Thursday, February 18, 2016

Week 1

Feb. 11, 2016  11:33 am

Ciao Tutti!!

Come state?! 
I'm a missionary! This week has been so incredible. As I've been reflecting on what I've learned, I've just felt overwhelmed by God's love. I know we are all His children and that He hears and answers our prayers. 

Mia collega (companion) is Sorella Rogers from Riverton. I love her so much! We get along great. Mio distretto (my district) is amazing. We have 2 anziani (elders) and 6 sorellle (sisters). We have so much fun together. 

On Friday (just 2 days in) we had our first lesson in ALL ITALIAN!! We were pretty nervous haha, but we said a prayer, did our best to prepare, and let God do the rest. The Spirit was so strong and I was actually able to understand pretty well what was said and bore my testimony. The Gift of Tongues is real!! Last night we taught our 4th lesson and I felt prompted to ask him to be baptized. My heart was pounding and I felt the Spirit so strongly. He said he would pray about it, and as he said the closing prayer, he asked if it was what he's supposed to do and there was no denying the Spirit in that room. We walked out of the lesson and just hugged each other and were SO happy. I can't imagine what it will be like teaching real investigators and having them accept il Vangelo (the gospel).

It can get easy to get frustrated with the language, but I know that if God calls us, He will qualify us. There is a Sister in our Zone from France and she's such an example to me. She knows a little English and is trying to learn Italian. I can't imagine how overwhelming that must be. She bore her testimony on Sunday in simple English and it just reminded me that I don't think any less of her for making some mistakes with the language. In fact, it makes me love her more and know that she's passionate about what she's teaching. I know that the Spirit has no language. We've memorized how to pray in Italian, nostro scopo (our missionary purpose in English and Italian), how to bear our testimonies, and simple conversations/lessons. I'm so excited to keep learning this beautiful language! :)

On Tuesday about 12 of us had to ride the Frontrunner up to Salt Lake to meet with the Italian Consolate for our Visas. It was cool to be out in public with our nametags on, and it made me so proud to be a representative of the Savior. 

We have had some amazing devotionals and lessons already so I can't wait to see what other speakers we will have in the next 5 weeks. On Sunday Jenny Oaks Baker (Elder Oaks' daughter) came and performed for us, and on Tuesday Elder Dube from the 70 came and spoke to us. They were both such powerful nights. Also, there is no greater feeling than standing with 1200+ missionaries and singing Called to Serve. I felt overwhelmed with love for my Savior and so excited to share the Restored Gospel in Italy.

I am so happy here and am so thankful for the opportunity I have to serve the Lord. My testimony has grown so much in the past week, I can't imagine how much it will grow in the next 18 months. :) 

I just wanted to thank you all for your support! Thank you for the letters, packages, Dear Elder Letters, etc. :) I am so blessed!! We are only allowed to email and write letters on P-day so I will do my best to respond to all of you, but know that I appreciate it so much and I love you all!

Keep praying and reading the scriptures!
La vita e bene:)

Con amore,

Sorella Hess
Our FIRST picture of Whitney at the MTC!!

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