Italy Milan Mission
February 2, 2011 - August 2, 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012



From: Laurel Simkins[]
Sent: Wednesday, August 22, 20124:29 AM
Subject: la fine

Ciao miei cari
This week has been amazing.
Mauricio, Cedella, and Ana were baptized. Each of their families came. Tons ofmembers came. It was super spiritual to have three baptisms in a row. They allbore beautiful heart filled testimonies at the end. And then at the very end ofthe ceremony we had about 10 minutes before the hour so we had a testimonymeeting. All of these youth who had met Mauricio at EFY came to his baptism,and each of them bore their testimonies, and it brought me to tears! To see theseSTRONG YOUTH! Taking on the world! Battling sin, doing all they can to resisttemptations, to live their standards. These kids who know the truth, and relizethe things that really matter in life. Oh wow it was a beautiful experience, Iwas so proud of each and every one of them, they really are God's army. OnSunday Mauricio,Cedella and Ana received the gift of the Holy Ghost from each member of thebranch pres. Each were blessed that they would be missionaries and would marryin the temple. They were BEAUTIFUL blessings, I felt the spirit so strong andwas just amazed at the beautiful of this gospel. Almilcar is a 16 year old fromspainwe have been teaching and yesterday after we talked about Joseph Smith and therestoration again, he prayed and said Heavenly Father I feel deep down in myheart that this is true. I promise I will keep searching this religion when Igo back to Spain(he leaves today). It was soo beautiful and he is such a special kid. I justLOVE MISSIONARY WORK! We are uncovering elect spirits, finding God's chosenyouth, it is exillerating. To see their spirits shine is like their trueidentity is revealed. Ahh I love it and am eternally thankful to have witnessedthese miracles. WALTER! ohh Walter. He cut down soo much on his smoking andyesterday I asked, "how many cigs do you have left?" "I don'tknow, half a pack maybe." "are you ready to stop after thispack?"  "Si" "are you ready to stop now? should wethrow them away?" "Ok!" So I took them, crushed them, andchucked them in the trash. I've always secretly wanted to do that but Iactually haven't taught too many people that smoke. In fact, Heavenly Father isrealizing many of my little goals of the mission, and it makes me happy andlets me know that He really knows me and my desires and that this really is Hiswork. Anyways, Walter called later that night and said "I don't even havethe slightest desire to smoke, the angels are HELPING ME!" HAHA ohh manwhat joy. What a GOOD GOOD GUY!!! I will miss him for sure. Alfa. Anotherlittle goal being realized. I had a few silly goals like, baptize an oldperson, convert a muslem, etc...Well Lulu was my dear elderly lady, and Alfa!!This guy from Senegal,has the sweetest dreds ever, SO HUMBLE and teachable just fell into our armslast week, and he has been to the church to learn from us this week. Well, heis Muslem, but in our lesson yesterday says that he feels these things are realand he believes in Jesus Christ. He believes in Joseph Smith and therestoration. His heart is CHANGING he is being converted to our Lord!! SOOCOOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ohh he has the sweetest spirit. Andrea. ANOTHER 16 yearold elect!!! HOLY COW we had our first lesson with him 2 days ago and my jawwas on the ground. He is a student from a brother in the ward and for the last2 years this brother has been helping Andreawarm up to us… teachinga little here, a little advice there, etc just slowly preparing this kid. Andalong with his preparation, the help of the spirit and the Lord, this kid isREADY. Everything we taught he goes HM that makes sense! Yeah! that seemsright! Ohh that definitely could be true! Every little thing. We have anotherlesson with him tonight, a REALLY sharp kid. He will be a missionary in a fewyears for sure.

Really great things have happened all week. I have felt pretty good the wholetime. Except these last few days especially last night was super weird. I justcan't quite wrap my head around what is going on..I am leaving..what? Home?..The real world...? My heart starts racing and my stomach starts feelingreally sick. Then I pray for peace, read the Book of Mormon, then feel goodagain. Tonight we will teach our last lessons together. Tomorrow stuff in Milan. Hello world onFriday.

Love you all so very much. Thank you for your love, support, prayers. I am sothankful for you. I know that this church is true and that the gospel brings usreal happiness and joy. My time in Italy might be ending, but mymission is forever. I love the Lord and want to follow Him.
Mucho Amor,
hermana simkins

From: "Laurel Simkins" emo
Sent: Wednesday, August 15, 2012 9:33:12 AM

Guess what today is? Festa! Ferragosto. That means everything is closed. Ha so I guess I won't be buying any of you any presents, sorry!

Bergamo is beautiful. I am happy. And I feel relatively calm, which is a good thing. And super full of joy because of the miraculous things that are happening.

Walter is amazing. HA he cracks me up because he is just so golden I do not get where he came from!!!!! He came to chuch and LOVED IT. He made such great inspired comments and was just smiling the whole time. He smokes, and ever since we have been teaching him we have been praying for the Lord to prepare him for the word of wisdom. When we taught the word of wisdom yesterday he said so many amazing things, like "ever since I have been meeting with you, I have drastically reduced the amount of cigarettes I smoke." and "a few months ago out of no where I decided to stop drinking caffinated coffee." and "The word of wisdom is correct, I am going to stop smoking and live this commandment." and on and on. My love for him just GREW, my gratitude to the Lord swelled in my heart, He really has been preparing Walter! What a miracle story he is!!! I am so thankful to teach him. He is just so humble, so sincere, so COMPLETELY DETERMINED to follow the Lord.

Mauricio. Another wonder. 17 year old boy that is just AMAZING. Yesterday we asked him, so Mauricio you ready for your BAPTISM!!!?? and He goes seriously, I CAN'T WAIT! He reads the book of mormon for around an hour everyday. He has invited every single person he knows to his baptism. He is best friends with the young men. Man it is just so great to see his progress and his testimony growing!! sooo neat.

Ana. Beautiful little GIRL! She is now obsessed with the Liahona. She reads it everyday, her mom has been receiving the Liahona for a while so ana just reads and reads. She is learning so fast and so much I am so so proud of her. She is so precious. Every prayer she prays that I will be safe and that I won't forget her and her sister says she cries sometimes because I will be leaving :( aww I want to bring her with me. She is so beautiful. When we got her her dress sunday she hugged it and took it home with her haha she is so excited. Her big sister angi is amazing as well, she is what keeps the family together. She takes care of her mom, her sister, her father, she is an amazing young woman.

Cedella. Soo smart. She is only 8 but we have been helping her get ready because her family has been a bit less active but now they are coming regularly. It is amazing how fast kids learn. She tried on her dress and goes, where did this COME FROM, it's ancient! hahahahahaha. I love her!

Amilcar. 16 year old from spain, here on vacation. He is samuels cousin and we have been teaching him. He is guys have so much faith. I want that faith. I want to know like you know! And we are like,.....YOU CAN!!!!!! So he is progressing and it is awesome to see. He is discovering who God really is and what happiness really is. AHHH these youth are elect.

Antonio. We found him while doing finding work at the park. He was sitting on the bench talking on the phone..and usually we don't interrupt..but we felt like it this time so we stood infront of him and started talking to him. He immediately hung up and gave us 100% of his attention and said he talked to missionaries years ago and they left a huge impression on him. We had a lesson with him and sunday he came to church! He REALLY liked it. He smelled heavily of alcohol, so there I was in sacrament, with him on my left, walter on my right who smelled smokey, and I just SMILED I couldn't have been happier to have them. I was thinking the whole time THERE IS NO BETTER PLACE on earth that these two men could be right now. They are changing their LIVES!! MIRACLES!! Antonio is way sweet, he is Bolivian, has super long hair, in his 30s I would say. SOO HUMBLE. And really sensitive to the spirit.

So last week I had a HUGE TENDER MERCY for the Lord. We went to MILANO 2 for our exchange this transfer!!! I got to work in my first city for the day!!!! OHHH it was MARVELOUS ohh man I am SO BLESSED it was such a good experience. We found one of my old investigators!! We taught her and it went really well, she was so happy to see me! Then for lunch...suprise!! We went to Patrizia! Mamma patrizia! SHE LOOKED AMAZING it blew my mind. She was my first baptism in Italy. She has lost over 40 pounds. Her eyes were BRIGHT and shining light. She was happy, her house was soo clean, she smelled so good...I just cannot believe the progress she has made, she is a new person. She made us her famous lasagna that is the best lasagna I have ever had in Italy AHH so good and her egg plant parmigiano SOO GOOD. It was a BEAUTIFUL lunch hour with her, and Federico is the funniest. He was baptized! And on vacation last week patrizia taught this lady in their hotel all about the church and is going to give her a book of mormon. SWEET! Then that evening we went to family home evening and I saw ALL my old family!! ward family.. anyways it was such a great experience, everyone is so great, and I love them all SOOOO SOO SO SO SO MUCH. Lucy!!!! HA she couldn't stop hugging me. Before I left she grabbed my shoulders and said SORELLA. YOU BETTER NOT GO INACTIVE WHEN YOU GET HOME! hahaha WHAT? my new convert was telling ME that. HAHAHAHAH I just died laughing. Guess what is awesome...she was endowed a few weeks ago! I might have already told you all. But I am just so proud of her, what an amazing lady. So! That was really awesome!!

Today was fun. We had a grigliata by the river. I played in the river with the kids and we played lots of soccer and ate good food. No swimming, but I got soaked because there were water fights. Good times. Ana and I made lots of towers with river rocks. Balance.

Well..I don't know what else to tell you. Things are going great. We are getting ready for the baptisms this weekend, teaching great people, finding great people. My companion is awesome, all these missionaries are awesome. I feel like I still have all the time left in the world so I just keep going. I love the GOSPEL. I love the scriptures. I know this church is true!

Sorella Simkins


From: Laurel Simkins[]
Sent: Wednesday, August 08, 20129:24 AM
Subject: special little email later on because we got interupted with our email time because a miracle happened!

another miracle happened while doing email today! so. wewent to the YSA center to do email and the elders were already here on thecomputers. And we had an appointment for lunch so we decided to go find thenearest internet cafe. We go in, get seated, and the internet was down at thisinternet spot! So we left and rode down the street a little ways and entered inthe next internet cafe we saw. Sit down, get writing our emails, and I was halfway done wrighting my email to the president when I realized we were out oftime and had to get to our appointment. So I saved this email and we shut downthe computers and go to pay and they lady says OOOHh are you mormons? I wasbaptized years ago!! And she comes out from behind her desk, pulls up twochairs, and sits down and just tells us all her story of how much she loved thechurch then was kind of dissappointed with some members and slowly becameinactive. It was so interesting talking to her, in the 15 minutes we talked itwas like I was witnessing her spirit  and the evil spirits battle insideof her. One minute she would be saying I don't want to know anything anymore Ijust want to stay out of the church like this, the next minute ohh I reallyshould come to church and be with you guys, come visit me, yes I will startpraying, then the next minute no I can't pray I don't need God..back and forthlike this, it was really something to behold. Poor lady. But I could just feelher spirit trying to hard to fight off these evil spirits that have entered herheart and mind. WOW! Anyways we had a beautiful lesson in the end, she iscoming to church Sunday, and she agreed to meet with us. Isn't it cool how Godled us to her? He even made the internet go down in the first internet point toget us to the second one. WOW the Lord really does work miracles to call Hischildren. Wow wow wow.


From: Laurel Simkins[]
Sent: Wednesday, August 08, 20125:00 AM
Subject: EEEEK

HERMANA RACHEL KIME!!! Welcome HOME!! I love you, you are amazing, andI am expecting a big fatty email or letter from you next week. EEEEEEK!

Family and FRIENDS! I love you all. It is so good to hear the amazing thingshappening in your lives.

We are SOO BUSY I really don't have time to even think about home during thedays, only in the few minutes before I knock out asleep does my mind wander a bit to home but itdoesn't get too far because A) it is too stressful. I mean..I start school 2days after I get home, have no money, don't know where I live, where my classesare, what books I will need, etc so my mind flees from those thoughtsimmediately. B) I am too tired to think much anyways, and C) my thinkingusually comes back around to some investigator or miracle or thing learned thatday. But then I get here to email and see all these emails from you and mystomach starts twisting and turning and ufff scary.

WELL let me tell you an amazing story. Yesterday we went to teach Walter, forthe 3rd time. The guy that came to US last week during email. HE IS SOOAMAZING. Holy smokes you have no idea. HAHA THIS GUY!! he just cracks me upbecause I have no idea where a guy like him came from. He is just this normaldude, 40 years old, pizzaiolo, with the purest heart. When we were teaching therestoration the first lesson before we got to Joseph Smith he  was justsaying all the golden things like "I don't see why God would call prophetsin the past and not in these days.." or while we were teaching him thegospel I was like how do you think the Holy Ghost could be help to you in yourlife and he is like "well it is already working in my life, it lead mehere to you, it gives me desire to search the truth and to learn, and it makesme feel good when I do things that are right." hhahahahahahahaahha ohh my.So yesterday I just looked him in the eyes at the end of the lesson, invitedhim to be baptized the 8th of September, and he said "OK!"hahahahahahaha. Just a bold straightup no hesitation OKAY. Then we got on ourknees and he prayed for the 8th of September to be ready for his baptism. Whata miracle!!!!! I really can't explain with words these miraculous lessons wehave with these people, especially him. I wish it could be on FILM! It would bethe most exciting film ever. (For missionaries at least maybe not many otherpeople). HE IS AWESOME!! WALTER!! ha what an awesome guy. Mauricio is SOO greattoo, progressing like a champion, totally ready for next week. Ana and Cedellaare doing great as well. Silvia I don't know if I told you last p day or whenbut it was weird we had a lesson and just like a switch turned off in her headshe started saying things (again) like..I have already been baptized I don'tneed to again. I was just there with my mouth hanging open like..really?? Idon't think we could explain  the restoration any better than we have amillion times and the priesthood and the book of mormon and everything. Somaybe her time is just not here. The thing is she will talk to her sister ormom and then be full of confusion so we are still seeing her she's just got abit more journey ahead of her before her baptism. Ahh Silvs. We found a new family from Tanzania whoare awesome, just this big african family who has lived here for over 20 years,really educated, united, faithful. We found them at the park Sunday.
Lots of other great things happening but I am outta time.

sorella simkins

From: Laurel Simkins[]
Sent: Wednesday, August 01, 20123:47 AM
Subject: Any last requests?

If would like anything from Italy, now is your chance to speakup! Giorgio Armani? Dolce e Gabbana? Nutella? Pesto?  Maybe a cute littlevespa. I think I will just bring my mattress with me. Anyways let me know and Iwill do my best.

Something amazing and way funny just happened. I had just finishedwriting an email to President about amazing miracles that happened this weekwhen the buzzer rang. We are here in the church, on the second floor. I stickmy head out the window and there is a man at the game. I say buongiorno! And hesays Ciao volevo fissare un appuntamento. (Hi, I just wanted to make anappointment) I say ARRIVO! (coming!) So my comp and I walk on out and he islike hi I am walter, missionaries came to my house years ago and gave me theBook of Mormon and I read it then a thousand problems happened in my life and Ilost the missionaries and the book of mormon. So I was just wondering if wecould make an appointment and maybe you could share some more things with meabout the Book of Mormon? Or I could just come to church on sunday?? HAHAHA ohh MAN. So we got his name number address and will be seeing himtomorrow!!!!!!!! COOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love when the electfind us. I have heard stories like that from other missionaries and have hadkinda similar experiences, but not like this before! Ha oh man I am so happy.So there is miracle number one.

Last week we drew the plan of salvation with sidewalk chalk big andbeautifully on the pavement at the park. We taught a TON of people about theplan of salvation and had a wonderful time, a big success. Then we went toanother appointment, and later came back to the park to meet our investigatorSam to teach him. There were still people checking out the plan of salvation,yay! Anyways we see Sam in the distance on a bench next to his girlfriend sonot to intrude right away we just slowly kinda were making our way towardsthem, talking to people here and there, and I look up and see sam is coveringhis face with a magazine... and then as we got closer HAHA it was ridiculous,he got up and "snuck" around the bench behind the bushes to"hide" from us. HAHAHA we started laughing because it was kindahilarious and at the sime time kinda hurt inside. So whatever we just turned toour left, spot a woman on the bench, and go to talk to her. Turns out she isAMAZING and TOTALLY elect. We taught her and her daughter the plan ofsalvation, had a prayer with them, and made an appointment. We have alreadytaught her again this week, she has accepted baptism, her daughter is in LOVEwith us, they were SOO HAPPY to have to book of mormon and to start reading ittogether, and we are seeing her again tonight! HOW COOL!!! So we lost oneinvestigator, and Heavenly Father is so generous and gave us another!

Mauricio, Silvia(FINALLY!), Ana, and Cedella are all getting baptizedthe 11th and the 18th of August, my last Saturday in the mission. I could justcry I am sooo happy. So happy. I can't believe the miracles happening. MauricioLOVED efy he told everyone about his baptism and now wants to go on a mission(he is 17). Silvia was really touched by Lulu's baptism and choose her owndate, which is the 11th, but maybe will be moved to the 18th. Ana's family ispulling themselves together really trying to change their lives. They are in away sticky ugly situation, but this beautiful sweet 10 year old girl is amazingand wants to be baptized so badly. Cedella is the daughter of a reactivatedfamily we teach from Ghanathey are the most beautiful people ever and we have been preparing cedella forbaptism. She is 8 but is so smart and super excited.

GOOD things are happening in Bergamo.I am so happy. My companion is awesome. Last saturday we did a musical firesideconcert thing in Milano and HOLY COW my companion is an INCREDIBLE operasinger. I was completely blown away. We will be having our musical concertthing here in Bergamothis Saturday, you are all invited. I will be singing a few classic rock songsas our branch president plays the guitar and my comp will blow everyone out thewater with her opera voice and several others will be performing as well. Ourbranch president is awesome. He ordered me to pick up a music instrument when Iget home and to sing. I guess I should follow my leaders counsel. Eeeek scary.
Well I LOVE YOU GUYS! Love my family so much. Thanks Fife'sfor the updates on Evan, he is a miracle baby!!!

Sorella Simkins

From: Laurel Simkins[]
Sent: Wednesday, July 25, 20124:30 AM
Subject: hello

Buongiorno my beautiful family and friends

I feel sooo good right now! Happy, relaxed, peaceful. Beautiful thingsare happening in Bergamoand I am just in the greatest state of being. Mmmmm happy:) Update:

Last thursday we had a zone conference and President pulled aquick one on me and at the end of his presentation had me share my goodbyetestimony. HUH!? I was like President I have 5 more weeks left! But, it beingour only conference of the transfer, tocava me! There were no other dyingmissionaries in the group so it was just me. But it was such a strangeexperience. When he invited me up and he sat down, I couldn't move. I was frozenin my seat and overcome with the spirit and tears just started pooring down mycheeks. After that I don't really remember what happened, at one point I got upin front of everyone, and through tears bore testimony straight from my heart,and after a while was back in my seat. All I remember was the dense spirit inthe room and the complete silence. I still can't really believe I am cominghome so soon, because there is still SO MUCH going on and so much to do.

Friday LuLu was baptized. It was so beautiful, such a sacredexperience. She cried when she saw herself in the mirror in her white dress.Before getting in the font we just hugged and held each other as she cried andcried saying this was the best day of her life. She was so ready. When she cameout of the water the spirit just flooded the room, and when I was helping herin the bathroom she said "I feel NO PAIN! No pain at all!!" (in herback that is messed up) She goes "My sins are all washed away right? I amCLEAN right?? I feel it!" Ahaha. She is soo cute. She gave her testimonyat the end of the ceremonyfor like 10 minutes and it was amazing. Something really cool. After her fatherdied she had a dream of him and he told her that a stone would be lifted andshe would find a treasure. In the little welcome talk from the bishopric, hesaid something like, "Lulu, you have come to Italy and you have found atreasure." She bore her testimony after that, and shared that with us,that when the Brother said those words she felt in her heart that this is thetreasure her father had told her about in her dream. Pretty amazing. It wastruly a beautiful baptism.

Leonardo is an amazing young adult, 21, law student, who we taught a few weeksago then he had exams and we started to teach again this week. He is out ofcontrol, soooo prepared. He came to all three hours of church and loved it, and"NON VEDO L'ORA di leggere tutto il libro di mormon!" He texted us- Ican't wait to read all of the book of mormon!!! hahah he is awesome, at the seathis week, but when he comes back he will be getting ready for baptism. AHH he issooo amazing the things he says blow my mind! A quick example HA in gospelprinciples, I had the lesson, and I decided to ask him a question. So you needto know, Sorella Bush and I taught him the plan of salvation over a month ago,and he only had 10 minutes and wanted to hear it all. So it was the quickestlesson in the world and we didn't go into depth. Anyways I ask Leonardo why doyou think Heavenly Father wants to give us this gift of the Holy Ghost. And hegoes well since we forgot everything from the pre-earth life, I guess HeavenlyFathers gives us this gift to be a guide, to chose the right in this life, andkeep us on the path that leads us back to Him. HAHAH I was just like YES!!!!Haha he is so cool. Might not sound to cool to you, but to a missionary, thoseare golden words we like to hear.

Well we are still teaching back to back lessons, seeing lots ofmiracles, MANY people getting closer to baptism. For example, Silvia! She istaking leaps and bounds it is amazing!!! Rosalia, ana, both have dates and aregoing strong! Blanca and rosemary and their families are all on teachingschedules and making progress. We have two new investigators this week Cristianand Cristian haha..and wow...both amazing. Their story is kinda crazy butreally awesome I will share more as we get to know them better. This weekendand next weekend we are doing musical firesides in Milanthen here in Bergamo.I might or might not sing but my comp is amazing so we can just listen to herthe whole time!!!!

Well that is all I have. Bergamois beautiful, the sky is beautiful and takes me breath away everyday. I amhappy, the mission has nevr been so good. We had interviews Monday and I wasjust talking with President about how wonderful it is to feel such trust in theLord. That I am JUST reaching a point where I feel like I am completely givingHim everything and totally accepting His will in every little thing. I am doingmy part, and whatever happens happens and I am happy. It is something I can'treally explain...His will be done! That is it! I'll keep running, and He willkeep working. I love the gospel, I know it is true. We are Heavenly Father'schildren, we need to trust Him.

I love you!
Sorella Simkins

From: Laurel Simkins[]
Sent: Wednesday, July 18, 20124:00 AM
Subject: hiiiii


Hello family and friends.SIGGHH. I can't even write this email. My brain has jammed because it can nolonger comprehend the miracles that are taking place and the work the Lord isdoing through us. Seriously though, I don't even have words to describe what ishappening. Even thinking about all the things that are happing makes my mindtired. When I said I am going to run my fastest and work my hardest, God tookthat seriously, and whether I can do it or not, He has PUT US TO WORK. HOOooolycow. It is pretty amazing though. I just wake up everyday, ready to give it myall, and WOOSH am swept away by the hand of the Lord going a steady 85 milesper hour all day long until I find myself back in bed at 10:20ish, sprawled outon my bed, take a few deep breaths, read a few verses from the BOM, then amout.

Sorella Padula isamazing. The biggest gift from God, the perfect final companion. She is youngin the mission and full of fire, knows what she is doing, has a STRONGtestimony, knows the gospel, all the doctrine of the lessons is stored in herheart and when she opens her mouth it just poors out gracefully. Wow she isamazing, I love her so much already. She is an opera singer and her voice isbeautiful. We already have 2 musical firesides but more like full on concertsplanned one in Milanand one here. She has already lost 4 kilos in the week she has been mycompanion because we don't stop moving all day hahahahaha. I am the one that issupposed to diet, not her! No though, she is incredible and is right there withme pushing me hard too. I can't believe how much I have already learned fromher and how much my teaching has changed in just a few days with her. You neverbecome the perfect teacher or the perfect missionary. Just like everything else,improvment is eternal. Aaaaaiiiaaaa.

Our investigators are allprogressing. It is unbelievable. We seriously have lessons back to back all daylong. Lulu is so special, I love her so much. How God lead her from Mexico, to Canada,back to Mexico, then to Italy on vacation, right to Bergamo to find me, I don't know...but I amthe luckiest and am eternally thankful to have her in my life. She is so readyfor baptism this Friday. Marilyn from the Philippenes is doing so well,Mauricio the 17 year old is going to EFY this week he is awesome, rosemary AHHrosemary and her family (the Bolivian beautiful family) we hadn't seen them fora few weeks and finally got an appointment and saw them Monday and they areamazing and back in the GAME doing awesome. Carlos!! ohh carlos I can't evenexplain he is so awesome. Silvia is even making great progress! She is so closeto a date. We have found some GREAT people doing finding, one guy named Samfrom India who is totally searching the truth, he immediately accepted us andis learning and so happy to have the chance to grow closer to God. On and on Ican go, there are so many amazing people we are teaching. I love them all. I amhappy. Magic is happening. WHELP I am going to be done done.

THE GOSPEL IS TRUE. It issooo so so true.

I love you! Glad to hearyou are enjoying your summer days! I will pray for you Fifes, Steve and Emberand Evan, may the spirit be with you in every moment to comfort and help youfeel peace and understanding.

BE GOOD! Do good.
Sorella simkins

From: Laurel Simkins[]
Sent: Wednesday, July 11, 201212:04 PM

transfer calls last night! Sorella Bush is going to Vareseand I am staying in Bergamo and Sorella Padullafrom Argentinais my new collega. I am thankful God is giving me another opportunity to (forreals) learn spanish. YAY!

Great things are still happening in Bergamo. Today we went with Lulu to Sirmione,a peninsula on Lake Garda. BEAUTIFUL. Iattached some pictures. She is getting baptized next week. And then in a fewweeks Rosalia and Ana, they are both doing so well. Sunday was miraculous,there were at least 7 investigators in church, Bergamo is being BLESSED. Our baby branchwill be booming in no time. The president of the branch is the coolest, heloves 60s rock and is an editor/translator english french and german and hewants to have a musical fireside where he plays the guitar and we sing along.My new companion has a beautiful voice (I have heard) I'm excited to sing withher. She was with MELISSA MARSHALL in the Madrid MTC, how cool is that? Smallest world. Yesterday tocelebrate transfer calls we ate a halfbaked cookie with ice cream on top(cookie monster) and made a music video to efy music. I AM STARVING and sunburnedso I think I am going to get off the computer now and go teach more lessons.Sorry for the tiny update, but I LOVE YOU! all so very much.
sorella simkins.


From: Laurel Simkins[]
Sent: Wednesday, July 04, 20124:19 AM
Subject: Italian constructionworkers love wearing the mini-est shorts and their orange vests.


o MAMMA I am so happy today.

Happy 4th of JULY! I love my country, we are blessed to be free and to live onthe promised land. Today we will be celebrating by eating hamburgers androotbeer floats with the missionaries and some investigators. Of course thatseems normal to you, but I am STOKED because I have eaten maybe 1 hamburger mywhole mission and don't even remember the last time I had rootbeer or arootbeer float. Che festa. Then we will be going to aqua splash, the city waterpark. Mhaaa jk I wish.

I HAVE SUCH GOOD NEWS for you from the mission field. Magic is HAPPENING! I amfilled with joy and LOVE. Love for the the Lord, for my companion, and forthese PEOPLE that have become apart of my LIFE! EEEEEk.

Rosalia, a beautiful older Bolivian woman, was taught like one or 2 lessons ayear ago, went back to Bolivia, came back, came to church twice, we beganteaching her, she is sooo amazing has the best spirit and chose to be baptizedthe 28th of July. Sheis the most smily calm person I know. I love this woman. We did a blitz theother week and sorella forbes and I went and taught some awesome people, wewent to visit this member and her inactive sister came and by the end of thelesson we were all in tears. The gospel is so real! We are working with a fewinactive people right now and their progression is incredible, they areinactive for 7+ years but the spirit is working on their hearts and they arehumble. I am so proud of all the little steps they are taking to reactivation,they are such beautiful amazing peole. It is such a satisfaction helping ourbrothers and sisters who have lost the way feel again the love that HeavenlyFather has for them and feeling the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ givethem courage and faith to change their ways and overcome their weaknesses. OhhI am so proud of them. We had a beautiful lesson with our other bolivianfamily, they are in the thick of trials,and again by the end of the lesson we were ALL in tears. It has been a weekfull of tears!! We went to find this other less active family this week, andthe non member son was there! He was totally involved in the lesson, and whenwe invited him to prepare for baptism he nodded his head and said it issomething he needs to do. It was beautiful, the spirit was so strong. THENSUNDAY what in the world, longg (AMAZING) story short, this member whileworking found this older woman at the airport who had just arrived from Mexico and all her connections here in Bergamo just totally fellthrough, so she was just alone praying in the airport after her 14 hour flight.When the member found her, the first question this lady asked you knowof a Christian church in this city? So the member brings her to church, wetaugh her yesterday, and this lady..I don't even have words to describe her.SHE IS INCREDIBLE. ohh my I love her. She has the strongest faith in the world.I just love this woman, and am so excited to see her fall in love with the Bookof Mormon and receive her testimony. She has been through lots, and finally shehas found the truth. We are also teaching this 21 year old boy studying to be alawyer who believes everything we have taught him and has started reading thebook of mormon. He said if he gets his answer that this is all true that maybehe would even be willing to sacrifice a few years of his life and "do whatwe do." HA COOL.

whelp my comp’syelling at me to get off the computer. ha jk but it is time. I LOVE MY MISSION! and sorella bushand bergamo andall these people and especially the gospel and the church and my HeavenlyFather and Jesus Christ for giving me so many blessings.
sorella simkins

From: Laurel Simkins[]
Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 201212:36 AM
Subject: buon dì

Ciao cari

Another week come and gone. Crazy, time is fffflllyyinnngg by. Thisweek was pretty great!

Wed..a fairly normal P day...

Thursday, zone conference in Verona, we got home at 9 but our newinvestigators Deysi and Fatima wanted to have a lesson so we SPED on our bikesover to their apartment and taught them more about the BOM, it was a beautifullesson I LOVE these two!!!! They are both working all this week so we haven'tseen them again :( Work schedules are out of control here. Plus when theseforeigners work as nannys, all these rich Italian families go to the sea forvacation and just take their nannies with them ha so everyone is at the beachpretty much. Except us missionaries, we aren't at the beach thats for sure:)More important things to do.

Friday a new convert made us hamburgers, the first hamburger I haveeaten since the USI think?? But on the 4th of July we are going to have a big bbq with the seniorcouple and all the elders. Hamburgers and rootbeer floats, yayy.  Let'ssee...we taught some other lessons... then we went to teach Daniel, the son ofthe family who is inactive for 10 years that we found last sunday. Anyways wehad a great restoration lesson with him, and then after we stopped by hisparents house and the dad was home and let us in. He is such a great guy,sounds like he was just offended or something years ago. Anyways we had abeautiful lesson and after reading the scriptures together his eyes just lit upand he was like OOH how beautiful these words. It was really cool. God iscalling His children back. There is just so much more waiting for this family,sooo many blessings. I am hopeful.

Saturday taught our beautiful Bolivian family, they are making greatprogress I am sooo happy for them!!!!! AHh I love them. HAHA I just rememberwhat we did Saturday we had english class then family night with theward and TONS OF PEOPLE CAME because some people in our ward are involved withthis Folk Dancing comunity..anyways so this beautiful folk/celtic music wasplaying and everyone was dancing it was beautiful and the bishop INSISTED thatthe missionaries danced as well, literally he was like YOU MUST DANCE they wereall group or line dances and just different steps with your feet, so yeah, weall danced and had the times of our LIVES it was sooooooo fun I love that musicand dancing, we had sooo much fun. Ohh man I am laughing thinking about this oldguy that comes to english class and sometimes stays for FHE and he was tryingto get me to dance with him it was hilarious. It was a fun night that is forsure. Oh yeah we taught them cotton eyed joe hahaha and one of the members tooka video on his phone. So if you see a bunch of missionaries on facebook doingthe cotton eyed joe that might be us. They loved it hhahahah oh man Italiansare so funny.

SundaYY! The branch has been born! Ohh it was so great, there were onlylike 35ish people there counting us and the senior missionary couple. It'sTINY! But great at the same time, some of south americans, Italians, will be a great branch. The president is an awesome member wholoves rock and guitar and is a spiritual giant. He has some great things he isputting into action, this ward will be bursting in no time. Sunday we had lunchwith another one of our Bolivian investigator families, they are doing awesome,progressing way more than we ever expected. YAY!

This monday and tues were good..just working hard teaching lots in thisbeauitful city with my great companion.

Yay for the mission!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! out oftime.
sorella simkins

From: Laurel Simkins[]
Sent: Wednesday, April 25, 20122:21 AM
Subject: different city, samemiraculous work


ohh myyy GASH crazy THINGS!! 10 minutes to write. here I GO!

I am in BERGAMO.How is it possible that in my mission the cities just keep getting morebeautiful? Seriously though. Milan..awesomebig city, not that pretty, kinda smelly, Genova really unique cool city, Riminibeautiful on the seaside, then Bergamo, gorgeous city surrounded by minimountains, hilly, soo beautiful. The sky here! IT IS INCREDIBLE! The cloudsthat just pass by all day are breath taking; big fluffy; the mountains green and rolling, the streets small andcolorful and the GREEN GREEN GREEN everywhere and the air...MMMMMM I loveBergamo!!! The church is like a big beautiful chapel, there are 2 amazing wardshere, and the ACCENT IS HILARIOUS! Scotish accent is to English, as Bergamascoaccent is to Italian. It is hilarious I hope I can pick up this accent theremaining months of my mission. HEAVEN.

SORELLA WhitneyBUSH from Wisconsinis my companion..oh is dangerous, she is TOO great. She is reallySORELLA KIME because she looks just like a Kime, she even has beautiful red hair, sweetstyle like rachel kime, and her personality is a mix between Rachel kime andSunny my sister. I have never laughed as hard in my whole mission as I havethis last week. I am so happy my companion is Rachel Kime's 4th sister, I LOVEHER we are best friends already. AND she is only 3 months in the mission, herItalian is amazing, and she teaches sooo well she is just really natural andstrong. She runs, yay! Ahh things are too good.

MIRACLES are out of CONTROL. I am in shock. So it was reallyweird going from knowing everything and everyone in Rimini then coming here, don't know anythingor anyone so I was just working hard along side Sorella Bush and WOW. Longstory short, I will just run you through our first days together. First fullday together: went out to do finding in the park, found Maria and had abeautiful lesson. Then we went and taught a member, then she had to leave andwhen she was leaving her son was getting home who is not a member, so we askedhim if we could stay and have a lesson with him and he said sure! So we taught him therestoration and it was amazing and he said yes to baptism!! What the cool!!!!Then as we were walking down the steps to leave the palazzo a lady was hangingup her clothes so we started to talk to her and she let us in and we havealready taught her 2 more times! She is humble and awesome and has a beautifulfamily. Ha our lesson with her Monday was going amazing until her friend cameover and began proclaiming to us that we are not all children of God and allthis other intense evangeliststuff, but I home Sonia was able to feel the difference as the spirit in theroom totally changed. Speriamo bene. Then we went to the church to have alesson with a new convert and she brought her cousin so we taught her cousinthe restoration and she too said yes to baptism it was soo cool! And they bothstayed for a baptism that was happening in the other ward that evening. Thensaturday just got more incredible, we taught maria again who brought a friend,we taught some ex investigators who have now really been humbled and changed!They really listened and were concentrated and willing to learn!! Then we wentto go visit our ward mission leaders family because we were near by and hewasn't there but hisnon-member mother in law was there so she let us in and we taught her therestoration and she too said yes to a soft baptism invite, which will be thebiggest blessing ever for this family will finally see their mom baptized,eeek! then we went to go visit another lady in our ward and her friend wasthere so we taught her the restoration, and she too will be seeing us now andwas soooo happy to have had that lesson, we called her last night and she justthanked us over and over again, and it so happens that earlier that week thatmember had prayed for a way she could share the gospel with this friend, thenwe just showed up at the right time. Can you believe this? It is out ofcontrol, and that is only two days, the other two days are just as miraculous.For example after a lesson we had some time so made some goals before we didour street contacting and we took like two steps and I just took a short right into this drivewayand walked up the steps and knocked the door, without even thinking TWICE. Thiswomen opened the door, let us in, and we had a beeeaauutttiiifffuuull lesson.This lady is great, around 45, teaches german to middle schoolers, and she wasmaking appointments with us before we could even ask her for a returnappointment! AHHH!!!! So! This is the start to an incredilbe transfer! I praypray PRAY we can just keep working hard and be diligent yet flexible tools forthe Lord to shape and move and use to do His WORK. And I pray we will not laughso hard that we lose focus.

sorella simkins



Tuesday, June 26, 2012

May and June 2012 Letters

Sent: Wednesday, June 20, 20126:01 AM
Subject: buongiorno

HI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a BEAUTIFUL SUMMER DAY. This city has turned into a humid OVEN!Not hot like what Tyrell is going through, but still super hot, we are sweatymonsters. It is my companions birthday today YAY! This week has been SO GOOD Iam in love with these people, the gospel is changing lives, I am learning SOMUCH from my scripture reading/pondering it is changing me everyday, I go tobed at night just FULL OF PEACE and gratitude, we are teaching the most amazingpeople, our days are PACKED TO THE RIM. I come home EXHAUSTED every singlenight. We ride our bikes around this town like CRAZY PEOPLE. Ok let me give youthe update starting last week. Fast version.

Man I don't even know what to say! SO MUCH is happening!!! Tons ofmiracles, but mostly all just little miracles that are happening to everylittle individual in their progression! They are all doing so well! TheBolivian family is amazing and yesterday we got there and the mom wasn't therebut we saw the daughters friend just outside sitting there so we were like, doyou want to come in with us and listen to our message? And she goes sure! Soshe came with us and we taught the plan of salvation and she said the prayerand it was beautiful. We said how do you feel? She goes...Free. With a bigsmile on her face. Then we asked if anyone had any questions. And come not everyone knows that this is the true church? Ha she justasked it so innocently is it that not everyone knows this yet?And we explained missionary work and the miraculous growth of the church andstuff and she loved it.

In the park the other day we walked by some ladies and smiled at themand said hi, and they smiled and said hi, so we stopped and starting talking.And Carolina,this young beautiful bolivian mom was like oh I thought you were JWs, I amstudying with them! We introduced ourselved and explained who we are. She saidohh I know some people in your church! And we started talking a little bit. andshe is SOO CONFUSED with the doctrine that the jws are teaching her and what webelieve and we asked if we could meet with her to answer her questions and sheagreed so we went over there last night, WITh her member friend, and had themost beautiful spiritual lesson EVER. it was AMAZING. The member at the veryend was just completely bearing her testimony on the power of PRAY to ourHEAVENLY FATHER and going off and Carolinawas almost in tears. We said that it isnt a good idea to study with both of usat the same time (as in us and the jws) but to prayfully ask the Lord what todo and at the end of the lesson she is like WELL we will hear from you nextweek to set up another appointment! Bless her heart she is so great just soconfused and feels so spiritually lost. Lots of love and spirit were felt, Ihave hope for her and her beautiful family! Sunday the ward got divided intotwo wards and a branch. We will be covering the branch, it is just bergamo city center, andI am SUPER happy. We have church at 4 haha that will be crazy, but we are goingto bring the whole city to church and fill up the branch as soon as we can! Oneof our beautiful less actives family just came here from Bolivia! Wehave taught them two lessons in spanish, my spanish is pretty bad but we makeit work! The little one Ana is ten and will be preparing for baptism hopefullynext month! Yay! They are BEAUTIFUL! Man these little foreign children justSTEAL MY HEART! Oh remember a few weeks ago we met this lady nameddaisy on the street and she was just so happy and told us to come back whenver?we finally got time to go monday night and they are ELECT AS CAN BE! Her andher sister. We had a restoration lesson and they understood it ALL and were sosurprised they had never heard this story or about Jospeh of about the Book ofMormon and are excited to keep learning! They are from El Salvador.Yay!! yesterday was OUT OF CONTROL we had a million lessons. We taught this guyCarlos who owns a pizzashop and it was BURNING HOT but we taught him while hewas preparing the dough. Ha it was fun, he is a nice guy, a little skepticalbut it went well. Then we taught Justin a new convert and he brought his friendKasum, they are from burkina  faso and are GREAT! Justin has always beenawesome, but now we are teaching his friend. What a little missionary. Our goldenukranian Ivan got a 2 week job out of town :( sad, but we are hoping all willgo well and he will come back ready to learn more. Juliet is almost to baptism,but goes to Nigeriafor a month...hopefully august. ummmmmmmmm lots of good things are happening,that is all I can say. We do bike stops all the time it is hilarious, we havebeen wanting to work on just randomly stopping people on our bikes on the wayto lessons. We are huge dorks but we have had AMAZING experience, stoppingREALLY incredible elect people, like this woman and her daughter the other dayand the woman just a few month ago was able to fly her daughter overfrom...bolvia..and the daughter had been staying with her sisters family,whoare all member and the dad is a stake president, and the daughter is 7 and shetells us I WANT TO BE MORMON!!!! and the mom like laughed and said she has beentelling me this every since she got here! So we have an appointment with them.And this other random lady we stopped started talkin up a storm with us andshowing us all these pictures on her phone of her cousin who was a missionaryin ecuador.she isn't a member but we are seeing her again so we will see! It is miraculousthe things we are experiencing! I cool is it that almost everyone westop has relations to members!!! the church is growing for sure!!!!!!!!!!! wow.

I don't know what is happening..but I have just been in constant peacefor weeks now. I have always felt peace but not this is amazing. Mystudies have never been better. When they tell us to ponder the scriptures, itis because the BEST revelations come while pondering. Treasure up the words oflife. Treasure...what a good objective.While studying  humility the other day I read a scripture in DandC....12:8I believe..and it is a simple to do this work you need faith, hope, charily,etc....and to be temperate in all things, everything entrusted unto orsomething like that. Anyways my eyes just  stopped on the wordtemperate..and my curiousity sparked and I pondered temperance, and startedreading all I could find in the scriptures of temperance.. anyways it wasBEAUTIFUL! I never really knew what temperance meant! Ha I have read it amillion times but have never searched of pondered it. Anyways while ponderingit thoughout the day and looking for  different ways I could put it intopractice I felt so peaceful. I love 1 corinthians 9:25. Perfect. mmmmm selfmastery. Anyways those are my scattered thoughts for now, I just realized I amway out of time.

and I love the scriptures. and missionary work. and the gospel. and theplan of salvation. and Joseph smith and the restoration. and most of all JesusChrist and Heavenly Father. They all go together.

Don't forget to LOVE and be better people and serve God's children!

sorella simkins

Sent: Wednesday, June 13, 201212:03 AM
Subject: CIAO

I have about three minutes to tell you....that everything is goinggreat! We have had CRAZY storms this last week, I have never seen so muchlightening in my LIFE! And it is funny because then we go do finding and talkto people and so many are like...ahh all these natural disasters and storms aresigns of the end coming! yes! So then we keep talking and try to get anappointment and they are like OOOH NO no no no no, way too busy, no no no notinterested. Silly people. It is crazy though, one second we are soaking wet,next second we are dying of heat. Today is soo sunny beautiful, perfect for ahike in the mountains and learning to make delicious pizza with sorella Botta,bishops wife. YAY. As far as the work goes..miracles are continuing! Almost allthe people I wrote about last week are still progressing! Matthew is amazing,he is coming to institute and fhe now, Ivan found work after more than 6 monthswithout, we will now be seeing him saturdays and sundays which is alright, thebolivian family is sooo sweet and progressing, they didn't come to church buthopefully this sunday will be there, then we found another El Salvadorianfamily! yayyy! they are beautiful and we will be teaching them tomorrow night.SO! Things are good. Gotta keep working HARD HARD HARD and make every minutecount. I love you all and am so happy and thankful for all your support andprayers. Be good and have a fun summer!

sorella simkins

Sent: Wednesday, June 06, 201212:06 AM

(Longest email EVER)
Oooh my GASH I couldn't even sleep last night because I was sooverwhelmed/excited/in shock for all the INCREDIBLE things happening here. Plusso many people yesterday fed us sugar loaded treats and soda EEEK I just tossedand turned all night but I am SO HAPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPYYYYY. UUUUooo deep breath,this might just be one run on sentence but I gotta get everything in in littletime so here I go!

Ok starting last week..Thursday can't remember what happened, we justhappily worked while most all the other missionaries were in Milan changingcompanions or preparing to go home, Friday Guido the Anziani's investigator wasbaptized and this man is HILARIOUS just this older Italian dude, super funny,he is a little bit bigger and so is the brother that baptized him so when theycame out of the water they both slipped and it was kinda hilarious and Guidojust gets up and goes "ahh well what do you expect, we are some robustmen!" hahahahaha. Our investigator there watching with us was like uhh...haha but she liked it in the end, and the talks were really good, and Guidobore beautiful testimony. Baptizzms are the best. That evening I called thislady Gladys who we met AGES ago doing finding one rainy morning and that wholemorning I think we talked to a total of 3 people in random parts of the city itwas just blah but anyways we got this lady's number, and once in a while triedto call her but she never answered or said call back later but for some reasonwe held onto her number and Friday evening called her and she said look I amnot really interested, and my husband doesn't want you to come over. And I saidohh sad!! We have an amazing message about Jesus that will bless your lives!And she goes fine, come over tomorrow at 2:30 then hung up. HA what the? SoSaturday, we went out to her house rang the citof and she wasn't even home herdaughter is like naah she works all day! BOO. Oh well, so we go into herapartment building and wander around ringing doors for like 10 minutes thenwalk out because no one was having it. And right then, on this street that wenever find ourselves, a family walks by, and we try talking to them but theyare not interested but my companion pulls out a pamphlet anyways and theyaccept it and immediately after they passed this young black man comes up to usand says "are you handing out books, can I have one?" Of course! Wegive him a little shpill, his name is Matthew, he is from South Africa, speaksperfect english and french because he also lived in the Ivory Coast and he justbarley came to Italy 3 weeks ago. We get his number, and that was that. Therest of the day was fairly normal, we were fasting to find the elect and forthe elect to find us. Sunday was out of CONTROL. There were for SURE 38-45investigators in church between the two wards. One, because there was a babyblessing, but the church was packed. That afternoon we had some appointmentscanceled, prayed to know where to go find, and Matthews name came to mind so wecalled and set a place to meet him right away. HE IS SUPER ELECT. Like crazy.He is so smart and so faithful. He was telling us, "I know that when I putGod first in my life, he will provide for me He will show me the way He willtake care of me" he was just going off and we were eating it up smilingear to ear. We taught him the restoration and he was listening so carefully andknodding his head the whole time. Sometimes when they are so silent wewonder..are they really understanding this? We ask some questions he just goesyes yes continue continue. So we tell him about the Book of Mormon, to pray toknow etc, and he goes ok then says the prayer and just pleads asking God ifthis is His book and if Joseph Smith really was a prophet and repeats likeEVERYTHING we just taught him in his prayer asking if it is true. HAHA allright there on the steps in front of the library. We invited him to be baptizedthe 29th he said of course he will follow Christ and be baptized.WOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW. Monday CRAZY taught Samuel(he is doing great) had findingtime and we both immediately felt we needed to go do casa at the end of thisone area full of beautiful bright old apartments so we head there on our bikes,and first apartment, nothing, then we took a look around and I said hmm thosegreen ones are callin me lets go so we go over there first 3 stairs nothing,4th my comp rings, she says hi we are missionaries can we introduce ourselvesand he goes si! door opens, we go up and this young guy opens the door, sometatooes, super smily, he says come in, we say sorry can't no women at home,want to come outside and talk to us? he laughs and says wow you make me leavemy house, ok! and comes down the stairs. His name is Ivan 24 from Ukraineand oh my WORD. HE LOVES the Lord. So full of faith. Has the BIGGEST HEART.Seriously, even though we only were there with him for like a half hour I justcouldn't believe how great this guy is. He LOVED the restoration, and said heis going to pray and read the book of mormon everyday and he said he will bebaptized. WHAT THE? Then walking away from his palazzo I notice this youngsouth american woman walking down the street and think hmm we have got to talkto her, my comp was thinkin the saaaammmee thing so we rush over there and shejust smiles so big and says I am so interesting in hearing what you have tosay! Come over anytime after 7 I live right here! What! oh MY then YESTERDAYHAPPENED and God just put things over the TOP we went and taught Matthew theplan of Salvation.....his parents died years ago...oh man the lesson wasincredible. He is so amazing. Then we had finding time and Sorella Bush saidlets go to this one park thatwe had been to maybe once or twice. So we bike on over there and I thought, I need to stop someonewhile in my bike today. And then I saw this lady walking, did the awkward pullup right beside her Imma missionary thing and she happily made an appointment!HA crazy. Went to the park, and right away spot this lady and just b line it toher. We start talking and before we know it we are sitting around her, have aprayer said, and are teaching her precious truths of the restored church of God. I have never seen someoneunderstand soooo quickly. She would like beat us to all the next steps like"The church was lost after Christ died? Oh so God's going to call a newprophet to bring it back!" then after the first vision "OOohh I seeso God called Joseph to be the prophet and guided him to restore His church. Iget it." haha she is AWESOME her name is Marta she said she will bebaptized and when we followed with a date she goes...alrighty if I am ready!Then that afternoon we went and taught..remember that beautiful family we foundweeks ago right before we had to go home we did one last spin around the blockand there was this family eating gelato? anyways we haven't been able to set upan appointment the times we called, but the other day when we called she goesOHHH I just found out that my sisters good friend Julia is a member of yourchurch!! Come over come over! (MEMBERS ARE KEY!) so yes that afternoon we wentto teach them! THIS BEAUTIFUL FAMILY Mom Dad 3 daughters one son one son in lawand one little grandchild. They are just beautiful, bolivian, and totallyhumble and listened so careful and the member came with us and bore suchbeautiful testimony about her baptism and we invited them all and they saidwhen they know it is true they will be baptized and they are coming to churchon sunday. They have been really disappointed in whats going on in the Catholicchurch and years earlier she(the mamma) had a really bad experience with a JWso she was just relieved to hear the restoration and the daughter can't wait toread the book of mormon and the 11 year old daughter told us she really likesJoseph Smith's story.  Ahh beautiful things were happening that wholelesson. Then we finished off the day teaching two of my favorite new converts,swung by Ivan to give him a book of mormon in Ukrainian, when we rang the bellhe goes who is it? the sisters! Slam, we hear stomping on the stairs, and thedoor swings open and he is just smiling SOOO BIG HAHAHAHAHAHAH oh man. we givehim the bom and he just beams and hugs it. We are like..any questions you have?and he goes I will let you know thursday at 10:30 (that is when we had made ourreturn appointment) haaha oh my so cool. Whelp. I am just in shock. Crazymiracles are happening. All this, plus the wards are splitting into two wardsand a branch next week, and we will be in the branch. Heavenly Father isTOTALLY helping us find the elect and having the elect find us. Couldn't be happier,couldn't be more blessed. I love the Gospel it literally brings me to tears andmakes my heart hurt it is so full. In our last lesson yesterday I about lostit. I was just listening to this beautiful new convert Ana and I just had thissurreal moment of..oh my gosh..I am so blessed..I am sitting here listening andlearning from this beautiful south american woman who was just barleyconverted... just right here in her home...being edified by hertestimony..hearing her life stories and challenges...and teaching her abouteternal familes. This life cannot get any better, missionary work is theGREATEST, I testify. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Sorella Simkins

Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 201212:19 AM
Subject: update

Some great things to tell you about.
Number 1. I just want to tell you a little bit about my bed....It mightbe the very best thing about our apartment. I have never had better sleeps inmy LIFE on that bed. The second I lay down I am out COLD and when I wake up itfeels like I have been sleeping for years. There is something magical about it.And my back is getting better. Not that it was really bad, but all my missionpre-Bergamo life I would wake up in the morning twist and every single bone inmy back would pop and it sounded horrible but now my back barley pops anymore,so I am quite pleased. Beautiful Ikea matress..I wonder how I can take you homewith me.


You have three months to send me letters if you so desire.

Number 3: We got transfer calls last nightttt. I am staying in Bergamo with Sorella BushYAYYYYYY. We are happy and pumped to keep working together. This last week hasbeen pretty magical and our unity in teaching has really improved so I amthankful to continue on. Plus I love her to death and she cracks me up everysingle day and it is fun being companions with a best friend.

Our people: Our (serious) investigator pool seems to really have shrunkand our potential pool is enormous so we gots lots of work waiting for us.Silvia is doing really well she came to church on Sunday for the first time.Sunday was CRAZY, there were around 12 investigators total in church between usand the Anziani, it was fantastic. It is amaaazzinngg how God is guiding us itreally  seems unreal, like saturday I think we had like...2 actual lessonsplanned then the rest of the day made finding goals and we just walked out andwere divinely lead all day and put in the exact right spot at the exact righttime to teach tons of great people and run into many other people we knew andfor one reason or another really needed to see us that day. I love being amissionary. and I just know soo many miracles still await us. This work isliving and real and life changing. Oh yeah, our blitz in Verona was super great. Those sisters areamazing and Veronais beautiful!!!! The city center is really old and charming, little streets,lots of people, colorful palazzi, old churches and buildings. We saw Juliet's balcony thing. Hait was funny there was group of tourists being led by this tour guide and Iheard the tour guide say that this was the most romantic spot in all of Verona. There was nothingromantic about that spot, don't be deceived. But it was fun to see. One of theinvestigators of the sisters there gave my companion and I sweaters from theirpizza shop I was stoked they are beautiful.

Whelp I am outta time sorry for the little update but things are goingreally well and there is soo much work to do. I am happy healthy and thankful.LOVE YOU ALL!

Sorella Simkins

Sent: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 6:40AM

Ciao frens and fam
HAPPY WEDNESDAY. It is BEAUTIFUL outside. What a beautiful spring. I amhappy. I am in a beautiful city in Italy, with an awesome companionthat makes me laugh every single day because she is hilarious and great, withfortissimi members, and TONS OF children of God ready for the blessing of thegospel. What could be better. After our long work day yesterday we stopped by alittle pizza place, and happily rode home on our ancient bikes, in our skirtsof course, helmets on our heads, and pizza boxes in hand. The sun was settingand we were just gleefully cruising along. I just was captured in one ofthose..I AM IN ITALYmoments and couldn't be happier. AHHHH io amo questa vita.

THIS WEEK! bellissima. Thursday  Samuel was baptized and it wasjust beautiful. I will never forget it the face of his mother as she walkedinto the church doors to see her son dressed in white. The tears that streameddown her face as she hugged him...tears of pure joy after years and years ofher suffering for the lifestyle he was living. How he bear hugged FratelloFicchiera after coming out of the water.The beautiful sincere testimony he borethat was carried by the Holy Ghost into everyones heart. HE GLOWS. He is a newperson. Yesterday we went to teach him and he rode up on his bike after a longshift at work and he just had a smile ear to ear. He has transformed, he looksSO GOOD, he really was glowing. He is incredible. The confirmation was just as spiritual, his mom boreher testimony in church, and everyone was so happy. BEAUTIFUL MIRACLES! Othermiracles have happened this week, we are working and are happy. Tomorrow we aregoing to Verona for a conference and then willbe doing a blitz with the sisters there yayyy I will be in verona for 2 days! But thats nothing likewhat Elder Fife is doing down south, Brazil AND Peru all in the same day? He iscrazy, that is sooo cool!!!!!!! Missionaries are too blessed. Well, I am pumpedto work soo hard these last few months. I want to make every. single. moment.COUNT. I have to double time my learning and changing and working. I am excitedto live the miracles that God has in store these last few transfers.

LOVE YOU ALL! BE GOOD! Please give me any advice for the final stretchof my race!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

sorella simkins

Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 201212:15 AM

Ciao yall
So many great things happened this week. I am feeling very content.

I will start from last Pday, which was nuts, but we got our bikes fixedthen we went to an all you can eat DELICIOUS pizza place with some youth fromthe church. I tried a pizza that tasted like christmas. Then we saw one ofthese youth open her mission call! She is going to Toronto, Canada!!Soo cool, she might be the first or one of the few Italian sister missionariesto serve in Canada!!!She is fantastic I am excited for her. Then she came and taught a few lessonswith us that went amazing! We are teaching this guy named Paolo from Brazil who themissionaries taught 2 years ago. He knows his bible and the words of Christ,you would think he is the most golden investigator ever but obviously there aresome things that we haven't figured out yet as to what is blocking him. Soonenough, for now we have taught a few lessons with him and he really is a greatguy. With a big ol brazilian family. Speriamo bene. Then we got home and it wasstill like 10 minutes until 9 so we took a spin around the block to use up allour working time .. and God ALWAYS BLESSES LAST MINUTE EFFORTS. ALWAYSalways always it is amazing. We found this beautiful family on the bench nearthe bus stop eating gelato and we approuched them and had the best lesson ever,the spirit was sooo strong and this mom and her 3 daughters were just brighteyed and happy and wanted to learn more. We will be teaching them again thisweek, I am super excited, they are an amazing family.

Thursday, normal day, Friday......BROOKE FOSTER CAME TO BERGAMO! ahhhhahaha itwas amazing to see her. We met her at the station, talked for like minutes thenwe had to run off to appointments so we left her to wander around thisbeautiful city for herself, then met up later and she taught a lesson with uswith beautiful Silvia who is doing amazing and making great progress. Brooke'slittle english testimony really stuck with Silvia though, it was perfect, andit was such a cool experience to teach with one of my best friends!! Sooo cool.We then had a lovely fast dinner, and all too soon she was off. But it wasperfect, a great little visit, and a good experience for all of us. She alsotold me some great updates, I can't believe how many of you are now MARRIED butI am happy that is how it should be. Saturday we found Pablo, the cutest littleBolivian guy ever. Haaa he is soooo funny he looks like just pedro fromNapolean Dynamite and acts just like him too he is so funny. But he is greatand open so we will see where this goes, it was our first lesson and he didn'tsay much but was listening carefully. Then later that day I saw MILCA my bestfriend from Milano it was beautiful. And we taught some sweet people in thepark, one of  which is a Muslem but she is starting to believe in Christand wants to learn more and Him and was overjoyed when we gave her a book ofmormon.

Sunday HAPPY MOTHERS DAY to all you lovely amazing mothers. Talking tomy BEAUTIFUL beautiful Mother was a delight, I love her so much she is anamazing woman and a huge example to me!!! I also got to see my wittle brotherand father and new puppy and after talking to our families we found some coolpeople doing street contacting and Samuel who is being baptized passed by onhis bike and stopped and told us this amazing experience he had the nightbefore that he had a vision and saw himself being baptized it was crazy butawesome, he is an incredible guy, I can't wait for his baptism tomorrow!! He ismaybe the most ready person I have ever taught on my mission.

Monday and Tuesday were PACKED with lessons, all very good, we are sohappy and soo blessed, the miracles are out of control. To end, since thisemail is a million words long, I will tell you some great lessons I learnedyesterday. We took Sorella Botta with us to see another member, and SorellaBotta is the bishops wife and she is just one of those super woman amazingpeople that I feel extremely blessed to have been able to know. She is areturned missionary, mother to 7 boys, 2 of which are on missions, one alreadyback and married, and this family is justttt incredible. Humble. Awesome.Strong. etc. And I was just,Sorella, tell me allyour secrets, how do you raise 7 all star boys? And she just said, "All ittakes is a great husband that loves his wife." I loved that response. So we went and taughtthis family and it was a disaster, all they did was complain for 2 hoursstraight about how the church is different here in Italy than it is in SouthAmerica and it just broke my heart, not because the church is different here,but because we saw right before our eyes the dangers of being judgmental andhow hard these members hearts were getting, it was such a bad spirit. But ittaught me a huge lesson. Just like sooo many talks from the last generalconference said, STOP JUDGING, and be converted to the GOSPEL not just tochurch activity or its members. The BEAUTY of the church is the fact that allit's members are IMPERFECT, that is how it works, that is what it is MADE FOR,so get over it. The teachings of Christ are BEAUTIFUL. He truly is the MasterTeacher, His words are ETERNAL and they bring us PURE JOY. We are Hisdisciples, and by living His words, are striving to become more like Him. Weare all different and at ALL different levels, but that is exacly how it shouldbe so we can all help each other and LEARN from each other- learn from eachothers strengths AND each others weaknesses. It is the perfect plan of theFather. OHHHH my brothas and sisters, I LOVE Christ and His gospel, and Ireally doo love theChurch. It is perfect in it's imperfections.

LOVE YOU ALL! Hope you are all doing great and are excited for summertime. Thanks for the love prayers and support.

Sorella Simkins

Sent: Wednesday, May 09, 201212:13 AM
Subject: hiiiii

Guess what! We decided we should have bikes instead ofgetting a bus pass, and some members gave us these SWEET old old little Italiangirl cruiser bikes and they are soo sweet. I am excited to be on a bike again!!Especially for the summa time. Right now it has been off and on rain, sun,rain, sun, but when it is sunny it is warm. Nothing like what Elder Fife isgoing through, HOLY COW 100 to 105 I can't even imagine, poverino! But we arehaving a blast and things are soo good.

I will go backwards through my week.  Yesterday we had7 lessons planned and 5 of them fell through it was crazy so we had lots offinding time and we found some amazing people. one of these people isJosè. We went to the park and up ahead we spot this younger man reading onthe bench. As we are approaching him I am thinking in my head..."God hasprepared this guy. We have no idea what kind of past he has had, I am sure hehas had some important experiences that have prepared him for this moment of usmeeting him and teaching him the gospel. He is going to find a testimony and bebaptized." I was just envisioning all this, because we never have any ideahow God has already prepared these people, but we can trust that He has! So wegot to him, opened our mouths, and the spirit carried on the conversation. Itflowed beautifully, testimony was born, questions asked, inspired responses given. He told us a storyabout his faithful father that always finds comfort from the bible. We readfrom the book of mormon, he said he felt the peace and tranquilita. At the endmy companion said the prayer and when we looked up he was smiling ear to ear,the happiest smile ever. I asked how he felt and he just says GOOD, I LIKED ITSO MUCH! We have a return appointment, where we will give him his own copy ofthe book of mormon and keep teaching him. COOL HUH!!! He is going to be a greatpriesthood holder someday. We also found Francisca, a BEAUTIFUL young womanfrom Ghana,oh my she is soo great and so humble and just gorgeous. She was just waiting atthe bus stop and we started talking to her and she is golden. I can't wait tosee her again TONIGHT!! EEEEK!  We also had a lesson with Samuel yesterdayand he is soooooooo amazing, so ready for his baptism NEXT WEEK! We taughttithing, and he bore testimony to us why he knows this law is true. hahaha!!!Man after 4 years of the missionaries trying to teach him, all a sudden 3 weeksago he was ready. How does that happen? SO cool. Silvia our other investigatorpreparing for baptism is also amazing. Ohh I love her so much and she cracks meup hahahahahaha ohh man. But really, she is great, and has such a burningdesire to change and live a Christ-like life and be an example to all girlsjust like her. The world neeedddsss the gospel so bad!!!  Sunday was rough,not because we had no one to teach, but all the people we taught just unloadedall their horrible problems they are going through on us.  Bless theirHEARTS. I can't believe the evil in the world, I just feel so much for thesepeople, but in all those lessons I felt SO STRONGLY the personal love ofHeavenly Father for each of these people. Soo strongly. By the end of the nightmy comp and I were just walking home and feeling like sick because all thethings we had heard that day, I got home, prayed so hard to have peace in myheart and lots and lots of hope..and thanks to the atonement I was just overwhelmed withpeace and happiness. That is the joy of the gospel right there, the atonementworking instantly in my life, burdensinstantly being lightened. I know it will be the same for these people fightingthese battles as well. Ooohh man I am happy. Being a missionary is the best. Bergamo is beautiful. Mycompanion is awesome. I love these people. Hope you are all doing well andbeing good and living the gospel,becoming more like Christ every single day. Happy Mothers day Sunday to all youMothers!!! You are amazing!!!!

sorella simkins

Sent: Wednesday, May 02, 2012 5:41AM
Subject: 15 months today

May 2nd...eeekkyikkeeessies....

HI! ahh I am happy! All is well in Italy land. My companion is my bestfriend, the city is beautiful and blooming, and the work is miraculous. whatcould be better. Quick update since I only have 6 more minutes:

Samuel is getting baptized May 17th! He is amazing he has had the mostincredible responses to his prayers it is out of control. It is because he hassuch strong real intent and his heart is just wide open receiving loads ofspirit. He is determined to change his life around. All on his own 3 months agohe made the decision he had to stop drinking alcohol and get a grip on hislife. Yesterday when we taught the word of wisdom he was pretty much teachingus. He asked what lesson are you going to teach next time? And we said law ofchastity. And he said great I will start studying up before next time. Ha he isawesome maybe a future missionary, vediamo!

We started teaching Evalyn from Peru! She is great and always soconcentrated. She lives in a way sketchy apartment though and the spirit thereis not a good one so we gotta start teaching her at the church or my time is already up!! eek sorry.

all is well. beauty is slowly getting stronger and happier! our youngnew converts are amazing! we had a way sweet experience sunday where we prayedand were lead right to a new family in the park and the mom totally opened upto us and started bawling and telling us this is just what she needs.

love you love the mission love the gospel!

sorella simkins

ps I really like this phrase I found in pmg about virtue: I do what Isay I will do. That is my motto for the transfer.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

February and March updates from Italy!

Feb 1, 2012

NO TIME.Very sad because I have a whole week of incredible
things that are happening to tell you. I
am in RIMINI.
IT IS BEAUTIFUL. This is a side of Italy I have never SEEN the city is
soo pretty, fairly modern, hills, houses, NO HUGE APARTMENTS, normal size
streets, it is gorgeous. and WOW, it is FREEZING! SOOO cold. All of Italy for the next 10-15 days will be real cold,
some winds from russia
or something. Anywho. It is beautiful. WE ARE ON BIKES. and I couldn't be
happier riding my junkie boy bike around town. Riding a bike is so ideal.
Definitely the fastest mode of travel. And it is just plain GOOD FOR THE SOUL!
Gets the blood pumpin, rises your spirits instantly, SOO good, so nice. We look
ridiculous with our helmets and hoods over our helmets because it is freezing,
but I feel like a true warrior haha. SORELLA ARUME is an ALL STAR. She is so
great, works so hard, is such a good missionary, and is from my favorite island
in the world- Kauai. Couldn't be happier, we
are so blessed to be working together, its like having my best friend by my
side. We are in a branch that is I N C R E D I B L E. The members are SUPER
FORTE soo strong, strongest ever. I don't get how the wards just keep getting
better and better. They are so strong, so tight, and READY TO GROW. We are
getting referrals all over the place, we are in heaven. Plus they treat us like
queens because it has been 15 years since sorelle were here haha AHH I LOVE
THEM!!! WE HAVE WORK TO DO!!! we are teaching amazing people that the Lord has
lead us to, and a few the anziani left us with. We have a billion we still need
to contact and teach. we are determined to find the elect and baptize many. GOD
IS LEADING US, I have no doubt. I just pray I have the faith to see the
miracles come to pass that God has prepared us with. OK THATS ALL I HAVE TIME
FOR I AM SORRY I want to tell you so muchmore.Honestly we are so busy I havn't
even had a minute to think about the world this last week. THAT IS WHAT I HAVE
BEEN PRAYING FOR. I am losing myself in the work of the Lord, and it is the
best. I LOVE YOU

sorella simkins

Feb 8, 2012

So much SNOW. It is crazy. This week has been a strange one
that is forSURE! It just started dumping and snowed for like 5 days straight!!
Since halfour members live in like the mountains surrounding this city, lots
were closedin for days! These Italians don't know how to handle snow, it's
hilarious! Butneither does my comp since this is her first time in snow! haha
it is so cuteshe is so awesome. We just went out and kept working, frozen wet
feet andfaces, people felt bad for us but not bad enough to let us in hahaha.
We try.But many miracles did come to! oh MAN she is the
COOLEST Ican't believe we only had our first lesson with her last week. So a
member lastweek called us and said I have a referral for you, call her up. We
did andimmediately set an appointment. SHE IS out of control. So cool. 25 years
old, aphysical therapist, oneof her best friends growing up was a member and
always tried to get her tolisten to missionariesbut she never would but she has
always been curious. After lots of lifeexperiences, travels, heart breaks,
successes, she has been totally prepararedand the timing couldn't be more
perfect. So we had an awesome first lesson,then an even better second lesson
the next day, then Sunday church was cancelledbecause all the members were
snowed in, but there was a baptism that afternoonof our branch presidents son,
so we took claudia to that and the whole time shewas just like..are you
feel this emotional I can't even immagine how the littleboy feels! She just
kept going on and on saying these things to me haha I wasjust LAUGHING of joy
it was SO AWESOME. The baptism was really amazing though,their family from southern
Italyall came, the talks and testimonies were so spiritual and inspired, the
ordinance was BEAUTIFUL, they don'thave a font, just a...portable one haha. it
was awesome though and the spiritwas suuuppperr strong, everyone in that little
room could feel it. After wetaught Claudia the plan of salvation. After we read
a bunch from 2 Nephi 2together..she looks up at us and says "..Do people
READ THIS BOOK??"I just started SMILING SO BIG, and said I KNOW, RIGHT???
SHE WAS JUST in TOTALSHOCK. Like COMPLETE shock. She just couldn't believe that
God's plan was soclearly written in this little chapter, and that the whole
world is confused,when it is ALL RIGHT THERE. She's like DUH!!! IT IS SO SIMPLE
and so clear!!The whole truth about Adam and Even just BLEW her out of the
water, she wasjust on the floor in shock, I was just LOVING life spazing out
with her becauseit is SO TRUE. it is so simple and so clear, the book of mormon
is so amazing,how is it even POSSIBLE that people don't read it? Anyways she
just LOVED theplan of salvation. She is like..this makes so much sense. It is
so logical. Itis so TRUE!Anddddd...of course, she set her baptism date for
March 3rd. She is sooooamazing. MAN I LOVE HER! She just gets it. I KNOW God
has children OVERLYprepared to receive the gospel, and Claudia is ONE OF THEM!
We still have LOTSto find though, at least 399 according to Elder Causse :). Oh
yeah, and youknow what Claudia's biggest concern is? How can I get my family
ready to followthe gospel as well? That is all she desires, just like Lehi
after he eats thefruit, the VERY first thing he desires is for his family to
come and eat it to.It happened JUST LIKE THAT. Right as Claudia is tasting this
delicious fruither FIRST thought, WAIT I need my family here toooo!!! Our lesson
with heryesterday she asked us to bring extra copies of the Book of Mormon to
give toher friends. ooohh MANsoo coool. She is so cool.

All this with Claudia, and all my companions prayers and
seeking forrevelation on how to get the members totally PUMPED to do missionary
work, hasmade me realize several thing. I know, I am a missionary, so what I'm
about tosay you might just smile and say oooh you missionary, but I am
serious.MISSIONARY WORK IS SO IMPORTANT. It is so KEY. Is it any coincidence
thatalmost all the members of the church are from the tribe of Ephraim? Is it
anycoincidence that all the Book of Mormon is about missionaries and
missionarywork? Missionary work needs to become a LIFESTYLE, we all need to be
foreverFINDING our brothers and sisters!! How is it that something SO precious
to us,something that makes the base of our very living, the center of our
LIVES, issomething that we are not sharing daily? Whether it be our example,
service,testimony, actions, anything, we need to share the gospel! Anyways I am
out oftime. I love you all. And I know we are all living way under our
potential. Ibelieve that if we put missionary work at a higher priority in our
life, a LOT of our problems would disappear. I am sure ofit.

I love you!

Sorella Simkins

Sent: Wednesday, February 15, 20126:41 AM
Subject: ciaoo

Buon Dì!
Lots too write, but it is freeezing freezing cold in this
internetpoint and I can't feel my fingures which makes me not think very
straightsoo... this letter might just be me rambling for a bit. Try to
Claudia is a ROCK STAR we taught her the word of wisdom
yesterday andafter she just goes. I know that this is true. I will follow this.
But what amI supposed to drink other than white wine with a fish dinner!? Ha
she really isawesome. She lived vegan for 4 years so heck, I think she can do
anything. Sheis such a miracle, because the work has been pretty crazy and
unpredictablewith all this snow and cold weather! Some cities got over 6 feet!!
So to haveher close by, golden as can be, has been such a blessing. But the
miraclesdon't stop there! Hugemiracle
the other afternoon. We had plans in the morning to go contact thesetwo people
that we had passed doing casa a few weeks ago. My companion felt weshould go
pass them in the afternoon, so we did other finding in the morning,and went to
pass by the others after lunch. While trying to remember whichhouse it was,
another house caught my attention and it was as if a tiny sparkwent off in my
head and I just said wow..that house is really cool looking.Huh. And then we
kept trying to look for the other house. We found it, knocked,and the woman
wasn't interested after all and the other dude(who we had alesson with the
other we rang his door bell, he lets us in, and hishouse is just SUPER
NICE and he is in a suit and just really professional wewere
like..huh..weird..we had a good lesson with him and were on our way. Cometo find
out (from his naighboors and other people) he is one of the top lawyersin the
city, very famous..haha hope we can keep teaching him, he was reallynice.
anyways) So we passed by him he was busy, so we headed down the street,stopped
and looked at each other.... Ok what do we do now? Where should wego.... We
asked each other. I said, "Well, I saw a cool house back there,lets go
knock." So we went back to the cool house, rang, were greated bythis Lady
who let us in. She was on the phone so she continued to talk on thephone for 10
minutes and we just waited. Then after she sat us down and we saidhi and before
we could even tell her who we were she just starts crying andtelling us how she
just found out a few days ago that her husband of 24 yearsis cheating on her.
We had a way spiritual discussion on her value in the eyesof God and how she is
His daughter, and how much He loves her and is listeningto her prayer. She just
cried and said she hasn't felt this good in days. Wetold her how we literally
were guided back here to her house by the spirit andshe just cried saying she
is so happy to have us and to learn from us. Shecan't wait to be healed by
Jesus Christ and His gospel, and we are going toteach her how!!! YAY!! We saw
Olivia from Ughanda today, MAN you would NEVERBELIEVE HER STORY, IT IS OUT OF
CONTROl! Out of control. She is from a littletribe. And like when she was 4,
her mother told her her real dad died. And theDad she had been growing up with
her whole life is really her step dad. And herstep dad started getting involved
with some freaky religious group. And lastyear tried to kill her as a
sacrifice. So her mom helped her escape, and told herthat her real dad really
is alive somewhere. And helped her flee to Italy. And thefirst thing she did
here was find the church because she rememberedmissionaries in her country and
her half brother is a member somewher inUghanda. Anyways teaching her we gotta
start from square one, but she isamazing and has such a strong spirit and we
LOVE her. Gosh she is sooincredible she's been through crazy things.

is cold right now but it is sunny and beautiful and thesnow is melting! I am
muddy because my bike doesn't have mud guards. Andwearing flowing skirts is not
a good idea on a bike in the cold with mud flying everywhere andslippery
streets. eek. IT IS SO WEIRD HERE...these catholic Italians...ACTUALLYBELIEVE
IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH! HA seriously I am like shocked this is totallynew for
me, in EVERY other cities nooo one believes in the catholic church,they said they
were only filled with old old people, but here people areactually really
believing. I gotta figure out how to best help these people seethe truth, it's
a whole new ball game!!

I learned some really cool thingsin my bom reading this
week, alma43 or something I think just learning more about the resurrection.
ahh I amoutta time. But, we really need to do all we can to change and better
ourselvesbecause we are going to get resurrected to whatever we are in the end,
and howloving is God that He fills our lives with opportunities and experiences
andtrials that make us grow and change and improve so in the end we can be
betterpeople. that is a tiny little summary of my thoughts but its all I have

happy valentines day yesterday!
sorella simkins

Sent: Wednesday, February 22, 20124:47 AM
Subject: forza


So I will start with an embarrassing story. Sunday I decided
to wearthese sweet boots I bought at the first of winter, even though I
completelywore them out in Genova and both the heels are kinda separating. But,
I'venever been one to care too much about my clothes, and on a mission it even
getsworse. HA bad move. After church our branch president and his wife (who are
theSWEETEST couple ever) called my comp and I in to his office, and was like,
whatare you doing wed morning? uh...that is our p-day we'll be doing email
andsuch, he is like. Sorella Ilaria will be picking you up in the morning to
takeyou shopping. You both need new shoes. This is our present to you from
thebranch. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH how EMBARRASSING I was like ooh my I promise
youdon't have to get us boots, we are completely capable of getting
ourselvesshoes. But nope! Ilaria came and picked us up this morning, and
sorella arumeand I both have some sweeeeett new boots! hahahaha. Che vergogna.
Oh well,gotta love Italy!!

All is going well. Sun is out, snow still melting, we are
working hard.Sunday was miraculous. So these random 3 people showed up at
church. They werehere in Riminifor a work conference, and one was a member. So
this member brought his 2colleges to all three hours of church with him. HOW
COOL IS HE. That seems likeno biggie, but seriously, what a good example, he
could have EASILY blown offchurch, but instead he came AND brought 2 colleges.
They were just two veryordinary women, mothers, etc. In the first hour they
were just confused inrelief society. Second, we taught the restorarion in
gospel principles and theywere just soo curious and just asking all sorts of
questions, it was suuucch agood class the members helped sooo much, but at the
end they were just bothwayy skeptical about modern day prophets and tutto. Then
sacrament meeting wasfast and testimony meeting. POWERFUL. Such a strong
spirit, such incredibletestimonies. I felt like I had to bear my testimony so I
got up there andlooked at the congregation and these two ladies were just in
TEARS! Literallycrying. The spirit had touched both of their hearts, tears
tears tears. I boremy testimony, sat down. Our investigator claudia, by the
way, AH so amazing justeating up EVERY single word, LOVING life loving the
spirit. After church thetwo women just came and hugged me they just really were
in shock, theyabsultely lovveeedd church and were totally moved. SOO COOL HOW
THE SPIRITCHANGES PEOPLES HEARTS!! It is just amazing!!!!! AHH I love this
church!! Thenthe rest of the day God just spoiled me because it was my birthday
with lots oflessons, and even a DELICOUS hazelnut cake at the end of the day. I
don't knowwhat it is about rimini,but
I have never met so many cooks in my life! Like professional CHEFS. Ourbranch
pres, several members, and now our new investigator is a well knownchef. We are
eating some good food. Hmm what else. Lots of funny experiencedoing casa this
week. I loved your email Hermana Kime because I feel the sameway, these weeks
in particular, it is just NUTS how many believing catholics wehave met. This
week this guy when we asked if we could make an appointment hewas like OOOHH
you better not come over, I will have you converted to my religionin seconds.
HA I was like sweet let us come over! No, no no..I don't want toruin such
innocent little minds like yours with the truth of this world. Ohwell. This
city is so different for me. I am so used to being on a bus or metroall the
time making appointments with people left and right. Here it is verydifferent
but we are figuring it out, and being blessed along the way. I'vebeen pondering
what we talked about at training last week. They showing thisreally beautiful
picture of a boy sitting on a bench, modern day, and Jesus sitting across from
him. It is a powerful picture. I just picturedmyself in both positions. I am in
the position of the boy always, living off ofthe worlds of Christ, always
searching His counsel, guidance, love and care.But as a missionary I have to
take the spot as Jesus, a role impossible to fillbut my calling for a year and
a half. What would Jesus say to that boy? Whatwould Jesus tell each individual
we talk to daily? He loves these people somuch. He has just the thing that will
heal them, purify them, uplift them,LIBERATE them... and that thing is His
gospel. I think Jesus Christ would haveshared the Book of Mormon with that boy.
Jesus can't sit on that bench forever,but the Book of Mormon can stay in that
boys hands forever. How blessed we areto have the Book of Mormon. What a
precious book.

I am thankful for the gospel of Jesus Christ in my life. I
know it istrue. I love it, I strive to live it, and am doing my best to share

thank you for your prayer and support, I really do love you!

Sorella Simkins

Sent: Wednesday, February 29, 20127:23 AM
Subject: ciao tuttti


Let me tell you about my beautiful PDAY today.
We woke up nice and early. Jumped on the bikes. Headed to
thebeach...and ran in the sand for over an hour, under a BEAUTIFUL sunrise! AHH
mysoul. It was glorious. Then we just took our time, did our shopping,
cleanedour house, did our mission life REALLY is the best life
there is.the BEST!!!! I am in heaven.

And this week has been miraculous! We have baptism dates for
Marlon andAlan these AWESOME boys who are so stinkin smart and way cool. In
Genova Godblessed us to be able to fill up the YW, here we're fillin up the
YMens. Fridaywe had an exchange that changed the tone of this whole transfer!
It was SOOOgood, I exchanged with Sorella Laratro a super awesome Italian
sister fromPuglia and she just tore up the town, she is super bold and super
passionate,infact our first lesson together for a split second I was
shepretending because she was teaching so dramatically, but then you just
feelthis SPIRIT that radiates from her. All our lessons were super powerful and
Ilearned SOO much from her. The exchange was very inspired, it helped my
compand I a lot. Plus we saw tons of miracles, we taught 5 less active families
whoare all incredible and found 2 new investigators. Saturday we found this
waaayysweet lady from Madagascarwho is super faithful and almost cried when we
gave her the Book of Mormonbecause she has been wanting more word of God for
such a lot time. Church wasamazing, I swear every single lesson and talk was
all prepared personally forour investigator Claudia. It was like EVERY single
word was just for her, justfor her needs. She was just eating it up. She is
soooo ready, so awesome, butwon't be baptized this saturday on her date because
she is determined to haveher parents come and they FREAKED OUT when she told
them. It went very bad. Sowe are in a sticky situation, not wanted to push her
but help her understandthe importance and how this will bless her family. But
we're just praying andtrusting that she will get her response on the date. Sooo
all these srilankians just erupted in a fight in this internet cafe it just got
realllllyyyscary in here. EEEK bad spirit. haha oh man. Last night was transfer
calls! Iam staying here with Sorella Arume. We already felt it, we are super
happy. Thework is REALLY picking up, the potential is just BURSTING at the
seems, we'llbe seeing fruits in NO TIME.

In my BOM reading I am to the end of Alma and I just gotta tell you how emotionalI
get reading these war stories hahaha! About the stripling warriars and justthe
LOVE Helaman has for them and Moroniand especially the Lord. Other than being a
great story, the things we canLEARN by really applying them to our own is just SO super inspiring.We can find the answer to ANY of our problems in these chapters. I mean,after
all, we are all in war every day with the adversario. Sometimes I will
bereading and it will just hit me so hard WOW these stories are REAL this
allreally happened yeaarrssss ago, and I just get so excited because
thescriptures are soo good. WE ARE SO BLESSED! Whelp all our other
investigatorsare doing very well. Pray hard for claudia. I will attach some

I don't remember if I already sent you pictures of Keyla and
Rosa and their baptism, so I put those on, and
the othersare of the snow and our morning jogs in this beautiful cityyyyY!! And
one whereI went rock climbing.baaaa jk. While I am waiting for these to upload
some funfacts. The owner of this internet cafe is from sri lanka and
he looks JUST LIKEone of my friends from home. ha its weird. OPE done here they

Sorella Simkins

Sent: Wednesday, March 07, 20124:55 AM
Subject: ohhPEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


That is what I feel like EVERYDAY just like screaming! and
98% of thetime it is because of JOY. I have to get right to miracles because
they aremind blowing. Actually one thing before miracles.....ROMINA POWER..OH
MY GASHeveryDAY someone tells me I look exactly like young Romina Power. I don'teven know what she looks like but
seriously every other day this last week anew person told me I look like Romina
Power. Bo. Anywho MIRACLES.

YESS! The onethat lived in Genova then moved to Riminiand then moved back and
we taught her then because of some sad situations losther..well we were just
cruisin through centro on our bikes and I see her and Ijust jumped off my bike
and hugged her. She moved back here to find work!!! What a MIRACLE!! OOhh man
Ilove this woman, PRAY for her pray pray pray. She is so awesome, she read
thebook of mormon in a WEEK but is scared. I'm excited to see the rest of thismiracle
unravel with her though, she is so special.

We were riding home on our bikes from an appointment and out
of nowhere it felt like something hit my on my leg. I braked, pulled over to
look around. And we pulled over right in frontof a fruit stand so I just
thought hmm maybe this is a sign so I startedtalking to the owner. She is this
young mom really nice from Cuba
and is nowour investigator. COOL!

We are currently teaching three woman who are store owners.
I don'tknow how this happened ha but they are all awesome 2 are progressing.
Let mejust tell you real fast our
investigators we have a Brazil,
Cuba,Madagascar, Ughanda,
Ukraine, Ecuador, Nigeria, and lots of ITALIAN.
HAHAHA I'min the coolest mission in the world HUH! They are all so great, Noeline
fromMadagascar was just blown away by the Joseph Smith story and his testimony,
sheis praying for a date, Oliva from Ughanda has had 2 revelatory dreams about
thebook of mormon and did I tell you before we even finished teaching the
wholeplan of salvation she had a dream of her dead sister who told her she
wants togo to the celestial kingdom. Oliva is like..I don't understant these
dreams.SHE doesn't even understand these DREAMS but my companion and I were
justsqueaaaling of amazement almost bursting to tell her but gotta go calm
andcollected and speak broken pigeon english so she can understand haaa OH MAN

Our ward mission leader is the BOMB he is out of control,
got calledright before we got here so he is just fresh fired up and pumped to
do work. Heinvited his friend to church who we are now teaching and who is OUT
OF CONTROL just GOLDEN ready toget baptized we were like WHAT where were you
hiding this guy!!! He is soooawesome and understands everything and in his
prayer last night he is likeFather please lead these sisters to find more of
your children so they canexplain to them your real plan so they can know too.
We just started teachinghim last week and he is like I have been happy all week
and I don't even knowwhy. I'm even singing in the car and I just don't know
why! ahhhhh the GOSPELchanges people I know you hear that everyday but it is so
true!!! IT CHANGESPEOPLE. changes them. it blows my mind everytime. the way
they think. react.pray. respond. EVERYTHING it changes people into BETTER
PEOPLE like magicpower, share it share it share it!!!

OH MY I am out of
time and I have 100000 more miracles to go!Luisa! our first lesson she asked US
who is super funny we said CIAO to herlike to everyone and she is like who are
you? we said missionaries and told her we have amessage for her and she said ok
lets go to that cafè so you can tell me thismessage so she bought us some juice
and we taught her the restoration and sheis PUMPED. SO COOL.

OK BASTA I can't write anymore even though there is so
much more,just KNOW that HARD WORK
DILIGENCE AND SOO MUCH OBEDIENCE brings MIRACLES!!!!SO many miracles. so so so
many. even though sometimes you gotta wait a little,just keep enduring and BAM
we are being drowned in blessings, I just sayeveryday THANK GOODNESS THIS IS
THE LORDS WORK because I have no idea how to doit! I don't know how to organize
it! its all HIS so I just keep going and itgets DONE!

I am never coming home!
SOrella SImkins

Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 20123:37 AM
Subject: HOLA

Ciao fam and frens
Mmmmm I just feel so good and happy right now. And very
peaceful. Notthe screaming feeling this morning, more of the grateful calm
feeling haha.This week has been really great, we are seeing a lot of
progression in someinvestigators, a lot less in others, some that have fallen
off the face of theearth, others found...just a usual week in the mission
field! I will shareabout our dear Claudia. So for 4 of 5 weeks she was just
moving like a trainfull speed then two weeks ago just SLAMMED on the brakes. It
just left us withworry and sick feelings in our stomachs as she was crumbling
under some trialsand the worrssstt bombings from the world. She never stopped
reading the bookof mormon or praying, she even went to institute, but she
didn't make time to seeus and didn't come to church. So we just kept praying
fasting doing all wecould, hoping the most. And finally sunday we were able to
see her! and shejust dumbed out ALLLLL her doubts onto us, which some were
ridiculous but mostwere very understandable. We just taught about faith and had
a short spirituallesson and after she just sighs real big ahhh. I feel better.
I always feelbetter in church, it's when I go back into the world that I am
trampled. We sawher again last night and just had...the most sacred experience.
It was usthree, sitting around her kitchen table, and we had a lesson only
about JesusChrist. The kitchen transformed into a little corner of Heaven, the
spirit wasalmost tangible. At one point while we were sharing an experience she
goeswow...I just felt something very strong..something that makes me want to cryand
laugh all the same time. We testified that that was the spirit of the
Lord,talking straight to her heart. And then we went right to Alma 34 and read a few versus and then Ithink
verse 38 saying not to lottare contro lo spirito..ummm not to fightagainst the
spirit or anymore and take upon ourselves the name of Christ etc.It was just
perfect, we read that and just sat in silence, and the spirit wasjust working
double time on her. It was incredible....seriously INCREDIBLE tosee how a touch
from the spirit that strong on someones heart can completelyremove all doubt
and fill them up with faith. That is EXACTLY what happened. Itwas like every
single problem was cast out and all that remained was peace andfaith and
determination. It was a lesson I will never forget, I am just sothankful!!
Claudia is so super special I love her. Our other investigators arejust pushin
along. Alan and Marlon are just on fire, can't WAIT to get baptizednext week.
They are super stars, and are going to be EXCELLENT missionaries,they just have
no fear and in few weeks have just grown to LOVE the gospel andLOVE to pray and
read the scriptures and absolutely LOVE going to church!! ITIS AMAZING! I want
to come back when this family goes through the temple, ahhthey are such amazing
people. I have never seen a family so full of love, notkidding. They are such
good kids, and such loving parents. They are a greatexample to me, and nothing
brings me more joy than see them be reactivated andcome back to the Lord,
living His gospel. Pretty soon this
family willhave three priesthood holders! How cool is that!!!! Man, the gospel
ismiraculous. Our biggest fear at the first was that they had their soccer
gameson sunday. Now Alan is out for a year because his knees are at risk, and
Marlonhas satuday games. Haha what a huge blessing!!

Well. The work is going so good. Italy is beautiful, this city
isbeautiful. We had an hour run on the beach this morning. God's creations
aremind blowing. He is the great designer, the best artist. Hahahahaha I know I
ama missionary when my heart swells with gratitude even just cutting
upvegetables hahahahaha I was cutting up bell pepers and I was just like THIS
VEGETABLEis BEAUTIFUL! Looks at the beautiful colors!!!!! And then cutting up
onions andgarlic...I was just like MMMMMMM how did God think of this stuff? It
smellsSOOOoooooo good!! haha. His creations are beautiful. This world

I think that is all for now. Love you so much. Be good and
enjoy thebeautiful of life.

Sorella Simkins

Sent: Friday, March 23, 2012 9:00AM
Subject: surprise!

I just leaned over to my companion and asked, how do you
spellsurprise? and she goes...I think it has two Ps....or wait, isn't it with
anS-O-? HA our english is a JOKE! and teaching english class is hilarious
becausewe can't spell and we now translate english phrases from
prettymuch we are teaching these Italians some horrible english. Ahhhwell.

Anywhoo!!!!! Happy day. P-day we went to....FIRENZE!Florence. For atraining
meeting. It was our lucky day, Elder Allen from the 70 just happenedto be in
town and President Ludsvardi who is over...all the visiter centers andvisiter
sites of the church all over the world! So we got to hear from both ofthem and
they both just blew our minds!!! Pres Ludsvardi told us some awesomeinfo about
the visiter center for the Rometemple, that it will have a Cristis like at
temple square. He told us aboutthat original statue in...DenmarkI believe. And
along with that..there will be exact coppies of the statues ofthe original 12
apostles that are also found in Denmark.
All made with the exactsame marble as the originals that you find right here in
SOOOCOOL huh! He said that Pres Monson said to them "I don't want this to
beany old dinky visiter center..!" haha and it really sounds like it
isgoing to be amazing. So start saving your money people, come to Italy!!!

This week was miraculous. I don't even know where to start.
The Bazanfamily has just planted themselves right in the depths of my heart.
Let me makea long story short Marlonand
Monica Bazan, beautiful parents to two amazing boys Alan and Marlon Jr.They
have been inactive for over 10 years. Our second day in Rimini we made an appointment with them
andour 3rd day had our first lesson. Their testimonies were almost non
existant.But they knew they were missing the spirit and wanted to change. Alan
andMarlon are smart amazing boys, but they were never baptized and had only
beento church a few times in their whole lives. Now, 2 months later= Marlon
andMonica reactivated. WITH FIRM TESTIMONIES! Marlon received the PRIESTHOOD
lastSunday! Alan and Marlon Jr. are being baptized SUNDAY!! They too have
strongtestimonies, have been going to Mutual every week and can't wait to be
members!And yesterday...we had our first lesson with Paola, Marlon's sister!
SHE ISAMAZING. One of the most honest, pure, sincere people I have ever met
withEXCELLENT standards and really just a buona persona with a heart of Gold.
Shewants to know if this church is true so she and her daughter can join. We
arewatching the unfolding of a LARGE ETERNAL FAMILY right before our eyes. I am
soTHANKFUL! I love these people and am constantly blown away by how much
theGospel of Jesus Christ CHANGES LIVES. People. Families. EVERYONE. Luisa
readall of the gospel principle book inbetween our last visit. I don't know how
shegot her hands on that book haha but I don't blame her, growing up in the
darkyour whole life then finding that book is like strinking a gold mine. She
isworking hard for the 14th. She just has PURE DESIRE to leave her sins
behindand follow Christ. She KNOWS that is where happiness comes from. She just
seesit SO CLEAR I wish others would see the vision that clear! It is the true!!
Whydo we fight so hard against it? Why would we ever search for happiness in
theworld or on our own, when God is the fountain of pure happiness? I am
startinga list called doctines of the world. I see that the doctines of the
world arethe exact same that we read in the book of mormon of all the
unbelievers. Butthe one I have heard the most this week is: we ask, "How
can one know thetruth?" and common person responds "No one can know
the truth,everyone has their own truth."
I think Italian Youth are the mostconfused youth in the whole world. It
is heart breaking. We are teaching Kenza,mother Muslem, father Catholic. She
claims to be athiest but loves the "philosophies" of Jesus Christ.
She is soo bright, but soconfused, so we are just working our way to her heart.

Sun is shining, we are happy, andI am out of time! Sorry
this was a little confusing haha.

Sorella Simkins

ps Ali Anderson I don't rememberif you are on this list, but
if you read this, you have some good news to tellme! Write me a letter or an email

via gramsci 13/4
20090 opera milano

Love you!

Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 20122:19 AM
Subject: buonnnngioorrrnooo

Ciao amici

It is a beautiful day here in Rimini.Sun is shining, we had
another nice run on the beach this morning...missionlife is GOOD! This week has
been jam packed with goodness. I forgot my plannerthis morning and missionaries
without planners = lost but I will tell you themiracles.

LA FAMIGLIA BAZAN ohh my heart has never soared as high as
it didSunday to see this beautiful family arrive to church, nice and early,
threebeautiful Brethren (Father and two sons) dressed in new suits, white
shirts,ties, and new shoes. That is what I call commitment! ha but seriously
theylooked beautiful they were just glowing with joy. Sister Bazan looked great
andjust had tears in her eyes all day. The baptism was amazing. This ward is
outof control, so supportive, everyone was there. Talks good, then thebaptism...just
beautiful. The boys came out of the water with the HUGEST SMILESthey were just
GLOWING! SOOOO HAPPY. At the end of the service they went up andbore their
testimonies and I just nearly cried, Alan goes...I know this churchis true
because I am changing into a better person. When I make mistakes I havethe
desire to repent and fix them. I can feel myself changing inside. I knowthat
baptism is true because I am FELICISSIMO which is SUPER HAPPY and man youcould
just see it I have never seen him smile so big, ear to EAR, just shining.Marlon
gets up and he says I know this church is true because the first nightwhen the
Sorelle asked me to kneel down and pray and ask God if Joseph Smith isa true
prophet I did and I felt something that I had never felt before. I tooam
changing, and I know baptism is true because I feel sooooo happy and I
lovechurch more and more everytime I go. These boys!! These beautiful boys! Who
atthe first we had no idea how they'd even be able to make it to church, and
nowtheir family is activated. WHat JOY. Monday we did a FHE and in the
prayerMarlon is like "I can't wait to share your gospel with everyone I
know andas a future missionary" I just smiled so big. They can't wait to
go onmissions. AHH! I love this family. Paola the sister who we are now
teachingloved EVERYTHING and can't wait to keep learning. SO COOL!

Claudia went to Londonfor a week but is getting back today
and we will be seeing her. I am sureeverything went well, she stayed with a
best friend's family and they are a family of missionaries so I am sure she had
some good experiences. Wewill find out later today!

Luisa is awesome, she LOVEDthe baptism, she just gave us a
HUGE HUG after and was like ahhhhh!!! What isthis!!!!

We have had some amazing training in these last few weeks on
how tojust BLOW this work out of the water, and I know everything we learned is
true.And what is the secret? There is no secret. It is ALL IN PREACH MY GOSPEL.
Iwill tell you the story Elder Allan from the 70 told us. He was getting droppedoff
at the airport by these missionaries. One companion was in the back seatjust
sleeping. The other was just driving silently, not looking so happy. Sohere
Elder Allan is just thinking ohhhh man I have ten minutes with these boys,ten
little minutes, what should I do what should I say, he could just see thatthey
were miserable and wanted to help them! About 4 minutes from the airport
athought came into his head. He says...elder..If I could tell you one thing
youcan do to tripple your future income, would you do it? Suddenly the
missionarywas all ears, yes of course! He CHAPTER 8 of PREACH MY
GOSPEL andfollow every instruction exactly. Then he got outof the car and caughthis plane. THe missionary called Elder Allan 8 months later and said thanks,that that advice had completely changed his mission. We have so much potentialpower as missionaries, and everyone
really, we have SO MUCH power just waiting to be released. Withinspired
PLANNING and specific GOAL MAKING and putting in the not 90%,but thelast 10% of
our efforts,that is when the miracles poor down upon our heads. We learned how
to plan inthese trainings, weekly and daily, and the things we learned are soo
good andsoo inspired, and really, they are all just from preach my gospel. That
book isamazing, I will study it the rest of my life. It is a book made by the
best ofthe best, inspired from God, made to convert ME and teach ME what the
gospel isand God's plan for me. Ahh I love it.

So much more to share, no time. I loveeeee being a missionary.
I lovethe Spirit. I know God and Christ live and I know this is the true church
onthe earth. Hearing the philosophies of man all day can get tiring and makes
mejust want to shout at the top of my lungs the truth at everyone, but it
willnever work that way:) Bear testimony, BEAR TRUTH, and the spirit will do
therest. Trust in that spirit to touch the hearts of those around you, trust
inpower of the atonement of Jesus Christ to change them. I LOVE YOU!

Sorella Simkins

Sent: Wednesday, April 04, 20126:35 AM
Subject: this will be a shorty
Hello everyone!

It is a overcast day here in Rimini,but still beautiful as always. We have
had a relaxing P-day so far, justrecovering from all our traveling this week!
Conference weekend was incredible,I felt like I was 5 feet off the ground for
two days because I was so full ofthe spirit. We are so blessed I just can't
handle it, LIVE PROPHETS ANDAPOSTLES that give us messages right from GOD! The
formula for success is soeasy = obey the prophets words and be blessed and
happy! So easy, so simple,sooo misunderstood by so many. But it was beautiful
we had... 7 investigatorsshow up and we were soo happy they all loved every
second. How could you not, Imean the talks were SO SO GOOD! Oooo I can't wait
for the ensign, sad thingabout the time change is we miss the last session.
Anywhoo. Then Monday andTuesday we did blitz in Firenze,
with thesorelle there. So for two days I enjoyed beautiful Florence and we
taught a lotof sweet people and saw several miracles, one of which we ran into
a lessactive who is amazing and told us for the last few months she has really
beenwanting to come back and start from the top, repenting and reactivating.
Shehas been wishy washy but said that running into us is a sign and that she
isready to come back. So was rock solid for 10 years, temple and everything,
butgot lost around 3 of 4 years ago. Miracles like that are my favorite, it
justreminds me everyday that GOD DOES NOT FORGET THE COVENANTS He makes with
Hischildren. EVER! It is a tender mercy every time we find an inactive member.
Iserved with Sorella Smith from Spanish Fork she is a pretty amazing sister.
Ilearned lots and am just so thankful for the atonement of Jesus Christ.
Itmeans so much more than just being forgiven from our sins. The power of
theatonement is infinite, and everyone needs to be baptized to have access.
Wehave so much work to do brothers and sisters! And it is exciting.
I am happy, my companion is happy, the work is going well,
our investigatorsare awesome, I will give you a big update on them next week.
For now....
Arrivederci, vi voglio bene, BACIONE!
Sorella Simkins

From: Laurel Simkins[]
Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 20123:11 AM
Subject: ciao


What a beautiful day. and week. real fast I will tell you ALL!

Long story short about an amazing family that we are now working with.6 years ago, the adversary snuck into the lives of this beautiful family offour, lots of pain and suffering was caused, separation, and divorce. Parentsstopped going to church, and of course the little kids as well. Now the Mom isstarting to come back to church with her new companion and they are amazingpeople, but the biggest blessing is that we are now teaching the daughter, now16, named Elena...and OOHHH people I can't even explain the joy in my heart. Ifeel like I have found a long lost friend. She is just BEAUTIFUL. So smart. Hasnever lost her faith  in God ever. We just started from the top, talkedabout God, about Christ, about their beautiful plan for us, a bit of history, andthe restoration, and the book of mormon, and she was just blown away she waslike FINALLY it ALL MAKES SENSE I knew this stuff but I had forgotten and nowit feel so good to know again! She prayed at the end and got super emotionaland after I was like how do you feel? And she was just bubblingover...."Miii ss s s ssentoo strano!" I feel strange hahaha. She wassmiling ear to ear. Instantly I feel like this bond was created between us.Besides the fact that she is a huge soccer player, and that makes me happy, Ijust love her and care for her and can feel that God has big plans for her. Wehad our second lesson yesterday and taught her the plan of salvation. We talkedforever after she dropped us off at our next lesson. She just reminds me somuch of young me. sooo much. I hope she goes on a mission someday!! Her mom isoverjoyed that her daughter is coming back to church, and I know sooner thanlatter she will marry her boyfriend, be rebaptized and her husband as well, anda temple marriage in the future! Families go through tough stuff, this is true,but the redeeming love of Christ is ALWAYS more powerful and always so mercifuland forgiving, this family can will be saved!!!!!! JOY!  The bazan familyis doing awesome, boys get the priesthood this weekend. Saturday my comp gotsick and for the first time in my whole mission I had to stay INSIDE because mycomp was sick! IT WAS SO WEIRD. but so beautiful because I just studied ALL DAYLONG seriously, I studied for 13 hours straight, it was so enlightening and sooamazing, I learned SO MUCH and received so much revelation plus it was saturdaybefore fast sunday so that just boosted the spiritual power through the roof. Iread a ton of the book of mormon manuel, it is SOO INTERESTING how did I neverREAD this stuff HA what have I been doing my whole life. I learned a ton aboutfasting and about faith OOOOHH I am just excited. I had the best experiencefasting after studying all about fasting and have never been so aware of theresults and received such a clear answer. For the first time I just feel soooso grateful that we have the opportunity to FAST, it is another strong toolthat Heavenly Father has given us to receive his help and power. COOL. Sunday was one ofthe best fast and testimony meetings, little 14 year old Tim, the young men"class clown" kinda guy, just a sweetheart and makes everyone laughall the time. Anyways, he just bore the most sincere heartfelt testimony I haveEVER ever in my life heard a 14 year old boy bear. He talked about how his lifewas turning into a mess and he couldn't figure out why. He went and talked tohis dad and they had a good long talk. After he said "I didn't realizethat I was "faccendo male al Signore, non leggendo le Sue scritture ognigiorni e pregando con sincerita" I wrote it in italian because the way hesaid it was so perfect, it means "I didn't realize I was doing wrong tothe Lord by not reading his scriptures and praying sincerely every day."WRONGING the Lord by neglecting His scriptures. What a smart young MAN! He thenbore testimony of his first real experience with the power of repentance. Andbore testimony how his life has greatly improved, that he is getting along witheveryone, and that he is even doing better in school. He has read thescriptures everyday and made the effort to better his prayers. AH it was such agood testimony, so inspiring. My other favorite part was little deby! Beautiful TINY TINY deby, she is10, my absolute favorite primary child in the whole wide world. She is halfindonesian half italian, and the tiniest thing. She was sitting next to me andI nudged her and said deby, your turn to go bear testimony! She just looks uplike so suprised, REALLY?? Should I?? What do I SAY! and I just gave her thebasics and smilied and told her go for it! So she stands up, walks up the isle,stands behind the pulpit, everyone smilied and laughed because you couldn'teven see her. The pres got the little stool, she stood up, and bore hertestimony. OOhh my heart just soared. This beautiful little girl has a speechimediment but the spirit touched all our hearts, her smile has permantly warmedmy insides. I will never forget that smile, and her just beaming as she walkedback to her seat, everyone patting her on the back, and then, the best part,her dad who was sitting a few rows ahead of us, turning back with shining eyes,BRAVA DEBY, BRAVA!!!! AWWW!!! The gospel. Family. amazing. Then monday we had alesson with Aurora, one of those golden investigators that finds US. She isbrilliant and through honest sincere study her whole life has received MANYtruths from God, and when we taught the restoration she immediatly accepted abaptismal invite and said she would read the whole book of mormon this weekhaha. Olivia brought a friend to church sunday and after they both said theywant to be baptized. We were early to an appointment last week and just decidedto talk to this random guy on the street before we went into our appointmentand he is athiest but made a return appointment with us, so anyways last nightwe taught him and it went amazing, probably the most spirit lead unified lessonmy comp and I have taught together, well there have been many, but this onejust felt so good, anyways so now we have him as a new investigator pumped toread the book of mormon and before you know it this athiest will find God. Thenwe got a call from the president who told us...dun dun dun...that sorella arumeis training a newbie!!! and that I have to leave beautiful Rimini,best city in the mission, to go to Bergamoto be with sorella Bush. AHHHHHHH. So sad, I love these people and the work isamazing, but I am excited for the miracles that await me at Bergamo and to work with Sorella Bush who isreal new in the mission as well. Bergamois a beautiful city, I did an exchange there once. This might be my last cityWHAT THE. Today will be crazy with running around and packing and saying bye to people and teaching morelessons. EEK.

Well that is my update. Italyis great. I will miss the pizza, it is seriously so good I think I could eat iteverday. If I weight 200 pounds when I get home can I still get married? HahaI'll tell sorella Arume to find me some big hawaiian :)

sorella simkins


From: Laurel Simkins[]
Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 20124:13 AM


HOW IS everyone? Things are soo great here. We have seen SO manymiracles, eaten SO much food, seen a few beautiful rain storms and beautifulsun sets, have been to Modena, will be going to a funeral today..lots of thingshappening. I will just jump right in.

Our dear lovely Grazia is doing well, she has really good ups and thenreally bad downs. Poor thing she is suffering so much. Claudia is awesome, sheis a solid member but needs a titch more courage and faith so she can set adate and get baptized. We are praying so hard and doing everything we can, Iknow the Lord will come through and she will be baptized soon. She really isamazing and loves every second of anything that has to do with the gospel orchurch. She is most scared of enduring to the end, she says it is her characterto go forward like a train then crash. She doesn't believe us when we sayCLAUDIA we aren't PERFECT we crash every other day!!!! Anyways we will see hertonight and have a beautiful lesson about what perseverance really means. Prayfor her!!!! I feel peace in my soul, I know everything will go just how it issupposed to. We started teaching an Italian buddist family last week that livesin San Marino, which isanother country in the middle of our area, like the vaticanis to Rome.They are a beautiful family, so happy, so peaceful, so loving. Once theyunderstand that the nature they worship is really God and the principles theyare living is really the gospel, doors will open and their minds will beilluminated. The daughter is a ping pong champion, she played at the jrolympics in singapor! how sweet is that! Sorella Arume and I were with them in San Marino the 6th of April, our one year markin Italy. Crazy or WHAT ahhhhhhhh. We had delicious gelato. Mmmmmmm. Noeline isgreat, progressing but slowly.. We gotta get her whole family on board, theyare all so great, but just live crazy busy lives, so when one parent is at thestore, the other is at home with the kids, vs with some carefulplanning we will get this family on the strait and narrow. The Bazan family isamazing, they blow my mind every visit. Saturday the Mom bore two BEAUTIFULtestimonies, one she said that her husband changed from night to day the day hegot the priesthood. Their house environment changed. Everything changed. She isso thankful and happy. She also told us a story that happened at work. Sheworks with Nuns and a nun asked her...what is your husband like? And SorellaBazan answers oooh he is the most kind wonderful person in my life. He takes careof me, of our kids, and is so responsible when I am at work I don't have toworry I know he will have food cooking for the kids, the house will be in orderand homework will be done. The nun goes..what religion are you? And SorellaBazan said that in her mind she is like oh no, lets see how she will respond tothis. "Mormon" she says. And the nun goes....That's why. Thatreligion is correct. She said that she went on a little mission to Paraguy andthat the LDS church is very strong there and she met so many members and saidyou can't NOT believe those members, they live right, they are a correctpeople. How cool is that!what a strong testimony and what a shout out to US that we need to live thegospel everyday of our lives, because the gospel is correct, and those who liveit are correct. Beautiful Beautiful. Sunday was an amazing muchspirit. Such a beautiful day to reflect on what it really means to us thatCHRIST LIVES and that His gospel is LIVING. We were very edified in church, andhad a lovely lunch and lesson after church, and were able to share messages allthe evening long about Christ and that He lives. It was a very beautiful Easter.Monday we went to Modenafor another conference and learned lots of good things. Another adestrumento oncorrecting deviations, loving members, the importance of good planning. If Icould just type you out all my notes I would, we get SO SPIRITUALLY fed atthese conferences, it is amazing. We taught some AWESOME people on the trainrides there and back, it is incredible the people God puts into our paths.Seems unreal everytime we just look at each other like..Wow..we are small. Godknows everything. Like last night at the park, every person we talked to wasmoved or touched and wanted to learn more. Miracles miracles miracles. Mycompanion had an eye appointment yesterday so her pupils were dialated all day,hahahaha she looks like a druggy. Maybe that’s why people listened to us all day,we're telling them we have something that will make them reaaalll happy and herpupils are 4x too big. But really we have seen some miracles and learned somereally good lessons. It is amazing how much better street contacting or parkcontacting goes when we are calm and relaxed and listen with love. It is easyto tend to want to talk over people that share with us their CRAZY ideas andabsurd truths, but the times when we remain really calm and smile and listenand respond with is AMAZING to see how the spirit shoots intotheir heart like and arrow and then they relax and quiet down and listen andthen that leads to another appointment. The spirit is the teacher, theconverter, the everything, we could never lean on our own strength, it isnothingggg. Oohh so much more to share what I have learned this week and themiracles we have seen, but it is time to go.

be good. PRAY ever so sincerely. And see the miracles as God answersyour prayers!
Don't forget to thank Him!
Sorella Simkins