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 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 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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