“A Broken Heart”

Happy Monday!

I read a talk this week which has become one of my favourites, it’s from October 2007 Conference by Bruce D. Porter entitled ‘A Broken Heart and a Contrite Spirit’, and it quickly became a theme for this week. I really loved this quote:
“When our hearts are broken, we are completely open to the Spirit of God and recognise our dependence on Him for all that we have and all that we are. The sacrifice so entailed is a sacrifice of pride in all its forms. Like malleable clay in the hands of a skilled potter, the brokenhearted can be moulded and shaped in the hands of the Master.” Bruce D. Porter

The heart before it is broken, is hard and therefore difficult for the spirit to affect it and change it into a repentant heart; it is empty. But when it’s broken there is nothing from keeping it closed, the spirit can encompass it and it can begin to be repaired with the balm of forgiveness and grace. Which reminds me of a picture I was sent which displays a Japanese concept called Kintsukuroi which means ‘to repair with gold’; the Japanese art of repairing pottery with gold or silver and understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken. We become more beautiful children of God when we allow the Atonement of Christ to mould us to reach our divine potential. I also loved this quote:
“There is yet another dimension of a broken heart–namely, our deep gratitude for Christ’s suffering on our behalf. In Gethsemane, the Saviour “descended below all things” (D&C 88:6) as He bore the burden of sin for every human being. At Golgotha, He “poured out his soul unto death” (Isaiah 53:12), and His great heart literally broke with an all-encompassing love for the children of God. When we remember the Saviour and His suffering, our hearts too will break in gratitude for the Anointed One.” Bruce D. Porter

Oh how grateful I am for His sacrifice, which was the gospel principles lesson we had yesterday. And when I think about the law of sacrifice, it sounds harsh and a little too much, but why wouldn’t He want all of us and all that we are? He gave us everything and He can make our lives so much more worthwhile when we do this. However it doesn’t make it any easier. It reminds me of the quote from C. S. Lewis “Christ says, ‘Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. … Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked–the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.”
I think this will always be my life’s goal.

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This week was a bit here and there. On the way home last Monday night I met this lady called S, I just started chatting to her and I was telling her about how much joy I find in giving, and it was a beautiful conversation, and she told me that she believes we met for a reason. Although nothing’s come of it yet, I know that’s what she needed that night. There was this other cute girl called E who I was talking to on the bus last night and it was lovely because we were laughing and the conversation just felt so natural and as she was getting off she’s says “ciao bella” made my night. Although the work is tough at the moment, at least you can find joy in planting seeds.

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A really cool talk was given yesterday in sacrament meeting about goals and trials, and he quoted Edison, who every time he thought he invented the lightbulb but failed, he saw his set backs as something positive by saying something along the lines of “I’ve just found another way in which you cannot make light.” I know our Father in Heaven gives us trials because he loves us and wants us to accomplish His purpose so we can become like Him and grow more capable.

This week I had a scambio with the lovely Sorella Carver, oh how I adore her! It was so much fun teaching and just being with her, I can’t believe she goes home in a week and she’s only 1 transfer ahead of me… it was fun, nothing crazy happened but we had a really good lesson on goals with our investigator.

I cracked some jokes in English class but they didn’t really get them… I think they’re funny so I’ll tell you:

Q: What do you call a three legged donkey? 
A: A wonkey

There were 2 girls headed to Disneyland, they came across a sign that said ‘Disneyland Left’. So they turned around and went home. 

The students weren’t that impressed nor the other missionaries. Hahah!

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We got a new fridge!!!!!! Ahhh it was glorious as our old one stopped working like a month ago…. oh how I love cold milk on my Weetabix.

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I discovered that my Italian skills are not competent enough for a dermatologist appointment… heck I don’t think my English skills are competent enough for a dermatologist appointment! But it was an experience nonetheless! And now I have about a billion prescriptions and a very strict regime and I learnt some new words too!

We did some finding and asked where this couple was from and she said “We’re from the ship”, not the answer I was looking for and eventually they told us  they were from Wales. A new cruise ship everyday always brings new adventures with tourists.

Sorry my week wasn’t that interesting for you and today we just wandered round the city and sat in a park for a picnic. I hope you all have a great weeeeek, much love!

Sorella Tacchi xxx

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“Faithful Christians will always be blessed to experience difficulties and disappointments” Robert D. Hales

Hello!

Well this week I finished the Book of Mormon in Italian! And so I’d like to share my testimony if it, I’m sorry if you don’t have access to google translate.

All’inizio era difficile di capire perché non conoscevo l’italiano molto bene, ma adesso posso sentirmi la potenza di ciò che è contenuta nelle parole del Libro di Mormon. Non voglio dimenticare la mia testimonianza di questo libro sacro, e quindi lo leggerò ogni giorno fino alla fine. È meraviglioso quanto misericordioso sia stato il Signore verso tutti noi perché Egli la Sua chiesa mediante il coraggio di un ragazzo di 14 anni. Oggi possiamo tenere la prova di questa storia e siamo capace di chiedere per noi stessi se queste cose siano vere. La conoscenza del Vangelo restaurato ha benedetto la mia vita più di quanto possibile di immaginare. Ha cambiato il mondo pure. Vi invito di leggere il Libro di Mormon continuamente affinché possiate sentirvi la validità per voi stessi. So che è vero, e rimarrò fedele alla pienezza del Vangelo per sempre. Vi lascio queste cose nel nome del nostro Redentore, Gesù Cristo, amen.

Faithful Christians will always be blessed to experience difficulties…

With the other Sisters in the ward we alternate going to Relief Society and Young Women’s, so yesterday it was our turn to go to Young Women’s. The president wasn’t there and so she asked one of the girls to teach the lesson and this lesson changed my life. It was about what it means to us to take upon ourselves the name of Christ. Hearing her testify of this made my heart swell and brought tears to my eyes. Obviously as missionaries we wear a name tag so we literally have Christ’s name on us, thus we’re more easily recognised as representatives of him. But that only lasts for 18 months/2 years (or less than 2 months now…) but we always have his name written on our hearts, so we need to be proud of him and conduct ourselves in a way that makes him proud of us. He took upon himself our sins so we could take upon ourselves his name. The only name by which we can be saved.

Faithful Christians will always be blessed to experience difficulties…

She invited us to read a talk called ‘Being More Christian Christians’ by Elder Hales from October 2012 and there was a line that struck me, “faithful Christians will always be blessed to experience difficulties and disappointments.” Why did he say that these things are blessings? Unfortunately it’s only in hindsight we can see the blessings. These are opportunities for growth, for accomplishing the purpose of this life. I guess when we face these periods we can take comfort in the fact that the faithful ones are blessed with these opportunities. And the fact that he will always give us these opportunities to become like his son. He will never limit our growth and development. He loves us so much, and I could testify of his love for eternity.

Speaking of love, the addiction recovery videos changed my life too. Watching them and hearing those people testify of God’s boundless love helped me realise how powerful it is. And recently for language study I’ve been reading the guide that the church has produced, its really good and I’ve just strengthened my testimony of the strength and healing that can be found when we use the divine gift of grace.

This week I had a scambio with my lovely Sorella Cardullo, she’s the best! I think I learnt more from her during those 24 hours than she did! It’s crazy how fast time flies because I met her on her first day in the field and here we are almost 9 months later and she has just grown into the most beautiful missionary. I just love serving these wonderful Sorelle, it’s such a privilege that I’ve been given to share a part of the journey of discipleship.

Faithful Christians will always be blessed to experience difficulties…

So I’ve gone all my life with the 4th day of July being a normal rainy summer day in the pleasant land but it’s not just a day in the summer for the majority of missionaries! So for district lunch we had food that you’d have typically in America on the 4th of July. It was fun and I made chilli and tried it with corn bread (there was me thinking it was actually like bread, but no it’s like cake and it was weird to eat it with something savoury!). We had hot dogs, watermelon and tiramisu (I know tiramisu isn’t American but the elders tried to make it look like an American flag and put ice cream on top). It was fun!

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We had quite the adventure with our ward mission leader who ended taking us to his house. Between April and October we’re not allowed to go on the beach, but it was pretty to see from afar and maybe one day in the future I can come back and enjoy it!

Faithful Christians will always be blessed to experience difficulties…

I’ve been getting some somewhat odd compliments recently, I’ve been told I could be a model, that I look like a princess, that I look like an angel, and then yesterday I got told I look like ex-Anziano Whiting… I mean he’s great but I didn’t know quite how to take it!

I hope you have a fantastic week, know that I love you!

Sorella Tacchi xxx

“Be not weary in well-doing…Out of small things proceedeth that which is great…Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind.” D&C 64:33-34

Buondì,

I was studying about sin and repentance this week, and in PMG there’s a little red box about sin that I’ve always appreciated as it draws attention to the fact that not everyone defines sin in the same manner. And to be honest before my mission I had a misconception of what sin was. For the most part sin isn’t this huge act committed that can cause harm and distress, something so horrifying that it requires lengthy discipline. Sin is just something we do that isn’t in complete harmony with our desire to be perfect. Weaknesses are not sins either. Sins are choices that we make, things that we choose to do, and it’s really not something that should destroy all hope. I love this quote from PMG that says “When we repent, we feel godly sorrow, then we stop doing things that are wrong and continue doing things that are right”. Just because we’re sinners doesn’t mean we’re doing everything wrong, for the most part we’re good people, sin is just something that stops us from being better. Which brings me to repentance, which is another word that made me feel uncomfortable. However, I’ve come to realise that it should simply mean change. An opportunity to be better, and to rejoice in the mercy of our Saviour. I like to think of repentance and sin in this analogy: A Child who is learning to walk, obviously falls, but the parent does not condemn the child for falling, but rather helps the child to its feet and encourage the child to try again. Sometimes the fall is more painful and sometimes the child is left to figure out how to get up physically by itself but all the while the parent is there encouraging the child not to give up. And so it is with our Father in Heaven. He doesn’t hold our sins or our stumbles against us, rather he is there to help us up and encourage us to try again.

This knowledge brings me peace, which is another topic I studied this week in a talk given by Thomas S. Monson called ‘The Path to Peace’, its worth a read! The God given peace that we can find and enjoy in this life is not as the world gives, but rather it knows no end and it can be more calming than that of the world. But we must do our part to obtain such a blessing, President Monson suggests 3 ways: Search inward, Reach outward, and Look heavenward. He quotes Richard L. Evans under the first subheading. “To find peace–the peace within, the peace that passeth understanding–men must live in honesty, honoring each other, honoring obligations, working willingly, loving and cherishing loved ones, serving and considering others, with patience, with virtue, with faith and forbearance, with the assurance that life is for learning, for serving, for repenting, and improving. And God be thanked for the blessed principle of repenting and improving, which is a way that is open to us all.”  We must create this atmosphere in the way in which we conduct our lives, it is through the conduct of daily tasks that we are able to have this peace. I know that peace is obtainable even in the most ridiculous turmoil of our lives, because we know of the promised blessings that await us as we endure faithfully and diligently to the days in which we will be in the arms of our Father in Heaven.

We of course had some adventures this week and it started with me trying a new fruit. That’s right world, Maja is trying to expand her horizons! Haha, well I only like this, what can only be described as a flat peach, when it’s hard and crunchy because I tried it when it was more ripe and I just about threw up because the texture was so gross. So there’s that.

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Sorella Lalonde this week had to go pick up her visa near Napoli so I was in a trio for 2 days. But to take her to the airport I had to drive. At 4am. With no street lights. It was kinda scary but we made it!! Haha! Oh adventures in the car!

My dreams have always been strange, and I can only recall one dream being in Italian, however this week I was teaching a lesson in my dream (I guess) as Sorella Lalonde told me that I asked the question “senti lo spirito?”, don’t remember what I was dreaming about but there we go. On Friday night we were coming back from an appointment when the bus driver informed us that the bus was going out of service and that we needed to get off at the next stop, we didn’t really know where we were… so google maps to the rescue again and we walked all the way home in the dark and of course knowing my luck it started to rain! We ended up walking most of the way on the side of the motorway, so that was fun!

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As a missionary lunch appointments are just the best. Words cannot describe how much they mean to me, hahaha, I sound so odd and not focused on the work. But they’re special. It came to the end of church and we were helping stacking the chairs, and along comes the news that someone wants us over for pranzo. Music to my ears and to be honest an answer to a prayer. And it was such a good pranzo too! A total of 6 delicious courses! 1: Antipasti of tuna mayo on top of a canned peach (I really liked it to be honest, and I don’t like peaches!!) with a little pizza and a mini sandwich. 2: pasta al forno with courgettes. 3: tender beef and salad. 4: fruit…. 5: typical Sardo dolce called Sebadas. 6: cake and gelato. Mmmmm.

Today we did some shopping in the sales! ”Twas fun and I bought some rings that are typically from Sardegna and they’re beautiful, we also ate out for Sorella Fielding’s birthday and ate Sard food! All in all a goooood day.

Have a great weeeeeek!  Love Sorella Tacchi xxx

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“We who wear wristwatches seek to counsel Him who oversees cosmic clocks and calendars.” Neal A. Maxwell

Cari miei,

At times, in fact a lot of times in my life, we seek to change the will of God. We do it because we like to be in control, or at least I do and I find it hard to accept that sometimes I don’t know best. For Zone Conference for our Addestramento (discussion thing/whatever it’s called in English) the Zone Leaders and I chose to look at diligence and faith, based on the talk ‘4th floor, last door’ by President Uchtdorf and the story of Abinadi and Alma the older. It was really interesting to study how faith cannot control the agency of others but we need to diligently do our part, accepting that whatever happens is part of the plan. We were watching the Christlike attribute youth message last night with some members, and there’s a part in the video where it shows the end of Christ’s mortal life and the attribute listed is submissive. It it just hit me how I need to be more submissive to the Lord. Unfortunately it’s easier said than done. Coincidently the musical number that we sang at Zone Conference was the youth song ‘Thy Will Be Done’, I shared the lyrics with you a while ago, that song means so much to me because I know he knows best but there are times I’m just so scared to put my trust in the unknown. I guess that will be one of my life’s challenges.

(Photo credits Anz Friedman)

I came across a scripture in 2 Peter chapter 1 verse 5 which says “...giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue…” and I thought how does being diligent help you to add virtue to your faith. Well I was brought back to what virtue means. The word is from the Latin virtus which means ‘valour, merit, moral perfection’. So when we are diligent servants of the Lord we work hard to stay true to the Lord’s will and we trust, or have faith, that what we are doing is not just right, but morally perfect and is of high worth to our Heavenly Father.

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So this week was a little crazy, with the tight turn around for Zone Conference after MLC! But I’d say it was a success! I got to see some beautiful faces of people that I love and haven’t seen in a while so that was a nice bonus considering I hardly knew anyone in my district! And I was a little sad to say goodbye, knowing that I might not see some again in the mission… but with the Assistants being here Sorella Lalonde and I had a driving test, and according to Anziano Friedman I’m a safe enough driver to be allowed to drive on the roads of Italy. And considering it’s been over 1 year and 3 months since I drove last, I was on the other side of the road, and I was driving an automatic, I think it went alright… even if I did snap at Anziano Friedman when I told him I knew that you can’t turn right on red…

What was weird too, was that we had our interviews with President in our house… but it was a good chat with President and then Sorella Pickerd, even if she did go over the plans and goals I need to make for when I finish my mission… weird.

On Thursday evening we split the zone in two and I had to lead a gesso. It was so much fun just to talk to people and ask them what gratitude means to them and what they’re grateful for. I believe that gratitude is the secret to happiness, because when we recognise our blessings, we can’t help but feel loved and happy that life really isn’t that bad! I had this one pretty profound conversation with this girl, we talked about Christ knowing us perfectly and the spirit was working the magic, that first conversation ended with me getting her number and giving her a Book of Mormon. About 10 minutes later she comes back and asks me to delete her number… I literally felt my heart break. But I just need to trust that she at least has a Book of Mormon and she knows that she can call us whenever she needs.

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As I mentioned, last night we were at a member’s house for a FHE, and her daughter has a learning disability and it was just so lovely to see how the mother is so patient with her, and the daughter is just so lovely too! It was such a lovely evening and I really enjoyed their presence, I just felt such a strong love for both of them and it just inspired me to be that little more patient.

I just wanted to tell you about our investigator who is amazing! She’s basically a member already and I just love her! Couldn’t ask for a more solid person, I can’t wait for her baptism so she can feel the redemptive power of the sacrament and the company of the spirit with her always.

Today we went on a hike and it was beautiful, but oh so HOT!!!!! It’s like 40°C, it’s crazy, I’m going to be so so cold when I get home!!!

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I know the Lord provides for those who are faithful and diligent. And I’m trying my best to be faithful and diligent.

Love Sorella Tacchi xxx

The views are amazing

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“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Ciao a tutti

I was reading in Doctrine and Covenants this week and in section 64 verse 2 it reads “For verily I say unto you, I will that ye should overcome the world; wherefore I will have compassion upon you. The blessings that come from overcoming the world are beautiful and can be found in Revelation chapters 2 and 3 and also D&C 76:64. But what does overcoming the world really mean? To me it means putting off the natural man, setting aside the worldly things that are innate in our mortal state, it means to truly become as our Saviour.

Elder Neal A. Andersen said this in his most recent talk at General Conference “Overcoming the world is not one defining moment in a lifetime, but a lifetime of moments that define an eternity.” The process by which we overcome the world is repentance, or change. A change in our hearts that inspires us to do good, and then to actually do good! “Overcoming the world is not a global invasion but a private, personal battle, requiring hand-to-hand combat with our own internal foes. Overcoming the world means treasuring the greatest commandment: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.”…Overcoming the world is keeping our promises to God–our baptismal and temple covenants and our oath of faithfulness to our eternal companion. Overcoming the world leads us humbly to the sacrament table each week, asking for forgiveness and pledging to “remember him and keep his commandments,” that we “may always have his Spirit to be with [us].”…Overcoming the world is remembering, even when we are discouraged, the times we have felt the love and light of the Savior. Elder Neal A. Maxwell explained one of these experiences this way: “I had been blessed, and I knew that God knew that I knew I had been blessed.” Although we may temporarily feel forgotten, we do not forget.” I know that as we keep the Saviour as our centre and hold true to our covenants, throughout our life on earth we can overcome the world.

The verse in D&C tells us who’s on our side. He wants us to overcome the world, and therefore we will overcome the world with his help, but we must ask for it and then use it. We must truly yearn for that divine guidance and aid. We are not alone in our mortal mission, he is there “Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland.

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So now, transfer calls came and went a week ago, and as I suspected I left my beloved Siracusa and in fact the beautiful island of Sicilia… I got on a plane Thursday morning (because the mission is pretty big and consists of the mainland and 3 islands!) and headed to Rome and then to Cagliari which is on the island of SARDEGNA! Was not the call I was expecting! But I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to serve on this island! Not only did I island hop but I got blown in, or in other missions it’s called white washed? So that’s been interesting… but we haven’t seemed to get too lost #googlemapssaveslives.

My new companion is called Sorella Lalonde and she’s from Kingston, Canada! She’s really sweet, and she’s almost been out 6 months. Yesterday was wonderful, I already love this ward!!

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Today we went to this castle on a hill and saw a pretty sweet view of the city, then we went and had Mexican food, I forgot how much I missed chimichangas!!!

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So I’m still a sister training leader, the only one on the island! I once heard of an Anziano saying that the Sardegna Zone Leaders must be the most stressed in the whole mission because they’re the zone leaders of the entire island, so that must make me the most stressed STL! Hahaha!

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Due to being transferred I had to say goodbye to home, or at least that’s what it felt like! In fact, I left some thing in Siracusa and said “oh I must’ve left it at home…” weird how you can feel so settled and at home when you get to live in a city for 6 months. Saying goodbye was hard, especially to Sorella Ferre! I wish I could take her with me! I have so much love for that girl and I know she will make sure Siracusa is well, and I know Siracusa will continue to love her like I do! Ahhh, Siracusa was the best! Can’t wait to return! So as I was leaving Sicily I had to learn to make one of the most Sicilian things there is: ARANCINI!!!!! Ahhhh it was the BEST!!!!

Had a little miracle since being here though, we were finding on Saturday night because we didn’t really know what else to do on such sort notice! We were wandering down this street and there’s literally one person on it, so we talk to her and she’s actually interested in the church! Hopefully we can see her soon, speriamo bene!!

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We have Zone Conference this Friday and just got the agenda so I hope all can be sorted in such short notice:/. But we had an inspection today with the Guercios! Oh I miss them, can’t wait to see them in UT next year!

Until next weeeek

Sorella Tacchi xxx

Saying goodbye to friends in Siracusa

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Our last district gelato

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Cagliari, Sardegna

The Cagliari Sorelle

I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go

Heya

This week in particular I have been using True to the Faith and it’s truly becoming one of my favourite resources. I was studying about prayer for our spiritual thought at family home evening, and this line really stood out to me. “If you do not feel like praying, pray until you do feel like praying.”  True to the Faith, Prayer. It sounds almost trivial but praying can be hard sometimes, but I know that if Satan can convince us to not pray, we allow him to sever our most intimate tie with our Father in Heaven when we need Him most. The discussion during FHE caused me to thing about the difference between ‘timbre’ and ‘pair’, they both mean ‘dear’ in English but I though it was interesting to notice the difference. Timore is contrite respect and awe, so it helps us to be humble when we face God in our prayers but if we have paura we are more repulsed at the the thought of God. Languages are interesting.

I was then studying about gratitude, and I really liked this quote: “Let a spirit of thanksgiving guide and bless your days and nights. Work at being grateful. You will find that it yields wonderful results.” True to the Faith, Gratitude. Gratitude is so important. “…live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you.” Alma 34:38
“Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving , and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” Psalm 100:3-4
“Humility and gratitude are truly the twin characteristics of happiness” Bishop Richard C. Edgley. I couldn’t agree with this more! How can we be unhappy when we realise how truly blessed we are!? And humility helps us realise where those blessings truly come from.

This week was a little here there and everywhere. We had two exchanges, which meant a lot of running around and a lot of gelato, 5 to be exact. It was really fun and I learnt so much from these wonderful sisters!!!

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In fact 2 of the youth came out and did street contacting with us in the heat; I’m just so excited for the future of Siracusa! We had a really wonderful pranzo with our new convert, her aunt and her friend yesterday! G and S in fact both said that they wanted to serve missions, I’ve really seen a beautiful change in them during my time here and I hope they know how much I love them!

Shout out to my companion Sorella Ferre who had an impression to bring an English copy of the Book of Mormon with her last night because we found this lady who’s from South Africa and it was just the most beautiful conversation, the spirit was the best.

Transfer calls are tonight and I just feel like I’m leaving Siracusa, which obviously I’m incredibly sad about, but I know it’s my time to go and someone else can have the blessings of serving here! I love this place so much, and I love the people even more! I’m just so grateful for this time to serve, it’s been the biggest blessing to my life.  “By reclaiming an erring brother, we save both him and ourselves. Our sins are hidden (remitted) because we ministered for the salvation and blessing of another member of the kingdom. In principle this special reward for Christ’s ministers applies also to those who preach the gospel and bring souls into the kingdom. The minister is rewarded with salvation and, of necessity, in the process, is freed from his own sins.” Elder Bruce R. McConkie and D&C 62:4.

I’ll let you know next week!

Love Sorella Tacchi xxx

“When the Lord measures an individual…He measures the heart as an indicator of the person’s capacity and potential to bless others” Marvin J. Aston

Ciao a tutti,

During studies this week Moroni decided to break my boxes (literal translation of an Italian phrase that means to set someone straight) at the end of Mormon when he talks to the people of our day, and I came across a talk given by Elder Ballard at BYU in March 2001 found in the April 2002 Ensign, called ‘Women of Righteousness’, and it was really good. There was one particular part that applies to both genders when he says:
“I have been drawn to an interchange between God the Father and His eldest and Only Begotten Son, who is the ultimate example of living up to one’s premortal promises. When God asked who would come to earth to prepare a way for all mankind to be saved and strengthened and blessed, it was Jesus Christ who said, simply, “Here am I, send me” (Abr. 3:27).
Just as the Savior stepped forward to fulfil His divine responsibilities, we have the challenge and responsibility to do likewise. If you are wondering if you make a difference to the Lord, imagine the impact when you make commitments such as the following:
“Father, if You need a woman to rear children in righteousness, here am I, send me.
“If You need a woman who will shun vulgarity and dress modestly and speak with dignity and show the world how joyous it is to keep the commandments, here am I, send me.”
“If You need a woman who can resist the alluring temptations of the world by keeping her eyes fixed on eternity, here am I, send me.
“If You need a woman of faithful steadiness, here am I, send me.
Between now and the day the Lord comes again, He needs women in every family, in every ward, in every community, in every nation who will step forward in righteousness and say by their words and their actions, “Here am I, send me.”
My question is, “Will you be one of those women? And will you men who hold the priesthood answer the same call?”
Now, I know most of you want to. But how will you do it? How, in a world filled with deceptive messages about women and the family–and the significance of both to the Lord–will you perpetually respond to the Lord, “Here am I, send me”?
For those who really want to live up to who you are, for those who at all costs want to repent if necessary and who want to see through Satan’s deceptions, I have two suggestions: First, listen to and follow those whom we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators. Second, learn to hear the voice of the Spirit, or the voice of the Lord as communicated by the power of the Holy Ghost.”

I wonder when or if in the pre-mortal existence Heavenly Father asked for specific tasks to be completed and one by one we committed ourselves to our life’s course by saying “here am I, send me”. We each have a part to play in this life, but are we as committed now as we were when we accepted our mortal path? Are we still as determined to return to our Heavenly Father and receive all that he wants to bless us with? I’d like to echo the words of Elder Ballard in achieving our desires, we “First, [need to] listen to and follow those whom we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators. Second, [we must] learn to hear the voice of the Spirit, or the voice of the Lord as communicated by the power of the Holy Ghost.”

Elder Ballard suggested 5 ways in which we can heed spiritual promptings, and I must admit I still struggle acting on promptings of the spirit even almost 15 months into my mission and over 12 years since I received the gift of the Holy Ghost.

“First is fasting and prayer. When the sons of Mosiah were united with Alma the Younger, they rejoiced in their reunion and acknowledged that because “they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting,” they had been gifted with the spirit of prophecy and revelation, “and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God” (Alma 17:3).
Second is immersing yourself in the scriptures. The word of God “will tell you all things what ye should do” (2 Ne. 32:3). The scriptures are a conduit for personal revelation. Young adults, your generation is much more versed in holy writ than was mine at your age. You have been taught to read and study the scriptures. I urge you to intensify your study of them. I promise that your ability to hear the voice of the Lord as communicated through the Holy Ghost will increase and improve.
Third is preparing to spend time in the house of the Lord. When the time appropriately comes for us to go to the temple, we leave the temple “armed with … power” (D&C 109:22) and with the promise that as we “grow up” in our knowledge of the Lord, we will “receive a fulness of the Holy Ghost” (D&C 109:15). The temple is a place of personal revelation. If you are endowed, visit the temple regularly. If you are not, prepare yourself to enter, for inside the doors of the temple rests the power that will fortify you against the vicissitudes of life.
Fourth is listening to the counsel of your father and mother and your spouse. They are wise and experienced. Share with them your fears and concerns. Seek blessings from your father. If for some reason he is not worthy or able, go to your bishop or your stake president. They love you and will count it a privilege to bless your life. If you have not already done so, you should also receive your patriarchal blessing.
Fifth is obedience and repentance. There are certain things you simply cannot do if you want to have the Holy Ghost with you. It is not possible to listen to vulgar lyrics, watch movies filled with sexual innuendo, tamper with pornography on the Internet (or anywhere else, for that matter), take the name of the Lord in vain, wear revealing clothing, compromise in any way the law of chastity, or disregard the values of true manhood and womanhood and expect the Holy Ghost to remain with you. Whenever anyone participates in those kinds of activities, it should not be a surprise if feelings of loneliness, discouragement, and unworthiness follow. Do not make the choice to go it alone rather than have the Spirit of the Lord to guide, to protect, to prompt, to warn, and to fill you with peace. Repent if you need to so you can enjoy the companionship of the Spirit.” 
“More than ever before we need women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity, as the Relief Society declaration proclaims. We need women who can hear and who will respond to the voice of the Lord, women who at all costs will defend and protect the family. We don’t need women who want to be like men, sound like men, dress like men, drive like some men drive, or act like men. We do need women who rejoice in their womanhood and have a spiritual confirmation of their identity, their value, and their eternal destiny. Above all, we need women who will stand up for truth and righteousness and decry evil at every turn and simply say, “Lord, here am I, send me.”” 

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During sacrament meeting yesterday I came across these words to one of the sacrament hymns that I never truly appreciated before. Our Saviour loves us so much, and I’m so grateful for him, and all that he does for me, he truly does live.

At the throne I intercede;
For thee ever do I plead.
I have loved thee as thy friend,
With a love that cannot end.
Be obedient, I implore,
Prayerful, watchful evermore,
And be constant unto me,
That thy Savior I may be.

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This week felt a little all over the place with having Zone Conference at the beginning and then it seemed like an endless string of bidoni and random service projects, then to end with an almost scambio with Sorella Pickerd.  Wednesday afternoon we helped one of the young men with his scout project of deep cleaning the church, which involved us scrubbing the font, attempting to remove the mystery stains from the seats, again attempting to remove marks in the floor, then to end with sanding down a wall.

We then went out to dinner with our beloved E and J for the last time as they returned back to the UK. I’m sure going to miss them! Thursday was interesting, we tried to do some finding but came across this huge paint party and so we decided to venture in and try not to get covered in paint as we invited people to English course, we managed to come out clean. Later we had a surprise service project of helping someone move in, which was fun! Then that night after English course we were walking home and discovered a party in a field, hearing the loud music just made me and Sorella Ferre really want to go dancing, and for those who knew me before the mission know how I like to dance! We were SO tempted and so had to walk home faster as to not give in!

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Friday was weekly planning and we met up with this girl we met in Catania, which was cool, she’s pretty open minded philosophical wise but she said that she’d be happy to share ideas in the future. Saturday the Pickerds came to visit, and they took us out for lunch where I had one of the best lasagne I’ve ever eaten. It wasn’t your typical lasagne because it had no tomatoes but was more white in colour and had aubergines too. Then they inspected our apartment; our toilet is constantly filling and I’ve tried to fix it but it started to flood our bathroom… so President and I attempted to fix it again. Well it’s still broken but he taught me everything he knew about toilets in the mean time.

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That night we had a lesson with our new convert G about the Europe Area Plan (bring a friend, be spiritually and temporally self reliant, find an ancestor), it was probably the best lesson we’ve ever had with her! It was great! She’s so sweet! Sunday was good too, and at our weekly Sunday night gesso we met this lady who wanted to come to English course and decided to take us to her shop, we’re thinking of returning today! We’re managing to make friends with all the people who work in stores, because we know they’ll be here for the summer! I love Siracusa, but I’m oh so terrified for transfer calls next Monday!

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Hope you all have a great week! Love you! My heart goes out to those affected by the recent terrorist attacks in London and Manchester, its hard to tell people that we have hope when they talk of all the destruction in the world.

Love Sorella Tacchi xxx

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“Io so chi io sono”

Hello,

This week consisted of a lot of preparation for my part of the Addestramento (I don’t really know what it’s called in English speaking missions, but the part where the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders teach) during Zone Conference. We were focusing on our identity in 3 categories: as children of God, as masters of agency, and as disciples of Christ. My part was on discipleship and I really enjoyed studying it. It made me think about how not only can I use my talents and gifts to develop on my path of discipleship and help others along the way, but I have been given a unique set of weaknesses to help others too. “Exaltation is our goal; discipleship is our journey. As you exercise a little faith and begin your walk as a peaceable follower of our Lord Jesus Christ, your heart will change. Your whole being will be filled with light. God will help you become something greater than you ever thought possible. And you will discover that the gospel of Jesus Christ is indeed working in your life. It works.” Dieter F. Uchtdorf.

I really enjoyed reading ‘Becoming a Disciple of Our Lord Jesus Christ’ by Elder Hales as preparation too. He helped me think about Christ’s characteristics and how they’re all interwoven together. He uses wonderful imagery of our lives as tapestries made up of interweaving threads of his attributes. When we strive to develop or enhance a certain characteristic, other characteristics are developed along with it too. There’s a line in a song called ‘Tapestry’ by Hillsong United which says “our life’s a tapestry of faith your hands have weaved together”. Christ takes us and develops us into these beautiful and unique tapestry woven by his hands. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to become more like him everyday, to follow him more diligently, and to love him more devotedly.

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I was reading in section 59 of the Doctrine and Covenants and in verse 23 it reads “But learn that he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come.” But we must be willing to give our all in order to receive more than all we can imagine. If we want to follow him, we have to be willing to go where he went, to do what he did, holding nothing back. “There can be no such reservation. We must be willing to sacrifice everything. Through self-discipline and devotion we must demonstrate to the Lord that we are willing to serve him under all circumstances. When we have done this, we shall receive an assurance that we shall have eternal life in the world to come. Then we shall have peace in this world. …
“Let us each day in solemn honesty confront ourselves with the rich man’s question, ‘What lack I yet?’ And thus, with utter frankness, discovering our own limitations, let us conquer them one by one until we obtain peace in this world through an assurance that we shall have eternal life in the world to come.” Marion G. Romney. I love the idea of his peace, not the worlds. We can have his peace amidst the turmoil we find ourselves in in this life. I’m so grateful for a loving Redeemer, who made pure joy possible to find in this life.

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This week was jam-packed. It started with an exchange with the Catania sisters. It was a lot of fun, even if nothing seemed to go to plan. I guess I had to keep my 2015 New Year’s resolution of spontaneity! But I really do love being with sisters, it’s a little overwhelming sometimes and reminds me of school being with lots of girls, but it can still be fun! We ended up laughing so so much!! Wednesday and Thursday were a little less exciting, but consisted of Zone Conference prep and our last dinner at the Walsh’s home before they head back to the UK. Friday was pretty exciting because G GOT BAPTISED!

The day was a little stressful, we didn’t know how long it would take to fill up the font, and I had to go into the underground passage under the church to check that the hot water was on.  All was well, the young women sang a beautiful musical number and the whole thing was magical. Another daughter of god is on her way back home.

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On Friday also we finally got our NEW WASHING MACHINE! And we haven’t stopped doing laundry, I will never ever take a washing machine for granted, ever again. Ever. Hahah. Saturday I came down with a cold… and then Sunday was Stake Conference with all the members in Sicily in Catania. We rented out a conference suite in a hotel so it was weird! A British member of the Seventy came, I could immediately tell that he was from North London. It always weird to hear British accents! That afternoon we had interviews with President in which he told me that I will not be staying with Sorella Ferre for a 4th transfer… but he gave no hints as to whom is leaving Siracusa. I guess we’ll just have to wait 2 weeks until transfer calls. That night we all did a gesso together and Sorella Ferre and I were talking to a newly wed couple from Rochester NY and they, living close to some church history sites, had a lot of deep doctrine questions. It was pretty intense, but it was really cool to just bear testimony on how I received my answer that the Book of Mormon is true, the spirit was just incredible and I had to hold back the tears. Rochester Missionaries, a referral is coming your way!

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Monday was Zone Conference, which was fun. Being on the teaching end was fun too, I love being united as a zone. After conference we were all waiting for a bus but realised that they decided to have a strike despite taking the bus in the morning. So we had to walk, and I was wearing my more Sunday like shoes which have no support and I had my backpack contained my quad, my Italian scriptures, my study journal, my gratitude journal, and my camera. It was a struggle let’s just say, especially in the heat.

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That night we had yet another gesso, and as I was stopping people who were walking past, I saw this one girl and in the corner of my eye I see this other girl and I remember distinctly thinking, wait talk to that other girl and I’m so glad I did because she was from Siracusa and we got her phone number and we’re going to see her this week!

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Last night I laughed so hard, seriously the girls in my zone crack me up! Today was pretty fun, despite my cold getting worse, we played ultimate frisbee again and it was so much fun! Feeling like I’m about to die now though, so early night for me!

Have the best week! Love you!

Sorella Tacchi xxx

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Here is the handout I made for Zone Conference, and the take home sheet to help the missionaries learn more about their identity and photos from the week.

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““La pienezza del sacerdozio contenuta nelle sacre ordinanze della Casa del Signore può essere ricevuta soltanto da un uomo e una donna insieme” Sheri L. Dew

I’ve been reading some articles in the Liahona for language study this week and I’ve really enjoyed a couple of them. The first one is the visiting teaching message about the oath and covenant of the priesthood, it’s really interesting; the more I study the priesthood the greater I respect it and the more blessings I realise come from it. When I was younger I heard the priesthood was like the light of the sun and that a priesthood holder was like a window. It wasn’t the source of light itself but it’s able to bless a room with light as long as he is worthy to do so. I also really liked another article which contained this quote by Joseph Smith “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.” I love my Saviour and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Ultimately He is the reason I’m here, not just on a mission but on this earth, living my life the way I am.

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This week was a little here, there and everywhere. It started with a free pizza; we bumped into an ex missionary and her mom and they bought us dinner, it was really sweet!

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Then on Tuesday we went to say hi to one of our dear friends for her birthday and she was so happy to see us! Wednesday we headed to Palermo to get Sorella Ferre’s visa, it was pretty painless although it took 7 hours… but we may have got froyo and the gelato in the space of 2 hours! It was fun to run around a new city!

Then Thursday we came back and tried to get back to business but just got stood up a bunch of times; but it’s all good because we bought a new washing machine

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Sunday was FULL of miracles. One of our less actives came to church after years. We didn’t have time to chat afterwards but this week we’ll find out why! These two American exchange students walked in with the Elder’s investigator and his friend (one of the Americans is a member), and so I translated for her and hopefully we can see her again. I had to do quite a bit of translating yesterday which is honestly really good for me. I feel like I’m at the stage with the language where I feel like I’m trying everything to improve but I don’t see much progress. But having to translate is really good to have that instant need to get across something in another language.

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This week I conduct my first exchange, have Stake Conference and then Zone Conference on Monday so next week pday will be on Tuesday.

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I just love my life so much, it’s stressful and there are hard times, but there’s nowhere else I’d rather be; choosing to serve a mission is the best decision I’ve made to date.

Have the best weeeeek!  Love Sorella Tacchi xxx

 

I’m known as the floral missionary.

“La religione senza azione è come il sapone che resta chiusa nella confezione” Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Hellooooo

I had some really interesting insights this week. Whilst doing language study I was reading the first presidency message in the April Liahona from President Uchtdorf, it was about how the world has need for faith because without it we can’t better ourselves or the world. But it also got me thinking about the difference between religion and faith. Faith is like the disinfectant in the soap, its the substance that makes soap soap but it’s not soap by itself. Religion is the the bar of soap, without faith, like soap with out the cleansing element, it doesn’t serve its purpose. We have religion because it helps us put our faith into action, just like the soap puts the cleaning into action.

I was also pondering about forgiveness this week, especially as I read the line “I, the Lord, remember them no more.” in D&C 58:42. If he promises to not remember our sins, and we feel this is true because of the lightening effect, the rejoicing, and the hope that comes from forgiveness then why later down the road we remember the sin and feel the godly sorrow all over again? If we remember, surely he does too? The adversary wants you to believe that. He wants you to not continue in hope. We remember our sins and the pain we feel because we need to remember why we shouldn’t do it again. Remember the pain but let it fuel your hope in the sense that you don’t have the desire to feel that way again so you press forward.

“ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” 2 Corinthians 6:16

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This week was really goooood. Well, apart from the usual ups and downs that come with missionary life and everything else!   Wednesday we went to one of our favourite family’s home for pranzo where we had squid! It was actually not that bad, I would eat it again. It was a little weird to eat food that was black though.

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Friday we went to see a Book of Mormon referral from Salt Lake, we had to plan it out in advance though as she lived in a town about a 40 minute train ride and a mile walk away. After the train delay, and the really hot walk in a black dress (I’m the most clever person to exist) we arrive somewhat sweaty! But this lesson was an absolute dream. The spirit was there in abundance and she accepted everything, she said that everything just made sense. It was glorious. I just have a strong testimony that success is not earned, it’s given (Alma 26:22). Our investigator had her baptism interview and all seems to be in place for her baptism. It’s been somewhat of a struggle, my time here in Siracusa, as it’s been a struggle to have work but I just know that when we work as hard as we can God doesn’t have an excuse not to give us success.

“Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come.” Jeffrey R. Holland

Saturday night gesso was fun, I really hope that we reap the benefits in English course on Tuesday!

And then yesterday ended really well as I got to Skype home for the 3rd and final time. I can’t believe it’s been 15 months since I left home.

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Also yesterday in church two Italian RMs came to visit, one who finished her mission a year ago and the other who finished her mission 35 years ago. It bought chills to my soul as I realised that I can do that. I can’t imagine being in my mid-50s and seeing all the people I love here in Italy 35 years older. What a wonderful gift it is to serve a mission.

love Sorella Tacchi xxx