“As we make Christ the center of our lives, our fears will be replaced by the courage of our convictions.” President Thomas S. Monson

Carissimi tutti,
I’ve been transferred, and left those I love behind in Rome. It was really hard to say goodbye because I have really come to love those precious sons and daughters of God. I will truly miss each and everyone of them, but I know that this is not the end and thanks to modern technology I can keep in touch and remind them how much I love them. What made it a little more difficult was the fact that I was in a trio when Sorella Tingey left on Monday, as then my 2 companions came down with the flu and fever, which resulted in being home bound. So I was unable to say goodbye in person; I hope that they know that I love them and was grateful that I could at least say goodbye on the phone!

Well, now I’m in ‘North Africa’, at least that’s what the Italians call it! I’m in a city called Siracusa (or Syracuse in English), which is on the beautiful island of Sicilia (or Sicily). I’m finally near the sea!!!! Sicily is beautiful, and I had an 12 hour train ride to enjoy it. What was cool about the train was that in order to get to the island the train is driven on to a ferry! It was an adventure to say the least!

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My new companion is called Sorella Coz Becerra, she’s originally from Peru but lives in Milan so she speaks Italian (as her main language), Spanish, English (meno male!) and German. She’s awesome, and she’s just finished training so I’m her follow up trainer. My district is really young. And when I say young, I’m not only the oldest by age, but by 3 transfers in the mission. My district leader, Anziano Price, is in his 4th transfer, his companion, Anziano Moscon, is in his 3rd, my companion in her 3rd and me in my 7th. Here’s to a fun transfer; I’m the one that’s most experienced so there’s no hope for any of us!

I can’t believe it’s 2017!! I come home this year! That’s just crazy to me! Well we had a really cool exclusive party for just our district on New Year’s Eve, which consisted of eating pandoro (which means gold bread) and getting to know each other. Because I was exhausted from deep cleaning the appartamento all day Saturday and travelling on Friday I slept the whole night and didn’t hear any noises!

The chapel here in Siracusa is beautiful, kinda looks like a temple! Unfortunately I couldn’t meet many of the members as only a 1/3 turned up! Anyway, we had a pranzo with all the members after church! One lady, took me by the hands and sang to me staring into my eyes then told me I wasn’t a sister missionary and that I was in fact an angel! Gotta love Italians!

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As an invitation from Sorella Lee, I started to read ‘Missionary Work and the Atonement’ by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, it’s fairly long (hence why I’ve only started it this week) but towards the beginning there’s a section called ‘Prerequisites for Baptism’ which I thought made some interesting points. As missionaries, we can get caught up when someone has a desire to get baptised and rush through the lessons and thus forgetting to help them develop a relationship with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. We forget the first 2 principles of the gospel that come before baptism: faith and repentance. Faith helps us to trust our Saviour and repentance results in a change and a determination within our hearts to follow him more closely. We need to take a step back from the excitement of the prospect of baptism and focus on the person we are teaching, we need to help them personally. In order to do that, we as the missionary need to review our own conversion. What are we doing in between the times we take the sacrament? Are we stuck in the day to day teaching routine, or are we developing stronger faith and changing our hearts on a daily basis? I think that when we look at ourselves as individuals in this gospel, it helps us to see those we teach as individuals, and when we strive to deepen our relationship with the Lord, we can in turn help others. Being a loving example is the best way to teach. To explain the title of the email, it is in focusing on Christ that things become perhaps more simple (not less difficult however); it is through him that we can rediscover the joy that propels us forward and the fear that can lie in the daily effort of missionary work, and life for that matter, is replaced with courage. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:18-19.

Today we went to the island of Ortigia, its a really cool little island off of Siracusa. We did some saldi (sales) shopping, and explored the island a little coming across the Temple of Apollo! Sicily is seriously so beautiful, I couldn’t be more blessed!

I hope you have a fantastic week and a wonderful new year! I’ll see (most of you) this year!

Love Sorella Tacchi xxx

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Underwater Nativity

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