Does Napoli rhyme with miracles? Well good thing it does in Italian!
This place is incredible, it's hotter than Hades, it's more humid than anything I've ever seen but we are seeing the blessings of hard work and obedience!
We had a great night planned on Monday but unfortunately our plans fell through and our appointments didn't show but as we were walking out of the Church we saw one of the youth of the Church walking with her friend. They are both about 16 and the member is the only member of her family. This was the second time we saw them just walking around and so we asked if we could meet with them and explain to her friend what we believe in and who we are. We set it up and she said she would call us. About an hour later she called and said "Anziani, 5 o'clock on Friday, don't be late!" We were super excited!
Tuesday morning we tried to find some new shoes for me while talking to the people in the shoe stores. It was a lot of fun and we talked to a ton of people. We didn't end up finding anything I liked but it was a good morning. In the afternoon we went to find Vincenzo one of our investigators at his sandwich shop, we had a good chat with him. He's evangelist and knows the Bible super well, he is really curious though and he really likes us. He always says "There's something different about you guys" so we talked to him for a few minutes and set up an appointment to meet him outside of work so we could have a more focused lesson.
That evening we had my first English Course here in Napoli and it was pretty good. We need to get some more students but it was fun. We teach the Advanced Course so we got to know each other and taught them some weird American sayings. I think we confused them more than anything but it was fun! Then we all sang the Children's hymn "Families can be Together Forever" and testified about the temple and the happiness that comes from eternal families.
Wednesday we had correlation with Sam! So Sam is from New Zealand but has lived all over the US and is married to an American. His wife works for the US Birder Protection and she oversees the things that leaves the port here in Napoli and go to America. They have lived here for a few years and have about another year or two before heading back. Anyway he is our Branch mission leader and he is incredible, he has a lot of years of experience and he works really hard to help us out even if he doesn't speak the language. So we met at his house which overlooks the beautiful Margellina beach here in Napoli and had correlation while I stared at all the boats... then he fed us lunch, we made big old American sandwiches with a ton of food from the American base! He hooked us up with three huge boxes of goldfish too!
Wednesday night we had a great lesson with Fabiola, she is one of our investigators that is progressing super well. She is super receptive to our message and she asks a lot of questions! We brought the Senior Couple with us and the lesson went really well. We watched the Restoration video and gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon. She said the closing prayer and the spirit was so strong!
Thursday we had our first District Meeting all together, Anziano Pesci is our District Leader and he led a great discussion on pride and humility. Pride is such an easy sin to fall into and it was a good reminder to humble ourselves in this work! That afternoon we went to go and teach Vincenzo's cousin, it went really well and she became another new investigator!
We had English Course and then Mario, a homie from English Course bought us pizza and had us over to his house. I've eaten so many pizzas this week!
Friday was weekly planning and then we spent a good part of the evening doing white boarding for English Course, finished off with a gelato! While we were out we saw two Mormon American Families! The first one was super cool, it was an older couple who had been mission Presidents in Belgium and their daughter and son in law. They were super nice and Anziano Fryer and I took a selfie with one of them to send to our Moms, I hope you got it Mom! They bought us all dinner as well!
Saturday I still hadn't had any luck finding any shoes and the mission nurse said I really needed to get some new ones. So we went to a couple more shoe stores downtown and I found some real Italian leather shoes for 40€, not too bad! We also had some really cool conversations with the shoe store people!
There was an activity on Saturday, it was so much fun! It was called a "Serata Napoletana" which is just a Napoli night and it highlighted the dialect of Napoli with singing of songs in Napoletano and poems, dances and of course Food! There was a big turn out and three of our investigators came and one of them performed! It was for sure a success!
Sunday was great as always! So they don't have translator headsets in this Branch so we usually sit behind the people that speak English and translate for them... it's a pain in the butt so they ordered some headsets. Well they came in but without batteries so we stayed old school this week and I translated Sacrament. Sam (Branch Mission Leader) teaches all the African members because he speaks English and we talked about the Sabbath Day. It brought me back to some of my favorite days back home, Sunday afternoons with Family, backyard BBQs and enjoying time together!
We had a super cool experience yesterday afternoon. So the Herways are a Senior Missionary couple that live in Rome and are Humanitarian missionaries so they work with LDS charities to develop programs to help refugees. They work with other charities to help them and organize local projects and stuff. So we have two recent converts who are refugees and they live in the camps here in Napoli. So we organized for them to get a bunch of their friends together to come and talk with the Herways at the Church and discuss some of their needs so they can work on developing a program to help refugees here in Napoli. It was a really humbling experience to see these 20 or so guys from different areas all over Africa come in and tell their story. Unfortunately many of them escape Africa for reasons of violence, war, persecution and they come here to Italy and they don't find much of a better life. Many of them have been through brutal experiences and it's really hard for them to reflect on the things that they've gone through. The Church has some great ideas to try and help them even with things such as organizing soccer games to help them have a little fun and get their minds off their situation as well as providing medical care and food. We're excited to work with them!
This was a great week! I have really enjoyed Napoli! Today we are headed to the Military Base to go shopping at the American store... apparently it's super cheap so I'm stocking up because Sam is going to take us!
I just want you all to know if you didn't already that I know that Jesus Christ lives, that he's our Savior and that he knows each and every one of us personally. If you're not sure about this I invite you to try it out and pray to our Heavenly Father, with real intent and I know he will respond, we just have to listen! Have a great week!
Anziano Jacob Bellucci