Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Crotone! Transfer 4 Week 6!

Christmas Caroling, Christmas Parties, and Christmas in 🇮🇹 Italia! ...oh yeah and  Octopus soup!

First off Merry Christmas to all of you! I hope you had an incredible day and really took the opportunity to remember our Savior Jesus Christ! I know I really felt the spirit of Christmas and more importantly the spirit of Christ! 

On Tuesday we had a combined District meeting with the District of Cosenza, we did a secret Santa gift exchange and a really awesome training on our purpose as missionaries. The Sister that gave the training was Sister Condé who is going home to America tomorrow! It was really cool to see her testimony of Jesus Christ and how much she relies on Heavenly Father's help. As for the gift exchange I got Anziano Smith who works in Cosenza so I went to a Chinese store and got him a little air soft gun... but I actually got two and gave one to his companion before the gift exchange. So when he opened his, his companion pulled out the other one and said "It's on" I'm glad I don't live with them hahaha

On Thursday we went to the Pediatrics unit at the Hospital to sing for the kids, we went to the end of the hall where this big Christmas tree was set up. We started to sing the Italian lyrics of the familiar Christmas  carol "Silent Night" and one by one each child came out from their room and made their way down the hall way to the lights on the tree. We continued to sing as some came closer in wheel chairs, others trailing IV posts behind them and others in the arms of their loving parents. They gathered around and we continued to sing, a few in English, a few in Italian and everyone's favorite "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer!" As we began to close I asked them if we could all take a photo together and all but one said yes. Afterwards we went and talked to this one girl that didn't want to be in the photo. She said she was embarrassed by the IV pole and she didn't want everyone to stare at it. A thought came in to my head, the IV pole was taller than I was but it was adjustable, we lowered it down and Anziani Haws stood in front of it and we took a picture with her and her Mom! The Christmas joy was definitely present as she saw herself as a person and not a sick child. 

Friday was the Church Christmas Party! They actually decided to do a dinner  which was really good! It started an hour and a half late (Italian standard time and Mormon standard time combined is not good...) but it went pretty well. We ate Lasagna and some other type of pasta and then chicken, salads, fruit, walnuts, and lots of desserts! Of course I made brownies and the Sisters made Pound cake! It was a good turn out for as small as the Branch is and definitely a lot of fun. 

Christmas Eve! We left early and caught a bus to Cutro to hang out with the Tedesco family. Sister Tedesco had 12 families mapped out for us to go visit and sing Christmas Carols to. They were all families who are going through a rough time and could use some Christmas cheer. Most of them when we left were in tears and you could really tell that they felt the spirit. Yay for Christmas!

Then we came back to Crotone and had dinner with Carla and her family. Carla was a foreign exchange student in Indiana and the family that she stayed with was LDS (Kind if the same story as Virginia back in Cagliari!) and she is an investigator of the Sorelle. We had the best Christmas Eve dinner and and I ate Octopus!!!!  it was really good! We ate lots of good stuff and spent some time getting to know their family! 

Christmas! Our one day to sleep in and my companion forgot to turn off his alarm, so we were up at 6:30 anyway! But we both went back to sleep! Church was moved to 10:30 and it went really well. The Branch President likes to do impromptu choirs. He doesn't have a practice or anything, he just says everyone that wants to sing come on up! So that was a train wreck... I've never heard "Angels we have heard on high" sung in so many different keys at the same time. Good thing it's the Sacrament that we go to church for! After church we went to the Corrado's family for lunch, it was great! I never thought I would eat pasta for Christmas dinner but when in Italy I guess! Then back to the church to skype and it was great! 

Today we are watching "Finding Dory" at Church! So far it's good! I can't believe my First Christmas is the mission is over! Today is also a holiday in Italy it's Saint Steven's day so literally everything is closed, we can't even buy milk. So that's the week in a wrap! I love you and I hope you are all having a good Christmas! 


Anziano Bellucci

Monday, December 19, 2016

Crotone! Transfer 4 Week 5!

Buon Natale Fratelli e Sorelle! 

Christmas is upon us! I can't believe its almost here! We've had some pretty good days here in Crotone! A week of exchanges, being locked inside our apartment, making pizza, and a whole lot of English Course Finding! 

We went to Cutro on Tuesday to visit a family, we ate lunch and played Jenga, gave some English help to one of the kids and overall had a good time. It's really interesting to help these kids with English because a lot of their text books are Italian made and there are so many mistakes. Cracks me up. It went well though and then we went to Cutro again on Wednesday to see Antonio. His Grandma is still in the hospital here in Crotone so we brought stuff to make Pranzo with him and his brothers. 

Thursday we did a scambio (exchange) with the Anziani from Catanzaro, I worked with Anziano De Feo and we had an awesome time! Little mini bio about him, he is from Canada and his parents are both Italian so he grew up with Italian in his house, his Dad grew up in Taranto and if I remember right they actually got married here in Italy before going to Canada. So he knew a little Italian before coming out and went to the Spain Missionary Training Center and was companions with Anziano Redaelli there. Anyway we had a really good time, we taught the Restoration to a new investigator and it went super well and then on Friday morning we didn't have anything planned so we decided to go out and do some English Course Finding! We gave out almost 200 English Course cards and talked to so many cool people! I have so much less fear on exchanges, I don't know why but it's great! I have a lot more confidence and I talk to so many people and when you do that the spirit is so much stronger! It went really well and then when they got back we decided to have them spend the night and we went Christmas Caroling with the Sisters to a bunch of members and investigators! It was a great night and we were able to see a lot of smiles. 

That night we went to lock the door and the key got stuck in the door. So we tried and we tried and we tried to get it out but nothing worked. Thankfully it was unlocked and we could still open the door with the handle but it was annoying. We decided to go to bed with the door latched but not locked. You couldn't get inside from the outside but it wasn't bolted. So the way that you lock our door from the inside is to use the key on the inside and lock it like a dead bolt. The problem is there's no handle on the outside, you have to use a key to unlock the door and with the key stuck on the other side you can't put another key in from the outside. Long story short, if we left we wouldn't be able to get back in. We had a meeting at 8 AM so we left Catanzaro in the apartment and went to the meeting and then tried to mess with the door some more. Well we got the key out and then Anziano Redaelli went out in the hallway and locked the door and then tried to unlock it. Well we couldn't get it unlocked. That left Anziano Redaelli locked outside and me and Anziano De Feo and Haws locked inside on the fourth floor. My companion was real stressed and it was 12 and the guy that we had called earlier couldn't come until 4. A hammer, a pair of pliers and some blunt force later they finally got the door unlocked. So the guy finally came at 4 and sprayed some WD-40 on it... like that's what it needed and hopefully next week they will be replacing our door. For now we can't lock it :/ 

When we finally got out of our apartment we went to an English Course Student's house for Pranzo, they are wonderful people. Very Catholic and not interested in hearing about the church but they come to English Course every week and are so nice. She actually told me on Thursday at English Course that I have gotten fatter since I got to Crotone. In Italy that's not rude... they will literally see their Grandma and say "Wow Grandma you've gotten fat!" And it's not rude. I added a little cultural lesson to English Course that night. Haha So she is in her late 30's early 40's and her Mom comes to English Course too. So we ate with all of them this big seafood Pranzo and I told her it's her fault if I get fatter. 

Sunday was absolutely exhausting... I translated Sacrament meeting which is exhausting in itself and then taught Sunday School and Priesthood I helped my companion teach. I was so tired by the time we went home! I made lunch and watched "On the Lord's Errand" the story of President Monson, its a good one! That was pretty much all the exciting things that happened this week! 

I am pretty excited for Christmas, it should be a good one! We have some plans with members and I will get to skype home! I can't wait to hear about everyone's Christmas! 

Have a great week and a merry Christmas! Remember to keep Christ at the center of all things especially in this special season! 

Buon Natale e vi voglio bene!

Anziano Bellucci

Monday, December 12, 2016

Crotone! Transfer 4, Week 4!

I'm running out of ways to start my emails... so... if you have any ideas let me know!
Hello everyone and Merry Christmas! I can't believe we are less than two weeks away! It doesn't quite feel like Christmas here... it's been about 45 degrees all week which I hear is about as cold as it gets, and there's no snow but it's okay because the Christmas spirit, or rather the spirit of Christ is definitely here!
Like I said last week we headed over to Taranto on Monday for Zone Conference and it was a great time! The travel kind of blew but it was a lot of fun. We took a two hour train and then a bus for three hours to get to Taranto and the Zone Leaders had pizza waiting for us because they know how much the bus ride blows. I learned that I can ride in a tour bus just fine on the freeway (super strada) but when we drive through every little town and curvy roads I get real sick and the bus, on the way there was a curvy route 😳😷not so good but I made it!
Tuesday was the conference and so we get to see President and Sister Pickerd which is always so great, they are like a little piece of America that you don't get to see very often so it's always so nice to talk with them. It was nice to meet the missionaries from the Zone, there is a Sister from my group who is actually training! We had a really cool training about light and the different ways that we can all be a light to our companion, our members and our investigators. Anziano Friedman who is one of our Zone Leaders shared a really cool story, he grew up Jewish and so he shared the story behind Hanukkah and the lights in the temple, I got to learn some more about his conversion as we did an exchange the next day. Taranto is a huge city, its bigger than Cagliari but it definitely reminded me of Cagliari which was really nice. That night Anziano Friedman took me to this vending machine that has DR. PEPPER! For the first time in 6 months I got the sweet nectar haha the little can cost 2€ which is like $2.20 but it was worth every penny. They import it from England so I guess I can see why it costs so much but it seems a little excessive. Speaking of expensive things, I saw some Jiffy peanut butter the other day the little tiny one and it was 6€ crazy. They have PB from Holland that isn't too bad and its double the size and half the price so I buy that one.
Anyway Wednesday our exchange continued and we went to one of their investigators houses for Pranzo, she is a wonderful lady and so sweet, she is like an Italian Mom for the Anziani of Taranto. And man can she cook, she made my favorite, homemade ravioli! We all about ate ourselves sick! And then she made Tiramisu for dessert which was Heavenly. Funny story about this, he first time they went over there she asked if there was anything they didn't eat and they said no and so she made tiramisu with coffee and they couldn't eat it and she felt so bad so this time she made it with orzo and it was so good! She grew up Catholic but has never really studied the Bible and so she has a lot of questions. As she reads the Book of Mormon she doesn't always understand the references to the Bible or sometimes just the wording so she writes down the verse and then they go through it. She has such a desire to understand and a thirst for the knowledge it was so great to see her pour over the scriptures. And I learned a lot from Anziano Friedman's answers to her questions, things that I didn't fully understand before. The Gospel is cool because there is always more to learn!
Back on the bus and about 4 hours later we made it back to Crotone! Meno male it was a freeway bus this time! There is your Italian Phrase, meno male is like "Good thing..." "Fortunately..."
Parrucchieri (Hair salons) are almost all closed on Monday so we have to get hair cuts on not P-Day so we went Thursday and my companion likes this place it's called the "Gentlemen's Club" to me it's called "Over priced old men with cigars and alcohol" but he likes it so we went. It is kind of a cool place their water spray bottles were like old Jack-Daniels bottles which was interesting but they did a good enough job! We then went to the church and set up the baptismal font. The Sisters had a Baptism on Saturday and baptisms here usually happen in the ocean but it's too cold so they have this portable thing (It is a giant pain in the butt but totally worth the Baptism!) so we got it set up and ready!
Friday my companion was sooooo sick, he didn't get out of bed at all. I called a member and had them bring us some medicine, drugged him up, made him eat some soup and sent him back to bed. I cleaned the whole house, read two ensigns, watched Meet the Mormons in Italian (Way better in English) and read almost half the book of Alma, made some apple sauce, a ragù sauce and a carbonara for lunch. All while my companion slept... I don't know what I'm going to do when I go home and here isn't something planned for every hour of the day.
Saturday Baptism! We spent almost the whole day in the church, we moved the font into another bigger room, we taught seminary and made lunch for the one seminary student that came and then it was time to fill the font! I don't know if I said this before but our church is two apartments put together and so the bathrooms still have bathtubs because eventually they will move the church and this will turn into an apartment again. So the font gets filled with a hose from the bathtub and it takes FOREVER. But it all worked out and we were ready for the Baptism! The Sisters asked me to sing a duet with Sorella Taylor "Bisogno ho di te" which is "I need thee every hour" it went pretty well but public singing is so not my favorite thing to do. Anziano Redaelli was feeling well enough to baptize Xenia a cute little Filipino girl and it was amazing, so many members came out to support her and it was definitely a boost that both us missionaries and the members needed.
Church is almost always my favorite part of the week! After Sacrament Sister Zarfino came and started talking to me about all this homemade pasta she had bought and the sauce she had made before church and I was so hungry but she hadn't said anything about us coming over so I said "Sorella Zarfino, is this an invite?" And she's like "Well yeah, I wouldn't just be telling you about this if I wasn't going to invite you over!" So we had Pranzo together and it was just as good as she made it sound! We then went with a new convert to visit his Grandma in the hospital and she was in a room with 5 other people (We won't talk about Italian Hospitals) and we asked if we could sing a Christmas carol and all the old ladies said "Of Course!" So we started with "Nato è Gesù" which is Silent Night and then we sang  "Oh Come all he Faithful" or "Venite Fedeli" and by the end we had a handful of people come in and singing with us from several rooms down the hall, it was incredible! We had such a great time and the spirit was so strong, then all the Italians sang a hymn called "He came from the stars" or something like that and it was absolutely beautiful and you could see their faces light up as if they were imagining their childhood memories and their families. The spirit of Christmas really is the spirit of Christ, it can touch the hearts of those who are prepared to hear it and we can share the word through a simple smile, a song or a kind word to someone in need.
Christmas is quickly approaching and I just wanted to invite you all to remember Jesus Christ in everything you do this Holiday season. He is the reason for the season and when we focus on him we really can feel that Christmas joy. I love you all and I hope you have a wonderful week!

Anziano Jacob Bellucci

Monday, December 5, 2016

Crotone! Transfer 4, Week 3!

Hey everyone! How is everyone doing?!?!

We have had a pretty good week here as usual! Tuesday we had DDM in the morning and afterwards we went to this panini shop here in Crotone and it was SOOOO good! I got a panino with sausage and peppers and onions and some crotonese sauce, it was great. Calabria which is the region of Italy where we are, it includes the toes of the boot of Italy is known for spicy food, "Calabrian Spice!" So the panino was a little spicy but still real good. We finished off District lunch with a quick stop at the French fry shop called "Chips and Beer" because there are so many tourists almost everything has English names... Also good and a really good night at English Course!

Wednesday we went to Cutro to meet with our New Convert that wants to go on a mission! We had pranzo with him and his Grandma and we're going to start teaching him English! Then we went and saw this really cool less-Active family and shared the #LightTheWorld video with them, they loved it and hopefully they'll come back to church!

Sorella Angela... her last name is too hard to pronounce (Siniscalchi) so everyone calls her Sister Angela and she is the sweetest little old Italian lady you've ever seen. She is 82 years old and is in amazing health, she wakes up at 4 AM everyday and works out and walks to the cemetery to see her husband, she lives in an old castle which is so cool! She walks all over the city and we came over on Thursday and she was out sweeping the leaves off the neighbors steps, she is so active and really she just loves to have some company so we try to go over and talk to her once a week. While we were there someone came by selling costagne which are chestnuts and she bought a 5 Kilo bag of them, we carried them inside for her and she pulled out her nut cracker and said "Alright, I've got work to do so I'll see you guys on Sunday" she is honestly the coolest Grandma ever.

Thursday two really cool things happened... the first was that I had made homemadchicken noodle soup because the Sister missionaries were sick. Anziano Redaelli had never had chicken noodle soup before! What a shame... turns out he likes it! Probably just because it's American and he loves everything American!

The second and even cooler thing happened at English Course. Our English course is huge, we've had about 30 people each week which is pretty big! We always ask at the end if any of them would like to offer the prayer and no one ever says yes but Sister Condé asked again and this lady who is probably 30 years old just started to pray and it was the most humble prayer I've heard in a long time. Afterwards the Sisters went and talked to her and she just started to cry, she felt the spirit so strongly and now the sisters are teaching her! As we were getting ready to leave another student came up to us and was asking questions and he started to explain how he felt during the course. He began to explain to us that the Sisters were just teaching English and he could see so much light in them. He said "I don't know how to explain it, it seems so strange, they're not talking about religion, they're just teaching English and they have such a strong spirit, I feel so good when I'm here." That was a testimony of two things to me 1. We have a light, as disciples of Jesus Christ we have a light that can be shared in the way that we act, the things hat we say and smiles that we share. #LightTheWorld is an inspired initiative because we all have the light, and its our responsibility to share it! 2. It hardly matters what we say or what we teach, if we create an environment for the spirit to testify to the hearts of the people we teach then we can be saying anything and the spirit will testify to those who are ready to receive the message. It was really comforting as obviously I am still learning Italian, I make a lot of mistakes but we all speak the language of the spirit, it's universal and can be felt by everyone.

We set up another Christmas Tree with the D'oppido family on Friday! One of the strings of lights broke and Anziano Redaelli tried to fix them, he twisted the wires together and taped it up. He plugged it in and they worked! Then he unplugged it and went to plug it back in to show everyone, it made a huge bang and started a small fire... I don't think he will be an electrician any time soon... but the Christmas tree had lights on half of it and I thought it looked pretty good!

The rest of the weekend was pretty normal! We did some less active lessons and I met some pretty cool members! Yesterday we went to Sister Zarfino's for lunch after church, she made this pasta with sausage and hamburger meat and besciamella and mozzarella cheese! It was soooo cheesy and so good! Then for round two was just a big old plate of meat. Calabrian meat balls, fried chicken, and chicken cordon blu... just straight meat and we ate so much!

This afternoon we are heading to Taranto for Zone Conference, it should be really fun! We will be in Taranto until Wednesday because we are doing an exchange with the Zone Leaders, it should be good! I'm excited to meet the Zone Leaders and the other missionaries here.

I hope you have a good week and let me know what you are all doing for Christmas! I love seeing what you are all up to! Love ya!


Monday, November 28, 2016

Crotone! Transfer 4, Week 2!

Thanksgiving and Christmas is the best time of the year!

Howdy everybody from the sea side city of Crotone! This week was so good and we had a wonderful Thanksgiving and a great start to the Christmas season!

So on Tuesday we had a pretty good day, we started the morning with the ELders from Consenza, they don't have WiFi in their church and the Zone Leaders wanted to do a Skype Conference with all the District Leaders so they came and used our wifi with my companion who is our District Leader and we spent omost of the morning in a conference. Then we went home and ate lunch together and they headed back to Cosenza! We had a really good English Course that night too, since my companion is Italian they all look at me to ask questions and stuff which is pretty fun. He speaks really well but his grammar is not always on point so he teaches Vocabulary and then I teach Grammar... We make a good team! The Italians really struggle with the words To, too and two, its really confusing how they can all be said the same exact way but mean completely different things. So I spent a long time trying to explain it.

Wednesday we went to Cutro, we took a bus there in the morning to visit a recent convert and his family. He is 17 and a total hoimie, he wants to go on a mission and he hopes to go to America. We are teaching him English and still going over the missionary discussions. SO we took the bus there, it was absolutely beautiful! His Grandma made us lunch and we then had a lesson with him and his little Brother! His little Brother really wants to get baptized too so we are excited to work with him!

Thanksgiving! So turns out Turkey is really expensive in Italy and you have to order it ahead so we decided not to do the traditional turkey and to do Chicken instead! So we wanted to make it like an American Thanksgiving! So we divided up the District and I made Three roasted chickens and a batch of homemade stuffing! The Sorella made mashed potatoes and vegetables and the Elders in Catanzaro made Gravy, brought drinks and made brownies! (Pie crust doesn't really exist in Italy and making it homemade is way too much work!) It turned out really well and we had a lot of fun! My companion was really confused as to why we were so excited about Thanksgiving but it was really a lot of fun and I think he enjoyed it! We all are too much so I think it was a successful Thanksgivings even though we didn't have Turkey! We all went around the table and talked about what we're thankful for and it was a really cool experience to see 6 missionaries, 5 Americans and 1 Italian together halfway around the world 🌎 talking about the things that we're grateful for and it made me grateful for another blessing that the Church brings to us. It teaches us to be truly grateful for the blessings that we have!

We invited our English Course to bring dolce which is just like desserts on Thursday so we could have a little festa for Thanksgiving even though they don't celebrate it and it was a lot of fun!

On Friday we saw the Grande Family, Sister Grande and her daughter Angela. Angela served a mission on Temple Square two years ago and she teaches English now here in Crotone! She's a lot of fun and it was cool to hear her testimony and the love that she has for the temple in Salt Lake and the Church's history there.

Saturday the Church celebrated 50 years in Italy so we had a party with dolce and the church created a video of the history of the Church in Italy and the first members and branches. It was really cool to give the members here in Crotone an extra boost of hope and inspiration so that this Branch can grow and one day be great again!

Sunday is always one of my favorite days! We had a great Sacrament meeting and then I got to teach Sunday school, we talked about the last three chapters in the Book of Moroni and because I'm a missionary I had to emphasize Moroni's promise in Chapter 10: 3-5

3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if
it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember
how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the
creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these
things, and ponder it in your hearts.
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye
would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these
things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with
real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it
unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

I invited them to re-strengthen their testimony by doing two things, making and keeping goals to re-read the Book of Mormon and to trust in Moroni's promise and ask in sincere prayer if the Book of Mormon is
true. This is my invite for you guys as well! If it's been a while since you've picked up the Book of Mormon, blow the dust off it, Heavenly Father is waiting to give you your answers but we have to read! If you read everyday focus on your prayers along with your scripture study. Every time we read it we can learn something 😃

The Sisters have a family that is investigating the Church and they asked if we would come over and give the Mom and the son blessings. The Mom has been having some Health problems and the son has some
really graphic and satanic bad dreams. So we gave those two blessings and ended up giving five other blessings to the rest of the family who all were having some sort of legitimate reason, so seven in total! We explained the sacredness of priesthood blessings and how special they are. The Sisters stayed and had a lesson afterwards and hey called us and said the spirit was so strong in their lesson and the family
really felt the spirit during the lessons.

Last night we went to the Corrado Family's house and decorated their house for Christmas! We helped them put up their Christmas tree and sand Christmas songs which were all in English so I was having so much fun! We hung up lights and don't worry Mom I took some pictures!

So That was my week! We had a lot of fun and saw a lot of success and I can't believe its almost Christmas! I hope you guys have a great week and if you do some Christmas decorating send me some pictures! I would love to see all the Christmas cheer!

I almost forgot! I opened my Moms package for Christmas and got all the Christmas bulbs with all the messages! I hung it up in our apartment and it's the best gift I could have gotten! So thank you all for the messages! Merry Christmas!

Anziano Bellucci

Monday, November 21, 2016

I got Transferred!

New city, new ITALIAN Companion and a lot of changes! But all good things!

So the biggest news is that I got transferred! I am in Crotone which if you think of Italy as a boot it is the ball of your foot, a beautiful city on the coast with a tiny little branch that meets in an apartment building that has been turned into a church!

Ok, so Monday we went to Ruth's house for a Family home evening and we were there when we got the call from President Pickerd to give us our transfer calls. Before Monday I had kind of thought that I would be staying in Cagliari but then as we went throughout the day I kind of thought that I would be leaving... so Anziano Larussa answered the phone and I heard him get his transfer call that he would be staying in Cagliari but he would be training a new missionary which means I knew I would be leaving but I had to wait for President to finish his conversation with my companion and then President told me that I would be headed to Crotone to work with an Italian companion Anziano Redaelli!

The next two days was kind of a blur of taking pictures with people and saying goodbye! I never realized how people could get so attached to the people they served with but I definitely realized when I left Cagliari how much I had grown to love the people! Cagliari is like my home away from home but Crotone is starting to grow on me!

So Thursday was transfer day and a member picked me up at the apartment and took me to the airport, I flew to Rome and then to Lamezia which is the only relatively big airport in Calabria and then I met my new companion there and we took the train across the boot to Crotone! The Branch President picked us up and brought my luggage to our apartment and then we headed straight to English Course. My companion speaks English so well! He has been in the mission for a little over a year and has learned so much! So for language study I help him with English and he helps me with Italian!

So a little about my companion! Anziano Marco Redaelli, his name is incredibly hard to say even for Italians! He is from a small city outside of Milan and has been in the mission for a little over a year. He was a car mechanic before his mission so he loves cars so we talk about them a lot. Dad, I think you two would get along pretty well! Like I said his English is really good! I am helping him work out the difficult grammatical things that we don't really think about and then vocabulary but other than that he is basically fluent! He is 23 and has a girlfriend in Milan and is planning on getting married when he gets home! He is so OCD so we get along super well! We are both very particular about things being clean and orderly and our first day we were at the church and I was fixing the keyboards in the Geneology center because they were crooked and he said "I tell we will be friends" haha so this morning we cleaned the apartment and we was so happy because he has never had a companion that cleans. He also loves America and has more American things than I do. He loves Kool-Aid and Peanut Butter and Reeces and Beef Jerky and Skittles.

The branch in Crotone is piccolissimo, at max there are 10 people in attendance and usually less. There was about 12 people in church on Sunday including the missionaries! Honestly its the missionaries that hold this branch together and I am so excited to help! I replaced Anziano Simonsen and before I got here he was the Branch President and the new Branch President was called last week so he's pretty new! On Sunday I was called as the Sunday School President, my companion was called as the Elders Quorum President and the SIster missionaries were called to the presidencies of the Relief Society and Primary. We are all really excited to get this branch back on its feet! It was a big change to go from a ward of 75 or so to a branch this small.

We have been visiting some members around the city and all it has done is rain. Until today I hadn't seen Crotone in the day light because it has been sooo stormy and miserable. But today it was a lot brighter so I saw quite a bit of the city as we went on a walk in the more ancient part of the city! Its a beautiful little city full of people! Also, we love at the top of a hill which is absolutely beautiful, we can see the ocean from the house and the view is great! The only bad thing is when we go grocery shopping we have to carry everything up this dang hill and my arms were about to fall off. Thats about all I have for you guys! I hope you all have a great week!


Anziano Jacob Bellucci

Monday, November 14, 2016

Transfer 3, week 6!

 Holy pizza!

I have never eaten so much pizza in my life, I think I am going to explode. We have eaten Izzo every day this week except for Tuesday at least once if not twice! Its always good but I am kind of tired of pizza...

This week we had lots of appointments with members for dinner (ergo we had pizza everyday) and they were really good! We got a few referrals and are really trying to focus our finding efforts through the Members.

Wednesday and Thursday we did an exchange with Anziano Bourne and Anziano Chugg and it went pretty well. All of our appointments fell through so we did some less active finding for most of Thursday morning. Anziano Chugg is a pretty good missionary, he really likes to work hard but he has way too much energy for me!

Ruth is getting baptized on Saturday!!!!! She did her baptismal interview on Saturday and she is so ready! She told us during her baptismal interview that she was having a rough night the day before and that she was crying. She decided to read from the Book of Mormon and that it would help her with what she was struggling with so she opened it up and she opened to Mosiah 18 which talks about baptism! She bore her testimony to us about how she knew Heavenly Father answers her prayers and how he is so ready to be baptized after investigating the Church for a year and a half. She hasn't chosen who will baptize her yet, she said it will be either Anziano LaRussa or myself but either way we are so excited for her!

This is the last week of the transfer and we get the calls tonight! I really hope to stay here! If I leave I will miss Ruth's baptism and I would love to see it! Plus I love all the members here and I love working with them and being in this city so I hope I am staying! Who knows? Next week I could be in a different city!

I'm sorry this email is kind of short, you all are probably tired of reading my novels every week anyway! I love you all and I hope you have a great week!



Monday, November 7, 2016

Transfer 3, Week 5!

Holy rainy day in Sardegna!
For November it's been so hot here like still in the 70s during the day if not hotter and I am so ready for some cold weather, well today the cold weather came! It's been raining all morning and it's fa freddo as the Italians say! I like it though, it's a little wet but we can make it work!
This week we got stood up for a lot of our lessons this week but we still had some good ones. One of our investigators was telling us about some financial difficulties over the phone and so we were able to teach her the principle of tithing over the phone, we read some scriptures to her and testified to her about the blessings that come from baptism. It made me think about the importance of tithing and the blessings that I have seen from it in my life. It was also really neat to teach a lesson over the phone. We said a prayer and everything. One thing that I have learned in the last few weeks is to not feel awkward about praying in random places. We ask people to pray with us on the street, outside their homes, but it doesn't matter where we are, Heavenly Father hears our prayers!
Another cool thing we did this week was we went to Burcei which is this little tiny city way up in the mountains where you didn't think there was civilization. We got a referral from Mormon.org that had been submitted over a year ago. It said that this guy lived in Burcei and so we decided we would go find him! We drove about an hour up there because his phone didn't work and when we got there we met his twin. His twin said that his Brother wasn't there because he was at work in Cagliari...so we drove all the way up there for nothing... BUT the view was incredible! The road to Burcei is only about 25 km long but it took us the whole hour because it winds through the mountains and it was so pretty and so green. My companion made the comment that all the trees in Italy look like Broccoli and its so true. I didn't take a picture but as we were driving I just kept seeing all these trees that looked like giant broccoli. I took some pictures when we stopped but it doesn't do it justice.
On Tuesday and Wednesday we did an exchange with the Elders that work in Oristano. Anziano Pyper came down and worked with me and we had a lot of fun together! All of the lessons we had planned cancelled on us so we did a lot of finding and just walking around trying to talk to people. We also baked quite a bit... Anziano Pyper likes to cook and we had a ton of apples left over that we didn't use for bobbing for apples 🍎 so we made three pans of apple crisp and I made a batch of Apple sauce, our apartment smelled soooo good and we gave some apple sauce to the Sister Missionaries. Italian desserts are interesting, some of them are very good and others are a little out of my comfort zone or just plain aren't good. Everyone loved the apple crisp, we bought some Ice Cream to eat with it and it was a big hit at Family Home Evening.
On Saturday we had a lesson with Ruth, she is our investigator closest to baptism, she has been meeting with the missionaries for over a year now and she is finally making progress and we are so excited for her! They invited us over to Pranzo and we brought Roberto and Eride, our ward missionaries that are bomb. They are both new converts that love to share the Gospel! We ate pranzo and then they wanted to sing some Karaoke which was really fun. They listen to a lot of American Music so they were singing and we sang some and then we sang "Bisogno ho di te" which is "I Need thee every hour" in Italian to kind of bring the spirit back and let us share the message that we had prepared. Ruth's husband is not ready to be baptized but Ruth really wants to be. So we shared the principles of The Gospel of Jesus Christ with them and then Ruth said to her husband "I am ready to be baptized, and with your blessing I would like to be baptized on the 19th of November." Her husband said he had no problems with her getting baptized so we are super excited! Ruth is getting baptized, she has a baptismal interview on Saturday and for those of you that have been baptized you know that the weeks before your baptism can be some of the hardest days because Satan works at us like no other! So if you all wouldn't mind adding an extra prayer for her we would really appreciate it!
Today was Sorella Tingey's Birthday so we went out to eat Chinese food because its her favorite! We found this really good place that had a buffet and a Mongolian grill thing and it was really good! It reminded me of how much I love Chinese food! Like I said its been raining all day, we're a little soggy but nothing too bad! I have been thinking a lot about what we as Latter-day Saints get out of the Gospel, not in a selfish way but what are some of the blessings that come from knowing that we have the restored Gospel. Ya know its great that its true and all but what do we get out of it. I have a couple thoughts in my mind but I wanted to put it out there as kind of a question for you. What have you seen out of the Gospel that blesses you. What do you think are some of the biggest blessings that come to your life because of your testimony. I really want to hear your thoughts on this! So think about it and get back to me!
I hope you all have a wonderful week and know how much I love you! The Gospel is a great blessing in our lives if we let it change our lives!

P.S. This is the view from the winding road on the way up to Burcei!

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Monday, October 31, 2016

Transfer 3 Week 4!

Cari Fratelli e Sorelle,

Let me tell y'all about my rollercoaster week... On the bright side this week ended up on an incline but there was definitely some days that were in the dumps!

We decided that we would cancel our Family Home Evening that we do every Monday in the park because Italians are basically the biggest wimps in the world. Its 60-65 degrees outside and they are wearing parkas and scarves and hats and gloves "fa freddo" they say all day... anyway I digress, the FHE was cancelled and we are going to do it on Wednesday nights so we can do it in the church and invite members to come. 

So we decided that would give us an awesome opportunity to go visit less-active families and do a FHE with them! So we planned three to go see, banking on at least one of them cancelling if not two. (I've learned already in the mission to double book yourself and then when you get cancelled on you're not out finding for six hours) Well two of them cancelled and we got a bidone from our investigator. A bidone literally means a dumpster. So when people don't show up and don't call or text or anything we say "We got bidoned" (Bidonayed). So we went to this less-active family to do a FHE and it went really well! They have a son that is about 15 and so we took Roberto with us. He is a Recent Convert of about a year and is in the Young Men's Presidency so it was cool to have him with us! 

So my companion could talk to a wall... he can literally talk to anyone and everyone about anything. So we are doing some tracting, knocking on doors (You don't knock on doors in Italy, you ring citofono things with the little speaker and you have to talk to them through this little phone on the side of the house... it makes it really hard to actually get into people's houses) Anyway this lady actually comes to the door. Her name is Maria and she answers the door and I say "Hi we're the missionaries..." and I asked her if she had 5 minutes to hear a quick message. She said 'I don't have 5 minutes, I don't have thee minutes, I don't have one minute. I just got back from the doctor's and I have a broken rib... blah blah blah. I was like okay, she's not interested, got it. But Anziano LaRussa was like "What happened to your rib?" More than an hour later we had heard her life story, taught her the Restoration and been in her home for much longer than the five minutes that she didn't have! It just goes to show you the power of not giving up! Sometimes you just have to try a little harder! Especially in your missionary efforts. So get out there hit up some cool people to share the Gospel! 

Wednesday and Thursday were days of straight bidone... a little frustrating and I was getting sooo tired! On top of that our homie Nova wasn't calling us back and not even the members were keeping their appointments! Friday made up for that though because we went to the Centro area and found our Break Dancing guys again! They wanted to teach us some moves so we said "Of course, but only if we can share a message about Jesus Christ!" So we went with them to this place with Marble floors and they taught us some cool break dancing moves. I think I'll stick to County Swing Dancing though, it involves being on the ground a lot less and its a partner thing instead of a bunch of other sweaty dudes. Comunque it was fun and we taught them the Restoration! They leave this week for America until December, they have shows allover California and Florida so thats pretty exciting! We have their phone numbers and we'll meet up with them in December when they get back! 

Saturday was the Halloween party so we spent almost all day getting the Church ready and the Casa Stragata (Haunted House) and the games all set to go! We had so many non-members at the activity it was like a play ground for missionary work and it was so much fun. The Young Single Adults were in charge of the Casa Stragata and they killed it, it was sooo good! All of us missionaries helped in a reenactment of the "This is Halloween" Scene from the Nightmare before Christmas. I'll have to get a video from someone else! It was a lot of fun! The missionaries were in charge of games so each companionship did a different activity. We did bobbing fo apples and after we bought the apples and the buckets I realized how disgusting bobbing for apples is. Everyone just keeps drooling in this bucket and then the next person comes in and drools some more. So I spent a lot of time changing out water in the buckets because I was grossed out! Our first competitor was Fratello Sanna, he is one of the coolest guys ever, he was in the Mission Presidency until President Pickerd got here, he loves the missionaries and is just all in all a lot of fun. I said we needed two bravi ragazzi and he was the first one there and so excited! 1,2,3 Vai! Fratello Sanna in his nice shirt and gelled hair plunged his whole head right to the bottom and grabbed the apple subito! It was so funny, water everywhere and everyone was excited to bob for apples! 

There were American's in Church on Sunday! Its so fun to see Americans in Italy... It was two couples that were on this cruise ship that came into Harbor Friday and they were so nice! They are from California and had been recently released as a Senior Couple in the SanFrancisco mission about three months ago and in December will be serving for another six months. I showed them all the cool places they had to go before their cruise ship left and they were so nice. 

The Cincotti Family are so cool, they both served missions Sister Cincotti on Temple Square and Bother Cincotti in Milan and they have two sons. One of them is about to turn eight! Because they are both converts they want their children to have as much of a convert experience as they can. So they asked if we would teach Alessandro the missionary discussions. So we met at the church and shared with him the story of the Restoration complete with pictures, an ice cream truck analogy and a few pieces of chocolate. It was so fun and a really good experience for him! Afterwards Fratello Cincotti said "That was incredible, you had his attention the whole time!" It went really well and afterwards Alessandro said "Is there more lessons, I want them to come back!" So we're really excited for his baptism! 

Remember how I said Nova wasn't responding? Well we were about to give up and we decided we would stop by his house one last time. He answered the door and told us he had been traveling for Field Hockey but was back now and he had left his phone here. He answered the door in his underwear but came out and stood outside with us which was only slightly awkward. We taught him a lesson in his underwear and then asked if we could pray with him, he wanted to hold hands while we prayed so we did! It was interesting but it was good! He's excited for his baptism and so are we! 

Cool little plug for the blog that my sister does! One of the other Elder's investigators they met on the bus so it was a really quick exchange, he decided to check out the church online and the first thing that came up was lds.org and the second thing that came up was my blog! He read it and decided to call them and meet up with them to learn more! Kind of cool! 

This is Jacob's Mormon.org page, referred to in the paragragh above:  Hi I'm Jake!

I don't have any huge invitations for you this week other than to get out there and share your testimony! I hope you have a great week and that you are all enjoying the Fall weather! Its starting to get chillier and chillier here but its still hot during the middle of the day. And there's no fall foliage or trees with pretty leaves so enjoy it in America! I love you all!

Anziano Bellucci

Monday, October 24, 2016

A trip to Rome, a trip to Carbonia, a trip to Oristano and driving in Italy!

Wow this week has been an absolute flash! I'll start with our really cool miracle... The church has a rule about not teaching refugees until they have documents and a place to live because they get transferred and documents get lost and so on and so forth. If you didn't know this Italy has a ton of refugees that live in camps all over the country. So we always talk to Africans and they are some of the nicest people I have met. We can't teach them yet but its always good to talk to them and help them to feel loved. We were in a park the other day and this African man named Nova came and started talking to us. He said "You're the Latter-day missionaries!" And we said "Yes we are!" We got to know him and found out he is here in Italy to play hockey... I was really confused because I didn't think Italians even knew what hockey was... but turns out its field hockey not ice hockey so let down on that part. BUT we kept talking to him trying to see if he was a refugee or not and what his story was. So finally I asked him how he came to Italy and he said "On a plane of course!" He has documents and we can teach him! He is the most humble man ever and so we taught him the Restoration and he was just eating it up. I have never had someone look me in the eyes the whole time we were teaching, he was loving it and paying so much careful attention. We left him with a prayer and met up with him again on Tuesday. (We met him on Sunday) So we met him on Tuesday and asked him what he remembered of the lesson we had taught him. He basically remembered everything, he repeated almost all of it back to us and Anziano LaRussa asked him what his favorite part was. He said "Thats like asking me to pick a favorite limb of my body, it all just makes so much sense, I need all four limbs, each part is vital!" My companion and I were on cloud nine, I invited him to be baptized on the 19th of Novembre and he accepted and is super excited about it! Which makes us super excited about it! 

Wednesday morning I had an appointment at the Immigration office to pick up my permesso do Soggiorno and so at 8 AM we headed over there and waited two plus hours to pick up my little card. It look like a passport card but it makes me legal to be here until June of next year and I will have to apply again! We then had District meeting at the church and ate lunch together and headed to the airport to catch our flight to Rome! They combined two of the wards in Rome so there was a lot of missionaries assigned to one ward and so they took a set of Elders out of the "Rome 6" house which is where we would be staying. So there are no missionaries there so we went to the main station in the heart of Rome and met the Zone Leaders who had the keys to the apartment. Grabbed the keys and I was the only one who had been to this apartment before and it is clear on the other side of Rome so by the grace of God and a simple metro system I was able to lead us there and we made it ok! 

The next morning it was up at 5 AM to make it to the church again on the complete other side of Rome! The conference started at 9 AM and we needed to be there by 8! So we made it in time and it was an amazing experience. All 200 missionaries from the Italy Rome mission gathered in one place and waiting so prepared and ready to be taught by an Apostle. There was a little chatter as we waited and we were all facing the pulpit when President Russell M. Nelson walked in the back door. All 200 missionaries stood in unison and complete silence filled the room. As he made his way to the front of the room he let out a grand "Buongiorno!" To which we all laughed and giggled. When he got to the front one by one we all filed through to shake his hand his wife's hand, President and Sister Hallstrom's hands and President and Sister Keuron's hands. Complete silence. As the last of the missionaries filed through I couldn't take my eyes off President Nelson. I had an incredible realization that I just shook the hand of the man who would be the next Prophet of God. Definitely an experience I will never forget. There is a Sister missionary from Milan serving in Cagliari and she sat behind me. When she sat down she tapped me on the shoulder, she's learning English and doing very well with it but she said "Elder, I think that I will never wash my hand" it was hilarious and her Italian accent made it that much funnier. Then two Anziani got up and sang a duet together of "Savior, Redeemer of my Soul" and there wasn't a day eye in the crowd. "The Song of the righteous is a prayer unto me" is definitely a true scripture. I was expecting to be taught about missionary work the whole time, that he would talk to us about what we can do to be better missionaries and how we can improve ourselves. I imagined there would be a plug for getting married ASAP after our missions and that would be it. Well let me tell you was I wrong. 

We heard from all the General Authorities and their wives and then President Nelson stood up and addressed us with another "Buongiorno" with the thick American Accent just as strong as the first time. He then held up a quad which in Mormon Lingo is the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. He said "This is a new copy, I got it on May 27th, I decided I would read every word. Two weeks later I had finished all four standard works." This man is 92 years old. He read all four books of canonized scripture in two weeks! I was impressed and so was everyone else. He they began to explain the Abrahamic covenant from start to finish, where it comes from, what it means to us, where the twelve tribes of Israel come from and so on and so forth. President Nelson stood up at the pulpit with no notes, no scriptures marked or anything and he taught us directly from the scriptures reciting one after another. It was a testimony of how smart these men are and how they really hold back in General Conference their knowledge of the Gospel to make it appropriate for everyone. It was a wonderful experience and I learned so much and have been studying so much harder since then! 

Right after the conference we had some time to chat with other missionaries before heading back to the airport to catch our flight back to Cagliari! We went straight to the church to teach English course and went straight home afterwards and crashed, we were all so spiritually, mentally and physically exhausted. 

I got permission to drive from President Pickerd while we were in Rome and so I had to do a little driving test with Brother Sanna, a member here in Cagliari. I told him I was a little nervous, its been 5 months since I've driven and its a different country and everything. He said "Elder, do you know how to drive?" Yes... "Then I'm not worried, lets go for a drive!" And it was perfect from there! Italian drivers are absolutely crazy though. They think they can just put their little Fiats in the smallest of spaces and at the speed of lighting. Tail Gaiting is not a thing, if you can't see the bald spot on the guys head in front of you then you aren't close enough to their car. If you don't want to stop at a stop sign you just beep the horn and keep going. And if you stop at a stop sign and the person behind you doesn't want to then they just go around you. Its crazy. Anyway I passed my test and my companion and I took the car and headed to Carbonia which is about 60 km away to visit a less active. They fed us dinner and we chatted for a little bit. They have a new born baby who turned two months old on Saturday and was so stinking cute. Mission rules are hard to keep sometimes when you just want to pick up the babies and hold 'em! 

They finished building a new church in Oristano and Saturday night they had an open house and a piano concert thing afterwards and they asked to have a set of Sister missionaries and a set of Elders come up to help with the Open house. So we went down with two of the Sisters Sorella Hatfield and Sorella Acerson to help and it was so much fun! They had about 150 people there to see the building and they had rooms with different things being taught in each room and the groups cycled through the rooms. We had to leave early because we had to catch the train back to Cagliari to be home on time and the members were freaking out because we didn't get to eat any of the food so we're running late for the train and waiting for them to put together a plate of food for us and we finally get it and run through the streets with tons of food to get to the train on time. We made with a few minutes to spare and hopped the train back to Cagliari, all in all a successful night! 

All in all it was a beautiful week! It went by so very fast but it was a great week! This morning we hiked Sela del diavalo (Devil's Saddle)with Roberto and Eride Espa who are some awesome members with a couple investigators! It was a lot of fun and some nice time to relax! I'll send some pictures if I remember :)

As always I hope you all have a wonderful week and know that I'm thinking of you! Remember how important the Book of Mormon is and make time to study and read each and every day. The proof of the Gospel is in the Book of Mormon, all we have to do is read it! 


Anziano Jacob Bellucci

Monday, October 17, 2016

Transfer 3 Week 2


What a week! This was mine and Anziano LaRussa's fist week together
and we hit the ground running! It has been a busy and fun week with a
lot of stuff going on including Zone Conference! But as always we
start at the beginning! Tuesday we had a jam packed day planned when
we woke up and by10AM all but one of our appointments had cancelled
and our back up plans had fallen through! We were looking at a bust of
a day but we went to this park and found some kids, showed them how to
throw a football and then let them play with the Football while we
talked to their parents. It was really cool and we ended up getting
some cool investigators.

Wednesday we also had a pile of cancellations but all the other
missionaries were coming in from allover the Island and none of them
know the city. The zone leaders have the car so they hardly ever take
buses and my companion has no idea where he is in Cagliari at any
given moment... So that left me, fortunately I know the city really
well and I helped the missionaries navigate to the church for their
personal interviews with the Mission President and then back to our
apartment. It was a good day and we were all tired when we got home so
I count it as a success!

Thursday we had a great conference and it was so great to see
President and SIster Pickerd again. Our goal as a mission is to have
one baptism per companionship per transfer which is every six weeks so
President brought up all the pictures of the 15 baptisms that happened
in this last transfer and had everyone that had a part in the
conversion of each person raise their hand and tell the story. Out of
the 15 I think 9 of them had come in contact with one of the 16
missionaries here in Sardegna. It was really cool to see how much of a
team effort this is. We all work together and we never know how much
of an impact we have on people. We might be planting seeds for someone
else to harvest, we might be harvesting seeds that someone else has

This weekend was a blur, somehow we are at Monday already! We had a
really cool experience Friday and Saturday. I was talking to a less
active member on the phone and she told me her husband was in the
hospital and that's why she hadn't been in church because his health
has been up and down. Her husband is not a member but she has a
Granddaughter on a mission in Temple Square and another on a mission
in Madagascar. I felt an impression to ask her if her husband would
like a priesthood blessing. I ignored it because I didn't think he
would accept it but the prompting came again and so I asked her and
she said "Hold on let me ask him" I heard her ask him and I heard him
say yes. We went the next morning and gave him a blessing, it was a
very cool experience for me and for him. There is so much power in
priesthood blessings and I am so glad to have a knowledge of their
power and for the restoration of the priesthood.

We are preparing for our trip to Rome on Wednesday and we are so
excited! It will be a really neat experience to meet President Nelson,
President Hallstom and Bishop Causse and to hear their wisdom! The
conference is scheduled to be only two hours long so it will be a
spiritual whirlwind for sure! I cant wait to tell you all about it!

Have a great week and I want to invite you all to think about how we
can receive strength through the Savior's atonement. This life is not
easy and sometimes it can be down right difficult but as Elder Nelson
said this past conference this life is about finding joy. I know if we
look to the savior's atonement we will find the joy that is meant for
us in this life. your Italian word for this week is espiazione high is
Atonement. Its a good missionary word!

Keep on keeping no and loving this beautiful life!

Anziano Jacob Bellucci

Monday, October 10, 2016

Transfer 3 Week 1

Boun Giorno tutti!

Hey everybody, it's me again! Weird it's been a week already! It feels
like so much has happened this week that last Monday feels like an
eternity ago... But it also feels like yesterday!

Monday was torture as we were waiting for our transfer calls, they can
come anywhere between 8 PM and 10:30 PM because they have to call all
over the mission obviously. So President called the Zone Leaders at
around 8 and told them all the transfer calls for the zone but they're
not allowed to tell us we have to wait for a call from either the
President or the Assistants to the President. So they started freaking
out and telling us how excited we should be and then we waited. And we
waited. And the more we waited the more anxiety I had... Anziano
Segura and I were freaking out and the Zone Leaders told me that my
transfer call surprised them the most! 10:30 comes and we still
haven't received a call... So I texted the assistants "Did you forget
about us?" They call us right away and say that President Pickerd was
supposed to call us but he must have skipped it and he said "Are you
ready for your transfer call Anziano Bellucci?" Yes I'm so ready!
"You're staying in Cagliari and Anziano Larussa will be your new
companion!" So... I already knew my companion! Anziano Larussa is our
District leader and has been in Oristano for the past 12 weeks which
is the city right next to ours. I had already worked with him a little
and he's super cool! Y'all are never going to guess where he's from...
Drum roll!!!!! New York! I never in a million years would have thought
I would get a companion from New York!

Little mini Biography on Anziano Larussa... First of all Mom his name
is Greg so you can stalk him on Facebook but he said all the photos
that it will let you see are from a long time ago so don't judge too
harshly ;) He is a convert to the church of five years so he was
baptized when he was 15 and his family members aren't members of the
church except his Mom. He's a few months older than I am and he has
been on his mission for exactly a year and a half. He was a wrestler
all through High School and apparently was pretty good... He went to
BYU for a year before coming on a mission which means that all three
people that I live with went to BYU. But that's ok, we can all repent
;) He served almost all of his mission so far in Sicilia and he speaks
so well! I'm excited to learn from him!

So Tuesday I helped Anziano Segura get packed and we had District
Meeting so I saw my new companion and then he went back to Oristano to
pack. We helped all the other missionaries come in that we're flying
off the island Wednesday, we had some appointments and met up with
some members so Anziano Segura could say goodbye! I wasn't even the
one leaving but it was really hard to watch him say goodbye!

Wednesday we brought Anziano Segura to the airport, took some pictures
and he was off to Rome, his transfer call is to Terni to be the Zone
Leader. Terni is the Northernmost zone in the mission so he's going to
have a chilly winter! I then got to be companions with Anziano Bentley
who was down here waiting for his companion to fly in. He is going to
be training this transfer so he's a little scared but mostly excited!
He's a really cool guy from Alpine UT and he's only in his 6th
transfer so he's pretty young in the mission to be training! We went
allover the city and I realized how well I know it. Most of the time I
just followed Anziano Segura but I learned the city really well. My
companion came in from Oristano on Tuesday because his companion was
flying to Sicily. We spent most of Thursday sitting in the Cagliari
airport waiting for the new Zone Leader to get here... Through missed
flights, delayed planes and lost travel plans he finally made it
Friday morning! His name is Anziano Bourne, amd so far he seems pretty
cool! I don't know if I ever said this but we live in a 4 man house so
the Zone Leaders live with us so I'm sure I'll get to know him better
over the next six weeks!

We spent the last two days doing so much work, Anziano LaRussa and I
have been hitting the streets and talking to everyone! Friday we went
to Carbonia which is about an hour train ride away to teach a man that
runs this tai chi gym... It was really cool but really far away. The
coolest thing that happened was we walked out of the train station in
Carbonia and we just see these mountains in the background and both of
us felt like we were in Utah. It was nice to get a taste of my home
away from home!

Saturday I learned a lot about my companion... Turns out wrestling
taught him a lot about Gymnastics! We decided to do a Gesso in the
Centro area with the Sister Missionaries. We decided on English Course
Publicity but there were so many street performers it was easier to
just walk around talking to people than actually setting up a sheet
and having people walk by. So we had about 100 pass along cards each
and we just went to town. Well we had been there about a half an hour
and this guy in a full Spider-Man outfit starts playing music and
crouches down like Spider-Man. He then proceeds to do some gymnastics
moves, he did some hand stands and round offs and I look next to me
and my companion is gone. I look around and he's climbing up this
fence and I thought "what is he... Oh oh he's doing a..." And he did a
back flip off the fence! Well that got a crowd around and it turned
into a little competition between my companion and Spider-Man they
started doing backflips and hand springs and it was really cool! And I
was walking around giving out English course cards saying that I teach
an English course with the guy that's doing backflips... It was really
funny and I got some good videos!

We walked a little bit further down and there was another group of
street performers that were doing Break-Dancing and they had a little
mat set up and LaRussa went up to the, and started talking to them...
Turns out he does break dancing too! So Anziano Larussa was their
opening act he started dancing and got a huge crowd for their show.
Then they did like a five minute show and they were so good! We
learned afterwards that they travel allover the world doing shows but
that they are based out of Sardegna. Their whole show was set to a
violin song that Lindsey Sterling does and I told them after that she
is Mormon. They were astounded and I'm pretty sure they didn't believe
me but they said they were going to be touring parts of England and
needed to learn some English so hopefully they will come, maybe we'll
just have them dance for us instead of learn English!

Yesterday we had six appointments scheduled some with members and some
with investigators and all of them bidoned us. A bidone literally
means trash or dumpster but it's what we use when people cancel on
us... So it turned out to be a little less productive than we had
hoped. I did have a really cool experience at church though! There
were 13 people visiting from Switzerland and everyone in Switzerland
learns English in school from like 4 years old so we translated the
Sacrament meeting for them. We use these radio like things and they
have headphones and then the missionaries that translate have a little
microphone and I translated about ten minutes of the Fasting Testimony
Meeting for them! It was so fun but also a little scary! Definitely
the Gift of Tongues working there but it was a lot of fun!

This is a very long letter and I don't have a specific invite for you
all this week but I want to let you all know how much I love this
Gospel and how grateful I am to be able to serve this mission. I see
miracles everyday, I have the opportunity to learn from so many great
people and I meet so many incredible people all the time. Remember the
invites from the past couple weeks as well... To watch General
Comference (All of it! If you've seen it all once go through and start
round two by reading the talks!) tone a missionary and invite people.
Living in Utah is not an excuse... There are plenty of inactive
members in Utah!

Anyway, the church is true, the book is blue, and I love you!

Anziano Jake Bellucci

Monday, October 3, 2016

Cagliari Transfer 2 Week 7

So I couldn't pick a title for this email... My three options are as follows!

1. Conference is like Christmas for missionaries!
2. We're going back to Rome for a conference with a Member of the 12 Apostles
3. Let's go to the Beach, each let's go get away!

So that's my week! Haha it's been a really busy week and this is my
last three days with Anziano Segura! We're avoiding talking about
it... Haha but it's ok because change is good! I'll find out tonight
who my companion will be and I'm pretty excited! It's official though,
I will be staying here in Cagliari for at least another six weeks!

We had some great lessons and found some new investigators! We found
this guy named Andrea who works at this store that his Dad owns. Half
of what they sell is segways like those ones that they have allover
college campuses and they're so cool! Anyway he told us that they're
like 900€ which is about $1,000 so we decided President wouldn't
approve that expense and decided on teaching him the restoration
instead of buying a Segway. Their store wasn't open so we went in and
started teaching the restoration in the middle of the store and then
his Dad came in and so we went to the back supply room and finished
the lesson! It was a really cool lesson and I have been taking the
lead in our lessons so it's been a little more stressful!

We had our activity on Thursday night and it was soooo successful! So
we organized it around the movie Meet the Mormons with little segments
and made it an airplane ride. Our invitations looked like boarding
passes and we also dressed up like flight attendants and had some
members be the pilot and co-pilot. We set up the chairs like an
airplane that traveled allover the world watching the different
segments. Between each segments we divided the groups into stations
where one group learned about prophets and was invited to General
Conference and the other group learned about temples and Family
History. We had about 50 people show up to the activity and it was a
huge hit! The last segment in the movie is about a missionary that
leaves on his mission and it shows leading up to it and packing and
driving to the airport... Made me cry haha but it was a good cry! I'm
so glad to be here!

Friday we got a call from the Santoli family, they are a member couple
in their 70's and they invited us to Lunch at their house on Saturday.
It was a great meal and they asked us to set up their computer so they
could watch General Conference. They got out their laptop and I got it
right to the website that counts down the time so right as the stream
started it would begin! She was so happy and then said, "Anziani, my
email hasn't been working since January... Think you could try to fix
it?" So we got her password reset and everything and her outlook
popped up and she had 1,066 unread emails! Again she was so happy and
she pulled out her phone and said "I'd like to get all my pictures on
my computer so I can see them better!" So she got us the cord and I
uploaded 6,000 pictures most of which were screenshotted recipes from
Facebook that she wants to make onto her computer. I'm only explaining
this because it reminds me of my technically challenged Roxy who I
always help with her tech troubles! I thought of Roxy and Mom the
whole time! She also shared her conversion story with us which was
absolutely beautiful. Her husband was baptized in I think 1966 and she
wasn't baptized until 14 years later. She went to church with him
every Sunday and even had a calling in the Family History Center but
she was Catholic and would go to Mass every Sunday after attending The
LDS church with her Husband and kids. She slowly gained a testimony
and was baptized like I said 14 years later.and one year after that
they were sealed in the Frankfurt Germany temple. She still tears up
telling the story!

Conference is always great but I feel like it's even better when
you're on your mission. It's 8 hours delayed from Utah time so the
morning sessions start at 6 p,m. and we got to watch that on Saturday
from 6-8 and then they space it out so its played in the chapels over
Sunday. We watched the Priesthood session on Sunday morning at 11.
Secondo me, the Priesthood session was the best, we heard from Elder
Holland, and all three of the members of the First Presidency. It was
an incredible session and I really enjoyed Elder Holland's talk about
Home Teaching and the effect we can have on the other members around
us when we faithfully serve as Home Teachers AND we allow our Home
Teachers to come and fulfill their home teaching responsibilities.
There are still some sessions that we haven't watched yet but it was
an incredible conference! If you watched it what were your favorite
parts? Who spoke to you the most and did you get your questions
answered? I hope so! I would love to hear your insights!

After the Priesthood session Fratello Caravagna made all the
missionaries Pranzo but we didn't know about that and had an
appointment for Pranzo at 2 with the Cabras family. Italians take it
really personally if you don't eat their food so we ate Pranzo with
them rice and pesto pasta and breaded pork chops and French fries and
went right to our appointment to eat again! We started with minestrone
soup that had chick peas in it... It was pretty good but I was full
already! Then they brought out a whole pig again! It was so good and
then salad and fruit and gelato. Then we watched a session of
conference with them but it was in Italian so I was nodding in and
out. I'll have to watch that one again! Then they made us Seadas again
which are those things with the lemon cheese inside and they're fried.
I was going to explode. We had told this investigator couple of ours
that Anziano Segura would be leaving this week so they wanted to have
us over for dinner. Of all days I wasn't sure I could even look at
food. Ruth is Philippino so she always makes something a little less
Italian. We had ham fried rice to start with and then fried chicken
and mashed potatoes. It was real different that what we've been eating
lately but it was so good! Again feelings of explosion. But we

In the middle of all this we found out that we are having another
mission conference on the 20th of October! Mission conferences do not
happen very often in this mission mostly because of the size, in fact
the last one before the one we had two weeks ago was in March of 2015!
At the end of the conference a few weeks ago President Keuron said
"You have all prepared yourself spiritually for this conference and I
can tell that you were all ready to come here and be taught. But if a
member of the Quorum of the twelve apostles comes I want to ask you to
double your preparation." It turns out he said that for a reason! On
October 20th President Russell M. Nelson, of the Quorum of the Twelve,
Elder Donald L. Hallstrom, of the Presidency of the Seventy, Bishop
Gerald Causse, Presiding Bishop, and Elder Patrick Kearon, Europe Area
President will be in Rome for our Mission Conference! We are all so
excited! We will have the President of our Mission, the President of
the Geographical area, the Presiding Bishop, the President of the 70
AND the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles! That is the
President of every organizational level of the Church starting with
mission President all the way up to the Quorum of the twelve! How cool
is that??? Can you tell we are excited? We only have three weeks to
prepare so it's a little stressful but it will be a once in a lifetime

Today has been a great P-Day! We started by getting ready really fast
this morning and driving to the church for personal and companion
study because we wanted to watch General Conference! Then as soon as
it was over we went home, went grocery shopping really quick and
headed to the beach with the sister missionaries! Poetto is world
famous and it is absolutely beautiful but we aren't allowed to go to
the beach from April to October, but it's finally October! So we still
aren't allowed to swim but we walked on the beach with our feet in the
water and it was amazing! The water was nice and warm and I have to
admit it puts those Florida beaches to shame! We had a picnic and
played some Football and tried to fly a kite but today was literally
the only day without wind so that failed! I got a little sun on my
face and more than anything it was really nice to relax on the beach!
Now it's obviously email time since I am writing this and we will be
headed to Family Home Evening in a little bit! I will have updates on
my new companion for you all next week! Stay tuned! I hope you have
all had a wonderful day and an incredible conference weekend and I
want you all to know that I love ya! I want to invite you all to look
for miracles in your lives, I promise if you look for them you will
find them. They are all around you, God is in the details and he loves

Anziano Jacob Bellucci