Monday, January 18, 2016

week 51 Foggia

Hey guysss!

I'm gonna try and start a new thing called "clear and concise" emails where I basically just email the highlights and so I don't bore you all (including myself) with a long list of everything that happened. Cool? Cool.

Alright so this week—we had a baptism!! Well, 2 technically. But it was amazing. Everything I coulda asked for and more. Loris and Roberta have been ready for some good time now, and to finally see them make this step to begin their new life as Disciples of Jesus Christ has been life-changing. From the moment they stepped foot in our English course in October I knew there was something different about them. I'll admit I had my doubts and made some pretty incorrect mental judgements upon our first encounter or so, but all that is in the past because they proved all those assumptions to be wrong. Never judge a book by its cover guys. Never. I'm beyond eternally grateful to have met them and to have been able to make an impact on their lives, and their eternal destinies. To deem them as satisfied with their baptism would be an understatement, and I'd be robbing the experience of a full description. As I put Roberta under the water and pulled her out, she literally seemed as a new person. And she began to just bawl hysterically. She said that she can't explain the feeling she felt in that moment. She felt like she was floating and flying and like nothing in the world could bring her down. Best moment ever. And Loris...when he came out he said he couldn't even breathe. He described it as if he had literally been "born again." He said after that first breath he took out of the water, he felt cleaner and lighter than he had ever felt in his life, and he said that in that moment he felt like a new person.

I can tell you guys with 100% assurance that they are new people. Though they weren't born again physically, they were spiritually. I say this because, being baptized by someone with the Priesthood of God really has the power to do this to people who are ready. People who are ready to abandon a worldly life for an eternal one, have the opportunity to wash away every single sin away that they have ever committed, ever. Yeah of course we'll sin again. But, after being 100% clean and then beginning your full commitment to follow Jesus Christ's example forever after, sin is much less likely, especially with the gift of the Holy Ghost to help guide you and give you strength to resist sin. And luckily, when we do sin again, we have repentance. It's the best thing to ever exist guys. Without these things we wouldn't be able to sit on the right hand of God, equal with our brother and Savior Jesus Christ. We're literal offspring of God, and for this, He wants us to come back and live with Him, just like the good 'ol times before this life. And he maps it all out for us how we can do it, with the first step being explained in the Bible nice and clear for us ;)

"5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
 (see John 3:5)

This week we've stacked up a pretty deese (slang for decent) enough of potentials, for reals. I'm pretty satisfied to say the least. I don't wanna jinx anything but I see some nice missionary happening here in the near future 😌, wish us luck!

Love the mission. I say it every week but it's the truth. Time is flying. That's good and bad, but I'm just gonna make good use of my time and everything will be just great, I know it. I love this gospel and the truth it brings to light, and the saving ordinances we have. Yeah, saving ordinances are a real thing, I know it, and I know that God knows it, and I know that, when done under the correct authority, it can grant eternal life. I love you guys and think of y'all all the time. Miss you.

Statemi bene. Vi voglio benissimo. Ciao ciao!

Anziano C Blaise

Yeah, I should probably bleach my shirt a lot. Or buy a new one...

Loris and Roberta's baptismal day

my comp

Monday, January 11, 2016

week 48 ciccione

heyy what's up guys!?
> man what a week. i swear there's no such thing as an easy baptism out here haha. but, after much work and preparation and ups and downs, roberta and loris have both passed their interviews and will be getting baptized this saturday at 7pm!!! sooo excited. they're so stoked to start this new life, as am i. they're so ready it's not even funny. i still am amazed at the change that has occured both in their lives and in their hearts, it's a beautiful thing to witness. words can't describe the process i've seen take place.
> this time of year is rough for missionary work but we're hoping things are gonna spice back up in the next couple weeks. we know a lot of cool people out here in foggia that we wanna talk with and teach. hopefully we can get that opportunity.
> we were out posting some publicity for our english course the other night and felt like we should go ask the owner of a nearby "cafe" if we could put one inside, and she happily complied. as we were posting it, her along with another guy and an elderly woman were staring at us with a puzzled look on their face until they finally asked, "siete testimoni di Geova?" which means, "are you guys Jehova's Witnesses?" hahaha classic line out here in italy. and we were like nah we're mormons! and they were like oohhh ok ok, we like you guys then. then it led into basically a restoration lesson on the spot for about 20 minutes because of all the questions they were asking. the lady was a very strong roman catholic and her daughter and boyfriend were considered catholic as well. but then her daughter was like, "i think i'm gonna switch to their religion!" hahahaha and the mom was like oh no you wont, they're the ones that are gonna change...hahahaha i was cracking up and i was like, no we aren't, nice try though ;) it was fun. i had a lot of opportunities to put my bible knowledge to the test and it was awesome. i have a lot to learn but it was fun stuff.
> saturday night we were out talking to people in the center of the town and havin a good time lookin for people to teach and then we came across this man and his son and they were some really amazing people. we talked for like 30 mins about a bunch of different things. he had a lot of respect for us and what we do. we have a good feeling they might come to our church this week and check us out, but we'll see.
> basically we only have a few people we're teaching these days, but a lot of potentials. we're really hoping to find out how we can get those potentials to transfer from that into one of the people we get to teach the gospel to. pray for the best.
> life is good, life is busy, but in a good way. love it all. miss you all. have a great week :)
> ciao!
> anz. blaise

view from our apartment balcony


week 47

yes, those are "bell peppers" on top of the lasagna (which was bomb btw) Italians know their lasagna, who knew ?

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My planner I

Loris.. on board for baptism

Probably the best pasta I've ever had in my life, easily top 3 I'm trying to like it, but let's just say it's a very acquired taste ha ha

The jam...

Week 46 (122815) Christmas

 We were able to Skype with Carter Christmas morning and it was wonderful.  He sent pictures only this week.

Week 45 ( 122115) My fave holiday!

Ciao tutti!!

Dang, this past week has FLOWN by. Kinda weird how that happened especially since I had Christmas on my mind most the time. We had a couple cool experiences this week. We went and helped teach English again at the university here in Foggia on Tuesday. Afterward, we ended up having to go buy some train tickets at the train station for our zone conference the following Friday, and these 3 girls from the English class had to also go to the train station to take the train back to Lucera where they live. So we ended up all going together on foot, it was about a 20ish minute walk, just the perfect amount to teach some solid gospel principles 😉 but for real though...they started asking us random questions about our beliefs and what we're doing out here in Italy, and it was awesome. 30 minutes later we had taught plenty of things, more than we usually do at first encounter. Anyway, we got all their phone numbers, and then hit them up on Wednesday. Only one of them was able to come and meet with us, Moira, but it's all good. She was super interested in what we had to say. She commented that's she's dang near Mormon already, she's just not an official member. Then on Saturday, Moira came back, and this time came with her friend Stella. Stella's a tough one. She claims she doesn't wanna talk about religion and she's not interested and she just wants to learn English, so we went with it. At a point in the lesson, my comp started talking with Moira about the Plan of Salvation, and I started talking separately to Stella about her problems she was going through. After a little budging and talking it out, she opened up to me. I started relating everything to the fact that there's a life after this, and it's eternal, and that through priesthood authority, we can spend that eternity together with our loved ones. I tried my best to avoid trying to "show up" her religion (Roman Catholicism), and it was hard, but I did it 😉 it was pretty cool actually. It seemed like such a minor conversation with not much getting done. But at the end she ASKED US if she could have a Book of Mormon....I don't think y'all realize the greatness of this haha. This does not happen very often, Roman Catholics here rarely even read the bible, let alone ask us for a Book of Mormon so they can read it. By the way neither of them have ever read the It's ok though, neither had I before the mission (by myself at least).

So anyway on Friday we had our zone conference in Bari, only like a 1 hour 40 minute train ride, not too bad. Because of the weird Christmas transfer, we had our conference at 3pm, but we all met up at the church at 1pm to eat some Panzarotti together for lunch 😋😍 so we left Foggia at like 10:30 or something idk. And Roberta came with us again! 🎉💃🏽ayyee haha. She came because, well she likes coming, but also so she could do her baptismal interview with our Mission President. The conference went great, we got all our mail and had some awesome training, and even re-enacted the nativity scene thing as a zone haha. It was good. And Roberta's interview went super well, and she said she wants to get baptized the 28th of December!! (Along with her boyfriend Loris of course). I even asked if she'd rather wait til January 4th cuz it's a Saturday and she looked at me like I was crazy because she didn't wanna wait that long haha she just wants to get in the water! So this is awesome :)

Then Sunday evening we had a bunch of people from Bari come and join a few from Foggia to carry out a super sick Christmas concert. It was awesome. We met a lot of cool people too, people that aren't even a part of our church, that was awesome. Us missionaries had to usher and stuff the whole time but it was ok, we could still hear it all 😌 

Well that's basically it guys. I'm so happy Christmas is this week and beyond excited to be able to Skype my family!! :)) gonna be sooo sick. It kinda stinks to be away from the fam for my favorite time of year, but I've grown to appreciate this holiday so much more and really know and understand its meaning out here as a missionary over 5,000 miles away from home. I couldn't be more grateful for the meaning of our celebration this holiday season. It all started with His birth, remember that.

I love you all, ciao! Buon Natale! 🎉🎅🏽🎄

Anziano Carter Blaise

This guy came to the Christmas concert last night

girl on train creepin' on my video I was takin.. lol

Roberta going to Zone Conference with us in Bari

Anziano Eldridge "he's the homie"

One of the songs we are singing for the Christmas choir, it's one of my favorites.  I don't think it exists in English though, Unfortunately.. and because there are so many syllables in Italian, we have to often cut off the ending of words when singing songs in Italian..

my comp tonight at the concert

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