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"




Monday, November 9, 2015

Transfers

Hey guys!! 👐🏽

Alright so on Saturday we received our transfer calls telling us what's happening this transfer day on Thursday...and I'M STAYING!! I'm sooo happy y'all have no clue. My comp is leaving though, to Ascoli, and I'm getting a guy named Anziano Martin as my comp. I'm so stoked cuz I heard he's hilarious and just a fun guy to be around, so I'm really looking forward to serving with him. He's from America so I won't have to worry about slowing my English down for him haha and I bet he speaks good Italian so that's also nice. This next transfer is only 4 weeks though because the next one is 8, because of Christmas and getting missionaries home before Christmas and stuff, long story. But basically this might be my last transfer in Foggia and I'm devastated if it is, but let's hope I can get at least 2 more transfers in here.I'll have lots to say about my new comp in next week's email ;)
Foggia is amazing. By far my favorite city this far as far as missionary work goes. It's just another level of amazing people. I'm blessed to stay here. We have several investigators making progress right now, 3 of which have a date set for baptism, and 1 that wants to be baptized but he's 16 and his atheist mom and Catholic dad won't let him...it's ok though, he'll make it through. L and R are an amazing couple that we teach, 24 & 20 years old. They have now agreed to follow every single commandment the Lord has set out for us, except right now L is struggling with just one, but yeah, I think this is just a speed bump really. They know this is the right thing to do, I can see it in their eyes. And the other day we had like an hour long convo just on eternal marriage and families, and I basically asked straight up, "L, do you wanna marry R," "yes." "R, you wanna marry L?" "Yes." "Alright, sick." Then we went from there. They were actually shocked because they hadn't even talked about it before until we brought it up hahahaha. But if all goes well, they'll get baptized November 28th and probably married in February (hopefully earlier). I love them so much. There are people you meet on your mission that you know for a fact you were sent on your mission to meet those people. L and R are 2 of those people. Simone as well. He's the only Italian I've ever met that loves American football, and can actually play like a boss!! He throws the nastiest spiral he's so sick. He's 16 and wants to get baptized more than anything. He needs to either wait til he's 18, or keep praying for his parents to miraculously allow him. We got some praying to do boiii!
Honestly I don't got much else to say, other than I'm having the time of my life out here, and seeing people make changes in their lives, and being a part of those changes brings me fuller happiness than I have ever felt before. I love God and His Son, and His church. And I'm honored to serve Him and His children for 2 years. I need these humbling experiences big time, and they keep comin!! 
I love you guys, tty next week ;)

Ciao bellissimi
-Anz. Blaise 

Simone-one of the greatest kids I've ever met. An investigator of ours.
he's getting baptized soon by our other Anziani
He's the only Italian that I've met that likes American football!

Random little area in Lucera, just outside of Foggia. Did a lesson there the other day.
We're shooting for November 28th for baptism ;) they're amazing

Monday, November 2, 2015

(week 38) November.....

Wow, I can't believe it's November already. This is insane haha. Like every week, this one has flown by, and I've had too many great experiences to recount in an email (classic excuse I give every week so I don't have to write a novel 🙄). So I apologize for any lack of detail, or excitement, ahead of time haha. Alright so where do I start...
Well, last week, as none of you would know since I didn't really "do emails" last week, we didn't do TOO much quantity wise, but quality wise we made some progress. We have multiple "investigators" taking lessons from us to learn more about the church and decide what they wanna do with it, but our 2 most "legit" investigators I guess you could say would be a couple we're teaching. They've been dating for 2 years and we always mess with them about when they're gonna get married and it's like kinda funny because we all know they're gonna get married one day 😉. But anyway, they're young, and soo sick. I don't wanna play favorites butttt...yeah. And they came to church last week and stayed the first 2 hours! But here's the best part, they came again this Sunday (early) and stayed ALL 3 hours!! So sick. They loved it again. Long story short, they've received some pretty important answers in the past few days. I don't wanna like dig in and share their personal lives with you guys, but, I'll just say that in one of our lessons they were on the verge of their "eyes sweating" if you know what I mean, and told us straight up they feel something with us that they've never felt before and they don't know what that means. After some explanation from us, but mainly from a church member, they realized what it meant. And then to seal the deal, Antonio, the guy, had a dream that was very very symbolic. He was riding a bike down a path and everything was white and he didn't know where he was going, but it was so bright white he kept going. But the bike broke. He decided to walk the bike back because he couldn't make it to the white light with a broken bike, but as he was giving up, others came out of nowhere to help him and encourage him to get back on and keep going. Eventually he did it, and with their help, he made it. And right when he was gonna see what was there in the super bright whiteness, he woke up. He told us that he knows he needs to be here and that this is the change he's been looking for in his life. He doesn't know how he found us or how he got so lucky, he said, but he said he wants to take advantage of this and see where it takes him. Sophia already has a testimony of the church. She expressed how after she went home from church, she had so many mixed feelings--feelings of pure joy, but mixed with sadness. She even started to cry and she didn't know why. I then shared with her an explanation of what "personal revelation" truly is. In short, it's how we receive answers and guidance from God, through the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost brings you feelings of peace, tranquility, joy, etc. when you hear something that is a truth, something you need to hear to help guide you to do the right thing and submit to God's will. But often times when we receive revelation, it is accompanied by negative feelings. Such as guilt, shame, embarrassment, sadness, or anger. Why? Well, if you found out you had been doing something wrong, or in a way that was more difficult your whole life, and that there was an easier way this whole time, or that you were actually supposed to be doing this instead of that, wouldn't you feel kinda crummy? I would haha. And that's revelation. You're gonna feel bad that you didn't discover this thing sooner. And that's exactly what Sophia was feeling. They are now committed strongly to reach their goal and be baptized on November 28th 
We also had a Halloween party at the church on Friday and it was ight. I've seen better, but we had fun and our buds all came so that's the important thing. My comp and I dressed up as soccer players. He wore his Peruvian jersey and I wore a Napolitano jersey, and people were giving me a hard time because Napoli is rivals with Foggia haha but Napoli is my stomping grounds in the mish so I can't betray them. We also had zone conference on Thursday and I got to see my trainer from the beginning of my mission!! He's an assistant now so he goes to all the zone conferences. So sick. We couldn't help but hang out during the whole free time and try our best to catch up on what we've missed. I love that guy, he's awesome, one of the guys I'm gonna be great friends with even after the mish.
Honestly I love this place. I never wanna leave. Miracles happen every day and the people are amazing. I hope I stay next transfer, we find out Saturday!! Pray for me to stay here in Foggia haha. Ok well guys, I love you all. Prayer works, God hears it. Fasting works too, almost like magic, it's amazing. Try it out sometime if you haven't. Stay sweet and God speed. 
Tante belle cose e ci sentiamo

-Anz Carter Blaise







Carter and his trainer Anziano Pingree


Bari  Zone Conference
Carter and his current companion along with his trainer 
Candid from mission blog

more candid from mission blog


ward Halloween Party


Carter and his companion dressed up as soccer players here with two investigators