Monday, July 24, 2017

Napoli! Transfer 9 Week 6!

Walking, meetings, walking, and the Mafia...

Transfer Calls are tonight! I can't believe this Transfer is coming to an end so soon! It's crazy how fast it's gone but I'm excited to see what happens! 

The week went by super fast with like I said above a lot of walking and meetings! On Monday night we decided to do a Family Home Evening for all of the African Members and contacts and their friends. It was an absolute blast, we had a spiritual thought on the Book of Mormon and then we played games with them. Most of them have such a rough story that it's just nice for them to take a few minutes and have fun. Not think about their problems just live in the moment. I made banana bread and bought some watermelon and they were all super grateful. I think we're going to do the same thing tonight with some different games! 

Tuesday we had a good morning, we did a good finding loop and talked to a bunch of cafes about putting up little English Course posters and we talked to a lot of people. People here are so nice and they talk to us but unfortunately they don't end up coming to our English Course. We've probably given out more than 400 pass along cards this Transfer and we've had like three new people come... we need to find a way to get people interested! I think a lot of it has to do with the time of year, it's so hot and literally everyone goes to the beach when it's this hot... I can't fault them for that! 

We started teaching Italian this week to African Refugees... its actually pretty fun! They expressed to us that they hate their Italian classes in the camps they're in because the teachers are Italians that don't speak English so they can't explain anything to them so because we have so many missionaries here we decided we would try it out! First night and we had about 15 people! More than our English Course has been lately! Anziano Perfili and I taught Italian and like I said it was fun! It's also cool to look back and see where I started and how far I've come in the language. There's always room for improvement but I've learned so much! 

Wednesday we had correlation at Sam's house. I love when we get to go to his house for correlation. Talking about our investigators and members as we look over the Mediterranean never gets old! And to follow it up we get American food for lunch! We just do sandwiches but it's so good! He really only shops at the American base so everything he has is American. AND he had Dr. Pepper so I was real happy! 

In the Afternoon we tried to go and read the Book of Mormon with John but he wasn't home and then after that we had a meeting. President Euvrard and the Assistants came down to visit with us. They want to get to know the missionaries while they are here even if it is just a few weeks and they took the opportunity to meet with us because we're the closest Zone to Rome. Sister Euvrard shared a really cool thought on the talk called "What manner of man ought ye to be?" And she gave us an invite to in the morning instead of making a "To-Do list" to make a "To-Be list" which is kind of interesting, we want to become more like our Savior Jesus Christ and we do that by following his example and really becoming true disciples. Afterwards President Euvrard led a discussion on refugees. We talked about how in the past the principle was that Zion was American, then in specifically Utah, as time progressed the principle changed to build the kingdom around the world and people said "Zion for the Italian people is in Italy, Zion for the French is in France" etc... but now we know that Zion is where God's children are which is everywhere. Wherever people are we can teach them and baptize them. Meaning that it's ok to actively find and teach refugees. We obviously want to build the Italian kingdom but we are all children of God and that's the important thing. It was great to be with them and I learned a lot from the training! We also got to see Anziano Friedman and Anziano Draghi which was cool! 

Thursday morning we had District Meeting (Hence the title meetings, meetings, meetings...) it was good we talked about companionship and District Unity and the importance of working as a team. It was really good! Finished it off with pizza from Pellone! Turned out to be a Zone pizza party because President Euvrard had come to the District Meeting of the other two districts and they did it in the Napoli Chapel so we were all there! There are two Sisters in our Zone that finish their missions this week so it was good to see them one last time! 

Thursday afternoon we went to pass by a café that we had left an English Course poster at and talked to the girl that worked there. She was delivering coffee up the street so we waited and started to talk to the man working there. Anziano Perfili asked him if he was the owner and without looking up from his phone he says "Si." And then I asked him how long he has had the cafe and he didn't respond for a second and then said "What does it matter if I've had it for 10 years or ten minutes, you have no point to your questions you just want to talk and I'm not interested" We left about an hour later after having explained the Restoration and set up a return appointment. The spirit is so cool how it works to soften the hearts of people as we try to teach them about the Restored Gospel!  

Friday as usual we weekly planned and we have a good plan for this week! We should be busy which is always a good thing! We had a Family Home Evening planned with this Less-Active family and it takes about an hour to get there so we had left the afternoon pretty empty from 4 PM on and they called us and cancelled and so we decided to walk all of Napoli with the Napoli C Anziani doing White boarding for English Course. My feet were wrecked by the end of it but we talked to so many people. I really hope that some new people come this next week! As we were walking back home after 4 hours of just straight walking we had about 30 minutes left and we decided to walk down the sketchy but still Main Street by the station. We were joking about "Mickey Mouse" which is what we say instead of Mafia because it can be kind of sketch to say that on the street... just talking about how that street seemed pretty mafiosa and then as we turned back for the house this man stopped us. He started asking us all these questions about our English Course, that he has some guys that could use to learn English but they would need to be taught privately and then he starts explaining his business. How he has clients all over the world including Century 21 in America. He then proceeds to explain how he has a warehouse in Napoli with brands from Gucci to Armani, Prada to Loui Vuitton and he says "Let me give you my card, you call me, I'll come pick you up sometime and I'll take you to see everything." He continued on about how if anybody gives us problems here in Napoli we have his number, he'll make the problem "disappear." He then offered us jobs "Bilingual people are really valuable in my line of business" Haha he was pretty Mickey Mouse... we got his card though! He got in his blacked out Mercedes to get it for us too! We're all pretty convinced that we have the coolest mission...

Anyway back to the missionary work! We are teaching a family here in Napoli and the Father was working on the Temple in Rome. Early this year while he was working he had a heart attack and died in the Temple site. The Church reached out to the family and gave us their information. It turns out that Giorgio, the father, was learning quite a bit about the Church and was really interested. They do devotionals for the men that work on the temple every few weeks for any worker that would like to participate and he didn't miss one. He was very curious and learning a lot. Obviously his wife and three children are still grieving the loss of their husband and Dad and it's a really hard time in their life. We had finally gotten in contact with them for the first time since I've been here and we had an appointment on Saturday to see them and we waited for the bus to take us there for more than an hour and it never came we ended up having to move the appointment to another time. I was super bummed! We spent the rest of the morning talking to some really cool people in the outdoor market under our house. 

Anziani Haws and Anziano Hansen met us here in Napoli, we ate lunch and then took a train to Salerno to help the Battipaglia Anziani get excited about their work, we decided to blitz their area for the afternoon and see what we could do to help them! We had a really good time! I got to work with Anziano Rogler who is from Endicott New York! Apparently he goes to the ward in Owego but he's in the same mission as we are back home! It was cool to talk about the real Upstate New York with someone that kind of explains where it is! Haha  We had a good afternoon and found his Golden Contact! His name is Gerardo and he's 21 and as we were talking to him he said "So do you guys like teach people that want to know more about this stuff?" And then asked if he could come to Church in Sunday! We finished the Gesso with 6 Anziani and 2 Sisters for a Gesso on genealogy... wasn't super successful but it was fun! 

Sunday was a little particular... It started out like normal, we had a great Sacrament meeting with lots of American visitors including Anziano Spencer and his family, he finished his mission about 2 months ago. Afterwards we went to Sunday school and there was this African woman visiting from London, she was born and raised there but had come to Italy for vacation with her two young kids. She asked me afterwards for the Relief Society President and she explained to us that she had been robbed the night before of all of her debit and credit cards and was in a pretty tough place with two kids. It was a little sketchy but we talked to the Branch Presidency and tried to help her. We ended up calling her Bishop in England to confirm that she is a member and we were able to find her a hotel for the night and help her out. She finally told us what had happened and it turns out she just lost her son, was going through a rough divorce and decided to get on a plane with her two kids and try to start a new life in Italy. After being robbed and realizing it was going to be a lot harder than she thought, she needed help. It took a lot of translating and work though! We were glad to be able to help her out though! She is going to be going back to London to get her life figured out, I wish her all the best! (P.S. London accents are probably the coolest things ever, I got to talk to her a ton as well as her Bishop in London)

We spent the afternoon finding, talking to people all night long and then going to meet John to read the Book of Mormon together and he runs a Barber shop out of his house and so at the moment he was busy and asked us if we would wait for a minute and so we did. He was done an hour later and it was 9 PM so we didn't have much time to read with him because we had to get home but at least we had a minute! 

This week was good, a lot happened! It went really fast, I had a lot of fun  and I'm excited to see what happens with transfer Calls tonight! It's always a mystery! I hope I get to stay here in Napoli, I definitely feel at home here so I hope to stay! 

I hope you all have a great week! I was reading a cool talk this week from October 2012 from Jeffrey R. Holland and I just loved it. It's called "The First and Great Commandment" if you have a minute give it a look! I love you all!

Anziano Jacob Bellucci

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Napoli! Transfer 9 Week 5!

Apartment moves, bowling with Italians, and African Soccer!

"And with all the getting, get understanding"

Another solid week on the books! As usually it went by super fast but it was another good one! On Monday night we started our exchange with the Napoli B Elders! I got to work with Anziano Pesci who is in my group, if you remember back to more than a year ago we were in the same MTC group! We had a good time working together, it was cool to see how far we've both come in the last year and the progress that each of us has made. He's an awesome missionary! Our appointment didn't show up but we had to go help the Senior Couple. They had bought a new washing machine for the new apartment and it needed to be carried from the car to the fifth floor apartment... heck yeah we were stoked! The worst part was the humidity was making us sweat so much and it was wrapped in plastic so we were slipping the whole time! But we did it! 

We spent the morning a few stops away on the metro doing some English Course publicity and finding. We had some really good potentials and it was a fun morning. I had some really good experiences this week that made me reflect and remember the love that I have for missionary work. Sometimes we get caught up easily in the planning and the meetings and the exchanges but getting out there and hitting the streets is honestly the best part, you just gotta get out there and do it! 

I had to stop in at the bank and get some money and the ATM was broken outside so we went inside and everything was fine. I put in my pin and everything and then it counted the money and it spit out my card and was about to give me my money and the power went out in the whole building... After a few minutes it came back on but obviously the machine wasn't going to spit out 80€ after turning on and so it took forever to figure everything out. Eventually it all worked out but banks are a pain in the butt. I even tried the "I'm an American in Italy with no money" card and they still would t give it to me! Haha it was a worth a try right?!?!

We grabbed a pizza from Pellone and headed to the spchurch to find almost the whole Zone there! One district was having their District Meeting, another was doing exchanges and had decided to grab a pizza in Napoli while they traded companions so it was a Zone pizza party!

We went to pass by John, a less-active that we haven't been able to see since I've been here because he's been out of town. Well he's finally back! He is African and has been here in Italy for a good amount of time I think something like 8 years. He runs a barber shop I. His house and he does pretty well for himself. We read a chapter out of the Book of Mormon with him and we were reading the Isaiah chapters in 2 Nephi. It's been really cool to study with him because when I read it I don't always get that much out of it because it's so confusing but when he asks us what it's talking about the spirit totally guides us to find out what it's telling us. It makes so much more sense! We had a great English Course that night, and that was it! 

Wednesday we had correlation with Sam, this time in Church. It was a good meeting and we made some good plans! 

In the afternoon we had to take all the rest of the stuff out of the other Anziani's apartment and bring it to the new one. There was a lot of random stuff so it took a good minute! Anziano Fryer and I decided we wanted to make something for DDM on Thursday so we decided to try our hand at Tiramisu! Which in case you were wondering literally means "Pick me up" o a little slice of Tiramisu is a little pick me up! Well let me tell you was it dang good! We used Orzo instead of coffee and it was so good! I took pictures, we ate almost the whole pan of it just the six of us!  But before that we spent the morning at the other Elders old apartment getting it all cleaned so it can be sold. We had to turn the keys in and everything so it had to be spotless so we didn't get charged! 

Thursday night we had an appointment with the Ariente family. They are the best! They have two sons, one that I think is 16 and the other is 18 and getting ready to go on a mission. They're both studs and love the missionaries so we had a good time! We shared the Europe Area plan which focuses on Bringing a friend to Church, becoming self-sufficient, and doing genealogy work. It went super well and Giuseppe the oldest son took a Book of Mormon and pamphlets to give to his friend. He's already a missionary! 

Friday was weekly planning as usual. Then after lunch I had found a lady in the Area Book and we went to go visit her. She turned out to be crazy. She has rooms in her house barricaded off because there's "bad things" in there... I was freaked out. We left. Haha then on Friday night we set up bowling with some of our investigators and the youth in the Church! It was so fun and everyone had a good time! Italians are not very good at bowling... unfortunately :/ But like I said, it was fun! 

Saturday we met with John again and it was super good! Then in the afternoon we got to meet with Fabiola and we got a member to come which was super good! She expressed some worries that she had, she has been told some false doctrine about the Church and our Member was able to explain things, I think pretty well! It was an interesting lesson and we didn't teach our planned lesson but it needed to happen! Then we met up with all the Africans and played some soccer but I had to sit out with my stupid toe... it was still fun though! 

Sunday was good, I got to give a talk in Sacrament meeting! It was on Knowledge based on D&C 130:18-19. I think it went super well and I learned a lot from preparing it! 

So last week we came to Church and found Peter, a refugee that came from Nigeria. He is a member and a returned missionary! He served in Nigeria and so he's been endowed in the temple and everything! Unfortunately they have to come through Libya to get to Italy and when he went through Libya they took all of his garments, his temple recommend and every religious thing he had. We sat down with him afterwards and he was just so humble and all he wants is to be able to keep his Covenants. We asked him why he came to Italy and he said to start his life. I don't think people in Africa understand how hard their life will be when they get to Italy, they just see an open boarder and go for it. Then they get here and they often regret the decision. We're super excited to help him, he's an awesome guy but I feel bad for him. It's a really humbling thing to be able to help them. 

That's pretty much the week! It's been a good one, a tiring one, and I'm ready for another! I hope y'all have a great week! 


Anziano Jacob Bellucci 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Napoli! Transfer 9 Week 4!

A trip to Rome, Birthday fun, a baptism and apartment moving!

So many unexpected things have happened this week but the Lord is most definitely in the details and watches over us!

On Monday we were told that Sister Pickerd has been diagnosed with early stage Breast Cancer and on Tuesday President and a Sister Pickerd flew to Utah for surgery at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. It was caught early and they are very hopeful! Please keep them in your prayers. President Pickerd will return shortly after the surgery and Sister Pickerd will return as soon as she is permitted by the doctors. In the mean time we have been assigned an interim President, President Euvart who presided over the Milan mission back in the 1980's. He and his wife are from France and are wonderful people!

We had a Family Home Evening planned on Monday night with a less active couple which didn't go as planned... Her whole extended family are members and so it turned into half the neighborhood at the house and we didn't get to really do much of a Family Home Evening but we got to eat, we shared a message and had to catch the Subway home!

We also found out on Monday that we would be traveling to Rome on Tuesday... Anziano Perfili had an appointment months ago to get his fingerprints done for his Permesso but skipped it to go to Zone Conference. They have since learned that's not a good idea... Anyway they never answer the phone so the Office told us to come to Rome and go in person and try to get it done. So we took a train  early in the morning to Rome and went to Ostia. We waited there for like half an hour and then Anziano Perfili tried to talk to them and they gave him an appointment for the end of the month. So we have to go back again. So I spent all of my birthday on trains and waiting in immigration offices and walking all over Rome! Italy is becoming so touristy... on the way to Rome we sat across from a couple from Western Australia 🇦🇺 , we helped some lost Americans while in Rome, came back and our train was full of people visiting from Asia. When we got back it was just in time for English Course! They all sang Happy Birthday to me which was really nice and then it being the Fourth of July we went to Burgerking so we could have burgers  haha  

Wednesday we started an exchange with the Elders from Castellammare. Remember Anziano Haws from when I was in Crotone? He was my district leader there and now he's here in the Napoli zone! We went to their District Meeting in the morning and then all went to McDonalds... another Independence Day celebration... After that we started our exchange. I worked with Anziano Hansen who is from Idaho/Utah. He's a great kid, we had a lot of fun! We did a lot of finding and then went white Boarding with the other Anziani. Anziano Pesci called us at like 10 and said that our District Meeting was cancelled and that we had to come and help them move into their new apartment last minute. So when you move out in Italy you take literally everything. Including the kitchen sink. Light fixtures, kitchen cabinets, literally everything. The other Anziani we're moving in to a new apartment and the office decided last minute that the Assistants would be driving the mission van down with a whole kitchen in it so it could be installed. So we got everything moved in and then they said "While they're here with the van we might as well take your fridge and beds from the old apartment" well the Anziani had nothing packed because they weren't expecting to move. So this week has been kind of crazy. Our apartment has turned into a 6 man house... 

That was the end of our exchange more or less, we went and picked up Anziano Perfili from Castellammare and were able to participate in a Priesthood Blessing and then turned around and got home just in time. 

Friday we weekly planned and I made Roasted chickens and mashed potatoes for lunch for everyone, it was so good! Then we had three appointments set up for the afternoon. One by one we went to the Church and they didn't show up... it was kind of disappointing but we got to do some great finding. We went to this little kind of ghetto park and taught the Restoration a few times to a couple groups of college aged kids. Both groups were currently smoking pot but were actually super interested and listened. We got some phone numbers and it went pretty well! 

Saturday one of our English Course Students had her final High School exam. In Italy you choose which High School you want to go to based on what you want to study like in High School. Nicoletta goes to a Linguistics school and so her final oral exam includes all of her teachers sitting in a panel and she goes from one to another and has an oral exam. There's also a spectator spot and she invited us to come because part of the test would be about English. It was super interesting and she did really well! We had given her a "For the Strength of Youth" wallet fold thing and it was in her textbook. One of her teachers took it out and started reading it and then soon half the panel was reading about the Church's standards for youth! It was so funny! Then at the end the teacher stuck it under her phone and didn't put it back! She kept it! Our English Course Students are doing missionary work! 

We had a short DDM afterwards and got pizza  AGAIN! 

In the afternoon we had Israel's baptism! He is Anziano Pesci's and Anziano Smith's investigator and President and Sister Euvard as well as the Assistants came down from Rome to see it. It was really great! Israel chose the Branch President to baptize him which was a really big step in bridging he gap between the Italians and the refugees. President got real emotional and the spirit was super strong. We don't have a baptismal font here so we go to the ocean but it's July so you can't find a single piece of beach without people... so we had a very public baptism with so many people in speedos and bikinis watching Israel get baptized! Kinda awkward but everyone came up and talked to us afterwards which was really cool! 

Sunday was great! Anziano and Sorella Hyde are the Senior Couple here and hey both served here in Napoli 45 years ago! Anziano Hyde was able to get into contact with someone he baptized way back then as a young missionary and he came to Church today! He was super cool and he said it felt like he had never left! It was great to have him back and a super great experience for the Hydes! 

That was the week! We're headed to Positano today for P-Day! It's supposed to be super beautiful! I'm excited! I hope you all have a great week! 


Elder Jacob Bellucci

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Napoli Transfer 9 Week 3

Zone Conference, Exchanges, and subway fires! 

What a week! I'm pretty sure P-Day was like two days ago but somehow it is Monday again!

Last Monday we met with some less-active members that called us and said "Hey Elders, can we meet with you tonight?" Of course! We had a great lesson, my companion and I turned to the scriptures and one right after another we were able to share verses that were absolutely applicable to them from the Book of Mormon! It was really cool! They came to Church on Sunday as well! 

Tuesday I had to start my permesso paper work so I can be legal seeing as mine expires on the 11th! Crazy that I've been in Italy for almost a year! Anyway Anziano Fryer had to get some paperwork for his as well so we did an Exchange and I went with him. He's a great missionary, he's in his 4th Transfer and still in his first city. He's from Spring City Utah and a total stud. We continued our exchange and did some finding for the rest of the morning. 

I got to teach the Basic English Course with Anziano Fryer... it was a lot of fun. I haven't taught basic in months so it was really cool. I had a lot of fun but you definitely speak way more Italian than English. 

Wednesday we got prepped for Zone Conference and then had our interviews with President and an exchange with the Assistants. It was a lot of fun! I got to work with Anziano Draghi who is an Italian missionary from Rimini up North. He speaks English super well and we had a way good time. In Church last week one of the Sisters came up to us and said "My husband has started to pray with me every day, I think he might be ready to take the lessons." So we went and shared a little message, he's not quite ready yet but we're going to try to get to know him better and gain his trust. 

It was way cool to see Anziano Friedman, he's now Anziano Draghi's companion as the assistant. It was good to catch up with him and it's so crazy that he's going home next Transfer. That's the worst part about missions, you make friendships and then you have to say goodbye for a while! 

Thursday was Zone Conference! It was probably one of the best ones I've had! President and Sister Pickerd have really helped to change our mission, its become more obedient, more successful and we've come a long way! President based the conference on a phrase from Spencer W. Kimball in a talk he gave in 1979 General Conference called "Let us Move Forward and Upward." The phrase was " We have paused on some plateaus long enough." It was a really inspiring conference to help us move onward and keep moving up! I would for sure invite you to check out that talk! It's way good and way applicable to all of us! 

Afterwards we did an exchange with the Elders from Caserta, I got to work with Anziano Daniels! He is in Anziano Allen's group, he is training right now and doing a great job! He is a new District Leader and he's super "in gamba" as we say in Italian which just means he is a stud and a hard worker. He's from Elko Nevada... We got to go visit this awesome family from the Branch. We had a cool spiritual thought on fortifying our families like Moroni fortifies his fortresses in Alma 50. It was really cool and then they fed us dinner and we showed pictures of our families and stuff. It was really fun and I felt really at home! They were super nice. 

Friday was the end of our scambio and it was Anziano Sacco and Anziano Smith's birthdays so I made a Devil's food cake and we went out for pizza at Sorbillo's which some people say is better than Pelone's. I think it's way more famous, I'm pretty sure there were more American's there than Italians. It was a good night and we got to talk to some cool people doing finding as well! 

Saturday we had to weekly plan and then we had a way good lesson with our Investigator Fabiola, she asks a ton of questions and so our lesson lasted a super long time but it was good. We taught her the first half of the Plan of Salvation and you could see the spirit testifying to her of the things we were teaching, helping her to understand that they are true. We're hoping to invite her to baptism this next week! 

Sunday was really good! There were four groups of American Tourists in Church and the Branch President wasn't there and the translating headsets were locked in his office so four of us had to translate by sitting behind a row of Americans. It was fun to play tour guide for a minute but the Fasting Testimony meeting was really good! I almost forgot... Evans is one of our African members and he has his life figured out. He is married and has an 11 year old son and they just had another baby boy and they blessed their baby in Sacrament Meeting, Evans asked me to be a part of it which was a really special honor. That baby was stinking cute and the blessing was beautiful. 

We got invited to the Esposito family's house for lunch, they are super upbeat and fun, they have three kids that live up North and so having the Anziani over is like having their kids back home! They fed us way too much and it was way good! 

We finished the day off with some English Course White Boarding downtown. We talked to so many people and this one family said that the missionaries would come to their house like 12 years ago and she would love to have us back. Who knows, maybe they're ready now! 

It was a good week! My testimony of my Savior Jesus Christ grows every day! I know that he lives and that he loves us! Have a great week!

Anziano Jacob Bellucci