Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Bari Libertà Transfer 8 Week 4

Travels, exchanges, Baptismal interviews and pretty beaches! 

Another great week on the books here in Bari and it's for sure been a good one! We started off with a good P-Day last week and then we went to go teach this awesome part-member family. They have two kids named Pietro and Angela and so we are teaching them now! It went really well and them gave us homemade focaccia afterwards! 

We had an awesome DDM on Tuesday afternoon, we talked about the importance of inspired questions and how we can follow the spirit to change our lessons and make them more effective. It was really good! I made banana bread for DDM and it was definitely a hit... and because we're in Italy we put a bunch of Nutella on it! We left right after that to head down to Brindisi for a little mini exchange and to see their District Meeting. They were asked by their Branch President to move a desk but when they got their they were cleaning out their whole Church and it took all night so we ended up teaching their English Course for them which was way fun! They have a great Course with a bunch of young people that are all super cool! We definitely made popcorn and had Frozen Yogurt for dinner... it was good! I got to work for a few minutes with Anziano Andersen who was Anziano Allen's companion in the MTC! 

District meeting in Brindisi went pretty well, they have some good work down there which is always a good thing! We got sandwiches at this shop afterwards and then we had to stop at the Lidl which is a German grocery store that has a ton of cheap stuff and American stuff too. Then we headed back to Bari and did some Less Active hunting as I like to call it!

Thursday we had a lunch appointment with our Grandma in Bitonto, she's my favorite... she gave us sooooo much food though! I was about to explode! We had pasta al forno which is like a pasta bake (forno means oven...) and she gave us a ton! Then she said "Do you want he rest?" And I thought she meant like the next Course but she meant the rest of the pasta so she loaded us up with a TON more pasta and then we had a big plate of meat, salad, fruit, and dessert! I was wrecked afterwards! And she gave us a whole other pan of pasta al forno to take home. She's going to America in a few weeks to stay with her daughter for a few months so I'm going to miss her for sure! We had English Course and a correlation Meeting afterwards... 

Friday we planned for the week, did lots of less active hunting and that was pretty much it! Saturday was mapping out less actives, finding, and going all over the place! 

Sunday we went to Bitonto and I gave a talk on Missionary Work and the importance of the Book of Mormon! The Book of Mormon has definitely become my favorite thing to talk and testify about. As I learn more and more about it I begun to understand more and more it's importance in our lives. Thomas S. Monson gave a great invite this last Conference and he said "If you are not reading the Book of Mormon each day, please do so." Simple as that. I promise you it will bring you blessings! 

Today we went to Polignano! Man is it beautiful or what?!?! It's about a 30 minute train ride and it's totally worth it! It's definitely a tourist city, I heard so much English there and so many accents. The ocean is so beautiful and we all had a good time! 

I hope you all had a good week! Happy Memorial Day!

Anziano Jacob Bellucci

The Sisters got lost in the middle of no where and called us to come and pick them up... when we got there they had made flower crowns for us... I think next time we'll leave them there! 

Flower Crown!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Bari Libertà Transfer 8 Week 3

Zone Conference, exchanges, and so much fun! 

We had such a good and busy week here again, I've been thinking a lot about my personal relationship with Christ lately. Do I know him as well as I think I do? What can I do to improve that relationship? There's work to be done! 

On Monday night we had a great Family Home Evening at Fabrizia's house, our Italian teacher upstairs and we got to see Sister Francom, our Italian teacher from the MTC who was here visiting! We had a lot of fun and I ordered 14 panzarotti and the delivery guy only looked at me a little funny when we paid in change... oops! 

Tuesday was pretty busy! We were getting ready for Zone Conference in the morning, we went and bought all the stuff for lunch. Finished planning the trainings we had to give and then met President at the Church to start interviews! We decided to start our exchange with the Elders from Foggia a little early and so I worked with Anziano Simonsen who is about 3 weeks from going home! We just taught English Course together but he has so much good experience so I definitely learned a lot from him! 

Wednesday was Zone Conference and so we were up early and at the Church for some last minute interviews and to make sure everything was ready to go. We got breakfast set up and ready for all the missionaries. Zone Conference itself is always such a spiritual high, I always come away reenergized and ready to attack the work! I really enjoyed studying for this conference and I think it was a success! 

Afterwards the actual scambio started, Anziano Simonsen and I went to Trani to teach the post-baptismal lessons with Francesco and when we got there he was feeling really down. We tried to teach him the lesson but it wasn't going very well and so we stopped and asked him if he would like to kneel and say a prayer right then. He said yes and he offered the humblest little 10 year old prayer ever. The rest of the lesson went much better and afterwards we were able to give him a Priesthood Blessing to help him control the winds that are blowing his sails all over the place! 

Thursday we continued to have a good day. We went to do some finding and found this super nice guy named Andrea, he said he's been stopped by missionaries in the past and has always blown them off but this time he felt like it was a good idea to just chat with us and so that's what we did. We got to know him and just kind of became friends! Then afterwards I showed Anziani Simonsen how to do football finding and it was a lot of fun. You can just go up to people and ask them if they know how to throw it, you explain it and then they try and they embarrass themselves but them after that it's super easy to just talk about the Gospel or a principle of the Gospel. I think it went really well and I think Anziano Simonsen really enjoyed it! 

After lunch the Foggia Anziani headed out and we went to Bitonto to teach English Course and spend a little time there. Some members came after and said "Who are you working with and what can we do to help?" They're amazing and we set up some appointments with them so I hope they can help us soon! 

Friday we got cancelled on and so we actually got to do weekly planning which was nice! We made some good plans for this next week so I really hope it goes well! Then in the afternoon we started our exchange with the missionaries here in Bari PoggioFranco, I worked with Anziano Whitaker who is also going home in just a few short weeks. We had a good exchange and talked about some good things! We met this group of 5 college age kids in the park and they were super cool, they asked us so many questions. They're all studying engineering and so it reminded me of Adam, things just have to make sense to them logically and the Gospel does so that's cool! 

On Saturday morning we went to go meet with this guy named Antonio that had called us and set an appointment. We go find his house and this lady lets us in. This house is full of Catholic things, so much stuff, crosses everywhere and I was really confused. I said to Anziano Whitaker "This looks like a Priest's house..." Well it was! So the Priest comes out and says "Anziani" like we've known each other for years! He's retired but he has known the missionaries forever, they used to go and do service in his Catholic Church years ago! They were so close that when one of these missionaries went home Antonio came and stayed with his family for like a week in California. He says he would love to help us with Service opportunities and then he invited all 6 of us Anziani over for Lunch next week! We're pretty stoked! We then had Italian Class, ate lunch, and then went to the Stake Priesthood Session. Got gelato after and called it a night! 

Sunday in Bitonto... everything went really well at Church, we had two youth speakers which I love hearing, they're the future of the Church! We were asked to teach Priesthood and so I opened up the lesson and read the title "Nurturing he eternal partnership of Marriage" how fitting for the two missionaries to teach? Haha it was a lot of fun and we had some good discussion! We were invited to lunch at the Mesto family's house. Brother Mesto is a farmer, rough around the edges, hysterical guy! We laughed a lot and had a great time. Tonight we are actually going over to their house again to begin teaching their two grandchildren Pietro and Angela! 

Today was a great day, we played soccer with the whole Zone for P-Day! It was nice and hot and sunny and we had a lot of fun! None of us are very good but that's not what matters, it was a good time! As for the rest of P-Day I don't have too much planned! I love you all and I hope you have a great week! 

Anziano Bellucci  

Our Lunch appointment made us wear booties! Say what?!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Bari Libertà Transfer 8 Week 2

Good Morning America! How is America? Someone send me a picture??? Italy is cool too ;) But sometimes you need a piece of home! 

This week... I'm tired! But that's a good thing! So the "Saint" for the city of Bari is Saint Nicola and so this last week has been a huge festival for Saint Nicola! So on Monday we spent the day eating fair food going around to the street vendors and all that stuff. They had the streets blocked off and it was a lot of fun! Then right at the end of P-Day there was an air show with the Italian jets! They were really cool but they were also kind of sketchy. Doing air stunts over crowds of people... stuff they would never let happen in America... but most of it was out over the ocean. It was really neat and it was cool to see the Italian pride. That evening after P-Day we spent some time doing some finding in Centro since there were so many people out for the festival. I wasn't feeling super good, I don't think the fair food was good for me! But anyway that was pretty much it!

So we have like an on-demand hot water heater, or a tankless hot water heater like most people in Italy and the ones they have here in Italy have SO MANY problems! Our hot water heater has gone out more times than it's worked since I've been here in Bari... And it's not just the water is not hot, it's icicles! Okay I digress, anyway, it was out again so we called the people and they're kind of like the cable people in America "We'll be there between 8-5" so we had to stay home in the morning on Tuesday and wait. He came over and fixed it and Anziano Fitzner came with him to make sure it got fixed and then when they were leaving I jokingly said, "I'll call you tonight when we don't have hot water" well... I wasn't joking. This is provably the 7th time that they've had to come out and fix this thing in the two months that I've been here! But it's been working since Wednesday so I'm hopeful! 

Thursday we had an awesome leadership meeting with all the District Leaders and it went really well! We followed it up with an exchange with the missionaries from Lecce, I got to work with Anziano Smith who is a Greenie and has been here for about a week! He spoke Spanish before the mission and his Italian is incredible! (Except he has a Mexican accent) we had a good exchange and taught a few lessons together. Friday Morning we brought our Branch President with us to Trani to teach our recent converts there and the lesson went really well. 

We put them back on the train to Lecce and then we went and bought a Football to do some finding with like I did back in Cagliari and then traffic was intense on the way home. There was a HUGE conference here in Bari this weekend, it's called the G7 Conference and it has like the 7 biggest economic powers in the world here to discuss something... I don't really know because we don't watch the news but it destroyed the city. They blocked off all public parking and the streets were closed. It was a mess. So it took us like an hour to get home. So we went to the Church for correlation and that was it for the night! 

Saturday we went to Bitonto to meet a girl who is wants to learn English and can't come to English Course. We taught her for a little bit and then we shared the video "Earthly Father, Heavenly Father" (Which if you haven't seen I totally recommend it! Look it up on YouTube) and she asked some great questions so we are hoping to start teaching her and her fiancé about the Gospel soon! 

We came back to Bari, had Italian Class and then had District Meeting, the Fitzners brought Focaccia (the pizza bread stuff) and we had a great meeting! Then afterwards we worked on planning Zone Conference and then went and did some finding in the parks in the afternoon. 

Sunday was super productive! We met the Bishop of the Libertà ward at 8 to discuss his vision and our plan for the missionary work in the ward, it went really well and he has some great ideas so we are super excited for it! Then we went to Church in Bitonto, my companion gave a talk in Church and did a great job! Then during Sunday school we met with the Branch Mission Leader to go over things in the Branch and plan some things and so we've got some good plans ready to go! After Church we went to the Pappagallo family's house for lunch! We had a great lunch and I actually got the recipe! Sister Pappagallo was one of the first members here and so she knows everyone! So we sat down with them and discussed the ward list, she explained to us who everyone is, where they live, who we should work with, who we shouldn't and it was so helpful so we are excited for the work there as well!  

Then as you probably know we got to Skype home yesterday! It was so good to talk to my family, I love them so much and I love all of you guys too! Happy Mothers Day to all of you Moms, or future moms! 

I hope you all had a great week and are ready for another great one! 

Anziano Bellucci

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Bari Libertà Transfer 8 Week 1

Transfer Calls, a trip to Rome, and some beautiful country side! 

Wow what a week! I'm real tired but it's definitely been worth it! On Monday night we got the transfer Calls and Anziano Bowers has been transferred to the Island of Malta! If you don't know where that is it's basically in Africa! It is an English speaking island with a lot of U.K. Influence (I'm pretty sure they drive on the left side of the road) and it's absolutely beautiful so he's pretty excited to be there! My new companion is Anziano Zito from Brigham City Utah! The city I drove through every time I went to Utah State from Ogden. He was my Zone Leader back when I was in Crotone and so I know him pretty well but I'm excited to serve with him! 

On Tuesday morning we had the Bari District tradition and gathered at the Fitzner's house for pancake breakfast before District Meeting! Oh my heck was it a good flash back to America and the things I miss! We had pancakes, strawberries (I cut them up and put sugar in them so they made a nice sauce) bananas, homemade whipped cream, Nutella and basically just happiness on a plate! We cleaned up and had District Meeting around the kitchen table and it went really well, we discussed some of the things we've learned this Transfer and it always amazes me as I look back over the six weeks how much I really have learned and grown even in that short period of time! 

On Wednesday morning Anziano Bowers packed and printed pictures, got some last minute things done and ready to go while I cleaned up our apartment so it would be presentable for the two new missionaries coming in. In the afternoon we went out to Trani to eat with the Musicco family, Francesco and his parents. It was a great dinner, they made us tortellini with a seafood red sauce and then baked fish and potatoes. Seeing their family so happy makes me so happy to be sharing the Gospel, I can't wait to see them go to the temple one day! 

Thursday started way too early and ended way toooo late! The alarm clock went off at 4 AM to drive Anziano Bowers and Anziano Carroll to the airport here in Bari. Everying went off without a hitch for them it was just hecka early! We came back and I couldn't go back to sleep so I just stayed up and did some organizing. The Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders were all invited to come to Rome for the mission leadership conference and so my train left at 1:15 to head up to Rome. Every companionship in our Zone changed this Transfer meaning that we had 9 missionaries leaving and 9 missionaries coming in as well as Sister Bellomo and I leaving for the conference and my companion was gone to Malta already so I spent the morning organizing rides and train times for everyone and getting everything settled and then when my train came Anziano Whitaker our District Leader in Bari took over and everything went pretty well! I got to see Sister Shelton from my MTC District, she went home for 4 transfers but she's back and she's serving in Bari PoggioFranco so it was really good to see her back in the mission! Sorella Bellomo and I took the 4 hour train to Rome and then the metro to the mission home.

I'm not sure if I've told y'all about the mission home but it's absolutely beautiful! It was built in the 1920's by Mussolini and was one of the very first Church owned buildings in Italy. It's a 4 story villa just a 10 minute walk from the Subway station and back when it was first owned it was where the mission office was. Now it is where President and Sister Pickerd live and it's where we stayed when we came into the mission and where we will stay when we leave! So we got to the Villa and chatted while we waited for the other Zone Leaders and STLs to arrive. I got to see Anziano Campbell, my MTC companion and Sister Hatfield who I served with when I first came to Cagliari as well as so many other Elders and Sisters in the mission! We ate dinner all together, the Assistants as well as President and Sister Pickerd served us dinner and it was a great time to catch up and get to know the other leaders in the mission! 

Afterwards we all sat together in the living room and had a short training... we were two hours behind schedule so it got cut a little short but it was really good. Sister Pickerd shared a quote from President Keuron, the President of the Europe area, from a recent training that I really liked he said "What is most important as we do this work is that we are willing to do it." Heavenly Father takes our willing souls and he qualifies us to do the work!

Friday was up early for the showers and we were all ready and eating breakfast at like 6 AM... too many over achievers in one house. One of the Anziani was playing hymns on the piano at like 5:45 in the morning. We realized we woke up way too early... but better early than late! 

We went to the Rome 2 Church which is where we had our first trainings as a greenie and so there was another flashback! I hit my year mark as a missionary this transfer! Sister Pickerd kept reminding me of it because we came into the mission at the same time as the Pickerds and so they still have two years! 

The Mission Leadership Conference went so well and we really had a good time! The leadership in the mission has a great vision for the mission and its going forward! We talked about so many good things from the changes in the schedule and how we can better use our time to how we can lead the mission forward. I learned so much and I'm excited to share it with the Bari Zone! 

Travel back home was not super fun... it was beautiful but I was exhausted! We took a regional train over to Pescara which took three hours, it was through the mountains which was amazing, all the little cities on the hill and it was so green! Then we took a nicer train from Pescara to Bari and that took another 3 hours and the mission office bought me a first class ticket but not my companion so we got kicked out... I was ready for bed when we got home but we still had to take the Sisters home and I absolutely passed out! 

Saturday we did some service for a member who is opening up a new shop in a little city near Bitonto. I swear by the end of my mission I will have a resume ready for IKEA I've put so much of their furniture together! We built three book shelves and 4 other small shelves and moved a bunch of other stuff for them. I'm noticing in the mission that I really like projects, like a puzzle to be solved or something with a visible end, something I can accomplish and move on to the next task, I know that's really random but it's something I noticed! That took most of the morning and then we came back, got changed and ate lunch and planned the Transfer out to see where we will be when and have everything ready for this transfer to start off on the right foot! We then went to Centro to do some finding as a District. We were going to do a Gesso with the sheet on the ground but there was a parade for a Catholic Saint so we decided to ditch the sheet and turn to English Course to respect their celebration. They had a ton of stands with fair food and the smells were bringing me back to the Saint Mary's fair in Potsdam, so many childhood memories! We were all fasting though so we couldn't partake! It was a good night though! So Anziano Zito (my new companion) trained Anziano Velardi (Anziano Wilkey's new companion) so they're in the same house together again which is kinda cool! I worked for a good amount of the night with Anziano Velardi who is pretty young in the mission so it was a lot of fun! He's a young missionary with SO MUCH ENERGY! He makes me tired but it's a good thing that he's so energized! I just think I need a nap sometimes! 

Sunday was beautiful, the weather was great and then we had a great day at church! The Bitonto Branch is so united, they are so much like a family and it makes me happy, they really have a spirit about them that just radiates their testimonies. I really enjoyed the fasting testimony Meeting and the spirit was really strong! We left right after to come to Libertà and be a part of Samuel receiving the Aaronic Priesthood and being ordained a priest. It was a beautiful experience and I was so grateful to be a part of it! He is already a great missionary so I'm super excited for him. He will be able to help with the sacrament next week! We then went to the Scarola family for lunch and it was real good, she made pasta and then she made like chicken fried steak but she put sesame seeds in the breading and I was definitely a fan! Then they had these sweet baked onions with bread crumbs and vinegar on them. Apparently it's a Barese thing but I really liked them. They are really excited to do missionary work so I hope we can use them! 

Sunday afternoon nothing too exciting happened, we planned the Zone Leadership Conference and then that was pretty much it! There is a big air show this afternoon so we're excited to watch that, other than that we're having a pretty chill P-day and I'm trying not to spend money! Haha I hope you have a great week! I love ya and I want to hear from you all!

Vi voglio bene,

Anziani Bellucci

District Leadership Picture

Anziano Friedman and I

District Picture

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Bari Libertà Transfer 7 Week 6

Transfer call day! Who knows what's going to happen?!?!

Well what a week it's been, I feel like I finally got to catch my breath this last week for the first time this Transfer! (I don't know why my iPad capitalizes Transfer every time, I'm too lazy to change it) 

We were still pretty busy though, Monday night we met with Sam to do his first follow-up lesson after his baptism! He brought us some sad news that he had lost his job :( But on the bright side he can come to Church again so that's super good! The lesson went super well and he was telling us about some of the African traditions that he grew up with. It was super sad hearing some of the tribal bloodshed and things but he is so grateful for the way he grew up and how lucky he is to have found a better way. 

Tuesday was rainy and a Holiday like the Italian 4th of July so literally everything was closed, there was no one on the streets and it was a ghost town. We had a handful of people at English Course which was cool and this new family came! They are super nice and we hope to be able to teach them about the Gospel soon! Afterwards we drove to the other side of Bari and traded companions, I dropped off Anziano Bowers with Anziano Hinckley and picked up Anziano Whitaker for our exchange on Wednesday!

Anziano Whitaker had a great exchange, we started off by going to Trani and teaching a lesson to some recent converts. We talked about the temple with them and the importance of being prepared spiritually through an effective study of the scriptures. It was definitely a lesson of discerning their needs and working through the spirit. Anziano Whitaker is a stud missionary so it went really well and we spent most of the rest of the exchange finding. We walked down the board walk and decided that wasn't very effective now that it's getting warmer and turning into tourist season... I talked to people from about 30 different European countries and not a one of them was Italy! Tourism is in full swing down here for sure! 

Thursday we had District Meeting in the morning which was really good as always and then we went as a District to this sandwich shop which was super good! You can order your own sandwich or you can just say "You make it!" And he makes the whole thing, he chooses what to put on it and it's sooooo good! And they're only 2 dollars so it's super cheap! We had an appointment for our car to change some sensor and they said it was only going to take a few minutes and the Toyota dealership is kind of out there so we just decided to stay there. Well two hours later we finally got out of there! Just in time to head to English Course in Bitonto! We ended a few minutes early and headed back to PoggioFranco to teach a little class to the Young Single Adults on missionary work. We had them do role-plays and everything and it was super successful! Then we had invited all of PoggioFranco's English Course Young Single Adults to stay after and play foosball and ping pong and eat Panzerotti so the members could practice their newly learned skills! It went super well and all the members were talking to the English Course students and it was a huge success! We want to try to do these things more often! 

Friday was an absolutely special day, Francesco was baptized! It was so good to see him ready to enter the waters of baptism and make that covenant. The Baptism was really spiritual and there was a good turn out of non-members. Francesco is 10 years old and his Dad was able to baptize him which was really cool! He's a recent convert of 6 months and so it was super cool to see both of them dressed in white! 

Saturday we had Italian class with the member that lives above us, we played a game where you tell a story by each person tells a part of it and then it goes on to the next person, it was hysterical! Then that afternoon Anziano Bowers and I were out doing some finding and we walked downtown to find that they had blocked off the street and were racing these OLD cars, it was soooo cool! I took some pictures and videos! They were old Porsches and Fiats and Alpha Romeos and BMWs from the mid 1900's and after. So cool. So unsafe though, they would never be able to do something like that in America, someone would get sued. 


Francesco received the gift of the Holy Ghost and his Dad blessed the Sacrament with me for the first time! It brought me back to my first time and being able to explain everything to him. He did a great job! After church we went to the Bellomo family's house for dinner! It was super good and they gave us a referral so we are pretty excited for that! 

That's pretty much the wrap of the week! Transfer Calls are tonight! I'm excited to see what happens, I think our Zone will be getting pretty shaken up so we'll see what happens with Anziano Bowers and I! 

I just want to share my testimony about the Atonement, it is something so individual and personal and I know that it is meant for each and every one of us. Jesus Christ suffered so that we don't have to, there is so much turmoil in the world and I am so grateful for the knowledge that I don't have to go through anything in this life alone. I know it to be true! I love you guys and I hope you have a great week!

Anziano Bellucci