Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Napoli!! Transfer 11 Week 3

What a week! Y'all tired of hearing me say that yet???

We start at the beginning as always! Monday night... well I don't actually remember what we did but I'm sure it was great!

Tuesday went pretty well, we had a good morning of finding and sending some daily Contact messages to our Investigators through Facebook. Then in the afternoon a little more finding before English Course which turned out really well! We probably had 25 people that came and a lot of new comers which is always fun!

Wednesday we had correlation at Church with Sam and I made a chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting... (Thanks Roxy for the recipe!) Everyone seemed to love it and we celebrated Anziano Jensen's birthday! Came home and got some lunch and then we had an awesome referral from Richard! His name is Ebenezer and we set him with a baptismal date for October 21st! He came to Church as well!

Thursday we had DDM which was another sugar rush! Sister Hyde made this banana cake thing with this caramel syrup... it was good! We had a great DDM from Anziano Ruiz and then we got a pizza. I realized that I am always so excited for the pizza and then I just get destroyed and am so full! So I decided on a half when we go to Pellone. Anyway, that afternoon we got to teach Ebenezer again and we moved onto the Plan of Salvation! It went well and then we had English Course and Nicoletta came back from Scotland! We brought her a Reeces and some other American grub and she brought me two ties and Anziano Jensen a scarf from Scotland! They're way cool!

Friday we weekly planned in the morning and then started an exchange with the Castellammare Anziani! I got to work with Anziano Drenk which was really fun, we had a good time for sure! We went and did a Family Home Evening with the Granata family and we just shared our favorite stories from the Bible. It was a really good discussion and it really helped to open him up to sharing about the Gospel.

Saturday morning we filled with calling everyone we knew to call to the baptism, we went Finding and then met up with the other Anziani and they showed us this place owned by a man named Giorgio... he makes hand made ties... confession time. I spent 50€ on a handmade tie. Well I actually just picked out the fabric and he's going to make it and I pick it up tomorrow! We came home, did our exchange review and then switched back companions to head to lunch with the Ariante family! Lunch was great! In the middle our downstairs neighbor called and said there was a GIANT CRICKET flying from their balcony to ours. I called the other Elders and then just heard screaming on the other end of the phone and they won't really tell us what happened. Apparently it was the size of a shoe. Anyway their son leaves in November so we focused our thought on helping prepare him and making expectations for who you want to become on your mission. It went super well and we had to jet to the baptism! We rolled in like two minutes before it started and we're still one of the first ones there! It went beautifully, he had to be baptized three times because he wouldn't go under but in the end it was a beautiful ceremony and his smile was a mile wide.

Sunday we went to Church early so I could translate interviews for the African members with the Branch President. Richard was called as an assistant Branch Mission Leader and Peter was called as a counselor in the Sunday School Presidency. It was great to see the Branch really supporting them and making them a part of the Branch!

We went to Sam's house and Lori cooked us lunch! We had a nice chuck roast with veggies and mashed potatoes! Mmmm America! And brownies from a box! We talked about the calamities happening in the world and how people now more than ever need the Gospel!

We then got on Skype with Sister Lee to plan Zone Conference. All is good for that and then there was a farewell meeting for Joele who leaves for France on her mission tomorrow! She asked me to speak for a few minutes and I thought it was a great privilege. I had no idea what to speak about. I ended up talking about the song Army Of Helaman and how the song says "We will be the Lord's missionaries to bring the world His truth" and changing it to "We are now the Lord's missionaries" and what a great privilege it is to serve. Then she started to cry and I caught her which made me cry a little but it turned out ok. I just balled a little! It was a beautiful farewell complete with food and pictures!

This morning we went and played soccer with all the Elders in the Zone and it was really fun! I enjoyed it a lot!

I hope everything is going well with people getting back to school and work and the every day routine! I love you all and I miss you!

Anziano Jacob Bellucci

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Napolii!! Transfer 11 Week 2

Good morning America!!! 🇺🇸

What a great week here in The Great Italy Rome Mission! We're seeing miracles!

Monday night unfortunately we had to weekly plan because we were so busy Friday, Saturday, and Sunday... but it was good! We got a lot accomplished and it made for a pretty good week!

Tuesday we were able to go and see Noemi, she is going through a rough patch but she definitely felt the spirit and I hope she can make some decisions to change things up and allow Heavenly Father to bless her even more!

At lunch time we started an exchange with the Pozzuoli Elders, Anziani Jensen wanted to meet with one of his old investigators that moved to Pozzuoli from Rome and introduce her to the Elders there so she could pick the Discussions back up. That means I got to work with Anziano Tucker who has been in Italy about a week! I love working with Greenies, they have so much fire! We got to teach Nicoletta and Glauco together. It was a great lesson and Anziano Tucker's first! We taught him the Restoration and Nicoletta did a great job helping us out actually. She was explaining things and testifying of the Book of Mormon even if she didn't realize it! At one point I looked at Anziano Tucker and he had no idea what was going on because Nicoletta had been talking for a good few minutes and I just told him to relax because she was doing our work for us :)

Wednesday was a good end to our exchange, we just had correlation with Sam which is always a plus! We had a good time, ate sandwiches and headed home. I got my companion back and we had a good afternoon of none of our appointments showing up so we got to go finding!

Thursday we had District Meeting and a pizza for lunch of course! We called about a million people in the afternoon, did some Facebook proselyting which is super cool and made some contact with Nicoletta while she's in Scotland! Fun fact: she met missionaries in Scotland!!!!! She also brought the Book of Mormon with her and has been sharing it with her friend!

Friday we weekly planned for this coming week but we cut it short to go and say goodbye to Esiona... she is a convert from Albania who served her mission in London and then came to work here for a few months! She's been a great friend so we went to see her off to Albania! Then we got to meet up with Frank! It's been a while since we got to meet with him but he brought his friend Michael who is now a new investigator too! We spent some time on Facebook adding members and things and getting used to it and then finished weekly planning to call it a day!

Saturday we had so much planned, if everyone had come to the lessons we had planned we would have been so busy! But alas no one actually came... we spent the morning at Parco Virgigliano, it was a good morning but it was a little rainy so there weren't a ton of people. We came back and made lunch with the other Anziani and then started watching the Facebook training videos and planned for our lessons. Like I said no one came but we got some good studies and finding done!

Sunday was a beautiful windy day, I love the wind because the humidity is usually pretty low when it's windy which is super nice! We had great meetings in Church. Richard gave a talk and so I got to translate over the pulpit for him. He did a great job and kind of called the Branch to repentance telling them they need to do more missionary work! We got to go in with the youth for Sunday School, it reminded me of how terrible we were in Sunday school when I was their age. We had fun and then in Priesthood Richard and Reginald both received the Melchizedek Priesthood and then right after we pulled Richard to help us give a blessing to a member. He was beaming he was so happy to be able to serve and use his newly conferred Priesthood.

We met with the Branch President, planned some things and had lunch at home before trying to meet with Frank again. He didn't show up and he left his phone at home and his roommate answered and said he was gone so we actually got to hear a lot about Richard and his story. He explained to us some of the turmoil in Nigeria and the problems they're having with their government. It was really sad but also so interesting to hear. It gave me another appreciation for the refugees we have here and everything they've been through.

This morning we got up, went grocery shopping, cleaned and then went to the American base with Sam. I stocked up on a lot of stuff! This could be my last time going because I've now been here in Napoli for three transfers. We'll see if I'm lucky enough to do a fourth!

One of the things I've been thinking a lot about is the importance of the Bible and that it is such a big part of our religion. Yes we put a big focus on the Book of Mormon but the Bible is just as important and they complete each other. There is a talk from April 2007 entitled "The Miracle of the Holy Bible" by Elder Ballard and I would encourage you all to go and study it. He bares strong testimony of its power and divinity and its beautiful! I hope you all have a beautiful day and a beautiful week! I love you all!

Anziano Jacob Bellucci

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Napoli!! Transfer 11 Week 1

Another transfer in Napoli! I was really excited to get my Transfer call on Monday night and find out that I would get to do another 6 weeks here in Bella Napoli with Anziano Jensen! It has been a good week already and I'm excited for more!

As some of you all may have noticed my mission has been authorized to use Facebook as a proselyting tool! So I am now on Facebook with my same account. I won't be scrolling through news feeds or chatting with friends back home, like I said it's meant to be a proselyting tool and I'm super excited about it! Any communication with home will be done through this email still. I think it will be a good way to stay in contact with our Investigators as well as new converts from past areas. Right now it's just the leadership council that has access to Facebook and over the next few weeks Zone by Zone it will be opened up to everyone.

Now on to the week! Tuesday morning we got a call from Petrit, the Albanian member that was working here. He quit his job because they were making him work Sundays. He was taking a bus from Napoli to Lugano in Switzerland so he was leaving but he wanted us to come and say goodbye to him. Petrit is the nicest most charitable man alive, he's working here in Italy so that when he returns he will have enough money to take his family to the temple. He gave both Anziano Jensen and I Albanian ties and a Book to learn Albanian. A very humble and heartfelt gift. We had a little cry fest at the bus station together. (But hey! Now we're friends on Facebook!)

We had an awesome lesson with Nicoletta, it went so well! We were able to have a sit down lesson and commit her to read the Book of Mormon. (On Thursday she was at 1 Nephi 13!) She's doing really well and progressing. She tried to come to Stake Conference this week but it was too hard to get travel arranged and she didn't get up on time :(

We went to go and see Brother Mazzarella in the afternoon, we had a great chat with him and invited him to come up with a few names of people he could introduce to the Gospel and we set an appointment to go to Lunch this next week.

Wednesday we had DDM in the morning, last District lunch together as Anziano Smith was transferred and so we had to have pizza of course. Wednesday should have been our busiest day this week but we had 5 people cancel last minute of just not show up. :/ it was kind of rough... but then we went to the Church and got pizza AGAIN with all the young adults in the Church and had like a testimony Meeting because three of them are about to leave on their mission! It was a really good experience!

Thursday was transfers and our luck it POURED! I have yet to see it rain that hard in Italy! The wind was terrible too! We started transfers picking up and dropping off missionaries at the train and bus station at 8:30 and went until about noon, had time to get lunch and do some language study/dry out and then we went back to finish up. We went and got a gelato with the new District, Anziano Wagstaff joined our District, he's Anziano Ruiz's Greenie, another one from UTAH! We had a good time and then went to the African Drum Circle and then English Course! We had some new faces which I wasn't expecting with all the rain but it was a good surprise!

Friday morning Anziano Jensen, Sister Lee and I boarded a train for Rome! We got there, ate lunch and started right in on the training! Most of MLC was training for using Facebook as missionaries. There are a lot of cool things that I think will really help us in our work. I also think it's a good thing to help us get used to using Technology and social media in a smarter way. I definitely wasted time on Facebook before the mission so it's been great not having it for the last year plus but it hasn't helped me develop new habits for "The after-life" so when I come home I won't waste so much time. After like 6 hours we went to the villa, ate dinner and sat down for another three hour Council! We got a lot done and had a beautiful musical number!

Saturday morning we were up early, breakfast, a picture and out the door for another council back at the Church. We had another great training on technology stuff and got to do some good online proselyting! We packed up, grabbed a sandwich and some supplies and hit the train station to come back to Napoli!

MIRACLE: The three of us sat at a table on a train with this really cool guy named Claudio and there was obviously no rush we had a two hour train ride so we just got to know him a little bit. As we talked he said "You guys aren't by chance of Social Media like Facebook are you???" Well actually we are! It was really cool, with in 24 hours we had someone else bring it up! Now we're friends!

We went to Stake Conference in Pozzuoli on Saturday night, we had some great talks that I really enjoyed! I also got to see the Gargiulo Couple from Cagliari! It's a couple from my first city, I walked in and saw her and it brought me back! I had some time between Saturday and Sunday to catch up with them which was really nice!

Same thing on Sunday we went to Stake Conference which was held in a beautiful hotel in Caserta. It's old and there is a huge conference center inside, straight Italian just naked statues all over the place. They talked a lot about teaching Gospel Principles in the home, not letting anyone take away that responsibility from you. Whether you have kids or not the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine of Christ will help any family!

We had another great lesson with Nicoletta on Sunday evening, we sat in a park in the rain with a pile of umbrellas! She had great questions! She's now finished 1 Nephi and is really enjoying it. She reads the Chapters more than once and underlines things, it's great!

Ok I'm going to finish my epistle here because it's getting way too long! Today we are going to the Military base... and then I don't know what! I love you all and I hope you have a great week!


Anziano Jacob Bellucci

Monday, September 4, 2017

Napoli Transfer 10 Week 6

Is it really Week six already! Transfer calls are tonight! I think Anziano Jensen and I are going to stay another 6 weeks together! But no one knows! We'll see how it goes! 

This week we had some ups and downs but it was definitely a successful week! Monday night we had... well I don't remember what we did. I'm sure it was good haha 

Tuesday morning we had a skype Meeting with the Mission Leadership Council and it went pretty well. We each collected goals from the different Zones for how many baptisms and new Investigators we want to have in this next. The information we pulled in came out to like 40 baptisms and 425 new investigators... we decided we needed to keep it realistic and so we decided on 20 baptisms and 350 new Investigators for the month of September and I know we can do it! 

We went to Sam's for lunch and correlation after and ate some amazing Dominican Republic 🇩🇴 food which was sooo good as always! Beans and rice and chicken... I know my Mom will be surprised because I hate beans but it has become one of my favorite meals! We had a correlation Meeting and then we went to help Sam... so Sam has a bird named Sunny and he doesn't fly except for when he's scared and he got scared the other day and ended up stuck in a tree... I know, a bird that doesn't fly... it was really sad though because he's like a kid for Sam. We tried to get him to come down forever but to no avail. Sam called later and said they got him to jump.  

We met up with Frank at the train station to bring him to the drum circle and it was so good! Frank is an African contact that we met the other day, turns out he's 16. He's the youngest refugee I've met. He's here with no family and he's had a rough go. He explained that he just wants parents, someone to tell him what to do, where to go... more than anything he's just bored in the camp. He doesn't have much to do so he plays soccer a lot. He had a really good time at the drum circle, he had a smile a mile wide which was really good to see. We offered him a Book of Mormon after Italian class and asked to set up an appointment with him. He pulled out this tattered Bible and said "This is my power" you could tell he reads it all the time and he brings it literally everywhere with him. 

Wednesday morning we got to go see Marco and have a super focused lesson with him. We taught him a really good Restoration lesson and we invited him to baptism on October 8th. He said "Can we make it the 5th? It's my birthday!" So we said of course! The spirit was so strong and I've already seen changes in his countenance. 

In the afternoon we met with an African investigator named Trust, we haven't seen him in almost three weeks because he was out of town and so we were planning on doing a repass over the Restoration. We followed-up on him reading from the Book of Mormon and he said "Well the Book of Mormon is divided into 4 parts..." and continued to explain the difference between the small and large plates regarding spiritual matters and genealogy and then continued to explain who Mormon and Moroni are complete with the burial of the plates and the need for a Restoration and Joseph Smith being led to the plates. Well... he remembered everything! So we taught him the Plan of Salvation and he asked so many good questions! He was listening so well and understanding which is great because a lot of Africans just accept what we say without understanding it. When they ask questions you can tell they are thinking. We invited him to be baptized on the 30th of September! "Why wouldn't I be baptized if I find out it's true!?!?" 

We then went to the Granata's house for a Family Home Evening. They're a part Member couple with a son I think that's coming up on a year old. Francesca is the member and her husband Salvatore is not. Usually he's pretty closed off but we've been working the last couple of weeks to become friends with him and it worked. Francesca went in to the other room and so we had a good chance for him to talk openly about how he felt with the Church and he expressed some of his difficulties. He wants to read the Bible or at least part of it first so we are reading it together with him. This is big progress for him! I hope to one day see him in white! 

Thursday was DDM as usual, we had a great meeting and then got Pellone afterwards... it's been closed for three weeks so it was nice to get a good pellone pizza again! 

Before English Course we were able to meet with Frank. We had Peter come with us and it went really well. He is very attached to the Bible and we helped him to understand that they compliment one another. They work together to testify of Jesus Christ. It went really well and he was supposed to come to Church yesterday but he didn't make it... next time! 

After we went to Sister Mena's house, she had made us Panzeit which are Philippine noodles and they're so good!! She made a huge amount too so we were stuffed. She gave us some to take home and so we ran back to the Church for English Course. Afterwards we got to talk to Nicoletta and we talked about coming to Church, how she didn't want us to think that if she came to Church she was getting baptized. She still wanted to feel free. I explained to her that we wouldn't and couldn't push her to get baptized. It's not out purpose and she said "Well then I think I'll come every week!" 

Friday we had another lesson with Marco, we brought the Hydes with us because we thought Anziano Hyde and Marco would get along really well. Turns out we were right! We had asked Marco about his Mom the last time we were there and he hadn't really told her that he was meeting with us and so when we got there he said his Mom was there and wanted to talk to us. We had a really great lesson on the Plan of Salvation with him. He asked a lot of questions and really got along well with Anziano Hyde. Afterwards Marco's mom came in and told us she didn't feel like Marco was ready for this, that it was too much of a commitment. She at first was pretty firm and we began to testify to her of the difference she would see in her son and how ready he is for the Gospel. She began to soften and she told Marco "Just take it slow, read from the Book of Mormon 10 minutes a day and pray to know if it's true" that's literally our invite! I don't think she understood but she was reinforcing the things we had taught him! We left it at he would call us and we would take things slow but his Mom started to tear up at the end and I think the spirit won her over! 

After lunch I started an exchange with Anziano Ruiz our District Leader here in Napoli. We had no appointments and we had heard about this park on the outskirts of Napoli. So we decided to go find it. It took us more than an hour to get there but Mamma Mia it was beautiful and just overflowing with families and young adults. We taught the Restoration a handful of times and had to catch a bus back. We will definitely be going back. Anziano Ruiz is a stud, he's a Transfer behind me, we actually met in the MTC because we over lapped for a week. He's from Washington State, he's a track star and a super good missionary. He's going to Utah State after the mission so I hope to see him there! 

Saturday it rained! It was so nice! It hasn't rained in the almost three months I've been in Napoli! We made about a million phone calls and then went and played in the rain. We came back and made lunch for everyone to finish up the exchange. Anziano Ruiz made a Ragù and I made brownies for the baptism and tried to make the homemade bread I would make with Angela in college but I need to do more language study to find fast rising yeast... I made rocks... haha they tasted good but it was really dense! We then packed everyone up and headed to Pozzuoli to use their baptismal font because there isn't one here in our Church and with the rain we couldn't go to the beach! It was a beautiful baptism! His name is Austin! I got to spend some time with Anziano DeFeo again which was great! 

Sunday was great! People are coming back from vacation! The Chapel was almost filled and the fasting testimony Meeting was great! Nicoletta came to Church! She originally was just going to come for the first hour. She decided to stay for Sunday School and she participated and really enjoyed it and then I asked if she wanted to stay for the third hour and she just walked into the Chapel and sat down and said "I think I'm going to come next week too! I really like this!" The spirit is working in her! 

We came home and I made a roasted chicken, mashed potatoes and corn and we did weekly planning because it's been so busy we just haven't had a chance! Sister Mena called us and said come over I have stuff for you! She gave us some spring rolls and lasagna that were both really good! We met her non-member son as well! 

Today we are staying in Napoli, we are going to the Napoli Underground tours and getting a pizza... should be pretty chill! The work here in Napoli is growing so fast, the people are ready and we're seeing miracles! I have been studying the New Testament and I read this verse the other day in Matthew 4:4 "...Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." And it made me think of the importance of the scriptures and prayer. So I wanted to invite all of you whether you are Catholic, Buddhist, Protestant or Mormon, feast on the Words of God and you will find comfort! I love you all and I hope you have a great week!

Anziano Jacob Bellucci