Monday, October 27, 2014

Week 24 - Ragusa, Sicily, Italy

Amici e Famiglia,

So, I received my transfer call on Saturday from one of the assistants and I'm leaving Ragusa and heading west to take my old MTC companion Elder Trejo's spot in Trapani to be with Elder Bermudes (South American maybe who lived in Italy for some time before the mission.)  I hope I can improve my Italian being able to speak all the time with an experienced speaker.  I wanted to do another in Ragusa but I am also excited for what is to come. 

This week went by quickly.  We went down to the camp pretty often to teach our group there from Nigeria, Gambia, Cameroon, and the Ivory Coast.)  On Wednesday we took a bus to Gela and did a little exchange.  I went with Anziano Lazarte and we did a lesson and then walked the streets talking to some people.  The next morning we arose early and caught a bus back to Ragusa at 6 am.  On Friday, we had a member/investigator pranzo (lunch) and we brought another cheesecake that we made.  It went really well and Prisco really enjoyed it.  On Saturday we got the transfer calls and then later we ate some homemade pizza at a member's home.  On Sunday, our new members/investigators came to church as well as the Tidona family which was pretty nice for my last Sunday.  I gave a little departing testimony and then took a bunch of photos with members after the last meeting.  Then, we ate at the Bishop's fathers house with the Bishop's family there as well.  They made some really good breaded pork chops.  Anyways, I will take a lot of pictures in the following week in the new area and tell ya all about it.  Ciao Ciao

Anziano Blazzard

Monday, October 20, 2014

Week 23 - Ragusa, Sicily, Italy

Amici e Famiglia,
It was a pretty nice week in Ragusa.  For some reason it is really hot again like the summer... I hope it starts cooling down soon.  All my shirts are getting wrecked with the combination of steep hills and blazing hot sun.  But, we managed to get pretty good work done this week.  We met a new investigator, Prisco from Cameroon, on Friday and gave him a Book of Mormon Saturday.  Yesterday, as we were walking to church with him we asked him questions including what was happening in the BoM.  He started telling us about a man Nephi and his father, Lehi, who had a vision and some wicked older brothers Laman and Lemuel and a righteous other brother named Sam.  It is really nice to hear that someone took the time to open the book after we give it to him.  He had a really good time at church and a member even invited him along with us to a pranzo appointment at her house.  It was way cool to see a member help out like that.  So, he really enjoyed church, and we're excited about him.
We also worked with our man Frank this past week.  We have to postpone his baptismal date a few more weeks because we need to make sure he knows certain things, but he is making good progress.  Another man, named Sung, is making good progress and has agreed to come to church next week.  We are working with another family from English Course and are happy to hear that the husband went to church in Malta this past weekend.  They should be back this week.
On Thursday we had an appointment at the 1st counselor's house to talk about activities.  We decided to make a cheese cake to bring it to them.  It was surprisingly not very hard to make and it tasted like real cheese cake.  It only took 20 minutes to make. 
Yesterday, I had to give a talk in church.  I was super nervous because they put me down as the last speaker and I usually end up speaking super fast and finishing way early.  It was about Il potere fortificante dell'Espiazione (the strengthening power of the Atonement) and the resource was Elder Bednar's talk from the General Conference in May.  It went pretty well and I was able to speak for 15 minutes in Italian. 
Basta for now.
Anziano Blazzard

Monday, October 13, 2014

Week 22 - Ragusa, Sicily, Italy

This week flew by. On Monday, we went to a member's (V) house for a family home evening. We talked about what we can do to strengthen the relationship between the missionaries and the members and afterwards, we ate some pasta and Italian style nachos. It consisted of kind-of tortilla chips and melted Kraft-style cheese squares. It was pretty funny. Then, Tuesday morning after helping an African send money back to his family in Africa, I got my hairs cut. The barber spent an abnormal amount of time slicking my cut hair straight back from my forehead and getting everything to lie perfectly in place. It was looking pretty ridiculous so I took a shower at lunch and did it up my own way. Later that day was packed with a hike to Ibla to teach some Africans and then a few hours of teaching English course at the church. The next day, Anziano Durham had to go to the government immigration building, the Questura, to go do some fingerprinting for his permesso di soggiorno. It took all morning so I stood outside talking to a man from Mali and then a man from Albania. It is crazy to see how different my life was in America to theirs. On Thursday we did a district meeting and Friday, a friend hooked me up with some Mountain Dew from Vittoria. The mountain dew was a little off-colored and apparently bottled in Romania but it tasted normal. On Saturday morning, we agreed to help this lady clean the church. It wouldn't have taken so long, but her two little kids kept unplugging my vacuum cleaner and turning it on and off. The little boy was throwing hymn books and pass along cards everywhere and also ate some of the microphone off. He just kept laughing and when I turning the machine back on he grabbed my tie and my top button on my white shirt busted off. I don't remember little kids being so hard to deal with. Hopefully I won't go bald from this episode in my mission. Yesterday, after a good long day of church and fasting, we ate at the home of the ward mission leader (a super funny Sicilian man and a great cook, too.) I ate two very large helpings of pasta al forno (basically lasagna with meat sauce, cheese, ham slices, and hard boiled eggs), two chicken things (chicken and other stuff wrapped in a net and cooked), a bunch of oven roasted, olive oiled, sliced potatoes, melon, and then gelato. And also a bunch of coke, water, and orange soda. It was uncomfortable to sit afterwards with a pancia fitting to burst. The only comfortable position kind-of was lying down. The sisters tapped out on every course - ha ha. The baptism last Saturday didn't happen for a few reasons but it should happen in two weeks if everything goes according to plan. You got to have a little patience sometimes. Basta for now.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Week 21 - Ragusa, Sicily, Italy

Picture from Italy Rome Mission Blog
Presidente and Sorella Waddoups
Una buona settimana a Ragusa.  I am really enjoying myself here in Sicilia.  The language is continuing to get easier and more comfortable.  This week we traveled to Siracusa for zone conference.  We left on Tuesday in the afternoon and rode a bus along the coast line for 3 hours until we reached the city.  The anziani there were busy with lessons, and they needed us to pick up a few things for English Course later that night at their apartment.  We managed to find their apartment with a few directions from a member and then we broke in by scaling the wall to the second floor.  We slept there and the next morning walked to the church (very strange looking for a Mormon church) for zone conference.  It was pretty good besides being long and afterwards we rode back to Ragusa with the anziani from Catania in their car.  That night after some work we ate some delicious burgers at a place called Carnivorous.  The next day we had an interview for our baptismal candidate, and he passed.  We will proceed with the baptism on the 11th.  A few days later on Saturday, we enjoyed conference from 6 to 8pm at the church.  I really liked President Uchtdorf's talk on increasing our Gospel light.  I have been using that scripture about this light found in the Doctrine and Covenants for a few weeks in lessons and was happy to hear a talk about this concept.  The next day we watched sessions at 11am (priesthood), 2pm (Saturday afternoon), and6pm (Sunday morning.)  I enjoyed Elder Nelson's talk on the organization of leadership and Elder Holland's talk as well.  President Uchtdorf's question, "Is it I?" was very thought-provoking additionally.  Well, there is not much else to say.  Alla prossima!