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!