Monday, December 14, 2015

Week 44

well where do i start...my best friend is finishing his mission in like 5 weeks or something!! sooo crazy how time flies. i actually just found out from my mission prez that our release dates got modified again and now mine was bumped to December 27, but since its too close to Christmas, they are probably gonna just send me home December 13th...kinda stinks its getting shortchanged but at least i will be home for the next christmas to spend with my loved ones!

once again i apologize for the short email. ok so this week was somewhat hectic with transfers and other things happening, but the new guy that got here to foggia so thats tight. and as you all know im staying here for at least another 8 weeks with my sick comp! Loris and Roberta are getting stoked for their upcoming baptism. Roberta is just waiting on an interview with our mission prez this friday, and then they will prob get baptized a week or so after that. we are sooo excited for them, its gonna be awesome. on friday we got permission to watch a sick movie called The Other Side of Heaven with our investigators at the bishop's house, it was soo awesome. it's about a missionary in the 50's that served in Tonga and was faced with a huge amount of trials and tribulations. basically this guy had the time of his life and grew more than anyone thought possible all thanks to the hard times he faced. it made me reflect on my mission and how i want to finish like he did--a completely different person. it was such a touching movie and i loved it, i would strongly reccommend it to all of you.
on saturday morning we had a super cool opportunity to go into a public high school here in foggia into an english class and teach english to some 17 and 18 year olds. they're usually punks and make fun of weird americans, but i went in and was like, thats not happening today. and so i homied up with them and they loved it, we loved it. it was so awesome, and now a ton of them wanna hang out with us haha so we're for sure gonna take advantage of that and show them the beauty of the Gospel haha. we got a lot of potentials out here and we're gonna try our best to get them all in the church! thats where the magic happens.
in other news, i have one chapter left til i finish the Book of Mormon! sooo juiced. alright guys thats it for now. please email me with questions so i  know what you guys wanna hear! yall feel me?

love you guys!

anz blaise

Anziano Stanley's last night in Foggia before he left for Catania. We went out to dinner with the universtiy English students we help teach!

A member in the ward repairing my shoes ;-)  "Calzaio"




amazing Italian bakery

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Week 43

This week has been quite an interesting one, lots of things have happened both good and bad. But honestly, the good things have canceled out the bad. Last week, Loris was not planning on getting baptized or coming to church ever again due to the things he found online in regards to our church, but luckily we talked openly about these things with him and encourage him to share everything that he finds rather than discourage him from searching. After having said this, he expressed to us what the real problem was deep down... He was losing his faith and belief in God and his son Jesus Christ. We calmly approached the situation with patience and sought help in what we should do to help Loris. This weekend was fast Sunday, and so we fasted for him as well as other people. Just hours after we broke our fast, Loris had told us and informed us of his decision that he has made again to be baptized. I can't explain how happy I was when he told me this. He then proceeded to express through prayer that he knows that this experience will make his testimony stronger than ever. And now we have this planned date for December 26 for both him and Roberta. There are so many other things I would love to tell you guys, but unfortunately I have very little time and I have to go. I promise to write more next week. Have a great week and I love you all!!!

Anziano Blaise







week 42 Missin' Turkey

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!!

To be honest, I almost forgot about thanksgiving until the infamous Robert Poti sent me an email last week wishing me a Happy Thanksgiving haha. Even on Thanksgiving day I didn't remember until we had left the house. Things just aren't the same in Italy, or any country other than America really...I do love the mish but I really do miss celebrating these big holidays with my closest family and loved ones. I guess you could say that my thanksgiving is every p-day when I get to write said people. That being said, thank you guys, I love you all and everything you've done for me and continue to do for me, even if I don't notice or realize it.

This week has been a wild one. No matter what happens, the only thing that occupies my thoughts is the well-being and state of progress of our investigators Loris & Roberta. We were anticipating a baptism this past Saturday, but there were some complications, I guess you could say. In their interviews, they went well for the most part (though I didn't give them, since I can't, because I teach them), except Loris couldn't say for sure he knew Thomas S. Monson was a true Prophet or not because he's never read anything about him. No biggie, we knew we could help with that. Obviously to make a decision like baptism you gotta be sure and have a strong belief in the way this Church is established. And Roberta answered perfectly to everything, except basically just one thing required her to get another interview with our Mission President. Nothing crazy. Though she was pretty down about it because she wanted to get baptized so bad. Anyway, she came with us yesterday to our conference to get interviewed afterward. Long story short, Loris has been looking up Anti-Mormon stuff out of curiosity and it's been destroying him a bit. Presumably, he's shown some to Roberta as well. As a result, she expressed to us some feelings of uncertainty and being kinda sketched out the morning of our conference. I had a decently long talk with her about this stuff, because it is a real problem that needs to be confronted and conquered. Then, (surprise surprise) the President and his wife give their "discourses" more or less, on exactly what Roberta (and me and my comp) needed to hear. They talked about things like where do we go for answers? Or the almost equal power of darkness to influence and change our hearts just like light does. Just great stuff like that. Often times we get an answer or guidance from God through the Holy Ghost. However, that's not the only influencing "voice" out there; there are many others. In fact, all the others may often outnumber or beat out the volume of the true but small voice of the Holy Ghost, thus causing us to even doubt that initial communication we had with the Holy Ghost, and start causing ourselves to think that, "maybe that wasn't the Holy Ghost, maybe I was tricked." But, that's ok. Why? Because we'll hear that voice again, but we need to: 1) be attentive and ready, and 2) SEEK it! I could explain for pages and pages how to do these things, but really what it boils down to is having faith, real intent, praying, and acting in faith. Simple. My comp and I both look forward to this week and these battles against Satan we get to fight side-by-side with our friends/investigators Loris & Roberta. I love them so much, it breaks my heart to think of them giving this all up for some lame influence from Satan. So we're not giving up!! :) never.

Well guys I could go through the rest of what we did this week but honestly I can't think about other things right now haha, this is consuming my thoughts and all that matters to me right now (as far as missionary life, not you guys 😉)

Aight, I love y'all, miss y'all, and sorry I didn't send an email or pics last week, so here's the email, and now a couple pics from last week 😏

Anziano Carter Blaise








Monday, November 16, 2015

Wow

Guys...this has been a priceless week,

Quantity-wise, not too many things have happened. But the few things that have gone down have honestly made up for one of the best weeks of my entire mission.

Thursday, my (now ex) comp left for Ascoli. It was only like a 3 hour train ride so it was rather close. I miss him and the good things he brought to the table while here with me in Foggia for 2 transfers (12 weeks) together, but my new comp is doing more than exceptional at taking his spot haha. His name is Anziano Martin and he came up from Ragusa in South Sicily . He's from Provo, UT and he's 3 months younger than me in age, but graduated high school in 2014, and went to summer sesh at BYU before leaving for his mish in December 2014. He's about 5'7" but he's pretty built so that's sick. We get along pretty well. He loves sports, but all he played competitively was soccer, but said he loves all sports so yeah we got lots to talk about. He's got a ton of enthusiasm and energy so as you can imagine, we never stop talking hahaha. Lessons have been interesting so far, but yeah before he came up I didn't have a comp for 6 hours so I was with the other guys in a trio for that time, so sick haha.

Alright so the first thing Martin said when we got home Thursday night was, "bro, let's clean this place. With a clean house things will get done and miracles will happen." Though I may have doubted his reasoning, I agreed completely that a clean house was necessary. So we spent some time then and Friday after weekly planning cleaning and what not. Oh my gosh, clean houses feel awesome. It stinks that this house was kinda dirty before I even got to Foggia. But let me tell you, we've seen some miracles since then.

Ok so we had stake conference for the entire Puglia Stake and we all met in Bari. It's only an hour and 45 min train trip. We went up Saturday evening, had a zone blitz, and then stayed the night and headed to conference Saturday morning. Conference was held at a super nice hotel in Bari and it was super sick. We changed the stake presidency so we had a couple general authorities come. One was Italian, another was German. But a guy in our Foggia ward got called to be counselor in the Stake Presidency!! Sooo sick, wow. He's an amazing guy. He's Fratello Conforte and he's also our "Ward Mission Supervisor." I got to see a lot of people at the conference, especially missionaries from all over. I seriously love our mission, the missionaries in it are so sick. But yeah we got to hear some awesome inspiring words from the leaders, I loved it.

Alright so Loris & Roberta. We've been praying for guidance what to do with them to get them to realize the signs and answers they've already received that this is the truth. They're very contemplative, but I love it. But, our prayers paid off, as well as yours. They came into the church last night for a lesson with us and before even starting they said, "we have some good news to share with you," ...... "We've decided to get baptized on November 28th just like you asked us to." And guys, words can't describe how I felt in that moment. I just didn't wanna cry and look like an idiot so I was smiling and holding back the happy tears that were drowning my tear ducts. Nothing short of a miracle from the Spirit had caused this change. He said one of the big things that helped them decide was how they felt this weekend. We meet with them almost every day and see them at church every Sunday. This weekend we didn't see them Saturday and there was no church Sunday because of stake conference, and they couldn't come to stake conference. They said they noticed the biggest absence of the spirit ever these two days. They said they know that this feeling only comes when they're with us in the church for a reason. They're so prepared for this day it's not even funny guys. I remember the first day we met each other, 7-8 weeks ago. They're honestly different people than they were when I met them, and it's all thanks to the gospel of Jesus Christ and His commandments that have changed these people and they're hearts. Then, Loris asked if he could pay his tithing. I said, "when you're baptized? Duh! It's a commandment homie," and he said, "no, like right now, before our baptism. I can't wait til my baptism to receive the blessings of tithing and help those in need." I just about lost it. Tithing was his biggest struggle to accept just a week ago, and now he was asking if he could dump his money to the church and humanitarian aid before he was even baptized. Plus, Roberta has been smoke free for 9 days now, without any help from anything besides daily prayers to God for His help.

The Gospel changes lives guys, it's as simple as that. I'm at a loss of words right now because of the excitement and joy that fills my soul from my friends Loris and Roberta's decision to follow Christ's example, and make their way to eternal life. Anziano Martin and I are loving it here, and hope we get more than a transfer together so we can kill it some more haha. Plus, the other guys in our house should be having a baptism the same day as Loris and Roberta. Life is good, it really is.

Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers. You guys are the best. I love you guys and miss you. Keep up the good work studs ;)

-Anziano Blaise

Panzarotti!!!!

Kebab!
view from a member's apartment
Panzarotti!
My new companion Anziano Martin and I eating Panzarotti

Lasagna made by the Sorella on the left, she is Columbian and grew up in Italy so she "knows her stuff", it was the best.





English course students. This is about half of our intermediate class.
"Romantic the style, black the color"