“What you sincerely in your heart think of Christ will determine what you are, will largely determine what your acts will be. No person can study this divine personality, can accept his teachings without becoming conscious of an uplifting and refining influence within himself” David O. McKay

Carissimi,

So this is it. The last one. First of all where has the time gone?! Right now I’m sat in an airport in Cagliari waiting to head to Rome. And thought I’d write one last time. 

This mission has been that most incredible experience of my life to date. Words cannot express the gratitude I feel to my Father in Heaven and Saviour, Jesus Christ for this wonderful blessing to serve, to learn, to love, and to discover. Sure it’s been one of the most difficult heart breaking 18 months, but it’s been the best 18 months and I wouldn’t change anything for the world. 

Throughout this time I’ve come to know my Saviour more perfectly and intimately as I’ve tried to love as he did, and do the things he did. In his service you experience, to some degree, the things he experienced. The pain, and the joy. The rejection, and the love. Studying about his life and his teachings, testifying of Him daily helped Him to come alive in my life. I know He lives and loves each and everyone of us. I know Him. 

To be honest, I had a lot of expectations for my last transfer, and especially my last week in the mission. And it wasn’t what I thought it would be. I thought I’d see a tonne of great and grand miracles, but that was not the case. We worked hard to get a baptism, but as the weeks passed we realised that it wouldn’t be possible for this transfer, and we worked hard to get at least a new investigator, we came so close but no. And yesterday morning I was somewhat annoyed with Heavenly Father for not blessing me for what I wanted, and what I worked for. But like every prideful person, I was chastised. Heavenly Father was telling me that just because I was finishing my mission, it didn’t qualify me for special treatment. I had a week as missionary, full of rejection, laughter, some one who I love telling me that visiting her was doing nothing and she could do it all by herself, and tender moments and memory making with other loved ones. Just as Christ’s last week was bittersweet, so was mine. I’m not comparing myself to Him because He is unique and perfect, and I am quite obviously not perfect, but it’s funny how in His ministry you can relate to Him that much more. I was truly privileged for another week to live like He did, and to try once more to be like Him. 

Yesterday I was asked to talk to the youth Sunday school class about why I came on a mission. Some of you don’t know the story so I’ll tell you as it’s the reason I’m here at the end. Back when the age changed for sister missionaries, a lot of people told me to serve a mission, and I hate being told what to do, so I was determined not to go. It didn’t sit well with me, but I pushed the nagging thoughts aside because I had my life planned out and a mission was not part of that plan. Then God has a way of getting his way, and my plan started of unravel. But still I was determined not to go, nor pray about it because I knew what the answer would be. Then at 16 I was at EFY and my counsellor told us that this week would be a good week to get a response to a question that was on our mind. I knew exactly what I needed to pray about. It came down to the time I needed to get on my knees and 2 scriptures came to mind. When I opened to the first scripture: 

“Behold I say unto you that this thing shall ye teach–repentance and baptism unto those who are accountable and capable of committing sin; yea, teach parents that they must repent and be baptized, and humble themselves as their little children, and they shall all be saved with their little children.” Moroni 8:10

It was obvious that I needed to go and teach repentance and baptise those who want to be with their families forever. But I was curious as to why a second scripture came to mind. 

“Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.” Moroni 10:32

I knew I needed to go because I wanted to be like Christ, and I could not deny His influence in my life, not couldn’t I deny the power of God. I had to tell people about Him, and couldn’t keep the testimony I’d developed to myself.  Since then I’ve had nothing but confirmations that this is what He needed me to do. And so I went. And I’ve been nothing but blessed for it. The trials I’ve experienced and the mistakes I’ve made have all helped me to become the person and missionary He needed me to be. The Refiner’s fire is a true blessing, even if we don’t realise it immediately. 

Everything we go through is for our experience, and ultimately for our good. 

I know without a doubt that this is the only true church of Jesus Christ on the earth today. He lives, and He guides us through his prophet Thomas S. Monson. The plan of our loving Heavenly Father is perfect and glorious. Trust in Him and you shall not fall. And and leave with you these things for the last time as a missionary, a set apart representative of our Lord and Saviour, even Jesus the Christ, amen.

For the last time, Sorella Maja Tacchi

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Bittersweet Symphony

Buongiorno cari miei,

I’m going to send my final email following this one but I wanted to update you on the adventures of the week! And share my studies too! 

This week we prepared a lesson sharing the home teaching message from July 2017 called “The Reward of Enduing Well” by President Eyring. And it was so good! I’ll share one particular quote he shared:

“You have enlisted in a cause that requires your whole attention; … become a polished shaft. … You must endure much toil, much labor, and many privations to become perfectly polished. … Your Heavenly Father requires it; the field is His; the work is His; and He will … cheer you … and buoy you up.” Parley P. Pratt

This doesn’t just apply to missionaries, it applies to all of us a disciples of Christ. This life is about learning and refining and He’s calling the shots. He loves us though, but where much is given, much is required. 

This week was a good one, full of ups and downs, hellos and goodbyes. It started with a miracle lesson with our investigator! We finally made a big breakthrough with something she’s struggling with and it was a huge miracle. I can’t share the true nature of, but it was great. She refers to me as “Maestrina Tacchi” which essentially means “Little Mistress Tacchi” (maestra is what Italian students call their teachers!), because I ask a lot of questions! Wednesday we had my last district meeting and I got to do a mini addestramento on being bold, we then went out to a smoke house and I had some brisket (I know real good Italian food!). That night we had dinner at our Bishop’s house. I love that family! Bishop was wearing this gothic shirt with a skeleton face on it, so we asked him about it and hen he said it glows in the dark and proceeds to show us! It was funny, especially as his son said “it doesn’t look like it, but we’re all secretly metal fans”, Italians are full of surprises! Thursday we spent learning how to make Gelato!!!! Man, part of me just wants to make and eat gelato for the rest of my life!! It was glorious, shame I need an industrial size machine for the job! Then we had pranzo with our dear investigator and she made clams and spaghetti and it was really gooooood! I’m not one for sea food, but that was scrummy! That night I had my last English Group and so that was a sad goodbye! Friday had my last weekly planning session, last correlation (which was a ‘warm dispute’ as described by Sorella Cook!!!) and then I got to say good bye to some dear members. Saturday I had my last scambio with Sorella Lalonde! ‘Twas a good one! We ran around and saw a lot of less actives and did some good ole finding! That night, was the baptism of the Anziani’s investigator! I love seeing how happy they are! Then Sunday was a pleasant day of saying goodbye and ending the night with a gesso and some laughs with my cara figlia Sorella Greer! Bittersweet Symphony-4

This morning I said goodbye and hopped on a plane to Rome where I’ll run around and eat a big fat gelato. Then tomorrow I’ll head home to Bristol! 

Italy I’ll love you forever. And the Italian people will always have a special place in my heart. 

I hope you’re all well and happy, I love you!

Sorella Tacchi

“Every time you take someone figuratively by the hand and introduce him or her to Jesus Christ, you will feel how deeply our Savior loves you and loves the person whose hand is in yours” Clayton Christensen

Ciao,

I read an article from the April ’94 ensign called ‘Moroni’s Promise’ and it was really eye opening, obviously as missionaries we use Moroni 10:3-5 a lot. But there’s one part in verse 4 that’s always bugged me and I’ve never taken the time to read into it until now; I guess better late than never. In verse 4 it says “ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true”, I’ve always wondered why it said not true, instead of true, but I’ve brushed it to the side because no one has ever asked me. But Elder Kevin W. Pearson gave a pretty sound explanation, he said “The Lord offers us the opportunity to let him confirm truth already in our hearts. But in order to confirm religious truth, one must at least have the idea, or the thought, or the belief (however small) that he has found something true, and then pray to receive the Lord’s confirmation.
Verse 4, then, is the Lord’s invitation, through Moroni, to thus confirm truth. To ask “if these things are not true” implies a degree of acceptance that comes as a result of our pondering the teachings of the Book of Mormon that we have received. Notice again the importance of that very first step–remembering the mercy of God to us since the Creation–and then the next step, which is to similarly ponder and receive the teachings of the Book of Mormon. Surely such pondering of these teachings will bring to mind their truth, their power, their goodness. Thus, it is now tantamount to praying, “Father, I believe that I have received truth. Please tell me if this is not so.” This kind of humble petition is motivated by our faith in Christ, by our faith that he will let us know whether our feelings are correct concerning the Book of Mormon or whether we have been deceived. Thus, our prayer, in essence, is a request for a confirmation of our own conclusions from our pondering. The Lord may not respond exactly how and when we expect, but still our obedience to these conditions qualifies us to receive an answer; this is the scope of the process described in these verses.”
The process is a lot more complicated that I realised, but it’s so beautiful that this can be applied to any search for revelation. In a lesson yesterday we were talking about inviting the spirit through prayer to instruct us before scripture study, and also ending with a prayer as well to confirm the things we’ve learnt. You should all read the article and put Moroni’s promise into practise always.

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I was also reading a talk by Elder M. Russell Ballard called ‘Put Your Trust in the Lord’ from October 2013, and it was really inspiring to read about missionary work and relying on Him because it’s His work and members and missionaries alike play a big part, as it’s our duty to share the gospel. I’ve learnt a lot about how to be better member missionary.  I have been somewhat apprehensive as I return home; I figured to help me adjust I should just do what I’ve been doing for the last 18 months: missionary work. It’s just a new city and language, without a companion and a curfew! It’s weird that this is my final week as a missionary.

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This week was a good one; Wednesday we headed to the north, to Sassari to be with the lovely Sorelle up there! I had a scambio with Sorella DeMann, Mann I love her! Haahha, puns are my favourite thing.

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Anyway, she’s the bomb, and I’m pretty sure we talked to everyone in Sassari. She’s truly blossomed into one of the best missionaries. So doing some finding on Wednesday night and I see this slip of paper with someone’s phone number written on it, I picked it up and called it hoping for some sort of crazy story to come out of it. This lady picks up and I say that I saw her number and felt inspired to call to see if she needs any service or something. She’s super confused and there’s some guy in the background who asks where we got her number and she tells him that Jesus gave us her number! I told her Jesus didn’t give it to me, but that I found it on the ground and that was the end of that. I guess it’s thanks to people like me that missionaries have a reputation as crazy people…

Anyway, it was a hard goodbye but I’ll get to see her next summer! Friday night we did some finding down by the water front and we see this girl that we met at the beginning of the transfer and she was so happy to see us! We talked a bit about the Elder’s baptism on Saturday and she told us that she’d try to come (she didn’t, we texted all 180 potentials/English course students/ex investigators, and none showed up), but it was a mini miracle because Sorella Greer thought to call her that morning and there she was in the same place. We hadn’t been able to see her as she was in Germany but hopefully before I leave!

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Then Saturday was the baptism and it was just lovely seeing someone make covenants. He bore his testimony and said ‘welcome to my day’, Africans just say the coolest things! Haha! We also sang for the musical number 😊. Sunday was a miracle, the lady I talked about last week came to church and brought her son too! She said that it wasn’t what she expected, it was better than what she expected! We have an appointment with them both on Thursday! Miracles are happening 😊.

So today for my last pday in Cagliari we went to the roman ruins of Nora and it was pretty cool, just nice to get some culture and some beautiful views in 😊

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Love you all 😘

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“Sorella Tacchi, you look good in orange” President Pickerd

My studies were mainly focused on the restoration this week and preparation for Zone Conference. And in studying the restoration there were a couple of things that really stood out to me, particularly about the Book of Mormon and prayer. In Preach My Gospel it says “The honest seeker of truth will soon come to feel that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.” And “No one can know of spiritual truths without prayer.” I love how faith starts with a desire (Alma 32:27) and we don’t have to have a perfect knowledge that something’s true, because then it wouldn’t be faith. Our feelings are what motivates us to act, so if we feel that something’s true we will act in faith, and this includes praying for a confirmation that our feelings are correct. These two phrases may not jump out of the page or have any significance to you, but I would like you to think about your faith, is it dormant? Or do you constantly seek to build it through study and action? I love how it included everyone in the second sentence because there is no other way, the way to know truth is always the same no matter who we are or where we are in our spiritual development.

The First Vision and the story of Joseph Smith are kinda out there, and I don’t blame anyone who thinks it’s crazy because those types of things don’t just happen everyday. I’ve never received a personal witness that Joseph saw God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ in the flesh that spring day in 1820 but I do have a personal witness that the Book of Mormon is true, and if the Book of Mormon is true then Joseph Smith really did have that experience. It just makes sense that way, there’s no other explanation. Also the fact that Joseph and his brother, Hyrum were willing to die rather than deny the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, and with that I’d like to add my testimony to that of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and his great grandfather when he said this in October 2009:
“For [187] years this book has been examined and attacked, denied and deconstructed, targeted and torn apart like perhaps no other book in modern religious history–perhaps like no other book in any religious history. And still it stands. Failed theories about its origins have been born and parroted and have died–from Ethan Smith to Solomon Spaulding to deranged paranoid to cunning genius. None of these frankly pathetic answers for this book has ever withstood examination because there is no other answer than the one Joseph gave as its young unlearned translator. In this I stand with my own great-grandfather, who said simply enough, “No wicked man could write such a book as this; and no good man would write it, unless it were true and he were commanded of God to do so.”…
I want it absolutely clear when I stand before the judgment bar of God that I declared to the world, in the most straightforward language I could summon, that the Book of Mormon is true, that it came forth the way Joseph said it came forth and was given to bring happiness and hope to the faithful in the travail of the latter days.” 

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The title of my email has little to do with what I’ve said so far, but I was reading the 12 step to addiction recovery during language study and this line just really stood out to me:
“Dovevamo preoccuparci più della nostra guarigione che del nostro ego o della nostra reputazione.” Passo 4: Verità. (We have to worry more about our healing than our ego or our reputation. Step 4: Truth)
Sometimes it’s hard to do what’s right and what we need but sometimes at the cost of your pride, and it’s hard, but in the end you’ll end up better than you would’ve ever been.

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So this week was kinda crazy, it started out with ferragosto (Italian holiday) or deep cleaning day in the mission. Wednesday was a scambio with Sorella Cook, and we just ran around doing random acts of service, which included picking up a wardrobe and taking it to a member’s house, then putting up some curtains for this less active and moving a TV. She asked what I was going to study when I get home and when I said architecture, she almost gave me a job because her sons own an architecture practice, then tried to convince me to work in Italy! She asked us to fold her American flag, it was funny because neither Sorella Cook nor I are American. (She’s Canadian).

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Thursday was a gooood ol day, we went finding in this park and there was no one. Until we ventured further in, and then no one would watch our video. It was like this for 40 minutes, until this one lady who we end up teaching the restoration to. It was amazing, she asked us when she could come to church and that she wants to know more. Unfortunately she couldn’t come yesterday… but she said that she’s coming with her son on Sunday! Keep her in your prayers. During the lesson though, my leg goes to sleep and at the end I try to get up and I almost fall on the child she’s watching, and I couldn’t feel a thing, it’s was so funny as I shuffled off to the side, and tried to revive it. Bless her though, she gave me some advice for bringing it back!

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I had my last zone conference, and it was wonderful! I just love this work, these missionaries and the Lord. It felt so good to testify of His Son, and to train our wonderful missionaries. It’s His work and we’re privileged to do it.

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I love you all!  Sorella Tacchi xxx

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“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:21

Ciao cari,

These past two transfers I’ve been more mindful of one of my mission goals which is to have “stronger faith and no more fear”, for some reason in this transfer it’s become somewhat more of a struggle. And so this week I’ve come to study more about fear and it’s relation to faith. But I read this verse in D&C 38:30 and at the end it says “…but if ye are prepared ye shall not fear.” We need to just prepare ourselves and leave the rest up to God. Which reminds me of a talk by Joseph B. Wirthlin where he says “The simple secret is this: put your trust in the Lord, do your best, then leave the rest to Him.” We need to take our fears to the Lord, and ask for the strength to confront them. I know when we ask for opportunities to do so, I can promise you that when you act, your fear will diminish and your faith will grow. There is danger in delay, as Thomas S. Monson has said “There is no tomorrow to remember if we don’t do something today, and to live most fully today, we must do that which is of greatest importance. Let us not procrastinate those things which matter most…One day, each of us will run out of tomorrows. Let us not put off what is most important.” This talk in which he said this is called “In Search of Treasure”, from April 2003 General Conference. He said this “The Savior of the world spoke of treasure. In His Sermon on the Mount He declared:
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
“But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
The promised reward was not a treasure of ivory, gold, or silver. Neither did it consist of acres of land or a portfolio of stocks and bonds. The Master spoke of riches within the grasp of all–even joy unspeakable here and eternal happiness hereafter.
Today I have chosen to provide the three pieces of your treasure map to guide you to your eternal happiness. They are:
1 Learn from the past.
2 Prepare for the future.
3 Live in the present.”
I know that if we do these three things we will not have regrets in life, and I’ve tried to apply this to my mission. Yes, I’ve don’t some stupid things in my mission, but I’ve learnt from them; I’m trying to stay focused on the here and now, how the spirit is guiding me, and then I’m preparing for the immediate and more distant future so I don’t have to fear.

This week was good, Monday night we went for dinner at an old couple’s home in the country and the sunset was just so pretty on the drive home! Our Father in Heaven truly has created beautiful things for us to enjoy.

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Wednesday we had a scambio with the Sassari Sorelle and I was with Sorella Palmer! She’s really sweet and we had a really good scambio, that night we had dinner with the Bishop and his family. Then Thursday we saw one of our less actives and taught a good lesson on hope and how it links to faith and charity; Sorella Palmer found a good quote and it ended up being a really good discussion about how all the Christlike attributes work together so when we develop one, we develop them all.

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Friday we had MLC and it actually worked.  Anyway, it was good to see President and some of my cari! That night we did some good ole door to door because we had an hour and not enough time to go somewhere and get home in time for 9, some said we could come back; we rang on a door bell and there was no reply but there was this plant and in it was a head massager thing…

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Saturday was a bit crazy, and saw some miracles! This girl gave us her number, we passed by our investigator in her gelateria and I just feel that she really knows that we love her! Then to top it off we got a referral, and she picked up the phone and were going to see her on Wednesday #dontfearaugust. Then on the bus ride home this drunk man got on, and stood right by us and read my name tag for the whole bus to hear, then tried to sell us his watermelon for €10! Sunday was a goooood day, we had dinner with some members and they fed us Chinese food, didn’t expect to be given that in my mission. Today we took a trip to Oristano, and met some YSA and the other missionaries and played volleyball, ”twas fun!

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I hope you have a great week, I love you and happy ferragosto!  Sorella Tacchi xxx

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“We need to pray from our hearts. Polite recitations of past and upcoming activities, punctuated with some requests for blessings, cannot constitute the kind of communing with God that brings enduring power. Are you willing to pray to know how to pray for more power? The Lord will teach you.” Russell M. Nelson

Buon caldo…

As many of you know, I went to an all girls private school (think Harry Potter, but with twice the hormones and much less magic). It gave me a wonderful education and a bright future in the working world, but it made me want my chosen career more than anything else in the world. I believed I could do anything a man could, and was encouraged to go into a perhaps more male dominated field. These feminist tendencies and a desire to be an independent working woman, sometimes made it hard for me to trust others and respect men. In the church, men are called to bear the priesthood, and my intention is not to go on a rant about how women should hold the priesthood, but to tell you of my experience of coming to understand and appreciate the role I play, and will play, in having miracles and blessings wrought by the priesthood.
“In our Heavenly Father’s great priesthood-endowed plan, men have the unique responsibility to administer the priesthood, but they are not the priesthood. Men and women have different but equally valued roles. Just as a woman cannot conceive a child without a man, so a man cannot fully exercise the power of the priesthood to establish an eternal family without a woman. In other words, in the eternal perspective, both the procreative power and the priesthood power are shared by husband and wife. And as husband and wife, a man and a woman should strive to follow our Heavenly Father. The Christian virtues of love, humility, and patience should be their focus as they seek the blessings of the priesthood in their lives and for their family.” M. Russell Ballard
As a female member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have a responsibility to help and support those who bear the priesthood, and in order to do this I have to respect and understand this Holy office. The priesthood “is the very same power and authority through which God created this and numberless worlds, governs the heavens and the earth, and exalts His obedient children.” The fact that God has given his children this power shows his immense trust in us, he has given us power, his power, and it is the responsibility of not just those who bear it but those who’s lives are blessed by it to make sure it is not abused. I’m so grateful for a life that has been blessed by this great power, for a loving Heavenly Father who has given me men in my life who use it righteously, for coming to a knowledge of the power, and ultimately developing a respect for this gift. I invite you to read the talk ‘The Price of Priesthood Power’ by Russell M. Nelson from April 2016 General Conference, and to think about the role you play, or can play as one who is blessed by the restored Priesthood Power on earth. Sorry that I rambled for a bit, I hope it makes sense somewhat.

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Anyway, this week was kinda crazy (but most weeks in the mission seem that way). Tuesday we were supposed to have a Skype meeting for all the drivers in the mission, but we couldn’t connect and by the time we were put on speaker phone I guess it was the closing prayer because we heard an amen and then they hung up… still have no clue as to what they talked about… Wednesday was wild. It started with district meeting and then on our way to district pranzo we discovered that they shut down the main road in the centre due to a protest… the place we wanted to go to was closed so we ended up at this all you can eat Brazilian restaurant which sucked…

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Then we asked the zone leaders to give us a ride to our lesson which turned out to be quite the adventure as well! None of us knew how to avoid the road that was closed and ended up doing a big loop twice, almost ending up in a car accident but arriving all in one piece 10 minutes late. But all was well because it was the best lesson I’ve ever had with our investigator. Sorella Greer bore her testimony at the end and it had us all in tears, oh how I love the greenie power! The rest of the day we were blessed to arrive at the bus top just in time for our busses and were able to be everywhere else on time! This week has been full of miracles like that, just these little things tell me that the Lord is on our side.

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Thursday and Friday we good, then Saturday was a pretty crazy day. We went to a wedding! Which we sang at, it was different but a really lovely day.

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However the power cut off whilst we were eating food and so we were all suffering in the 40° heat… they’ve named this heat wave ‘Lucifero’… they’re right! The sweat is so bad that yesterday we left pretty much full body sweat marks on the couch… thank goodness we have air conditioning in our apartment.

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Yesterday during testimony meeting the theme seemed to be love; love from our Father in Heaven and Saviour Jesus Christ, and loving ourselves. I felt impressed to share my testimony on that too, I don’t know if my Italian made sense through the tears but I think that if we knew how much we are loved we would realise that we need nothing more, that nothing is missing from our lives.

I hope you’re all doing well and that you’re all happy and enjoying your summer! Love you!  Sorella Tacchi xxx

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“My Dying Wish”

Helloooooo

Before I talk about transfers and whatnot I want to share a talk that I found by accident and share some Elder Holland appreciation. For a lesson with a member I randomly (I say random but I know it wasn’t a coincidence because coincidence is just another word for divine intervention!) came across a talk called ‘Look to God and Live’ by Jeffrey R. Holland from October 1993 General Conference. It talks about God’s love and the angels he sends to us. There are a couple of parts I wanted to share:
“My testimony today is of the angels and ministers of grace who will always defend us if, as the prophet Alma commanded us, we “take care of … sacred things,” we “look to God and live” (Alma 37:47). More prayer and humility, more faith and forgiveness, more repentance and revelation and reinforcement from heaven–these are where we seek remedy and deliverance for “feverish and delirious humanity” (The Character of Jesus, p. 17).
“I testify this morning of God’s limitless love for his children, of his unquenchable desire to help us heal our wounds, individually and collectively. He is our Father, and Wordsworth wrote more than he knew when he said we came to earth “trailing clouds of glory … from God who is our home” (“Ode: Intimations of Immortality”). But in far too many cases we find no modern belief in a Heavenly Father, and when there is a belief, it is too often an erroneous one. God is not dead, and he is not an absentee landlord. God is not uncaring, or capricious, or cantankerous. Above all, he is not some sort of divine referee trying to tag us off third base…
“Angels and ministers of grace to defend us? They are all about us, and their holy sovereign, the Father of us all, is divinely anxious to bless us this very moment. Mercy is his mission, and love is his only labor. John Donne said once: “We ask our daily bread, and God never says, ‘You should have come yesterday.’ … [No, he says,] ‘Today if you will hear [my] voice, today I will hear yours.’ … If thou hast been benighted till now, wintered and frozen, clouded and eclipsed, damp and benumbed, smothered and stupefied till now, God yet comes to thee, not as in the dawning of the day, … but as the sun at [full] noon, to banish all shadows” (Collected Sermons).” 
I too add my testimony of God’s love and his ministering angels. There have been too many times in which he has comforted me, answered my prayers, and provided for me, for me to deny his existence. Unfortunately we meet a lot of atheists and it makes me sad because I just can’t wrap my head around a world, a life even, without a belief in a divine being who loves me. I promise each and everyone of you that can be bothered to read my ramblings that God lives, and He loves you, and if you pray sincerely to know these things are true He will answer your heartfelt prayer.

Another talk that I absolutely love is called ‘The Refiner’s Fire’ by James E. Faust from April 1979 GC. He shares a story that brought tears to my eyes, I encourage you all to read it! But towards the end he shares this quote by Orson F. Whitney “To whom do we look, in days of grief and disaster, for help and consolation? … They are men and women who have suffered, and out of their experience in suffering they bring forth the riches of their sympathy and condolences as a blessing to those now in need. Could they do this had they not suffered themselves?
“… Is not this God’s purpose in causing his children to suffer? He wants them to become more like himself. God has suffered far more than man ever did or ever will, and is therefore the great source of sympathy and consolation.” 
So when we ask God why we have to suffer, why there is heart break in the world, unfortunately if we want to follow our Saviour and be like our Heavenly Father, we have to go where Christ went and suffer as He did. It wasn’t fair for Him, the perfect living soul, and if life were fair, He wouldn’t have had to pay the price for our sins. So let’s rejoice that life isn’t fair, because it gives us the opportunity to return and receive.

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Well today marks the first day of transfer 12, or in other words, my final transfer. Last Monday I found out where I’d be and who I’d be with. So I’m staying in Cagliari on the beautiful island of Sardegna but I wasn’t told who my companion would be. And typically that happens on when you’re TRAINING!!! Yes, they trust me with a brand new missionary! Hahah! I feel kinda bad that we only get 1 transfer together and I hope I don’t make her trunky, because usually you do 2 transfers with your trainer. But I know this is the Lord’s will, and she’s awesome!

Her name is Sorella Greer and she’s from St. George UT, I really feel like I can be myself around her! We’re gonna have some fun! I’ve wanted to train for quite some time now, and when I found out last transfer that I wasn’t, I gave up on that dream and thought that maybe Heavenly Father didn’t think that was for me. So a couple of weeks ago when an Anziano in my district asked me what I’d like for my last transfer (like a dying wish) I told him I’d love to train but I didn’t think it would happen because I only had one transfer left, so when he saw me for district meeting on Tuesday he said “you got your dying wish!”. Just call me Sarah the mother of Isaac!

From Monday to Wednesday we were in a trio because Sorella Carver left, so we ran around saying goodbye. Oh another weird thing about transfers was that my previous companion Sorella Lalonde stayed in Cagliari too and is training also. So we still live together, but we’re not companions!

Sorella Fielding taught us some more of the city. Said goodbye to some people I love too, Sorella Cardullo, Sorella Fielding, and Anziano Ruiz!

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I forgot how unusual mission life is, and you realise that when you have to teach someone who has no clue!

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I hope you’re all well and happy! This week is gonna be a crazy one!

Love Sorella Tacchi xxx

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“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13

Hello,

I continued my study of the New Testament this week, and this verse stood out to me in particular. “I press toward the mark” Philippians 3:14. To press means to move or to cause to move into a position of contact something by exerting continuous physical force. So in order to press something we need to have resistance. When we talk about pressing forward or pressing toward we know that it won’t be easy because there will be someone or something pushing us back. It will be constant and therefore we must endure because it will only end once we finish.

Philippians turns out to be a really great book in the New Testament, and the last chapter is the best. Verses 6-7 basically just tells us to do our best, leave the rest up to the Lord, remembering to include Him in prayer and thanking Him, then His peace will guard our hearts. Then verse 8 is the verse the 13th article of faith is based on and the blessing that come from seeking these things, again is the peace of God. These verses go wonderfully with a talk by Joseph B. Wirthlin, “The word ‘seek’ means to go in search of, try to discover, try to acquire. It requires an active, assertive approach to life. … It is the opposite of passively waiting for something good to come to us, with no effort on our part.
“We can fill our lives with good, leaving no room for anything else. We have so much good from which to choose that we need never partake of evil. …
“If we seek things that are virtuous and lovely, we surely will find them. Conversely, if we seek for evil, we will find that also”. “Seeking the Good” April 1992.
Verse 13 is wonderful too, “We don’t seek out tests, trials, and tribulations. Our personal journey through life will provide just the right amount for our needs. Many trials are just a natural part of our mortal existence, but they play such an important role in our progress. …
“Sometimes we want to have growth without challenges and to develop strength without any struggle. But growth cannot come by taking the easy way. We clearly understand that an athlete who resists rigorous training will never become a world-class athlete. We must be careful that we don’t resent the very things that help us put on the divine nature.
“Not one of the trials and tribulations we face is beyond our limits, because we have access to help from the Lord. We can do all things through Christ, who strengthens us [see Philippians 4:13]”. “More Than Conquerors through Him That Loved Us” by Paul V. Johnson, April 2011. Christ is our strength, in fact we should never boast of ourselves because without Him we can do nothing and without His love we are nothing. Which relates to a talk that was given in sacrament meeting yesterday where a high councillor was talking about love and charity. He told us that he studies the bible in Greek and whenever charity or love is used in the bible, in Greek the word agape is used for both words. The charity and love used in the bible is the same love, His love.

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I read a really wonderful article in the May 1978 Ensign about welfare. I never fully realised the true importance of being self reliant until my mission. If we were all self reliant it would fix a lot of the problems we face in society, and we would be better able to build Zion. President Kimball suggest these 3 ways in which we can ‘bring about Zion’: “First, we must eliminate the individual tendency to selfishness that snares the soul, shrinks the heart, and darkens the mind…
“Second, we must cooperate completely and work in harmony one with the other. There must be unanimity in our decisions and unity in our actions…
“Third, we must lay on the altar and sacrifice whatever is required by the Lord. We begin by offering a “broken heart and a contrite spirit.” We follow this by giving our best effort in our assigned fields of labor and callings. We learn our duty and execute it fully. Finally we consecrate our time, talents and means as called upon by our file leaders and as prompted by the whisperings of the Spirit. In the Church, as in the Welfare system also, we can give expression to every ability, every righteous desire, every thoughtful impulse. Whether a volunteer, father, home teacher, bishop, or neighbour, whether a visiting teacher, mother, homemaker, or friend–there is ample opportunity to give our all. And as we give, we find that “sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven!” (Hymns, no. 147.) And in the end, we learn it was no sacrifice at all.” I love the last one. It hit me, particularly as a missionary because it’s pretty much the only opportunity you can live the law of consecration in its fullest. And I can say without a doubt that this mission is not a sacrifice at all. 

There was also another really good address given by President Kimball in the January 1975 Ensign called ‘Home: A Place to Save Society’, recommend reading it, it changed me.

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Anyway, this week was a here, there, and everywhere kinda week. It started with a scambio on Tuesday with the lovely Sorella Fielding and shout out to her because she knows Cagliari better than I do so we didn’t get lost.

Wish I could say the same for my scambio on Wednesday/Thursday with the lovely Sorella DeMann! Oh we had some fun, we trusted an Italian with which bus we should take… big mistake! But it was good, we made the most of it and had some laughs along the way. On Wednesday we visited with this investigator, we taught the restoration in the dark and up until the 1st Vision she didn’t even look at us!!!

Then we hopped the church fence and I became the impromptu choir pianist…

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Then we did a gesso (chalk drawing thing) with the Anziani in the centre of Sassari! Such a lovely city, right up in the north of the island. That night I broke the Sorelle’s bed… didn’t think I put on that much weight!!! Hahaha, but weirdly enough I’m the same weight I was at the beginning of my mission.

Friday we took a drive to see a less active and that night doing finding we were by the seafront and we look out at the water and see this ripple, it was what the heck is that? Then we realise that the ripples are in fact DOLPHINS!!! We literally jumped, it was so cool! Saturday we had a ward party! It was fun, we ate food and I did some skipping! ‘Twas all good until all my passalong cards fell out of my pocket!

I also made a lasagna: it will always be my favourite Italian specialty. Then yesterday was such a gooood day! It starts off with about 50 BYU students descending at church which made for some fun translating, especially in Relief Society as we didn’t have a spare translating microphone so we had to stand up at the front and translate what was being said when they paused (which was not very often).

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Then we had an FHE with at our investigator’s house and the other sisters’ investigator too, we then had cena (dinner) with them. I’m so glad that our investigator and the sisters’ investigator got on well and they really enjoyed the evening!

This morning at 5am we said good bye to sweet Sorella Carver who will be flying home tomorrow! As for pday we went to a few museums: one about all the history that’s been hidden under Cagliari, and the other about the typical opera costumes.

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We then ventured to a display of Christ’s life with the added catholic twists, and then popped into a Catholic Church: no pday is complete here in Italy without one!

My last ever transfer calls are tonight, and thus begins the transfer of lasts… I’m never stable on transfer call night, I just hope they call earlier rather than later and put me out of my misery! I’ll tell you all about it next week! Have a wonderful week, love you all!

Sorella Tacchi xxx

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Italian Gelato is good for you!

 

“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