This email will be just a smidge different because I want to list the reasons why I adore my mission. We had our last district meeting on Monday, and Anziano O'Riordan (our Aussie district leader who's unarguably the world's best person) had us take 15 minutes and write for our companions why we love our missions. It was so special giving mine to my dear Sorella Hallum, but then I decided that I wanted to write it out for myself. Here's what I came up with:
-I love that I'm in the paese (country) with the most unrivaled food in the world. Everyday, whether I'm giu (up) or su (down), I just eat some good Italian food and remind myself that I'm literally in the land of the food gods. EVERYONE, members, investigators, cooks like a dream.
-I love that this language is the language of love. It's absolutely beautiful. I love the way it sounds. I love to speak it. I love the way it feels to speak it! Please bless my future family will just love Italian, too, because I'll be usin' it sempre (always).
-I love the beauty of Italy. The architecture. The art. The countryside. LAKE COMO. All of it. The Lord answers my daily prayer to find something each day that I can marvel at. It's breathtaking.
-I love that I'm surrounded by such strong, capable, fun and diligent youth, ALWAYS. These other missionaries are my examples and my friends. I ADORE being with them as well have the same common goal: to invite others to come closer to their anxiously awaiting Savior.
-I love that I've grown and learned so much! I can't imagine now not being a missionary, and not having this experience under my belt. How sacred have been the past 5 months for me. I wouldn't trade it for the world. I learn and learn and learn. And my sweet little brain just keeps expanding. I'm shaving off rough edges and becoming a better and better version of myself! Oh, how I have grande bisogno (great need) of this mission and how it refines me!
-I love that for 18 months, I can absolutely, in every sense of the word, forget about me. I don't need to worry about anything other than my dear Italian vineyard with which the Lord's entrusted me. I have this time to gladly bear witness of the reality of the Risen Lord and to express His love for everyone, EVERYDAY. There's no message sweeter or truer that I could share; no gift grander or more precious I could give; and no expression of love bigger that I could give to these people that occupy my whole heart. The gift of the gospel is all I have to give, and it's the gift all have need of.
-I love this precious privilege I have just to love. For a year and a half, I can just love these people. As I said that my brain just grows, so does my heart. I've never loved so fully, so much, or so many people. I love the people I meet on the street. I love the teeny Italian bambini who speak better Italian than me. I love the investigator whose conversion process is changing ME. I love my companions-- what a beautiful opportunity and sacred experience the Lord grants His missionaries to love, cherish, appreciate and take care of a companion. The relationship between companions is one that cannot be matched or replicated elsewhere. These dear sorelle are so special to me! I love literally everybody here. Members, mission leaders, our beloved President and Sorella Dibb, tutti! And I've never loved or appreciated friends and family so much! If any of y'all want more love in your life, serve a dang mission! It's incredible the gift of love the Lord endows you with!
-e sopratutto (and especially), above ALL else, I love the relationship I've gained with my Elder Brother, and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is this blessing and aspect of the mission that I am most grateful. Only He knows exactly what I've felt and experienced on my mission. He's the only one I've been able to turn to, when all else disappoints and fails. My understanding of Him, His role, the Atonement and everything has been so strengthened. He's the reason I'm here. He's keeping me here and fortifying me through His infinite grace. I'm His representative and for that I'm eternally grateful.
I invite you all to take time and to realize why you love what you do. I love you all so much.
Con tutto del mio amore,
p.s. I love you.
p.s.s. you know you're a sister missionary in Italy when your scriptures have nutella stains on them...