Friday, March 29, 2013

Where in the World is.... Sorella O'Connor?

We traveled all day Tuesday and got to Rome mid-day on Wednesday.  The plane ride was great. I met some Italians on one of the planes, and they helped me practice my Italian which was cool.

First Stop: The Rome Temple!!

(Thanks Grandma for the advice about rain boots)

 When we got to Rome, the assistants and the president picked us up at the airport and then they took us to see the temple!  It looks like it's coming along.  They are just starting to put the granite on the outside.  
It's absolutely huge and it's in the middle of the city, so everyone who ever drives on the highway will be able to see it.  It's going to be seriously so beautiful. 

President and Sister Kelly

After that we arrived at the villa (mission home) where we brought all of our bags in and had some dinner that Sorella Kelly made for us.  Afterwards they gave us some inital information and then showed us this cute slideshow of all the missionaries in the different areas.  After that, they gave all of us "golden envelopes" which had our first area and our trainer's name inside.  

Where in the World is.... Cagliari?

We took turns watching each of the 24 of us opening our "calls." Not going to lie, I was shocked to open mine to Cagliari... They told us that 5 sisters would be staying in Rome, 2 in Bari, and 1 in Sardegna. I saw Cagliari and thought, "Where in the world is that?" and then one of the assistants got really excited and said "You are going to SARDEGNA!"  He had served here for a long time, so he told me all about it and got me so excited.

We stayed at the villa that night and everyone took off to their destinations the next day.  The other two elders going to Sardegna and I went on splits for the next day because we had to fly out to Sardegna on Friday.  

Playing Charades

I stayed in Rome with three native Italians, which gave me a little bit of a culture shock as we played charades with every word I didn't know. I talked to a lot of people on the bus, and everyone is so nice and patient with my poor Italian.  It actually helped me talk to more people because everyone was working together to help translate what I was saying.  

I helped to teach a lesson that night and the sister I was with said "WILL YOU BE MY COMPANION?" which made me happy because I didn't think that she liked me that much hah.  

The culture here is so funny to watch.. I think people are yelling and mad at each other all the time, but that's just how they talk.

Then I got to fly to Cagliari! I was so excited to finally get here... The day before we had to do a lot of stuff at the mission office, and there were a ton of people there that were leaving and they kept telling me how great it is.  I'm seriously so lucky to be here.  It's a perfect place to start because everyone speaks really clearly and pretty slowly. There is a Sardi dialect but they never use it with us as missionaries.  

I live in the ghetto of the city... The first couple of days I wondered why it was such a tourist town, because I had never seen the nice part.  We went to the nice part of the city the other day for a lesson and I fell in love. It's probably best that I stay away because I get distracted easily by the cute clothes.  

My French Mother (trainer)

I get excited about: pizza  She gets excited about: planning

My companion is great!  She is French but speaks really great English. She speaks even better Italian. She helps me a lot and she is really dedicated to the work, so she sets a great example.  She expects a lot of me which is good because it gets me out of my comfort zone and helps me to grow.  She has a feeling that I'll be training in two transfers, so I've really got to learn quickly.  

Everyone compliments me on my good Italian, but I know they are just being nice because Sorella Cojan has to tell me that they are complimenting me.  

"House to House"

Most of our effective contacting is by bus. We take the bus everywhere. The other main way we find is casa in casa which is going door to door (or doorbell to doorbell).  

All the Italians live in apartments, so if the apartment door is open, we can start at the top and just go all the way down.  But if not, then we stand outside and ring every doorbell until they say "chi รจ" which means, "Who is it?" and we tell them we are missionaries and they say no thank you. But at least they are nice about it.

So one day all of our apointments fell through, so we had like four hours of finding to do which is the worst news ever. It was like my second or third day here, so I was just exhausted and the days seemed to drag on FOREVER.  

Pick a Door, Any Door

After about a million rejections, we were looking for a less active lady.  We got into the apartment, but she wasn't there.  So we were at the top of this building and Sorella Cojan said "Pick a door."....  There was one plain one and one with a million plants, so I picked the plant lady.  

She answered and proceded to let us in and gave us a tour of her tiny little house. I thought she must just be lonely because all I understood was that her husband had died.  At the end, Sorella Cojan told me that she kept saying the same things over and over again and kept kissing the pass-along card we gave her... It was a nice relief just to have someone let me in and by the end Sorella Cojan said that she was asking us to move in with her. 

The Lord's Work

After about a million more houses, I was feeling pretty distraught.  I couldn't help wonder what in the world was I doing here in Italy trying to tell people in three sentences that I want to teach them about Jesus Christ.  We didn't know what else to do, so we said a prayer asking for guidance... 

Afterwards we started walking and I thought, "Heavenly Father... I'm here... in Italy... just walking the streets in the middle of the night with an hour to go... Please just tell me what you want me to do."  

After my little prayer, Sorella Cojan turned to a house that I had noticed and wanted to stop there.  The girl inside was really excited to see us and said that her mom takes the english class that we teach here.  She said she would love to have us come back!  

Afterwards I had a thought to turn onto a street, and we did and we ran into a man who we ended up teaching in the middle of the street!  He took the Book of Mormon and we got his number to call back.

Then we ran into another girl who gave us her number and asked if we could bring her a Book of Mormon in Russian! 

It was a little miracle in my life and reminded me whose work we are doing.  It reminded me why I am here and that Heavenly Father is always aware of us and our needs.

A Golden ...... Guy

Just yesterday we were waiting at a bus stop, after more casa in casa, and a man walked up to us and started asking questions.  He told us he was looking for the truth and so I was thinking, "This guy is golden!"

Then he goes on to say, "It only makes sense that God would bring me two beautiful girls to bring it to me because he knows I wouldn't listen to ugly girls."  Sorella Cojan's face turned to stone.  

He said things like "Why does God make ugly people?" and "I am looking for a woman in my life." and "You are two very beautiful girls."  So looks like well be passing him to the elders and see how badly he wants the truth then, haha.

Shut the Front Door!

Okay I have 5 more min!  I forgot a funny story...  That night that I was having a hard time.. right before the prayer, we were doing casa in casa and this one guy got SO MAD when he saw us at the door... He started yelling in Italian and chased us out of the building.  

We stood across the street and watched him try and slam the door to the building about 20 times (no exaggeration), trying to make sure we couldn't get back in.  I just stood there and looked him in the eye each time he opened it and tried to close it again.

Also I had to give my testimony in the branch on Sunday. We have a really cute little branch and a cool little chapel.  I really want to work on getting the ward involved in missionary work so we can do more teaching and less finding.  We only have one progressing right now.  

Relief Society was the best though.  I kept thinking people were arguing with the teacher but Sorella Cojan said it wasn't arguing; it was just them answering the question.  Everyone interrupts each other and it's so funny.  

I miss you all! The mission is hard, but just like anything else, once you get through the first four days it gets easier.  I'm starting to get used to the place.. I know the bus schedule and my Italian is improving a lot. 

Where We Live

Where We Study

Where I get Ready 
(I have my own bathroom! Score!)

Where We Walk

I eat pasta everyday, but I've actually lost weight here...(they don't have mint brownies... that's probably why).  Sorella Cojan, in her French way, told me "you know if you keep going like this you are going to gain a lot of weight" so I said okay fine we can skip the pizza tonight... 

Cooking with Kait

We cook a lot on our own and Sorella Cojan is really healthy.  Oh yeah, we walk a TON hah I got my first Italian blister! Yay... but really this place is great.. I'm loving the city a lot. I'm learning a ton and it seems like there is a new adventure every day.. 

There are so many little things that I want to write home about but never have the time. We talk to a lot of crazy people which is funny...

But everyone is seriously so nice and don't worry about safety because I feel so safe here. It reminds me a lot of Israel in some ways so it makes me very happy to be here. I love you all so much! 

(Email sent March 27, 2013)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Mission Home and First Assignment

President and Sister Kelly

Checking in from Rome... But not for long because I'm headed to Cagliari on the island of Sardegna!!! My address is 

Via Alberto Riva Villasanta, 2
(09100) Cagliari (CA)

My trainer is Sorella Cojan from France!  I fly out to my area on Friday and I'm doing splits in Rome tomorrow. Five of the other sisters are in Rome, two in Bari and I'll be on Sardegna with three other sisters total. Can't wait!

(Email Sent - 3/20/13)

On My Way to Italia

I got to see my sister and mom at the airport.  
Paige was on her way from CA to the MTC as I was leaving.
She is going to Milan and I got to introduce her to the missionaries
leaving to go to her mission.

Double Name Tags

The only time we'll get to see each other while we are both missionaries!!

Here is a link to Paige's Milan missionary blog:

(March 19, 2013)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Arrivederci MTC!

Ciao Tutti! 

So it's my week of lasts here in the MTC. How strange is that? I can't believe how fast it has all gone by. We've had our last teaching apointment in the TRC. We've had our last Tuesday Devotional and Choir practice. We've had our last hosting day. Our last lessons with our 'investigators' were yesterday... and now it's our last p-day here in the MTC.

On to the world of real missionary work. 
We are getting so excited to leave. We can hardly pay attention during class. We had one of our teachers, Sorella Urban, guess where our first areas in the mission will be. The guess for me is either in Rome or Ragusa down in Sicilia. I'm fine with all of it. 

Yesterday Fratello Pesci was telling us all about the food there. He said they have something called "la graffa" and its basically a pretzel doughnut with nutella and white chocolate inside covered in sugar. Yikes. 

I'm Dreaming of....?

Italian is still coming along well.. I'm definitely learning faster the second time around. No dreams in Italian yet (that I can remember) but my roommates told me the other day that they heard me sleep-singing in Italian so I'd say that's a step in the right direction ahah.  I think they said I was singing "Lo Posso Scritture" which means "I can scriptures"... so there's that. 

Today is our last temple day which makes me sad because they keep telling us we probably won't make it to the dedication, so that is 16 1/2 months of no temple for me... (wow that number is going down fast).  I saw Preston's car in the parking lot last week which was exciting... I had to hound down some elders for a pen so I could leave a note on his car.  It's weird because I see a lot of people I know who are teachers at the MTC and the teachers I have are friends with a lot of my friends, so It's weird to have those connections to the outside world. 

The Sorellle have been craving a movie night and on Sunday we watched "Legacy" which was probably one of the funniest moments of the MTC.  There was quite a reaction to the pioneer love story in the movie haha.  During the mild kissing scene, the elder in front of us was literally covering his eyes for fear of getting sent home I'm sure. They had to quiet down the missionaries for their hollering and whistling.  But it was a fun little break.

It's Getting Real

Our TRC on Monday was really great too.  We had a mom and her 5-year-old daughter from Milan come in.  Her husband is getting his MBA here at BYU. We had to change our lesson around a bit.  Normally we only teach RMs,  so we had to fit our lesson to a 5-year-old girl.  It was so much fun teaching a family as compared to a single investigator... It made me realize how real this is going to be in a couple of days. 

Oh by the way... I saw Elder Archuleta at the MTC a couple days ago. Well, not actually him... but there was a suit coat left in the TALL Lab (a program we use to practice the language) and the tag on it said "Elder Archuleta" so the sisters all got pretty excited about that.  Suddenly everything becomes funnier in the MTC. 

Italian is Funny

Speaking of funny things... We make a lot of language mistakes that are really funny to us. 

Like when the sisters were teaching their male investigator and asked what he was "expecting"... they used the word in the context of pregnancy and he was pretty confused.   Same as when I asked him if he had a "husband."

My companion used the Italian word for "exciting" in our TRC lesson, which has a much different connotation in Italia (and not one missionaries should be using). 

My favorite was when two of the Anziani were teaching the Word of Wisdom, and our teacher came back to tell us that they kept telling him that he couldn't drink "milk" and he kept asking, "Why can't I drink milk?"  

He told us one where some of the old elders mixed up the words for "help" and "kill" so they promised their investigator that God would Kill him. Ooops. 

Getting Excited

I can't think of anything else in particular that happened this week. We are just mostly getting excited to go to Italy

I'm actually kind of sad to be leaving the MTC because our district gets along really well and I love my roommates so much.   It's sad to think we'll be split up, but at least we might be able to see each other from time to time in Italy. 

They keep joking that I'll be the one sent to Malta for my whole mission and miss everything because I'm the only one who has ever had a desire to learn arabic (they speak a mix of italian and arabic in Malta) so who knows... but wherever I go, I am excited to go. 

I've Got a Message

Being in the MTC has strengthened my faith that I can do this... I can bring people this message, and nothing is more important than that right now.  

I read this quote by President Hinckley that says, "We are here to assist our Father in Heaven in His work & His glory, to 'bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man' (Moses 1:39). Your obligation is as serious in your sphere of responsibility as is my obligation in my sphere."  

What a great work to be a part of:  to bring people the love and support of the Savior Jesus Christ and provide them an opportunity to return to Him.  Every day I am grateful for the chance I have to be a missionary. 

Arrivederci MTC! I'll miss the 4-part harmonies to "Come Thou Fount" in the showers every night. I'll miss the sweet sister sighs and the nervous elder laughs. I'll miss the strange things I overhear on campus like  "IS THAT MITT ROMNEY?!"

... but I probably won't miss it too much because I'LL BE IN ITALY! I leave Tuesday at 12:35 I believe. I'll tell you all about it next time.
Ci Vediamo! 

Con tutti del mio cuore, 
Sorella O'Connor

Sisterly Advice

Paige! I am so excited for you to get here. I've told everyone to look for you, so you'll have a nice welcome party. You'd better add me onto your e-mail list. I want to know who all of your teachers are and everything you are learning. Don't worry about the language. Actually, don't worry about anything. It's hard but I know that you will love it. You'll probably come back speaking better Italian than I will. 

My advice for you (and all other missionaries coming in soon!):

You are making the BEST decision. Lately I've been wondering why I even considered not coming. There is nothing more incredible than knowing how important the work is that you are doing. Elder Holland said that you will never do anything more important in your life; you will do things that are equally important but nothing more important.

A little rundown of the first day:

(I was so lost the first day and wished I had known what will happen after I actually got here): They'll pick you up and take you to the main building where they will give you your name tag, make sure all your information is right, and all your keys and things. Then a host sister will pick you up and take you to your room. You'll drop your things off and just grab scriptures PMG and note taking things (if you don't bring one they will give you an english one here) then she'll take you to the bookstore to pick up all of your learning materials. You take that to your classroom (I'm going to leave notes in your building to look for) where you will meet your teacher and your district and your new companion! After that they might have you do an orientation video (I did mine later) and then to a welcome devotional with the MTC presdiency. You'll eat dinner and after that you'll go to a teaching activity (in English) with a ton of other missionaries. 


Always remember why you came and try to keep the eternal perspective. Make a goal of what kind of missionary you want to be at the end of your mission and then make your everyday choices based off of that final goal. Think of the day when you go home and what you want to be like then.   With that end perspective, it makes it easier to be obediant with the smaller rules and choices along the way. You will never regret being diligent and working hard, and you'll always regret not trying your best.  

Be forgiving of yourself when you aren't perfect.  No one expects you to be.  Growth comes little-by-little and choice-by-choice; it's not a change that happens when the name tag goes on. If you don't get it right the first time, don't be hard on yourself.   As long as you are striving to be better and working on your weaknesses little-by-little, you'll make those improvements as you go. 

I think of it like those "Biggest Loser" shows.   You see the people at the begining and think they'll never lose all that weight.  And they don't lose it all in a week or two; they lose the weight as they make small choices every day to eat healthier and work harder. The same is for the mission:  growth comes in small choices every day.

Lastly, love every moment of it: love the hard times and the happy times, because these times will never come again.  Always be grateful for your call and pay attention to what you can do in that moment to be better.  

Don't worry about what happened yesterday and don't stress about tomorrow.  Think of how you can be an effective missionary by being dedicated to your purpose for that day... the days go by like weeks sometimes and then the weeks go by like days.  As you work hard, the time passes quickly. 

You are in for an adventure. Write it all down; keep notes of funny things that happened during the week to write home about or you'll forget (I wish I had done that more).  You'll be great!  Everyone is excited to have you here.  Always remember that no one wants you to succeed more than your Heavenly Father! Love you! 

Practical Advice for the MTC:

* Bring a plastic little shower caddy to carry to the bathroom... it'll come in handy... also shower sandals would have been nice. 

* Bring pictures! everyone wants to see your friends and family and you'll be glad you have them.
*  Laundry bag for laundry day! they sell them in the bookstore but when I looked they were like $25 or something. 

* Snacks! Not so much candy because you'll get sick of that but popcorn and chips you'll probably want.  You can also get that in the store if you want but the selection is sometimes limited. 

* Bring pjs & workout clothes. You can't do laundry for a week so keep that in mind. You don't want to be sleeping in what you were sweating in earlier that day.
* Don't worry about speakers for the MTC because you can't play music here.  I still don't know why but just bring what you need for Italy. 

* Bring several notebooks and good pens (my favorite are micron pens because they work well in your scriptures).  You'll need different ones for different kind of things... language study, personal study, lesson plans, spiritual thoughts... etc. you can buy all that in the bookstore as well if you don't want to worry about it.

* Bring an alarm clock! Its nice to have one of your own to rely on.. I ended up getting one here.
Also, if you forget things you can buy a ton of things here. They also have a little section of italian teaching tools so take a look at those... they are fun. 


Sister McCann

 Friends from Freshman Year

Goodbye Fresh Nover...  See you in 16 months!!!

(Week 5 - Email dated 3/14/13)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Slow Rumbling of the Spirit

Ciao tutti! 

Come State?!  I am in a particularly good mood today so my e-mail might be a little on the over-positive side today. 

One of the Free Services I Provide:

The other day at dinner, Sorella Mikesell was saying "How do I tell my family that I love the MTC without them thinking that I am being sarcastic?" I don't know how to answer that because I'm sure you are all sitting at the computer thinking, "What in the world has happened to Kaitlin? She is never this positive about anything"
Which is true.  

At the MTC there are plenty of things that I would love to complain about, and yet I'm still the happiest person ever. Even when they serve mass-produced steak and shrimp on Fast Sunday.  At least they still have ice cream.

Countdown to Italy

I can't believe that I only have one more p-day here in the MTC. In less than two weeks I'll be in Italy. We hit our one-month mark yesterday and it still feels like my first week here.  

I got to be a HOST for the first time yesterday, which was a ton of fun, but really weird because I just kept thinking about my emotions on the first day and how I had no idea what I was doing. We were joking beforehand on what we would say to these new sisters.   I was tempted to just say, 

"Leave while you can; you can probably still catch your parents at the exit!"  

But instead I turned into the person I always feared I would become, gushing about how wonderful the MTC is and how they are so lucky to be here. The scariest part is that I meant it. It is a weird thought that the sisters just getting here will be leaving the same time I do since they were all going to the states. 
I've already seen friends come and go through the MTC and it gets me so excited to finally be in Italy.

Like a Tsunami

I think what I love most about my time here is how much my teachers get us excited for the work. 

Just the other day Fratello Pesci sat us down to talk about the work in Italy. I made some comment about how we probably wouldn't be teaching very many people because of how strong religious customs are in Italy and how hard it is to be a missionary in Europe. 

He got really serious and started telling us all about how Italy is ready for the gospel and how the people are finally ready for the truth. We are no longer planting seeds in Italy. The temple is being built there for a reason and its because the people are finally prepared for it. 

They way they talk about the work is like a slow rumbling of the spirit, like a tsunami that is building and ready to hit the country

Sorella Mikesell's brother served in Rome and he had sent her this paper about the growth of the church in Italy. The mission re-opened in 1966 and at the time they only had around 26 members and by 2006 there were 21,000 members in Italy. 

The people are so ready for this message and we are so ready to teach it. Our teachers said that we will spend a lot of time teaching and hardly anytime tracting and finding so don't doubt that the work of the Lord is progressing in Italy.

We also had a lot of really great speakers this week. On Sunday we heard from the Provo Temple president and his talk was INCREDIBLE. I usually only take notes when something really powerful hits me and about 10 min into his talk I was furiously writing down notes. 

He talked a lot about the symbolism of the temple and the blessings that come from the covenants we make there. I got a ton of great insights in his talk that I am excited to look for when we go to the temple later on today.   Why Mormons Build TemplesHere

Missions are Forever

 That night we listened to a talk given by Elder Holland called "Missions are Forever" and it was perfect.  

I've been having a hard time with exact obedience to mission rules because honestly I think sometimes people take it too far and people start making up their own rules that they expect other people to follow. 
It's especially challenging when as a 21-year-old you've been on your own for several years and then you willingly put yourself into a situation where people are telling you what to do all the time.  

Elder Holland just reminded me of the importance of exact obedience on a mission and how it's not about following the rules made up by 19-year-old boys, but the rules that Heavenly Father has given us to allow us to be the best and most focused missionaries we can be. 

Missions are so short and so precious, I don't want to waste any of my time having a bad attitude because of rules I don't understand. 

We also heard from this Brazilian member of the Quorum of the Seventy on Tuesday who was really great. His name is Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis and his wife started off talking about her conversion story and how she was grateful for a returned missionary who took the time to find her and teach her the gospel, who just happens to be her husband today. 

One thing she said that particularly impressed me was how she knew that Heavenly Father loved her enough and knew her well enough to send this young RM into the southern part of Brazil to a small town to find her and bring her the gospel and change her life forever. 

When Elder Aidukaitis started his talk he said, "Elders, learn how to baptize.  It will come in handy one day" and pointed to his cute wife. He talked about the Three Kingdoms of Glory and how we have the choice as to which kingdom we want to end up in.  Once we make that choice, all other choices become easier. 

It was really great. It reminded me of how I want to serve as a missionary; I don't want to be mediocre or feel like I just 'got through' my mission, I want to serve diligently and to the best of my abilities. If I make that choice now, then when hard choices come on my mission I can think, "What kind of missionary did I want to be and what decision will help me to become that missionary?"

Which Princess are You?

Other than that everything is going great. It's finally warming up here so we are all happy. The girls keep laughing at me and making fun of my ridiculously good moods.  On Fast Sunday when everyone was grumpy and dying, they made fun of me for saying things like "Can you hear the birds singing?" like some sort of Disney Princess. 

They all think I'm nice or something which makes me laugh because my mom always says "People think your nice, but you're actually not that nice". Tricked them again. 

Sorella Mikesell always says "I feel like God just loves you a little more than everyone else."  So that's the new joke for me whenever something goes right... or even when things don't... like how I only got three letters this week... (two of them being from my mother).   They just say "It's okay because God loves you a little more than everyone else" which puts things into perspective. 

Fish Nuggets

Whenever I feel sorry for myself or feel like I have something to complain about (which is usually the food, like fish nuggets or chicken fried steak for dinner), a stern little voice comes into my head and says, 

"You have NOTHING to complain about." and I think, "You are absolutely right, I don't." 

because everyday I am thankful to be on a mission. Every day I am thankful to be putting all of my energy towards building my relationship with God. I am focused on learning all I can in order to relate to the people of Italy.  

I am doing all I can to align my will with God's will and nothing is more rewarding than that. Nothing is more rewarding then knowing that you are dedicating everything towards fulfilling the will of the Lord.. and this is His will. This is His work and His glory and every day I'm grateful to be a part of this work.

Other fabulous things that happened this week...

Sorella Mikesell's mom sent Cafe Rio through the mail. Hallelujah

My Teacher said that my Italian is coming along really well and that my accent is really great; it doesn't sound too "white girlish." 

Sorella Anderson's brother-in-law sent her the lyrics to Les Miserables so we have been singing "Look down, look down, don't look them in the eye. Look down, look down, you're here until you die" during our cleaning assignments. 

I got a cold this week so I had an excuse to not do anything at gym. 

Overheard at the MTC - the DLVersion

Things the Elders say that make the Sisters laugh:

"Nordstrom only sells knock-off watches."
"Well when I was Student Body President..."
"It is my job to chastise you."
"Mariah Carey is way more talented than Beyonce."
"This (name any gospel principle) reminds me of my championsip (name any sport) game in High School."

"Did you see the quote of the week?" - DL
"Yeah, where did that quote come from?" - me
"I made it up myself." - DL
"Oh so now its okay to quote ourselves" - me

Somehow we still love them to death. Probably because they will wait in long lines to bring me Graham Canyon ice cream when I haven't gotten letters in a week.


Kelsey, I'm so sorry to hear about Tyler, he is really a great guy and I was really sad to hear about his passing. Take comfort in knowing that he completed what Heavenly Father sent him to do and that he is probably so happy to be home with his Heavenly Father. This life is so short, and there is so much for us to do, but it doesn't even compare with the work the Lord has prepared for us after this life. The gospel is such a blessing; you know where he is & and you are so blessed to have had his influence in your life. I hope you are doing okay. 

 (Week 4 - Email dated 3/07/13)

Monday, March 4, 2013

We are Here to Learn to Love Other People

Ciao Ciao Ciao!

Missionary "Thumbs Up"

I can't believe that another P-day has come. The weeks are starting to fly by and it feels like I was just writing home yesterday.  

New Mission President

We heard about our new mission President coming in July. One of the teachers we sit with at lunch is the Italian teacher for the missionary couples and mission presidents, and he showed us a picture of the new Rome President. He and his wife are President Michael and Anna Kay Waddoups

Missionary Life - Italy

We've been asking our teachers a lot about missionary work and missionary life in Italy.  Apparently we are allowed to take NAPS, which probably made me the happiest sorella ever. They have their own kind of siesta in Italy and as long as our lessons and planning are done we are allowed to nap during that time. 

Also, I've heard that it's SUPER difficult to get packages in Italy from the states. The mafia basically can do whatever they want, and Sorella Mikesell said her brother (who served in Rome) had to pay $180 for a small birthday package.  So looks like I won't be getting any packages from the states

But I am seriously so excited to go! It's crazy to think that in three short weeks I'll be waking up in Italy. 

Missionary Life - MTC

The MTC time is going by so fast. As much as I want to be in Italy, I'm starting to get a little sad to think about leaving. I absolutely love the Sorelle in my district, and I'm sad to think that we most likely will never serve together again! We keep making post mission plans together.  They are so funny.

Will Work for Chips

My companion was having a hard time staying focused during language study, and we made a goal to memorize the First Vision as a district by last Sunday.  So during language study time we were working on it, and to keep her motivated I had to feed her a Sun Chip everytime she got a line correct. -- haha  She LOVES Sun Chips.  So much so that we make daily runs to the vending machine and she runs out of her card money the first day, so we have to go to the bookstore to buy a big bag of french onion. I've never seen someone love chips so much (which is a big deal having lived with Paige for so long). 

MTC Bucket List

Also, she is all about MTC traditions and she has a bucket list that we are continually crossing off like "Elder Day" where all the sisters dress up to look like elders (as much as we are able) and the other night she had all the sisters dress up like ninjas for pictures. 

"Elder Day"

Things I would never do of my own free will. But I love her to death. We all get a long really well and support each other fabulously. Our room time is so valuable to me because we all come from such different areas in life so everyone has something valuable to contribute to our conversations. They teach me a lot. 

Close Quarters

We got new sisters in our room last night. So I had to give up my mirror and extra closet. Sacrifices of a mission right? They seem really sweet. They are both going to Little Rock, AR so they will be gone before we leave which is so weird. 

Spreading Rumors

Oh and we got to hear from M. Russell Ballard on our Tuesday night devotional which was pretty cool. I totally guessed it would be an apostle because we were singing "Consider the Lilies" for the choir.

 I might have accidentally spread a rumor causing a frenzy among the sisters when after the opening prayer at practice I said "Cat's out of the bag guys, It's Elder Bednar." Ooops.  

FHE with Grandpa Ballard

But Elder Ballard gave a great talk. He focused on the Savior and read from the Book of Mormon in Third Nephi. It felt a lot like a Family Home Evening with grandpa teaching the lesson. 

He emphasized the fact that we aren't here to learn the gospel, we already know the gospel, we are here to learn to love other people. 

He talked a lot about how the Lord is trusting of his young people, one line I really liked was "The Lord is learning to trust in you as you learn to trust in Him." It's a powerful feeling to know that the Lord is trusting His work in your hands. 

Overheard at the MTC

As spiritual and powerful the MTC is, it's also the place where I hear the weirdest things. 
On this weeks episode of "Overheard at the MTC":

"Wolverine is probably one of the 3 Nephites"
"Do you think my hair scares people?"
"That's not Hipster, that's Hippie"
"Do any of you sisters need a hug? I'm going around giving hugs."
"Nowhere in the White Handbook does it say that I CAN'T DANCE"
"I'm going to ask you guys a question that may arouse some bad feelings:  Who likes the movie ANTS more than A Bug's Life? "
"Did I sound Ghetto? I've been working on that."

Some other highlights of the week was when we made Anziano Birberg say "I'm a Beautiful Butterfly!" (from the movie A Bug's Life) and when we made Sorella Andersen say "IT'S SO FLUFFY I'M GONNA DIE!" (from Despicable Me) because that's what she sounds like most of the time. 

An Elder from another mission coming to draw a map of Middle Earth for us.

That's all from Provo. Its cold here. Everyday I walk by the Russians and think "Thank Heavens I'm not going to Russia... it's too cold."

 I love you all! Keep the letters coming. I love hearing from everyone.

(Week 3 - Email dated 2/28/13)

Weekly Schedule

MTC Friends:
Sorella O'Connor with Sister Brooks and Sister Jackson from Lanai Ward

Cherishing every day I have left with Fresh Nover.

Sorella O'Connor and Sister Hutchings