Monday, March 30, 2015

Week 10 , Alma 26:27

well guys, this week was awesome, overall.
It is honestly crazy how fast time flies out here, and all i hear is that it will keep going by faster every transfer. It was a busy week, but mostly for the better. some highlights:

Had my first Pranzo with an investigator and his fam! this guy is awesome and so is his family. his name is Massimo, and he is a dentist. he is probably in his late 40's if I were to guess, and he has 3 kids. the oldest, Marco, is 20 and super cool. they have an 18 year old daughter who is cool too but i forgot her name. and they have a 9 year old named Alessandro who is super legit at soccer, of course. and the wife is sooo nice and an amazing cook. Mamma Mia...that food was "in gamba" which basically means "on point" in english. it was funny because they offered us wine while we were waiting for food to be done, and so we ended up talking about the word of wisdom and why we dont drink wine. and they honestly respected us a ton, it was cool. they had so many questions about our church, and we answered all of them throughout pranzo. they also told us they wanted to take us somewhere some P day because they said that we're fun to hang out with I yeah these people are soo sick. and Massimo is pretty dark, so I think he's Sicilian, which is awesome. and then, after pranzo, we taught a long lesson about the restoration of the church. it went pretty well. they had great questions and are eager to learn more. they committed to read the book of mormon and to pray to know if it is true. and we explained to them how that, if the book is true, that it means that this church is in fact the RESTORED church of Jesus Christ here on the Earth. and the best part was, they didnt speak much slang or dialect, so i understood about 95% of what they said! it was so refreshing to here actual italian haha.
Another brief story. another investigator, Larissa, we met with on saturday morning. the lesson went super well. she's 20 years old and atheist. however, she is very open for discussion and is open to new ideas and beliefs. so, we ended up talking about the book of mormon, the restoration, and the plan of salvation as well (my favorite lesson). she is super cool, honestly. and she speaks pretty decent english. anyway, after the KILLER lesson, she also committed to read from the book of mormon, but she wasnt sure about praying. its something we will have to work with her on, but its tough seeing as she doesnt even know if God exists. so, I told her she should pray, just simply to ask God if He exists, and she said she would. so we will see how that went when we meet next. but the best part is she came to church yesterday! we sat with her and explained to her what was going on and she asked a lot of questions, which was good. and she had to leave right at 10 in order to get to work, so she missed the last 10 minutes of sacrament meeting, oh well. but we texted her last night asking how she HONESTLY liked it, and she said she loved it! she likes how it doesnt feel like a church really, she said it feels more like a family with common beliefs. I loved her answer. I love families and I love this Gospel because of the family-oriented core.
Guys, aside from all the amazing times this week, it was tough. we got cancelled on several times, got rejected, had a couple weird and rough lessons, but theres always light at the end of the tunnel. I was pretty discouraged on wednesday because of the lack of success we were having overall after all of our efforts. then, I actually remembered a scripture I read while back in the MTC. it is in Alma 26:27. it says, "now when our hearts were depressed and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said, "Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites(Italians), and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success."
This really struck me. I decided that I wasnt going to give up and throw in the towel. I immediately said a quick prayer in the other room, asking for help and guidance. immediately after, i felt like calling 3 potential investigators that werent answering us the whole week. surprisingly enough, they all answered their phones. 2 of them were Larissa and Massimo, who we met with and had AMAZING lessons and have great expectations and hopes for them. another was Rodriguez, who we set an indefinite appointment with him this week!
If anyone can learn anything from this, its that the scriptures  can help us today. they may have been written thousands of years ago, but they reveal truths, that are still true today. and more importantly, promises from God. I decided to call upon one of those promises, and it worked. I know God is there, and that He hears our prayers, and answers them IF we have faith that He will. I know He loves us all more than we can comprehend. I am so grateful to be under His watchful eye and to do His work every day. I love it out here. great experiences every day. dont give up guys, no matter what it may be. God is there, especially when we think He isnt. Pray always. Obey the commandments. Have Faith. Repent daily. Love one another. all of these things will bring nothing but peace and pure joy into your life. I love you all so much and pray for you all every day and night. Miss you guys.

God be with you til we meet again,

Anziano Blaise

Monday, March 23, 2015

Week 9 Caserta,Italy

I lost track of what week this is. all i know, is that the weeks go by exponentially faster haha. this week was nothing crazy, but quite busy. my comp and I had many appointments and lots of finding to do. we visited some less active members and new converts, as well as our progressing investigator: Fiorenza.
Good news is, she is planning on getting baptized April 11th! such a great day to be also, these awesome 18 year olds named Dennis and Daniel, new converts, are working with us a lot. theyre both Albanian, but speak perfect italian and very good english. we give each other tips with the languages. we plan on going on splits with them this week to give them more prep for their missions in the future, as well as help us cover more ground. they are awesome guys, and we hope to use their fellowshipping to our advantage. they plan on bringing some buddies to english course this week, so we will see where this goes. also, two main potential investigators, Rodriguez (from Dominican Republic) and this guy Massimo (from Sicily) are looking pretty awesome. we hope to meet this week, and challenge them to baptism. and hopefully, baptize their families as well. we are seeing progress slowly but steadily out here in Caserta. it's tough because there arent many people out here, but anything is possible.
My italian is making baby steps each and every day, and I couldnt be more grateful. my comp is forcing me to be in charge of the phone this week...yikes. its really hard to understand italians on the phone, so wish me luck! we also casually got some more "Nap"/Nappoletanna pizza twice this week. man this stuff is incredible. we also had mission conference on friday in rome and it was sweeeet. learned a lot actually. 
in essence, i learned to never give up, and never bail out on an opportunity, whether i think it will work or not. just because you get rejected doesnt mean you did anything wrong! some people just arent ready to hear the Gospel quite yet, and thats ok. however, on the street this week, i stopped some pretty sketchy looking people, which we usually dont, but some of them turned out to be pretty awesome, so i definitely will not miss out on stopping anyone from now on. we set up a couple appointments and a couple people want some Books of Mormon, but other than that, this week has kinda just been a fun and uneventful one haha.
I learn every day things I need to improve on. but I also learn we cant get down on ourselves for our faults and weaknesses. one of my favorite scriptures, Ether 12:27, tells us how God gives us weaknesses solely for our own GROWTH. now i know that sounds crazy, but as we discover our weaknesses, humble ourselves because of them, and turn to the Lord completely for help; He actually promises us that He will make these weaknesses become STRENGTHS...thats amazing. Im still learning this concept, but I cant wait to take use of this in my life.
I truly love this work, and I love everything this brings into my life and the change it has on others' lives. Love you all. Until next week

Anz. Blaise

ps. from Tami... Carter lost his camera charger so there aren't any pics from him this week.  I took this off of the mission blog from Friday! Thank goodness Sister Waddoups is on top of it and takes pictures.  I'm ordering him a new charger asap, I have to see pictures weekly... (:

Mission Conference Rome East/Napoli/Sardegna March 20th (Carter is on far left back!)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Week 8 Italy

well guys, just like that, another week has passed-

this week has been slightly weird but pretty solid. I could go on forever about what happened, but I dont have that long. essentially, we got stood up about 5 times this week for appointments, and 3-4 of them were investigators...ugh. but that's just a part of the mission I guess! I'm starting to quickly learn that there is endless amounts of rejection out here in the mission field, especially in the south of Italy...hahaha it's so awesome here though.
I dont know how or why this happens, but I often forget I'm out here. like I'll just be walking down the street talking to people in italian, and then step back and realize what I'm doing- I'm in the prettiest country on earth with the coolest people ever and the only "job" I have right now is to talk about this amazing church with people. I guess you can say I'm pretty lucky/blessed. 
this week I ate some more pizza that is insanely good, and has some mozzarella di bufala. it's essentially mozzarella cheese made with buffalo milk, and it is AMAZING.
on the other hand, we finally got a baptismal date with this woman named Fiorenza (assuming she can keep away from the cigarettes). I'm so excited. It's so awesome watching people turn their life around and make a change for the better. I can see the difference like night and day from when we first taught this woman, to now. she's fatigued from quitting smoking cold turkey, but she says she somehow feels happier, more at peace, and closer to God. this isn't just a blessing of not smoking, but it's also a blessing we can all get from striving to strengthen our relationship with Him. it's so easy too! all we must do is pray every day, and often. ask for help with our problems. actively seek to help others. live in harmony with God's plan and commandments. and most importantly, always strive to become like Jesus Christ, and develop Christlike attributes. this is what I'm trying to do, and I can see such a difference in my life. I can honestly say, at this exact moment as I type, that I am BY FAR the happiest I have ever been...and I know that it is no coincidence that this is at the same time that I spend all my time spreading this wonderful Gospel. this Gospel blesses lives, it changes lives; not just the people you share it with, but yourself as well, as you share it. I find that every time I open my mouth to share it, whether I get rejected or not, I feel my own testimony strengthen actually. I'm beyond blessed to be out here, and to be out here with the coolest missionaries of Italy. We are constantly having a good time and it's so fun to be a missionary. as I learn to not let the "failures" get to me, I learn that we cant help it if people accept this Gospel or not in this life. all we can do is give them the opportunity to hear it, and if we do that, then we are doing our job.
I apologize for any spelling or grammar mistakes, as well as for the shortness of my letters; for I am still getting used to these wacky italian keyboards and what not haha. quick summary of a cool story- my comp and our district leader went out to take care of something that the president needed to be done, so we went on a scambia (exchange), and so it was me and Anziano Scott. I love this guy, but he and I know about the same amount of Italian, and understand about the same amount. so let's just say I was a little nervous to talk to people on the street for the next few hours...but we did it. it was weird, we had like 6 good convos and actually got a guy to commit to coming to church and meeting with us. not sure which companionship will take this guy (assuming he follows through) but it was just cool to experience how much God can help His missionaries, when we truly need it.
I love you all and promise I will try to include more and more as the weeks go on. I just want to make sure I email all of my peeps :)

Love you all,

Anziano Blaise

ps....we are a 20 minute train ride from the town of napoli, but we are in the napoli zone.
our town is called caserta and its like the brentwood of italy. it is quiet but cool, i like it a lot.
my comps name is Graham Maxwell Pingree and he is about 1 month older than me and 7 inches taller than me

Our apartment

Yummy salami and cheese

My companion Elder Pingree eating the BEST pizza!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Week 7 ITALY!

hey guys, dont have much time unfortunately, but here we go....

this week was AMAZING. tough, but fun and worth it. I had the opportunity to have pizza at Sorbillo's the best place in napoli, and napoli is the best place in the world for pizza! so you can say i'm loving the food here. also, the place i'm in is a little ghetto, but beautiful. the people here are very interesting but i just love them to death haha they're awesome. there are some americans here because there is a base nearby. we only have a few investigators right now and none with a baptism date. if we can help Fiorenza and Nerina to stop smoking then i think they will be baptized shortly after! my companion is so awesome. he is hilarious and super helpful and nice. he is 6'8" and plays bball for BYU. today we played zone soccer in napoli on a turf field and it was sooo fun. we walk soo much every day but its great. the church building is super small, like really small, and a 20 minute walk from the apartment. i live with another companionship and we honestly have so much fun hangin together it's great. real quick i just wanted to describe the people here. first off, they speak a different dialect here in Napoli area so its tough to understand them, but its coming along. also, they ALL talk with their hands and are so passionate when they talk. when it feels like they're mad at you or yelling at you, they're not. its hilarious. and the kids all walk around during the day and love coming up and talking to us. they thinks its super cool that we're american. they always tell me something in italian and ask me to say it in english, its funny. they all have the classic italian soccer player haircuts too and its sweet haha. they have so much fluxuation in their tone of voice here too, it is such a beautiful language. and everyone we meet is either catholic or atheist, so its tough, but we've gotten like 20 phone numbers just from finding people on the street! unfortunately, no referrals though because, well, its italy haha. some lazy people here, but gotta love them. we had stake conference on saturday and sunday but it was in Sardegna so we just watched it on TV at the chapel. they asked me to speak in church next sunday though haha, for 15 minutes or more, in ITALIAN ughh. well guys, pray for me, because it's gonna be interesting haha. i also think its funny that every car here is small and everyone walks around talking very loud and 15 year olds walk around smoking because theres no law against it...frustrating but oh well. its really cool talking to people in another language though about the church, and not only have them understand you, but feel the truthfulness of your words when you bear testimony. I wish I had more time to explain some stories, but you'll just have to trust me when I say the little success we have makes up for all the failures. it's so awesome to be here, i am so blessed. I wouldn't pick any other place. I know these are gonna be some tough couple of years, but I also know it will bring myself, and everyone else I come into contact with, joy in their life. I've seen it already! Seeing people smile as we talk about how God loves them or how families can be forever is such a great experience. True happiness is showing others happiness. Italian is coming along. tough to understand the dialects and how fast they speak, but i'm progressing, that's what matters.
well guys, I have to go. just know that this is the best thing that's ever happened to me, and sometimes I just sit back and realize i'm in Italy and i'm doing some fun and awesome things. love it. love you all and miss you all. God be with you til we meet again.

Anziano Blaise

Anziano Blaise opening up his "Golden Envelope"!  This tells him where his first assignment is and companion.

Week 6 Anziano Blaise arrived in Rome!

This is Tami writing...

Our Anziano arrived in Rome early last Wednesday morning, Rome time.  I received an early wonderful 5 am email from President and Sister Waddoups, informing us of his safe arrival and these three pictures.

We were  able to talk with Carter on the phone prior to his take off from the SLC airport.  He sounded great, it was wonderful to hear his voice and hear his excitement and enthusiasm. We are looking forward to our Skype time with him on Mother's Day.

Carter in front of the Rome, Italy LDS Temple that expected to be complete in 2016

Missionaries that traveled with Carter to Rome in front of Quartiere Montesacro

Carter with Mission President and Sister Waddoups in front of the Rome Mission Home, "Quartiere Montesacro"
Snow at the Provo MTC just before leaving