I don't know what else to say but that this week has been the ultimate roller coaster. I just want to tell everyone that this mission is HARD! Yes, once in a blue moon we get to have an amazing day in Rome and Napoli but it is not just a vacation! haha! I wouldnt say that this mission is physically challenging... we are blessed in the fact that we have heat, and hot water and showers.... but oh man.... it is mentally one of the most challenging things I have ever done. To mentally stay positive and happy after spending six hours trying to find people to teach and the catholic tradition is rooted SO DEEP in their soul, meanwhile you feel like you are spitting out a bunch of nonsense in some weird language. and then you do the same thing all. over. again. in the same small city... that you have been in forever... and then investigators dont come to lessons or church and you just think "what else could go wrong here?" it is hard to really explain but frustration to the point of mental break down could describe it pretty well! Sorella Gates and I were looking at photos of us when we entered the MTC 6 months ago and then looked at us now and said... " we look like we were just hit by a semi truck" I dont even want to know how beat I will look in a year! hahaha!
But then little experiences of hope are given to you as a tender mercy from Heavenly Father. This week, Sorella Gates and I went to Bari to go on an exchange with the Sister Training Leaders. Sorella Anderson and Sorella Vickers. Sorella Gates (my comp) was with Anderson and I was with Slla Vickers. I didn't really know what to expect from the scombi but it was one of the most spiritual experiences of my mission. Sorella Vickers is the most unexpected type of person you will ever meet. She looks like a pageant queen but is an amazing missionary! Her go to finding/teaching tool is family history. She has living relatives that live in Bari and she has been waiting her whole mission to serve there and find, teach, and baptize her relatives. The first thing we did was prepare to teach thier investigator who is a 16 year old boy. Before the lesson we were waiting for him in the church and she showed me MY family tree on familysearch.org IT WAS SO COOL! Like Facebook but with history! thank you alll my great aunts and other family members who have been doing all that work! WOW! so much has been done. Seeing the family tree before the lesson really got me in a good spirit. When we taught the lesson It was the strongest lesson I have ever been apart at. It was all about the book of mormon. We read a chapter together and were talking to him about it. I was able to share personal stories about how I KNOW the book of mormon is a true word of God. My Italian has never been stronger and it was one of the few times in the mission where I legit felt like a literal tool in the hands of the Lord. And to top it all off.... this boy we were teaching... who used to be a total punk.... started to cry and said he now knew it was true. And he decided he wanted to be baptized!! When we got out of the lesson I told sorella vickers " I get it....this is what I wanted to feel like in a lesson for my whole mission" She was so sweet and even though I will probably never see that boy again she told me " I am so thankful that you could be a part of his conversion... he will always remember that " WOW. just wow!Also during the scombi we went and found/did genealogy with Slla Vickers real life family! It was absolutely so amazing to see family come together and see slla vickers have the opportunity to teach them the gospel! So cool!! I cant wait to use family history as a finding tool here in Italy! Get the italians excited about family history and it is the easiest intro into the gospel!on the last day of the scombi Slla Vickers asked me if I felt ok and how I was doing. I basically told her my true feelings that I expressed above. She was like an angel! She was able to tell me exactly what I needed to hear and testify to me... that even though this mission... the italy rome mission... is one of the hardest missions in the world.... it is the most rewarding mission in the world. It breaks you down so you can understand Christ better. It makes you humble... but it makes you build your faith! As she told me all this.. she was crying... I was crying and I felt peace!I am not saying that now everything is perfect. Not at all... everyday has its ups and downs. But that is just LOAM.. Life Of A Missionary! Everyday I am learning how to embrace it, love it, and find joy in all moments! Those when you are at the Colosseum and those when you are walking through trash filled/muddy streets of Foggia.Vi Voglio Bene!Sorella Fuller