Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ciao from Venice!

Yeah so um... I'm in Venice right now!   Never thought that would happen, at least not for like 4 transfers or more. On Monday we were doing fingerprinting to get my permesso and then we got a call that Sorella Jarvis's permesso had been ready for months and she needed to come up to Mestre to pick it up. We left Monday night and stayed with the Mestre Sorelle. When we came up to the questura on Tuesday they had told us the wrong times and told us to come back at 2:00 Wed. (today). So, by a happy accident, we were able to do a scambio with the Mestre Sorelle and then go to Venezia this morning. There are worse places to be stuck in!   Due to permesso problems we are staying one more night in Mestre. We are anxious to go home, it is weird not to be in your area!

Although it has been a crazy couple of days I am thankful for the experiences I have had. Going on a mini scambio with Sorella Lopez was such a blessing. She goes home in two weeks so I was just soaking in all the advice she had for me. Despite all the craziness I know I am supposed to be here right now and have learned some really sweet lessons from my Heavenly Father. I know He is taking care of me and Sorella Jarvis.
We have some met some really cool new investigators this past week. We even made some baptisimal challenges. Even though no one has accepted (yet), I really feel like our area is really promising and I'm excited for what is coming for this branch.

Venice is amazing, we got to go to the islands of lace and glass. I loved it!

It has been an absolutely crazy week and I'm exhausted. Did I mention it's senior week so I had to make all the plans and all the phone calls (Italians don't like texting :/ ). I hate it!  (Haha) But, I know it is good for me. I am just SO tired. But I am loving every second, even the hard times (maybe not the phone calls in Italian, but everything else).

I believe everyone needs to serve a mission. You learn so much - about the world, people, yourself, God, just everything!. Everyday I am thankful for this opportunity!


Sorella Hamblin


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Praying with cats....and dogs!

This week has been absolutely crazy and incredible!

Last Thursday I went to Pisa for a scambio. It was so great. I met some incredible people. One of them was Isabel, who is a woman from Nigeria. I have never met any one with greater faith in my life. I wanted to record our whole lesson with her because she was just inspiring. I also got my first experiences with bikes on my mission. Umm... I think I only stopped traffic once, maybe twice. To be fair the bike was way to tall for me and there were a billion tourists! Haha but I kept telling myself if all these Italians in their 70's could do it I could do it! 

On Saturday our branch had an activity in Valombrosa (it literally means valley of shade) We were able to go to the Tuscan mountains, and the drive up was gorgeous! At the activity we played calcio (soccer)!!! My branch president kept telling me that I should keep playing after the mission. He wants our branch to form a team with me and the Anziani and then we could play Firenze. Haha I'll let you know if that ever happens! We also played frisbee, jumprope, and tug-of-war.. it was so fun to relax and have fun with the branch. Even though i still have a hard time speaking to them we were able to get closer through the games. At the end Sorella Jarvis and I had the branch do a Plan of Salvation activity. I just love our little branch family. Each and every one of them is incredible. 

On Sunday we went to visit one of our sweet members and she made us bread! While I was praying her cat jumped on my head!!! Like literally jumped on top of my head and held on for dear life. i tried to keep praying while I tried to shake the cat of my head. I bet the people in heaven had a good show! Haha after the prayer the member asked what happened to me during the prayer, but I had no clue how to say " Your cat jumped on my head" in Italian! Apparently the cat just likes to do that though because he did it to my companion later. This member's dog was more reverent though and would bow his head during the prayers. 

We are so blessed as missionaries. The members are absolutely wonderful. We have been given so much food this week which has been such a blessing. 

This past week I have been working on not trying to be so perfect all the time. It is okay for the investigators to see that you have weaknesses. In fact your weaknesses are sometimes exactly what the people need to see. They need to know other people struggle and have trials too. I think I'm finally starting to apply this, especially with the language. We were talking about spiritual gifts in one of our member visits. We got to the gifts of tongues and I was able to share my personal struggle over trying to get this language. The woman said that she could really tell that I wanted to learn this language and that meant a lot to me. She said in 30 years she hasn't seen someone try so hard. Wow, I just gave her a little honesty and she gave me a huge confident boost. This has been such a humbling week and I am so thankful for it. I know God knows what we need.
Love you and thanks for your support and love!
Sorella Dani Hamblin

Sister Training leader Sorella Alley and me in front of the Tower of Pisa!

Leaning Tower of Pisa!

Visiting the leaning tower of Pisa was so cool!

Loved visiting Pisa -- one of if not my favorite of cities so far!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Ether 12:12

This week has been full of miracles! On Friday we had a goal of 6 lessons. By 5:30 we still had not taught any lessons, but not for lack of trying. No one would talk to us and appointments were falling through. Both Sorella Jarvis and I were feeling pretty down. While we sitting on a bench, waiting for one of our new converts an old lady came over and sat by us and immediately started telling us about her life.  We were about to have a lesson about prayer with her. She just loved us and asked us to come visit any time we wanted. She was our miracle that started it all. Throughout the night we were blessed finding people on the street and even running into two of our simps. I know the Lord blesses effort. Sorella Jarvis and I have been trying to keep up the small miracles and then after every one say a prayer of gratitude. I have learned a lot about miracles since I have been here. They do not have to be grand or huge. They can be as simple as running into an investigator on a train. It is important that we do not let the daily miracles pass by us.

We did not reach our goal of 21 lessons this past week but both me and my companion are proud of the effort we put in. And there is always this week!

I gave my first talk on Sunday!  I was so nevous for my talk because I really want this branch to trust me as a missionary. I had written a lot of things down so I would be able to say them right but when I started talking for some reason I just couldn't look at my paper. I just said what I could and did the best I could. I don't feel like i speak that well at all but everyone keeps telling me that I am doing amazing. The branch president said he understood every word of my talk so I guess that's good haha! The branch president said that my language of the spirit is better than my Italian and I think that is good too! I want to speak this language so bad but sometimes my brain just says no. 

Missionary work is hard but I am learning how to see miracle in everything we do. We are so blessed as missionaries. For example, it has been raining off and on this past week and we only got caught in the rain twice, and that's impressive after the stories I heard at district meeting.  Speaking of district meeting... it was in Siena! And this evening I am going to Pisa to do an exchange with the sister training leaders!

My companion and I had a great discussion the other night. We were talking about how sometimes on the mission you just don't feel like yourself. You want to relax and you feel comfortable with the people around you, but you still just can't be YOU. And we think it is because you are growing so much and changing so much for the better. Sometimes you feel like you have to leave your old self completely behind. But sometime I think it is okay to be Sorella Dani Hamblin. I was called and was worthy to serve a mission because of who I was. And I can bring my talents and old ambitions to my service now. Sorella Hamblin and Dani Hamblin don't have to be two completely different people. As long as you keep it as a good mix. After realizing this I have been much more at ease and I find working with people so much easier. 

Thanks for all your support! Love you all!

Sorella Dani Hamblin

Italy - Week 2 "Mama Mia"

July, 9, 2014

Wow! It feels like a month since I have last emailed. We had New Missionary Training last week and it was amazing! We had an American lunch because it was the 3rd of July. Dont worry I wore red white and blue Thursday and Friday.

It is amazing to me how much my understanding has improved. I still dont talk a lot but I am working on getting up the courage. I wont get better if I dont try! Our goal is to teach 21 lessons this week so I should have lots of opportunities.
I just love our branch so much. They are so patient with me and they are so missionary focused. If every ward or branch had half their missionary focus I think we could double our baptisms. Not even exgagerating. They are wonderful. They are always trying to give us refererals and inviting their firends. I love it. Since the branch has been created (a year ago) there have been 5 baptisms and their are investigators here EVERY WEEK. The work is really moving in Italy. The entire Milan mission is covered with stakes rather than districts which is really amazing for a European Mission.

I still just LOVE Italy. I am bruised, sunburned, and bitten (only bugs!). Oh and a gypsy robbed me on my first day (dont worry mom it was only 1.50 euro, she grabbed my change before I could when I bought a train ticket). And a drunk man tried to hold my hand when we prayed with him (but we still gave his number to the Anziani). But whenever it gets hard, like when we walk for hours and dont get to talk to anyone I just look around me.. at the beautful Tuscan mountains... and think I am in Italy. It still blows my mind. I am in love with the country, the mountains, and the people! I just wish they smoked a little less ;)

MY COMPANION IS PERFECT. She pushes me but not too much and did I mention she is a fantastic cook!

Yesterday before Zone Training we got to see President Dibbs grandaughter get baptised in the Firenze chapel. How many Utahns can say they got baptised in Florence. It was such a good reminder of the goal I have for my simps. (investigators).
It has been an amazing week. So many people have come up to talk to us, everyday! My companion says that is very unusual! Here they call it Greenie miracles! I know it is probably because I am still lacking the courage to approach people, God is leading people to us. I know it wont last forever though so I am really trying to talk to more people!

So much has happened this week but I literally forget everything I want to say when I get to email. I am starting a post card wall above my bed so if you go anywhere this summer send me a card and I'll send one back.

The work is hard, but I love God and I can do this!

Love you all
Sorella Hamblin

Typical Italian Street in Montevarchi.
With:  Sorella Jarvis

Typical view from the train.

Shopping in Firenze (Florence).

Pizza for lunch!  Yea!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

I am in ITALY!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Everyday I can not believe that I am here. Italy is AMAZING. Italy is everything that you can imagine. Literally everything: the buildings, the sounds, the food! italians are loud and itmidating but once you get talking to them they are pretty nice. They all talk with their hands and practically yell at each other. The members of my tiny little branch are the sweetest! When I got up to bear my testimony on Sunday they were all cheering me on and helping me with words I did not know. 

I am emailing from a train station and the keyboard is old and gross so sorry if I have a lot of errors. Plus it is telling me I am spelling every word wrong and I can not find an apostrophe anywhere.... haha hope this turns out!

I am the Montevarci area but I live in San Giovani, our branch meets in Inchiesa, and most of the members and investigators live in Arezzo. Oh and we have district and zone meetings in Firenze (Florence) or Sienna. Yeah... we are on the train all the time.

The work is hard. Like really hard! I am just starting to understand what people are saying. Unfortunately once I figure out what they are saying I can not form a sentence fast enough. But I knew it would be like this, so I am not too discouraged. In fact it is a miracle that the understanding is coming so fast. The hardest part for me is the fact that I am exhausted! I came from the MTC where we ate and sat all the time to running around everywhere in the hot sun carrying scriptures and only eating 2 meals - Italians don't eat dinner. And add Jetlag to that. But mentally I'm doing great just tired, all the time. But I can already tell it is getting better.

Have I  told you how wonderful ITALY is yet. wow. I really am so blessed to be here. I have had gelatto 3 times and yes it is way better than ice cream! I had my first pizza today. wow. just wow. Every sister I have met here has told me that they have gained at least 15 pounds on the mission. But I am not too worried yet because I eat way less than I did and work out way more than I did at the MTC. My companion is good about watching what we eat.

AND MY TRAINER IS PERFECT! I know the Lord picked her perfectly for me because she is everything I need in a trainer. She is so patient with me and is so positive. She teaches with so much love and power. I already want to be just like her. She is so fun and pushes me which is good.

The work is hard but it is moving in this tiny branch. All the investigators I have met so far are from Africa. I think it is because they are super humble. They all are so sweet and go through so much to take care of their families. Also family is super important to them.

Something that I heard this week that I really like was when Adam and Eve were cast out and when Lehi left Jerusalem they both built alters to the Lord. Coming on a mission is kind of similar. I am leaving my comfort zone and going somewhere completely new, but i know i will be okay if I give everything to the Lord. If I show him I am willing to sacrifice and obey then He will guide me like He did with Lehi and Adam. I know I need to be patient and trust the Lord at this time.

Thanks for all the support!

Vi voglio bene!

Sorella Hamblin

Sorella Jarvis and Sorella Hamblin

P-day in Florence!

My first pizza in Italy!

My awesome trainer -- Sister Jarvis!

The view from my apartment!

Typical train station!  Spend lots of time on the trains!

FINALLY!  We made it to Italy!  Mission Home...