“Being sincerely Christlike is an even more important goal than being authentic.” Elder Quentin L Cook

Hello!

I read something quite wonderful this week, it was a talk for a young adults worldwide devotional by Elder Cook. He talked about the challenges and trials we will face as a generation and as individuals. He talked about agency and how, yes we are free to choose, but we do not choose the consequences. So every decision we make mustn’t be taken lightly. “We are free to choose and act but not free to control the consequences of our choices. Hence, our choices determine happiness or misery in this life and in the life to come. “Choices of good[ness] and righteousness lead to happiness, peace, and eternal life, while choices of sin and evil eventually lead to heartache and misery.”It links to the other week when I read a talk by President Hinckley, in which he talks regarding how the Atonement can change the eternal consequences of sin in terms of Salvation, but mercy cannot rob justice and we must accept the earthly consequences of our actions. Our choices must reflect who we follow. In our earthly life we must decide what’s important, the temporal or the eternal? “Finally, our purpose was not to obtain wealth but to establish communities of brothers and sisters that loved one another and lived the principles the Savior taught.” Ofttimes when we make right choices, we have negative temporal consequences but we must find comfort in the fact that it’s temporal and will be consecrated for our eternal gain. “And all they who suffer persecution for my name, and endure in faith, though they are called to lay down their lives for my sake yet shall they partake of all this glory.
“Wherefore, fear not even unto death; for in this world your joy is not full, but in me your joy is full.”  The Lord has also promised us that the reward of righteousness is “peace in this [life], and eternal life in the world to come.” D&C 101:34-16 and D&C 59:23 respectively. Next, he talked about work. Success in this life is not down to intelligence and natural talents. Evidence shows that it’s by hard work and true grit. “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground.” Genesis 3:19. Gives me hope, that although I wasn’t the smartest in my year, and I didn’t have the highest grades, it doesn’t mean I should limit my life goals to something average and merely satisfactory. If I want something, I need to work for it, I don’t need to be the best but I need to do my best. “you can meet many of your righteous, worthwhile goals with planning, grit, and determination, especially if you eliminate the Saturday morning cartoons of life. You can also find more joy and happiness in your life.” 
“enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.” Professor Duckworth.

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Obviously the work place isn’t the only place where you should set goals. “My challenge to you tonight is to examine your goals and determine which ones will allow you to fulfill family obligations and keep you on your covenant pathway and allow you to have the joy the Lord wants for you. Remember, having a goal allows you to save time and effort by planning ahead and not missing important prerequisites and deadlines.” Priorities need to be set, and then plans need to be made in order to reach those goals. As a missionary, I make so, so, so many goals: mission goals; transfer goals; weekly goals etc. And I’m getting better at reaching them (although drink more water will forever be a goal…), but since coming on a mission, I’ve come to realise that somethings just aren’t important. Like the fact that I want an Aston Martin DB9, or a Lamborghini aventador (or however you spell it..); what really matters is people, those who you choose spend time with, those who you have to spend time with, those who you bring into the world and those who are your world. God’s children are important, and I’ve discovered that it’s not about where you serve, it’s the people you serve.

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“It is not appropriate for us to negotiate the terms of our relationship with the Godhead.” As God’s children we have a relationship with our Heavenly Father. Personally, I need to be less casual and take my relationship with Him more seriously. I need to stop thinking of the Atonement as something that will always be there, and stop thinking that it’s okay if I do this, I can repent later. The godhead and our relationship with them is sacred and should be treasured with respect. The Atonement and companionship of the Holy Ghost is a gift, a divine gift we need to be worthy of, and humble enough to use.

“You need not be afraid, despite the dangers and challenges you will face. You will be blessed and protected when you seek righteous, worthwhile goals. Plan and work with grit and determination, avoid inappropriate use of social media and the Internet, and rely and focus on faith, repentance, saving ordinances, and the Savior’s atoning sacrifice as you endure to the end. Focusing on the temple will help you achieve these goals.
To paraphrase Romans 12:12, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.”” Focusing on the temple, the next ordinances that will be made, and staying worthy of a recommend, will help everything to fall into place. Focusing on the temple helps us to make good goals, and maintain an eternal perspective. Temple worship fortifies our resolution to endure faithful and joyfully to the end. Yesterday was the primary presentation, and the first song they sang was ‘Amo il sacro tempio’ or ‘I love to see the temple’, and it had me in tears.

Well, this week was crazy! It started out with a scambio to Rome 5 area! Which meant I could escape to the country for 24 hours! It was beautiful, and because it’s the country it meant that we used the car! It was blissful not having to wait for buses or the metro. On the Wednesday morning we did some service of cutting down fire wood for one of the members. She had the cutest kittens!

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Thursday I marked my HALF WAY MARK!! That’s right, I made it half way through my mission, where has the time gone?!

Friday we had specialised training which was really good and gave us some insight into some areas we need to focus on. Then at the end we did a nativity, and I was a sheep, that turned into a mouse… but it was fun nonetheless.

That night we had the privilege of singing at the Basilica di Sant’Andrea delle Fratte, we sang some carols and it turned out to be a competition… we won 3rd place! The church was really pretty and it’s an experience I won’t forget as the church is really close to the Spanish Steps.

Rome is just so beautiful at night time, wish I could explore it more with all these Christmas lights! Saturday we sang to old people and played bingo with them, then it was the ward Christmas Party! It was your standard ward party with games and food, but the relief society made us dance… ’twas interesting! A girl in the ward also opened her mission call, which was to the GREAT ITALY ROME MISSION! Yeah, so she’s going to the mission she lives in! It’s crazy to think that she could be my companion, or that I could train her!

Also on Saturday I was looking round the bus, and made eye contact with an old man, I smiled and carried on looking around. When he was about to get off, he came over and told me I was beautiful, and then my companion gave him a pass along card. So yesterday he turned up to church, with gifts and a photo of himself. He wrote on the back, that I’m a person that is rare to find in the world, that he will follow me to the end of the earth and ended it with ‘con affetto’, or with love… last night we had a missed call from an unknown number, so mistakingly I called it back and it was him… he then proceeded to invite me round for spaghetti and coffee and that he saw an angel and a madonna… so he essentially called me the mother of Jesus. I suppose that’ll teach me to smile at old men… it wasn’t even a teeth smile, it was more of a passing grin. Oh well!

We went to the Vatican museum and the Sistine Chapel, the chapel was so stunning! And of course Michael Angelo’s work is just as beautiful in real life as it is in the pictures! Unfortunately we can’t take pictures in the chapel…

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So as I’m sure you know, it’s Christmas this Sunday and I’m so excited! I wish you all a Merry Christmas and know that I love you!
Buon natale!
Con amore, dalla vostra missionaria a Roma!

Sorella Tacchi xxx

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