and no one, including myself, was super happy to find out I was leaving. But, we sang, “Called to Serve” and “I’ll go Where you Want me to Go”; clearly that was a message telling me I’m going to the right place, doing the right thing. The members were all really sad.

And I would be rich if I had a dollar for every time I heard, “But you’re going home in 5 weeks! Why on earth would they transfer you?! Can’t they just leave you here?! It makes no sense!” My thoughts exactly kids. My thoughts exactly.

But, we are doing it! The Bishop’s response was, “Uh, wait, what?! I’m calling the Mission President.” (He’s the Bishop who told President Dibb at Chiara’s baptism that I needed to stay and finish my mission here. His request.) Anyways. That was sad. I ended up giving a talk in both wards.

After church we went and had dinner with our ward mission leader, who invited a less active family. It was super good. WE HAD PANZAROTTI!! IT WAS SO YUMMY.

Also, they live in an ADORABLE house. Literally my dream house. In the middle of the alps, classic Italian. All of it. I loved it. And I had one of the most awkward moments of my mission because of it.  Background. Gigi is our ward mission leader, and is also a VERY freshly returned missionary. His family is the coolest. So they’re all sitting outside, and I’m just in awe, loving it all. I walked outside and said, “I’M IN LOVE!” But I forgot to finish my sentence; which was that I was in love with their house and the view they had. I didn’t think anything of it and just kept looking around. Well. Gigi’s mom looked at me, looked back at Gigi, back at me and says… “WITH GIGI?” I died. I got red, he got red, and I blurted back, “NO!!! With your house!!” Everyone erupted laughing, and I was just dying. We all got a good laugh, but Gigi and I couldn’t look at each other the rest of the night. It was soooo awkward – haha. And that was that.

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From Monday to Wednesday things were crazy and kind of frustrating; only one of our appointments went through. We did district meeting early, thinking we had an appointment for Sorella Mckenzie’s permesso. Well, we got a call from the mission office telling us the appointment was changed to Tuesday. So we had to call and cancel our Tuesday morning appointments- which made me SO sad. That meant I would not get to say goodbye to some people. We did alot of running around, missed a train, made calls to say goodbye, cried…blehh.  We did make a train last second to see Angela to say goodbye.

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It was such a TENDER MERCRY for me, and that was so good.  I’ll tell y’all the rest of the week on Wednesday!

Love you!!

Sorry for the emailing mishap!!

Love,

Sorella Montagnoli

I can’t believe it’s already p-day!

Letter written July 6, 2016

IMG_0933.JPGThis might have been the fastest week ever. Time is going faster and faster. And I feel like I’m trying to fight it harder and harder, and it’s just making it go faster!! I JUST LOVE THIS COUNTRY SO MUCH. I don’t want to leave it!!! Keep me here!!  Speaking of here, I don’t have a lot of time, so I apologize in advance – this email won’t be as detailed as usual.

Thursday we went and saw Angela! Good news; she finished all the lessons, did her practice interview, and her interview.. and.. SHE’S READY TO GO! We are filling the baptismal font on Saturday, and I am so excited!!!! She’s so cute. (: We then had 2 “power hours!” of finding! Go finding. We talked to two Jehovah Witnesses, and they were actually very nice. (: We met a GOLDEN girl named Nadia, and we are hoping that all goes well! Then we saw AZZURRA!!! And the lesson was amazing.

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Friday wIMG_0945e went and we got to meet our new Mission President and his wife, Sister Allen! THEY ARE AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love them so much!! And, fun fact. I told her that dad had sent me a picture of them together at an “all Italy” mission reunion. Then she was like… oh oh oh, I have something for you! She pulled out her wallet and lo and behold, she had dad’s name tag from the event stuck to her check book. She pulled it off and gave it to me; (haha) cute thing had saved it and carried it around all these months!  They were so awesome! She gave us all hugs; I LOVE THEM! Then we went and saw the Rieras, but Sorella Riera wasn’t home… but her kids BEGGED us to stay – so we sat outside the house, with the kids sitting in the doorway, and we read scriptures with them. (:

Saturday we went and taught Chiara. She’s still super cute. AMAZING STORY: So she is pregnant with a little boy. They had decided to name him Liam. Well, we went over there Saturday, and she sits down and says, “Sorelle, we decided to change the name of our son.” We at this point are like, hmm, and? “We decided to name him after a prophet. Emerson(her husband) told me we need to name him Jared.” (which is Emerson’s favorite story in the Book of Mormon!) So that was really cool! We are super excited about that! Then we went and saw Mario, and it was lovely – until it came time to say goodbye. (Transfer calls come this week, and it is highly likely one of us will go.)  He told us to close our eyes, and we did; he shut the door and didn’t opened it again. It BROKE my heart. He also asked us not to come back, until the new companion arrives. That was rough.

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Sunday we had lots of hours of church (not quite as many as last week) and then we went and saw Sorella Maddafari. (She is a widow, and we were with her Mother’s Day.) It was her birthday, so we got to be with her!

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Monday. We had district meeting, which was really good!  Sorry no time for details. Then we saw the Relief Society president, and had an AMAZING visit.  She told us her conversion story. Speaking of which, dad – look in your mission journal for august 10 1986. It’s the day she got baptized, and she’s pretty sure you were a part of it.

Tuesday. We saw a few fun people, one which needed help finding shoes her size. haha. After, we had an AMAZING lesson. We talked about the gospel of Jesus Chirst, and then, (using a teaching idea that “clicked” the other day) we were able to explain to Camelia the Book of Mormon and the restoration. Let me tell you… IT WAS AMAZING. I don’t think I could even begin to explain it in a short amount of time.  So it will have to suffice you to know that this church is true, and that God prepared us to receive the Book of Mormon and His restored church again. These plans were made before Christ even came to this earth, WAY before the Great Apostasy, and way before America even existed. (: It was a fabulous lesson. At the beginning, she told us she just couldn’t get the Joseph Smith thing and never would and that the Book of Mormon was just a changed Bible. (cue – me DYING inside. My two biggest testimonies smashed in one line!) But fear not, because after this amazing lesson with her, she looked at us, and was said, ” I GET IT! THAT MAKES SO MUCH SENSE!” I was sitting there in my mind, saying – YEAH! I know, right?!?!  It was just great! I was so happy. I LOVE TEACHING. It was so fun to get so deep into doctrine with her. (You teach to needs, and her need in this case, was deep. Not many times do you get to do that.) It was just fabulous. We drew the whole thing out, things went click, and everyone was happy!

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Also, this week, more than I think any other time of my whole existence, I have come to have an AMAZING appreciation for the priesthood. What a gift. God loves us so much! How precious, how sweet, and how amazing is it…the knowledge we have means everything to me! WE ARE SO BLESSED!!! I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!! I love teaching! I love Italy! I love life! I love God – and I am tacky, I know, but it’s so true. My heart just loves it all!

INCLUDING ALL OF YOU!!!!!!!!!

LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you in advance for all the prayers and all the love!! YOU ARE ALL AMAZING|

Love,

Sorella Montagnoli

A week in pink.

Letter written June 29, 2016

This week was a fabulous week (: and I spent every day of it in pink for Reagan. I know y’all did it for her “life memorial” Wednesday – and this was my way of sending support. Happy thoughts, right?

Thursday we went and saw Angela and that was good, BECAUSE GUESS WHO READ EVERY DAY THIS WEEK? Angela. And guess who’s on track to get baptized next week? Angela! So guess what that means… HER FAMILY CAN GET SEALED IN AUGUST. (: So I’m really excited about that. They’ll get sealed my last week here in Italy. Anyways. We taught the law and chastity and the word of wisdom, and it went super well. Didn’t think that would happen with a 10 year old. But it did! I thank the Primary song “Head, shoulders, knees, and toes” for the success. Haha. We taught it using the song. (: After that we went and saw a member family for lunch, and they told us their conversion story.  It was AMAZING – and one of the coolest I think I’ve heard on my mission. Ask me about it in 7 weeks. I’d rather tell y’all face to face. (:

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Lake Como…my beautiful area!

Good news – the members here have figured out I don’t like eggs. The easiest pasta to make (that McKenzie can have) is pasta alla carbonara (which I’ve been able to avoid my whole mission, until she came. And now I’ve had it every week.) Well, the members all figured out I don’t like eggs. So, they are oh so very kind and either take mine out before they add egg, or they give me pasta arabbiata. YUMMM! Go team!!! (Side note: I didn’t say anything about not liking eggs. I happily ate what they prepared, but then they said, “You’re American, huh? Lots of them don’t like eggs. What about you?” Due to the fact that my face CANNOT lie, they understood. So, that was a round about way to say we had lunch and it was good. Then we saw Nadia and talked about modesty and our favorite scriptures. Then we did a TON of area book.

IMG_0932   Friday. We went and saw Chiara. (: Man, I see so many beautiful changes in her. It’s amazing! She had so much patience with her kids, and we had a wonderful lesson on the restoration. We watched the film, and she loved it. Then we saw Alessandra. Still super cute. She sent us away with a bunch of food, as always. Then we saw Maria. We talked about Sunday and watched Elder Nelson’s talk about delighting in the sabbath. Then we went and saw a member family who brought a friend to church last week! We watched, “Meet the Mormons” with them. It went really well – (: and can I just say…It was weird to sit and watch a full movie? Haha. Haven’t done that in a while.

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The kids dressed us up!

Saturday. It POURED RAIN; I love it when it does that. It’s been getting hot. Not last year hot, but warmer than it has been – and so rain is a VERY good thing.  Keep it coming! We did weekly planning, and then we went and saw Raquel; (: we had a good lesson with her, and she really opened up to us about a couple of things! So that was good. And then we saw a less active and talked about the scriptures. (: She’s super cute. I adore her. Then we saw the Riera family. (: And surprise, Martha came! Yay! It’s been impossible to make appointments with her. We talked about repentance and they fed us empanadas (:

Sunday. We had church. Yay church! Chiara gave some really good comments in gospel principles! (She’s soooo shy. So it was HUGE.)  I got to do a split and go with the young adult’s Relief Society. So that was super fun. I haven’t been in a class with people my age since BYU haha. And then, surprise… there was a baptism? Two actually. Haha. A member came up about half way through church and was like,”We are baptizing our son today and his cousin. Can you guys stay? There will be over 30 non members.”UHHH, OF COURSE. Okay guys… so this guy (his family) were the first members in Italy. And their family KNOWS how to do missionary work right – and leadership even better. They’re amazing. This baptism had more people at it then every baptism or ward event I’ve ever seen. It was PACKED. Like, what? It was amazing. The elders looked over at us in the middle with these huge smiles and shocked faces, and we were all just like 😳😳😱😱😍😍  all at the same time. I’m still not sure why no one told us that there was going to be a baptism until 2 hours before it happened. But that’s okay.  We got to talk to a ton of people. And between us and the elders, we got everyone covered. The member asked us to set up a Mostra, so we did. And we went and talked to everyone. There were two less Books of Mormon and a couple of pamphlets gone – by the time we took the Mostra down, so that made us happy. (:

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Monday. WE SAW AZZZUUUURRRRAAAAA!!!!!!!! Finally!! I missed her so badly!! We had a really good lesson with her about being happy. (: And then we had district meeting. Then we had a mircale!! We are currently “projecting”; (: we are cleaning the whole area book…finding the “do not call,” the “numero non è attivo,” and every one else in between. We are calling everyone, regardless of what the scheda says. Well, we called this one, even though it said she moved and is not coming back to Italy. Well, she moved, but still has the same number. And she’s GOLD. We went and saw her Monday. And the lesson was amazing! We began with the restoration, and then realized it wasn’t the right road to go down. We shifted gears and talked about her life, and then she was telling us about how she struggles uniting herself and going to a church. She feels like it’s a separation.  We talked a lot about that, and she understood really well by the end. We challenged her to ask God if this is the true church and to help her have the desire to come to church.  She then frankly said, “I know this is the true church.” She then got goosebumps, and said, “I already know. I don’t need to ask again.” She told us she’s going to sincerely ask God for the desire to go to church. (:  After that, we had FHE with the Dalmazio/Elia family, and I LOVE THEM. Fratello Elia reminds me a TON of dad, and he acts super similar with his kids as dad does with us.(They’ve got two little girls; one like me, the other like Francesca. And they even kind of look like us. Haha.) So that was fun.

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Francesca & Lucia – the cutest little girls ever!

IMG_0921Tuesday we did Skype with Nadia; (she’s in Berlin) and we read in 2 Nephi…Isaiah. Go technology and scriptures! Then we went to see Chiara…and they were trying to be nice and surprise us.  We walked in, and the elders were there. (haha. The faces we all made. Yeah, we aren’t allowed to have appointments of any kind with the elders, except on Christmas.) So. That was awkward. We had to explain the rule, and we felt really badly, but all is well. We got separate appointments for later this week! Anyways. We headed home, then went and saw a less active member. We talked about the plan of salvation and a lot about the atonement.  How simple and beautiful is God’s plan;  I love it! Then we went and did a ton of casa. And we got let on by an old lady. I’m not sure how much she got, but she was super happy and loved all the photos of Jesus we gave her. (She loved the pass along cards.)

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And then WE FOUND PIZZA SORELLA MCKENIZIE COULD EAT! And I got a yummy granita. Fun side note. I’ve figured out that I am most definitely lactose intolerant. Every time I get a gelato, my stomach swells like a balloon, so I’ve switched to getting granita instead.  I haven’t had milk in my cereal since Brescia, and it has helped. I had a pain in my stomach/side up until I got here, and I switched to almond milk.  I haven’t had the pain at all, except when I have something with milk.  Everyone here said my pain was from drinking tap water; NOT, it’s milk!

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Anyways. Today for p-day, we went on an adventure. We were going to go to Bellaggio, but then Sorella Mckenzie realized it’s just pretty shopping. So we switched to Mennaggio. We got on the bus, and it was THE MOST BEAUTIFUL DRIVE EVER. Then we were like, what’s this little town and cool villa? So we got off.

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And went to a cool villa with an AMAZING garden and flowers, all on the side of the lake (Como).  So that was a fun little adventure for the day. (:

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Anywhoos. It’s been a fabulous week. I love you all lots and lots and lots!! Keep up the good work y’all are doing wherever you are!

Love,

Sorella Montagnoli

BAPTISMS & FUN!

Letter written June 22, 2016.

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Hi guys! This week was fabuloussssssss!

Thursday we went to go see Chiara. Let me explain her story real quick; I realized I never did that. Chiara is married to a member, and he was inactive for almost all his adult life (about 15 years). A few months ago, the bishop invited him to an activity, and he came with his family. Then they came to church.  He got active, his wife started investigating, he read the entire Book of Mormon, and Chiara, his wife, got baptized on Saturday. I was originally over Como 1&2, then they added 4 sisters for 4 weeks – so the Como 1 sisters did part of her lessons, and we did the other part.  I loved teaching her; she’s AMAZING. It was fun to help her get the technicalities all figured out. I’ve never had a baptism on my mission until this point.  I’ve seen them, and helped plan them, but never has it been my investigator. People I’ve taught have gotten baptized after I left, but never have I seen it. So it was SO fun to be able to be apart of that. In reality, we hardly did anything. She was just so ready and so golden. It was beautiful.  The people like that are the ones who stay active. She also has 4 kids and one on the way – all of which will now grow up in the church. They’re going to the temple next month to do baptisms, and they’ve already planned on when they’re going to the temple. THEY’RE AMAZING(: Anyways. That was a long explanation.

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We went and taught her Thursday and did our final pre-baptism lesson. She was GLOWING; she was so excited. She wanted to know how everything would be, how it would go, what she had to do…all of it. (: It was so fun. After her lesson we went and saw Alessandra, followed by running to go see Maria. She’s an investigator with lots of odd questions, but believes firmly this is the true church. But, she won’t come to church. Bah. So hard. And it was POURING RAIN. Literally pouring. We got soaked walking!! Anyways. Then we saw Raquel! I LOVE HER. We talked and laughed. And her son was SO excited to see me and talk with me again. (He wasn’t there on my “return to Como 1” visit. Haha. So that was fun.

Friday we went and saw Angela. All is going well with her. (: We used 10 pieces of chocolate to teach decima (tithing). It went well (: I gave her 10 pieces, asked for 1 back, and gave the one piece to her mom – who didn’t have any. She understood the concept quickly and was excited to fill out her own tithing slip! Then we went to scambio (exchanges)! Yay Milano. We went and saw a member in the hospital and then we went to a ward party.

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Saturday was absolute madness!!  We went and saw Paula! My fav. I’ve met her a few times. She’s a new convert and the best. Then we went and saw a less active member, who had 10472 cats.  She offered us pasta – and ended up giving it to us on the go (tender mercy). We ended up giving it to a homeless man who was SO grateful, so that was good!

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Then we RAN to get back to our comps, we switched back, and McKenzie and I headed home to Como, and went straight to the church! The elders had the font all filled and we ran around (we bought her a book) and had all the members sign it! Then Chiara came, and I got to help her get all ready!! She was so nervous, but so excited! Everything went really smoothly. Her husband gave a talk, and then I gave one. I cut it pretty short, because she’s got lots of kids with lots of energy, and my goal was to get through her baptism and her confirmation smoothly. AND WE DID IT!!!(: It was all beautiful. Her husband baptized her. Her kids watched with wide eyes, and it was amazing.

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Sunday. We had church, and a member brought a friend who set up an appointment! And then in Como 1 Chiara got confirmed! It was so good! President DIBB came and he was ear to ear smiling! AND he came and told us that the Bishop came up to him and told him that he really liked us and that he wished President would leave us here. Unfortunately President DIBB goes home this week, and we get a new Mission President.

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Monday. We had district meeting. We did area book, and then we went and had FHE with the Bishop’s family – (: so that was good.

Tuesday. I really thought a lot about LIFE, I guess you could say. Lately there have been quite a few life changing and altering moments happening in my little circle of people’s lives.  It’s really hit home and made me reflect so much on what matters most. A few weeks ago Beau passed away, last week Maddi (one of Lucia’s close friends from high school) got married and started her own eternal family, and this week was the shocking news of Reagan’s tragic drowning (our 3 year old niece in-law).  I’ve really turned to my own temple covenants to find peace and solace. I’ve pondered on the creation of eternal families – Francesca last August, Sarah in January, and Chelsee (another close friend) in a couple of weeks.  I know life changing events…the death of loved ones and the creation of new families – affect missionaries all over the world. (And man since the very creation). But it’s really made me think a lot about it.  When these major events occur, it makes all those little things you think matter, not matter so much.

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It brings me back every time to the wonderful knowledge we have of the plan of salvation, and our beautiful temple covenants. It’s an amazing thing to know that these dear, close, people in my life have created and are relying on eternal covenants. As hard as those two deaths are, both being so young, what a wonderful and heart healing knowledge we have that we WILL have them again. To those sweet families, they’ll have the opportunity to finish raising those children and be with them. And to those who are just starting their families, we realize how truly important the marriage covenant is, how important it is to remain faithful to it, and also how much we need to treasure each other, regardless of little things. All the meaningless things can go out the widow. Relationships are so much more than an argument, a snotty comment or a messy bedroom. We can treasure every moment we have. Like mom always says, “People matter. Not things.” Put aside those little things and LOVE your family. Every single moment. Rely on that covenant, be faithful to it, and enjoy it. Because that, that’s what life is about.

IMG_0862And we will skip the rest of Tuesday…except for lunch time. GUESS WHO CAME TO COMO TO SEE ME!!!!!! STEFANIA, SAMUELE, MANUELA AND PONGO!! IT WAS AMAZING. AND GUESS WHAT. THEY ALL HAD HUGE NEWS FOR ME. WANT TO KNOW THE BIGGEST ONE? STEFANIA AND SAMUELE ARE GETTING MARRIED ON DEC 10. AND THEN STEFANIA IS GOING TO GET BAPTIZED. AND I CRIED I WAS SO EXCITED. I CAN’T EVEN HANDLE HOW AMAZING THAT WAS SO SEE THEM AND LOVE THEM AND BE WITH THEM.

image1Anyways. Enough of caps. We also saw a few other people, but I’ve got no more time. Today we went back to Milano. So much Milano this transfer. And we went to a castle..but it was more like a museum. And I learned something I already have learned; I’m AWFUL in museums. My poor companion. I’m such a… Pain? I have to know everything. And I have too many questions, and if I can’t find out why something I’m staring at is important, I get bored. And man. Today was a BAD case of that. My poor companion. I wanted so badly to understand, and there was NOTHING on the paintings to explain!! And I got bored and started making up my own stories and yeah. Poor Sorella Mckenzie. Haha.

Anyways. It was a fabulous week!! Love you all! Until next time!!

Sorella Montagnoli (: