una settimana dei scambi

Ciao famiglia,

So, this week I did 2 exchanges, one with Sorella Carlock here in Mestre and another with Sorella Haslem in my home city of Verona. Oh, how the time flies. It’s freaking me out. A lot. But, not really. I love Sorella Gillette, we’re so alike it’s starting to weird us out. We pretty much have all the same weaknesses, and the only thing that’s stronger about me is my name (ha. yeah, heard a lot of those jokes this week…) so we talk a lot, get distracted, and are easily guilted. We’re learning!

My scambio with Sorella Carlock was such a sweet experience for me. She helped me remember some of my strengths of a missionary, and I learned so much from her. It was cool to see her a year later after we arrived in Italy and see how much she has changed, and how much the Lord truly is shaping us into being better people. We taught a woman who was found by the missionaries 4 yeasr ago, and had interest in meeting us again. She is so so amazing! She was so open to learning more, and felt the spirit so strongly in the church. She talked to us about how the world around us is so empty , and how she just feels like she’s searching for that happiness. She lives in Venice too, so we’re exctied because now we can start traveling by boat more often 🙂

Yesterday, I did a scambio with Sorella Haslem in Verona again. We went back and found some investigators that I started teaching a year ago, and they were so amazing, but still not really that interested. It was amazing, sitting there in that lesson, with memories just rushing back. I biked those Verona streets, like I did a year ago, and it was such a sweet experience. Riding over the bridge that made me fall in love with Italy, seeing the church I had first felt at home, everything. I felt like a different person, and it brought me so much comfort and happiness.

Doing so many scambi with the sorelle brings a lot of time for reflection, as we constantly set goals to improve togheter and learn lots of new ways to do missionary work. I think I have had trouble comparing myself to other missionaries, and it would always hurt my heart a little bit to hear about all the new converts people have and these amazing relationships they had built. I would question myself a little, wondering why Heavenly Father hadn’t blessed me with those types of miralces, or wondering if I had done enough in my past cities because I hadn’t seen as many baptisms or reactivations as other people. Going back to Verona brought such peace to my heart, because I know that I gave as much a year ago that I could. And maybe we didn’t baptize every month, but we stopped and talked with a lot of people, and we improved their day, maybe just for that moment. Can I just tell you how beautiful that is? I literally get the opportunity to bike around like crazy so that people can know Heavenly Father loves them. Maybe they didn’t get baptized, but we truly did help them. I know that as we follow the Spirit, Heavenly Father will use us the way that He wants to, we just have to be worthy of it.

I know that we all can do this for others. In the end, it’s only the relationships that we build with others and how we strive to help them feel God’s love and saving grace through His atonement.

I love you all so much. I am so grateful for the power of the Atonement in my life, for the opportunity and blessing and gift I have to repent every day, and that I can wear my Savior’s name on my nametag for the next 4 1/2 months, and always, always written on my heart.

We’re off to see Murano, the island where all the glass things are made. I’m excited!

Vi voglio tanto bene,
Sorella Strong


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