Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Bari Libertà Transfer 7 Week 5

This week has been one of the best weeks of my mission from the beginning! I have felt so much of God's love for me and for all of his children and it has been so good! My testimony of God knowing each one of us is something that has grown so much in the last few months. He knows us individually and personally and he loves us! 

On Monday just shortly after the activity that we had I had the incredible opportunity to see Sam enter the waters of baptism and receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost. It was an incredible baptism and I was really glad to be a part of it. Sam is about 40 years old, he came to Italy legally on a VISA that has since expired and so he is technically a refugee but he is very well educated. He studied theology in Nigeria and is very well versed in the Scriptures. He has come to Church every Sunday for the last year as he has been investigating, he wanted to make sure he was ready and that he had received his own personal testimony before taking this step. Life as a refugee here in Italy is rough but the true happiness that was evident in his face was incredible. You could tell that he truly felt the power that comes from a remission of your sins and the constant companionship of tyhe Holy Ghost. This was a success for the Senior Couple Anziano and Sorella Fitzner as they have worked with him from the beginning and are very much like his "parents" in the Gospel and rock of support. After the baptism and the Confirmation of the Holy Ghost Sam gave Anziano Fitzner the biggest hug I've ever seen, I thought he was going to break him in half! But the moment was so tender. 

Tuesday morning I woke up sore from too much volleyball... so worth it. We had to take our car to go get new tires and brakes with the Fitzner's car too. They did the Fitzner's car first and we decided to leave Gina (Our Car) so that we could go to DDM. We've been talking so much about Young Single Adults lately and how we all want to work with them more and get members involved in the work but we've noticed that we talk a lot of talk but nothing is happening so we decided to come up with some measurable goals and keep each other accountable for them! I hope it works! 

Bari is known for its Focaccia which is like pizza bread... I don't know how to explain it. It's like a pizza but it's super thick and then they put like whole tomatoes on top and olives too but those are gross. Anyway the focaccia here is so good! I usually don't like it, it's usually doughy and just not super good but we got some for lunch after DDM and it was dang good! Gina wasn't ready yet by 1:30 when she was supposed to be ready at 11... I love Italians. 

Wednesday was so good! We got up early and left the house early to head to Foggia for an exchange with Anziano Osmond and Anziano Simonsen! These two Anziani are incredible, they're just doing great work up in Foggia and we had a great Scambio. Anziano Osmond is in his second transfer so he's still in training but he seems like a seasoned veteran. He speaks the language really well and he has a good head on his shoulders. Obviously his Dad is Donny Osmond and so we were listening to music on my iPad and a song from Mulan came on and he was like "That's my Dad!" It was funny. He thought it was funny that I knew the song "Puppy Love" apparently only Old people are allowed to know that... Anyway we had a great exchange, and I was bummed to leave Foggia on Thursday morning! 

Saturday we had a pretty good day! We spent the morning around Bari and then we came back for our "Italian Class" with the member that lives upstairs and it was a lot of fun. We've been playing games where you have categories like jobs, animals, food, body parts and then she gives us a letter and we have to come up with a word for each category... it's real hard! But it's good to learn new things! Afterwards we ran downstairs to get lunch going. I made lunch for everyone and then I took Anziano Whitaker in the car to Trani to do the baptismal interview for Francesco. He did a great job and is super ready! We got the baptismal program planned out and ready to go and had a great "mini exchange" for a few hours. So the lady that lives above us that teaches us Italian has a big Golden Receiver named Luka, he's kind of obnoxious and barks a lot but we love him! So we went with her to take Luka for a walk and then did a Family Home Evening together complete with panzarotti (Sergi's pizza Rolls) and a game. We had a great time and I think the message was exactly what she needed! 

Sunday I got to go to Church in Bari Libertà for the first time ever! I went with Anziano Carroll to Libertà and Anziano Wilkey and Anziano Bowers went to Bitonto. Sister Bellomo is Italian and she only has three transfers left, she's been learning English but is a little bit afraid to speak even though she speaks really well. She wants to learn how to live translate before she leaves and so I gave her the translator and she started freaking out! I wouldn't take it back so she kept trying to give it back. After a few minutes I left her in the back to translate and she did a great job! We can do hard things! After Church we went with the Petroni family and it was super good! I also set up 3 appointments with members in the next week, it was nice to finally meet all the members here! I sat next to the Ward mission leader in Priesthood and said "Ok, who is ..." and it worked pretty well. 

Then in the evening there is a Sister from the PoggioFranco Ward that got her mission call so they decided to have an activity centered around missionary work. It was... interesting... and in the end she opened her mission call to the Milan Mission! 

Today we have had an awesome Zone P-Day! We had everyone come in to Bari to play volleyball together and we definitely had a great time! None of us are super good but it was well worth it and I think it was a success. I'm super tired now and I'm ready for bed but we get to go work for a few hours first! 

I love you guys and I hope you are having a good week! 

Love Anziano Bellucci  

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Bari Libertà Transfer 7 Week 4

Exchanges, Mexican Food, and falling elevators...

I swear he weeks get busier and busier this Transfer! I can't believe we're already halfway through this one! 

Not much happened on Tuesday after P-Day, we taught English Course and that was pretty much it! 

On Wednesday we went to Trani, we taught a lesson about temples to our Recent Converts and it went super well! I got to share the stories about my family doing baptisms for the first time in California and then about my Mom and Adam being sealed in the temple! It was a great lesson and we're super stoked for them to get ready for the temple! 

When we left there we came home, ate an early lunch and then grabbed our stuff, picked up some mattresses from the Senior Couple and headed to Lecce to visit Anziano Lancaster and Anziano Jensen! It was a good drive down but when you get to Brindisi there are all these signs for Greece and you can take a ferry to Greece and Anziano Bowers and I just looked at each other like... hmmm I wonder... haha not that I would ever do it but the thought crossed my mind! 

I got to work with Anziano Jensen, he is a pretty young missionary but he's very "in gamba" as we say in Italian, he just wants to get out there and work! He speaks the language very well and is a great missionary! We spent the exchange doing a lot of finding and I actually got to learn quite a bit from him and I hope he learned something from me! 

We came back on Thursday after lunch and then went straight to Trani to teach Francesco, we are working on the commandments with him and explaining tithing and the Word of Wisdom. He seemed to understand them pretty well and he taught us the principles that we taught him. Then we taught English Course and they were starting Branch Choir and they asked us to stay... not a good idea. I sing the melody. That's it. They had us singing the tenor part and I was lost and probably sounded like I was dying but I tried! 

Friday we did weekly planning in the morning and then another exchange with the Anziani in Poggio Franco! I got to work with Anziano Hinckley (5th cousin of Gordon B.)  he is in his 2nd Transfer so he's still being trained. We got to do some finding in the biggest park here in Bari. So we talked to a few people and then I said "Anziano Hinckley, who should we talk to next?" And when I turned there was a lady waving to us to come over. I was shocked so I looked to see if there was anyone behind me and there wasn't! So we went over and she said "Hello!" I asked if she spoke Italian and she said no and asked me if I spoke English. Well in fact I do! She was visiting from Denmark and started asking us who we are and what we do. She then said "I'm Orthodox and my husband here is atheist and we were just talking a few minutes ago about whether or not we want to have children and I said that I want my child to be baptized but he doesn't." So we got the opportunity to explain why baptism is important and it was really good. Unfortunately they had to go so we didn't get to help them with much else but I hope they will remember it! That night we had "Mexican night" for the Young Single Adults and we were invited as they had some non-members that were supposed to come. I miss Mexican food so much! We just made really simple tacos and it was so good! The Senior Couple scoured the city looking for Cheddar cheese and they found some for something like 28€ a kilo which is like 15$ a pound but they said it was worth it! Guacamole, salsa, hamburger and sour cream which also wasn't easy to find but it was so good! 

Saturday morning we continued our scambio, we did some more finding and then went to the member's house that lives above us, she teaches us Italian on Saturdays. We had a good time and then made lunch together at our house to finish off the exchange! 

Easter Sunday! 

We went to Church in Bitonto and had a great time! The talks were so great with so much focus on Jesus Christ and his resurrection, I couldn't help but feel his personal love for me in Church yesterday. We went to lunch with the Scarolla family! They are a great couple, they don't have any kids, they're a little older but they're so nice! They're very musically inclined... (not me) we had so much food but my favorite part was the homemade ravioli... che buona... we watched the Prince of Peace video with them and then I invited them to read and study this week the accounts in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. It's really a great study so that's my invite for all of you! 

We had a meeting with the Young Single Adults to plan how to work with the institute to bring more GANS and then we celebrated a birthday with them and headed to the Fitzners for a Nacho night with the rest of the real expensive cheese! It was a lot of fun and a good taste of home! (Even though they're Canadian...:) So here is my elevator story. So they live on he fifth floor of a really nice apartment building. Well the elevator said Maximum 8 people. Well all eight of the missionaries were in the elevator and then Sister Fitzner got in and Anziano Fitzner put one foot in and it started to sink, the emergency doors started to close and Anziano Fitzner had to jump in... we were all freaking out! When it got to the bottom the doors started to open but then closed right away and it started going down further into the parking garage. It got to the bottom and still wouldn't open. Anziano Fitzner was a fireman so he's the calm one in the situation, it finally stopped mid floor and we were able to wedge the doors open. We pulled ourselves down far enough to sneak out the bottom level of he parking garage... it was sketch but we made it out alive! 

Today is an activity at the Church so we are going to be here most of the day, we've got volleyball, basketball, soccer, foosball and ping pong! Today is a Holiday in Italy so everything is closed... it's called Pasquetta which is like "Little Easter" but it's a big thing here! 

I hope you all had great weeks, I hope you got to spend time with family and friends for Easter and I hope you know I love you all! 

Buona Pasqua

Anziani Bellucci

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Bari Libertà Transfer 7 Week 3

April 10, 2017

My head is still spinning from this past week but we made it through! I'm learning very quickly that the week before Zone Conference is a very hectic week for the Zone Leaders! We made it through but it went by very quickly and was very busy!
Honestly I don't remember exactly what we did on Monday... I remember I woke up super sore on Tuesday though from playing Volleyball! I was sore from head to toe. We had District Meeting and our District is pretty big. It reminds me of Cagliari! There's 10 missionaries and a Senior Couple so we make a pretty big group. Anziano Whitaker is our District Leader and he is an absolute stud, he only has one transfer left which is a bummer because I'm going to miss him for sure! He just finished applying for Utah State though so hopefully I'll see him after the mission. He gave us a great training on goals and visions and I learned a lot from it. 
Wednesday morning we went to Trani to teach our investigators and our New Converts out there, it was a good lesson and we came back to Bari and in the afternoon we went and played frisbee in the park to try to talk to some people. We talked to this group of people that were pretty cool. Italians are really good at Soccer, everyone grows up playing it, they can juggle a soccer ball and pretty much do anything with their feet. But outside of that, literally any other sport... they can't do. It's actually really funny, they couldn't catch or throw a frisbee and we tried a little volleyball too but it was a lost cause, they kept kicking it! We had a good time with them though. Afterwards the Sisters from PoggioFranco which is the other side of the city called us and said "So everyone is dropping out of the talent show tomorrow, can you guys sing with us?" So we had to practice for that...
Thursday morning one of the investigators of the Anziani that we live with invited us to go to a play, Aladdin, he told them that there would be tons of families there and he's the director so he could get us all free tickets. So we get there and this is the fourth largest theater in Europe, it's absolutely gorgeous! But he got us our own little private box so we were all alone and it turns out it was a showing for all the Elementary kids to come to so it was literally like 500 kids under the age of 10... and none of their parents so it was kind of a bust. Also, Disney did Aladdin a lot better for sure... in this one, Aladdin had a Mom, Jasmine had no pet Tiger and it was just weird. We had a good time though and I took some pictures! 
In the afternoon we went to Trani to teach Francesco, he's a stud and is super stoked to get baptized on the 28th! We taught him the Plan of Salvation and we drew it out on the iPad with pictures and then he took the iPad and said "Ok, I'm going to teach you now!" And he did, he taught us the whole thing almost perfectly! He's so ready! 
We came back to Bari for the talent show, practiced our song once through and then started greeting people! There were a ton of people that came with a lot of talent! There were these two little girls from the ward who were like 9 years old and they had incredible voices! There was a 12 year old magician, some old lady that told a joke in Barese (Bari dialect) that I didn't understand, Anziano Fitzner (Senior Couple) sang a version of Hallelujah with words about Easter, it was great! We sang the Youth song "Come unto Christ" which was a lot of fun! 
Friday we had weekly planning in the morning and had to get ready for Zone Conference, we planned both of the trainings for Zone conference and made the final schedule. In the afternoon we went to Bitonto with the Sisters to do a "Bitonto Blitz" and we stopped by the Church to find half the Branch there practicing for Choir. We got roped into that right away, all I can do is sing the melody and they want us to sing parts so I'm a lost cause but it's fun! We finished the night with picking up our newly tailored suits and then grabbed some Panzarotti which are like the pizza rolls from Sergi's they're sooooo good! We get them baked but they have them fried too and they're so good! 
Saturday we spent running all over the place! We started with hair cuts, then we went to the store to buy a ton of food for Zone Conference, then onto the market for fruit for ZC. To the church to unload everything and then we went to play soccer with the Young Men in Bitonto. We had a blast, I'm so out of shape... so is my companion, we were exhausted and it was 4 on 5 so we were running like crazy! As we were playing we got a call from the PoggioFranco Anziani. So there are two doors to their apartment, you walk through the first one and then there are two apartments inside of that. So they went to leave for an appointment and they went out the door and closed it behind them and then realized they didn't have the keys to unlock the second door and so they were stuck in this little square like five foot by five foot. We were the only one with keys and we were out of Bari so they were stuck in there for over an hour and a half... I thought it was hysterical! So we let them out and then went to the activity at church. There was a benefit concert to donate milk to refugees here in Italy. They had Bands from all over Bari and there was a few hundred people there and more than half were non members which was so cool! They raised 1,365 liters of milk! Double the goal! President came and got to meet some of the missionaries investigators and it was a good success! 
Sunday Church in Bitonto! We did an Exchange with the other Anziani so one of us could go to Church in Libertà and get to know the members there and so I took Anziano Carroll with me to church in Bitonto. President and Sister Pickerd came to Church with us too! It was a great block of meetings, we had a chance to hear from them in Sacrament Meeting and then to go to Gospel Principles with both of them as well. Our new converts were there with their son Francesco (the one getting baptized on the 28th) and he met with them during third hour and hey had a great time! We set up an appointment for President with the Bishop in Libertà and then we met him back at the church for Interviews! Our Investigator Sam got interviewed for Baptism by President and he's ready! Were so stoked for him! We got all the paperwork done and he will be baptized on Monday! It was for sure a good day but I was exhausted! 
Yesterday as you know we had Zone Conference which is why we are having P-Day today. Zone Conference was great! We talked about the principle of "Good, Better, Best and how it applies to missionary work and our own personal improvement in the things we do every day. We also had a really good training about Using the Book of Mormon to answer questions of the soul that people ask us everyday on the streets. I remember I wrote home about this a few weeks ago when I was in Crotone because we did a lesson on it then but it was really good and really cool to see how many questions can be answered by the Book of Mormon. They also let us do a role-play in English which was way fun!  
In the afternoon part of Zone Conference my companion and I along with the SIster Training Leader Sister Hess got to lead a discussion on working with and finding the GANS that we have to find more of them! It was a good discussion and I think it helped! 
We had a training for the new missionaries and their trainers in the Zone right after Zone Conference like the one I went to when I was with Anziano Allen except this time we were leading it! It was a good training on the importance of studying the language and using Companionship study. 
Afterwards the Bishop and his family had invited us over for Family Home Evening at their house which was really nice, they are a great family! They have two kids, one is a foreign exchange student in American Fork Utah and the other is a 12 year old volleyball star named Marco! So when we do FHE here our job i s to bring the game and the family that we visit has to come up with the lesson. We watched Elder Bednar's talk from the Priesthood session and had a great discussion about callings in the Church as well as being prepared for the future! Followed up by a game of UNO in which I lost and then dinner together! It made me feel at home! 
Today we went and played Ultimate Frisbee in the park and had a picnic, nothing too exciting! I'm still exhausted but I don't see a nap anywhere in my future... I love you all and I hope you had a good week!

Anziano Jacob Bellucci

Italy Rome Mission

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Bari Libertà Transfer 7 Week 2

April 3, 2017

The Hardest Thing I've ever Loved to do...

This has been a pretty trying week for me, Satan has been working on me and he's been having a lot of success getting into my mind. But I think it's because he knew how amazing General Conference would be this week. 

I've been learning a lot about who I am as a missionary this week which has been kind of interesting. As I watch other missionaries in the Zone I see the things they do well and the things I could improve on and I really enjoy that. It makes me want to be better. I also had a scary realization reading an email yesterday from one of my MTC teachers. She was making a reference to the missionaries that have been in the MTC for the past few months and I was like "Oh yeah that was me..." then I remembered I went there almost a year ago. Ahhhh! This last year though has honestly been the hardest thing I've ever loved to do, I only have a year left and it's for sure going to count! 

We had a really good day on Monday, our Family Home Evening that we had set up cancelled on us so we got to hit the streets of Bari and talk to some pretty cool people! The people in this city are pretty open especially when you hit them with a big cheesy smile! Missionary work in a big city is a little different than a small one, there's so many people! This is going to take some getting used to! 

We had mission leadership conference on Tuesday so we all Skyped in to Rome with all the other Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders which was pretty cool! I got to see some of the other missionaries that I've served with which was pretty cool! It was a great conference and we talked a ton about working with Young Single Adults and focusing our finding efforts on youth. President gave us permission to go to the Universities to eat lunch once a week so we can get closer to the College Aged students and try to talk to them in a more chill way. We're excited to try this out! We went out to a Chinese restaurant afterwards and I ate sooooo much sushi! 

So the Senior couple here teaches Institute on Tuesday nights so we teach The Intermediate level English Course here in Bari Libertà and then on Thursdays we teach a course in Bitonto. There wasn't enough people to do a third course so we didn't end up teaching but we met some cool people here! 

So there is a miracle family that was baptized I think two transfers ago, I remember hearing about it in Taranto. They were taught almost 25 years ago and then last year the missionaries found a map in their apartment with a name marked on it. It was behind some furniture and probably looked like trash. Instead of throwing it out they decided to go to this little city and find them. A few short months later they were baptized. So now every week we go out to that city to teach them and their son is going to get baptized on the 28th! We're super stoked for him! 

So one of our investigators, his name is Sam and he is a stud! We got a call from the Senior Couple who are working with him a ton on Thursday and they said he finally got a job which is an answer to prayers for sure! He is Nigerian so he needs work to stay here. Unfortunately he works Sundays now but he hasn't missed a Sunday at church in the past year. So his Baptism is set for the Monday after  Easter! Keep him in your prayers, Satan works hard on people as they get closer and closer to Baptism! 

We went and had lunch at "Grandma's" in Bitonto! She is probably in her 70's and she asked us to call her Grandma! She's hysterical! It was her and another older lady from the Branch. Oh my heck she reminds me of my Mom and Roxy when they get older... we laughed so hard and had such a good time! She made a great "pasta al forno" which is just pasta in the oven like a baked ziti. It was so good with homemade little meatballs. Then she gave us some steaks. Then she had these mozzarella balls and ham and bread and I took one of the mozzarella balls and cut it up on my plate with the steak and apparently that's a no no, you can't eat anything on the same plate in Italy... also I cut the mozzarella ball with my fork instead of my knife and she yelled at me for that too! Italians... haha! We had a great time at lunch and then we shared the new Easter Video with them and the spirit was so strong! If you haven't seen it yet, go check it out! It's called "Prince of Peace" and it's so good! I haven't actually watched it in English but it's the same thing so go check it out! 

We decided we wanted to try and work a little bit more out in Bitonto to grow our English Course and our teaching pool out there so Friday we decided to take the Sisters with us and do a "Bitonto Blitz!" We hit the city hard for about 3 hours and had some good finds with a gelato at the end! 

Saturday we went to the park with a frisbee to do some finding and after a few minutes a couple showed up and said "Hey can we play?' In perfect English with no Accent. I was kind of shocked... turns out she's from Canada and married an Italian and they moved back here about five years ago. We had a great time with them and it was nice to get a little taste of home even though she was Canadian! 


It was the absolute best! I watched a lot of it in Italian so I want to rewatch it in English and see how much more I can get out of it but it was all good! I really enjoyed President Uchtdorfs talk and President Ballard. One of my favorite quotes was from President Eyring he said "If you feel a little overwhelmed, take that as a good sign. It indicates that you can sense the magnitude of the trust God has placed on you." I think sometimes we all feel overwhelmed and that leads to feelings of inadequacy but it shouldn't be that way! Sometimes we're meant to feel overwhelmed! I have some others but I'll be a little more specific next week... I want to hear what you guys liked! I'll be honest I was pretty spiritually drained by the end but it was really good! We obviously spent a lot of time watching Conference this weekend and I got to meet a ton of members from the Bari Libertà Ward! 

We got to watch the last session at a New Convert/their son is our investigator's house. They made us homemade pizza and everything! It was such a good day! 

Today we had so much fun... we went to an indoor beach volleyball place! We're all fat and out of shape but we had a really good time! And I actually took some pictures! I hope you all had a great week! Like I said I want to hear about what you learned from Conference! I love you and I hope you have a good week!

Anziano Bellucci