Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Cosenza Transfer 12 Week 6

This was the last week of the Transfer! I can’t believe that’s another one gone! It was a pretty good one but the weird thing is... all of the sisters that I came into the mission with fly home tomorrow morning! Which means I only have 4 transfers left! Where did the time go???

So last week my email game was pretty rough... we went to Taranto for P-Day and to do an exchange and so we were at the Church there and the WiFi there is about as bad as it was in Napoli!

So after P-Day I started my exchange with Anziano Strong, we headed out to Statte to do some finding! Anziano Strong is in his 9th Transfer, one older than Anziano Allen and he’s doing pretty well! He’s from Colorado, he’s a little nerdy but he’s super funny! He’s one of those people that just throw out those one liners out of no where it they’re usually pretty quiet. He’s working on being bold and getting the courage to talk to people so we went to Statte which is this pretty small city but it’s where there Church is and we did some finding, and we talked to everyone! Literally I even felt a little creepy because I was crossing the street to chase down people and we had a lot of success! We even found a family that said we could come over to their house and they accepted a Book of Mormon! It was a good night, we came back to Taranto, got some panzarotti (fried calzones) and headed home for the night!

Tuesday was a really good day as well, one of the members in Statte asked us to do some service moving some things out of their house so we decided to move the day around and go first thing at 8 AM. So we get there and he says “Anziani, I thought you would have come in normal clothes!” And then we learned we were carried everything but the kitchen sink out of their house and it was a bigger job then we anticipated! But the mission teaches you a lot and one thing I’ve learned is you can do almost anything in a shirt and tie! It was good and we were done in about an hour and a half! They gave us some Nutella croissants and we were on our way, we decided to do our studies in the Statte Church because it’s a lot closer than going back to the house in Taranto and then we headed over to Massafra which is another little city in their area but it’s bigger than Statte so we did some finding there and found another family! My goal for that scambio was to talk to every family I saw and it definitely paid off! We had lunch back at the apartment before heading back to Cosenza! Just in time for English Course and that was the day!

Wednesday we finally got to work in Cosenza! We spent the morning at the University and gave out like 500 pass along cards and then we had lunch with Lina on Campus. So she showed us like their dining hall/cafeteria and it was crazy! There was so much food and so many people! Craziness! It was really fun though and we met one of her friends! We saw the crazy big family on Wednesday night, the house was pretty quiet and we were able to hone in on the Mom and the Dad and one of the sons named Nelson which was sweet, we taught them the whole Restoration and made some plans to teach them in the future! Unfortunately after we left they texted us and asked for money which was kind of a bummer because we were worried they were only interested because they saw the Church as a bank account. But when we explained that we couldn’t give them money they understood and said “See You Sunday!” So hopefully we’re good!

Thursday was of Course Thanksgiving and Mamma Mia was it a good day! We woke up at 5:30 and hit the road for Crotone! We went to the Heymans and they sent us on the hunt for a Turkey baster! This turkey was 32 lbs! It barely fit in the oven we had to amputate half the legs to get him in there! We had so much fun cooking and eating and we had District Meeting before we ate. Everyone brought different things from their traditions... here’s the list! We had... Turkey, mashed potatoes, candied carrots, stuffing, jalapeรฑo cornbread stuffing, homemade cranberry sauce, macaroni and cheese with bacon, more than a gallon of homemade gravy, cornbread, homemade apple pie, homemade pumpkin pie, carrot cake, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate pumpkin bread and so on... we had about enough food for 30 people. It was a good day and Sister Heyman went all out with table decorations and everything! I have quite a few pictures! We made it back in time for English Course and we taught them about Thanksgiving of Course!

Friday we weekly planned in the morning and then in the evening... I don’t actually remember what we did but I’m sure it was good!

Saturday we had to get stuff for the Activity and then we spent the morning calling everyone and trying to get people to come. Then in the afternoon we got set up for the Activity. It was an absolute train wreck... we’ll just leave it at that. There was food so it wasn’t a total fail but it was a missionary activity and like no one came so I was a little frustrated but the people that did come did seem to have fun.

Sunday was a solid day, we left for Church at like 8:30 and didn’t come back home until 9:10 last night! Church was super solid, there was a member of the Stake Presidency from Bari so it was cool to see him and his wife. One of the African New Converts brought a friend named John and he was absolutely crazy but we taught him the Restoration during second hour and it went pretty well! He’s a new investigator now. Then we went to lunch with the Favre Family, they’re way cool! Lina just got home from her mission in July, she served in Colorado and the rest of them are just super great members. We had a lot of fun and told stories from our childhood. Then we went to visit Sister Filipelli and she is looking so much better! She’s not on an IV and she’s not having too much pain. Then we went and visited Sister Minieri. We shared the new #LightTheWorld video with all of them!

This morning I wripped my pants so today we’re going shopping! Haha we are in Catanzaro so it should be a good day!

Have a great week and remember “Jesus is the reason for the season!”

Love,

Anziano Bellucci

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Cosenza Transfer 12 Week 5


Walking, bomb lessons, and now I’m sick... but probably one of the most successful weeks in my mission!

Monday evening was still a little slow... we still had our toes wrapped up and a sandal and it was pouring rain but we tried to go and visit this family. Apparently his wife is still in Sicily which is what he’s told us every time we go... but this time she said that she comes back on Saturday so we’re going to go over tonight and try again!

Tuesday was better, we took the huge wrappings off our toes and just put a nice little bandage on so we can be a little more normal! Actually put a shoe on and it wasn’t too bad. We went around to a bunch of the cafes and bars (bars in Italy are like cafes not like bars in America) and asked to out io English Course Posters. It was actually really cool, we had some good conversations with some of the people that were working and this one little miracle. This one guy was just being a jerk and basically telling us to go you know where... and this guy was getting a coffee and he was like “Follow me, you can put a couple up in my restaurant while you tell me who you are!” It was a solid morning! In the afternoon we did a little bit of finding and Anziano Youngblood stopped this couple and they knew the missionaries from when they lived in Gela which is a tiny city in Sicily and there are no missionaries there anymore so they lost contact with them. They have 8 kids... how cool would it be to teach a family of 10! Then we finally got to meet with Francesco before English Course. He’s a super cool guy, he’s 40 years old and a pediatrician and he speaks English pretty well. We taught him the beginning of the Restoration and it went pretty well, he asked a lot of questions. Then at Corso we had a bunch of new people finally so I was pretty stoked!

Wednesday was cool, we had District Meeting over skype this week which actually worked out pretty well, it’s still not like being in person but it’s good because it takes 4 hours in travel round trip for us but this week we were able to go out and do some finding after which was nice. Then lunch and everything and in the afternoon we were supposed to meet up with some of the African New Converts here but they didn’t show up... grrr... then we had dinner with this couple Simone and Roberta... Simone is from the North but he served his mission here and met Roberta. They got married in July so they’re pretty newly weds! We had a really good time, ate dinner and shared a cool thought from Alma 5:26 about repentance and sharing the feelings we’ve felt with others, inviting them to invite others to come to the Activity next Saturday!

Thursday was pretty full as well, we spent the morning doing some service with one of the members to organize the storage room in the Church and then organizing for the Activity. I accidentally wrote October on all the invitations so I had to print them out and cut them up again! Went to this neighboring city called Rende and we found this huge outdoor market and talked to some cool people. Then we talked to this lady that said “I know someone who is Mormon “Simone and Roberta!” What a coincidence! She gave us her number and so hopefully we can meet with all of them together! After lunch we met up with this guy named Massimiliano and he only had a few minutes so we set up an appointment for Friday saying he had read the Introduction of the Book of Mormon but he didn’t understand much. Then we had a bomb lesson with Francesco again and finished the Restoration. He said he would read the Book of Mormon and then he sent us a text that said “I started reading your book today!” We had English Course and for the spiritual Thought I noticed that there were a bunch of new people and so I decided to do a little Church Tour and it was so good! People asked questions and said they would like to come sometime.

(Anziano Anderton says “Ciao”)

Friday was a Mormon of getting stuff done! We started by taking our car to get new tires and everything went well... except the credit card didn’t work! Haha it all worked out though. Then we headed to the city offices to try one more time to get the permission to do street displays... person wasn’t there so we left it with the secretary, we’ll see what happens! Then we went to the University to see if the teacher we had talked to could help us. The head of the English Department emailed us back and basically said it’s a complicated process to get a University club and that she wasn’t willing to work with us. Kind of disappointing but we will still do something! In the afternoon we had such a good lesson with Massimiliano. He understood so well and was explaining our doctrine back to us. He asked us when we could meet again and he said maybe next time we could meet with his family! Then the coolest thing happened... remember that couple with 8 kids? Well we went over to their house and it turns out all 8 kids, the parents, three spouses of the children and 5 grandchildren all live in the same house! You do the math but there was a ton of people there and it was craziness! They are a pretty poor family and they don’t have a lot, kind of stuck in the cycle of poverty but we are going to try to teach the parents and see what we can do to help them! We were able to share a little spiritual, we talked about prayer as a family and set up an appointment to come back.

Saturday we weekly planned and then in the afternoon had a lesson with a less active and then we got to visit Emilio and read the Book of Mormon and it was really nice, he would stop and explain what he was reading and ask questions and the spirit was definitely there!

Sunday was really good, we had a really nice Church Meeting and then we went and visited a few members who didn’t come to Church today... we had some really good gospel discussions and most of them didn’t come for legit reasons but it was a solid day finished with finding and studies!

This week I really felt the blessings of our members at the temple we saw so many miracles and so many blessings! If you have the possibility to go to the temple, get there as often as possible and as often as you can! I love you all!

Love,

Anziano Bellucci

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Cosenza! Transfer 12 Week 4

Exchanges, Napoli and hopefully the last toe surgery!

As you can see it’s been an exciting week! We have been all over the place and a lot has happened!

Monday night our appointment cancelled on us and we haven’t been able to get good studies in the mornings because of one thing or another so we decided to drive down to Crotone on Monday night so we could actually get some morning studies in on Tuesday. So we got there at 9 and I gave Anziano Cooney a haircut, it actually doesn’t look too bad! He is so trusting! Haha

Tuesday we all went for a run, the boardwalk is so beautiful in Crotone! We had a lot of fun and it was good to get some solid exercise. Anziano Baker likes to cook so he and I made breakfast together for everyone. We made fried potatoes and bacon and French toast. Whipped up some homemade syrup and found some maple extract in the cupboard! After studies we went out finding for about an hour before DDM. We were starting an exchange with Crotone after DDM so we decided to start it a little early and so I went out with Anziano Baker who is a finder, he just loves to talk to people and so we had a lot of fun. Grabbed the car, picked up the Sisters from the station that were coming in to do an exchange with the Crotone Sorelle. We had DDM at he Heyman’s apartment (my old apartment) and it was really good. Anziano Heyman was just called to the Hugh Council to watch over the Districts in Calabria and so he explained his calling and what we can do to help. Sister Abbate made some pizza for us for lunch that was pretty good!

We did some studies and hit the streets for a few minutes before having a lesson with a man named Antonio. It was a super long lesson and he kept getting distracted but it was good. He told us he knows Joseph Smith was a Prophet and he knows the Book of Mormon is true. Then he said he couldn’t get baptized because his son doesn’t want him to. This man is 50 years old... we were super sad for him, but we told him to pray for a baptismal date and he said he would. I met some of the people I knew from English Course in Crotone, the course has really shrunk! Got some pizza for dinner ;)

Wednesday we found out that it took Anziano Velardi and Anziano Youngblood all day to get back to Cosenza on the bus. Anziano Youngblood’s international drivers license expired so they couldn’t take the car but then like two different buses and a train got cancelled so they made it home at 10 PM instead of 4:30. So we decided to extend our exchange so they would have some time to work together. So Anziano Baker and I went running to the pier and we were taking a break on the end just chatting watching the sun rise and all of a sudden this huge wave va,e over the pier and soaked us. It went up to my hips and almost knocked me over! It was a wet run home... we started to plan the day and this guy called us and said “can you meet downtown in 10 minutes?” Well yeah we can! So we hurried out the door to meet him. He didn’t have much time but we brought him to the Church to show him around and we got to the Family History center and he just lit up. He loved it, we got a new investigator before 10! Got some studies done afterwards and headed back out! We met Sister Heyman downtown, she was coming back from getting her hair done and we decided to take her finding with us. She doesn’t speak a tube of Italian... she tries but she wasn’t a missionary in her younger days and never studied Italian so now she’s learning! We pushed her way outside of her comfort zone and it was so fun, we got a phone number and she thanked us afterwards. We went and saw Giovanni too, he’s doing well, he’s been pretty active lately so that’s good!

Anziano Baker made me lunch, a pasta with a white sauce with tuna and peas... it was really good with a ricotta bread dip... I was happy! Language and Companionship study before heading back out but this time we grabbed the chalkboard from the car and we went around asking people what makes them happy? We then wrote it on the board and took a picture and got their Facebook information so we can post it with them. It was so much fun and we were really able to touch this one family. They actually came back and talked to us like 30 minutes later and the Anziani in Crotone have an appointment to teach them tonight. Miracles! Then we headed black to Cosenza!

Thursday the Crotone Anziani missed the 5:45 bus back and then thought the one at 7:22 was a bus but it was a train... long story short they left at like 9:30. We got to do a little finding and Anziano Youngblood needed a haircut (barber shops are closed on Monday in Italy) and so we did that and then we had to leave for Paola to catch a train to Napoli!

So the side they fixed on my toe last time is good but the other side on the same toe is having the same problem. My companion has the same problem but on the left foot. He had surgery in Calabria last time and it didn’t do anything and they did the whole surgery without anesthesia and I wasn’t about that. So they shipped us off to Napoli, we got in saw all the people at English Course and grabbed a pizza! Anziano Youngblood started his mission there so he knew a lot of people there too!

Friday was the appointment, Sam picked us up and took us and we went in and saw the doctor and he said “Yup, surgery for both of you!” So we asked if they could to it that day and they said 1 PM. So we moved our train and went and found something to eat before the surgery. Back to back toe surgeries and everything went well for both me and my companion. Sam took us back to the Anziani’s apartment and we ate and cleaned their apartment because it was gross and we couldn’t feel our toes anyway.

Saturday morning was the train back to Paola. The guy across from me hit my toe twice and I almost clocked him but we made it to Paola and drove home. No parking near our house so we hobbled home from the Church and made some lunch. Couldn’t really do much so we tried to go visit a member but she wasn’t home. We came home and sorted through our area Book and called a million people and I made an apple cinnamon cake thing. Turned out really good but I was impatient and tried to flip it out before it was cooled and it turned into an Apple crumble. Still good though!

Sunday we hobbled to Church and everything went really well, both of the youth members gave talks and they did a really good job. After Church a bunch of the members were going to the temple, so it’s a stake trip and the bus picked them up by the Church and went to Bari before making the 20 hour trip to Switzerland! I love watching the members go to the Temple, it gives me so much hope and it shows how much faith they have! Unfortunately we spent the rest of the day with our feet in the air studying and making calls and being at home. I did finish reading the Book of Mormon though which was sweet! I love the end of the Book of Mormon so much! And I’m super excited to start it all over again! I invite you to read it everyday! I know you will feel the difference in your life if you do!

Sorry for the Book again, I hope you have a great week and put God to the test. Trust in him and his promises and I know he will deliver.

Love,

Anziano Jacob Bellucci

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Cosenza Transfer 12 Week 3

Trains, Rome, and lots of errands...

This week was a good week of reflecting for me, I thought a lot about the future, what I’ve done in my mission thus far, what I would still like to accomplish, and how I’ve changed. It’s been really good, and I’ve felt Heavenly Father’s presence a lot as I’ve been thinking.

I’ve also been thinking about all the things that will be weird to me when I come home because I’m so used to Italy. I was thinking about taking a train from Logan to Ogden the other day and that made absolutely no sense!

Monday was pretty chill, after P-Day we did some finding and then drafted a letter to the English Department at the University.

Tuesday (Happy Halloween!!!) we had Mission Leadership Conference over skype at 9 AM but they had told us that it was going to be at 8 so we were up and ready to walk out the door at 7:15 when they called and said it wasn’t until 9! It was really good, this last month our mission had 17 baptisms and 329 new Investigators so we are almost to our goal of 20 baptisms and 350 new Investigators. As a council we decided to leave the same goals and push ourselves to hit it! So we made cookies for Lina one of the members here and she brought us our container back with homemade chocolate chip cookies! You could tell she lived in America for a while, they were so good!

We went and met with the Lopez Family, Sister Lopez had to go get one of their friends daughters from school and so she came back and we were talking about Alma 5:26 and talking about receiving their testimonies and if they still feel now the same way that they did 30 years ago when they were baptized. Their friends daughter Maria Francesca was listening, she’s 15 years old. She asked us what s Temple was and we started talking about Eternal Families and the spirit was so strong! She kept asking questions about what you have to do to go to the temple and she just kept saying “Che bello!” (How beautiful!) I really hope to start teaching her and her family! We tried to get a permit to do street show like the sheet and chalk thing and they sent us all over the place. We talked to 7 different people in 4 different buildings... we have to try again on Thursday because they’re closed. After lunch and studies we went tire shopping... one of our tires is pretty much straight bald... they’re getting changed this week! Snow tires so we can legally drive through the mountains to get to District Meeting. We taught about Halloween at English Course, Halloween exists here but it’s very small... pretty much just the night of the 31st, there’s no real parties, only the kids dress up... we had fun though!

Wednesday was a bunch of errands in the morning, ran home and I made ๐ŸŒฎ tacos for lunch that were pretty good! We got all of our stuff together and then drove about 40 minutes to Paola and jumped on the train to Rome for the mission tour! We pulled into Rome at about 6:30 and headed to the mission home. They had some sandwiches for us and then we hit the streets to do some finding! There’s a missionary in Cagliari in the same companionship that I was trained in that’s in his 2nd Transfer and his name is Elder Empey. He has a super similar story to the Elder Empey that served in NY! He’s a Convert, has almost graduated college with his accounting degree and now he’s on a mission! We got along really well, he’s a cool guy.

Thursday was the mission tour! We woke up at like 4;30 to get showered and leave by 6:30 to make it to the Church on the other side of Rome! All went well and the conference started on time! #ModernMiracle

The conference was great, Elder Engbjerg (I think that’s how you spell that but it’s pronounced Ingbeow) was the visiting General Authority. He was the only new Area 70 called in this last General Conference so this was his first mission tour! He and his wife are both from Copenhagen Denmark and they speak English very well! They shared so many faith promoting stories and it was super uplifting. One of my favorite things that we talked about was the idea of ministering to the one. He shared Elder Bednar’s song “One by One” which we sang for Elder Bednar about a year and a half ago in the MTC! This time it was a rendition done by Paul Cordell and sung by Nathan Pacheco, it’s sooo good! You should all check it out, you should be able to find it on YouTube.

It was great to see President and Sister Pickerd as well. Sister Pickerd is doing well, she’s so strong and is still doing so much for us even though she is going through chemotherapy. After the conference we had a few minutes to socialize and then everyone but he Zone Leaders and Sister training leaders headed out to go back to their areas. We were staying another night in Rome for a missionary leadership council with the area 70. So they had us go out and do a gesso in Rome. We had a pretty big group so we split into two but we were still pretty big! We had some really good success and I talked to this family that were so open to learning more and we all had a lot of good contacts come out of it. We packed up and headed back to the mission home for dinner. We had salad, lasagna, and gelato! Classic mission home dinner! Then it was off to bed!

Friday was the MLC and it was different than anything I’ve ever done. He gave us three questions to respond to

What did you learn from this conference?
What are you going to do differently as a leader because of this conference?
What have you learned from President and Sister Pickerd that you are going to take with you for the rest of your life?

He put the song one by one on repeat for about 10 minutes and he told us to just listen the first time through and listen to the promptings of the spirit to help us answer these questions, then the rest of the time to write them down and answer them.

Then for the next hour and a half or so we went around and each took a few minutes to share our responses. The spirit was so strong and I think the last question was really meant to help President and Sister Pickerd. They were both pretty emotional but I think it was a good experience. I know I’ve learned so much from both of them, it was hard to choose what to share!

They closed the council sharing some final stories that really showed the power of ministering to the One, just as Christ did.

Afterwards we grabbed a sack lunch and headed for the train station for our train at 2:30... it’s a long train ride. We pulled into Paola at 8:15. Then the drive home put is at 9 and we grabbed a kebab on the way home,  to sure if we were more tired or hungry...

Saturday! We had to do our weekly Planning in the morning and it took a little longer than we anticipated but it was good. I made lunch and Anziano Youngblood rearranged things in our apartment. Haha it looks better now though, I like it.

We did some finding in the evening, I saw this really cool Fiat 500 from who knows what year but it was old and tiny. I asked if it was one of the guys standing around it and he told me I could take a picture and then we ended up teaching one of them named Rinaldo. We taught a good amount of the Restoration and he said he didn’t want to give us his number but that we could meet again in the same spot. :/ We said a prayer with him on the street and there were tears in his eyes. He said he was going to go home and tell his wife he had met some of the Lord’s servants and he felt so much better. #OneByOne

Sunday was beautifully hysterical. So not much happened before Church, we were getting the translator hints ready and Anziano Youngblood was wearing a suit from the dead closet (A closet in missionary apartments where people leave stuff they don’t want) well the missionary he got it from had some much smaller legs... he went to put the translators on the floor in the Chapel and he bent down and wrrrrrriiiiippppp! He split his pants from knee to knee crotch and everything... 2 minutes before Sacrament started! We stayed long enough to take the sacrament and then we booked it home (through downtown Cosenza) to change. Many people saw a lot more of my companion than they wanted to... so funny.

The Lopez family invited us to lunch along with the two high councilmen that were visiting from Taranto and Bari. It was great, so they have two foster daughters and they’re super nice. They grew up in a convent so they talk to us like we’re nuns. In Italian there are two ways to say “you” depending on if you are talking to one person or more than one. It’s like in English we say “You Guys” or “y’all” well instead of saying “Come stai?” For “How are you?” Or even “Come sta?” Which is the respectful form they say “Come State?” Which is like “How are you guys?” When they’re just talking to one of us... it’s funny. They’re 12 and 14 so I picked on them for it... haha

We got to go see Prince and Comfort and their two kids Desmond and Marvelous... (Yes they are African...) and we read the story of Enos from the Book of Mormon. 8 gave Desmond (3) my iPad with the drawing app open and he drew on it for like 2 seconds and then found the music app and started playing The Nashville Tribute while we were trying to read. I got him to give it back to me and I pulled the “Look at that!” And then stuck it behind my back... he looked back at me and his eyes got real big and you would have thought I just kicked a puppy... he looked at me like I had crushed his world and then he cried. It was sad. My children are going to live like the Amish, no technology! Haha

Ok I’m going to stop writing because this email is way too long and I’m real sorry about that! Today has been chill, third week in a row that it was poured on P-day so not really much to do :( Next week we are going to do something fun though!

Have a great week, I love you all!

Anziano Bellucci

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Cosenza Transfer 12 Week 2

Driving, a chocolate festival, driving and Stake Conference!

It’s been a great week as usual but as you can tell we drove A LOT! Anziano Youngblood has been in a car city for the last 6 transfers and his companion didn’t have an international drivers license the last two transfers so I’ve been driving the whole time because he’s pretty tired of it!

Monday night was pretty good, we just did some finding and then it was about 8:45 and we were making one last loop and I stopped this guy walking his dog and asked him a question about the Book of Mormon and he seemed almost oddly interested, like I thought he was asking questions just so he could bash with me. Anyway we started explaining the story of the Book of Mormon and every time we stopped he would say “then what happened?” It was super cool, his name was Pasqualino which is like “Little Easter.” We gave him the BOM and we headed home!

Tuesday is where the driving began... we headed out to Crotone for District Meeting around 8:30 and it went really well. We got to know everyone in the District pretty well and had a good training on finding. Then we went and grabbed calzoni and went to the Senior Couple’s apartment which is my old apartment in Crotone! It was another blast from the past! It looks really nice now and the view is still amazing! Anziano Heyman served in Cagliari back about 40 years ago as a missionary when there was just one branch there and he was the Branch President! The then Elder Monson told him he had 6 months to make some pretty big changes or the Branch would be closed... well he did it! He baptized some of the corner stone families in the branch that are still there today! Now it’s a ward and there is another ward and two branches and a group on the island! Drive back to Cosenza! We had a correlation meeting with Brother Lopez and we got some plans going for the Branch and then a pretty good English Course!

Wednesday we went to the University and talked to some really cool people! We got to see Lina who is a member that just got back from her mission in Colorado Springs about 4 months ago. She’s crazy busy but we hunted her down to say hi and get some directions. We met with a member for a few minutes at 1ish and then came home and made lunch. We did some less active hunting and some finding for the rest of the night.

Thursday we drove some more! We had to go to Taranto which is about a two and a half hour drive, to do some driving tests and approve two Elders to drive the car. We decided to make a trip out of it and go to their District Meeting which was really good! They’re all really great and Anziano Melling is a great District Leader. We did the driving test afterwards and I felt like a Drivers ed instructor! Haha They did pretty well but the parallel parking could use some work! We went to their house and ate some lunch and then we brought Anziano Melling and Anziano Anderton back to Cosenza to do an exchange! We started with a display of Book of Mormons on the Ground in like 30 different languages and then the Police came and told us we needed a permit... so we had to pack it up! There was a chocolate festival here in Cosenza and they had about a million stands with all different kinds of chocolate and street food. It was all kind of expensive. We went to English Course and it went okay, we need to get our English Course pumped up though because it’s kind of like the senior citizens social hour... grabbed a gelato and then some calzoni for dinner!

Friday Anziano Melling and I went to the University and started talking to people about tutoring opportunities and they said no because there are students that try to get paid to tutor and so we would be taking away from them because we would do it for free. So... we went to another place and tried to talk to them and they told us to come back later... so we were going to head back and we got to the building and I had to go to the bathroom and so while I was in the bathroom Anziano Melling wandered into a classroom and started talking to this English professor! She was from Canada and when I came out we explained to her the idea of starting an English Club on campus where people could come and put into practice the English that they’ve been studying. She loved the idea and said “we need to go talk to my boss!” So she took us upstairs and her boss wasn’t there but she got her email for us and said that we should write her and we could use her as a point of reference! I’m pretty excited for it! We also found this cool guy named Natale (Christmas) and he’s pretty cool!

We had lunch together, did studies and then took the Taranto Anziani over to the train station so they could head back to Taranto! Anziano Youngblood and I weekly planned for the afternoon and set up a pretty good week!

Saturday morning we came and cleaned the Church because it was needing it and we really want to get in with some members so we’re trying to serve them and do the best we can with that so we cleaned inside and out and it looks a lot better now. We had lunch and then went and taught an investigator called Emilio which went pretty well and then we watched the Saturday session of Stake Conference with some members over a broadcast followed by a lesson that didn’t go through with Frank. We decided to grab some kebab for dinner. The Catanzaro Elders came down to watch the session and grab a ride with us to Stake Conference on Sunday.

So Sunday morning we got up and left the house at seven to start the drive to Stake Conference over near Taranto. We got there at about 9:20 and I loved the Stake Conference so much! I got to see so many people there! Everyone from Crotone, Bari, and Bitonto! It was great! I got to see Sam sustained to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood and I sat next to him for the conference. I also talked to a bunch of people about when we come to visit in May. I saw Anziano Allen too which was a pretty proud moment because I saw him speaking to members and stuff in Italian and I was a pretty proud “Dad!” The conference was great and then we went to Taranto for lunch with the other Anziani. We made baked potatoes and it was delicious! Came back to Cosenza and I was exhausted!

That’s the week in a rap! How was yours???

Here is a little thought from the Stake Conference, the general authority that came said. “I worship a Christ that speaks Less and acts more.” I think we could all do a little more acting our faith and I think it would grow a lot.

Have a great week!

Anziano Jacob Bellucci

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Cosenza Transfer 12 Week 1

Transfers are in and as you can see above I had to leave behind my beloved Napoli! I was sooooooo sad! And I still kind of am but I know that it’s the Lord that leads this Church and the missionary assignments so I’m good with it!

Monday night we had a Family Home Evening with the Grandulli family and it ended up just being the parents and us. Genny (Short for Gennaro so it’s a dude) was working and their other son was at a friend’s house so we ate dinner with them and had some really good discussion about General Conference! They’re such a sweet family and I really enjoyed spending some time with them. Sister Grandulli made this olive red sauce for the pasta and it was so olivy! As my Mom knows I LOVE olives... not. BUT I ate it! Haha it was alright, I wouldn’t ask for it but it was good :)

As usual we got the call on Sunday night that I would be coming down here to Cosenza which is back in the Taranto Zone and it’s actually in the same District as Crotone so I’ll be able to go back and visit some of the people there! I am still a Zone Leader so I’ll get to go around and visit quite a bit of Calabria which I’m really excited for. Cosenza is a city in the mountains, it’s a lot bigger than Crotone but it’s a lot smaller than Napoli for sure! My new companion’s name is Anziano Youngblood and he’s a stud! He’s in Anziano Jensen’s group so he’s about three months behind me.

So Tuesday morning was quite a bit of packing, I printed a few pictures to give to people and tried to get a lot of it done in the morning. We went over to visit the Ariante family for lunch and we had a great time. Giuseppe leaves on his mission in I think two weeks so they were asking us all sorts of logistics questions for him. She made is this broccoli pasta with homemade noodles, it was way good! Fish and greens for round two and Cachi for dessert... that fruit thing that’s sooo good! They won’t be in season when my family comes to get me in May which is a bummer but they are so good! (Yes fruits actually have a season here... I will miss that!) we talked about General Conference with them as well and had a great discussion about giving our will to the Lord, how it’s important to keep the commandments and do everything that you should but if we don’t change our will as we do these things then we miss out on so many of the blessings that he’s ready to give us. So that’s my invite for you all is to think about your will or your desires and consider what you can do to align your will with that of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

We went home to work on some more packing for a few minutes and then went to English Course, it was really sad to leave everyone! I’ve made a lot of great friends in Napoli especially in our English Course, I will miss them for sure! Pictures were taken, goodbyes were said and it was a good night!

We had the Battipaglia Elders coming to our house on Tuesday because we went to Rome on Wednesday for a conference with Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles as well as Elder L. Whitney Clayton on the Presidency of the 70 and Elder Massimo DeFeo of the Europe Area Presidency, who is actually Anziano DeFeo’s Uncle who is Italian, as well as their wives. It was such a beautiful conference and it was so geared towards us as missionaries, making us feel inspired to go out and do the Lord’s work. It was also so cool to see how an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ acts outside of General Conference. They are so in tune with the spirit but they are also ordinary men like you and I. Yes they have a sacred calling but they are allowed to joke around and have fun and that’s exactly what they were doing. Elder Ballard talked about a Pentecostal like opportunity in our mission and how there are so many Italians that are waiting and ready to receive the restored Gospel. Elder DeFeo talked about how when the Lord says many he envisions millions. There are 10 stakes in Italy and there could be 100 within my lifetime but it’s going to take work to share the restored Gospel.

The conference only lasted about an hour and a half and afterwards we went out finding in Rome for about an hour and then we came back to get flu shots ๐Ÿ˜ž but it went okay ๐Ÿ‘Œ We had a few hours before our train so we took some Pass along Cards and got off the metro near the Fountain of Trevi, took a few pictures and then headed to the train station. While we were waiting for the metro ๐Ÿš‡ we started to talk to this girl named Lucia, it turns out she works for the American embassy in Rome and so she speaks English pretty well! The metro was soooo full, three of them passed and there was no room to get a group of 17 missionaries on all together and so Lucia was like “Let’s walk, I’ll show you the way!” And so we did! It was really cool because we were going to meet a few of the Young adult members from Rome at the station and so we got to introduce her to them and the missionaries there too which was way cool! Other than that pretty uneventful ride back to Napoli except we got bumped up to First Class and they gave us snacks... haha (It’s the little things in life) I had to get one last Napoli pizza but I wasn’t very hungry so I split one with Anziano Compas.

Transfer day went well! I need to get rid of some stuff though because my bags are WAY too heavy! The train followed the coast and so there was a beautiful view of the sea. Anziano Youngblood picked me up and we drove back to Cosenza (I’m back in a car city!) I got unpacked and we did a little trip around the city on foot talking to people about the Book of Mormon and then we had English Course. Our English Course is like 10 old people so we’re going to be working on that! We gotta get it pumped up. We had fun though, I taught basic course.

Friday we had missionary leadership council over skype and it went really well. The Sisters that I came to Italy with go home this Transfer in like a month which is so sad but they shared their testimonies at the end. After that I realized that there was no information in our area Book... apparently the missionary I replaced didn’t like to put anything in and Anziano Youngblood’s tablet has been broken. So we spent the morning getting that up to date. PB&J for lunch and then weekly Planning in the afternoon followed by some solid finding. We stopped this couple and she was like “I’m Christian, he’s Muslim, we just don’t talk about religion, try someone else.” With the help of the Spirit and some sweet talking we were able to share a video with them and leave her a Book of Mormon. Just goes to show how important it is to make them reject you twice before accepting it.

Saturday we went to Sister Spadafora’s house and she is the best! She literally bakes all the time and she makes us homemade peanut butter... we did some service  cleaning up her yard and outside her house. I asked her how long she’s been a member and she started in on the story. She told us her life story and how she came to know the Church. It was absolutely beautiful and the spirit was super strong!

There is a huge American like a University here and so we went to do some English  Course publicity but turns out Saturday is not the day for the University... so we came home, ate lunch, made brownies and went to Crotone for a baptism! It was so cool, we went early so I could introduce the Anziani there to some of the people I taught while I was there and it was so cool to be back! I got to say hi to a lot of members and non members which was really nice. The Branch is still struggling but it will get better! There is a senior couple there helping out and they are doing a great job. I think the baptism really got them excited which is good!

Sunday was Church of course which was really nice, it was nice to feel really useful during Church. I said the opening prayer, blessed the sacrament, gave one of the talks, team taught Sunday School with my companion and translated Priesthood! Church can be exhausting sometimes but it’s always so good!

We did some finding and then we were about to head home and I saw this guy that I had seen on a bench following us and so I turned around and asked him a question and it turned out he was going through a really hard time and he just felt like he needed to talk to us. We were able to teach him the Restoration and we’re going to teach him again on Wednesday!

The apartment here in Cosenza isn’t the best but worse is how gross it was... so we spent the morning cleaning. It was really rewarding though because it looks so good now and I’m definitely happier! We went grocery shopping and it’s been raining all day so I don’t think we are going to do much else, just relax!

I hope you all have a great week! Remember to continue going over The addresses from General Conference, they’re all available in lds.org! Love you!

Anziano Jacob Bellucci

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Napoli!! Transfer 11 Week 6

Buongiorno bellissimi!

Transfer calls are today! Somehow every six weeks it keeps sneaking up on me! So tonight I will find out if I am heading out of Napoli or if I am packing my bags! As much as I would love to stay for another 6 weeks I have a feeling I will be transferred! We’ll find out tonight for sure!

This is the last Transfer for the sisters that came out with me, they’ll go home I think the first week of December which means I’ll have 6 months left! Ahh where is the time going?!?!

Well this week feels kind of like a month, on Monday evening I started an exchange with Anziano Compas who works in Battipaglia. Anziano Allen was actually his follow-up trainer so we got to talk about him a little bit. We had a lot of fun together though and we worked really hard! He is in his 5th Transfer so a little over 7 months out and he is from somewhere in Utah... I don’t really remember where :/ We did some finding that night and then we went to visit a member of the Branch Presidency. His name is Brother Cannata and he’s probably my favorite member here. He’s probably in his 60’s, never been married but he has served as Branch President like 3 times as well as District President. We went over to pump him up and just talk about General Conference as well as talk about the Branch a little bit. It was good and he told us some stories about how President Nelson came to Napoli as a newly ordained apostle and it was really cool.

Tuesday we hit the streets and had some really good finding experiences. We found this lady named Jacqueline from Brazil. She’s been here in Italy since she was a little girl, she’s now probably in her 40s but she remembers the missionaries coming over to her house as a little girl in Brazil at the age of 7! She said “Take my number!” We were super excited! We were headed back home and we were waiting in the metro and we had just missed it so there was no one in the platform and no train coming soon and we both decided we should go get some gelato... so we did! Talked to the gelato lady too! We had the drum circle in the afternoon and Anziano Compas loved that! Haha it was a good night, we had like 28 people in English Course! Grabbed a pizza with a few of them afterwards which is always good!

Wednesday morning I had my Doctors appointment and I got the stitches out... it was kind of painful but I’m doing much better now! Everything went well and Sam brought us so he brought us back to his house and we did our personal study on his big comfy American Couch before correlation and lunch. It was a pretty great morning!

Switched back with my companion and I was beat! I don’t know why but that exchange was exhausting! We spent the evening getting a lot of stuff done, we were planning the Activity with all the other missionaries and then my companion accidentally called America... some Utah tourists needed a translator for something and so they looked up our number and the call dropped and then without looking to see what kind of number they had he hit redial and it called them right back using up all of our credit for the rest of the month! So we had to find a Tobacco shop and buy more... ๐Ÿ™Š oops!

Thursday we had District Meeting and started another exchange with the Elders from Caserta, I worked with Anziano Pineau who was Anziano Allen’s follow-up trainer so we got to talk a little about that too! He goes home in about a month and a half and he’s slowing down a little bit but he’s still working hard which is good! We were working on some genealogy stuff for some members that never showed up :( We had English Course and Nicoletta finally came! She started University so she’s been super busy but it was good to see her and we talked a little bit but she had studying to do! Anziano Pineau wanted a pizza since he’s only here in Napoli every once in a while!

Friday exchange continued into a morning full of finding! It was a good one, we also got a Nutella bomb... so good. After we switched back Anziano Jensen and I went to go visit Sister Berruto which was great, we talked about Elder Holland’s message from Conference, in fact we watched it together. She really enjoyed it, we will one day be perfect! This is the part that really hit me this time he said “I am grateful that God is merciful and a peacemaker because I need mercy and the world needs peace.” It’s beautiful!

Saturday was a beautifully busy day! In the morning we called like 3000 people for the Activity and actually had some success! After lunch we went to go and visit Vincenzo, he was an investigator when I first got here and I told him I would probably be leaving and he gave me a necklace with a cross on it that he wears everyday. He then said “I could buy you something and give it to you but that wouldn’t mean anything, something that is mine has so much more worth” it was a really nice gesture. We went to the baptism at 5 and it was great Abraham was baptized by Brother Cannata and then we started getting ready for the Activity. An Elderly Sister called and said that she had invited a friend and asked if we would go pick her up from the station and I was going to ask the other Elders because we were helping set up but I felt like we should go and do it. So we went and who do we see at the station but Nicoletta! She hadn’t gotten our message about the Activity so we were put in the right place at the right time! She ended up coming to the Activity which was a huge success! We had so much fun! There were so many people there and the Branch was really United. We had a lot of less active members and non members that came too so I would count it as a success! Lots of them even skipped the Napoli vs. Rome soccer game which is a pretty big deal!

Sunday was great ๐Ÿ‘ Giuseppe wasn’t there and he usually controls the music because no one here plays the piano so we plug in an iPad or phone with the LDS music app and so I got to sit up on the stand to do the music and kind of be hidden behind the piano. It was actually really cool to be able to look out at all the people in Sacrament Meeting and think about how much I love them, how important they are to me and their individual stories. I felt like I got a small glimpse of the love that Heavenly Father must feel for us as he looks out upon the masses. He knows our struggles and our strengths, and he knows our hearts more importantly. I feel like as a missionary we get to know their hearts as well.

In the afternoon we went to visit the Philippine members and they made us spring rolls and we took pictures before going to the Elder Ballard Conference. Elder Ballard was broadcasting live from Frankfurt Germany to the Adults of Europe. It was a beautiful Conference and a beautiful way to start off the week! We are actually going to see Elder Ballard in Rome on Wednesday, he is doing a broadcast for our mission and the Napoli Zone gets to go and be there live! We went finding after the broadcast and we just saw so much success! I am so grateful to be serving a mission, there is no where I would rather be and no one else I would rather be serving! I love you and I hope you have a great week! Who knows where I’ll be emailing from next week!

Anziano Jacob Bellucci