“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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