Monday, July 17, 2017

Next stop, Utah! 🇺🇸 🇮🇹


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 😎 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 😍 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? 😉 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 💕 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:
2-Cannoli 😍
3-Slla Torres, Tenney, e Zapata :)
4-Best scambio ever 🐮 
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" 😂 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!!! 🎈 I'm excited to scare all the boys away for you ;) Looveee you!!!! Happy sweet sixteen!!! 💕

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 ❤️😂 

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

1-Jesus is our peace ✌🏼 
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 ❤️🇺🇸💙

Con amore,
Sorella Hess

Via Genova 27 
Catania 95127 

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 😂 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!