Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Leavin' on a Jet Plane

Lauren with her first companion, mission president and his wife

Well, it's been a roller coaster of a week. To start it off, we had a really odd TRC teaching experience last Monday. In both lessons we taught (both Sister Miller's lesson and my lesson) we had a guy who is schizophrenic. In our first lesson he told stories about his life the entire time (for example, about going to the doctor that day to pick up his meds for his schizophrenia) and we had no idea what to do. We couldn't figure out how to insert any parts of the lesson we were supposed to give him and we literally just sat there the entire time listening. The second lesson there were two other people with him and so things went a little better. We just left the TRC baffled as to what had just happened.

Tuesday was an awesome day though. Sis Miller, Prina and I went to the Temple early to eat at the cafeteria there. It was soooo nice to have a change of food. Ive been eating Grapenuts with bananas 2X a day for the past week because I'm so bored of all the other food here. Then we had a great session in the temple and sat in the celestial room for quite a while. Last time in the temple for 16 months. I don't think I ever told you that sister Prina is half Italian so we have been doing sessions for her Italian family names that her mom prepared the entire time here. That has been a neat experience.

Tuesday night was equally awesome. I already told you about the temples fireside. Our bishop told us some more information this Sunday about the temple. Somehow he got a picture of the design of the temple and was going to bring it in to show it to us but his wife convinced him otherwise because apparently he wasn't really supposed to. But he said the church is spending more money on the Rome temple than any one thus far.

Wednesday night Sister Prina and I had a very encouraging experience. Our teacher had signed us up to teach a lesson to one of the other Italian teachers and had forgot to tell us until that day. And he wanted us to teach the 3rd lesson, which we hadn't taught before (for some reason they only focus on the first 2 lessons here, even though there are 5). But we did it. And it was incredible!! Words were just coming out smoothly, the lesson flowed into the things he was telling us about his life, the guy committed to baptism at the end, and both my teacher (who was in the lesson with us pretending to be an investigator) and the teacher we were teaching were literally tearing up in the end and said that it was for sure the most powerful lesson they had been taught in the MTC before and reminded them soo much of so many real experiences they had in the field. Sis Prina and I just walked out of the lesson shocked at their reaction. We hadn't necessarily felt different but looking back realized it had gone pretty smoothly. Shock seems to be the key word of this week.

Thursday we got all the elders that are leaving with us today together to practice singing "All Creatures of Our God and King"(their choice) in Italian, with all the voice parts, for Sacrament meeting. ( I was unofficially called to be the music coordinator in the ward a few weeks ago.) The hour long practice was a disaster. One Elder refused to sing, a few couldn't read music, etc. We practiced again on Saturday and got a little closer to performable. On Sunday, we got yet another shock. Our ward of about 15 ish Italian missionaries grew to about 70 people. There are a ton of missionaries here that are supposed to be in the Brazil MTC but are having a difficult time getting visas. So, they stuck a bunch of them in our ward, reorganized our presidency, and changed us to an English speaking branch. We still performed our song in Italian, though, and I was about to cry when I heard the Elders start singing. They were singing So loud (in a good way) and confidently and trying so hard to get all the notes of their parts. When I looked down at Sister Miller during Sis. Prina's and my part she was crying and then I got all choked up and just hummed along to my alto part for a line because I couldn't concentrate on the words. Then we had INCREDIBLE talks. We got 2 new counselors in the presidency so they and their wives all bore their testimonies. One of the couples just got back from a mission a few weeks ago. They were in...CAIRO EGYPT!!! Do you remember meeting the Lindsey's at the ward??? I knew them all summer long. It was sooo great to sit and talk to them a bit about Egypt.
Sunday's fireside was also Wonderful. Sheri Dew came. She is such a comfortable, confident, powerful speaker. I wish I could tell you everything she said but I only have 4 mins left. So one line I liked was..."Sometimes we act as though we are going to stay here (on earth) but we can't and we won't so we need to stop acting like it."

Then companion found out she has to stay at the MTC for 2 more weeks. She had resolved all the other medical problems she has been working with while at the MTC but 2 days ago she got a new problem where she can't swallow properly. So finally we went to the doctor yesterday, then the Stake president, then the doctor again, etc. and the decision was that she has to stay. We are both still kind of in shock. All the Elders are flying a different way since they are going to Rome, so I'm just gonna be kickin it in the airports for the next 24 hours without any other missionaries. I'm not really worried at all, it's just gonna be weird wearing a tag in public but not having a companion.

Well, I love you all. I'm so pumped to be off to Italy in an hour!

Sorella Cozzens arrived, by herself, in Milan today. Her mission president's wife, Sorella Dunaway, called to give us the news and to tell us that upon arrival, Lauren was sent straight out to the Milan Duomo to search out someone to give a Book of Mormon to. Her first area will be the Milan 2nd Ward. The following is an email from Sorella Dunaway:

Sister Cozzens,
Your daughter's address will be:

Via Pisacane 47/15
20159 MI, Italia

Often, if the name on the mailbox is not the same as that of the package (and it won't be), the post office may or may not deliver a notice that a package has arrived. It is much safer to have packages delivered to the office.
Via Gramsci 13/4
20090 Opera, MI

We will be seeing your daughter and delivering mail from the office on Nov. 26 for zone conference, (Thanksgiving is not a holiday here) and Dec. 16 for interviews.

Sorella Dunaway, Italy, Milan

Lauren's P-Day is Wednesday.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I honestly can't wait to go. Only 2 more weeks!!

Thank you for the package Cory!! And for your efforts as the president of the Coalition For Skinny Return Sister Missionaries. Luckily the moms of both of my companions seem to be members of the Coalition, so I have had good influences and think that so far, there is hope for me.

Thanks for the news about baptisms in the Milan mission, Mom! We have had so many lessons here in our zone about fearing not and ignoring rumors that we have heard from people about Italy going to be a hard mission where we won't teach anyone. I actually never believed that or was worried about it, so the teachers always bringing up that such rumors exist make me more worried than I would have been in the first place. We had a Zone Conference this past week and that was the main goal - to dispel fear that is put in our mind by Satan. I guess I owe you a big thanks, Mom, for making all us kids believe we can do anything and not really fearing anything ahead of us. There must be some other way that Satan is trying to get to me though...guess I better figure out what that is. There was one quote that they shared during the Zone Conference that I really did love, though, and that motivated me. Eyring has said that,"When you find out who you are, you will be sorry you didn't try harder." We all have sooo much potential as children of God, we just need to trust that we do. Also, someone mentioned that when we are making goals we need to not think about what we by ourselves can do, but what WE AND THE LORD can do together.

It was especially neat to hear that you saw they were baptizing Arabs in our mission. Mona just wrote me a letter and shared some awesome news about the church in the Middle East. Apparently Lebanon and Jordan were dedicated last week for preaching the gospel by Elder Holland, and the first district of the church was organized in Iraq. As excited as I am for all of this happening, I'm not sure I'll be much use for teaching Arabs anymore...yesterday in the TRC I told the lady we were teaching that I was studying Arabic before the mission and she asked me to say something to her. Honestly, the only thing I could sputter out was, "My name is Lauren and I am from Virginia," in Arabic. No matter how hard I thought, nothing was coming to mind. It was pathetic.

We have had some really great mission wide meetings this past week. Elder Perry spoke at the devotional last Tuesday. They never tell us who is speaking at the fireside in advance. When he walked in,though, as I am sure all of you have experienced before when in the presence of an Apostle, the spirit just overtook me. We always sing hymns for the 15 minutes before any entire mission meeting starts but I litereally couldn't sing because my heart was pounding so hard from the Spirit. I am sad to say that I didn't get a ton out of his talk because I was dozing in and out. I'm not sure why I was so tired that night...maybe that's how Satan is working on me!! The main thing that I liked was that he talked about praying for specific things...such as retentive powers to be able to remember the things that we have learned. I've definitely gotten better at praying for specifics since I have been here at the MTC. Although I don't have a huge pool of vocab to use (since we always say our prayers in Italian), I try really hard to make every single one of my 20+ prayers a day different and it has made a HUUUUge difference.

Oh man, there are so many thoughts from this past Sunday's mission conference that I want to share with you too, but there just isn't enough time! Maybe I'll hand write a letter. We have had some really great firesides, devotionals this week!

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Well, I am back to bad luck in the e-mailing room. The printer was down so I just spent the past 15 minutes reading your e-mails. It is times like these that I wish I had typing skills like Christi. I don't know if I can type fast enough to fit in everything that I want to say about the week.

Good thing there are a bunch of e-mails here from you guys, though, since I didn't hear from you via Dear-Elder at all this week. Yesterday at the TRC, during the part where we were supposed to try to get to know the investigator, they asked us how our families were doing and I expressed my annoyance that I didn't know how they were doing because I hadn't heard from them in A WEEK! Speaking of letters though... I got a letter from Anne Collins today with an awesome picture from Lucy. If you see her, thank her for me! And have Rio start drawing me some pictures.

First of all...glad to hear you made it to Italy Mom and Pop!! Is it freezing there this time of year? If you see any black shoes while wandering around there...feel free to buy them for me:)

One of our sisters left for Italy yesterday morning. She was the one that was in a class etc. by herself. As crazy as she drove us all when she first became our companion, turns out we really grew to love and appreciate her and genuinely miss her now. It was really quiet and awkward getting ready in the morning today without her off the wall and repeated daily comments like, "Oh, I just think I'll go like this today" when she was wasn't dressed, or her talking to inanimate objects that she was using to get ready, or asking us if we had eaten various objects that she couldn't find. I tried taking over and repeating some of the classic lines but it just didn't have the same effect, unfortunately.

We are getting 4 new sisters tomorrow, though, that will be in our Italian Zone! And our zone has been asked to be "hosts" for the new missionaries we will be the people that stand at the side of the road and pull bags out of the cars for the missionaries while waving their families on who are trying to say last minute goodbyes.

We also had a new girl move into our room yesterday who is from Japan. She is awesome! She speaks some English but seems to get confused between when she is speaking English and when she is speaking Japanese. She gets really excited sometimes and starts making crazy noises thinking that we understand what she is saying. It is awesome to say the least. She is probably on my top 5 favorite people at the MTC list. Have I told you about Brother Clegg? He is my absolute favorite. He is in the presidency here at the MTC. I went up to talk to him during the first week because he was a mission president in Milan and we have basically been best friends ever since. Every time we walk by his office he makes us come in and listen to a bunch of hilarious stories about being in Milan. He is so un-like anyone else here...he gives us giant hand shakes even though there are big signs on the doors saying we aren't allowed to. Plus he gives us chocolate covered nuts.