Thursday, April 30, 2015

Week 50 - Bari, Liberia, Italy

Famiglia e Amici,

These last few weeks many things happened.  Monday, after emailing we took a bus to a shopping center to get some short sleeve shirts and shoes.  I asked for some help picking out shoes this time and told the guy repeatedly that I needed shoes that would withstand walking miles each day for another year.  I hope the shoes I picked will work.  The next day we had DDM and then a few lessons before English course.  The next day we went to the Questura early in the morning to sign something for Elder Toronto's permission to stay in the country.  While there a mini rebellion took place outside the building in which we heard a bunch of shouting and screaming from angry Africans wanting their documents.  Then we ran to do a lesson in a park.  After we ran to catch a bus to Bitritto to do another lesson.  Then we had a lesson with a group of young people who afterwards told us they weren't ready to put God first in their lives and dropped us.  The next day, I went to Bitonto to do an exchange with Elder Borough.  We did some finding and not a lot of people wanted to talk to us.  We had some really good panzerotti though.  Then we did English course before taking the train back to Bari.  There, we had to buy our tickets to Rome for the conference the following Monday.  They had previously told us that they would have bought the tickets but then they made a last minute change of plans.  Luckily I had just enough money in my wallet and on my mission card to buy it.  Unfortunately, we are pretty much out of food.  The next day, Friday, we planned in the morning before doing a few lessons in the evening.  On Saturday, we did a lesson in the morning before doing a finding blitz with the district in Bari later that day.  On the way down to the square where we were going to do it, we saw a group of street performers break dancing.  They were pretty good.  The next day at church we were super busy.  I ended up playing the piano, translating with the headset, and giving a talk.  Afterwards we went to Bitritto to have lunch with a man (who is the son of a man I met in Ragusa) and his wife.  We ate out on the shaded deck while listening to some classical piano music and enjoying the view of a beautiful rolling Italian countryside.  We had a delicious pasta with tomatoes, olives, and cheese, chicken (with Hidden Valley Ranch!! (it doesn't exist here)), buttered corn, candied strawberries, and pistachio gelato. Then we had a a lesson.  Monday we had a lesson in the morning before catching the train to Rome at 1.  We sat next to an Italian marine, a British woman, and some Brazilian tourists who didn't like us talking too much.  When we got to Rome it was pouring rain.  We then headed to the Catholic convent where we would stay the night.  It was fun seeing all of my mission buddies again as they arrived at the convent.  It was a pretty nice place with 4 comfy beds to a room with good water pressure.  Also very clean.  In the morning (we woke up at 5:30 to get on the bus at 7), we ate a breakfast of raw ham and cheese sandwiches and cheese spread on old toast.  We then took a bus to a hotel where the conference would take place.  I was able to see my old MTC companions Elder Mika and Elder Trejo too.  Then Elder Bednar arrived and he basically just asked questions and responded to comments.  It was powerful and he explained things very well using personal experience and the scriptures.  He is an Apostle of the Lord.  Afterwards we got soaked by the continuous rain making our way to the train station.  We took a train back to Bari and then housed 8 missionaries in our apartment.  The next day, they left and we did a lot of finding and one lesson.  Today, we are hoping to receive money for the new month so we can get some food.
Alla prossima.
Italy Rome Mission Pictures -
April 2015 Conference

Anziano Blazzard

Italy Rome Mission Pictures

Monday, April 20, 2015

Week 49 - Bari, Liberta, Italy

Famiglia e Amici,

Last Monday after emailing we took a bus to our new convert's house to try some fufu.  On the bus there, there was a old man who began to talk to us.  He was very interested in why Americans were in Bari and we explained who we were. I gave him my seat and he then pinches my cheek like I'm six years old and says "good boy."  They are funny here in Italy sometimes. Then we ate some amazing fufu at our new convert's house which is basically dipping hot flour dough balls in a meat stew.  It was pretty amazing though heavy in the stomach and then we tried to drum a beat on his African drum.  I was terrible... I think it's something you're born with. Then I was able to get a little nap in back at the apartment before P Day ended.  The fufu did something to me because I was out in like ten seconds and I woke up not knowing where I was for a few seconds.  Good fufu.  Then later that night we decided to do some finding down by the seafront which was pretty scenic.  On the way home I met a man from the Dominican Republic and was able to fix an appointment for the next day in spanish and grab his number.  The next day we went to district meeting before going to a lesson in Bitritto.  Then later we did a couple new convert lessons before English course.  After that we had a lesson with another guy.  Busy day.  The next day we had a lesson with a contact who speaks good English.  He is 20 years old like me and I think he has good potential.  We then had to sprint from the park where we did the lesson to the bus stop to head to Bitritto again for a meal and lesson.  We ate spaghetti with mussels cooked in some olive oil and chopped onions.  It was really good.  The next day we had a three lessons before English course.  One of our newer investigators has a talent for the piano and can play anything by ear and our new convert is pretty good at singing.  So, we got to listen to some popular and religious Nigerian songs after we finished the lessons.  Then one of our crazier students, who calls himself Awesome Steve,  joined them for a pretty good rendition of We Are the World.  After English course we helped out some Pakistani guys who came late to the lesson with their English.  The next day we planned for the next week before heading to the Questura (police station) to complete the fingerprinting for Elder Toronto's permission to stay in the country.  While waiting, I made friends with an Egyptian, Afghanistan guy, a Nigerian, and some Bangladesh guys.  There were also other Africans from diverse nations and some families from Eastern Europe (probably Albanian).  A mosquito also flew right past everyone else and tried to get me in the corner.  Then we ate some kebab before a lesson.  Later we had correlation with the ward mission leader and ward council.  The next day we did a big chalk drawing in Bitritto with the other missionaries of the district.  Lots of curious people came up to talk to us and we had some good conversations about the restored gospel.  Then we had a few lessons before a service project for a man's nonmember brother.  We had to move a bunch of junk from his car into his apartment on the 2nd floor.  There was a hired African helping us and he was a beast.  He would say, "No, I do it," and then take whatever we were holding and haul it by himself to the apartment. Some of the stuff was heavy and normally would have required to 2 big guys to carry it.  I was impressed.  The next day was church and 4 Americans showed up to the 1st hour.  They were vacationing and doing some biking.  Then we had lunch at a member's house and a ton of relatives showed up who were very kind.  We ate a huge amount of food including toast with olive oil and tomatoes, olives, pasta with a meaty red sauce, stuffed meatballs, sausage, salami and ham, an omelette thing, lots of greens, lots of different types of bread, fruit, and then desert.  I was stuffed.  Then we had a lesson before turning in for the night.  I didn't eat that night.  Today, we cleaned around the church on via cancellorotto before playing soccer and eating panzerotti.  The moss is pretty much dried up so we didn't slip as much this time.   Well, that's all for this week.  Have a great week everyone.

Anziano Blazzard

Monday, April 13, 2015

Week 48 - Bari, Liberta, Italy

Famiglia e Amici,

So, this last week was pretty good.  On Monday after the trip to the castle and the amazing restaurant, we emailed you guys and then walked home to do some deep cleaning.  As we were walking home, we passed some young people and one of them said 'Hi' to us in English.  She was also probably 'high' based on the odor we smelled.  We chatted for a bit and then they invited us to go to a dance club with them. We said maybe later and walked on after sharing a bit of the gospel.  We didn't go to the dance club obviously and did some deep cleaning instead.

The next day, we finished cleaning and did some errands in the morning.  In the afternoon we did some finding and the first person we stopped was interested in our message.  We were able to sit down and explain some basic beliefs and set a return appointment.  Unfortunately it didn't work out because his number doesn't work but it was still kind of cool to have the first person we stop actually stop.  Then later we went to English course.

The next day we had District Meeting and we did transfer predictions.  Then we had a birthday party for one of the sister missionaries.  After that, we had a few lessons with some investigators and one of them later passed his baptismal interview.  The next day we took a bus out to Bitritto to teach a lesson to an investigator.  Later that evening, we had a few lessons and English course.  After class, we went with the students to the Maddelena (a pizza place that also sells panzerotti, the fried folded over cheese pizzas) to have a party for a sister missionary that is going home to Merica.  It is right next to a church that looks like a halfpipe.  Our awesome students bought us a panzerotto and Fanta each.  Then they bought me another round.  They almost bought me a third round but I told them I would probably die later that night if I ate another.  When you eat the panzerotti you have to sit and lean forward so that the juice drops safely to the ground and not on your clothes.  One sister dropped a piece on her skirt and the Doctor's (a student who is a doctor and whose name I can't remember so I just call him doctor) panzerotto exploded all down his front. I managed to eat mine without problem... until I felt the effects the next day.  Luckily we planned the next morning for the next week and I was able to digest a bit more before heading to the church to prepare for the baptism.

The baptism went very well and I played the piano.  The next day we taught a lesson in a beautiful park near a fountain and later we taught a lesson before heading to another baptism in the other ward in Bari.  I played the piano again and the baptism there also went well.  Then we walked home before talking with a friend in a store and teaching a bit about the gospel.  He invited us to eat lunch at his grandma's house some Sunday too.  Italians are super nice to us.  The next day we went to church and the confirmation of our investigator went well. Then we had lunch in the church with all the members and some investigators.  We had diverse types of lasagna, buffalo cheese, sausage, fruit, and dessert.  Then we had a lesson later that evening.  Today we should be going to a friend's place to eat some foo foo (an African soup and dough ball dish).  I am pretty excited.
(I found this on FB which I am guessing is the eating of the foo foo)

Anziano Blazzard

Monday, April 6, 2015

Week 47 - Bari, Liberta, Italy

Amici e Famiglia,

Last Monday, after emailing we ate some pizza made by a guy from Napoli (Napoli is famous among missionaries for making the best pizza in Italy).  It was delicious.  Then we followed the other missionaries as they toured this big store thing called Eataly that highlights all the best types of Italian food.  It was pretty boring.  Then later that night we had a lesson with an investigator who should be baptized later this week.  The next day we went to district meeting and then had a few lessons and English course later in the day.  Our new convert that we teach gave us chocolate too. The next day we had a lesson in a nice park with an investigator and then later we had lesson with a group of investigating young adults at a member's home.  The next day we had a lesson and English course.  On Friday we had Weekly Planning and then later we had a mock baptismal interview with an investigator to prepare him for the real thing.

The following day we met with a new investigator in the morning and did the first lesson about the restoration.  Then later we watched the Saturday morning session of general conference at 6 pm Italy time.  The next day we watched the priesthood session at 11, the Saturday afternoon at 2, and the Sunday morning session at 6.  I really enjoyed all the sessions with my favorite session being the Saturday afternoon session.  I thought the seventies gave really good talks in that one.  The talk by Elder Wilford Anderson about the music and the dancing of the gospel was really cool also.  Elder Holland gave a stellar talk as always.  Today, we are writing late because we went on a little trip with a member and his mother to Castel del Monte.  It is a sweet octagonal castle built by Frederico II 800 years ago maybe.  We toured around all the halls and even got to see the bathroom and toilet of the dead king.  Strangely enough it smelled like a portopotty still even after all this time.   Then we ate at this nice restaurant. We had 10 something appetizers, 2 pastas, 4 meats, 5 fruits, and 3 desserts.  I am trying not to fall asleep as I write this. Have a great week.

Anziano Blazzard