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