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Saturday, August 24, 2013

A few more pictures, August 21, 2013

So digging this car.

John Tucker, one of Aubrey Baer's friends came to visit. We met at church! This is my beautiful companion.

Who wouldn't want a Como home like this?

Another view of Como D'uomo

Ahhhh. So grateful to have studied European architecture at Cambridge!

Lake Como from the pier

As Sorelle in Zion...

Mamma Mia! Che Fortunata Io Sono! (Mamma Mia, I Am That Lucky!)

To say I've fallen in love with this city would be an understatement. I'm absolutely OBSESSED with Como. I KNOW, this is exactly where I'm supposed to be. This morning, we took a funicolare (tram) up the side of the mountain and did this unreal hike. Looking around at this city, and this country, I literally could be NOWHERE else. Seriously, this is the prettiest place in the world! Getcha self here!

SIDENOTE: be stoked to come back here and visit because this place is the Celestial Kingdom on earth.

This email will be brief. Sorry! However, highlights:
-our weekly FHE's. Mercy, these things are not only so fun and uplifting but they are BRILLIANT for finding new people and bringing them closer to their Savior. Our members and investigators come, bring friends and food and a willing heart-- it's the BOMB and probs the highlight of every week.

-one FHE success story: our beautiful Chiara. she's PERFECT. The anziani (elders) found her on the street and she expressed her interest for English class so she came which is right before FHE, che furbi siamo! (we are so smart!) and she loved it! She then came to church and we had a lesson with her and her sister! She's absolutely incredible, darling, perfect. She studies in Milano and teaches Pilates and we can't wait to spend our next p-day with her!

Our church, at night. Gorgeous.
-Nazareno is progressing beautifully. He's such a good man and has taught me so much about further strengthening our relationship personally with our Heavenly Father.

Funny random thing that happened this week?

Sorella Hallum had finished up doing la programmazione settimanale e area book e tutto quanto (weekly planning and area book and everything), and we were getting ready to leave the house when I couldn't find the keys. I was all, ''Sorella, I don't have the keys... do you?'' she replied that she didn't. We soon came to find out that the OTHER sorelle accidentally took our keys, and we were LITERALLY locked in the house. Italian doors are weird and if they're locked from the outside, there's no way to get out from the inside without the keys...

So needless to say we got lots of area book stuff and calls finished that night. It was hilarious. We were dying. WHO GETS LOCKED INSIDE THEIR HOUSE? Us.

Alla fine (So for now)...

I read this quote from President Monson is his most recent talk from the Priesthood session, ''Young men and young women, I hope you appreciate the sacrifices which your parents so willingly make for you to serve. Their labors will sustain you, their faith encourage you, their prayers uphold you. A mission is a family affair. Though the expanse of continents or oceans may separate, hearts are as one.''

I have such a testimony of this. I know with a certainty that a mission is a family affair. I'm so grateful for the beautiful family I have and their support. As missionaries, we really do sacrifice being close to our families for a couple of years, so others may be with theirs for eternity. I'm eternally grateful for my dear parents who raised me with this light and gift insomuch that I may share it with others. There's nothing I desire more than for these dear Italians to taste of eternity with their families too!

Be good to each other.

Con affetto e con tutto del mio amore, (With affection and with all of my love,)
Sorella Baer

p.s. I love you.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Oh, For the Love of Italia!

Once upon a time maybe I loved Italy too much. Seriously, this place is now my homeland. Everyday, I feel more and more Italian and less and less like the old Kels. I love these people, their warmth and generosity, the language.... oh my, this language. I will NEVER be able to speak English again. I screw up my English literally with every phrase and sentence I say. (Forgive me if I write crazy too!)

Wanna hear an embarassing story that confirmed to me that I'm losing my past life rapidly?

A couple of days ago Sorella Hallum and I were in a Gelateria ordering bottles of water. The song overhead I was seriously diggin'. I figured it was Italian so I asked the worker who sang it, so I could take mental note and buy the song when I got home. She said some name that I couldn't understand... so I said, ''hmmm... da dove viene lui?'' and she told me that he's American. I was all, ''perché lui canta cosi in italiano?'' she then proceeded to tell me that the song was English. Yes, folks, the entire time. I can't even understand my mother language anymore. All of the customers and the workers were laughing as I expressed to them that I'm from America, I speak English, but that I've lived in this country for too long to understand... oh mercy... and to think I still have a year left! I'll be a mess when I come home! Literally unable to communicate with anyone! 

But...I love this place. It's absolutely effecting my every habit, idiosyncrasy, everything. One highlight of the week? I signed in ASL as a deaf Italian guy signed in ISL. It was AWESOME! I forgot how much I enjoy signing-- good moment. 

So, in Italy there's thing called ''ferie'' it's when EVERYONE leaves the country for the entire month of August. Like EVERYONE. All of our members, investigators gone, all of the stores close. It's the worst! I'm all, ''what's up with everyone escapin'?!'' In fact, funny story, after lunch on Monday, us four girls were in DESPERATE need of something sweet. So we headed out to find un dolce. Literally everything is closed for ferie. So Sorella McCann, my soul sister and dearest friend exclaims, ''WHERE DOES A HUNGRY GIRL GO TO GET DOLCI DURING FERIE?!'' Oh my, it was the funniest thing ever. Because literally here we are, four ravenous, American, nutella-huntin' sister missionaries. It was the bomb. Our appetites were appeased with some crepes as we found one teeny tiny place opened, who only had 3 crepes. Of course, we shared them all:)

Ok, y'all ready for one of the finest miracles yet of my mission? It happened yesterday! All of our district was heading back on the bus from a district meeting. I see a pretty lady sitting near me, so I strike up a nonchalant chat with her. Nothing too extravagant! I tell her she's a dear and that she looks great in pink, because she does. She had to get off, so I handed her a pass-along card from the bottom of my borsa, one that's bent and a bit ripped but with the picture of the Savior on it. I promised her velocemente that we know that we have this life to have joy and to have families. And that she could call us if she had any questions or if there's something we could do for her. LESS THAN 15 MINUTES LATER. I get a call from a ''Luciana'', I'm rackin' my brain trying to remember a Luciana until I realize that it's her! She proceeds to tell me that I had a light, and that she feels very strongly that it wasn't by chance that we met when we did. She wanted to set up a time when we could teach her about our gospel, mission, and the Savior. She wants Him more in her life. OH, MY. THIS NEVER HAPPENS. All from a pass along card and a little love. We're meeting with her tomorrow and I'm stoked! I had chills during our entire phone call! People never call us trying to set up an appointment and learn more! I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!

All's fine, this is good. Although I've never taught so much my entire life, I've also never learned so much in my entire life. I'm a forever student I decided. Sorella Hallum teaches me daily about commitment and dedication to this work. We do everything for our sweet people here in Como. and the infamous irony and paradox of the mission? That I'm getting more sleep than EVER before in my life, 8 hours a night, and yet I've never been so tired. We're exhausting ourselves for these people because we love them and they deserve the world! I CANNOT wait to return and visit all of these people I already love so dearly! My heart is full.

Con tutto del mio amore,
Sorella Baer

p.s. I love you.
p.s.s. We played Psychologist last night for FHE in Italian, with investigators and the other missionaries. World's. Best.
p.s.s.s. I'm never complaining about 1 o'clock church again. because here, we have it at 2... 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Pictures, August 7, 2013 Como and a touch of Milano

 A couple of the sorelle decorated for Sorella Baer's birthday. She sure is loved.

Sorella Baer's desk in Como. She surrounds herself with familiar things!

 She thought this was awesome. It is a freaky floating man.
 The Sorelle found Momma Baer's happy place. The sign is wrong, though, it is supposed to read  "Lori's Chocolate Bar".

What does a innovative missionary do without thumbtacks? Use a fork, of course!
Happy P-day breakfast for the sorelle. Chocolate chip pancakes.

The sisters are growing a sunflower on their balcony and it finally bloomed. They are very proud parents. 
Como D'uomo - yep, it rhymes!

The next 3 photos are of Como, through Sorella Baer's lens. No wonder she loves it so!

''I Have Refined Thee.''

Where to start this week... I wish  knew. I feel like I have 914 things to say.


- I, Sorella Kelsey Baer, am personally feeding all of the mosquitoes in northern Italy. If you saw my legs, you'd agree. It doesn't help either that both Sorella Hallum and I are allergic to bug bites, so it's even... better.... diciamo (let's say).

- For the past month or so, I keep thinking, ''How in the world does the top of my feet get so dang dirty?'' I scrub and scrub. Nothing changes. Until I realized, no. that's not dirt. the tops of my feet are so dang tan! davvero (really), no sto scherzando (no kidding)! It's beloved! Mama, you'd be so proud! Your li'l pale-skinned, redhead is tan for once! Even if it's just the tops of her feet!

- I've NEVER experienced heat like this; errbody, all the time is just sweatin' away their lives. Good times.

- Como gets the most random intense rainstorms. it literally can be like 100 degrees and sunny as can beezy and then four minutes later, we're talking pouring rain, like 3 inches of water on the ground and it's way cold outside. We had one of those crazy rainstorms and I was lovin it! The thunder, lightning! The way I love Como is frightenin'!! (Oldies throwback song quote.)

- Sunday night, members made us the dreamiest dinner ever. We're talking they're from Napoli. They brought our lasagna, I have an 8 inch plate filled with lasagna. Slla. Hallum and I both down it like it's our bdays. Then, Sorella Alaimo says, ''That's only the first lasagna! I made two! This second one's better! It has 4 types of cheese inside!'' Second plate, filled, downed. Mercy alive, this country's gonna kill me. It was soooooo good. I feel as though I'll never be satisfied with American-Italian food again.

Here is where Sorella Baer and the other missionaries go to church. It is a restored Italian villa.

- So as I contine to mention, Como's probs the prettiest place I've ever been. I LOVE our constant bus rides because I can see our bangin' city! We do a lot of 'finding work' on the boardwalk and next to the lake, it's breathtaking. And, on our ride home from church, when it's dark out, and you can overlook the entire city and lake, and there's a lighted fountain on the water-- FOLKS GET YOURSELVES HERE! Don't just take my word for it! I'm obsessed!!! Please bless I can stay here for Christmas, too. I can't even imagine! Half of our area is in Switzerland so we cross the border all the time, that would be so dreamy around Christmas time!!

"Finding work" is another term for searching out investigators. The missionaries do a lot of it here.

- Another great thing about Como? We have 8 missionaries here! A coppia (couple) of anziani (elders) and sorelle (sisters) in both wards! In ours, we work with the capi (zone leaders) and I'm super stoked and lovin' having more missionaries and resources! It's so fun and so effective! In Vicenza, it was just Beuts and I and TWO branches! But now, we've got missionary love all over the place! It's so swell! Last night we had our first combined ward FHE! Everybody was invited; members, investigators, friends! It was so successful! We had so many people come, so much food, so much interaction between our investigators (yes, Ileana and Nazareno came!!! (Sidenote -- Nazareno's a cook, and he brought food, world's best.) We 8 missionaries headed it up. The other sorelle had the lesson, we ate, played games! That's exactly how member\missionary\investigator work needs to happen seamlessly! Here's to a new weekly tradition!

- Great, beautiful news?! Our Ileana has a bap date! We had a magnificently spirit-filled lesson with her on Thursday, where she said, completely on her own, ''When I read the Book of Mormon, sometimes I just let the pages open randomly. I was reading in 2 Nefi where it says that we should be baptized and consciously choose to make that covenant. I was baptized as a baby, but I didn't make that choice myself, but I feel I need to be baptized now.'' Hallelujah! Sorella Hallum and I had already prayed over the date. We'll see her in white 31 August!

Now, yesterday, us 4 sorelle were totes ridin' the giù bus. Giù in Italian means ''down'' and when Italians say they're sad, they say that they're giù. We were a bit down. Yesterday = not best day. Then, I was reminded of the scripture, one of my faves, 1 Ne. 20:10 ''For behold, I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.'' Family and friends, as unbelievably tough as trials they're so necessary, not just for our growth; but for our refinement. How fortunate we are that we have the privilege of having trials, not because they're easy. But because they will make us that much more prepared to meet our Savior, proven, pure and deserving of everything He hath, as Sister Dalton says it. As if missionary work and all that the field entails, wasn't hard enough. You've got personal, home, friend and family stuff to deal with. We literally can not do this on our own. We need our Lord. I had a tough week my friends. But the Lord has chosen me, He has chosen you to have these experiences. We can handle them. We can get through them. We are not just here to exist, but to succeed gloriously.

I feel to testify to those on missions or preparing to one day serve-- trials are necessary, normal, and a part of the mission. Everything fulfilling that we've ever accomplished was fulfilling because it was tough, and we made it through. The mission is the same way! How blessed we are to not have to serve our missions alone! We have an Elder Brother who's already served the exact mission of Sorella Baer, so OF COURSE He would know exactly how to succor me, as it says in Alma 7:12. Rely on Him. Lean on Him. Let your testimony of the Atonement be deepened and sweetened. So that way you may come home from your mission, beat up shoes and all, and know that you left all of yourself in your beloved country.

I love being a missionary. It would be an understatement to say this work is tough, but it's so beautifully rewarding. I'm a blessed, better woman because of this sacred opportunity I've been granted. Every day is precious to me.

Con tutto del mio amore,
Sorella Baer

p.s. I love you.