Here goes another week in the books! This week has gone by super fast! So it turns out that the VISA that we get in the MTC is only valid for 8 days without a permesso... So on Last Saturday we went to the PostaItaliana which is like the Post Office in Italy and they basically run the Italian government and they're not very nice. So the mission office fills out the application so you don't have to worry about anything. (Except they always spell my name wrong on literally everything, there's two l's people...) So we bring the application up to the counter and this lady just starts going off on my companion about how we have the wrong paperwork and that the cost we have written should only be 30€ and we have written 162€ and she's probably the least helpful person I've ever met. She tells us the machine won't take it like that. It's 1 PM and they're open until 5 but she says change it and come back Monday. So we call the office and They tell us our documentation is right and that this lady just has no idea what she's talking about. We walked forever to get to this place so we thought we would try again so we wouldn't have to come back on Monday. We step up to the counter and this lady goes off again. She yells to this other lady and says in Italian "They don't speak Italian, they're not listening you deal with them" So we go over to this other lady whose English is worse than my Italian and she says "You... Back... Monday" my companions says "We speak Italian" and so she explained that the Questura, which is like an immigration officer that grants the permesso, his office is closed at 1 on Saturdays so they can't do it today. Not a problem, we'll come back Monday, thanks for explaining :) So we come back Monday, we take a number and we sit and pray that the First Lady isn't the one to call out our number. Well God has a sense of humor, she called our number. So we go up and I hand her my documents, passport etc... Well she goes off again "You haven't changed anything, you come back here what do you want us to do? This is all wrong, you're wasting our time!" Im pretty sure she swore but I don't know those words... Yet. But that's what I got out of the conversation. So my companion asks her to just try it. She walks away, mumbling under her breath and still freaking out. She comes back, pushes two buttons on the computer and puts it through and it takes it just fine. With this look on her face like "I'm an idiot" she says "well you guys are still wrong and you won't get any money back" She hands us the papers and walks away. No "Grazie" no nothing. People at the PostaItaliana are pretty miserable. But I have my paperwork, I have an appointment to get fingerprinted, I might have to take an "Italian culture class" but we'll see...
So my companion Anziano Segura is into this "Shred diet" as he calls it. So on P-Day he buys rice and vegetables. Cooks it all together and then eats it 6 times a day everyday with a can of tuna twice a day. So I decided to try it. I made a ton of rice and that's all I've really eaten all week. I'm not a fan. So this week I'm buying normal food. Cagliari isn't known for its pizza or gelato like the rest of Italy. It's one of the cleanest cities if not the cleanest in Italy. They're known for their meats and cheeses, specifically worm cheese which is like cheese that's been digested by worms and its scefo. (Gross) or at least it sounds gross, I'm probably not trying it. There's also this cheese that I can't remember the name of that's from the stomach of baby sheep that die with a stomach full of milk and their stomach acid ferments the cheese. Also sounds absolutely disgusting. Apparently they have other cheeses that are really good but I just keep hearing about these two... But I had Gelato from this little shop and it was really good! On Monday Sorella Hatfield asked if I had Gelato yet and I hadn't and she looked at Anziano Segura and said "He's been in Italy almost a week and you haven't gotten your Greenie Italian Gelato yet??? What kind of trainer are you??? So we went and got some! The first one I sampled had coffee in it... Oops but I learned that word. Haha
Tuesday we had District meeting which was really good! Our District leader is Anziano Larusa, he's a convert from New Jersey and he's the funniest guy I've met here! He gave us all spirit emojis on the meeting agenda and next to my name was this little baby chick emoji because I was just "born" on my mission. There is a member that makes lunch for all the missionaries after our meeting so after we can all eat together with him. He's super nice and loves all the missionaries! He made us kind of a random meal... Started with pasta with a ragu, which is more than a brand I found out, sauce that was soooo good as with everything here. Then French fries, then sausage... It was random but it was good! And Anziano Larusa brought this Brazilian soda called Guarana that's way good, it's really sweet and I have no idea what the flavor is but it was really good!
We teach an English course here every Tuesday and Thursday nights, it's completely free and it's really fun! The sisters are actually teaching it now because they are completely new to the area and they don't know anyone but it sounds fun and we meet a lot of people. We trick them a little bit by sharing a "spiritual thought" at the end so they get a little Gospel along with learning English.
On Thursday we went to a section of our area that's way out there, I saw a name on the directory of a less active member while we were planning the night before and we decided we should go. So we took the bus way out there and went up to the 8th floor of this building. We talked to the lady there and she said she had no idea who the person we were talking about was but she had the same last name... So we asked her how she was and she told us that her granddaughter had passed away the day before so she wasn't doing very well. We talked to her for a little bit and asked if we could come back next week and share a message about Christ and the strength of families. She accepted! So we have an appointment next week to go see her. This was kind of a testimony to me that the Lord watches out for his children. He gives us trials and then sends us help when we need it the most and have been humbled enough to accept it. We all have trials in our lives and can't always see the point of them but like it says in 1 Nefi 3:7 "... the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them" the Lord also gives no trials to his children without giving them a way to get through them.
So once we apply for that permesso you have to go back to the Questura and pick it up a few months later. So there's this missionary that applied for his permesso at the Questura here in Sardegna but then was transferred to Foggia and so when his permesso was ready he has to come back to pick it up. So he flew in Wednesday, got his permesso Thursday, took a train back to Cagliari on Friday morning way early because he thought his flight was at 8 AM. So we got up and picked him up at the train station and took him to the airport but the office didn't have his flight information. So we didn't really know when his flight was. So we spent the morning at the church because we had to have WiFi to get his boarding pass information from the senior couple that works in the office. It turns out he didn't fly out until 1. Kind of a boring morning but it all worked out!
Weekly planning takes hours, we sit down and plan out basically everything that we will do as a companionship to help each individual that we are teaching or working with. It takes forever but it's really helpful! So Friday we spent a lot of time inside getting ready for next week.
We went over to a Members house just to drop by and he invited us into his music studio. He's a music professor and so he has this little tiny room with tons of different instruments and music. Anziano Segura plays the Saxaphone so he got it out for him and we had a little jam session. It was really cool and he actually transposed a piece of music for Anziano Segura. It's one of the songs from the movie Oblivion and he said if we do a talent show in the ward that he could borrow his sax which was super cool!
To top the night off we Made zucchini break to bring to some members so we can get to know them better! It turned out really well and we met some really cool members and invited some less actives to come back to church. We shared the short video "Because of Him" with them and talked about the impact that Christ can have on our lives and to reflect on what he's already done for us.
Saturday afternoon we had an activity with the Young Single Adults! We met at the church and got to wear normal clothes and play with water balloons. Because we're missionaries of course everything has to have a purpose and comply with missionary conduct, so we got permission to participate in the activity but not as a water balloon fight, we had to make games or something out of it so it would be less violent... So we got the GANs (Young Single Adults) to play a game with us. They asked us gospel questions and if we didn't know the answer or got it wrong then they dumped a bucket of water on us. Needless to say we all need to do more personal study or they need to ask easier questions because we all got dunked! We had a great time and then afterwards we all had pizza and here is where the subject of my email comes in. They don't believe in sharing pizza, everyone gets there own. So we all sit down and they bring in like 25 pizzas! I'm attaching a picture... It was pretty good! Like I said, Sardegna isn't known for its pizza so I have more to look forward to but it was pretty good! Really cool news, right before that activity we had a lesson and we set a baptismal date for him for next month! He stayed for the activity and made some friends in the ward too which is awesome!
"Sunday Will Come" is a great quote by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin and it is so true! Sunday's are some of my favorite days! It's amazing how much more confident I've gotten in the last week with talking to people. All the members kept talking to me and asking how I was liking Italy, it was awesome, the members sure love the missionaries here! Sacrament was great, the only problem is that they speak so fast, especially when they speak in sacrament so I don't usually understand much. So when I don't understand much it starts to sound like white noise and the old people turn off the air conditioning in the chapel because it's an Italian myth that you'll die if cold air hits you... Anyway I kept almost falling asleep because it was hot and I wasn't understanding.
Because we live on an island the beaches are plentiful... Which is great but we aren't supposed to go there because the people at the beach are less than modest so on Sundays we spend quite a bit of time at members houses because finding is less than effective and EVERYONE GOES TO THE BEACH ON SUNDAY. So basically all we did on Sunday was eat. We went to the same place for Pranzo this Sunday as we did last Sunday. So we started out with this hand made pasta that was tiny! They were smaller than peas and it had clams in it and it was heavenly. Course two was homemade lasagna, again heavenly. Made with homemade spinach pasta and fresh Parmesan cheese. Heaven. Round three, meatballs. Need I say more? Round four, salad (I know it's weird but they eat salad at the end) with oil and then they have this sweet balsamic vinegar that is really good! Round 4 is la frutta. Always good and I always eat so much fruit. Round 5 was this torta that was like a marble cake with Nutella inside and then you put Nutella on top of it... I have a picture don't worry.
Then we went to visit some less active members in the northern part of our area. No one was home and we had a cena (dinner) appointment near there so we invited our new investigator to come with us so we ate again... I wasn't even hungry when we got there. Round 1 rice with vegetables and I think tuna? I'm not really sure... It was good though! Then sausage and potatoes and then this bread stuff with pizza sauce, I don't remember e name of it. Then salad and then fruit and then the dessert was heavenly. Pecorino which is sheep cheese that they slice and then throw in a frying pan for a second, it gets super melty and then they pour citrus honey on top and you eat it while it's nice and warm... So good!
Now that you all are hungry I'll stop talking about food for a minute. So this morning we took on Cagliari for P-Day. All 8 missionaries met up with our bishop and we went exploring around the castle on the island. We saw an old amphitheater acts being reconstructed, we climbed a huge tower that overlooks the island and the ocean and we just walked around the castle and then went to Bishops house for Pranzo! Here is where I talk about food again. Round one was carbonara pasta which is pretty heavy so all the missionaries are struggling to stay awake while we email. Then we had this beef stuffed with prosciutto that was of course good with mashed potatoes. Round 3 was tomatoes and green beans. Then we had tiramisu which translates to "pick me up" so it's like a little pick me up on a plate. So sweet. Round 5 was gelato. Nuff said. Now we're emailing! I'm going to send some pictures in this email and them I'll send more to my sister to post on the blog! Also I have a video of me getting water dumped on my head so if we can get that to work it will be there too!
I hope you have a great week! I love you all, I hope you know how much I care about all of you and appreciate your faith and your prayers :)
Anziano Jake Bellucci