Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Cosenza Transfer 13 Week 3

Luke 2:11-12,14

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

It’s Christmas! What a great time to be a missionary and what better message to share than the message of the restored Gospel! He lives! If it wasn’t for the events of Easter we wouldn’t celebrate the birth of Christ so in this next week I would encourage you all to think about what Christmas means for you. Why do you celebrate Christmas?

Alright on with the week... once again it flew by! 

Monday night we had some good finding going on! We are still trying to #LightTheWorld or #SiiUnaLuce so we spent some good time on the streets just talking it up about Jesus!

Tuesday morning we had some errands for Zone Conference to do and then we got in the car to head to Taranto! We picked up the Anziani from Catanzaro on the way and had a pretty uneventful almost 3 hour drive to Zone Conference! When we got there we got the Chapel set up and then President and Sister Pickerd got there with the Assistants and we started interviews right away... then we planned our training with the Sister Training Leader Sister Barnes. It was a good day but we didn’t have much time to go finding or talk to people on the street so it was kind of boring. 

Wednesday was the conference and it went super good! Technology was not our friend though... it went well without it though. Anziano Ruiz and Sorella Barnes and I gave a training on leaving people with commitments, inviting people to change and how important it is. I got to share a little bit of my Mom’s conversion story which brought the spirit really well. I’ve been thinking a lot about my Mom’s conversion and where I would be if it wasn’t for some 16 year old Mormon boy that brought my Mom to Church. A lot of things would be very different! After the conference we did a nativity scene as a Zone... I was a sheep... it was hysterical and so much fun. We were also so blessed to have Sister Pickerd with us this round of Zone Conferences for the first time in like 6 months. She’s doing well and I’m so glad to have her back! She keeps President Pickerd on his toes! One of the families in our branch lives like an hour away from Cosenza and so we went to visit them on the way back from Taranto and I thought it was going to be just off the freeway but I was wrong... we ended up getting there at like 8:30 which is when we would have had to leave to get home on time. So we shared a quick thought and were on our way! 

We brought the Taranto Anziani home with us so we could do an exchange with them on Thursday. I got to work with Anziano Tucker which was way cool, the last exchange I did with them was like his fourth day in the mission and he had no idea what was going on back in Napoli. He’s much improved and doing really well, we went to the University and had some really cool conversations! Got some phone numbers and then we went back to Cosenza, grabbed the other Anziani and went to Sorella Spizzirri’s house for lunch! It was pretty good, Italians like to cook with pumpkin so they made this risotto with pumpkin ๐ŸŽƒ and then like a roast with some dang good sauce. We laughed a ton and had a really good time. Then we read the nativity story together. Finished off the day with some finding and a bomb lesson with one of our Investigators Nelson and then panzarrotti (pizza rolls) from this ghetto shack! 

Friday was taking the Anziani to the train station bright and early and then weekly Planning, we went to do some service for a member and carried a new closet thing upstairs. We took some cool pictures while we waited for her. Anziano Ruiz made us a bomb ragรน for lunch and then I was dead tired... I haven’t taken a nap in like 4 transfers but I snoozed for 20 minutes before jumping back in to the work. We brought Nelson some clothes so he could come to Church with us yesterday and then we did some more #LightTheWorld finding! 

Saturday we did some finding and made some homemade chocolate chip cookies for the Christmas lunch yesterday at Church. We also went and saw Sister Filipelli who is now in the hospital. We gave her a blessing and she was really happy to see us. We did some more finding and that was the day.

Sunday was ok, we went to get Nelson but he was “sick” and couldn’t come to Church. I was bummed... but the Heymans were visiting in our Branch yesterday because they called Anziano Heyman as a high councilor. It was good to see them, they’re pretty great! We had two of our 4 new Converts come to Church and we had a bomb lesson about the Book of Mormon and they were testifying to the investigator that was there and the spirit was so good! The lunch afterwards went pretty well, not very many people stayed around which was a bummer but little by little we’ll get there! We visited a couple of members in the afternoon and brought the sacrament to Sorella Filipelli in the hospital. 

Today we are doing some Christmas shopping for each other and then we are going over to Sister Spadafora’s house for some cooking lessons! I’m pretty stoked! It should be a lot of fun and she loves having us help! 

I hope you all have a wonderful week before Christmas, remember the reason for the season and share the light that you all have! 


Anziani Jacob Bellucci

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Cosenza Transfer 13 Week 2

A little bit of rejection, a lot of Christmas spirit, and a good amount of Christmas Cheer!

It’s been a really good week and we have worked really hard... unfortunately we haven’t been super fruitful but I’m hoping it’s because Heavenly Father is waiting to give us a break through this next week! 

Monday night we had a Family Home Evening with some single members in the Church and we talked about General Conference and we ended up on the topic of unity. “If you are not one you are not mine” and that theme has carried through the rest of the week. 

Tuesday we got up and headed for Catanzaro for District Meeting and we had a really good meeting. Anziano Ruiz and I did the training and we talked about goals. We had each companionship take 5 minutes in another room to set goals for December, specifically how many new Investigators they wanted to find in the month of December. Then we came back and made a District goal and the spirit was so strong and everyone felt super inspired to push ourselves and make it happen. Then we had lunch together before heading our separate ways! I sat next to the Heymans, the senior couple in Crotone and we had a great time! Anziano Ruiz and I came back and hit the streets before heading to English Course and then some more street contacting afterwards! 

Wednesday was basically the same thing except we woke up at 5:45 because we went to the District Meeting in Taranto to give the same training. It was an even bigger success there! President called us in the middle of the training and we stepped out and when we came back they were talking about how they wanted to make companionship goals and a District goal! They were on top of it! We got some pizza afterwards and it was actually pretty good! It was my first pizza since leaving Napoli so I was a little nervous! Napoli pizza is soooooooo good! Hitting the road back home and finding pretty hard in the evening! Then we got to meet with Francesco, he’s really cool. We wanted to help him understand the idea of the Apostasy and the importance of it but he is really content with his faith. He doesn’t see the need for a Restoration because he doesn’t think the Apostasy happened... we haven’t given up though! It was a really good lesson though and it strengthened my testimony of the Book of Mormon, if the Book of Mormon is true then that means the Apostasy really did happen, that Joseph Smith really was called as a prophet and that this is the true Church of Jesus Christ! 

Thursday was a lot of Christmas! But first we went to the University, we usually try to do English Course publicity there but we decided to do a more direct approach with Gospel finding. It was actually kind of sad... I would say 1 out of every 10 people we talked to said they believed in God, and not a single one of them said they went to Church or actively loved their religion. We had some really good conversations but the younger generation has just seen so many mistakes or errors in their Church that they just don’t believe in God at all. It also makes them not want to learn about anything else. Anyway after a few hours at the University we headed to Sister Spadafora‘s to eat some lunch and then we helped her decorate for Christmas! She is a widow and last year she didn’t even set up the Christmas tree but she really wanted to this year so we went up to the attic and got down a million decorations and we had so much fun decorating and listening to Christmas music! I took quite a few pictures! Then we read Luke Chapter 2:1-20, the story of the Nativity to remember the true reason for Christmas. It was really nice and it made her day!

Friday we did weekly Planning and I was about to throw some chicken in the oven for lunch when the phone rang and the Lopez family invited us over for lunch and the real reason is they aren’t tall enough to hang up their Christmas lights so we got to help with that too! It was good to see them, they have two foster daughters and they invited the daughters brother over for the holidays because he lives in a group home/institution. They all seemed really happy which was great. We grabbed an Orzo (coffee substitute) with Francesco and talked a little bit about the Book of Mormon. And then finding, finding, finding! 

Saturday morning I made brownies to give to the people that live in our building and then Francesco called us and asked if we wanted to go and play tennis with him. ๐ŸŽพ Well yeah we do! It was a lot of fun, none of us are very good but we all had a good time for sure! It’s a good work out too, I was thinking I might like it when I get home! We went over to his house for lunch and we helped him practice his English. He is 40 years old, not married, he’s a pediatrician, he speaks English and Spanish and obviously Italian... we’re going to try to find him a wife! Haha We went home to study Italian and Sister Spadafora called us to give her a blessing, poor thing the fell backwards and smacked her head. She doesn’t know how to sit on the couch and watch a Hallmark movie though. Instead she was making homemade doughnuts for us when we showed up. She’s a saint! We passed by Emilio on Saturday night and the New Movement Lady was there again, I think she does her shopping on Saturday nights! She was super nice though, she actually started talking to us about the Church and it turns out we have very similar beliefs and she said she was going to come to our Church sometime! Then she said she would have us over for lunch sometime! Super nice... 

Sunday :) Anziano Ruiz gave a talk in Church and he did a good job! There were almost 30 people in Church which makes us the biggest sacrament meeting attendance in Calabria by like 20 people! We had a good lesson with one of the New Converts. He hasn’t been reading the Book of Mormon! He committed so I hope he does it! After Church I made some bomb barbecue chicken with mashed potatoes and carrots and Anziano Ruiz was loving it. It was pretty good if I do say so myself! He likes to cook so he helped me a lot! Then we decided to try out Rende for some finding, it’s the neighboring city and we found this park with Christmas music but it was kind of a ghost town so we headed Back to Cosenza. So there is this huge street called Corso Mazzini and it’s not a street you can drive on it’s all foot traffic and it’s just lined with shops. Literally everyone goes there, there’s no exaggeration thousands of people on that street every night. Which sounds great for missionaries but it’s actually kind of impossible to talk to people so we hit up the side streets last night and it was super good, we had some awesome conversations! 

Overall it was a good week! We got a lot of rejection, met a lot of rude people but it’s not their fault, they’re just not ready for the Gospel yet. In this Christmas season keep your hearts open and share the Gospel. Keep the missionaries in your areas busy by sharing the Gospel with your friends and family. Christmas is a time of miracles and Heavenly Father could use you to make those miracles happen!

Merry Christmas! 

Anziano Jacob Bellucci

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Cosenza Transfer 13 Week 1

Transfers took me by surprise again! I was not expecting anything to change in our companionship this Transfer... Anziano Youngblood and I really got along super well so I was surprised to get the call and find out that he’s going to Rome 1 to be the new Zone Leader there and I get to train a new Zone Leader! So my new companion is Anziano Ruiz! He was actually my District Leader back in Napoli so I know him pretty well! He’s super cool and it’s been really good so far! 

So the week! As you know I ripped my pants on Monday on the way to Catanzaro so that rendered a trip to the Mall when we got there for P-Day! It was  trip and I bought some pants along with a couple other things! Then we came back and emailed for a little bit. We got to do a little mini-exchange with the Catanzaro Anziani and I got to work with Anziano Cooney. He’s in his 4th Transfer (I guess 5th now) and he’s so funny! He is the goofiest kid I’ve ever met and he’s just a lot of fun to be around. Being pretty young in the mission it’s really hard to stop people sometimes and so he has found that he loves to talk to people with dogs. He just goes and asks if he can pet them and then inevitably they ask him why he’s here from America! We talked to this guy and you could tell he was really angry with God. He opened up to us and explained that his daughter passed away and he just can’t believe that God would do something like that. How could taking away someone’s child be a part of God’s plan? We got to testify to him of the Plan of Salvation and God’s love for him. I got to be pretty bold and tell him that there is no other church on the Earth today that has what we have. The power to seal families together for time and all eternity. It was cool, they taught him on Wednesday!  

Then the calls came! President called and told us what’s happening and that was the end of the night! I’m really bummed that Anziano Youngblood is gone but I think Anziano Ruiz and I are going to have a lot of fun! 

Tuesday morning we had our last District Meeting together and it was really good! Anziano Valerdi did a good job of training us on Unity and working together as companionships, Districts, and a Zone. Then we went to King to get some really good hamburgers and fries! It was way good! Then we came home, did some finding and had English Course! 

Wednesday was full of saying goodbye to members and a little bit of finding and Kebab eating! So we went to say goodbye to Sister Spadafora, she’s so sweet. She’s like the Mom/Grandma of this Branch and I just love her! She said that she doesn’t really feel like putting up her Christmas tree but on the other hand she really likes it. So... Anziano Ruiz and I are going to go over and set it up with her and it will be our shared Christmas tree! I’m pretty excited! Then we went and saw some other people before going to Sister Spizzirri’s house for lunch! She is German but married an Italian. She just got back two weeks ago from serving a mission as a temple worker in the Freiberg temple! She’s pretty cool, she made us healthy food that didn’t make me feel like 100000 pounds so that was good! Her testimony was so incredible, that’s one of the things I have grown to love on my mission is asking people about their conversions. Almost everyone here is a Convert and even if they’re not they still have a story and the spirit is so strong when you share those things! Came back and studied, visited the Lopez family and then did some finding until we went to see Emilio. There was this crazy “New Movement” lady that was trying to convert us and I thought she was going to sprinkle me with holy water. Then after she was done preaching she said “Can I offer you something?” And we said no thank you so she bought us this big bag of olives! Then we got to actually talk to Emilio and he was like “Well we have to say a prayer together before you leave!” And for the first time he agreed to say it which was really cool. He said a beautiful prayer. We finished the night off with Anziano Youngblood’s favorite; Kebab! Haha it’s so good! 

Thursday was crazy! I took Anziano Youngblood to the train station in Paola at 10:30 and then I had to wait there in the car by myself for like 2 hours! It was so weird to be alone... I walked up the steps and I didn’t hear anyone else coming behind me and it was really strange. I don’t know what I’m going to do when I come home and someone leaves me by myself for the first time! Anyway I picked up Anziano Ruiz and we headed Back to Cosenza. It was soooo rainy and the fog was crazy thick! I could barely see the trees on the sides of the road as we drove through the mountains! We got back and Anziano Ruiz unpacked, I made lunch and we got right into the work! We did some finding and then went to English Course. There weren’t very many people for some reason, maybe it was the weather but we still had a good time! Then we had to set up the Christmas tree for the Primary, they decorated it yesterday in Church. 

Friday was the longest mission leadership council I’ve ever had but it was super exciting and inspiring! We set a monthly goal for our mission to reach 25 baptisms in December and 410 new Investigators mission wide! It’s going to be hard but we are going to push our Zone to pull our weight and get 3 of those baptisms and 60 of those new Investigators! We went and got some kebab after and I finally took a picture and a video of it so y’all can see what it is. Then we came home and did weekly Planning and studies while some guy came to fix our shower. We’ve been turning it on with pliers since I got here so it’s nice to have it fixed! Finding, finding, finding! We’ve given out so many #LightTheWorld pass along cards and talked to so many people! 

Saturday we went and visited Sister Spadafora again to introduce Anziano Ruiz! Of course she was cooking something! This time it was some fried dough thing covered in honey. We ate a plate full of them... in case you’re wondering 6 Months to Sexy is going real well for me! I called one of our Investigators and he answered and said “When can we meet and I can introduce my whole family to you?” Well we were super excited! We were supposed to meet them Saturday but his wife got sick with a fever... it’s going around. So we were bummed! 

Sunday was great! I have really come to love Fasting Testimony Meeting! We heard some really great testimonies and then the Branch President did a lesson on the Light the World initiative and we got new Home Teaching assignments! 

We went to Sister Minieri’s for lunch and we ate pretty well followed by some service! She’s having some new cabinets put in so we had to take everything out of the old ones and move them out! We were supposed to go today to bring the new ones upstairs but they aren’t bringing them today. 

We brought the Sacrament to Sister Filipelli and her daughter was visiting from the North with their two kids. We had a really nice Book of Mormon study as a family and then we did the sacrament, it was a wonderful night!

We came back to Cosenza and did some finding in the rain! The clouds have to be about empty! All it’s done is rain here! 

It’s been such a good week, I’m so excited for this Transfer and we’re seeing miracles everyday! I hope you all have a good week!


Anziano Bellucci

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Cosenza Transfer 12 Week 6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Anziano Bellucci

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Cosenza Transfer 12 Week 5

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

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

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

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

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

(Anziano Anderton says “Ciao”)

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

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

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

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


Anziano Bellucci

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Cosenza! Transfer 12 Week 4

Exchanges, Napoli and hopefully the last toe surgery!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Anziano Jacob Bellucci

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Cosenza Transfer 12 Week 3

Trains, Rome, and lots of errands...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great week, I love you all!

Anziano Bellucci

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Cosenza Transfer 12 Week 2

Driving, a chocolate festival, driving and Stake Conference!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great week!

Anziano Jacob Bellucci

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Cosenza Transfer 12 Week 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anziano Jacob Bellucci

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Napoli!! Transfer 11 Week 6

Buongiorno bellissimi!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anziano Jacob Bellucci

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Napoli!! Transfer 11 Week 5

Ok, I'll be honest this week was a little slow but I did do a good job of resting so my toe can actually heal this time! But I'm ready to get back out there and hit the streets! I miss talking to people and teaching!

So with P-Day being Tuesday last week we finished and went right into the drum circle with the Africans, it was a good time and We were in a trio because Anziano Pesci came to do his fingerprints for his Permesso. We had a good time and then had a pretty bug group for English Course, I think there were almost 10 people in our class and 15 or so in the basic class.

Wednesday morning I had my appointment with the doctor, Italian medicine is so dysfunctional but I finally got in to see the doctor and he said everything is looking good! I get the stitches out on Wednesday this week so I hope to be walking normal soon! We came back and had studies that we missed because of the early morning appointment and then had correlation with Sam. Unfortunately our work hasn't changed much because we haven't been able to work :( But it was good and we made some progress in the Branch! In the afternoon they had their first Institute lesson and we showed up to help with the Africans and we found all of them in a room with Austin who was baptized like 3 weeks ago teaching about the priesthood! He had chalk in hand and was teaching like he had been a member his whole life! It was so awesome, we just took a seat and listened as he taught the fundamentals of what it means to be a worthy Priesthood holder! Institute went really well, there was 8 Africans and two Italians... there's some work to do with our YSA Italians! So we had a class in English and one in Italian. We won't usually go but since I can't walk super well we figured we could help!

Thursday morning we had to take Anziano Pesci to the airport so he could fly back to Cagliari, he's in my first city! I told him to say hi to it for me! Then we had District Meeting which is always good! We talked a lot about using technology and these new tools to further the work! I really liked one of the principles that was taught at Zone Conference as well as in District Meeting. "We are not a Facebook mission, we are a Preach my Gospel mission that has been given an extra tool to use!" I think it's so true, not much changes because we have Facebook, it's not the silver bullet of missionary work, its just another tool!

We got lunch afterwards together and then in the afternoon before English Course We were able to do a little bit of finding which was great! Then at English Course we had a good group again, we talked about their favorite restaurants and I was getting so hungry! Also I think it's so cool to see how cheap it can be for Europeans to travel to so many different countries. You can get a round-trip flight to England for like 40 bucks!

Friday morning I had an appointment at the immigration offices to have my fingerprints done to renew my visa... I got a call from the mission office saying that they had increased the price so I had to go to a post office and pay 40 extra euro before going to the immigration office. So I went there waited for it to open at 8:20 and we were one of the first people and I told him what I had to do and he said they were out of that paperwork so I had to go find another post office. :( Italy can be so dysfunctional... so I called the office to see if they could look up another post office. We walked about 25 minutes in the opposite direction of the immigration office to find another post office (on my bum foot) got there paid the 40 euro and then walked to the immigration office. So they schedule you for an appointment here but then when you get there you just take a number and wait, your appointment time doesn't matter so that's why we left at 7:30 but because of this post office business we didn't get there until almost 10 :( I took my number and read 142, I looked up at the board and it said 56... two and a half hours later they called my number, this place is worse than the DMV in Utah! I was up at the window maybe 5 minutes and got everything done!

We had an exchange with the Napoli B Elders starting Friday night so I got to work with Anziano Wagstaff, he's a Greenie and has been out for about a month now! He's a stud and is doing pretty well with the language. We did some finding and tried to teach this guy that ended up smoking marijuana during the first vision so we decided to move on... :/ Finished off the night with some language study!

Saturday morning we did some Facebook contacting, sending out some sweet videos and invitations to people that we had made contact with on the street. Anziano Wagstaff met this lady in the grocery store the other day who had lost her son (People open up to missionaries really fast, sometimes they tell you more than you want to know) and she added him in Facebook and so we were able to send her a message about eternal families, I should follow up with him and see if she accepted to meet with them! We then went out on the streets, I had remembered this bakery place that a member's wife said was really good and so we went and tried it out! They had these Nutella filled doughnuts for 80 cents... sign me up. Finished the exchange off with a little more finding and then lunch and companionship and language studies. I was feeling pretty good with walking and I really was feeling like going crazy if I had to stay home or at the Church anymore so we went white Boarding! It was a lot of fun and we got some really good conversations out of it. We are going to go and visit a family this next week to teach their daughters English and they said they would listen to a spiritual Thought!

Sunday was a great fasting & testimony Meeting, all of the testimonies were so powerful. I got to translate the Meeting and sometimes I feel like I get more out of it when I translate, sometimes not, but I definitely got a lot out of it this time. Also knowing that 20 people in the congregation are listening to you makes you pay attention really well! A lot of the testimonies compared the Church to a hospital, how we are all being healed but none of us are ready to be released yet but then an American member who works here bore his testimony about how the Church is like a gym, there are those who do physical therapy, those who lift weights, those who run laps, yoga, stretching, those who are trainers and those who are being trained and I really liked that analogy, I think it fits really well. We are all there to improve and better ourselves.

Today is Anziano DeFeo's last P-Day in Italy ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น so he wants to go and play frisbee and then get pizza, so that's the plan for today!

Ok, General Conference... so I still have some more to study but I wanted to share one of my favorites that I've been studying. I really loved this talk by Elder Holland "Be ye there perfect-eventually" There is a quote that I really love he says:

 "What I now say in no way denies or diminishes any commandment God has ever given us. I believe in His perfection, and I know we are His spiritual sons and daughters with divine potential to become as He is. I also know that, as children of God, we should not demean or vilify ourselves, as if beating up on ourselves is somehow going to make us the person God wants us to become. No! With a willingness to repent and a desire for increased righteousness always in our hearts, I would hope we could pursue personal improvement in a way that doesn’t include getting ulcers or anorexia, feeling depressed or demolishing our self-esteem. That is not what the Lord wants for Primary children or anyone else who honestly sings, “I’m trying to be like Jesus.”

We are all meant to improve, we are all meant to repent and change, but it is meant to be a loving process in which we grow and improve. I know that this principle is true and I am so grateful for prophets and apostles that help us in this process but it's only through Jesus Christ that we will ever be able to accomplish this. I love you all!

Elder Jacob Bellucci

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Napoli!! Transfer 11 Week 4

Surgery, interviews, Train strikes, Rome and another great week in Italy! Did I mention General Conference???

Good morning everyone, its weird being Tuesday morning and writing my weekly email but it's been a great week!  Monday night we had a Family Home Evening with the Grandulli family, they're really sweet! They have a son who is getting ready to leave on a mission and so we invited them to make some goals for General Conference to help them grow even closer as a family. We also ate dinner and it was a good night!

Tuesday morning we had correlation with Sam, we stayed at Sam's to do some language study and then Sam drove us to the Doctor's office so I could have another surgery on my toe :( This place was a lot more intense, last time they had me pull up my pant leg but this time they gave me a surgical gown, an IV, the whole 9 yards! Everything seemed to go okay and that was it for Tuesday!

Wednesday we had interviews with President so we got a ride from President to the Church and then I ended up staying there all day and then I came home and put my foot up for the afternoon... might have taken a nap, being stuck at home gave me a minute to catch up on sleep! Anything I caught up on was lost this weekend though!

Thursday I didn't leave the house! I don't want to go through this all over again so I'm trying to do my best and stay off of it... or at least I was! Cleaned the whole apartment and cooked lunch for everyone when they came home.

Friday I left to go buy fruit under our house at the market and to steal some Wifi from a neighboring photo place. Did lots of studying! We were supposed to be in Rome on Friday for the conference but there was a strike on the public transportation in Rome so if we had taken our train there we wouldn't have been able to get to the conference. So our Class-A Hugh speed train tickets were garbage and we ended up taking the 3 hour train regional train back to Napoli on Monday.

Saturday and Sunday were General Conference! It's like Christmas for missionaries! I'm not sure what my favorite talk is yet, I'm going to have to read all of them again and I'll probably do that this week! I really did enjoy the talks by Elder Nelsen as well as the Emeritus 70 Elder Zwick! "Look beyond what you see" I think is great Council! Expand your vision to see further into the future, to open up to new possibilities and to go further than you thought you could! Sunday morning we also made a HUGE breakfast, I made my Mom's Make ahead French toast and Anziano Andersen made eggs, bacon and potatoes all cooked together! It was awesome!

Yesterday was the longest day of my mission! But it was such a good one! We left at 6:30 AM to head to Rome, got to the Church for the conference at 9:55, had the conference from 10-4 with a leadership meeting until 5 and then a train ride home! Most everything was about Facebook and the new Chapter of Preach my Gospel. It was a great day and I definitely learned a lot! We had 8 Elders in our house both Sunday night and last night so our Zone unity was off the charts! Especially with just one bathroom!

Today was a shopping day! I bought a handful of ties and a new straight razor... nothing too much! Pizza from Da Michele (Best pizza in the world) and now it's email time! I hope you all have a great day! I love you all!

Anziano Jacob Bellucci

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Napoli!! Transfer 11 Week 3

What a week! Y'all tired of hearing me say that yet???

We start at the beginning as always! Monday night... well I don't actually remember what we did but I'm sure it was great!

Tuesday went pretty well, we had a good morning of finding and sending some daily Contact messages to our Investigators through Facebook. Then in the afternoon a little more finding before English Course which turned out really well! We probably had 25 people that came and a lot of new comers which is always fun!

Wednesday we had correlation at Church with Sam and I made a chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting... (Thanks Roxy for the recipe!) Everyone seemed to love it and we celebrated Anziano Jensen's birthday! Came home and got some lunch and then we had an awesome referral from Richard! His name is Ebenezer and we set him with a baptismal date for October 21st! He came to Church as well!

Thursday we had DDM which was another sugar rush! Sister Hyde made this banana cake thing with this caramel syrup... it was good! We had a great DDM from Anziano Ruiz and then we got a pizza. I realized that I am always so excited for the pizza and then I just get destroyed and am so full! So I decided on a half when we go to Pellone. Anyway, that afternoon we got to teach Ebenezer again and we moved onto the Plan of Salvation! It went well and then we had English Course and Nicoletta came back from Scotland! We brought her a Reeces and some other American grub and she brought me two ties and Anziano Jensen a scarf from Scotland! They're way cool!

Friday we weekly planned in the morning and then started an exchange with the Castellammare Anziani! I got to work with Anziano Drenk which was really fun, we had a good time for sure! We went and did a Family Home Evening with the Granata family and we just shared our favorite stories from the Bible. It was a really good discussion and it really helped to open him up to sharing about the Gospel.

Saturday morning we filled with calling everyone we knew to call to the baptism, we went Finding and then met up with the other Anziani and they showed us this place owned by a man named Giorgio... he makes hand made ties... confession time. I spent 50€ on a handmade tie. Well I actually just picked out the fabric and he's going to make it and I pick it up tomorrow! We came home, did our exchange review and then switched back companions to head to lunch with the Ariante family! Lunch was great! In the middle our downstairs neighbor called and said there was a GIANT CRICKET flying from their balcony to ours. I called the other Elders and then just heard screaming on the other end of the phone and they won't really tell us what happened. Apparently it was the size of a shoe. Anyway their son leaves in November so we focused our thought on helping prepare him and making expectations for who you want to become on your mission. It went super well and we had to jet to the baptism! We rolled in like two minutes before it started and we're still one of the first ones there! It went beautifully, he had to be baptized three times because he wouldn't go under but in the end it was a beautiful ceremony and his smile was a mile wide.

Sunday we went to Church early so I could translate interviews for the African members with the Branch President. Richard was called as an assistant Branch Mission Leader and Peter was called as a counselor in the Sunday School Presidency. It was great to see the Branch really supporting them and making them a part of the Branch!

We went to Sam's house and Lori cooked us lunch! We had a nice chuck roast with veggies and mashed potatoes! Mmmm America! And brownies from a box! We talked about the calamities happening in the world and how people now more than ever need the Gospel!

We then got on Skype with Sister Lee to plan Zone Conference. All is good for that and then there was a farewell meeting for Joele who leaves for France on her mission tomorrow! She asked me to speak for a few minutes and I thought it was a great privilege. I had no idea what to speak about. I ended up talking about the song Army Of Helaman and how the song says "We will be the Lord's missionaries to bring the world His truth" and changing it to "We are now the Lord's missionaries" and what a great privilege it is to serve. Then she started to cry and I caught her which made me cry a little but it turned out ok. I just balled a little! It was a beautiful farewell complete with food and pictures!

This morning we went and played soccer with all the Elders in the Zone and it was really fun! I enjoyed it a lot!

I hope everything is going well with people getting back to school and work and the every day routine! I love you all and I miss you!

Anziano Jacob Bellucci

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Napolii!! Transfer 11 Week 2

Good morning America!!! ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

What a great week here in The Great Italy Rome Mission! We're seeing miracles!

Monday night unfortunately we had to weekly plan because we were so busy Friday, Saturday, and Sunday... but it was good! We got a lot accomplished and it made for a pretty good week!

Tuesday we were able to go and see Noemi, she is going through a rough patch but she definitely felt the spirit and I hope she can make some decisions to change things up and allow Heavenly Father to bless her even more!

At lunch time we started an exchange with the Pozzuoli Elders, Anziani Jensen wanted to meet with one of his old investigators that moved to Pozzuoli from Rome and introduce her to the Elders there so she could pick the Discussions back up. That means I got to work with Anziano Tucker who has been in Italy about a week! I love working with Greenies, they have so much fire! We got to teach Nicoletta and Glauco together. It was a great lesson and Anziano Tucker's first! We taught him the Restoration and Nicoletta did a great job helping us out actually. She was explaining things and testifying of the Book of Mormon even if she didn't realize it! At one point I looked at Anziano Tucker and he had no idea what was going on because Nicoletta had been talking for a good few minutes and I just told him to relax because she was doing our work for us :)

Wednesday was a good end to our exchange, we just had correlation with Sam which is always a plus! We had a good time, ate sandwiches and headed home. I got my companion back and we had a good afternoon of none of our appointments showing up so we got to go finding!

Thursday we had District Meeting and a pizza for lunch of course! We called about a million people in the afternoon, did some Facebook proselyting which is super cool and made some contact with Nicoletta while she's in Scotland! Fun fact: she met missionaries in Scotland!!!!! She also brought the Book of Mormon with her and has been sharing it with her friend!

Friday we weekly planned for this coming week but we cut it short to go and say goodbye to Esiona... she is a convert from Albania who served her mission in London and then came to work here for a few months! She's been a great friend so we went to see her off to Albania! Then we got to meet up with Frank! It's been a while since we got to meet with him but he brought his friend Michael who is now a new investigator too! We spent some time on Facebook adding members and things and getting used to it and then finished weekly planning to call it a day!

Saturday we had so much planned, if everyone had come to the lessons we had planned we would have been so busy! But alas no one actually came... we spent the morning at Parco Virgigliano, it was a good morning but it was a little rainy so there weren't a ton of people. We came back and made lunch with the other Anziani and then started watching the Facebook training videos and planned for our lessons. Like I said no one came but we got some good studies and finding done!

Sunday was a beautiful windy day, I love the wind because the humidity is usually pretty low when it's windy which is super nice! We had great meetings in Church. Richard gave a talk and so I got to translate over the pulpit for him. He did a great job and kind of called the Branch to repentance telling them they need to do more missionary work! We got to go in with the youth for Sunday School, it reminded me of how terrible we were in Sunday school when I was their age. We had fun and then in Priesthood Richard and Reginald both received the Melchizedek Priesthood and then right after we pulled Richard to help us give a blessing to a member. He was beaming he was so happy to be able to serve and use his newly conferred Priesthood.

We met with the Branch President, planned some things and had lunch at home before trying to meet with Frank again. He didn't show up and he left his phone at home and his roommate answered and said he was gone so we actually got to hear a lot about Richard and his story. He explained to us some of the turmoil in Nigeria and the problems they're having with their government. It was really sad but also so interesting to hear. It gave me another appreciation for the refugees we have here and everything they've been through.

This morning we got up, went grocery shopping, cleaned and then went to the American base with Sam. I stocked up on a lot of stuff! This could be my last time going because I've now been here in Napoli for three transfers. We'll see if I'm lucky enough to do a fourth!

One of the things I've been thinking a lot about is the importance of the Bible and that it is such a big part of our religion. Yes we put a big focus on the Book of Mormon but the Bible is just as important and they complete each other. There is a talk from April 2007 entitled "The Miracle of the Holy Bible" by Elder Ballard and I would encourage you all to go and study it. He bares strong testimony of its power and divinity and its beautiful! I hope you all have a beautiful day and a beautiful week! I love you all!

Anziano Jacob Bellucci