Last week in the MTC

Caro la mia famiglia!

I fly to Italy in 6 DAYS!!! I am beyond excited, a little nervous, and way in over my head.  But the Lord is with me always and I know I can do this.

This last week has been one of the best weeks so far.  Maybe because we’re leaving soon, and we’re freaking out a little bit, and so we’re working so much harder.

A few stories:

So last Thursday, I decided we needed to speak our language more.  A lot more.  And it’s kind of hard to speak your language by yourself.  So, I started up this game.  Not the best idea, but still a good idea, I guess.  We could speak English only in the cafeteria and in our residence halls.  Whoever spoke Italian had the wonderful responsibility of cleaning the classroom for the day.  Well, everyone was on board.  We all want to work hard and do our best.  Except one person wasn’t exactly too excited about it.   Yes, maybe the game should have given a positive reward instead of a negative one, but I came up with it in about 30 seconds.  Anyways, this Elder wasn’t too happy about it.  Eventually, he admitted it was because he felt like he was terrible at Italian, and this game would make him feel worse.  Then he started saying that he didn’t believe in himself at all, and he knew that the Lord did, but he didn’t.  My companion and I watched as the other elders encouraged him to try harder.  And then Anziano Baker said, “Would Jesus want you to believe in you?”  Pretty much one of the sweetest things ever. Because as Anziano Baker said it, he realized it for himself too. This elder sat there for a second, and then said, “yeah, you’re right.  I’ll do it.”  And we did it.  for about three days 🙂 But let me tell you. It was really hard, but so worth it.  I felt like I was finally putting forth the effort that the Lord expects of me.  We felt the spirit in our lessons more, and I felt better about myself because I was working harder.  We stayed more focused because we were only speaking Italian.  So I believe in SYL.  (And pretty soon we’ll be in Italy, so we won’t have any other choice, haha).

Another funny story.  So in class we role-played how to act when an investigator (someone who is investigating the church) doesn’t follow up with a commitment we leave with them or read from the Book of Mormon.  When someone doesn’t do their reading, we are devastated!  Anyways, the first time I acted devastated I got a little…dramatic.  I said, in this louder, high pitched, voice after our investigator said he hadn’t done the reading :”Perche, fratello, perche?”  And my companion was the opposite. She was super serious about it and slightly angry.  I was serious, just in a more emotionally upset way…

Anyways, our criticism was that our emotions were on the complete opposite spectrum:  I was way up there and she was way down there, and we needed to find a middle.  I don’t know if that makes any sense… But we figured it out eventually 🙂 I’m trying to be myself while teaching, but I probably can’t be super dramatic while teaching, so I’m trying to find the balance 🙂

As far as our lessons are going, they’re doing pretty well.  We taught the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity this week.  When we taught Rosalba, we brought along Sorella Gross (a convert) so she could share her experience about not drinking coffee any more.  She bore such a sweet testimony about how she doesn’t know everything, but God does, and so she will follow His prophet’s teachings, even if they’re really hard.   We taught Sebastian about the Law of Chastity.  He was a little confused by what we were saying and what we meant by the law of chastity, and it was a little difficult to explain in Italian, but we did, and he promised to live it.

Sunday, we had a devotional by a man named Ted Gibbons acting as Willard Richards (a close friend of Joseph Smith’s) perform a monologue for us.  Maybe it was a little cheesy and everything,  but I thought a lot about Joseph Smith and his sacfrice for the truth.  I’m sitting there listening to this story.  And I realized – -people don’t know about the amazing prophet Joseph Smith.  They don’t know his story.  I’ve grown up in primary hearing this story over and over and over again. I’ve been reading The Book of Mormon every day for so long that I forget people are living without this knowledge.  (Going to BYU kinda does that too. but it’s no excuse.) I’m sitting there, hearing this man tell the story of Joseph’s death and sacrifice, and I’m just filled with such testimony and conviction, and the desire to tell everyone about it.  The thought even crossed my mind, how can I tell people about this?  OH WAIT, THAT’S WHAT I’M DOING. I’M ON A MISSION.  I get to tell the world about Joseph Smith.  And I’m sitting there listening and contemplating about this amazing man and his sacrifice, and then looking out around me at an army of missionaries, and how far the church has come since Joseph Smith prayed in a grove of trees.  And I’m filled with such a burning, undeniable conviction that I am a part of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  And I’m going to tell the world about it.

I also finished the Book of Mormon today.   I read it in 5 weeks! So, anything is possible people.  It’s my favorite book. (Even more than Brothers Karamazov. duh.)  I know that this book is true. I love it so much.  Everything rests upon it.  It was written for us, and it has brought me closer to Christ than anything else.


Io so che questa chiesa e vera. Io so che Joseph Smith era un profeta. Io so che Il Libro di Mormon e la parola di Dio. Io so che quando preghiamo del Libro di Mormon, possiamo riceve una risposta. Se lo chiederete se queste parole sono vere, con il cuore sincero, con intento reale, avendo fede in Cristo, possiamo sapere che questo libro e vero.  Io so che mediante il potere dello spirito santo voi potrete la verita del ogni cosa. Gesu vi ama. Gesu e il Salvatore del mundo.  Posso fare tutte cose con Cristo.

Vi voglio bene,
Sorella Strong
P.S. I am really. really. really. really. really. really. excited about going to Italy in 6 days.  Next email – I WILL BE THERE. June 11 we fly out. I love the Italia people so much and I haven’t even met them.Image IMG_0993 IMG_0992 IMG_0994 IMG_0984 IMG_0985 IMG_0986 IMG_0987 IMG_0989 IMG_0999
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