Sunday, December 22, 2013

Catania, Sicily Week 10

Cara Famiglia,
I heard from Matthew. He wrote me a separate letter. I think he is doing quite well and he says that his letters are short because he doesn't like to write like I do. I am so proud of the Seahawks! Thanks for the constant updates! It's fun to have some normal news to think about. Tell Noah I said happy birthday!!! I can't believe he is 16! I haven't had the chance to send him anything, but I thought about him! You guys get to leave to the cabin so soon. I am SO jealous! You will have so much fun. Do some serious sledding for me. Also, Dad, I am anxiously awaiting those pictures.

And as always... It's question answering time!!

About the packages. I got all of the ones from Amazon, as long as there were only two. I also got the one from Grandma. THANK YOU! I wasn't sure what they were so I opened them.... Well now I know what I am getting for Christmas... OOPS! I have not gotten the letter package yet, but they are bringing down packages this week so hopefully I will get it. 

Ok, skype. The current plan is to do skype around 7 in the evening our time on Christmas. I think that would make it 10 in the morning for you guys. We permission to make phone calls to arrange skyping so I might call Sunday or Monday night to let you know more details. But hopefully all will be well for Christmas and I won't need to call.

WE HAVE SO MANY INVITES FOR CHRISTMAS! Appointments are never, ever, EVER lacking in Catania. Ok, that is an exaggeration, but for Christmas it is true. All of the Sunday through Tuesday (Christmas Eve) we have dinner appointments with American families. On Christmas we are planning to have breakfast together as a district. Then we will have pranzo with the Rochira family. Then we will top the day off with SKYPE! The day after is a big holiday in Italy too. I am not sure what are plans are, but I am guessing we will catch up on movie watching because we get to watch TWO movies for Christmas. Oh, we also get to sleep in an hour on Christmas! I cannot wait!

Ok, it has been a jammed packed week. And a crazy week, but that is not new. 

On Tuesday we had zone conference! I LOVE zone conference. It is always perfectly timed for when you need it the most. Also, thank you for the mail. I got SO much. Pretty sure it was more than I have gotten my whole mission. The conference was all about unity and loving each other. Basically, it was perfect for Christmas. President and Sorella Waddoups did an addestramento on teaching with simplicity. So we acted out the nativity for it. I was angel. Are we surprised? HAHAHA Yes, yes we are. I am just glad I wasn't Mary. It's a little awkward to have your Joseph be a fellow missionary. 

After zone conference I started my first scambio of THIS week. SO many scambi! It was with Sorella Hainey from Siracusa. We had a blast. That night we tried to drop by an investigator's house with no success. Then we taught English Course. I just love our students. They are so fun! The next morning Sorella Hainey and I went to see Mario's mother in law who is a less active member. She still has a really strong testimony, but doesn't like to come to church. However, she wants to start taking the missionary lessons again. So let's hope we can get her motivated to change. After we had a lesson with Monia, Mario's wife. We talked about the Atonement with her. sorella Hainey clicked so well with her. It was such a blessing. Then we had pranzo with Mario. We kind of had a DTR with them. We have decided to work on strengthening the family so that they will stay strong after the baptism. So we have decided to wait before making another date. It was really hard for me. But it is more important to help him progress.

I sent Sorella Hainey home on Wednesday afternoon. Then Sorella Fuller and I met the other missionaries at a rest home where we went caroling! It was so fun. The elderly people loved it. They were singing and crying. Caroling is not common in Italy so the nurses were all really curious about what we were doing. We were able to tell them about us and give them  Books of Mormon. A few of them want to see us again. Huzzah!

On Thursday after a little bit of ricerca all of the sisters had a pranzo appointment with Marika and Eva. We taught what we're calling a "how do you know" lesson. They are reading the Book of Mormon, but they don't seem to get the point of why they have us over. Sounds like time for a gospel lesson! We have to help them see that the gospel really requires a change. Not just church attendance. We gave them study notebooks and they seemed to really like them.

On Friday we did planning and had another scambio. But before the scambio I got another transfer call. Remember how we just had transfers like two weeks ago? Yeah... Well we knew I was getting a new companion because Sorella Fuller is going home, but we didn't know it would affect the whole mission. Pretty much everywhere in the mission is being affected. For example, Anziano Cremonesi is being transfered from here to Napoli. But the best part is who my new companion is.... I am getting an Italian! Sorella Fossa. I am excited to get to work with her and hopefully improve my Italian! Anyways... This scambio I was with Sorella Anderson. This is my thrid scambio with her and I just love her. Her energy was really the pick me up I needed. We went to see Jenny and her husband for FHE. We went with the Anziani and committed them to start a no smoking program. They want to and I know they can do it!

On Saturday morning we ended the scambio with a rather ineffective Christmas caroling mostra. Only two people asked to see who we were... Bummer! Oh well, it was fun. We'll just have to plan it better next time. That night we went to the Sigonella Christmas party. It was great! It really helped me to feel the Christmas Spirit. They all borught nonmember friends, spouses, and less actives. It was great to have really casual contact there. I hope the friendships we made there will pay off. AND they gave all of the missionaries stockings stuffed with American goodies. Can you say eight very happy missionaries?

Yesterday, being Sunday, was also fantastic. I know that pday is supposed to be the relaxing day of the week, but for me it is always Sunday. We had double church in Catania and Sigonella. Then a dinner appointment at Sigonella where I ate cheddar cheese for the first time on my mission.

I am excited for all of the change happening this week. You're never comfrotable on the mission and if you are everything changes soon thereafter. I am learning to love it.

The church is true, I promise.

Vi voglio bene!
Sorell Katie Francom

Catania, Sicily Week 9

Cara Famiglia,
You now have two missionaries! What?! I am so proud of Matthew and I loved seeing the pictures. I am sorry to hear that the Seahawks lost... Especially to the 49ers... Oh well! It sounds like Eli is a super busy kid these days. You'll have to send me pictures of him as Snoopy. I can't believe Noah is turning 16!! Whoa! He is not old enough to drive! Tell him to take care of Pedro for me. 

Ok question answering time.... CHRISTMAS! It's coming and we get to see each other! I am planning to skype. Ummmmm as for a time... I am not sure yet. I would assume probably late Christmas Eve night or early  Christmas morning. Any preferences? I will let you know the exact details next week. Va bene?

Mom asked about my new companion, Sorella Fuller. Yes, I still think she's great. She is incredibly experienced and knowledgeable. I kind of feel like the footman in Cinderella who carries around the glass slipper. I just bring her around and am like "BEHOLD!" But it's good, not only have become a highly capable GPS, but I am learning so much from her example. It's weird that we only have another week together. I find out who my next companion will be on Saturday! Whoa!

So I forgot my planner and this week is kind of foggy, but I shall do my best to reconstruct it!

On Tuesday it rained A LOT! My shoes were soaked... Oh the life of a missionary. That morning we had a lesson with Teresa. The woman who we challenged to be baptized. We brought a member and she was really, REALLY not happy about that. SO that did not start the lesson out on the right foot. Let's just say that she doesn't want to be baptized. I am kind of bummed, but I know that we did our best and the rest was up to her free agency. That night we saw a less active who lives literally right down the hill from the church, but doesn't come because she doesn't want to walk that far and there is an Evangelical church just a little bit closer. However, Sorella Fuller and her really hit it off so we will be back. We ended the night with English course. They LOVE Sorella Fuller. I am so glad. And we may or may not now be doing yoga poses at the end of corso...

Wednesday was one of those busy office type days. We had DDM in the morning. It was the first of the transfer so we got to make lots of goals and plans. There are two goals that I feel the need to tell you about. The first is that as a district we are going to do 20,000 push ups by Christmas. This means that yours truly is trying to do around 30 push ups a day. (For the sake of honesty I started with only 10) I am pretty sure that I am going to be super buff by our skype call. The second is the 21 day promise. I will attach a copy. It is in Italian so you will have to use google translate, but you should do it. Basically you write a list of names and pray for them for 21 days. The promise is that at the end of the 21 days someone will be ready for the missiomary lessons. I am doing it for myself and I thought that it would be cool for you guys to do it too! There are scriptures to read every day to help you stay focused. We are already seeing so many miracles with it and I promise that you will too! We finished the day by going to type up the 21 day promise and going to Correlation. We have a new ward mission leader, Fratello Bruno, and he is a beast. I really think he will help to propel us forward. 

On Thursday I did scambio #1 of the week. I was with Sorella Clyde. Our morning appointment cancelled so we did finding in centro. It was kind of nerve wracking to do finding as two rather unexperienced missionaries. We didn't have a whole lot os success, but we did get a whole lot more comfortable and that is more than half of the battle. We visited Jenny, a less active and the sister in law of Mario, with the Anziani in the afternoon. It went really well. Jenny invited us back to teach her husband AND she wants to quick smoking! Her son is really hyperactive and he may or may not have stabbed Anziano Hatch in the eye, but I'd say it was a successful visit. We ended the night with English course. 

Friday was a jammed packed day and it was GREAT! In the morning Sorella Fuller and I did planning in a cocoon of blankets because it is so COLD in our appartment. Italians don't really believe in central heating... Then we had pranzo with a member. WE challenged her to do the 21 day promise and the very next day she had a referral for the missionaries in California. Miracles happen, peeps! Then we finally had a lesson with Marica after her long vacation in Palermo. We brought a member and her mom, Eva, even stayed for the lesson. It went really well. Then we literally ran/spy walked down to piazza duomo to meet the anziani and go to a lesson with one of their investigators. We were supposed to make a friendship with the mom and daughter, but the only showed up for the very last part of the lesson. Oh well! At least we met them and got their number. We ended the night with Arancini at our favorite bar, Savia. (Don't worry bars do not have the same meaning in Italy).

Saturday was scambio #2. I was with Sorella Bair for what feels like the million time, but it was so wonderful. I am pretty sure her and I would burn down the city if we were companions. We have a little too much fun. The morning started off quite sad. We had a funeral in the church. It was really beautiful to hear the family's testimony of the plan of salvation. They were sad, but you could tell that they had so much hope for the future. I am so glad that the gospel gives us such hope. Then Sorella Bair, two anziani, and I headed out for a road trip to Ragusa. There is just something about being in the car, driving for a long time, and listening to music that just feels so normal and rejuvenating. We went to Ragusa for the church dedication there. We made it a little late because of the funeral, but we made it in time for pranzo. We spent the afternoon and evening giving tours and getting to know the members. One member introduced himself to me as "Nessuno" which means no one in Italian... That was fun. Overall I loved Ragusa. I think I'd like to open it for sisters... Who knows!

On Sunday we had church as always. Marica's mom, Eva, came and she LOVED it. A new convert also brought his girlfriend and we were able to talk to her. After church we went to pranzo with a member family and started the 21 day promise with them. They loved it too! I love seeing the members' excitement. Then we went to the hospital to visit the mom of the missionary who is out from our ward. She was happy to see us and some members showed up while we were there. It was cool to bring her the Spirit. Then we had a rather long and windy bus ride home.

The gospel is true, I promise.

Vi voglio bene!
Sorella Katie Francom

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Catania, Sicily Week 8

Cara Famiglia,
Holy cow! It's sounds like life is going a million miles back home! I am so glad that Matthew's farewell talk went well and that everyone was able to hear it. You'll have to let me know how things go for Thanksgiving. I assume that you guys are going to spend it with Holly's family. I cannot WAIT to hear about Mark's 40th birthday. I am sure it will be hilarious!
Ok, question answering time. Christmas ideas... I was thinking it would be really great to get some family recipes so if great grandma and grandpa wanted to send me that I'd be down. Or anything Christmasy really. I don't know. I feel like I have a million ideas for it and then as soon as I sit down to write I can't remember! But really I will just be happy to hear from home!
So about Thanksgiving! We will have the pleasure of going to the Godfrey family's house for dinner. They are members that work on base, but they attend the Catania ward. They're the same ones that sent you that photo of la conferenza generale. I am SO excited. This will be my second Thanksgiving in a row outside of America so I am happy that I will at least get a Thanksgiving dinner.
Dad asked about a spiritual lesson I have learned in Sicily. I think one of the biggest lessons I've learned is in Ether 12:27. It says that when we come unto God he will show us our weaknesses. It's funny that the closer I get to Him the more imperfect I feel. It's as if more and more of my weakness or being whittled away and underneath them are more. But it's been beautiful to see the progression. Each day I get a little bit better and each day that change is thanks to my Heavenly Father, who in the same verse promises to make those weaknesses strengths. We may be imperfect and weak, but our Heavenly Father happily works with us and uses us as His instruments until we are made strong. Life really is a beautiful progression!
Ok, so Mario.... Well this has been a rough week with him. After postponing his baptism for a more convenient day we have had to cancel it. It has been absolutely heartbreaking. I never knew before what it could be like to care so much for another person. Mario is just going through a lot in his life right now. A sick grandpa and a crazy work schedule has him WAY stressed out. So he just can't find space for this now. He still wants to be baptized, but it will probably be in a few weeks. It's SO hard. I know that the gospel will help him with his problems and I just want it to work out NOW. But patience is a virtue and I am just glad that these experiences have not broken his faith.
We saw Lucia again this week. She is making progress and read the Introduction! Woohoo! And she wants to share the gospel with her friends. We also saw Teresa, our other old woman. She started reading the Book of Mormon and is in 1 Nephi 2. She LOVES it. Now we just need to get here to understand that our religion is not an add on to the Catholic church. I think she is starting to get that because she came to church yesterday! It was the primary program and she thought it was just about the cutest thing ever. She also tried to convince vescovo that he should have them do it for money and give the proceeds to starving children in Africa. Allora... What ya gonna do?
On Friday Siracusa sorelle came up and did a scambio with us. I was with Sorella Clyde, our beloved greenie here in Catania. So yeah... The two greenies went traipsing around the city together. It was fun! We went to Sigonella and we had the coolest miracle. We went to visit a sister who just needs so me support and then we went to visit her visiting teaching companion. While we were at the companions house a woman came over to use the oven. She said "Oh! Sister missionaries! I grew up Mormon." It wasn't planned at all! But we got to meet a less active who is here, pregnant, and alone while waiting for her husband to arrive. Sounds like a golden reactivation opportunity to me! I am excited to follow up on that.
On Friday night we commenced the end of transfer traditions. Like always, we had pizza with the Mirabella family. It is SO fun. They have a wood oven in their garage and they just whip out pizza after pizza. Incredibile! Then that night we did kinder egg predictions. I got the same toy that I got last time, but this time it had elephants, the animal of Catania, on it. So of course we predicted that I would stay...

Then on Saturday morning we got transfer calls! I am staying!!! I am getting Sorella Fuller. She is literally the oldest sister in the mission so I will have the lovely chance to kill her next transfer. It's kind of humbling to be put with someone with so much experience, but I am looking forward to meeting her and learning from the best... Sorella Vincent is going to Rome 5. It's in the mountains north of Rome. She will be serving with..... SORELLA JACKSON, my MTC companion. My two favorite people in the mission will be together! I am really, REALLY going to miss Sorella Vincent. It will be weird walking the streets without her.
Life is good. Etna did erupt, but we are ok!
And now some business on my end. I made the cinnamon rolls! They were great. So I wanted to check to see if you are getting the postcards that I've been sending. Also I sent home a Christmas present. SO just watch out for it. And let me know if you have questions about how to use it.
The church is true, I promise.
Vi voglio bene!
Sorella Katie Francom

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Catania, Sicily Week 4

Dearest Family,
Life is great! I am glad everyone seems to be doing well and that you all go to watch conference. I am also glad that you got the picture from the Godfreys. We love them!! 

Ok, life is CRAZY! I don't know how it is already Pday again. Not possible. A note on Pdays: they will now be moved to Monday. So prepare to hear from me again in just a few days. Wahoo!

Last Wednesday went to Mt. Etna! It was so awesome. The view was great and it was so fun to be up in the mountains with colder weather and thinner air. I also bought an awesome nativity made of lava rock. Don't worry it was cheap.

After the pday part of pday we did an exchange (scambio) and I got to go teach with Sorella Bair. We taught one of their investigators, Tina. She is a rather old woman and absolutely adorable. She seems really lonely, but she loves the church and has a lot of really good questions. By a lot of question I mean a LOT. It was interesting trying to control the lesson. 

On Saturday we had another lesson with Mario. It was ALL over the place. We covered so much ground. However, he still wants to be baptized. We picked a new day that we are all working towards having him ready. It will be November 7th! AND he wants to see us twice a week instead of once. AND he wants to go to the temple. 

That night we went to the casa of the Godfrey family to watch conference. They just moved here and Fratello Godfrey is in the navy and works for the base here. It was so fun to be with them. The next day we watch one session with the Groves family on base and then went back to the Godfrey's for another. 

Conference was great! I am pretty sure that Elder Ballard's talk was written just for me. It was what I needed as a missionary. I noticed that there was a lot of emphasis place on members working with the missionaries. As a missionary I just want to say that it is so, so, SO important. As missionaries we can only do so much. We're not living a normal life right now and lots of contacts think that is weird. They need to see members living regular daily lives. We need members to uplift our investigators by talking to them at church, inviting them over, and going to lessons. They are really so strengthened by your testimonies and friendship!

Yesterday, Tuesday, we had another scambio because Sorella Lovell and Sorella Vincent are Sister Training Leaders. They have to work with all of the sisters in the zone. So they went to Siracusa and I worked with Sorella  Bair. It was a blast. We had a packed day and made so much progress. We visited the nonmember mothers of several members. They were so strong and great to talk to. We will be visiting them again. We also went to lunch with an investigator we had kind of given up on, but are now hoping to start working with again. It was really great to rebuild the relationship. And of course nothing went quite as planned and we got lost several times. But hey, that is the life of a missionary!

Today Sorella Bair, the anziani, and I headed down to Siracusa to pick up our companions and enjoy our pday. Right now I am in a city called Ortigia. Holy cow! It is the most beautiful place I have been in Sicily. I am excited to get to explore it more today.

The church is true, I promise.

Vi voglio bene!
Sorella Katie Francom

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Catania, Sicily Week 3

Dearest Family,

I got the letters from you guys yesterday! Thanks, it was so nice to hear from all of you. And Noah, I sure hope you aren't actually failing all of your classes. I am glad that everyone is doing so well. Although the rain sounds CRAZY! Glad I am not there right now. 

OK! I really have no idea where time goes because it's Wednesday again. ALREADY. But I have some things to write.

Mario! We just love him. We had another lesson with him and his member wife, Monia, last Thursday. He relapsed a bit on the Word of Wisdom, but we recommited him and gave him some help with it. I really think he'll be able to do it. And, more importantly, I know that Heavenly Father will help him to be successful. The lesson went really well. We taught about scripture study and the importance of likening the scripture to ourselves. They loved it and we found out that Monia has read most of the Book of Mormon and they are both excited to start doing so together. The next day we went to Mario's work in Misterbianco (a nearby town) to visit him. Ok, it was the cutest town I've been to since coming back to Italy. It was nice to feel a bit of small town slow Italian life. He works at a pizzeria and we enjoyed a few pastries courtesy of him. I may or may not have fought him to let me pay. He didn't and his boss didn't let me either. Bummer. That time we talked about conference and just checked up on him. He is once again keeping the Word of Wisdom and he reads the scriputres EVERY day at work. He is even telling one of his coworkers about the gospel. However, he and Monia weren't able to come to church on Sunday. They got ready too late and would have missed sacrament. This means we have to push the baptism back. At first I was really sad, but now I am kind of glad because it gives us more time to prepare him to remain active and experience a conversion. He is still committed to being baptised and that is what matters!

On Friday night we went out to Sigonella to go to a relief society activity with the American branch. We learned how to cook Philipino food! It was awesome. More importantly we had one investigator (more on her later) and one contact from English course come with us. It was fun to watch the Italians interact with the Americans and to feel the Spirit that was there. There were a few nonmembers from the base there and the other sisters have an appointment to teach them. Wahoo!

Ok, so that Italian investigator that went with us to Sigonella is Valeria. The missionaries have been working with her and her husband, Rosario, for a year now. They are a young couple and the are AMAZING. They already act like members. The come to church every Sunday and to all of the activities. However, they haven't wanted to be baptized. But.... drumroll.... The other sorelle have no gotten them to commit. Rosario will be baptized next Friday and Valeria will be a few days later after Rosario gets the priesthood and can baptize her. We are all so excited because we have all had the chance to work with them.

For my Siena friends, do you remember that institute fireside we had at the Dante? Well the same man, Brother Perego, gave a fireside here in Catania on Saturday. It was a super weird and awesome flashback. Also, I live with Sorella Lovell one of the missionaries who was in the ward in Rome when we went. She remembers us and was at the dance we went to. Also, Andrea from that same ward, the one we took that picture with, has a brother here in Catania. Small world, right? I love that there is always something to remind me of Siena.

Right now, as a district, we are focusing on gaining the trust of the members. So we're trying to visit and serve as many as possible before the transfer ends. Without the members are work is not as affective. Italians listen to and understand better when they can see a member who understand their background and difficulties and has overcome them. So far all of the appointments have gone well and I am excited to continue them.

Well I am off to Mt. Etna this afternoon. You know the famous mythological volcano. Yep, going there.

The gospel is true, I promise.

Vi voglio bene!
Sorella Francom

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Catania, Sicily Week 1

Dearest Family!
I have so much to say and so little time to say it!!! I am so excited for Matthew! Las Vegas better watch out because they're about to get one heck of a missionary. It's going to be super hot, but he will survive haha. Also, congrats on the Eagle!! That is great news. Also, I am so happy that everyone is enjoying the start of the new school year. It sounds like everyone is doing so very well. I love hearing about you guys!
Ok, where to start.... I am in Catania the capital of Sicily. The train ride here from Rome was ten hours... Longer than the flight from the states. Non buono. Actually, it wasn't bad. I sat with another Sorella and we got to talk to a lot of the Italians. It was really fun to talk to them about the gospel and just about life. I met my trainer when I arrived in Catania. Her name is Sorella Vincent. She's been out here for four transfers so we're both super young in the mission. It's great! We are also probably the youngest looking companionship in the mission. She is a year younger than me and shorter than me so really we look so young. People ask us about it everyday. But I LOVE her (despite the fact that she goes to the U). She is so dedicated to working hard and you can tell it is really paying off. We live with two other sisters, Sorelle Bair e Lovell. Sorella Bair is from Seattle and Sorella Lovell did a study abroad in Siena. So of course we all get a long.
So about Sicily... I thought Siena would prepare me.... Let's just say that Sicily is a world apart from up North. It's dirty and SO SO SO hot. However, the people are so warm. They are incredibly nice. Seriously, I can barely go a day with out someone buying me a pastry. I like that. And they are also so open to talking about the gospel. Instead of being defensive they are just curious.
And the work here is fantastic! So far I have just really loved it. I haven't felt discouraged, just super excited. I guess that's just the greenie in me. We are teaching some really great couple. There is one couple that has been taught for the year and they come to church every week. We just have to work on the word of wisdom.... I think that's going to be a common theme in Italy. Then there is Mario, the husband of a member. He wants to be baptised, but couldn't because he works during church. However, last night we got a call saying that he now has mornings off!! Such a miracle! The there is Giulia and Loredana. A daughter and her mom. I've only met Giulia so far, but she is probably the happiest person in the known world. I am so excited to get to work with her. There are so many others I can't even list them. We also teach an English course twice a week which I just love!!!!! I feel very in my element while teaching.
So cool story of the week. We had a night free, but we couldn't go far because President Wadoups is still trying to decide who will drive the car. We decided to try to visit a contact who lived really close. As we were walking down her street we ran into another contact and started talking. While we were talking an old man just came up and exclaimed "mormoni!" Turns out his name is Carmello and he met with the missionaries a long time ago. He really likes the church and will be coming on Sunday. The woman we tried to visit wasn't even home. I am so happy that we ran into Carmello. He really just seems ready. It is so wonderful to feel truly directed by the Lord.
Oh and funny thing, one of the sisters in my house  actually rides a unicycle. How's that for our story?
Life is just so good. I feel so blessed to be here doing the Lord's work. As I've started to focus more on his work. I've felt more and more blees.
The gospel is true.
Vi voglio tanto bene!!!!
Sorella Katie Francom

Sunday, September 1, 2013

MTC Week 2

I am doing SO well. Life in the MTC is FUN! We've been learning a lot about how to relate to investigators and how to better meet their needs through our teachings. It is really exciting and I love getting to know and helping all of our "investigators." Two days ago one of them committed to be baptized. It felt awesome to hear him say that! I know it's not real so I am so excited to see what it feels like when it actually happens. Yesterday we had an in-field orientation. We learned a lot more "practical" skills for when we head to field. It was awesome and made me SUPER pumped to head to Italy on Tuesday! I can't believe time has gone so quickly. Each day feels like a week, but the weeks fly by!

Can I just say that I love my zone, district, and companion?! Our zone is full of all of the advanced language speakers so there are people from all over the world. It is so fun and we all get along so well. My district is even more awesome. We laugh all of the time. Who knew I would get such an ab workout as a missionary?! This really helps to unify us and makes our teaching stronger because we trust each other. Now, my companion, Sister Jackson, is SO cool. We get along so well. We have a ton in common. I am so glad because not all missionaries are blessed with companions they work well with. Together we have improved a lot on our Italian and our teaching.

It's been really fun to go to the MTC in Provo because I get to see so many people I know. I run into Natalie all of the time and I saw the carpet crew the other day. They left a bueno bar on my bed and it made my day!


Katie's address in Italy
Italy Rome Mission
Piazza Carnaro, 20
00141 Rome RM, Italy

Katie's email:

MTC Week 1

So you're probably all dying to know what life in the MTC is like. Right? Right. Well it is totally and completely overwhelming. The first day, Wednesday, was a lot better than I expected. Classes were not too scary and we didn't have to teach any investigators. We got put in our districts pretty much immediately. I am in the advanced language district. There are 5 sisters and 2 elders. We are going all over the world. My companion, Sister Jackson, is the only other one going to Rome. She's taken a year of Italian at BYU. She's great! We have a lot in common. We also both really want to obey with exactness. That is fantastic because I am realizing more and more that that is not always the case with missionaries. That night we had a meeting with a all of the missionaries who came in that day (I saw Spencer Clark). We practiced teaching investigators all together. I mean 100 people teaching 1 or 2 investigators. It was interesting... One thing that did really impress is the caliber of the other missionaries. Everyone had such insightful things to say. Also, the Spirit is amazing. Even though we are all completely exhausted the Spirit still touches us and helps us know what to say.

Yesterday, Thursday, was, without a doubt, the LONGEST day of my life. I am pretty sure I lived a whole month yesterday. I am also relatively certain that I experienced every emotion known to man (with the exception of anger). I woke up bright and early. Of course. And got ready. That part was actually better than I expected. I was able to get up pretty easily. The we had companion study, breakfast, and personal study. All good. Then came our first class. It was ok. But I was getting REALLY tired. I thought I was going to pass out in the middle of a lesson. We practiced giving the first discussion to our companion. Then Sorella Jackson and I did it in Italian. It went much, MUCH better than I thought it would. Until I rather bluntly said that all of the apostles began to die.... Might not sound funny in English, but it was HILARIOUS in Italian. We busted up. Then came lunch. I was worried I would fall asleep in my food, but I made it through. Then we had class again. And we got new teachers.... One of them looks exactly like Andrew Mason. Yeah... That made me feel awkward haha. They are way more intense than our other teachers. I was getting so overwhelmed and feeling so inadequate. At one point I thought I would cry. But I didn't! Small victories. After class things started to get better. We had dinner and then met with the Branch Presidency. During the meeting I was feeling pretty down, but then I had a person interview with the Branch President. I just got to talk. It felt so good and I immediately felt so much happier. Then I got assigned to be one of the two sister training leaders for our zone. SO basically I work along side the zone leaders to make sure that everything goes smoothly and to orient the new missionaries. I am actually super excited. I feel like it has given me a real reason to be her in the MTC. 

Today is P-day. So far we've just done some online assessments and gone to the temple. The temple was SO amazing. It was nice to get to walk there and just take a break and find peace. It was nice to feel like me again. I just love being there. And now I am here writing all of you.

So what have I learned so far? Well, a lot. But the biggest thing has been realizing that I can't do this. Not on my own. I have to completely rely on my Heavenly Father. I think I came to the MTC a little too cocky. I thought that I had talents that would automatically make me some sort of awesome missionary. The truth is that this work is not about me being an awesome missionary. It's about being worthy and receptive. It is only through the Holy Ghost that investigators can be changed. My words, not matter how persuasive, do not have the power to bring conversion. It is only the Spirit. So I am trying harder to totally lose myself. To stop thinking about my needs all of the time and to focus on giving my life over to the Lord. I know that he will make more of it than I could.

So how are things? Are Matthew's papers in? Are you guys getting excited for school? Are you missing me quite terribly?

Mom, could you get on my facebook and message Kathryn, Natalie, Hannah, and Andrew Potts (obviously) to see if they want to be on my weekly email list? If so, could you get their emails and forward this to them? Also, did my bag come?

The church is true. I promise.

I love you all!
Sorella Katie Francom

Monday, August 19, 2013

Ciao, Ciao, Ciao

This will be my last post written and posted by me for quite some time. I will be a set apart missionary in approximately 4 hours... So I figured I should wrap this summer up and say a few parting notes.

These last few weeks have been a whirlwind! After finally feeling the strong conviction that this mission is what is right for my life I began my goodbyes. Goodbyes to Provo. Goodbyes to friends. Goodbyes to family. SO many goodbyes. It's been a bit overwhelming to someone who HATES goodbyes. But somehow I have made it through without too many tears. (Although I still have to say goodbye to my immediate family)

So my last little bit in Provo was spent just enjoying my friends. I was privileged to get to do a lot of fun things. I feel like I got to go out with a pretty epic bang. So here are a few pictures:

I went hiking one last time.

We rocked out at a rooftop concert. Actually it was 
rather boring...

And of course there was one last boating trip! 
I didn't get hurt this time. (Small victories, people)

I got to go to the Manti temple with my ward. 
It was so very, very beautiful.

We had a fancy dinner party at Sam's cabin.

Alex and I conquered the Kong Kone. 
They were a lot bigger than expected...

I hosted a going away bonfire.

To my Provo/BYU friends: I love you all. The last three years of my life have been the best years of my life. Thanks to each of you for being a part of that. It has truly been life changing. Try to have fun without me... I will sure miss you guys!

Then two weeks ago I came home to Washington. It's been SO nice to be back. To just relax and spend time with my family. The day after I got back we left on family vacation. We spent several days hiking and camping in the North Cascades. It was gorgeous. And the lightening storms and stories around the campfire were fantastic. After that we headed to a resort at Lake Chelan. Holy cow! I'm usually not Eastern Washington's biggest fan, but I have to say that Lake Chelan was spectacular. The water was clear and warm. Our hotel was literally right on the water. You could jump from the lawn to the lake. FANTASTIC. We spent our time swimming and relaxing. I suppose I should include some pictures of that trip as well...

Hiking in the North Cascades.

The gorgeous pass we hiked to.

Swimming in Chelan.

Out for a nighttime stroll.

It was SO gorgeous!!

So that's it. That's the end of my summer. 

But it's not that sad. It just means the beginning of a new chapter. A new chapter that I am so scared for. But also so excited. I know that I am about to embark on a very difficult 18 months. But I also know that I am doing so as a representative of my Savior. I know that with Him all things will work out. I know that the message I will be sharing is true. I look forward to watching it change people's lives. 

So peace out!

And know that you have a Heavenly Father who loves you!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Summer Is for Adventure

I have pretty much turned into the worst blogger of all time. So for those of you who are my "devoted" readers, I am sorry.

Anyways, it's summer!!!!! I love spring/summer in Provo. No classes. No obligations. Just fun.

I have moved apartments back into my old ward and I am loving it. It's so fun to be back in a ward where I feel familiar and comfortable. It also means that I am closer to my friends. That in turn means that I never sleep because I am always with them. Can you say emotional, sleepless zombie?

Despite my lack of sleep this summer has been filled with adventures. I've done crazy things that I never thought I would ever do. I've been to bonfires and pool parties. The smell of chlorinated smoke has permanently attached itself to my clothes and my hair. Basically there has been to much to EVER catch up on. So I am just going to let the pictures do the talking.

In no particular order here are the pictures:

Crazy night with my dearly beloved Hkrop!

Italy Sister Reunions

White water rafting in Moab. Pretty much everyone on this trip
thought Andrew and I were dating.... Awkward.

We dressed up as men to go on the Elder's Quorum 
boating activity.

The ward boating trip to Yuba Lake.

Reuniting with our favorite law student.

I repelled down a waterfall! I can't believe that actually happened!!

We even danced in the rain.

I went on a trip home to go to Matthew's graduation.

And I went through the temple. 


Strawberry Days carnival.

We said farewell to Andrew before he left for Europe.

I went to a rodeo/fireworks show with the Lindseys.

Temple Square with the cousins.

Pizza. Always Pizza.

Hiking trips!

Snow cone eating reunions.


More hiking.


Italy trip to Guru's to watch Libby perform.
She rocked it!

RSL game.

In case you can't tell, my life is pretty great. I am living it up in Provo. And starting to panic that summer is coming to a close. Summer, do you want to stay forever?