Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Monday, April 18, 2016

Final Full Week

Carissimi Amici e Famiglia,

This will be my last general email as a missionary... Next Monday I turn in my iPad and the next morning I fly out of Rome for New York, then Salt Lake, and then Lewiston.  I should arrive at about 10:15 California time.  One more week to go!!!

This last week went really well.  Work wise we went all over the place.  We went to Maddaloni, Ruviano, Caiazzo, Gricignano (American base), and Santa Maria a Vico.  We got fed well this week.  Friday was the traditional Italian meal with lots of courses.  Saturday was Romanian food, very good.  And Sunday we had a lunch in church and my comp made some bomb garlic mashed potatoes that even a some month old baby ate.  I also ate a pizza with some piglet sausage on it and some cannoli were gifted to us as we preached about the restoration on Main Street.  We had some good lessons and made contact with some less actives and part member families.  One investigator asked how warm the water was for baptisms in our church and another said he had to really think well if he wants to get baptized.  Our recently baptized friend has already experienced to guidance of the Holy Ghost.  I look forward to finishing it out strong this week in Caserta until Saturday when I will take a train to Napoli and then to Rome to pass my last weekend as a missionary in Italy.  Oh and we also went to a Chinese buffet in Napoli next to a sweet castle.  The sushi was on point.

Have a great week.
Anziano Blazzard

The pictures are of the amphitheater in Santa Maria Capua Vetere and also the remnants of the walls of the old amphitheater.  Gladiators used to fight and train there.  Pretty sweet.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Baptism on the Base

Cari Amici e Famiglia,

It was a great and busy week... as it usually is getting everything ready for a baptism.  On Wednesday we made the mistake of going to an Italian hospital for a checkup.  It took more than two hours but we also met a cool multi-generational family that invited us over for lunch.  We also taught a lot about the church and the restoration.  On Friday we went to a city called Ruviano to meet with a member who can't come to church because of the distance.  She was super nice and her husband who isn't a member was very funny.  He moved to America for higher education and spent much of his life there as a language professor at several universities including UCLA.  The town where they live is also really beautiful and very well kept... No graffiti or trash.

On Saturday we went to the American navy base for the baptisms of one of our investigators and one of the sisters'.  The baptismal ceremony was held in the base's nondenominational chapel which was very beautiful.  The baptismal font was also pretty cool.  The baptisms went well and lots of members showed up for support.  The investigators had a good experience.  Afterwards a member in the ward took us to Taco Bell.  It had been close to two years since I'd been there so it was pretty awesome.  Later I didn't feel too awesome though.  Then on Sunday we did the confirmations (gift of the Holy Ghost).  There was also a baby blessing.  Lots of blessings.  Today we went to the Reggia which is the royal palace.  The gardens behind it are stunningly beautiful.  Hope everyone has a great week.

Anziano Blazzard

Monday, April 4, 2016

Caserta / Napoli Zone - Last Zone Conference

Cari Amici e Famiglia,

It was a great week.  On Tuesday we went up to Piedimonte Matese to look for a referral from Argentina.  We talked to a lot of people and walked around a lot to find the place but we eventually found it. Unfortunately he wasn't there but his neighbor took a Book of Mormon and number from us to give to him later.  It was really beautiful there.  On Thursday we went to my last zone conference and I gave my departing testimony.  It was a surreal moment because when I started my mission it seemed like a thousand years away.  I'm happy to be finishing but sad to leave as well.  I talked about the gospel of Jesus Christ and the positive changes it makes in people's lives. That has been the most rewarding experience in my mission.

On Saturday and Sunday we watched conference, Saturday morning session Saturday night and Saturday afternoon, priesthood, and Sunday morning sessions on Sunday.  Great talks and I look forward to looking at and studying a lot of the talks more in depth when they get released on gospel library.  Two people will be baptized Saturday in the chapel on the American base, one of our investigators and one of the sisters'. Two great young people.  It should be a another great week.

Anziano Blazzard

From Italy Rome Mission Blog

From Italy Rome Mission Blog

Monday, March 28, 2016

Caserta - Italian/English Meetings

Cari Amici e Famiglia,

It was a great week in Caserta.  After the fun day at Pompeii on Monday we went back to Napoli on Tuesday for District Meeting.  The meeting went well and afterwards we went and got some pizza at Sorbillo's... Which is known as the best pizza in the mission.  I have to say it was exceedingly fantastic.  I will definitely have to bring my family there if we come back to Italy.  It was also cool walking through the city of Naples.  It's a really cool city with tons of history all around the place.  I need to take more pics next time. The rest of the week was pretty good.  We taught a bunch of lessons and found a number of new investigators.  We had a great lesson about the gospel of Jesus Christ with an investigator and it was awesome to see someone really grasp it and let it change their life.  He will be getting baptized in a few weeks.  Another investigator wants to get baptized and came to church too.  After church we went to an American family's home for Easter dinner.  It reminded me a lot of what we ate back home.  Ham, funeral potatoes, cornbread, and other things.  Then we got a care package full of tons of American products!!  It was a great Easter.  Today we went to another American family's house for some burgers and root beer floats.  I really am getting spoiled here with both the work and food hahaha.

I hope everyone had a great Pasqua!
 Anziano Blazzard
 Inviato da iPad


Monday, March 21, 2016

Napoli - Bikes and Pizza

Cari Amici e Famiglia,
Well it's been an eventful week with transfers and all.  The beginning of the week we spent saying goodbye to everyone and we taught some new investigators too. They looked online and found out about polygamy so it was a fun lesson.  On Thursday I finished packing up and then went to the store to get a sandwich for the train ride.  One the way back home a random guy we met a few weeks ago bought us some barley coffee and a new umbrella for my companion because his was broke.  It was
random but cool.  The train ride to Napoli was uneventful but we got there with an hour delay.  Then I met my new comp at the Napoli station as well as a bunch of old missionary friends including an ex
missionary from Germany who was on vacation in Italy.  Then we took a train to Caserta and when we arrived I found out we were going to be riding bikes a lot.  My gluteus maximus is super sore.  It also seems to me a little dangerous with the crazy drivers in Italy but we have helmets too.  I never looked so much like a Mormon missionary.  The work is really good though and there are several progressing investigators.  The ward is a mixture of Americans from the military base and Italians.  They do the meetings in both languages translating both into Italian and English.  They even sing in both languages so it's pretty funny.  The pizza is super good though and I've already eaten a lot.  Today we went to Pompeii.  It was really cool.  The city is huge and a lot of things have been preserved well so you can see how Roman life was back in the day.  There are houses, restaurants,
bathhouses, and gardens.  The roads have grooves in them from the carriages and there are also sidewalks.  Also they have a bunch of petrified things from when Vesuvius erupted like bread, nuts, animals, and humans.  Super cool.  Now we are probably gonna eat a good pizza from Napoli.  Have a great week!!

Anziano Blazzard

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Cosenza - Final Days

Cari Amici e Famiglia,

We got transfer calls this week on Friday and it was a surprise because I got transferred to Caserta (near Naples) and my companion who has been here longer than me is staying. I was expecting to stay and I'm a little sad to leave all my friends here but I can't complain too much because I have been wanting to go to Caserta my entire mission.

It's near Napoli so I will be enjoying the best pizza in the world on the regular and it also has a big military base with American goods. Unfortunately my military card is expired so I might not be able to go. The area also has really good places to visit on P-days and I hear the missionary work isn't too bad too.

I will be with a missionary named Elder Bowers who just finished his second transfer. It will be a fun 5 weeks. This week was pretty good. We went to Catanzaro and did an exchange with the missionaries there. Catanzaro is a very strange city. It is awkwardly perched on a couple of mountains with some huge bridges that connect them. It was a good exchange and we taught a lot of lessons.

On Sunday, a good amount of investigators showed up.  An ex missionary who was visiting also brought some friends from the local university here and they really enjoyed church and the educational gospel classes. We capitalized and gave them book of Mormons and set up a couple of teaching appointments for the week. On Thursday I take the train to Napoli.

 Anziano Blazzard

Monday, March 7, 2016


Cari Amici e Famiglia,
It's been a crazy week for us.  On Tuesday we went to Crotone to do a scambio with the elders there.  One is American and the other is Uruguayan.  He's older and a convert and very funny.  We went to do a baptismal interview the following morning for a young man who found out about Mormons last summer on reality TV.  He was very prepared. Tuesday night we went out for some pizza with some friends we made at English course.  There were a bunch of characters.  The restaurant was very nice and on a cliff overlooking the ocean.  The pizza was delicious probably because it was expensive and had a bunch of buffalo mozzarella on it.  We also taught half the restaurant about the word of wisdom and modern revelation when they poured us some cocktails without us asking.  One of the guys drank the cocktails for us and luckily our driver didn't drink too much.  On Thursday we traveled to San Lucido to look for the brother of a member in Rome.  We enlisted the help of some local fruit vendors to find the place but it still took about an hour and it was raining.  We had a pleasant conversation with the family there, left a Book of Mormon, and then had to run for the bus.  We took a wrong turn and ended up running up a hill for 10 minutes before realizing the error and returning back to the bus stop. We were soaked (still raining) and sweaty, but also grateful because the bus was a little late and we were able to catch it.  The rest of the week was pretty normal teaching lessons and eating pizza. Transfer calls were supposed to come last week but they were postponed till this week.  I'll let you know where I'll be my last transfer!

Anziano Blazzard

Monday, February 29, 2016


Cari Amici e Famiglia,

It was a pretty tiring but good week.  On Tuesday we got up at 3:30 in the morning so we could be nice and ready to take the bus at 4:50 to go to Taranto for zone conference.  Conference was a little long but we got some good instruction including on how to be better preach my gospel missionaries.  We had to wait a bit at the bus stop in Taranto and while waiting we talked to some people and shared the gospel and gave out some cards.  We also watched people blow 100s of euros on
gambling machines.  It really is an addiction for some people. Anyways we got on the bus at 8 something and got home before midnight. The next day we did some service and some lessons.  Service is always good for the soul and it was pretty fun too as we got to throw a recliner off the balcony.  The next few days we did some lessons and on Saturday we were enlisted to help with the LDS charities project putting together kits for refugees.  We were among the few to stay all
day (we stayed for the free lunch ;)) and afterwards we watched meet the Mormons (Conosci i Mormoni) with some members and investigators. Yesterday we went to church and had a good lunch appointment.  There also was a crazy wind storm that blew some trees down.  Today we went to the police station to renew my residence permit.  I made friends with a Pakistan guy who gave me a smaller number so I didn't have to wait so long in line.  Life is good.

Anziano Blazzard


Monday, February 22, 2016

Buona Settimana

Cari Amici e Famiglia,

It was a good week here in Cosenza.  We were able to get a good amount of service and member work in.  I also received my travel itinerary for when I travel home.  It will be a long day of flights from Rome to New York to Utah to Idaho.  Anyways this week on Tuesday we got a call from an unknown number who turned out to be a member from Portugal who had moved a few weeks ago to Cosenza to study at the university here.  She had been looking for the church for a while and had called the mission office in Rome and received our number.  Later we had some lessons including one with a new investigator who is making great progress and actually began to read the Book of Mormon.  Unfortunately for us and fortunately for her she got a job in England and left last Friday.  Hopefully she will continue to study with the missionaries there.  Then after we had English course and after that we are one of those famous multi-course Italian meals at a restaurant with an investigator.  I won't go into the details of every dish but it was amazing.  On Wednesday we did some service in the morning at the apartment complex of a member.  We cleaned the sidewalks and lawns of all the trash that had blown in or had been left since New Years.  As we were cleaning I occasionally looked up at the apartments around and noticed a lot of curious people wondering who we were and why we were cleaning.  One lady walked by and said, "you guys found some work, eh?"  I said that no, we weren't working but that we were doing service for an elderly lady in our church.  She was confused at the idea of free labor but impressed at the same time.  It wasn't really free labor in the end though, because we got fed a ton of food afterwards (and the lady is a great cook).  The next few days were interspersed with lessons and meal appointments.  Then on Saturday after a meal appointment in the morning with a really funny member who always responds abbastanza (he pauses for emphasis) male (rather bad) when we ask him how he is, we traveled to Sarcena with our district president to visit some members.  It was nice to get to know him better and know the district situation better as well.  On the way back we also saw two Ferraris fly by us at ludicrous speeds.  It was like we were in Need for Speed or something.  Sunday went by pretty tranquilly and today we will likely have another tranquil day.  This morning we have been helping out with the LDS Charities project by putting stickers on bags to be later filled with stuff of which a refugee would have need.  Buona Settimana!!

Anziano Blazzard

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Besciamella e Arancici

Cari Amici e Famiglia,

It was a pretty good week.  As I'm writing this email we are in the process of making a delicious lasagna.  We started out by cutting up onions, carrots, and celery.  We then put some homemade olive oil in a pot and fried up the mixture.  After everything was cooked a bit, we added some ground beef and some spices like pepper and oregano.  After the meat was browned we added some Mutti sauce with added basil (really good tomato sauce brand).  We will let that cook an hour or so.  In the meantime we are hard boiling some eggs to be later cut up and distributed evenly in one of the lasagna layers.  After everything is cooked we will begin to build the lasagna.  We will put sauce down in the pan first and then put a layer of lasagna pasta pieces.  After that we will spread sauce, besciamella, and buffalo mozzarella chunks on top.  You repeat that a couple of layers and the last layer you put the everything on top and Parmesan cheese.  You then put it into the oven at 375 F and cook it with tinfoil on top for 25-35 minutes until the pasta is cooked and soft.  You then take off the tinfoil and cook it a bit until the cheese on top is browned.  It's going to be pretty good.

So back to what happened this week we ate quite a bit with members. We ate sausage, different cheeses, slices of ham rolled up with cheese in the middle, chicken fried steak, pasta with a German meat sauce, lemon breaded chicken, pizza, arancini (if you don't know what those are go back to my emails when I was in Sicily... I ate them almost everyday), diverse salads (mostly vinegar and oil ones), freshly cut strawberries, cakes, and ribs.  I probably missed some stuff. We also had some really good lessons with our investigators and members.  We met some new members we hadn't seen before when we went to Castrovillari on Saturday.  They were very nice and invited us right in to eat.  We became fast friends and gave a blessing to the old lady who lives with them who isn't a member.  She is from an Albanian village near Castrovillari and she taught us some words.  I forgot all of them.

We also met some new investigators.  One was an young ex Jehovah's witness  who was very interested in the message of the restoration.  We had a strong member with us who was also formerly
a Jehovah's Witness so it was a solid lesson.  We have high hopes. Life is good here in Italy and I hope it's good for y'all back home. Vi auguro una buona settimana!!

Anziano Packer B Blazzard

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Reverse Street Contacting

Cari Amici e Famiglia,

It has been a great and exhausting week.  We are doing well as far as missionary work goes and are continuing to see miracles, including being stopped over ten times by people in one day which is a strange turn of things because that is supposed to be our job.  On Thursday we were able to get a good amount of service in cleaning up a house that was remodeled for one of the sisters in our branch.  A few days before we were going to an appointment and were stopped by some well dressed
young gentlemen who asked if we were English.  I said that no, I wasn't English, but that I spoke English and he then led us into a back room of a car dealership.  We then proceeded to help negotiate
the purchase of a Land Rover that was in Germany by translating.  On Friday we had mission leadership council via Skype and afterwards we went to eat at Fratelli La Bufala like always and we got pizzas. Afterwards we got gelato because it was nice and sunny.  Things like this are really going to make me miss Italy.  On Sunday we went to lunch at a member's house and then we spent some time with his family and saw a bunch of floats in the streets because there is a holiday here called Carnivale.  I also finished the New Testament again and have began the Book of Mormon again.  It's crazy that you can read the same stuff over and over again and still learn something new.  Have a
great week everyone!

Anziano Blazzard

Monday, February 1, 2016

Staying, Shoes, and Sense of Peace

Cari Amici e Famiglia,

To start out we got transfer calls and Anziano Borner and I are staying together a third transfer!  We were a little surprised because there were so many changes in the mission and we haven't ever done a
third transfer with a companion.  I'm happy though because it is pretty sure now that I will finish in Cosenza.  This week was pretty good.

We got some good work done both with investigators and members. After a lesson one night we went to get dinner with a member and investigator at a traditional food place on the hill.  I think I ate
the best roast chicken that I have ever eaten in my life.  It was so good.  We also went to get my shoes fixed because they were starting to smile (sole was coming off).  We went to a guy we know and talked a little bit about religious stuff because he is a big evangelist I think.  Then I mentioned my shoes and he told me immediately to give them to him.  He then glues the soles back on and stitches them up with a shoe stitcher machine.  Afterwards he gave them a nice shine. They were like new.  He then shined up my comp's shoes and with tears in his eyes he quoted the scripture, How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace;
that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!
He is an awesome guy.

Today I was saddened to hear the tragic news of my friend Brad's passing.  I pray that his family may receive comfort, strength, and peace to cope with such a big loss.  After reading the news and being overcome with grief, I began to pray and a few scriptures came to my mind.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

And then from the Book of Mormon Ether 12:4 Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God. These scriptures brought me a sense of peace and I know that these words are true.

Anziano Packer B Blazzard