Monday, March 30, 2015

Week 46 - Bari , Italy

Amici e Famiglia,

This week in Bari on Monday we decided to check out Ikea, a furniture store, for our P Day.  We took a bus way outside the city and then walked through deserted countryside on back roads for near an hour before finding it.  Luckily it was raining too.  When we arrived, I was surprised to see a fountain drink machine in the food court area that you could use to refill your drink for free.  After taking advantage of that, we walked through the store following the arrows to look at all the model bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens.  It was pretty neat.
from Mission Blog
Then we took a train back to the central station in Bari and went to the Iper Coop instead of Simply to get some groceries.  The prices were real nice.  After that we did a lesson with a young guy and taught the Restoration.  He listened to the message but then asked us what we thought about ISIS.  The next day we had district meeting and played some ping pong.  I am terrible at ping pong.  Anziano Toronto then went with Anz. Borough to Bitonto and Anz. Bee came with me to do an exchange.  Later we had a few lessons and English Course.  We taught a new member about temples and he seemed really excited to go do some temple work for his deceased ancestors.  We used the special temple edition of the Liahona (magazine) to show all the pictures of the different rooms of the temple.  Then we ate these amazing panzerotti that were about a foot long or more.  We ate them right before bed and mi hanno fatto male.

The next day Anz. Toronto returned and we taught a few lessons and did some finding. Thursday, we did a few lessons and English course.  I called a guy for another lesson right before we headed out to meet him and he never showed up.  I tried calling him and it went straight to messaging.  That happens quite a bit actually.  The next day we planned and then had a few lessons while doing an exchange (me with the elder's quorum president and Toronto with the bishop.)  We then showed up for the last bit of a young single adult Mexican food party.  It was amazing and hilarious to hear all the Italians complain of the spiciness of the food.  It was probably a mild on the Taco Bell scale of mild, hot, and fire so not very spicy at all.  Then we crashed at the Anziani's house in PoggioFranco (a section of Bari like Libertà).  We had more Mexican food in the morning before heading home.  Then we took a bus to Bitritto to do a lesson.
That night we did a lot of finding with some success.  On Sunday, we headed to church and I almost had to do translation but was lucky to have a recently returned missionary from England take it over.  Then we ate at a member's nonmember mother's home.  She is a retired school teacher and was very nice.  We had broccoli mussel pasta, sausage, mushrooms, potatoes, strawberry angel food cake, cheese with a marmalade, and chocolate gelato.  It was amazing.  Then we had a few more lessons that day. That's all  for now.

Anziano Blazzard

Monday, March 23, 2015

Week 45 - Bari, Italy

Amici e Famiglia,

It was a little unusual this week.  On Monday after emailing, we took a train with the district to a city called Polignano.  It was really beautiful and I took a bunch of pictures so you're welcome. We also got some gelato for the first time in a while which was as good as ever.  Later that night we had a few lessons with an investigator and less-active.  We decided to stop by this food shop on the way home because our homie works there to say hi and he ended up giving us some free panzerotti (folded over fried pizzas) and an omelette thing.  I love free food.  The next day we did street work in the morning walking all over the old city where the castle is.  We definitely will have to return to take a look inside some P day.

 Then we had a lesson with a few new-coverts, English course, and a lesson with an investigator afterwords.  An English course student gave us this coffee cake which we politely accepted and then gave to our homie at the food shop who gave us free food the day before.  Before we left he offered us some more free food.  This time, focaccia (baked garlic bread with oil and tomatoes... really good.)  I politely offered to pay which he responded to with the most hilarious fake offended look.  He was like, "You're going to pay?"... and then a second later he said, "That will be 2 euro."  He is a good business man.

 The next day we had a lesson with an investigator before getting on a train to Rome.  It was a long train ride (4 hours) and one Elder accidentally bought his ticket for a wrong day so he got slapped with a 100 euro fine pulled right off his debit card with an Ipad and card reader.  When we got to Rome's main terminal (Termini) we took the metro (subway thing) to the Spanish steps to do some missionary work.  The metro was packed and full of gypsies so I stuffed my hands in my pockets holding my wallet and other possessions and positioned my bag in front.  We were seriously packed in like sardines.  We had to leave right after we got to the steps and head out to where the Rome 3 elders lived.  We slept there and the next morning we headed to the Rome 2 church for a mission conference.

 President Teixeira (seventy) of the European Area Presidency spoke to us and we had a great meal of pasta, baked chicken, potatoes, fruit, and cookies.  Then we had to hustle back to Termini using the metro like always to catch the train back to Bari.  We pigged out on all the candy I received (thanks mom and family.)  We arrived back after 10 pm and we had to house 6 elders from Lecce, Statte, and Taranto.  The next day after they left we had correlation with our ward mission leader and I shared skittles.  The ward missionaries really enjoyed them.  Then we went to Bitritto for a lesson and later that night we had a lesson with the group of young adults at a member's home where we went over the restoration again and watched the 20 min. movie.  The next day we had a little exchange and then after we had a lesson with an investigator at Burger King.  I'm happy to report the whopper still tastes like the whopper. Then we went to the evening session of Stake conference.

 One speaker spoke about how the full time missionaries are the attackers and the members are the wings relating missionary work to soccer.  They pass people to us and we score (or baptize them.)  The next day we went to the general session of stake conference and it went well too.  Then we went to a meal appointment at the bishop's house.  We had pasta with a meat ragù sauce, thin fried chicken breasts, fruit (kiwi and an apple), and some cake.  It was delicious.  Then we finally had time to do the weekly planning.  Afterwards we went to a family home evening at the senior couple's apartment (it was amazingly nice.)  It was a youth activity and tons of people showed up including our investigator.  The treats at the end were good as well and included chocolate chip cookies.  Today, it is raining so I don't know what we will do for fun... probably go eat something good.  Have a great week errbody.

Anziano Blazzard

Monday, March 16, 2015

Week 44 - Bari, Italy

Amici e Famiglia,

It has been a great week for missionary work in Bari.  On Monday, after we emailed, we went with the other Elders to Burger King to get the 4 euro meal deal thing we have been seeing all over the city on billboards.  It turned out to be a little bit of a ripoff (extremely tiny burger) like we knew it would be.  We all burst into laughing when Anz. Toronto asked if there were refills on the sodas. Then we went to the Bari PoggioFranco church on Via Cancello Rotto to play some soccer on the enclosed field.  It was asphalt instead of turf and also there was some moss that had grown on it.  I excitedly ran out to kick the ball and promptly fell on my rear end.  Luckily no damage was done and we began to play.  Every Elder ended up slipping one time or another and fortunately there were only two injuries.  Anziano Bee (who actually is my fourth cousin descended from the same Francesco Antonio Bodrero from Cuneo Italy... our ancestors were brothers that came over to America together) fell and tore up his knee and elbow.  I also slipped and rolled my ankle.  I can still walk thankfully.  Then we did some good street finding that night and set up an appointment with 5 young adults for later that week.

The next day we had DDM at our church in Bari Libertà on Via Giuseppe Sangiorgi, 4.  We had to talk in Italian because we have a few Italian sisters.  Then we had these delicious sandwiches with meat, fancy cheese, pesto, mushrooms, and leaf stuff.  Later we had English course and met a Jehovah's Witness on the street.  He began to talk to us and a few seconds later a guy rolled up on his motorcycle and began asking both of us to explain the bible according to each of our religions.  It was a funny situation.  We also had a lesson with an awesome member (who just got home from a mission in London who knew Elder Loyd from our stake) and an investigator.  It went well and we set a baptism date.

The next day we had a lesson with a new convert and his friend that introduced him to the church.  Later that night we had a lesson with the five people we met earlier on the street that week.  We had the help of a missionary who was temporarily home from his mission in South Africa due to an illness.  The next day we had a few lessons and English course.  Friday we did weekly planning and then tried to find a bunch of less-actives and did some finding.  The next day we had a lesson with this guy who wanted to learn some English and a bit about the church.  He was really cool.  We also went to Bitritto for a missionary finding activity with the district.  The bus back to Bari was packed and we had to stand in the aisle.  Also some ticket collectors got on and we hadn't punched our tickets because of the press.  Luckily they didn't give us a ticket and just tore the top off our tickets.  Then we ate some delicious panzerotti that we ordered while on the bus to be delivered to the station.  They are kind of like pizzas folded over loaded with cheese and a little tomato sauce... super greasy too.  On Sunday we went to church and afterwards went to a meal appointment with some members.  It was a good oven pasta, chicken, salad, and ice cream.  Then later that night we did some finding.  Talk to ya next week.

Anziano Blazzard

Monday, March 9, 2015

Week 43 - Bari, Italy - Elder Toronto

Cari Amici e Famiglia,

Anziano Toronto
 So I made it to Bari and it's been pretty hectic the last few days trying not to get lost and picking up the work from the Anziani that were blown-out (both missionaries leave without one staying to show the new guy the work and how to get around). The new missionary I am training is Anziano Toronto. He is from Minnesota and went to BYU before the mission for summer and fall semesters. He happened to know Brock and Garrett at BYU and was their Elder's Quorum President. He is directly descended from the original first Italian member Joseph Toronto. He also was President of Boy's Nation and met the president (y'all probably don't know what that is but it is pretty crazy). He speaks really well and is very diligent. Anyways, last Monday we did some last visits with some people in Trapani. On Tuesday we had DDM and Panini Bomba (they gave us some sausage as we waited). Then we had English course. The next day I finished packing and we left for Palermo. It decided to rain for the first time that week. In Palermo we dropped off our bags at the Palermo 2 house and caught a bus out to Panini Bomba again. I had 2 and the second one had way too much mayonnaise on it. It was good and gross at the same time. Then I went on a quick split with Elder Holbrook and we had a few lessons and got 3 numbers from some youth our age randomly at the train station. The next morning very early I got on a bus at 6:45am that was going from Palermo to Bari. I rode with Sister Gates the entire way as she was going to Foggia.

 In Messina we saw my old comp Elder Mika which was sweet. Then we drove onto a ferry to take us over to Reggio Calabria. The we kept going all the way to Bari passing through Cosenza and Taranto. We finally arrived after 7. There I met up with Elder Toronto and we went to the English course at the Bari Libertà church. There are two wards or groups of members in Bari: Libertà and Poggiofranco. After that we were dropped off at our house by the senior missionary couple. The house is nice but it has definitely been used and abused by missionaries. Some ciccione broke the toilet bowl too so it has a crack and leaks. We'll have to fix that soon. The next day we studied and afterwards went to get some food because there wasn't any in the house. We also got some stuff to repair the house a bit. Then we had cool movie night activity at the church where we watched the hour something long restoration movie. There was free popcorn too.

 The next day we did some planning and then we went to Andria to do a district blitz with the elders from bari poggiofranco and bitonto. The train we took to and from there was awesome. On Sunday we had church from 9 to 12 and then ate a meal with a family. The pasta was simple but amazing. Then we had a turkey ball thing with some greens, cheese, and bacon inside. Then potatoes and finally some cream, whipped cream, and strawberry dessert. And I was happy to see that in Bari they always have a cold bottle of coke on the table like they do in Sicily. We went to a singles ward church service because there have been many recent youth converts. Today we are writing from a ghetto internet point and will be playing soccer with the district later. Well, talk to y'all next week. Anziano Blazzard

Monday, March 2, 2015

Week 42 - Trapani, Sicily, Italy - Being Transferred

Famiglia e Amici,

I hope everyone is well and happy back home.  It was a good week in Trapani.  First off, we received transfer calls and I was a bit surprised to hear that I am heading to Bari, specifically Bari Libertà, and will be receiving a new missionary as a companion.  It will be a challenge to train and learn the city at the same time but I've heard very good things about the area so I am excited.  So, this last week after P-day ended on Monday we went to teach a new convert.  On the way back, I noticed this stray dog following me.  I am a little nervous around dogs so I crossed the street.  It crossed the street with me.  I crossed back over and started to fast walk and it kept following me. After a few blocks I gave up and let it walk by my side.  The dog started getting a little ahead of me, so I decided to hide behind a car.  It stopped after a bit when it noticed I was gone.  Then, as I was looking through the window of the car I saw that the dog was running back towards where I was and I also heard lots of barking.  I started to freak out a bit thinking that I ticked off the dog but then I saw this tiny little dog chasing the stray which was running away with its tail between its legs.  I guess the stray had followed us into enemy territory.  After that, we watched the one dog chase the other clear down the street and out of view before heading home.  The next day we went to the weekly district meeting before heading to my favorite place panini bomba to pick up the sandwiches to bring back to the other Elders.  The guys there recognized us so they gave me a half sandwich to eat while I was waiting (only took about 2 minutes to get 7 sandwiches.) They also gave us some free drinks and gave me a one euro discount.  I was pretty happy.  When we got back home we stopped at the apartment and I got in the elevator and pressed number 5 like always.  Then I realized Anz. Tew wasn't with me.  He apparently had seen somebody trying to unlock another door in the lobby to get in and he had helped them in.  I guess I was in autopilot mode or something.  Then we had a lesson and English course later that night.  The next day was pretty uneventful besides some street contacting, fallen through appointments, and a meeting with our branch missionary work leader.  He gave me his hat which is a typical Sicilian hat that all the old guys wear.  The next day we had a few lessons as well as English course.  The second lesson we showed an old church movie called Heavenly Father's Plan.  It's obviously from the 80s but the music and messages are perfect.  It went very well and the woman's 9 year old daughter gave a beautiful prayer at the end.  I explained how to pray (Caro Padre Celeste, middle part, nel nome di Gesù Christo, amen) before she did it but she still said, "Caro Gesù Celeste." (Dear Heavenly Jesus).  It was pretty cute.  The next day we planned and had some maintenance guys come to work on the water heater that was working perfectly fine (the owner wanted to do a routine checkup).  They dirtied up the house a bit and one guy decided it was alright to smoke a cigarette in the house... Then we had a lesson in the evening time that went very well.  The next day we had a few lessons.  On Sunday, we went to church and had a few investigators show up which was awesome.  Then we ate lunch which was a sausage and meatball pasta, more sausage, meatballs, steak, potatoes, pineapple, mango, strawberries, kiwi, and three different types of cakes.  Then we visited the old lady with the healing femur before heading home.  The weather has also been pretty good the last few days instead of constant rain.... mostly sunshine.  Well, that's all for now and I'll talk to y'all next week from Bari.

Anziano Blazzard