Monday, July 17, 2017

Next stop, Utah! ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

Carissimi,

Well there's a whole lot I could say but I'll try to eliminate the sappiness haha. I'll save that stuff for home :) 

What an incredible week we've had!! We were able to go on my very last scambio to Ragusa this week. I was with Sorella Torres. She's from Venezuela but has been living in Milano for the past 3 years. We had so much fun! Ragusa is breathtakingly beautiful. We got to go to visit a family on their farm and I milked a cow ๐Ÿ˜Ž Then we came back and walked down the entire mountain to this tiny little part of the town called Ibla. Look it up guys, it's unreal ๐Ÿ˜ We talked to some really sweet people in the park and then we made the trek back up. We walked 12 miles just after 4pm guys. Over 150 flights of stairs. I was DYING haha. The elevation is a lot different than Catania at sea level! Utah elevation is gonna destroy me.

Church was great yesterday because a few of our investigators came! I feel like all our hard work is finally starting to pay off and it feels so good. 

My heart kind of feels like it's going to explode haha. I've never felt so much love towards people--even random strangers--as I have on the mission. It's a sweet experience to be able to see a glimpse of Heavenly Father's love for us. 

I was flipping through my old journals from my first few transfers the other day and was getting a little emotional thinking back to those days when I was terrified to open my mouth and make a mistake with the language or to be rejected or make myself look silly. I quickly realized that this isn't going to be a very positive experience if I'm only going to be thinking about myself. In the MTC they show us a talk by Elder Bednar called the "Character of Christ." It talks about how when trials come or things get hard, the natural man in us would have us turn inwards and feel sorry for ourselves. Instead, the Savior would turn outward and focus on what He could do for someone else to make their day better. By so doing, He is able to get over those feelings of frustration or embarrassment or sadness or sickness or whatever he was feeling and feel true JOY. I promise you all that if you're ever having a tough day, you will feel better if you go and serve someone else. 

My dad gave me the best advice before I left and I've thought about it nearly every day of my mission. He said, "Whit, the mission is gonna be hard. It's not going to be all fun all the time. You're gonna disagree with companions or meet rude people on the street that try to tear you down. You might be homesick and want more than anything to be able to talk to me or mom. You'll be exhausted and be working harder than you've ever worked. It's not going to be easy--but that's what makes it so worth it. The best thing you can do when you're feeling like that is to hit your knees, pray and plead to Heavenly Father to help you through it, get up, and go to work. He will help you every step of the way."

I testify of the truth of that. My Savior has been with me every step of the way. He atoned not only for our sins but He felt everything we ever have or will ever feel! He won't leave us comfortless. I've missed talking to my parents more than anything these past 18 months but I quickly learned that although I can only email them on p-days, I can talk to my Heavenly Father whenever I want. He has been listening to me every single day. He has heard and answered each of my prayers and given me the strength to keep going even when those hard days come. I've learned so many countless things on the mission, but I think those are two of the most important. That we are ALL children of our Heavenly Father and that the Savior lives and atoned for each of us. 

I'm not the same person I was 18 months ago and I'm thankful for that. My mission has been perfectly shaped to me and my needs. I've met people here that have truly changed my life and will be my eternal friends. I am so thankful that I have been able to serve here in the Great Italy Rome Mission surrounded by the greatest leaders and missionaries. I have loved every minute here in Italy. I'm nervous for the future but "I'm on a rollercoaster that only goes up!" :) I'm thankful I still have one more week as a full time missionary. We have a busy week planned and we're ready to go. 

My homecoming talk will be July 30th at 9am. It's on 3540 North in Pleasant Grove. Food afterwards at my house I assume haha...right Mom? ๐Ÿ˜‰ 1519 W 3600 N Pleasant Grove. I hope to see you all there! Thank you for the love, support, & prayers on my behalf these past 18 months ๐Ÿ’• It's been the best experience of my life thus far. See you all soon!! Ci vediamo prestissimo! ❤️

Con tanto amore,
Sorella Whitney Hess

Le foto:
1-Ibla!! 
2-Cannoli ๐Ÿ˜
3-Slla Torres, Tenney, e Zapata :)
4-Best scambio ever ๐Ÿฎ 
5-It hit 109 degrees this week :')
6-7- Trecastagni has the coollllesssst view!!!








Monday, July 10, 2017

The refiners fire and dirty water meet

Sup fam? We taught our English course students that the other day and they all respond "very well" or "fine, and you?" with an Italian accent. They didn't get the concept of "not much" ๐Ÿ˜‚ Hahahaha I love Italians.

How am I already emailing again?! Mamma mia il tempo sta volando! 

Public service announcement: stay off the roads everyone in Utah because MY CUTE SORELLINA HAILEY TURNS 16 on Wednesday!!! ๐ŸŽˆ I'm excited to scare all the boys away for you ;) Looveee you!!!! Happy sweet sixteen!!! ๐Ÿ’•

Also happy b-day to my Sorella James (gandolf lol) yesterday! Still sad I couldn't be there to party with my fav people in Bari but Bellomo is more fun than me so I bet you guys had a blast :))))

We've been going harrrdd this week in all aspects of missionary work. We've called sooo many people this week, organized the ward list and old area books, visited less-actives, seen some investigators, done TONS of street contacting, stamped about a billion passalong cards & pamphlets, etc. 

Our whole palazzo's water got shut off for 24hrs this week so that was fun. The Anziani thought it was the funniest thing they'd ever heard because they just got a new apartment a few months ago which is SO nice. They have 2 air conditioners AND a car with AC. Know what we have? A fan (that hardly helps...just circulates the hot air around the room) and legs. Haha but it's fine cuz we just tell them the Lord is gonna bless us more and that we have stronger testimonies of enduring through trials hahaha ;) But we were really happy when the water came on after 24 hours because we heard that sometimes the water just goes off for weeks and there's nothing anyone can do about it. Yay for answered prayers! I love the dirty south ❤️๐Ÿ˜‚ 

But when it came back on, the water was BLACK. It still is pretty brown a few days later haha but we were just thankful to be able to flush our toilet and wash our hands (although I don't know how effective it is with the mystery colored water lol) so we aren't complaining ;) Good thing we don't (can't) drink the water here cuz I don't think parasites and kidney stones would be fun. 

MIRACLE: one of the less actives we've been visiting the past few weeks came to church yesterday!!! First time in probably a year or more that she's been so that was super exciting. She was all teary-eyed during the opening hymn and it was cool to see her feeling the Spirit. Super sweet girl who's been through a TON this past year or so. 

I got asked to give a talk Saturday night on the Holy Ghost and the difference it makes in our lives. I could write a book on that topic haha but I somehow had to get it down to 10 mins. Sorella Zapata and I were laughing that before the mission it took us forevvver to write a 10 minute talk because we didn't know what to say, but now it's the BIGGEST struggle to get it down to just 10 minutes. There's so much to say haha! 

I don't know how it works in other missions but we recite the first vision during comp study everyday. I've said it more times than I can count and I think sometimes we forget how significant of an event it really was. I was studying it this week and I was thinking about the very last part where it says, "ascoltalo" or "hear Him." It hit me how cool is it that HEAVENLY FATHER and the SAVIOR came to speak to him personally. It made me think to myself, what am I doing that's showing Heavenly Father that I'm actively listening to Him and the Savior? What would they say to me? Am I living in a way that emulates the Savior? Hearing is more than just sitting and listening to what they're saying but acting on it!! I invite you guys to ask yourself the same questions and strive to be more Christlike!! 

2 Nephi 2:28 "28 And now, my sons, I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit."

Wellllll, I love you guys. Thanks for all the love and support you give me! Can't believe next week is my last P-day since I can't write on the 24th. I'm so happy I'll never have to write another weekly group email again! Whooo :) Have a wonderful week!! 

Con amore,
Sorella Hess

Pics:
1-Jesus is our peace ✌๐Ÿผ 
2-"Ma voi siete biondissimi!! Dai, facciamo una foto insieme." (But you guys are sooo blonde! Come on, let's take a pic together) -random people on the street hahah.
3-Twinning in church with a member's daughter!
4-Battezzato & Bacchetti Fam❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ My favvvvsss. Family away from home.
5-Our tap water all week. No filter ;) Thirsty anyone?







Tuesday, July 4, 2017

"And I'm proud to be an Americannnnnn"

Hi guys,

Frustrated cuz I just had my entire group email typed up and somehow I deleted the entire thing :((( SOO, I'm typing as fast as I can trying to recount everything we've done this week that could possibly be fun for you guys to hear about haha.

We met a 26yr old girl from Germany the other day and helped her get away from a creepy man that had been following her for a few kilometers!! We had to tell him a little white lie that she was married and going to meet her husband haha. Oops. Arrivederci bro. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to get rid of the creepy men here haha. I repented, don't worry ;) We referred her to the missionaries in Germany so who knows what could happen because of that stalker man?! :) 

We went to Palermo on Sunday for ZONE CONFERENCE combined with Palermo and Catania zones and it was so much fun!! We got to see so many of our friends and the spirit was incredibly strong. President and Sorella Pickerd are incredible. I had my final departing 1hr interview with him Sunday night and it was so great. He helped me so much with everything and I feel a lot calmer about the next chapter now :) 

I got to share my testimony at zone conf in front of all 48 missionaries and I was the ONLY departing one. It was cool to be able to reflect back on all I've learned and how I've grown this past year and a half. 

I read an article in the new ensign this week that talks about enduring well instead of just enduring. They shared a quote about how our experiences and our trials polish us into exactly who our Heavenly Father wants us to be. I loved that!! It's so true. Everything we go through is for our benefit and we will come out stronger in the end if we rely on the Atonement of Christ. I love my mission and all the trials and experiences I've been through because they've shaped me into a better version of myself. I still have a LONG way to go haha but I'm on the right path :) 

Today we went as a district to Taormina which   UNREAL. We went up to the ancient amphitheater that looks out over the whole coast. It was like a scene of a movie. It was right up with there next to the Amalfi coast on my list of coolest Pdays. 

I love you guys and hope you have a great 4th!!! We're so blessed to be Americans and to live in a place where we are free! My Ecuadorian comp is probably getting sick of me singing "God bless the USA" all day long hahahah :) Love you guys!! Enjoy the Stadium of Fire for me and eat lots of food! We're on the way to the ward BBQ right now ❤️๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ’™

Con amore,
Sorella Hess

Via Genova 27 
Catania 95127 
Italia

Le foto:
1-Catania and Palermo zones combined...idk why but the pic looks really fuzzy on here but it's actually a good pic haha.
2-Blondest district ever....and then there's Sorella Zapata ๐Ÿ˜‚ President calls them the Catania towers hahaha. 
3-Sorella Pickerd ❤️❤️❤️
4-Today at Taormina!
5-hahaha idk...
6-car rides back from Palermo with the senior couple!







Monday, June 26, 2017

Casi di Cura, Cockroaches, Caldo, Cleaning, Cibo

Ciao guys✌๐Ÿผ

I hope summer is going well!!! It's mind blowing that it's July this week. Non ci credo!! This week was one for the books. 

Between transfers and all the crazy exchanges and zone conferences this month, my comp and I somehow were OUT of money this week and we don't get paid until this coming weekend. Well example #364638292946 of God providing for the missionaries: we got 4 meal appointments this week(!!!!!!) Let's put this into perspective for you... we had a total of 2 this entire past 6-week transfer and 4 in this past week alone. #blessed. 

Funny story: We had a lunch appointment this week with one of our friends and she had us help her finish making the food in the kitchen. You guys know me and how I'm a huuuge germaphobe (thanks mom) but this lady had COCKROACHES alllllll over the kitchen and on the spoons she was using to make our food๐Ÿ˜ณ. The mission has calmed me down a lot so I just didn't say anything and smiled and casually tried to kill cockroaches when she looked away. I cleaned up the kitchen while Sorella Zapata helped her finish cooking and the lady kept telling me I'm "turning into a domestic Italian housewife" hahaha. She asked me to say the blessing on the food and let's just say I've never said such a sincere prayer on the food in my entire life hahahaha. 

Miracle: So I called this old English course student a few weeks ago after I found her number on an old area book potential sheet. She told us she can't come to corso anymore but that we can come see her at work sometime! Bingooo! So we went to see her and guess where she works?! She owns a little assisted living center!!!!!! Anyone who knows me knows how much I looove old people after working as a CNA in high school. I was happier than when I ate my first napoli pizza... okay maybe not, but close. They had a piano sitting there so I got to play some music for them and they were loving it. Thanks again for forcing me to take piano lessons all those years Mom ๐Ÿ’• But we're organizing an activity with all their grandchildren and the elders this week so we're excited. Stay tuned. Catania takes the Casa di Cura.

This week I was kind of having one of those "poor me" moments. Nothing happened that triggered it, I was just being a downer about everything--our lack of investigators, it being hotter than ever, having no money cuz it's the end of the month, exhausted, stressed about going home, haha you name it ... Pretty sure every missionary has been there. But we went to an appointment and beforehand I said a little prayer to myself to be able to get over myself and look outward. It's amazing what serving people can do! It can change your entirrreee day around 100%. If you're ever feeling bad for yourself, the best thing you can do is what President Hinckley's dad told him when he was a missionary, "Forget yourself and go to work!" I have that quote on my desk and I think about it all the time. The Savior never sat around and felt sorry for himself, He looked around and tried to help others. That's where true joy comes from :) 

Another thing that hit me this week... we can't control a lot of things that happen in missionary work. We can't control if people come to church or if they stop smoking or if the bus passes on time... But we CAN control our attitudes. As long as we do our best, God will help us out and pour down blessings on us, sometimes in ways we aren't expecting. We just have to look for His hand in all things because it IS there. I promise :) 

D&C 123:17 Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us ​​​cheerfully​ ​​​do​ all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the ​​​salvation​ of God, and for his arm to be revealed.

Talk to you next Tuesday! We have Zone Conference in Palermo on Monday :) Happy 4th!!! ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ 

Con amore,
Sorella Hess

Via Genova 27 
Catania 95127 
Italia

Le foto:
Last P-day at Santa Maria la Scala. 
Some of our cute friends at the assisted living center
Cool church from last P-day in Acireale
After our meal appointment with some cute members (not the cockroach one๐Ÿ˜Š)
Bella Sicilia 
Dyyyying from this humidity hahaha. I will never complain about being hot in Utah ever again. I didn't know what hot was until I got here. 







Monday, June 19, 2017

final transfer.....what??

Hi guys!

Well President threw another curve ball and Sorella James left me this
week to go to...BARI LIBERTร€ TO BE WITH SORELLA BELLOMO. I just came
from there!! She's going to have a blast! Bari is the promised land
haha. And she gets to be there for Monica & Massimo's baptisms this
weekend๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ˜ญ

My new companion is... Sorella Zapata!! Fun fact for you guys: I
actually met her at the beginning of February before she had left on
the mission. She's from Rome and was visiting friends in Bari. I told
her that day that we would for sure serve together! I was right ๐Ÿ˜Ž She
was born in Ecuador but has lived in Rome since she was 5 so she's
pretty much Italian. She is in her 3rd transfer now so I'm follow-up
training her! She's darling and we're having so much fun already.

This week consisted of a lot of craziness but when does it not?!

Transfer day was interesting haha. Sorella James had a flight to catch
at 5am so I was alone with the Anziani until 9:30am when Sorella Ferre
came to the rescue to spend the afternoon with me in Catania ❤️ I love
Sorella Ferre so much. Sorella Zapata came in at 5pm and then at about
7 the Anziani call me and say we have an emergency haha... so the two
brand new greenies going to Palermo missed their train so they were
stranded in Catania for the night and had to stay with us. I felt like
a mama duck walking around Catania for the rest of the night with 3
young missionaries following behind hahaha. It was fun showing them a
little bit of the city!

Then the next morning we had to drop them off, we almost missed their
train because right before we got to the station we realized one of
them had left their tablet in our apartment. Soo... Sorella Zapata and
I hopped off the metro and sprinted back to the apartment and we
BARELY made their train. All before 7am hahaha. The mission is the
best. I'm gonna miss all the crazy stuff.

PSA: The mosquitos are alive and well in cat city. They got me BETWEEN
MY TOES last night when we got home. I have easily over 20 bites right
now ๐Ÿ˜‘

We had a neat lesson with a less-active family in the ward this
weekend. Their dad recently passed away from cancer and we were able
to talk to them about the Atonement and how it's not just for us when
we need to repent but that it's there for us when we are suffering or
going through challenges. The Spirit was so strong! They also have a
super cute new puppy that's a Chou (idk how to spell it but it's like
a bear and the cutest thing I've ever seen haha).

Yesterday we had a HUUUGE miracle in church. Deannah is a member from
Australia and her husband is from here. She's 25 and is our best
friend. Well her husband isn't a member and they've been married for
almost a year now and he's never been to church before. We're good
friends with him because we visit them all the time and HE CAME
YESTERDAY. Guys I almost cried when I saw that he came! Such a cool
miracle. Deannah just cried during the opening hymn because the spirit
was so strong and she was so happy he came.

Also Lucia came which was a big miracle!! Catania sta fiorendo!!!

I'm dying of heat down here but I've never been happier. I can't
describe the joy missionary work brings. All the rejections we go
through are worth it just to see someone feel the spirit. I love
putting on my name-tag every morning and being a full time
representative of the Savior. Hopefully I'm becoming a little more
like Him each day :)

Also Happy Father's Day yesterday to the greatest dad in the world!!!
So blessed to be your favorite kid, Dad ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks for everything you
do for me ❤️

Vi auguro una bellissima settimana!!

Con amore,
Sorella Hess

Via Genova 27
Catania 95127
Italia

Le foto:
Alone with these two during transfer day hahaha. Only the Italy Rome mission where the closest sisters are HOURS away hahaha.
Sorella Ferre๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•
My cute new collega Sorella Zapata!!
Our friend Godspower from Nigeria after volleyball the other night. (Yes, his name is really Godspower!!)
Cutest puppy







Monday, June 12, 2017

The one with the doves

Carissima famiglia!

I hope you guys are all doing well and having a fun summer! It's just
getting hotter and more humid every single day here! We're working
hard to find new people that want to learn more about the Savior!! If
you guys know of any women/families in Catania that could have
interest in the gospel, let me know!! ;) We loooove referrals.

This week we got a lot of "bidones" (cancelled/no-show appointments)
but it's okay. It happens! A lot of our people are leaving for the
summer so we're kind of starting from scratch and trying to find the
people who WILL be here for summer.

We met some cool kids from Kentucky this week who are here for the
summer as volunteers to work with refugees! What an amazing
experience! We are going to try to meet up with them again and see if
we can help them with a service project or something. Haha it's always
so fun to run into Americans that are our age haha. The only Americans
I ever see are the 4 elders in my district and my companion haha.

Funny/Awkward story: some people were speaking English last night so
we asked where they are from and they were Americans. They told us
they were doing a prayer walk around Catania. Then they asked if they
could pray for us so we said ya, and then they went on to pray for us
for at LEAST a solid 7 minutes and then told us they picture us as
free white doves flying away into the wind. Hahaha. We appreciated the
extra prayers and it was quite the experience. ๐Ÿ•Š๐Ÿ•Š

We've been doing HOURS of street contacting and it's honestly super
fun. I went through a phase on the mission where I didn't really enjoy
it because we get rejected so much but I'm glad I like it again. It's
fun here because there are sooo many tourists so we get to talk to
people from all over the world... BUT, that kind of makes it difficult
for us to grow our teaching pool. But we have referred people to meet
with the missionaries in Kansas, Germany, Russia, Washington,
Colorado, Holland, and about every other state/country in the world
haha. We have faith though that the Lord is going to bless us :)

Sorella James was sick the other day so we spent the morning inside
and I got to study for a few extra hours which was really nice! I read
some amazing talks. One of the cool things I did was I went through my
patriarchal blessing and wrote down 3 columns. One of them I titled,
"who I am," the next on was "promises," and the last one was
"warnings." It was so incredible to study it in a different way. The
Lord truly does know us each individually and perfectly. If you don't
know that for sure, get on your knees and ask him! He will confirm to
you that you are His child and how much He loves you.

Tonight we get transfer calls....my last transfer call!! Ahh. Where
has the time gone? I'm excited for these last 6 weeks and to see what
the Lord has in store for us. Vi voglio tanto bene ❤️

Con amore,
Sorella Hess

Via Genova 27
Catania 95127
Italia

Le foto:
1-4: I loooove Catania
5: This is Erika. She's my fav. She turns in her mission papers in a few months and is going to be the cutest missionary ever. We're gonna be best friends at BYU when she gets home๐Ÿ˜Š






Monday, June 5, 2017

Fud is Gud

Ciao guys :)

This week kind of reassured me that God has a sense of humor and that
He's completely aware of us. We've been working hard all week (and all
transfer) to be able to continue to grow this work here in Catania and
we've seen some cool miracles but haven't had many (if any)
progressing investigators. Saturday night during my personal prayers I
kind of expressed to Heavenly Father my frustration and how we have
been working so hard and doing hours and hours of finding everyday and
how I didn't know what else we could do here. One of our investigators
randomly moved to up north of Rome this week without telling and our
other ones are all too busy with exams/vacations/life in general to
meet with us or to keep their commitments.

Well Sunday morning after fast and testimony meeting, we see a lady
we've never seen before and go up and talk to her. Her name is Lucia
and she said she's driven past our church many times and has always
wondered who we are and what we believe so she decided to come.
HALLELUJAH THE CHURCH IS TRUE PEOPLE. We had an incredible lesson
right there on the spot with her about the restoration and she is so
so sweet and interested.

I love how God waits until we're about to give up then that's when He
throws us a bone (or an investigator). I've definitely learned on my
mission that this is the Lord's work and that He doesn't actually need
us to do it but that WE need it. We take so much more out of our
missions than we actually put in. I'm thankful for those little
experiences that we have that show us just how aware the Lord really
is of us. I'm just some random sister missionary in some small city in
Sicily but the Lord hears my prayers and I promise He hears yours too
:) I don't know if Lucia will get baptized right away but it
definitely gave us the spark of hope we needed!!

This week was fun! We were able to do a scambio in Messina with the
sorelle there. I was with Sorella Gleave from Salt Lake! Fun fact for
you: we actually lived in the same building fall semester at BYU
before I left but we never actually met until the mission! The world
is so small! We did a lot of finding and had fun exploring Messina
while we talked to people.

Haha we found a suuuper yummy restaurant today called "Fud" so that's
where the subject line comes from. It's honestly one of the best
burger places I've ever been to. Go Italy!!

Our entire district had colds this week but we finally feel
better...well good enough to hike Mt. Etna today for P-day. That's
right ๐Ÿ˜ 2nd volcano I've hiked on the mission. Italy is so
breathtakingly beautiful. I feel so blessed to be here doing the
Lord's work! "Avanti andiamo con fede nel Signore!" I love you guys.
Have a fun first week of summer! Go boating and get snow cones for me.
I'm eating my fair share of granita and gelato :)

Con amore,
Sorella Hess

Via Genova 27
Catania 95127
Italia

Le foto:
With members in Messina :)
View from the Messina Sorelle's apartment
Took this on the train! It's called Taormina and apparently Trump was here last week with a bunch of other leaders in the world.
McDonalds wifi today as a district
The side of Etna today! This is all lava from when it erupted in 1989.
More pics to come! I forgot my card reader :)





Tuesday, May 30, 2017

happy happy happy

Buondรฌ!!

I love Catania. I love Sicily. I love my companion. I love my
district. I love the gospel. I love being a missionary. And most
importantly I love my Savior. Just so happy right now.

Busy week! We spent Monday and Tuesday in Siracusa on scambio with the
sorelle there. I was with Sorella Ferre from Sandy Utah :) She reminds
me of Audrey haha so it felt like I was with my friends at home :) We
had a blast! We did about 7 hours of finding and it felt like we
talked to about the entire city of Siracusa but we got some great
potentials!!!

I met a crazy older man the other day on the bus (shocker). He made us
laugh pretty hard. EVERYONE tries to speak in English to us even if

they only know how to say "how are you" and then they switch into
Italian or dialect. Well this guy was about 6 inches from my face and
tried to convince me he is a dog hahaha. But the only word he knew in
English was "dog" hahaha. "Sono un dog." Over and over again hahaha.
He was barking at us and even lifted his leg and pretended to pee
hahahah. Can't say I've had that one before ๐Ÿ˜‚ BUT, here's the cool
part. This had been going on for about 15 minutes and I was just dying
trying not to laugh. EVERYONE on the bus was overhearing this 50yr old
barking at 2 American girls and just dying laughing. So this guy in
his 20's was overhearing the "I'm a dog" conversation and came to the
rescue and started talking to us so the crazy guy couldn't. He was way
cool and we got his number for the elders. Thankful for that crazy guy
for getting the elders a new contact that is actually sane hahaha :)

We had Stake Conference so all the members from all of Sicily came to
Catania (including all 50 missionaries in Sicily). It was so awesome!
Elder Charles from England from the 70 came and spoke to us and my
companion and I got to talk to him for a few minutes afterwards. He
and his wife are awesome!

Zone Conference!!!!!!! Holy cow. I cannot believe we just had my 2nd
to last zone conference. I got my departure packet which kind of made
things feel more real. We talked about being "all in," our purpose as
missionaries, and our divine identity. It was amaaaazing. I loved it.
I just wish time would stop for a while :) We had a CRAZY weekend with
10 sisters in our apartment that should only be able to fit 3 or 4
hahaha and they're still with us today for a Zone pday so it's been
fun!

Last night we had a zone blitz and we all did finding together in
Centro. Some people were singing hymns, others were talking to people,
some were drawing with chalk and we had sooo much success from it!
Here are some of the cool stories:

I stopped this family and they responded to me in Spanish and told me
they're from the Dominican Republic. I called one of the new greenies
in our zone over who's from there too and it turns out they're FROM
THE SAME CITY. Sooo cool. We can understand Spanish pretty well
because it's so similar to Italian and they can understand us too so
it was really amazing! Anziano Sanchez was explaining the Book of
Mormon in Spanish and me in Italian but we could all communicate! The
Gift of Tongues is real! They promised us they will come to English
course tonight so hopefully we see some cool miracles from this
family!

I talked to another woman named Gabriella who has 2 kids and just told
me she feels like something is missing in her life. The other
missionaries were singing and she said as she walked by she just felt
so much peace. I got to talk to her for a good while and asked her if
she had ever prayed before and she said not since she was a young
child in catholic school. I explained to her that she can have a
personal relationship with God again and taught her how we pray in our
church. She said she would do it because she felt so "tranquil" while
talking to me :) The Spirit is so cool guys!!!! Hopefully we will be
able to meet with her again & follow up :)

This week I read the talk "What Lack I Yet" and have been trying to
focus on specific things I need to work on. I went through the
Christlike Attribute Challenge in chapter 6 of PMG and it helped me
think of some goals I want to work on :) It's a humbling experience
but definitely helps us strive to become more like the Savior. I
invite you guys to do it too! It's awesome. I love this quote by Elder
Bednar, “Most of us clearly understand that the Atonement is for
sinners. I am not so sure, however, that we know and understand that
the Atonement is also for saints--for good men and women who are
obedient, worthy, and conscientious and who are striving to become
better.”

I love you alllll. Sorry this was forever long--so much has happened
since last Monday! Hope you all have a great week :)

Con amore,
Sorella Hess

Via Genova 27
Catania 95127
Italia

Le foto:
Sorella Ferre aka my fav. Also Siracusa is beeeautiful
Pranzo with Dana and Agata and their cute kids
Reunited and it feels soo goooood. So fun seeing all our fav people at
stake conference!!!
Zone blitzes
Waiting at bus stops = serving in Catania.
Cutest zone ever
Another reason I love Catania. We run here every morning :) blesssssed
Zone frisbeeee today