Fino al giorno in cui ci rivedrem (last letter 10/29/14)

Carissima famiglia mia,

I’ve been staring at the screen for 5 minutes now and my fingers are shaky. I don’t know why, I just don’t know how to put into words what this last year and a half has meant for me.  I don’t know how to really think right now.  But, it’s okay. Forgive me for being unorganized and I’m just going to type what I’m thinking.
This week was great!  Another week of working hard.  We didn’t have any time to go home to eat between appointments so we bought panini’s every day and ate them on the side of the road. Life is beautiful.
We found another family. Miracles!  He is Italian and she is from Thailand.  They have a beautiful daughter.  She is super Buddhist, so it was really interesting. We are passing them to the anziani because they don’t live in our area but  he was super interested and curious to read the Book of Mormon.   We found this family doing contacting in this area because our investigator did not show up to our appointment.  But, the Lord places people in our path always, we always need to look for the miracle and push harder for it because He is just waiting to bless us!
I love my companion, Sorella Bringas.  She is the most amazing missionary and I feel so priveleged to have been able to serve with her.  She trained me at the end of my mission, haha.  She’s training next transfer here so I’m excited for some greenie power to hit Mestre.
Last night we taught my favorite phillipini the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is our purpose as missionaries: Thanks to Christ We Can Be Cleansed from Sin, Faith, Repentance, Baptism, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End.  It was such a beautiful lesson, filled with inspired questions, testimony, and lost of listening.  The spirit was overwhelming to me.  As I we were asking them what obstacles were keeping them from going forward on the path to the celestial kingdom, I was filled with an immense gratitude that I am on the right path.  That I am going exactly where I need to go in order to end up with my Heavenly Father.
Italy is a beautiful country.  Yes, for the tuscan hills, venezian gondolas, beautiful cathedrals, and the colorful houses on every corner.  But it’s a beautiful country for the people.  They have taught me how to love.  These people have taught me how to open my heart and give it to them, to give it all to the Lord.  Heavenly Father blesses us with the ability to see His children the way that He sees them.  I have never been filled with so much love for people in my entire life.  Love that just bursts out of your chest and you will do anything to make sure people know that you feel that love. Dammi cuore.  Only Jesus Christ can give us the ability to love people like that, thanks to His atonement.
Heavenly Father has taught me to never doubt Him.  Every day He shows me this.  Yesterday my companion had to go to a doctor’s appointment that would cost us 150 euro. We barely had enough money between the 2 of us because it’s the end of the month. Sorella Bringas kept saying “The Lord will provide.”We were worried about being able to pay for groceries today.  My wonderful companion spoke to the doctor about the gospel and it softened her heart.  When Sorella Bringas asked how much she needed to pay, the dottoressa told us that it wouldn’t cost anything. She accepted a Book of Mormon as payment 🙂 We were dumbfounded.  This is just one example of thousands the God has shown me that He can do anything when we put our faith in Him.
During the mission I have never been so aware of my own weaknesses.  It has been/is the hardest obstacle for me – feeling that I’ve done enough for my Heavenly Father.  As I’ve poured my heart out in prayer to Him, He answers me in little ways every day that He loves me.  I know that the promise in Ether 12:27 is a real promise.  The Lord turns our weaknesses into strengths. Every night, I kneel down and ask my Heavenly Father for forgiveness.  I tell Him about my day, and I resolve to do better the next day. I have found myself saying the words “Heavenly Father, thou knowest that I love thee.”  What does He ask us to do? To feed His sheep.   I know I have not been the perfect missionary, there were things I could have done better every day, but this is His work.  He will not let us fail.
Consecration.  The only thing that is truly, completely ours, is our agency.  The Lord has given us everything.  In the end it is all His, all, except our agency. It is a beautiful gift that is necesary to the plan of salvation.  I will admit that agency has been difficult at times for me, as people choose to reject the plan of happiness! Sometimes I wish I could just make them understand.  But, I know it’s so important and without it we cannot progress.  True consecration is giving our will completely over to Him.  Giving Him our whole heart.  It can be really, really, hard. But, it is the most intelligent thing that we can do.
I love my Savior, Jesus Christ.  Ah.  I don’t know really how to write down my gratitude for Him.  For His atoning sacrifice.  Not only does His atonement cleanse us from our sins, but it enables us.  It gives us the power to become like Him.
I know that no effort is wasted. Every little thing we do to build up the Lord’s kingdom is seen by Him.  I am so grateful for this opportunity that He has given me to serve Him. For meeting these amazing members, investigators, and people who have built my faith so much. I have gotten to plant lots of little seeds on my mission, in all sorts of ways.  I read this scripture this week from Doctrine and Covenants and it spoke to my heart:

Let no man count them as small things; for there is much which lieth in futurity, pertaining to the saints, which depends upon these things.

 16 You know, brethren, that a very large ship is benefited verymuch by a very small helm in the time of a storm, by being kept workways with the wind and the waves.

I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon.  It has the power to change lives.  I know it is the word of God and it is the foundation to my testimony of this restored gospel.
Well I probably just wrote my homecoming talk let’s be honest.
Vi voglio un mondo di bene.  Sono cosi grato per il mio tempo qui a Mestre.  Per tutte le persone che ho incontrato. This Sunday I felt love from the members, which was a big miracle. to say the least.
Sono grata per il mio Salvatore.  So che questa è la chiesa restaurata. Gesù Cristo è il nostro fondamento. Lui ci da la forza di affrontare qualsiasi cosa.
I love you and I will see you soon 🙂  I will miss this place.  It will always have un GRANDE POSTO nel mio cuore.  Ah.  I have loved every moment, ogni piccolo momento that has changed me and brought me closer to my Savior.
Con tanto amore e un GRANDE ABBRACCIO,
Sorella Strong
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