Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Bari Libertà Transfer 7 Week 1

March 27, 2017

Transfer Calls take me by Surprise! 

Wow what a week it's been! It has flown by and so much has happened! From the beginning it was a shake up! So Monday night we knew one of us would be leaving so we went to visit a few members after P-Day and then we met up with the Catanzaro Anziani to grab a pizza and wait for Transfer calls... The other Anziani got their call first from the assistants and found out they were getting blown out and then the Sisters got their call shortly after from Sister Pickerd saying that they would both be training new missionaries! They're going to do great! Then we waited... and we waited... and the assistants usually call around the District when they do calls but no one was calling us... so we ate went home and ate our pizza! President has his own special ringtone and its that sound that just kind of makes you gasp a little bit! Well his ringtone went off... I've been transferred to Bari Libertà to be the new Zone Leader! I'm super stoked to be here and to be serving other missionaries as a Zone Leader! Our Zone goes from Foggia on the North end all the way to Lecce on the South end and so I'll get to travel quite a bit of it as we do exchanges with the other missionaries! Anyway I'll tell you more about Bari later... I still had a few more days in Crotone! 

So Tuesday we had District Meeting and got kebab for the last time as a District and then I got some packing done. Usually the transfers are on Thursday but I think the Greenies flew in a day later so we did transfers on Friday so I had a little more time to pack! We had English Course and had a party afterwards so Sister Taylor and I could say goodbye to everyone. There was a lot of food! The Sisters made brownies and I made banana bread. It turned out really well and it was good to see everyone. We found out right before English Course that the transfers would be on Friday and that we would still be there for Thursday! Anyway the party went well! 

Wednesday was exhausting... I spent a good minute getting things together around the apartment in the morning after studies and then we took a bus to Cutro at 11 to go see Antonio, we went to his house for lunch and then went and took some pictures with him. It was really hard to say goodbye to him, I'm going to miss him! Then we went and took pictures with the Tedesco kids and came back to Crotone on the 3 o'clock bus. We went and visited Sister Siniscalchi, did some handyman work on her kitchen door knob and said goodbye, she is the cutest little old lady, she's like my little Grandma of Crotone! I'll miss her for sure too! Then we went to the house, grabbed some stuff and brought it to Vincenzo's house to make brownies with him. Usually we just make them at home because it's easier than taking stuff over there but it was a lot of fun! I took a cool video with him! 

Thursday... Thursday was bitter sweet, my last day with Anziano Allen and I was pretty sad, I was excited to come to Bari but having a new companion is scary, he was pretty scared too but he's going to be fine! I packed a little bit in the morning, we went and visited a couple of members so I could say goodbye, we saw Marco one last time and then Anziano Allen wanted to make an "Italian Pranzo" so he made a few courses for lunch while I kept packing... it was really good! We had pesto pasta and then chicken and potatoes for round 2! We had branch Council and finished up the details for the activity on Saturday (I hope it went well!) and then English Course one more time! Salvatore and Eleanor's picked us up from English Course and we went and got pizza with them, it was nice to have a little "Family Night out" I'm for sure going to miss them too! 

Friday morning... I was pretty much all packed just the last few things I had to use and so we ran to the store to get stamps and then send off some "ghetto packages" so there are these little red boxes in Italy and anything you can fit through the little red slot ships! So we use cereal boxes or whatever box you can find, turn it wrong side out and tape it up, put whatever you want in there and then ship it off with a $0.95 stamp! There's no guarantee it makes it there but it's worth a try right? So I sent off a few of those and got dish soap so Anziano Allen's new companion wouldn't come to a new city with dirty dishes... then it was time to head em up and move em out... The Branch President came and picked us up and then picked up the Sisters. Sister Taylor and I were taking the same train so our companions actually did an exchange for a few hours... weird! Anziano Allen was freaking out that he was going to have a Sister as a companion! I thought it was funny... they went to a member's house for lunch so it was all good! We said our goodbyes and took one last picture together! And it was off to Bari for me! The train ride actually went by super fast! Sister Taylor stayed with me about halfway to Taranto so I was only by myself about an hour and a half and then when I got to Taranto Sister Bellomo and I were on the same train from Taranto to Bari so I had company almost the whole way! Speaking of Sister Bellomo, she's embarrassed to speak English so we speak a lot in Italian, she is from the North though so she speaks so clearly! She's in our District here in Bari. The Senior couple (yes that's right, I said senior couple! I'm super excited to have one of those here) and the other missionaries picked us up at the station. I met my new companion Anziano Bowers! 

Anziano Bowers is about 3/4 of the way through his mission and is a great missionary! He is number 4 in a family of 5 and grew up in Seattle Washington, he loves to wrestle, he did it in High School, skateboard and BMX bike... he reminds me a lot of Anziano LaRussa! They even look alike! 

I got unpacked and settled in, we ate some lunch and then got in the car and he showed me a little bit around the area. I'm super stoked to have a car again... it's so nice. Her name is Gina I guess... anyway we were with Anziano Carroll because his companion hadn't arrived from Sicily yet. This is a four man house so we live with Anziani Carroll and Anziano Wilkey! So we went to the correlation meeting at the Bari Libertà ward, the Ward mission leader is a returned missionary who served in the Manchester England mission so we do correlation in English so he can practice. That was pretty much it for Friday, I was definitely ready for bed! 

Saturday morning we went to another city called Trani, it's kind of far away but there was a guy that came from Brescia (a city in the North) to visit his family here and he goes to their English Course. He came to our English Course and said that he wanted us to meet his family because he really loves the missionaries up North! His family is super nice and we are hoping to start teaching them too! We walked around Trani and they took us to their bike shop where they make bikes with completely wood frames, it was really cool! They want to start selling them in America, they're hand made wooden bikes and they sell for 6-7,000 €... I think it's a little out of all of our price ranges. Anziano Bowers took it for a spin though and he said it was really nice! We played soccer in this big park in the afternoon trying to talk to people, it was a lot of fun and then we ended with a Gesso in Centro. 

So Bari is about the size of Salt Lake... it's pretty big! It's divided into two areas and two wards. So we are the Bari Libertà ward and the Anziani we live with are in the same ward and we also have Sisters. Then there is Bari PoggioFranco and there is a set of Elders and Sisters there too. Then there is a Branch of about 30 people in Bitonto and my companion and I cover that too! So we go to Church mostly in Bitonto but we'll do splits in the Libertà ward so our faces get known there too. So anyway we went to Bitonto for Church yesterday, it was a lot of fun and actually reminded me of Potsdam. They are all super close and stay around after church to chat with each other. The Branch President is really cool, he asked me to give a short talk and bare my testimony, it went pretty well! I talked about missionary work, I know weird... I talked about trusting ourselves in the missionaries and trusting them with our friends. It went pretty well! We had to spend the evening doing weekly planning so we could get the transfer planned out and get ready for the week. We have a super busy week planned so I'm pretty stoked! We were supposed to go to lunch at the Libertà Bishop's house but they got invited to his parents house or something so his wife gave us a bag with stuff to make ourselves lunch... it was good. 

So on Sunday nights we call the District Leaders and talk about all the missionaries through out the Zone and how everyone is doing. It takes quite a bit of time and I still have no idea what I'm doing so... we were up pretty late last night! It was rough getting up this morning but we made it. Then we get up and walk to this pizzeria down the street to email in our report. I'm learning a ton but I still feel like I have no idea what's going on... I'll get it eventually! 

Today it's raining... it's been beautiful since we got here but now it's kind of crappy. We went grocery shopping and then we went to Gucci... anyone ever been to Gucci? It's right next to Prada and down the Street from Armani and Luis Vuitton... I didn't even know these places existed. I felt out of place. 

So I'm super excited to be here! We're going to have a good Transfer and I'm stoked! How did your week go?!?! I've been studying a lot about those questions of the soul and I'm curious if you guys have ever had any questions answered from the Book of Mormon? I would love to hear your experiences! Have a great week!

Anziano Bellucci

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Crotone Transfer 6 Week 6

March 20, 2017

Broken Windows, Branch Activities and Baptism! 

Transfer Calls are today! I'm kind of nervous... none of us have a clue what is going to happen and President Pickerd is all inspiration so there's no point in guessing! I'm going to be super sad to lose my "son" but I've taught him all I know and he's taught me even more! So we'll get the calls tonight and who knows, maybe I'll be emailing home from a different city next week! 

This week has been a pretty busy one! On Monday we went to Tropea and then stayed in Cosenza that night. The Sisters from Crotone, the Anziani from Catanzaro and Anziano Allen and I did a Gesso in Cosenza without the Anziani from Cosenza, they were doing an exchange with the Zone Leaders. It was interesting especially because none of us know the city so we would tell people the address and they would be like "where is that?" And we had to describe it with some real bad directions (Go straight down this road until you pass the dry cleaners and the place with the cacti and then turn right, there will be some stairs walk down there and it's on the left) Pretty ghetto directions but they worked! I keep meaning to take a picture of one of our Gesso sheets but I always forget! We went to this pizzeria after called "Walters Pizzeria" and I had the best pizza I've had in Italy! It was soooo good! It was hand tossed and I took a video, this guy was a pro! I got fresh sausage and Gorgonzola cheese... good stuff. 

Wednesday we had DDM in Cosenza and Anziano Saffer gave the training as this was his last week in the mission, he is in Rome right now and will fly back to Sweden tomorrow! It's so weird to see missionaries finish their missions... it makes me realize how quickly a mission goes! He did a great job and explained a lot about the importance of loving the people. This made me think a lot about my mission call as last Monday was a year since I opened it. Before I opened it I remember a very important person saying to me that no matter what that piece of paper says this is the best mission for me, this is where I need to go and I will become entangled with a whole new group of people and I will love them and my life will become about them. I rewatched my mission call video so I could hear those words again and I can for sure say that it is absolutely true. The Italians drive me nuts, they stress me out and I love them so much! My life has become about them and I am so grateful for that! The Rome Italy mission is the perfect mission for me. So there's my little side note about that!

We took the bus back to Crotone and got back in time for some finding, some language study and then English Course. Afterwards we practiced singing "I Stand all Amazed" for the baptism!

Wednesday the Zone Leaders from Taranto came to do an exchange with us for the afternoon, we made chicken curry for lunch with them and then I got to work with Anziano Zito for the afternoon. Anziano Zito is 3 transfers ahead of me so he is about 13 months out and he's from Brigham City UT! We found out that we bought almost all our mission clothes at the same store in Logan... small world! We visited some less actives that live a little further out of Crotone because we had the car and then we went to the Church for a Branch Activity. The Branch President said on Sunday "Lets eat spaghetti on Wednesday" so we planned it out and there's actually a word for this in Italian they say "spaghettata" so spaghetti dinner turned into a full dinner complete with three courses and dessert... my kind of party! It went really well and we had a good turn out! We had 6 missionaries and about 8 members and 2 of our investigators came! They actually sat right next to our Branch President and by the end you would have thought they were best friends! That's the testimony of the importance of using members in your missionary work! 

Thursday is the broken window... so Italy is windy... so I like to open the windows in our house just to air it out so I had the bathroom window open and I closed the hallway door because we were making chicken wings for lunch and I hate the smell when it's all through out the house. Anyway, the balcony doors were open and I opened the hallway door, I felt the wind blow through and as I turned the corner I watched the bathroom window swing shut and completely blow out... completely shattered in a million pieces. Some phone calls in the mission are hard to make... but it's fixed now and it's all good! Apparently this isn't the first time even this year that that exact window has been replaced because of the wind. 

Friday we wanted to have lunch together with the Sister missionaries so we did weekly planning at the Church and I made a big old lunch with two whole chickens, mashed potatoes and my Mom's candies carrots, it was a really homey meal, and we were super full afterwards! But no rest for the weary, right afterwards we had to  lean up and get ready for Precious' Baptism! The Baptism was supposed to start at 4:30 and it was going to start in Church and then we were going to go to a member's bungalow on the beach for the Baptism. I called the member and she had forgotten about the Baptism and was working so we didn't have the keys to the bungalow! I'm glad we called to confirm... we walked across town to get the keys and then got dressed in our white clothes for the Baptism! Four o'clock came and no one was there,4:10, still no one, 4:15, not another soul, 4:30... you guessed it! No one. We were a little worried! A few minutes later Precious walked in and then one by one a few others! We ended up starting 45 minutes late and it was a race against the sun! We started in the Church and we did the whole thing in English so that she didn't have to listen to her own Baptism translated. So I translated from English into Italian for the Italians. It was kind of cool! It's actually easier to translate into Italian I think... it's probably just because I don't recognize my own mistakes in Italian. Anyway it was cool and we had two investigators come and two English Course Students that are non members! We drove to the beach to do the Baptism and like I said it was a race against the sun, though the water was cold and the sun was going down the spirit was warm and it was a great experience! I am so glad I got to baptize Precious as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After we got changed we sang "I stand all Amazed" and then came back to the church to eat. It was a beautiful day! 

Saturday we had to wait for the Landlord to come and fix our window so we did things at home as long as we could... he never ended up coming... We made lunch and then headed to the Church for the Saturday sessions of Stake Conference. The Temple President from Switzerland came down to Bari and we watched the Web broadcast from there. We watched the Leadership session and it was actually really funny because the Temple President obviously isn't Italian but he was trying so hard! He did a great job and at the end he said somewhat joking "I've spoken way too much Italian today..." and I can definitely relate to that sometimes! We ran and got a pastry with the Sisters real quick before the General session started! When we came back they started the session but our investigator came so we left to go and have a lesson with him. This was our first actual lesson with him and we were super excited! We know he's super faithful and he prays all the time, he's Catholic but not practicing but he's a super nice guy! Anyway we taught him the message of the Restoration and we gave him a Book of Mormon with our testimonies written in it. As I told him we wanted to give it to him he almost cried, you could see the tears in his eyes.

He told us that he's always been super faithful but that we've helped him to realize that  there was something missing. He said even though he's super faithful he's never read the Bible, he's just learned the stories but he said he really wants to read the Book of Mormon! We're super excited for him! 

Yesterday was Stake Conference and it went pretty well, Anziano Allen tried translating for the first time and this guy that you could tell spoke mostly dialect and had a weird accent got up there and his Italian was impossible for me to understand. He said "Good morning everyone" and then handed the translator back to me... poor kid, he tried again with someone that actually spoke Italian and it went much better! Trial by fire is the best way to learn! 

We went to the D'Oppido's house for lunch after church and it was good! She made cannelloni which to me seem like manicotti noodles that are filled with meat and cheese, they're pretty good! We had a good lunch and they bought these pretty fancy dessert pastry things because today is Father's Day in Italy. They base it off of some Saint... I'm not sure which one. Anyway I had a little mini heart attack when someone told me it was Father's Day this morning and then I realized that's not until June! Today was in the 70's and everyone was outside out on the beach. They still have big jackets on and stuff but they're outside! Anziano Allen and I figured out why they don't get hot like we do while they're walking and it's because we walk so fast and they walk so slow... I've actually had a few people tell me that we are walking too fast and should slow down and enjoy it haha I don't think they understand what we do! We got places to be! 

I don't know if I've mentioned anything about soccer in Crotone but they're not half bad apparently. This last year they moved into the A series so they're playing against all the big cities i.e. Rome, Napoli, Palermo, Cagliari... while it turns out they're really good for the B series but they don't have what it takes for the A Series... they are second to last and will be booted back to the B Series next year. Anyway there was a game on Sunday against Fiorenze (Florence) and we lost... but they block off the whole road that the stadium is on so that people can't walk or drive down it. So there's no one on the road except the security guards but they won't let us walk down the street... we had to walk to the complete other side of the town to get around to the church after our lunch appointment... sometimes we just shake our heads at the Italian logic. 

We planned the Branch activity with the Sorelle, we are going to do one like we did in Cagliari where we set up the church like an airplane and show segments from Meet the  Mormons and do activities. It should be a lot of fun, we'll see if I'm still here to see it pan out! 

Today we spent the morning doing some stuff in town, organizing the house and getting ready for transfers. It's been a good day and I'm excited and nervous to see what happens tonight with Transfer calls! Vediamo un po'! 

Love y'all! 

Anziano Jacob Bellucci

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Crotone Transfer 6 Week 5

March 13, 2017

So in Italian the word "Ciao" is hello or goodbye and the same with the word "Salve" it's just more formal. What many Italians don't realize is that these words are most definitely not interchangeable in the English Language... so when we have a conversation with people we will end it saying "Ciao Ciao" and instead of saying "Bye Bye" they often say "Hello Hello" sometimes we correct them, sometimes we just let them be... but most of the time it's hilarious! 

Today is one year since I opened my mission call and went through the Temple! I can't believe its been a year! I'm so grateful for all the changes that have happened in my life in the last year! 

How was your week? What has been your biggest miracle this week? Heavenly Father is in the details, are you looking for the miracles???

We had a pretty good week with some pretty good work! Monday night we got cancelled on by a member so we hit the streets with the Elders from Catanzaro and the Sisters and did a Gesso with the Book of Mormon... (Gesso is the chalk thing!) It went pretty well and we had some really good conversations. Unfortunately most people see that we read the Book of Mormon and think we don't read the Bible. A talk from Jeffrey R. Holland explains this super well! He says: 

"We love and revere the Bible... ...The Bible is the word of God. It is always identified first in our canon, our “standard works.” Indeed, it was a divinely ordained encounter with the fifth verse of the first chapter of the book of James that led Joseph Smith to his vision of the Father and the Son, which gave birth to the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in our time... ...Continuing revelation does not demean or discredit existing revelation. The Old Testament does not lose its value in our eyes when we are introduced to the New Testament, and the New Testament is only enhanced when we read the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. In considering the additional scripture accepted by Latter-day Saints, we might ask: Were those early Christians who for decades had access only to the primitive Gospel of Mark (generally considered the first of the New Testament Gospels to be written)--were they offended to receive the more detailed accounts set forth later by Matthew and Luke, to say nothing of the unprecedented passages and revelatory emphasis offered later yet by John? Surely they must have rejoiced that ever more convincing evidence of the divinity of Christ kept coming. And so do we rejoice."

The Book of Mormon is a good thing! We read from both the Book of Mormon and the Bible, they go hand in hand and compliment each other! 

Tuesday we had DDM and the Sisters gave the training, they focused it on miracles and how miracles are not earned they are given from Heavenly Father, however we as servants of the Lord (and all of you as well!) can be diligent in this work and help create a place for Heavenly Father to work miracles! 

Wednesday we headed to Cutro to see Antonio, we wanted to give Antonio a little gift for his one year baptism "anniversary" and he really wants to go on a mission in America. He's studying English and sometimes we help him with homework and stuff, so we got him a new copy of the Book of Mormon in Italian and a new one in English, we wrote our testimonies in English in the English one and Italian in the Italian one. He really liked them and he's started to read again in the Book of Mormon and is praying everyday! 

The Anziani from Catanzaro we're here to do an exchange with us, from Wednesday afternoon to Thursday morning so we were headed back early, we were walking to the bus stop 12 minutes early and we watched the bus blow right by us, so we missed it :( I was kinda ticked... the weather here has been sooooo windy and rainy, it's like a tornado at times. All the members are telling us to stay inside but I don't think they understand what missionaries do... we're always outside! So anyway we were both trying to fix our wind blown hair in the window of this Café and the people told us to come in and wait inside. They really didn't speak much Italian, mostly all dialect so I didn't understand much but I got that we could sit and wait! 

The scambio went well, Anziano Haws and I went to see Vincenzo, we played some games and are still trying to get him to say his prayers, he always forgets! I'm not sure if I've explained this before but Vincenzo isn't all there, but he's the best guy ever! 

Thursday the scambio continued and we went to visit Sister Siniscalchi, we talked about what Faith really is to her and how we can spread our faith. She amazes me every time I go over there, she's 82 years old and she is the energizer bunny! Sweetest Lady there is and it just makes her day when we stop by and share a message with her. She's our little Grandma of Crotone! 

I tried miserably to make little chicken pot pies for lunch, they tasted good but they were kind of falling apart and my veggies were kind of crunchy still. I think we decided to not try those again... After lunch the Catanzaro Anziani left and we did our language study, got caught up on 12 weeks and got ready for English Course, we did some finding on our way to the Church and then English Course went really well! 

Friday morning we did weekly planning, something I'm trying to love a little more is weekly planning... I don't always love it. I love it when it's done and we have our whole week planned out and things go really well but as I do it it's for sure not my favorite! Then in the afternoon we worked on making invitations for the activity we're planning in two weeks! We got that all figured out and just had to have it proofread by an Italian. We stopped by one of the members furniture shops and said hi, did some finding in Centro and that was pretty much it! 

Saturday we had 4 things planned in the morning and 3 in the afternoon, we were supposed to go to the Hospital and visit the friend of a member who was in an accident. We went but their visiting hours are the worst, they have lunch and then they open again at 7 PM... so we went to go to the other 3 and one by one they weren't there! We had an appointment with Salvatore and Eleanor's for lunch and so we took the bus to their house and had a great lunch, we talked a little about that talk that I mentioned above, he talks about a miracle of healing a sick boy in the Gospel of Mark. Without getting preachy, I really like this part! 

23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

He says "I believe!" Which shows how much faith he does have and then he realizes that his faith isn't perfect but he has enough faith to ask for help! "Help thou mine unbelief!" I thought it was really cool to focus first on the faith that we do have and then to have enough faith to ask for more. 

They gave us a ride back to Crotone and then helped the Sisters type up the Baptismal Program for Precious, she's decided to get baptized! Precious is a young girl from Africa, she's been in Crotone for a few months and she's ready to get baptized! Her Baptism is scheduled for a Friday and she asked me to baptize her! I'm super excited and we're doing it in the ocean! Anziano Allen and I tried on our white clothes (mostly to make sure they fit still #TooMuchPasta Stay tuned for pictures next week! 

Church went well on Sunday, we had 5 people... we're working on it! Then after lunch we went to see Antonio and Oriana with Sister Mercadante. We had a good lesson and they fed us some dinner and then we went to the D'oppido's house to share a message with them and that was the day! 

Today we're heading to Tropea, you guys should look it up online, it's beautiful! We're excited! Hopefully we can send pictures today! I love y'all! Have a good day! Have a good week! I hope Spring comes soon in New York!

Anziano Bellucci

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Crotone Transfer 6 Week 4

Buongiorno a tutti!

Hey everybody and good morning! We had such a great week here in Crotone! A little bit of discouragement but we made it through and it's the Lord's work so it keeps going forward! 

Monday during P-Day we had an Ex-investigator call us and say "Hey, why don't you come over tonight?" We had dropped him a few months ago because he wasn't ready to progress so Monday night we went to visit him and he said he has been reading the Book of Mormon and he was understanding more and more. I don't think he really understands the importance of Baptism yet but we're getting there! We had a great visit with him and read the Book of Mormon together, we both felt the spirit super strong!

Tuesday we went to Catanzaro for District Meeting, with Cosenza in our District it's a little bit closer for them so we are moving it around between the three cities. We had a super good training from Anziano Haws, he asked us before hand to come up with a "Question of the Soul" which can really be anything for example "Where do we come from?" Or "Does God Exist?" Or even "How can I balance my school, work, family and church life?" And then find an answer to it in the Book of Mormon. I chose "Does God know me personally? And I answered it with 2 Nephi 4: 18-24

18 I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me.
19 And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.
20 My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.
21 He hath filled me with his love, even unto the consuming of my flesh.
22 He hath confounded mine enemies, unto the causing of them to quake before me.
23 Behold, he hath heard my cry by day, and he hath given me knowledge by visions in the night-time.
24 And by day have I waxed bold in mighty prayer before him; yea, my voice have I sent up on high; and angels came down and ministered unto me.

These verses to me just show me how much Heavenly Father loves me and is aware of everything that I'm going through, he knows my strengths and my weaknesses, my struggles and my flaws. He sends Angels to come down and minister to me, and in verse 20 he leads me through mine afflictions. It was a really great training on using these questions of the soul in our finding, Elder Oaks in the Broadcast a few weeks ago asked us to focus our finding efforts on the youth and young adults, these are the generation that are ready to accept the message of the restored Gospel. It was really interesting to hear that most of the people our age have these same questions, and most really don't know what their purpose is here on Earth. 

All in all it was a great DDM, we went up into "Città" which is the city part of their area and ate lunch at a sandwich place, got ice cream together and then headed back to Crotone! 

English Course went well, at the end we always share a spiritual thought and usually we just share something small and bare testimony, this time I gave it to Anziano Allen to come up with the idea and then we would work on it together. He shared a verse from the Book of Mormon Alma 36:3

3 And now, O my son Helaman, behold, thou art in thy youth, and therefore, I beseech of thee that thou wilt hear my words and learn of me; for I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day.

He shared a really great testimony about putting our trust in God and leaning on him in our times of doubt and weakness. The spirit was there and he did a great job! It's so crazy to see how far he's come in the past 9 weeks... 

Wednesday was the day of discouragement... it was a good day in the end but it could have been better. In the morning we got cancelled on both appointments we had set up and so we decided to come up with a survey and go ask people questions downtown. Well turns out they weren't interested in answering questions and so we didn't really get a whole lot of conversations. In the afternoon we had been looking forward to seeing this family. We found them a few weeks ago doing house to house, they were walking inside and she said "Come back another night, tonight I just can't" so we went last week and she said "Come back Wednesday at 6" so we went and there was no one home... we were super bummed, we came back a little while later and still nothing :( It was rough, but maybe they'll be home next week!

Thursday morning we had an appointment at the immigration office, up early and out the door so we could be early and not have to spend all day there. Crotone is known for being ridiculously complicated with permessos so we said lots of prayers that morning! We were the third name called and they said I couldn't go up with him to do his fingerprints and I asked if they had a translator and they said no so I wished him luck. Two minutes later they came down to get me... they apparently "changed the law" but it's only this immigration office that does it, anyway he had to have even more information! So they did the fingerprints and told us where to go so that he could verify our housing at the city offices... we get there and they tell us we have to go to the other end of the city and get a "Codice Fiscale" which is like an Italian Social Security Number. So we go there and they tell us he has to have his permesso first. So by this time it's too late for Thursday (I'll explain more later) 

We take the bus to Cutro to go see our boy Antonio, we haven't gone to see him in a while so we were pretty excited!

So we headed over to the Tedesco family afterwards to share a spiritual thought with them. I just love that family and I really enjoy going over to their house. Anziano Allen helped Riccardo plug in his video game to the computer (y'all know I don't really do video games well) and Riccardo just loved him after that. He even said "Ti amo!" Which is I love you but in a romantic way... it was funny... we got the whole family together for the first time since I've been here. We started with a prayer and a question "What brings you the most happiness in your life?" It was a universal "Family!" And so we shared the "Earthly Father Heavenly Father" video which if you haven't checked it out yet you should! We had a great talk about strengthening one another in our family and we invited them to hold Family Home Evening this Monday. 

Then back to Crotone! But first a Grafa (Remember those cream filled pastries, I'm gonna be fat at the end of my mission!)

We stopped by the city offices to tell them what the other people said and they said no they were wrong but to go back. I kind of got a little grumpy and told him we had gone from one end of this city to the other and we don't have a car, what do we have to do. He sympathized and said "Take the rest of the day off from this" gee thanks! Haha English Course and Calzone... doesn't get much better than that! 

Friday was supposed to be weekly planning but we had to get this permesso thing figured out... so we go to the Questura office with about a million prayers in our hearts that this thing is going to work out. Well... they say come back next week on Wednesday at 9. :( As we walk out one of our English Course Students is walking in and he asks us if everything is okay. I explained the situation and he took our paperwork and said "Wait here I'll get this figured out!" Prayers answered! He comes out explains what we have to do and where we have to go! Back to the other end of town to get the Codice Fiscale, then to verify housing and back to the Questura! Everything submitted and now we're just waiting for them to let us know when it's done! Allen's almost legal! 

Lunch and then we spent the afternoon on the Streets talking to everyone!

Saturday we had to get our weekly planning done, or at least that was the plan. I made a big breakfast for us so we could stay focused but then some how we both ended up with stomach aches... Trying to focus with a stomach ache is the worst So we laid down for a few minutes and then finished weekly planning during lunch time so we wouldn't waste time! 

We spent the evening doing some finding, trying out some more "Questions of the soul" and doing some English Course publicity. Sometimes I forget how small of a city this is but I always recognize it when we go out to the "Centro" or downtown area. Italians do this thing at night, so Centro is usually a couple of streets that you can't drive down, it's where all the shops are and street vendors and stuff. Well in Italy if you have nothing else to do you just walk up and down Centro... people tend to get bugged when we have stopped them twice and we start to walk towards them with a big old smile and the third English Course card of the night! Anyway it was a good evening!

Crotone sta fiorendo! So the last verse of the Mission hymn says "Italia Sta fiorendo." The verb "fiorire means to bloom so it says "Italy is blooming!" And yesterday we saw that Crotone is blooming! We got up and went to Church, we were kind of bummed because Oriana and Antonio told us they weren't going to be able to come. We were fasting and we had focused our fast on helping them. (Side note, we made brownies Saturday because yesterday was a year since Antonio's Baptism. We wanted to lick the spoon SO BAD but we were fasting so we didn't!) Just after we had sat down from blessing the Sacrament guess who walked in! Antonio and Oriana! Anziano Allen looked at me and said "It's cuz we didn't lick the spoon!" We were pretty stoked that they came!

We came home after church and made Fried Chicken and Mashed potatoes! It was a good American lunch (which I now realize you would probably eat that for dinner... it's going to be weird going back to dinner being the big meal) and then we went to go teach Antonio and Oriana. We taught them a review of the Restoration with the cups like we did a few weeks where you build Christ's perfect Church and then it gets destroyed and then you rebuild it. Antonio seemed to understand it really well and he was way more interested than he usually is. Oriana straight told us she is ready to be baptized! She knows it's true! And she found her answer because she's keeping each one of her commitments! She's reading, studying, and praying! We just have to get her husband on board! I know if he'll keep his commitments that he'll feel ready to be baptized too! 

After our lesson we had correlation and then planned an activity for the Branch. It went super well! We're hoping to have a good activity for the ward to introduce people to the Church and get the members excited to do some missionary work! 

Today we went back and re-did the hike that we did a few months ago up to the cross, I finally took some pictures this week! I've been off my picture game for a while but I'm trying to get better! I was having a craving for some Chinese Food, I was missing Panda Express or China Doll or something so I asked some members and we found this Chinese Restaurant, it was huge and there wasn't a soul in it but it wasn't super expensive so we decided to try it! Turned out to be really good, I got pot stickers, some soy noodles with shrimp and then some veal and peppers and onions, I'm pretty happy and I think my Chinese craving has been satisfied for now! 

Well if you made it to the end I give you congrats, this is an absolute epistle, and it gets a little preachy but I wanted to share some cool scriptures and a little bit of my testimony! I love y'all and I hope you have a great week! By the way I'll add a little weather report... it's been beautiful in the 60's and low 70's during the day and then it gets pretty cold at night. Anyway, that's it! 

Anziano Jacob Bellucci