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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

''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.

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