Thursday, May 28, 2015

Rule 263: There is Always a Reason to Party!

May 27, 2015

Well the big news of the week is that I'm being transferred to MODENA!!! I don't know much about it despite the fact that it is the closest city to Bologna, all the members say they are going to come visit me. Oh and we have bikes there!!! Yay!!!

After 6 months here I knew I would get transferred but it is still hard to leave and say goodbye. For some reason the only day anyone had free this week was Wednesday. We are spending our p-day hopping from appointment to appointment. I'm pretty sure my companion is overjoyed :) this girl is so focused. The other day we discovered we practically knew nothing about each other materialisty because ALL we talk about is the gospel. I am really going to miss Sorella Distante!  We did some great work together, I know Bologna will continue to grow with her here!

This last week here has been bittersweet. It has been full of little miracles. I have truly seen Bologna change in the 6 months I have been here. I have seen investigators change and also this Ward change. Although  there is still progress to be made I am very excited for how the work will go on in Bologna. The members are more willing to come with us to lessons and are even volunteering. I believe that is what will make the difference here in Bologna and will unite the Ward even more. One member talked to one of our investigators who we have trouble setting appointments with because she is always working. The member told our investigator if she was truly interested in joining the church she would have to make time to meet with the missionaries. This investigator, Loredana, decided she really was interested, came to church on Sunday, and walked up to us and asked immediately when we could come see her this week. Today we're bringing the member with us to the lesson and our goal is to set a date for baptism. I am thankful for caring members who reach out to their friends. I know Loredana will be blessed immensely by this Gospel and I'm thankful I had a chance to meet her and all the other wonderful people here in Bologna. I have been forever changed. I have been humbled and I have learned a lot! I am thankful for the person I have become. Bologna will always be special in my heart because it the place I have grown the most. Saying that, I am excited to go to a new city and learn even more. Even though Modena isn't the coastal city I was hoping for I couldn't be more excited! I hear the ward is wonderful! 

As I am saying goodbye to the investigators and less actives here we have some of the most spiritual experiences. One of my favorites was with Jenny. We asked her if she had prayed to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet and she said yes. We asked her if she thought she had received an answer and she said she felt a lot of peace and it was like a light went on in her head. It was just so simple. So pure. Honest seekers of truth will find it.

This is the third transfer in a row here in Bologna that we have had an elder finish his two years and go home. Sometimes between missionaries we call this "dying". It can be a little sad if you think about it like this, but if you relate it to the Plan of Salvation it is not sad at all! We are teaching a woman who is more than 80 years old. She loves to talk about the Gospel with us but she thinks she is too old to change.  She is, in her words, "there" (heaven). Well this is just NOT true. Every single second we have in this life has a purpose.  Enduring to the end does not just mean "hanging in there" (Stay by the Tree   By Elder Kevin W. Pearson) until we die. Enduring until the means continuing to come closer to Christ every single day. It is NEVER too late to change. Every single day we need to make a step toward Christ, we need to read the scriptures and we need to pray. We have been reading 1Nephi chapter 8 with a lot of our investigators lately. We have discussed what does the rod of iron mean for each of them. Whether it be family, or scriptures, prayers or hymns, Fede or speranza, we all must hold on fast to our iron rods. Along the path there may be mists of darkness, but if we keep moving forward holding to the rod we will get through the tough trials in our life. I know we can do anything with Christ!

I wish you all tante belle cose!


Sorella Dani Hamblin

Arrivederci Bologna

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Rule 258: Learn to Love Correction

May 20, 2015

We had a very busy week! 

Thursday was my year mark! I can't believe a year has gone by already. It really does go by so fast. SO FAST! I can't believe how much I have learned and have grown in a year. I am so thankful to be here as a missionary for the Lord. Every moment is precious. It isn't easy but it is always worth it. I love this work. I love this Gospel. On Thursday it was also the birthday of one of the anziani here in Bologna. We made a cake for English class out of pineapple juice (I promise it was good!).  He thought it was for him but we were actually celebrating my year mark ;) 

On Thursday we also set a baptism date with our investigator Chiara. The date is in July. She feels it is a bit early but I feel like she could be baptized today! Haha but I understand that change is hard and it takes time. Chiara is so strong. I know she will do great things for this church. 

Saturday we had a good couple of miracles in a row. We met a man named Gilberto on the bus for the 3rd time. We had  given his number to the elders but he had told them that he wasn't interested. We got off on the same stop as him and talked to him for 20 minutes about the Book of Mormon. And at the end he accepted the Book. He said that he wanted to read it a little before he met with the missionaries. We left him with Ether 12 to read. We will follow up with him this week to see if he has started to read it. 

Right after that at our next bus stop Sorella Distante felt impressed to help a lady who was struggling to walk down the street. We approached her and asked if we could help. As soon as she saw our tags she said that all of us were so nice. We asked her if she had met the elders before and she had. She then looked at my name tag and said I've talked to you on the phone! At that moment I realized who she was. Her name was Angela and the elders had given us her name as a referral. I had called her and talked to her for 10 minutes but in the end she felt that she wasn't ready to meet with us. After meeting us in person she decided that we could meet this weekend to talk a little about the Book of Mormon. I am so thankful that we met these two wonderful people and I am thankful God is directing our paths.

Monday we received our iPads. We can't use them for much yet, I'm emailing from a computer at an internet point today. But I am excited to use this tool to further the work. 

Yesterday we visited our less-active member who has a strong desire to go to the temple. She is working for a September goal. She did good and came to church twice, paid her tithing, and on Friday we fasted with her as she did her first 24 hour fast. I am in awe of her strength. Unfortunately, the last two Sundays she has had work. She really wanted to come to church this past Sunday so she called her work after we fasted and they actually gave her the day off! Miracles! She has work again this Sunday though. We are praying she finds a way to work it out. I know she can do it. I am so grateful I met her because she has changed me. She is so humble. She is changing even though it is not easy.

Sorella Distante and I have talked a lot about change this week. We are at crucial stages with a lot of our investigators. They need to decide to change or not. I really liked something that Anziano Bednar said at the conference we had a couple of weeks ago. He told us that we need to get used to loving correction. Being corrected is not easy. Trust me, I get it. I am learning a lot about what humility looks like. I am so thankful for these people who are willing to change. I want  to be more like them. 

I am excited for this upcoming week. We have appointments with some new people. We get transfer news on Saturday. I am probably leaving (I have been here in Bologna for 6 months!) But who knows, I am always surprised. We probably have a scambio too but haven't heard anything so we'll see. One thing is for sure, it will be a week full of MIRACLES!

Vi vooglio un mondo di bene,

Sorella Hamblin

My one year mark!  

Anziano Atwood's Birthday

A member took us to a Sushi Buffet to celebrate my one year mark.

(Mom note:  That would be a first -- never wanted to go to one at home!  Wonder how she did!)

Sorelle of the Bologna Zone

Bologna Zone

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Rule 238: Even Trainer "Moms" Get Flowers for Mothers Day!

May 13, 2015

What a great week we had here in Bologna! Skyping home was great! I loved seeing my family! I can't believe that was my last skype call here on the mission. Oh, and Happy Anniversary today to my wonderful parents! Auguri! 

Well last week in my very small email I mentioned that we found a wonderful woman who lost her home the day after we met her. Last Tuesday, we had a lesson with her and we talked about the purpose of life. We reminded her that she has a Father in Heaven who loves her. We challenged her to pray and rely on her Lord. The next day we had another appointment in the park. When we got there she wasn't there. We called her and she said she found a home (talk about instant results ;) ). She said "The prayer worked, the prayer worked!" She said she could't come to our appointment because she was at her new house! Bu,t she asked that we have another appointment the next day. Well.. she didn't show up but I still have hope that we will see her again. I know she was touched by the prayer. Sorella Distante and I are very grateful for this miracle and we are praying that we will see her again real soon. 

We have an investigator who is slowly but surely progressing. She came to church for the third tome on Sunday! Yesterday she bore testimony of the Book of Mormon. It was such a wonderful moment. She is changing and is starting to realize that it isn't us as missionaries that are helping her, but it is actually the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Sorella Distante and I are starting to see some real progress in this area. One of our less actives who really wants to go to the temple is making huge progress in her reading of the Book of Mormon. She is at Mosiah and just started a week or two ago. She said that before she never liked to read the Book of Mormon but something has changed this time. 

The Book of Mormon really is the key. Prayer is important for us to communicate our thoughts to Heavenly Father. But it is through the Book of Mormon He talks to us. We need this spiritual nourishment every single day. Every single day. The Book of Mormon changes lives. I have seen it. It really has changed my life. I am thankful for the power of the gift of the Book of Mormon.
Have a wonderful week! Go read the Book of Mormon!

Sorella Dani Hamblin

My flowers for Mother's Day!  
When you train a brand new sister missionary, they call you their "mom".

Streets of Bologna

Skyping for Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Rule 225: Time Management is Important!

I just realized I didn't write my weekly email and I have two minutes left of computer time! 

Well, this week was great we found a wonderful lady on the bus. The day after we found her she lost her house and is literally sleeping on the streets. We know God led us to her to help in with this incredibly hard trial! 

I am so thankful for all the blessings and hope this Gospel brings.


Sorella Dani Hamblin

(Dani's mission is getting IPads and she had to spend a lot of her email time getting things set up for her and her companion to receive their IPads...So wonderful how the Church is using modern technology! (Dani's mom))

Some lady gave them a piece of bread for Italian Independence Day.

Rule 223: The Spirit is the Teacher

April 29, 2015

We had the Anziano Bednar Conference on Monday and it was just as mind blowing as you might imagine. I loved the Conference so much not because I sat 4 feet from an apostle of God, but because I was able to be taught by the Spirit cosi tanto! Anziano Bednar is an amazing teacher. He used D&C 88:122 as the guide for Conference:

Appoint among yourselves a teacher, and let not all be spokesmen at once; but let one speak at a time and let all listen unto his sayings, that when all have spoken that all may be edified of all, and that every man may have an equal privilege.

We appointed the Holy Ghost as the teacher and had a discussion among all 241 of the missionaries and the visiting General Authorities. I learned a lot on how to be a better teacher. Anziano Bednar easily could have given a great talk that would be very beneficial to us. But he let us talk and we learned and were edified by our own comments. One thing that we talked a lot about was moral agency. We are not objects, no one can make us do anything. We are agents. We act. But we, as endowed members of the church, don't have the same agency as others. We have covenanted with the Lord to represent Him in all that we do. Quindi, we don't have the freedom to do whatever we want, we have covenanted to do God's will. Often we think of covenants as blessings for us and we sometimes forget the significance of the promises we have made. They are ALL about the Lord and not about us. We have (in the words of my companion) "una grande responsibilita!!" We cannot afford to have bad days. But, we are human, and things get hard. That is what the Atonement is for. We can receive strength from the Atonement. The Atonement can carry us when we think we can't go any further. It has carried me. It has given me power when I have needed it most. I know we can do great things (MIRACLES!) when we remember and ACT as a convenant keeping people. I think the key is to understand. We need to remember exactly who we are: Children of a very real God who loves us and knows us, then we will receive the desire to do His will. We have an investigator in particular that says she wants to join the Church but she has a BILLION questions that get in the way. The other day she told us that our problem wasn't that we didn't have all the answers but that we didn't have questions (personally). She always asks have you not asked this questions -- nope! I have never needed to ask a lot of questions, because I know with my whole heart that this Church is true. Once you know with your heart, your head stops wondering about it. True understanding comes to the heart not the head.

Yesterday we ALMOST set a baptism date with one of our investigators. It was one of the most powerful and spirit-filled lesson that I have had on the mission. We really tried to apply what we learned from the Conference and let the Spirit guide the lesson completely. She said that she knows she will be baptized but she isn't sure on the date yet. We asked to pray about it. I am so happy to see these people progress here in Bologna.

Oh, Saturday was Independence Day here in Italy! It was fun to see all the people out celebrating. Our bus got stuck on the way to an appointment because of a parade of WW2 vehicles doing a parade. It was really cool because there were a lot of American vehicles.

I kind of forgot everything else that happened this past week because of the conference. It was so great to be so spiritually filled... we are overflowing over here. It was also great to see all my past companions. Before the Conference started they asked us to sit and read our scriptures. I opened up to Alma 29:

Yea, and that same God did establish his church among them; yea, and that same God hath called me by a holy calling, to preach the word unto this people, and hath given me much success, in the which my joy is full.But I do not joy in my own success alone, but my joy is more full because of the success of my brethren, who have been up to the land of Nephi. Behold, they have labored exceedingly, and have brought forth much fruit; and how great shall be their reward! Now, when I think of the success of these my brethren my soul is carried away, even to the separation of it from the body, as it were, so great is my joy. And now may God grant unto these, my brethren, that they may sit down in the kingdom of God; yea, and also all those who are the fruit of their labors that they may go no more out, but that they may praise him forever. And may God grant that it may be done according to my words, even as I have spoken. Amen.
Exactly how I felt :) I am so thankful to be here in the Italy, Milan mission, representing my Savior.

Remember who you are!!!

Love you,


Sorella Dani Hamblin

Sorella Hogan (found a few previous companions) at the Bednar Conference.

Sorella Hastings at the Bednar Conference.

Sorella D'Ambrosio at the Bednar Conference.

Sorella Distante's usual stance.  Italians are very expressive.  :)
She is always cold too!
Love serving with her though!

Rule 219: I miracoli bastano mai!

April 22, 2015

Well we had another beautiful SPRING week here in Bologna! We had an ivvestigator come to church for the first time. I always get really nervous for church because you never know what the members will do. They were great! And our investigator was really impressed with certain members in particular. All in all it was another great Sabbath day. She has become rather attached to us and she came to English class night. We hope to set a baptism date with her before the Anziano Bednar Conference on Monday! 

We are still finding inactive and less active members everyday. Thursday night we met a wonderful women on the bus who was baptized in Firenze and on Sunday we met another family. If we could activate all these members the ward here would be triple the size! That's the goal... 

Sorry for the short email this week but know that I am loving being a missionary, talking about my Savior every day!

Vi voglio bene,

Sorella Hamblin

Can you see General Conference in the Background?

Spring in Bologna!

Rule 210: When in Italy....speak English?

April 15, 2015

Mamma Mia. What a week! As we are trying to be extra consecrated as we prepare for our conference with Anziano Bednar we are seeing miracles pop up everywhere -- kind of like all the beautiful spring blossoms!!!

Wednesday: We made transfer guesses. Okay, we were sure we were going to stay together because we are in the middle of  training. But it's a mission tradition to make guesses with Kinder Eggs. 

Thursday: We had Zone Training. We had a great training on the scriptures and how we can use scripture chains more in our work :)

Friday: We visited one of our less active. She is wonderful! We wanted to use President Monson's conference talk to invite her to prepare for the temple. Well we got to her house and sat down at the table and the first thing she says to us is that she watched conference and her favorite talk was President Monson's and that she wanted to go to the temple. What?!!   Sorella Distante and I were Flabbergasted. (okay I have no idea how to spell that) but we were speechless. I started laughing and my comp started crying. Well we are happy to say that this wonderful sister has talked to the Bishop and is making preparations to go to the temple in September. She wants to go now but we know she will be even stronger in September. 

GARA DI TORTE (Cake Contest) I thought it was going to be a GUERRA di Torte (Cake War!) I told all our investigators it was a cake war... ooops. Despite that it was was really fun! We were running a little late and we had about ten guys ask us out on the bus ride over (something about spring is making the men more bold :P) I feel bad because I keep giving them the Anziani's number, poor Anziani! But who am I to deny them the blessings of the gospel!) Anyways... Cake Contest. On our way over we ran into a less active. She said that she was going to a meeting but we told her that instead she was going to the ward activity with us... and she did! She even called her coworker and told her to come! And she did! We also had our  investigators Lisa and Chiara come! And another less active!! My companion was a judge for the contest (they didn't let the American missionaries judge) and I was running form investigator to less active to investigator. It was great! I felt like a missionary in South America! Haha! Seriously, it was a wonderful night, but I didn't win... the Bishop did... figures!

Saturday: You know, I totally forgot what happened Saturday... I'm sure it was great!

Sunday: Church miracles! On Sunday we were very happy to have two less actives come to church for the first time. During Sacrament meeting our investigator Loredana walked in. She hasn't let us come over in weeks so we were pretty surprised. We were able to sit by her and there was a strong spirit. She said she wants to see us as soon as possible. I know she is ready to receive an invitation to baptism and we are praying we will be able to see her as soon as possible. Also another young woman walked in during Sacrament meeting. Her name is Lin and she is from China. She doesn't speak any Italian. She went to church when she lived in Salt Lake. She found the Church online and decided to come on Sunday. She said she isn't a member because she doesn't want to give up coffee but she likes the atmosphere of our church. We got her number and she said when she wasn't busy we could start teaching her. 

Monday: Sorella Distante and I taught the District Training. We talked about the importance of talking with everyone and what it means to give all our heart, might, mind, and strength. At the end of the day we realized that we had 10 minutes left in the day so we decided to try one more person. He was our miracle for the day! His name was Andy and he is from the Philippines. When we walked up to him he said Mormons. -_- Yeah he wasn't very excited to talk to us but after a few minutes he actually opened up and he said we could visit his family this weekend. Yay for last minute contacting! The only problem is that he only speaks English. My companion can't participate. 

Tuesday: Last night we accidentally missed our bus stop where we usually change buses on the way home. We saw our bus (number 11) drive away. We barely missed it!! But we know all too well that these things all happen for a reason. We met a handicapped young man named John who truly humbled us. He couldn't walk very well but he was just happy to be here and to have a job. He only spoke English as well. We had a wonderful conversation about God and about how he loves us. Sorella Distante and I were truly touched and he made our whole night. We got on our bus just floating but the miracles were not done quite yet. We met a less active who had just got back from Peru that day! She said she would come to church on Sunday. 

It seems like everyday we are meeting a new less active. It is so wonderful to see and feel how much God loves these people. I love this city! I get a confirmation everyday that we are doing the Lord's work, even if we don't have the highest "numbers". My incredible companion pushes me to work and I literally drop and I remind her to learn to be kind to herself and that it is okay to take a moment to be still. I love her so much and we are learning so much together. I am so thankful that I have her by my side everyday. But its her fault we keep getting all the English speakers... she is praying for opportunities to learn... and she is getting them. I actually like to teach in Italian more but if this is going to help my companion then I will embrace all our new English speaking friends. The Lord knows what he is doing!!

Vi voglio bene,

Sorella Dani Hamblin 

My companion judging the cake contest.

Zone Conference...