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,
District Leadership Picture
Anziano Friedman and I