Monday, March 27, 2017

The Saints Keep Marching On

(The subject line is a pun, see?  Because it's the end of March? 🙃)

Well I guess we can say that our week was a lot less hectic than the past two which was a nice break and a good change of pace.
We had a ton of cancellations and more than a sufficient amount of time to tract, and we found a lot of new people to teach while we were at it!

There are at least 15 unlocked (<--key word) apartment communities in our area and so it's nice to tract there for many reasons. 
1. They're very transient
2. It's where the humble people are
3. The doors are all really close (don't have to waste time walking from house to house)
4. The doors are paper-thin, so you can hear if somebody is home on the inside.
However, it's not efficient to knock more than one door per floor because all the neighbors can hear your conversation and then they don't open the door when you knock theirs.  Sad, but true. 
So, being my logical self, I devised a tracting log where every apartment of every building of every complex has a line designated for them in a notebook.  That way we can knock 3 or 4 doors per building, and then come back to that same building another time and know who we've already tried.  Just trying to make the world a better, more efficient place.
An easy way we've found to contact people is to ask them where they're from (especially when they're obviously from some part of Africa).  They'll tell you the country and then we ask them what tribe.  At this point they're shocked that we even know that their country has tribes within the nationality.  However, the part that we've started to initialize this week is that after they tell us what tribe, we attempt to say hello in that tribal language.  We currently have that much down in Nigerian Igbo, Nigerian Yoruba, Sierra Leonian Creole, and Ghanese Tre, which makes up about 90% of the Africans we meet.  Almost every time (if not every time) they've then asked if we've been to their country to which we sadly reply that we haven't but we'd love to go some day.  They then ask us how we know their language and we reply that we're missionaries and that a lot of member of our congregation are from their tribe/country.  At this point, we usually then start into the normal missionary questions like, do you have a faith in God, do you attend a church, or would you want to have a Bible study sometime.  They're not always interested, but they always walk away happy with a good view of Mormons.
It's so easy because it happens like that every time.  It just takes memorizing a few phrases.  Who would have guessed.

Our Thursday, however, was packed to the brim.  The morning was a normal speed, but after District meeting, it was go, go, go til the end of the night. 
We had a chapel tour with an investigator we had met the day before.  Her name is Jasmine and she was an online referral.  She was looking on YouTube for some Christian music to listen to and a ad popped up.  So after exploring for a while, she decided she wanted to learn more from missionaries and submitted her information.   We taught her the restoration Wednesday afternoon and then has the Elders over the Young Single Adult (YSA) ward give the three of us a tour of the YSA ward's chapel.  We unfortunately had to pass her because she's a young single adult and therefore, the Elders should be the ones teaching her. 
Next, we had a lesson with a 12 year old girl named Madeline again and we talked about the Book of Mormon and it's importance.  She's so in tune with the Spirit.
Third, we had yet another AMAZING lesson with Suzannah.  That girl is beyond prepared.  We taught the Plan of Salvation, or God's plan for us, and although we taught it very simply, it turned into a very deep discussion because the questions she had were very deep (Imagine a somebody in 1st grade asking you a 10th grade question).  Afterwards she walked us to our car (AGAIN) and as we were leaving, she said she looked forward to the time when she can be a member.  (Internal squealing).  THERE ARE PREPARED PEOPLE OUT THERE!  Go find 'em!

She also came to church this Sunday with Jack (her less-active boyfriend) and she loved that too!  At one point, she introduced herself saying that she wasn't a member yet.   She has every intention of being baptized and I so look forward to that day :)

We also had interviews this week with our Mission President and wife, and President more or less told me that I'll be going back to the VC and my companion will be staying in the area, but he's known to go so far as to promise things and then change everything the morning of transfers, so I honestly don't know.  But, since the next transfer day is on April 5th and my Birthday is April 8th, if you want to send me anything for my birthday, either send to the mission office or ask my mom where to send it (because I keep her more updated on things like that).

Not much more really happened this week, but I'm loving the mission more than ever before!

~Sister Galli

Mission Office Address:
Sister Hannah Galli
11700 Falls Rd.
Potomac, MD 20854

Sometimes this is a missionary's dinner when you run from appointment to appointment.

District Activity
Volleyball, Easter egg hunt, and egg toss

This video is when they all moved their mattresses out to the living room when their bed frames were in pieces because of the bed bug exterminators. Thankfully, she said they haven't seen any bugs this week and no bites.

Monday, March 20, 2017

My MORE Hectic Week 🐞

So I totally shouldn't have complained about last week being hectic because this week has topped it, easily.

Story time!

When we last left off at the story of Sister Galli's mission, we had just spent 12 of the last 20 hours in the ER and/or other hospital rooms and Sister Vespucci hadn't been feeling well.  One week later, Sister Vespucci is still doing fine.  However, circumstances of another genre have certainly come our way.

We had been warned of a blizzard that would bring over 20 inches of snow to our cute corner of the world.  We were told to not drive for ANY reason that morning and wait for further instructions.  We woke up Tuesday and there was maybe 4 inches of snow on the ground.  A bit of a disappointment but we still couldn't drive.  So we took this opportunity to deep clean the apartment and organize some closets and drawers that obviously hadn't seen the light in many moons.  We ended up with four crates of teaching materials in over 11 different languages that we donated to the mission office.   
We spent the rest of the evening knocking the doors in our apartment complex, and even though we didn't spend a ton of time proselyting that day, it was a much needed deep clean.

There was still snow and ice on the ground so we didn't know if we were going to be allowed to drive until 10 am to which we were okayed to go.  However, one of our roommates comes up to Sister Vespucci and I just as we're packing up to leave, and she hands us an insect that's stuck between two layer of tape (so he's trapped).  She asks, "Is this a bed bug?"  I sure hope not but type "bedbug" into a note and then ask my iPad to define the word (#MissionaryGoogle).  It pulls up a beautiful picture of an insect that is most certainly identical to what we have trapped in tape. 
We just sit there for a second wondering what we're supposed to do now.  Deep sigh... and we call a senior missionary couple that works in the mission office to ask them how we should proceed.  She tells us to go show the taped bug to the leasing office and they'll get an exterminator to fix it.
So the four of us head out to drive up the street to the mission office.  Except we can't.  Because the 2-3 inches of snow on our cars have since turned into ice and the scrapers are completely useless--we actually broke two of the four scrapers trying to peel away the ice.  What is this country?  
After much travail, we were able to hop in the car, drive up the street, tell the office, and be back in the apartment within 10 minutes.  They sent us an email giving us instructions of how to prep our apartment for the exterminator, and it boiled down to: Put everything you own in trash bags and remove it from the apartment.  Kind of a rough order for people with no other place to keep their things...  Thankfully, though, we do have a balcony, so currently everything we own is in trash bags on our balcony. Fun.
We spent most of the day preparing for that feat and, once again, didn't do too much in the way of proselyting.   But priorities.

Zone Conference at the church building by the Temple.  Awesome, but there was one problem.  There was a Sisters' meeting at 8 am and essentially the only route from our apartment to the Temple has the worst traffic in the US on it (<--Actual fact.  The I-495 beltway is now worse than even California traffic).  So we left our apartment at 6:45 am and still got there late.  It wasn't even a far drive--12 or so miles only.   But we got to the sisters' meeting and it was 80% about how sisters are bad drivers.... thanks.   The rest of the zone conference was really good, surprisingly, and I feel like we all learned a lot. (There was one break-out session that's worth mentioning.  A senior Elder was telling us how to keep our vacuum, apartments fans, smoke alarms, etc up and working.  He was talking about our carbon monoxide detectors and said, "Your bodies are also great carbon monoxide detectors.  You drop. And then you don't get up. Ever." #TrueStory
Towards the end however, I started to feel sick, and so after a member meal that evening, we just went home so I could rest.

Woke up feeling like I couldn't breathe.  Always exciting. Sister Vespucci also woke up with the same thing, so we probably both caught something from the hospital.  We slept in and then spent all but that evening preparing, once again, for our apartment to be all but gutted and sprayed on Monday.

That day was actually really good.  We had a tour at the VC with Suzannah (not sure if I mentioned her last week) but she's awesome!  She's the girlfriend of a less-active member in our ward and they've been seriously dating for (my guess) 2-3 years.  She's beyond gold; she's platinum.  Never met anyone quite like her before.   For example, we gave her the option of if she wanted to watch an hour long video or a twenty minute version of the same video, and she wanted the hour one.  We walked around the temple afterwards and talked about how she felt.  I can't express the joy I felt to teach her on Saturday.
That afternoon, we also got the Elders to come remove our couches.  Not because of the bed bugs but because the mission president handbook says that each apartment should have no more than one bed, chair, and desk per missionary and one dining table.                        
So... our apartment is going to be very sparse from now on...

It overall was a really good time at church.  Really good talks and lessons.  No outrageously screaming children.  Can't complain.
Last night was the fireside called "Why I Believe" designed for recent converts and investigators and their missionaries to attend because it's speakers talking about Why they Believe (whatever the topic is).  Last night's theme was that Jesus Christ is our Personal Savior.  And guess who came?  Suzannah!  And guess who she brought? Her less-active boyfriend, Jack!  We had also talked to her on Saturday about coming to church which would be a problem for her because she works at a farmer's market on the weekends, but at the fireside, she told us that she had gotten Sundays off and would be able to come to church! (Internal squeals!)

Also, almost got in two car accidents because people did some very reckless things.  (Neither would have been my fault FYI)

But just last week I read the book of Job in the Bible, so I know I'm still in a better spot than him and he never cursed God.

No matter how hard your week or life is, remember Job.  He is a great example of how to endure our circumstances well.

Pray for me that the bedbugs will be gone in one treatment! Because the sooner they're gone, the more missionary work we can do!

~Sister Galli

Roomies - Sister Galli, Sister Vespucci, Hermana Noyes and Hermana McKee

Cleaning ice sheets off of the cars

Bed bug!

Sister Vespucci with a pie
(There wasn't an explanation with this pic)

Monday, March 13, 2017

My Hectic Week 🏥

I don't know about you, but my week was quite normal and boring until about Friday afternoon when the pace picked up quite a bit. We were able to teach two stellar lessons.  One with a girl named Madeline.  She's twelve and has been taught by the missionaries for about a year now.  However, she can't come to church because her mom works some crazy hours because she's a nurse.  But we continue to go over there once a week and share a spiritual thought or lesson with her.  She's so in-tune with the spirit :) The other lesson was with a member referral who is the girlfriend of a less-active member (what can I say?  Less-actives give the best referrals).  Her name is Suzannah. Anyway, we met with a member as well as Suzannah in a member's home, and we hit it off right from the start.  It honestly felt like we had known each other for ages. (Reference to the pre-mortal life, maybe?). But since she had such good contact with members in her life, she knew all the right questions to ask.  We literally sat and discussed doctrine for almost 2 hours.  This girl is the definition of Gold and at no point did she have a personal belief that contradicted what we know to be true.  It was an amazing experience for all three of us and we have plans to meet with her again this weekend. We got out of her lesson at 8:30 and one would think that after that there'd be no more story for Friday night.  Wrong. I got a frantic knock on the bathroom door while I was brushing my teeth just a few minutes before 10:30pm.  Apparently Sister Vespucci had swallowed a toothpick so we needed to run to the ER.  To put it simply, we spent 5 hours at one ER that night, were sent home, then were told by the mission president's wife the next morning to go to a different ER and then spent the whole day there.  Do not worry, everything is fine.  We're back to proselyting normally.  But it was really hectic in the moment. Moral of the story - know what's in a cup before you decide to drink out of it.

Love you all so much and hope you have a great week!

~Sister Galli

Sister Vespucci at the ER for swallowing a toothpick

Sister Galli learning what it feels like to be a mom,
taking her 'kid' to the ER and missing nearly an entire night's worth of sleep

What do you do when you've spent 5 hours at the ER?
You stop by Burger King on the way home for ice cream, fries, and crowns.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Knock Knock 🏠

This week we had a ton of miracles, including finding tons of new people to teach!
Tracting is dangerous in this area because when people answer the door, 
they're interested.  (<----- Good problem to have).  Not all the time of course, but a much higher percentage than any of my past areas.
On Tuesday, we did what we call Chalk Talk, where we go to a public place and draw something on the sidewalk with chalk, like the plan of Salvation, and then get people's attention and talk to them about what we drew.  It's a very different way of contacting that gets a lot of attention.  The Elders in our ward came with us and they contacted while we drew.  They got the contact info of about 15 people which is amazing!
P-day is running short, but I will share one more miracle. We were going to an apartment community to check on three old referrals in three different buildings.  The first one wasn't home. As we were walking to the second building, we saw a guy on his balcony smoking, so we said hi as we walked into the building.  That referral wasn't home either, but Sister Vespucci said we should talk to that guy on our way out.  However, when we left the building, he had gone back inside.  Bummer.  We went and checked on the third referral; also not home.  On our way back to the car, this guy on the balcony was out again so we struck up a conversation with him and actually had a great lesson!  He felt like God had led us to him that evening and he wants to come to church!  Everything that he said reflected something that the Gospel of Jesus Christ could help him with like he wanted to go to a church that wasn't' run by money and that he recently picked up smoking after his mom passed away.  He even insisted twice that he give us his number so we could meet with him.  He's awesome.  His name is Lovell.  We'll hopefully meet with him again this week.
But the miracles are everywhere in Carrollton!
Pray we'll be led to those who want to change and become better through Christ!

Love you all!
~Sister Galli

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Weak Winters ☁️

This week is gonna be a bit on the short side because not all that much happened, to be honest. Beginning Wednesday morning, we were full-proselyting sisters and therefore didn't go into the VC.  Those first few days felt so long (they're getting better now).  In some aspects, I feel like I'm trying to adapt to mission life all over again.
I'm confused with the weather here.  It's February and supposedly winter, but Friday morning we woke up and my thermometer said our room was 81 degrees (The AC doesn't work right now because it's "winter"). East Coast winters are weak.
Although, we did have a pretty awesome rain storm on Saturday that included a Severe Thunderstorm Watch, a Severe Weather Statement, a Severe Thunderstorm Warning, and a Tornado Warning...  Nothing exciting actually happened, but it was fun to watch it from the comfort of our dry balcony. We've been meeting with a lot more members now that we have the time to and this area has such strong members who all know how to be true disciples of Jesus Christ and show selfless love and service.  The love in this ward is unmatched with any other ward I've served in.

Well, I guess that's all I have to say this week!  'Til next!

~Sister Galli