Monday, February 19, 2018

Sfida

Buon giorno di San Valentino!
Happy Valentine's Day!

This week we decided to heart attack all the ward members and our investigators, it was a blast! Italians don't really know how to react to that kind of thing so it was really cute getting all sorts of random 'thank you' phone calls and sweet texts during the week. I've probably mentioned it a time or two before but in case you forgot....the ward members in Statte are like no other. It is unbelievable, but they are so faithful and so prayerful and we are seeing miracles in our work which we accredit fully to the members. They are as 'en gamba' as it gets. 

Our emphasis this week was a "sfida" del libro di mormon (a book of mormon 'challenge'). We made a calendar of the week and wrote in 2 successive chapters in the Book of Mormon every day with little checkboxes. We gave a sfida to Antonella and we also gave one to Giuseppe. We weren't sure exactly how it was going to go over but...

Antonella told us, very lovingly, that we are brats and she knows the sfida is exactly what she needs to do. She'd never read the Book of Mormon on her own, but when we came back later in the week she greeted us by saying "I read my two chapters!" And the next time we came back: "I read my two chapters!" She's growing her faith and slowly gaining a testimony. Unfortunately we didn't do FHE with bishop and she couldn't come to church yesterday because her family is all in town and they are moving houses (still in Crispiano, menomale). 

Giuseppe and Elvira
Giuseppe also was really excited to accept the sfida! When we presented the idea to him the first thing he said was, "well, 2 chapters a day isn't very much... is it okay if I read more than that?" I don't see a problem with it, do you Sorella Johnson? Hahahaha mamma mia everything Giuseppe says just leaves us with our mouths hanging wide open because he so gets it. I don't know how else to say it, but we have front row seats to his conversion and I've never experienced anything more beautiful. And the best part? He came to church yesterday!!!!!!!!!! It's moments like that as a missionary that bring joy like nothing else.....we got home Saturday night and were just jumping up and down dancing around our apartment because we were so full of joy. That sounds totally cheesy but I can't say it any other way! The work of the Lord really brings this fullness of joy into my life, it's something everyone has to experience. Giuseppe stayed for all 3 hours of church and afterward he said "Now THIS is what church is supposed to be like. I think I'll be frequenting this church from now on" <-----That's what we like to hear :))))))) We went to their house after church for a little and he told us that from the moment bishop picked him up for church at 9 am, he hadn't had the desire to smoke. (he has a cigarette dependency). Just another huge miracle. We are praying really really hard and have faith that he will be baptized on April 7th. The day for Giuseppe.

In other news.....

We made brownies for some of our investigators and some members this week, italians love brownies, it's the cutest thing to watch them eat them. Dessert in Italy isn't super sweet so brownies are really rich for them hahha.

I went on a scambio with Sorella Baielli this week, she's from Idaho but was born and lived in Sardegna until she was 12! She's super cool and we had a great time, I loved getting to show her around Statte and Crispiano!

This past week was my first week of driving in a foreign country. It's exactly that: foreign. We are the only sisters in the mission that have their own car so it's weird that I'm actually in an area where we need a car to get around because everything is so spread out. Italians are crazy drivers and it's an adjustment learning to drive like them but I'd be lying if I said I'm not enjoying it. 
Sorella Johnson and Anna (Anna's birthday)

Anna didn't come to church yesterday so we were really really sad about that....

Io e Sorella Johnson abbiamo fatto un piccolo digiuno della lingua inglese per un giorno, e andato molto bene :) Sorella Johnson and I did an english fast for a day and it went well and was really fun :)

We visited Rosa this week and really bonded with her, showing her pictures of our families and other fun mission pictures/videos! Next up for her will be the 'sfida' !!

One of the spiritual highlights of my week came in a conversation with Giuseppe after church yesterday. He said that his favorite part of sacrament meeting was partaking of the sacrament, the bread and the water, exactly the same way that Christ asked us to do it in the Bible! He was in awe of the beauty of that ordinance, it was a humbling reminder for me too, to remember the importance of the sacrament and the atoning sacrifice our Savior made for each of us. I invite you, next Sunday during sacrament meeting, to remember the significance and the importance of the sacrament. It really is a blessing each week to partake of and remember my commitment to Him. I love the opportunity I have to be a full-time representative of Him and feel his love for the people of Statte. Nowhere I'd rather be.

Love yall!
xoxo


My faves: brownies, cake, Giuseppe and Sorella Johnson

buon appetito




Sorella Carley Neuberger
Sorelle Missionarie
Corso Vittorio Emanuele III, 206
Statte, TA 74010
Italia


Monday, February 12, 2018

Casa del Panzerotto

Not sure if I've explained panzerotti yet. Here goes. A "panzerotto" is basically a fried pizza....I need to take a picture to send so you can have a visual of how heavenly the food is here. Panzerotti are unique to this zone! You can get them with cheese and sauce inside or with meat, or ricotta, they even make nutella panzerotti! Blessed. 

Cuttlefish (same family as squid or octopus)
Not as tasty as the panzerotto
So the best panzerotti place in Taranto is called "Casa del Panzerotto" and Sorella Barnes took me there this week since I was in Taranto for a scambio! It was so much fun being on exchanges with Sorella Barnes but also weird because the last time we did a scambio we were both greenies! So it was kind of cool to see the progress we have both made. We saw tons of miracles in those 24 hours! We had a lesson with one of their african members, Analisa, she was so cute and totally reminded me of Gift which made me kind of sad and missing her haha. And then we did some finding with a twist: whiteboarding! We took a small whiteboard and wrote "Do you believe in God?" and had a column for yes, no, and maybe. Then we walked all around the city with this whiteboard, handing the marker to so many different people having them mark their answers. It was a really awesome way to find because the people who want to talk about religion will stop! One girl we walked by looked right at me and said "Why do you believe in God?" And the way she said it just really struck me and that's kind of where my thoughts have been throughout the week. Why do I believe in God? Why do YOU believe in God? I believe in God like I believe that there is wind! I can't see Him, but I can feel Him, I can feel His presence in my life every day, which is truly something beautiful. I believe in God because I know He hears and answers my prayers! Maybe not on my timing or in the way I'd like, but He always does. 


In terms of big news.... Antonella came to church again yesterday!! So I guess that answers the question of whether or not she liked it :) We were so excited that she wanted to come back. She also really loves the hymns so this past week we got her a new hymn book and wrote her a dedica and gave it to her! She was so happy and immediately started singing "I need thee every hour". Wow. We also helped her download the gospel library app on her phone this week, she loves it!!!! We went to visit her the day after she downloaded it and she was so excited to tell us about the talk she read "Three Sisters" the one by Elder Uchtdorf. Ahhhhh Antonella is so amazing and just living proof that everything is in the Lord's hands and His timing because she's been an off and on investigator for about 7 months or more!

Sacrament meeting yesterday was nothing short of amazing, it was almost like it was planned specifically for Antonella! All of the talks were given by members who were converts and they told their conversion stories and how they decided to be baptized. It was so perfect!!!! And then Bishop got up and told his too, which was extra personal for her since she grew up with him! He talked about how he had member friends and when he went to their houses he could feel something different and he wanted that in his home. After sacrament meeting, Antonella asked him "When can I come to your house?" We are planning FHE for this week. :)

Sorella Moses and daughter Gioia
Also at church yesterday: Sorella Moses brought her husband! Sorella Moses is the only african member of the ward here in Statte but she's lived here for about 8 years and speaks italian really well! She also has 2 really cute kids. Her husband isn't a member and I don't think he's been to church before, we asked her how she got him to come, she said: "I took the keys and locked the door so he had to come with me!" Savage. But it was so great to meet him and see their whole family in church together :) And it was also great getting to translate gospel principles for him, felt like I was back in Sassari!

Unfortunately, Giuseppe and Elvira didn't make it to church yesterday, but their 25 year old son, Enrico did! He stayed the whole time, asked tons of questions, it was really great. So hopefully he talks it up to his parents and they all come together next week! We visited Giuseppe and Elvira last night at their house and Giuseppe promised us he would be in church next week so I'm already looking foward to that. Also we took them zucchini bread and they loved it so much that they put the recipe in their recipe book for the Panificio!! Last night we talked with them more about the Restoration, watched Joseph Smith the Restoration and then I asked Giuseppe to be baptized when he receives his answer that these things are true. His response: "Assolutamente." (absolutely). We told him that we had prayed about April 7th and he said he would pray about it too. He said "I know I need to read my Book of Mormon every day by myself, not just the days when you come to the panificio to read with me. And I need to be more sincere and specific in my prayers". Giuseppe. He knows. I just love he and Elvira with my whole heart!!!!!!!! They are going to be the ones I save up for to fly them to America so they can stay at my house for a week (if that's okay mom and dad..!) 

During the week we felt prompted to stop by and ex-investigator, Monica. Well, she was home! (we've stopped by their house probably more than 10 times this transfer and they've never been home). Monica is this cute young mom with 4 really cute daughters and they just seem like they are already mormon hahaha. We talked about the family, read a few parts of the Family Proclamation, and are going to go back this week!

We also saw a cool miracle with our investigator Rosa this week! We stopped by her house one morning and her granddaughter was over visiting!! Her granddaughter is 23 years old and her name is Daniela and she is our newest investigator she's the cutest thing and we are such good friends already!! They invited us back on Sunday, so yesterday we went for pranzo and got to talk more about the Restoration! Daniela just ate it up, asked for our phone number (plot twist..) and asked when we're going to see each other again. Statte miracles people. I love this place. And I love these people even more. 

I'll leave yall with a quote this week, something my mom sent me "the harder you fall, the higher you rise". Yep it's true! Sometimes it takes a fall to get us on our feet, to give us our motivation back but we can always rise! And when we do fall, we have our Savior Jesus Christ to help us get back up. I don't think there's anything in the world that gives me greater comfort than that knowledge. And I love sharing that with the Italian people every day! I love being a missionary and I love you all! 

Buona settimana a tutti!
XOXO

Sorella Carley Neuberger
Editors note:  The following pictures are from the town of Matera where Carley went for p-day.  This link explains more about Matera.  Copy and paste in your browser to learn more.               https://www.neverendingvoyage.com/sassi-matera-italy/

















Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The best week of my mission.....so far

I am not exaggerating a single bit when I say that this past week was hands down the best week of my mission. So far. Because we are on a straight crescendo here in Statte! It is so beautiful and amazing and I still have no idea how I got lucky enough to witness it all. 

One of the biggest miracles was our meeting with Anna di Giuseppe. We hadn't seen her in almost 2 weeks so we were starting to get kind of worried. But when we finally did have time for a lesson, we were geared up to break boxes and explain the importance of keeping commitments and coming to church. Plot twist: the first thing she said to us was "I know, I know, I need to come to church and I really want to! Especially because I still want to be baptized on March 10! So I asked at work if I could switch my Sunday shifts to Saturday and they let me do it!" So next week, Anna will be in church. She's already started inviting friends to her baptism!! 

Other biggest miracle of the week: Antonella came to church. She has been an investigator since September or maybe even before, but yesterday she came to church for the very first time. Turns out that she and the bishop and the stake president's wife all grew up in Crispiano (one of the cities we cover) and went to school together! It turned out to be a beautiful testimony meeting and she had to pull out the tissues after bishop and his wife both bore their testimonies. She had to leave right after sacrament meeting, but we are beyond excited to meet with her this week and hear her thoughts on everything! We stopped by her house almost every day this week to read the Book of Mormon together dal inizio (from the beginning) and she LOVES it. Like she just eats it up and we will finish a chapter, look at her, and she keeps reading. 

At the bakery with Giuseppe and Elvira.
(our adopted Italian parents)
And we started the same thing with Giuseppe and Elvira!  Reading the Book of Mormon from the beginning and talking about it chapter by chapter. It has been really amazing to see how much they understand and comprehend!! That's something special about reading The Book of Mormon with Catholics or with people who know the Bible really well: is hey realize that the Book of Mormon is a lot easier to understand and so they understand absolutely everything.  Honestly, I've been surprised with Giuseppe. After we read a chapter, we asked him what he understood and he gives us a perfect summary of everything we just read, complete with quotations and his own personal thoughts!! It's incredible. One night while we were at their panificio (bakery) reading The Book of Mormon in the back, we heard a voice from up front, someone entering the panificio, and it was none other than our bishop which it turns out that Giuseppe and Elvira are really good friends with him and just love him and know him pretty well. Bishop said to Giuseppe, "Oh I see you guys are reading the Book of Mormon! Well, that book changed my life." And that's been something that's really stuck with Giuseppe! 

We also told Giuseppe and Elvira this week that they are our Italian parents, they really are. They take care of us, give us tons of food, and will sometimes call to see if we made it home safe at night it is so cute. They have a 25 year old son, but we are their adopted daughters! I just love them with my whole heart.

We met with Carmella this week again, this time she brought her 23 year old daughter, Sara who is AMAZING and our newest investigator. We are counting down the days until we meet with them again!

Our neighbor Ida came to church.
Ida came to church again yesterday! It was quite the miracle, with her being 85 years old and all, but the ward really seems to like her! As far as teaching her goes, it's pretty tough to keep her focused and actually understanding what we are saying and the points we try to make. But hey, we love her to death, our little Italian grandma.

Sorella Johnson is really good at following spiritual promptings, that's something I've really been learning from her. Well one day this week we were driving and we passed a girl and a few minutes later she said "we need to go back and talk to that girl" so we park the car and chase her down and show her a video and exchange phone numbers!!!!! COOL!

Someone shared this quote last week that I really love: "Set your goals—without goals you cannot measure your progress. But don’t become frustrated because there are no obvious victories. Remind yourself that striving can be more important than arriving. If you are striving for excellence—if you are trying your best day by day with the wisest use of your time and energy to reach realistic goals—you are a success." Marvin J. Ashton. Striving can be more important than arriving. How key is that in our everyday lives? We may not see immediate success or progress or results, but as long as we strive, eventually we will arrive.

Vi voglio un panzerotto di bene!! 
XOXO


Yummy food from the bakery!  They are keeping us well fed.



Sorella Carley Neuberger
Sorelle Missionarie
Corso Vittorio Emanuele III, 206
Statte, TA 74010
Italia

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Proviamo, dai

 Sorella Johnson and I have a new catch phrase/life motto, I don't even know. But we've been saying the word "dai" a lot this week (pronounced "die" and means "come on" or something like that...) at the end of every word and sentence it's a blast. 10/10 would recommend. Provate, dai.

Sorella Johnson and Carley
Zone conference was definitely the most memorable by far, mainly because the Taranto church building has no heat, well I think it has heat, but no one knows how to work it! So we shivered and huddled under our coats for several hours, but seriously. I left zone conference feeling so empowered, spiritually strengthened, and ready to take on Statte! Our new emphasis is on The Restoration, bringing it up early in conversations and always referring to it. As we've put that into practice this week, we've seen so many blessings and I just love testifying right off the bat. They say your testimony grows by sharing it- they're not lying. 

I took the 'driving test' this week too! The senior couple in our zone hopped in our car and I had to drive in Italy for the first time ever......woah it's scary not going to lie! Luckily it was during pranzo so not too many cars out. Also I had to parallel park for the first time in 5 years......I won't say how that went, but I'm excited to start driving and learning my way around as soon as my international license comes in the mail!
Taranto Castle

We did some house to house this week and met a man named Tonino, he was outside his house and as we immediately started talking about the Restoration with him, he asked for a copy of The Book of Mormon! We told him we'd be back in a few days to talk about what he'd read. :)

We got to see Antonella this week, we felt like we needed to stop by one day even though we didn't call her to set up an appointment or anything. The second we walked in the door she said: "Ciao, sisters! You know, I was just sitting here thinking to myself: I wonder when they'll come see me again. Probably not today, but I wish today!" And then we knocked on her door. That was a really cool miracle! We were able to sit down and the Joseph Smith story together, straight from Joseph Smith History and the spirit was so strong as we did so. She is definitely taking things slowly, but progress!

On Friday, we fufilled Giuseppe's lifelong dream of eating pancakes and maple syrup. He and Elvira invited us to cook in their big, fancy panificio kitchen! We had a blast and we showed them the "Grazie a Lui" video which really impacted them. Afterwards, Elvira said: "You guys are so much like us (catholics) but it seems like the only difference is that you live a much fuller life". Yep, she gets it. Our only struggle right now is getting them to come to church because they work crazy long hours all week and Sunday is their only day off. 

We saw Nunzia again this week and got to talk about the Plan of Salvation! She really opened up, talking about how she wants to go to the Celestial kingdom, we explained that baptism was the first step towards that! She is holding back a little because she feels like she has to be perfect before baptism, so of course we explained that was definitely not the case. Piano, piano!

We got a new investigator this week, Carmella, a self-referral! She called us and told us how she used to meet with missionaries tanti anni fa so we asked if she'd be interested in meeting up again: yes. We are excited to see where things go with her too!

And lastly, I'd like to share a really cool experience we had yesterday, we ended up having to teach Gospel Principles, the lesson was on charity. I'll start by saying that the ward and the members here are so amazing. One of the sewing course students came to church yesterday because she's also part of the choir who sang during sacrament meeting. Her name is Cleo. And at the very end of the lesson we showed the video "Dayton's Legs" she was in tears after 5 seconds, bearing testimony after the video was over was a neat experience and the spirit was tangible. I'm so thankful I get to share the gospel and my testimony with literally everyone I see, every day :)

I know most of you probably heard, but with the passing of my grandma this week I'd like to bear my testimony that I know that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we will be able to see our loved ones again after this life. I know with certainty that this life isn't the end, we will have eternity with the ones we love, and for that I am extremely grateful! I know I have a new angel looking out for me from above! I love my grandma and am so thankful for the example she was to me of hard work and Christ-like love. 

Buona settimana a tutti! Love y'all!!
XOXO
Sorella Carley Neuberger













Those weren't raisins in the bread
they were olives.
Taranto District missionaries