Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Here was Great!

Hey It was so great to talk to you! I loved seeing you and the whole family! It was really nice seeing aunts,uncles and cousins. I hope you all had an incredible Christmas. Christmas here was great! We had a wonderful day and watched over the hedge and Mega mind. It was great. I really am going to miss Bari but am excited for the new experiences that await me in Cosenza! I love you all a ton and you made my week. As for schooling, work and living. I was wondering if you could keep an eye out for me for a job. And if you could sign me up for schooling at UVU for the summer. I think It would be nice to take like a math class and an english class and then maybe two easier ones. Make sure you put me in the right ones because I did one math class there already and I just need to continue with the next one and then English there are a lot of different ones so I don't know if you should talk with a counselor to get that all figured out. And if you could kind of look in to housing down by the campus and prices and just let me know, because Anziano Green talked to his parents and they were way excited about us rooming together and are going to start signing him up and everything. Sorry I'm throwing this all on you. I know that it is a quick desicion but I feel really good about it and I know the Lord will provide the way for it to happen.  I was reading my patriarchal blessing and I really feel like I will just be guided into schooling and friends through my mission. So I really feel good about this. I don't know how the money thing will work out but with grants, scholarships, work, and even if I have to - loans I know it will all work out fine. Thank you so much and Love you tons!!
P.S. I will also email you the email address of Anziano Greens parents so that you can work out the details.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Incredible Lasagna

Ciao! It has been really cold here in Bari the past few days with the humidity and wind. It has been fun seeing the Italians freak out because we are walking around outside all day and trying to talk to people. We have started doing more house contacting. We found a few really good contacts. We are excited for Christmas. It is a really special time of year and it is fun to see how excited the little kids get when you talk to them about Christmas. They all are convinced that they have been perfect little angels and expect the best of what Santa has to offer. The parents usually think exactly the opposite. Ha There is a special cookie that they make here in Bari during Christmas. They are called Cartellate. They are pretty good. Oh yeah, my MTC teacher Brother Tate came to Bari this week to visit. We had a lunch in Church after our meetings. It was really good to see him. He was a great teacher. Now he is married and just working on school. He couldnt believe that I am at the tail end of my mission. Anyway, the members made some incredible Lasagna!! It was sooo good! My favorite. Zone conference was good. We learned a lot and I feel like our training went pretty good. We talked about why we do finding, more than how you do it and just tried to inspire the missionaries and get them excited about finding people. We felt that it is easier for missionaries to get a little lazy in the cold weather so we felt it would be good to remind them why they are here. Let's hope it helped.That is awesome you did that sub for Santa! That is what Christmas is all about. I love doing stuff like that! I'm really excited to see you all on Skype! I will probably call from here at about 5 but maybe 4 but plan on five on Christmas day. Sorry for the confusion. Well I better run! Love you all tons!! Talk to you Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Fun place to be for Christmas

This week has been pretty busy. We have done a lot of finding and been preparing for zone conference tomorrow. Anziano Pedriera and I planned our training on Monday and hope that it will turn out alright. We then went to to Foggia for an exchange with Anziano Green and Anziano Jones. They are great missionaries and we had a lot of success. We found a lot of potential investigators and had lunch at a members house. She made us an amazing lasagna! I love Lasagna! These members were hilarious. The Italians all remind me of the family off of my big fat Greek wedding. It is just how people act in the Mediterranean area ha ha I love them and their culture. Oh yeah we had to drop one of our best investigators this week because her boyfriend threatened us and threw a basketball at me. Ha ha. It was too bad cause she was really cool. It wasn't anything too serious but we decided to not mess with it. We were really calm as well. You really feel protected as a missionary. Oh yeah we got amazing news! Our old investigator, who had to move to northern Italy, called us and told us that she is getting baptized this week! That really boosted our spirits. We found her doing finding close to the sea and she saw us on the other side of the street and said that she was praying that we would come back down the other side of the street to come talk to her. So we came down the other side of the street and saw her sitting on a bench, looking over the sea with a cigarette and beer in hand. We decided to talk to her about the plan of salvation and now she has quit drinking and smoking and is getting baptized!! So things are going good here. Oh yes St. Nicholas is buried here in Bari! It's awesome. There have been a lot of parties here for him. Fun place to be for Christmas. NO there isn't Mexican food her in Italy. Occasionally you will find a Peruvian restaurant but it costs a lot. I don't know when we will be doing Skpe so I will let you know next week with either an email or maybe President will let us call really quick to set it up. They will let us know tomorrow at zone conference. Well I've got to run! Love you tons!!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Zone Leader Conference

Ciao, This last week was great! Zone leader conference was great! You really walk away from those conferences with a new fire and desire to be better. President and Sorella Kelly are inspired people. We learned a lot and are looking forward to our zone conference in Bari on the 13th. We talked alot about how we can work harder in the month of December. I think it can be harder for missionaries in the cold. It is easy to get a little lazy and down thinking about home in the Christmas season. But we need to just try harder to focus on our purpose and why we came out here. On the way back we had to take supplies down to Napoli (Naples). So we got a pizza there!! WOW Best Pizza in the world!! It was good. Plus I got to see Anziano Bunker again! What a good missionary! He is training right now and seems to be really enjoying it. He really wants to finish the mission in Napoli but I guess we will see what happens. Our ward is excited about this week. We are doing a Chrismas traditions party! We will have food from America, Sier Lione, Italy and Holland! That will be on friday. Also we got an invite to dinner on Christmas Eve! Sorella Virgillio invited us to spend Chrismas eve with their family, which is good news on our part because she is an Incredible cook! On Sunday we went to lunch at the Bishops house. They are an incredible family! This ward is really great, they have really felt like a family to me. Well I've got to run! Love you all tons! Ciao!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Love the Italian Members

Hey! How are you all? Things here are pretty good. Nothing too new. Tomorrow is zone leader conference! So we will be having a fun road trip with the zone leaders of Taranto. Zone leader conference is always a lot of fun. It is nice to get that spiritual boost to become a stronger, harder working missionary. No I haven't done any exchanges yet but after zone leader council we will start doing exchanges with the zone. I love working around other missionaries. You grow from every missionary you do an exchange with. So I'm really looking forward to that. This week we had a family home evening with the Diciolla family. They are great! It is amazing hearing the conversion stories of members. They have such incredibly strong testimonies! I love the Italian members so much. They have worked hard for this temple. They are so excited for it. So is everyone getting ready for Christmas back home? The Italians are. A few neighbors of ours have put Christmas lights out on their balconies. We are planning a sweet activity here for the ward. Santa Clause is going to come and everything! Should be fun. I'm so glad you got to go to the homecoming of Anziano Miller! Haha what a guy! I miss that kid. We will definitely hang out after the mission! He was a great missionary. Yeah for Christmas you can do whatever. I won't be sad about not getting a package. Don't worry about it. Which reminds me. I need to know something that you all want from Italy that I can bring home for you, so that I can start looking out right now. Also I don't know about the whole shopping situation with me for new clothes when I get back but sales go on here in January and you can get clothes for cheap here. A pair of jeans here costs like 20 euro or less and in America they usually cost around 40 dollars. Well I really miss you all a ton. Thanks for writing every week! Love you!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Lot's of Finding

Hello! So things around here haven't been too exciting. We did a lot of finding this last week! That was cool. We found a few potential investigators. The work seems to be slowing down a bit with the cold weather. No one wants to talk to missionaries when it's cold on the street. It's been raining a lot lately. But we won't let that get us down. The craziest miracles happen when you push through rough times. So we hope that we can keep it up. Tomorrow we are having a Thanksgiving activity with our english course. We are going to make lots of food and our students are bringing food as well! On Sunday a sister missionary came to church with her family, Sorella Heiner. So we had a huge lunch in church together with them and the members. It was sweet. Her Dad is a Scientist and is a straight up genius! It was fun talking to him. Her parents are sweet! Then in a few weeks my MTC teacher is coming with his wife to visit. So it will be good to see him again. That's cool Tate learned sign language. I wish I could learn it. I can't wait for you to meet Anziano Miller! haha What a guy! ha You have to tell him to write me! I love that guy. Glad to hear things are going good back home. Everything is going good here. Be sure to send my love to everyone at Thanksgiving! Love you tons! Ciao!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Zone Leader Again

Salve! I'll just cut straight to the transfer news, just to get it out of the way. I am staying another transfer here in Bari with Anziano Hurlburt and I am going to be zone leader again with Anziano Periera. So that will be a lot of fun. I'm really looking forward to working a lot more with other missionaries and doing exchanges with them. That was probably the biggest event of the week. Other than that we have just been finding a lot, as usual. It has been fun. The sisters in our district are staying the same as well and Anziano Nelson is going home and so Anziano Jones will be with Anziano Green. I talked to Anziano Miller the other day. I told him that you and Dad might go to his home coming and he said he is excited to meet you and wants to go out to dinner with you and Dad and his parents to talk about the mission experiences that we had. I love Anziano Miller. He is great. It will be fun hanging out with him after the mission. I feel like we are going to be good freinds for life. I can't believe Tate is home! You will have to say hi to him for me. Yeah even a job like that would be great! Oh yeah this week I had to fix my glasses which cost like 20 euro so I had to use the American express but you can just take it from the money grandpa gave me. Well Dad sounds like you had a crazy fun work trip! haha How was St. George? Did you have a good time? I hope so. Well yeah nothing really new this week other than transfer calls. Oh yeah for English course this week our students wanted us to teach them slang! haha It was pretty funny hearing all of the old italian ladies say the slang that the youth of America say. Well got to go! Love you tons!!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Halloween Party was Awesome!

Salve! This past week was really fun. The Halloween party was awesome! We set up an awesome haunted house and had fun scaring people. There was music, food, games and other fun activities for the little kids. We also had a pretty good turn out. We really want to start doing more parties here. We are already planning a thanksgiving party and a Christmas party. The ward also seems to do lots of activities in church like concerts. This week they had a few doctors come to raise awareness on Parkinsons disease. We also tried pulling a sister missionary move and made cookies for a few members and brought them a small spiritual thought. It actually worked out pretty well. We felt that we made a stronger relationship with the members. Who doesn't like cookies!? The weather here is starting to get cold. So the work seems to be slowing down a bit. But that gives us a great chance to do some more finding! ha In the Italy Rome mission you get to do a lot of finding. Sounds like Dad is just getting destroyed by work. Tell him to not get a hernia! haha jk. Sounds like things are going good. If you do ship a package, the mission office would be better either way. I hear that packages get lost here in Bari. But you dont have to send me a package because I only have a little bit of time left and I'm sure I won't be able to bring any of the stuff home. So you don't have to worry about it. Grandma and Grandpa are too nice. Did they get my letter yet? Well today we are going to Foggia for our preparation day and then we are doing an exchange with the missionaries there. So I better run. Love you tons!!!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Halloween

Ciao tutti! Happy Halloween! They kind of celebrate Halloween here. They don't do trick or treating but they have stores that sell Halloween stuff. So, since they don't really celebrate it here, us missionaries here in Bari decided to throw a huge American Halloween party for the members and our investigators. We will have a trick or treat activity, games, music and tons of food! It's going to be sweet. And best of all we made a mini haunted house in the church! So we have had fun planning for that and setting everything up this week. We are hoping we will have a good turn out. We found an amazing investigator who we are teaching. She is from Swizerland and her first language is english. So she speaks it perfectly. She asked us why we are always smiling. haha We told her cause we are happy. She then asked us why. We then explained that we are so happy because we have something special. The true knowledge of the gospel. She explained to us that her parents are missionaries for another Christian church and that she had lost her faith with confusion and trials in her life. So she wants to meet with us every day! She reads The Book of Mormon and told us that she cries when she reads it and then she also cried when we taught the restoration at church this week. She says she cries cause she feels different, a peace or comfort that she hasn't felt before. So we have been excited about this success. I hope that she will continue to follow this path. So you just never know what just smiling on the streets is going to do for you. That is interesting Dad. Thanks for sharing I totally agree. I think that it is that knowledge and application of the gospel that, when put together, is the recipe for a complete change of heart and eventually people can see that you radiate with the light of Christ and others can recognize you as a true disciple of Jesus Christ. The best part of the gospel is that we can change, true repentance is what brings a true change of heart and can make those weak things become strong. You truly find a strength in seeing first hand those weaknesses become strengths when they are left behind as an old part of your life, asking God for forgiveness and never doing it again. I know that with that constant change of heart you can find the true happiness that the gospel intends on giving us. But it is always up to us whether we do it or not. Well I hope you have a great week. La chiesa è vera! Se non lo sapete, trovate un vero desiderio nel vostro cuore, cercate una risposta da Dio, e man mano scoprirete questa bellisima verità per voi stessi! Buona Settimana! Vi voglio un mondo di Bene! Love you tons!!!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pics of Madera

Here are some pictures we took of a beautiful place called Madera it is where they filmed "The Passion of the Christ"

Fun Busy Week


 Hey this week was good! We had a fun busy week. The trip to Palermo was great! It was really nice seeing Anziano Miller and Anziano Longhurst again and also to meet their new missionaries.They are all really good missionaries. They seem to get along pretty well. I was sure to eat some cannoli and a sicilian pizza which was great! haha Our english course student Laura took off work to come see me! It was really good to see her, she is great! So overall it was a good trip to Palermo. After that we had an exchange with the assistants from Sunday night until Monday night. That was fun. I went with Anziano Luke. He is a great missionary, we get along really well. He is from Virginia and he really taught me a lot. My companion went with Anziano Botalla, so it was nice having some help in our area. We taught some great lessons and found some great potential investigators. We found a new investigator who we are really excited about. She speaks english perfectly and was born in Swizerland. It is very interesting how you find so many different people in the mission that are sooo different than you are but all of them are looking for the purpose of life. This girl asked us why the mormons are always so happy. haha she said she always sees us missionaries and we are always smiling and she asked us why like 20 times. Hopefully all goes well with that! I'm really excited to see how things go. Then yesterday we had a great zone conference. It was a really spiritual experience and is always nice to know what we can do better on. The night before we had our interviews with President Kelly. He is an inspired man. He really listens to you and always has incredible advice for me that is just the advice that I was looking for. We talked about a lot of things and how I only have 3 more transfers! That's scary! He said it is likely that I'll stay for one more transfer here in Bari and then I might get transfered, for my last two transfers. But you never know what is going to happen with transfers. You asked me last email what I am going to do when I get home school or work or both and my answer is I have noooo Idea! That is a scary question. Any suggestions. I don't even know where I could work. I would have to go job hunting. I really don't know what to do. But I would love some suggestions.Well I better run! Love you all tons!!! Buona giornata!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

We set a Baptismal Date

Training has been great! I have really enjoyed it. Anziano Hurlburt has already seemed to get into the swing of things. We seem to get along well and he is a hard worker, so that has been nice. This new training program is incredible. It has helped me a lot with training and it has helped him a lot with learning how to be a missionary. The ward loves him and loves hearing his conversion story and about how he found the church. He already speaks Italian pretty well so we just need to continue to practice speaking all the time. We set a baptismal date with a lady we met by the beach. She told us that she saw us walking down the other side of the street and wanted to talk to us but she was to shy to yell out and so she sat down and was hoping that we would come back down the other side of the street and sure enough we did! She ended up coming to general conference and now she has a baptismal date! So that was a cool mini miracle that we saw this week. Other than that we have just been trying to stay on top of the investigators that we have right now. Oh yeah and I get to go back to the amazing city again! Palermo! I am going to pick up my permesso, this document thing that you need to live here. So I will be flying there tomorrow and leaving on friday night. I am really excited about that. I will have to eat a cannolo. Other than that we have just been having fun experiences and stories that I cant wait to share with you all after the mission! Today for preparation day we went to a city called Matera that is beautiful. It is where they filmed passion of the Christ. I will have to send pictures. It is incredible.Well better run! Love you!!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Letter from the Mission President

To the Family of Anziano Larsen,
Your missionary has recently been assigned to be a “New Missionary Trainer”. In this assignment he will be the companion of a newly arrived missionary. This is a very important responsibility. Trainers have a profound and lasting influence on the development of a new missionary’s attitude and habits.
I am confident that Anziano Larsen, will do an excellent job in this new assignment.
Sister Kelly and I thank you for your faith and prayers on behalf of our mission and for all you have done to prepare such an outstanding missionary.
Thomas E. Kelly

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Weeks Fly By as if they were Days

Hey! This week was great! My new companion is named Anziano Hurlburt. He is a new convert of 2 years and he is from Charleston, South Carolina. He is a really good missionary. We get along well! So it has been fun trying to teach him everything. It has been fun seeing where I was at the beginning of the mission and seeing how much things change with time. He is already pretty good at the language already, but we are trying to speak the language a lot so that he can learn more. He always teases me because I word things weird in english and forget words in english. That's what happens after serving with an Italian who doesn't speak english. It is fun showing him all our investigators, the culture, the food and just missionary ropes in general. He knows the bible pretty well being from the bible belt. No one else in his family is a member but he all said they support him and his decision to serve a mission. So we have just been getting into the swing of things. We are supposed to do two hours of companionship study with new missionaries who are in their first 2 transfers plus one hour of language study each day. So it's been a little different for the both of us. General Conference was amazing! Yes, we got to watch the whole thing in english! I loved so many talks but my favorites were by Elder Holland and Elder Oaks laying down the law. It was sweet! I also enjoyed Elder Cooks talk and that one talk about the temple and how everything has to be perfect. I can't wait to print them off and read them again! I have started a collection of all the best talks that I have gotten my hand on throughout the mission. It's pretty big. It has started to rain here lately the last summer and last general confrence of my mission has sadly come to an end. WIERD! Time out here does not seem to slow down. Weeks fly by as if they were days. Our investigators are doing good. We hope that conference was a good push for them. 3 of them came. Which isn't too bad! Hopefully they had questions answered to their prayers. I'm sure they did. How is everyone at home? Anything new happening or has it been pretty normal. Well I think my companion is anxious to see Italy so I have got to run! Ciao!! Love you all!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I Am Training!

I'm going to be a Dad!!! Haha I am training! I am way excited! I have wanted to train forever and I am so glad that I get to this transfer! I will miss Anziano Alessandro a lot but I am really really excited to train. Haha Anziano Alessandro is leaving today. So I will be with Anziano Bradshaw for the rest of the day and then tomorrow morning my son is arriving from Rome at the train station at about noon. So that will be fun. I don't even know his name or anything about him until tomorrow morning. So I'll let you know all the details next week. I'm sure he is going to be great. Other than that Anziano Alessandro has just been getting ready to leave by visting members and investigators. It has been kind of hard for him saying goodbye, it always is that way with your first city. He will be serving in Pescara. Sorella Clark in our district will be going to Rome 1 and Sorella Comollo will be training as well. So our district will be pretty young with 2 missionaries in their first transfer and 1 in his 2nd. Other than that I don't have much news for you. I'm just super excited. Sounds like you all had a great time at Grandpas. Yes I did write the letter I am just waiting for the pictures to devolop as well so I can send some. Well I better run! Love you all tons! have a great week!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Giuliano Got Baptized

Me and Anziano Alesssandro

Anziano Alessandro, Giuliano and me

Hey!! Giuliano got baptized!! He wasn't sure last Saturday and then told us he would tell us later in the week, so we told him to pray about it. Then on Thursday we got a call from him and he said that he wanted to get baptized on Saturday because he needs the blessing in his life. So he got baptized and everything went perfect! I'll be sure to send pictures! It was great and the members have been really supportive of him! It has been really cool seeing him apply the teachings of the gospel in his life and slowly change for the better. He really seems a lot happier now. Then on Monday we did an exchange with the Anziani in Foggia. I went with Anziano Jones and Anziano Alessandro went to Foggia to do the exchange with Anziano Nelson. It is Anziano Jones first transfer and he is a really good missionary. He speaks the language very well for his first transfer. So we had a good day of teaching our investigators and the usual finding. Other than that my companion has just been slowly healing from getting his wisdom tooth pulled, poor guy. But he has been a trooper and has pushed through it wanting to get out there and work. So we are really hoping that the members will get more excited about missionary work after this baptism and we are always looking for new ways to find people. I am jealous of the picture Dad sent me! Looks like he had a good time! Haha How long was he there for! Tell him to get back to work! ha I'm glad he got a nice little break. Well today we got together with the other missionaries to play soccer. It was a lot of fun! Anziano Badger and I always talk about doing crazy man stuff when we get back. We are going to go bow hunting and even possibly spear hunting and we are going to grow out a beard. Don't worry... It won't be too long. Well I hope all is well at home! Are you all getting ready for Halloween yet? Are the haunted houses open yet? I miss em! Well I love you tons!!! Have a great week!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Time is Flying

Hey! Yesterday we had Zone conference. It was really great. We had like 10 missionaries stay at our house so it was a little crazy, but we had a good time! The week has mainly been working with our investigators with a baptismal date. It is looking like we will have one of them on the 22nd if everything goes as planned. Fratello Carlucci has just continued to help us a lot. I hope you don't mind that I have been inviting some Italians to come stay at our house on vacation after the mission.. If it's not alright, we will figure something out. The members have finally returned so I was able to meet everyone. The members are great. Most of them seem just like members back at home. We started our english course up and we had an alright turn out for the first day. There was about 20 people and we are hoping that more turn up this next week. We have done a lot of publicity for that. The mission has really been trying to focus on setting baptismal dates lately, so we have really been working hard on that, trying to invite all of our investigators and people that are interested in the Church to be baptized. Sounds like you all had a good time in St. George. I'm glad you had a good break. I guess this week I hit my six month mark! That is scary! Time is flying. I still truly feel like I'm a new missionary. I see all of these new missionaries at the Zone Conference and it freaks me out because I'm still the young one! I love the mission it has been an incredible experience and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I have met some incredible people that I will be friends with for the rest of my life. That's exciting all the work you have done on the kitchen. I'm sure it looks great. I wish I could help out. No I really don't feel like I need anything everything is going good. Yeah it would probably be best to send everything to the mission office. Just because they are always there and its hard for it to get lost in Rome. But thanks anyway! Yes I did get the letter with Colton's greaduation announcement! I can't believe he is finished. Is he enjoying the summer? Wow that is cool that Dad talked to Elder Holland! He is awesome. He is very straight forward and isn't afraid to speak the truth. It also sounds like things are going well in the football world! You will have to wish good luck to Harrison and Alex for me! I am sure they are doing great! Anyway better run! Love you tons and thanks for writing!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Things are looking Pretty Promising

Bari is great. It has been nice getting in the swing of things lately. I feel like I already know the area pretty well and know all of our investigators as well. They are all great. Right now we have 4 baptismal dates and we are hoping that we will set 2 more this week. Things are looking pretty promising. The members here are great as well. One of my favorites is a member named Brother Carlucci. He is an incredible member. He is about 83 years old and tries to come to a lot of our lessons. He is always helping out with the missionary work.  Me and Anziano Alessandro seem to get along well. He is a very good teacher and is a good hard worker. Next Tuesday is our zone confrence so we are looking forward to that. I guess all the missionaries stay with us. So we will have about 10 missionaries to pick up after. Hopefully they won't make to big of a mess. But nothing much has happened this week. The weather is slowly getting nicer so the people are getting more friendly. Haha I didn't leave a mess. I cleaned up all my stuff. And Anziano Marengo wanted to catch the bus early, I told him that we should stay and clean but he insisted that we take the bus early so I was kind of obligated. But I promise it wasn't me. haha I like a clean house. I hope that Anziano Miller is enjoying training! I heard his companion is a good missionary. Anyway today I think we are going to go to play soccer with the other Anziani. I think next week we are going to go to a place called Albero Bello. Which I hear is incredibly beautiful. So that should be fun. Anyway I have got to run the other Anziani are waiting on us to come play soccer. So I wish you well. Love you all! Have a great week!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I really like it here!

Bari is great! I really like it here! It is a lot more calm here than Palermo and Rome. The people seem really great and open to talking with us. We set  2 baptismal dates the first day here. We have been inviting everyone to get baptized its been working out great. In Malta we set a baptismal date right on the street and in Sciacca we set two right on the street as well. So the work here is going good. Hopefully we can keep it going. Anziano Alessandro is great. We seem to get along pretty good. It is nice to speak Italian all the time. It took me a few days to get used to his accent but I am pretty used to it now. The members are nice as well, at least all the ones I met. Everyone is on vacation. There is a ward here but it is the smallest one I have been in so far. I really like serving in the bigger cities, so I am pretty lucky to be in another fairly big one. I am in the same district as Sorella Comollo again. She has been in my same district for 5 transfers. The other Sorella in our ward is Sorella Clark. They are both great. Hopefully we can help the ward here grow. The food here is good! They have a food called panzerotti which are like a type of Italian hot pocket, they are amazing! Also Anziano Alessandro likes to cook and he makes some great pasta dishes. It has been nice having an Italian cook. Ha The weather here is a bit cooler than it was at Palermo. Plus everyone says it starts to cool down in september. We are getting ready to start an english course here. And I hear that we work with the young single adults alot here, so we play soccer with them and our investigators. Which reminds me, one of the boys came to it and we started teaching him and his family! We invited them to be baptized and he didn't yes but he didn't say no. So we consider it a success. Sounds like everything is going well at home. Anziano Miller is great! Haha How was it going out to dinner with his parents? Oh yeah I love mopping now! Haha... I want to send you some videos but I'm not sure how I could get them to you all. Well today for preparation day we are going to Bitonto to make and eat pizzas with the missionaries there. Should be fun! Anyway love you tons! Ciao!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I am going to go to Bari!

Happy Birthday Mother!!! I can't believe it is your Birthday today!! What are you going to do?! Hope you have the greatest day ever! I can't believe next year I will be able to be there with you celebrating and eating lots of cheese cake! Tanti auguri a te! Tanti auguri a te! Tanti auguri cara Madre! Tanti auguri a te!! Be sure to do something spontaneous but try not to get into trouble with the law. I truly couldn't have a better Mother! You have always been there for me and have always strengthened my testimony. I am tooo blessed to have such a great family! Make sure that you spend the day together. Love you tons!!  So I am going to go to Bari! Anziano McMullen and I are both getting booted out!  Anziano McMullen is going to Terni close to Rome. I will really miss him! We will be friends forever. My new companion is Anziano Alessandero. He is from Bolognia, Italy! So I am so excited to be able to learn the language even more and we will be able to speak it all the time because we are in a two man house. I am not a zone leader anymore but I am very grateful for the chance I had to be one. I really feel like I learned a lot and I was able to be around a lot of great missionaries. I am going to be the district leader in Bari so that will be fun. Today we will be leaving at 3 to Catania and I'll be staying the night there and leave tomorrow morning. Sorella Comollo will be in my district again. It's crazy we have been in the same district for four transfers and this will be the 5th. It was really hard saying goodbye to all the members. They are all so great and I am going to miss them a ton!  But I hear that the members in Bari are great to! I think that I am really going to love Bari. I am glad you got the pictures. Haha Yeah that shirt was on sale for 5 euro so I figured why not. The girls in the picture with me are members the one on the right is doing her papers to go on a mission. Her uncle was my seminary teacher at Alta. Brother Jackson. Small world.  Should be fun going to dinner with the Millers. I love Anziano Miller I am going to miss him. His parents sound great! I can't wait to hang out with him after the mission! Well I better run I love you all a ton and I hope you have a great week!!! Ciao!!

Trapani Exchange Mistretta



Enjoying pizza in Malta

Anziano Lemmon and the pizza arch in Malta Apartment

Anziani in Malta
Me with a cool hot dog we found in Sciacca

Anziano Miller with Salvo and our best great friend Laura from English course

Bowling with members and friends.  Me with Genevra and Micol

A float in Sciacca

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Malta was great!

Hello! So this week was great. We have been from Scambi to Scambi! Malta was great! It is beautiful there but deadly hot! The air conditioning broke a few times while we were there to so we were roasting in the brick house all night. It was fun though  And the people are great. We set four baptismal dates! It was really cool! We were there for a while so we had the chance to do an exchange with all four of them. They are great missionaries and I learned a lot. In Malta they speak Maltese and English so it's kind of hard to learn the language because they already speak english most of the time. So they do not teach Maltese in the MTC when you get called to serve on that Island you just have to start learning from square one. After that we went to Gela to do an exchange with the missionaries there and now we are back in Palermo for a little bit so it's been nice to be back and we have been busy seeing all of our investigators. Saturday we get transfer calls, wonder if I'll stay or if I'm gone. Sounds like life is going good with all of you! Glad to hear that the Olympics went so well! Can't believe they are over already. Today the Gela Anziani came to Palermo to have there preparation day with us to finish up the exchange because we had to come back Tuesday night because Wednsday was our cleaning day so we are all enjoying a clean home. Well I don't have much time sorry this is so short but I love you a ton! And thanks for writing!!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

I'm not in Italy. . . I'm in Malta!!

Hey! So yeah I'm not in Italy.. I'm in Malta!! President Kelly decided to send us here for a while to do some exchanges with the missionaries here! It is beautiful here! It is so different from Italy and everyone here speaks English and Maltese. The missionaries here are really great and keeping up the hard work here even though it is ridiculously hot. You will have to look up pictures on the Internet. The week has been really good. We went to Trapani this week. I went on an exchange with Anziano Simonetta and Anziano McMullen went with Anziano Lacey. They are great missionaries! We had some good plans set up but unfortunately all of our lessons got cancelled so we did some good old finding. Later that night we played some soccer with some investigators and members and had to run like 3 miles to get home on time. So that was fun. After that Anziano McMullen and I had to plan for zone conference and then we went to Catania on Tuesday to help set things up for the conference. We all ended up sleeping outside on the balcony because it was really hot. Tuesday morning was the conference. I felt like everything really went well. We learned a lot about inviting people and just having a good attitude in everything we do. Elder Holland came to our mission and gave our mission an Apostolic blessing. He blessed it that the work will grow and a lot of other really great things.  He also gave our mission the advice to find joy in the work. Find joy most of all in the rejections that we receive so that is why we talked a lot about discouragement and being happy. So that was cool that you taught that same thing in young womens. It really does help so much more when you just look at the good in everything. It may be hot down here but I am getting a sweet tan! ha So we will be here in Malta for awhile but President Kelly made sure that our investigators would be taken care of by our members. Our members in Palermo are great. They were more that happy to help out. So after zone conference we drove down to Pozzallo and took a ferry from there to Malta. It was pretty fast, it took about an hour and a half. We ended up spending our preparation day here so we saw some really cool stuff. I made sure to take lots of pictures. It is really weird speaking in  English all the time. I keep on saying Boun Giorno to everyone and get weird looks. Habit. Well anyway I hope you all know that things here are good. The work of the Lord is always pushing forward! Love you all tons!!! Ciao!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Joe's Baptism

Hello! Excellent Week! We got home from Rome and had a great baptism of our investigator Joel! He is great! Had a testimony of The Book of Mormon from the moment he read the first little bit. We have been teaching him for about 4 or 5 weeks and he was just as elect as they come. He loves the church and he has a strong testimony. He really gets along well with the members and fits in perfectly! So that all went well! Except I forgot my talk!!! Can't believe I forgot my talk!! So I just tried to remember everything I wrote down and just went for it. I think it turned out well. The Bishop baptized him and his friend Christopher, the person who introduced him to the church, gave him the gift of the Holy Ghost. So It was a really cool experience. Hope that we can find more elect people like him around! Anyway other than that we have just been staying busy and getting ready for the training that we have to do at zone conference next tuesday. Pray for us. Yes, the Pizzas in Naples were huge! They were amazingly good! Best Pizza I have ever eaten! And yes we always eat a whole pizza. Thats how things work around here. Everyone orders a pizza for themselves. Well from Rome we left at about 11 we stopped in Naples for a pizza for about an hour then we stopped in Batipaglia to buy Mozzerella di Buffola ( Buffalo Mozzerella), which is incredible and then with a wrong turn we got to Cosenza at about 8:30 slept the night there and then got to Palermo at about 7 on Thursday. So it was quite the trip! Sounds like Colton is working hard! That is good! It will get him ready for the mission! Anziano McMullens brother just got his mission call to the Chicago Spanish speaking mission. He leaves in December so Anziano McMullen will have a good month with him before he leaves. We have been hearing a lot about the olympics here. You will have to keep me updated on that. Well I sure love you all a ton! Thanks for writing! Tante Belle Cose!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Zone Leader Conference

Pizza in Napoli with Anziano McMullen July 2012

Attending Zone Leader Conference July 2012

Hello Family! This week has been great! We flew up to Rome yesterday, and today we will be driving down the car to Gela. I think we are going to stop in Naples and get a pizza! I hear that the drive down is beautiful, and then we will spend the night in Cosenza with the Anziani there. Tomorrow morning we will finish the trip. Zone leader conference was great! We are all really excited to go back to our Zones with this new energy and sense of urgency. That Sister got her answer!! She told us that she prayed and she was walking and right after she ran into us on the street and she new that God had put us in her path and that, that was her answer! So she talked to Bishop and is preparing to go to the temple!! It was a miracle! But I will still give her your letter! Thank you so much for writing it! Im sure it will reassure her.
Our investigator is going to be baptized this Saturday. We have other investigators that were supposed to be baptized on this day but we had to change their baptismal date. Sounds like you all had a great 24th of July! I hope you always send them my love. I love the BBQs that our families do. No, We aren't getting the car. The car is going to Gela because it is a small city and they have no buses. In Palermo we have public transportation. Anyway I don't have much time but I love you all! Thanks for writing and have a great week!  Hey Dad! Thanks for writing! Haha I am up here in Rome and we are just doing email before we drive down the Italian coast. I hear its going to be a beautiful drive! We are also looking forward to stopping in Naples to buy a pizza. Then we are going to sleep in Cosenza over night with the Anziani there and then in the morning we will finish up the drive. Zone leader conference was great! We ate some great food and feel like we have been refueled with a new energy and a new excitement about  working hard and getting other missionaries excited. Sounds like you all had a great week with the 24th of July! I miss the whole family. Sounds like you all ate well and had a good time golfing. You will have to say hi to the Allens for me! How are they doing? did they just come down for vacation. Sorry I'm not such a great emailer. I feel like as the mission goes on we don't have as much to talk about, and It is really hard to do all of my emailing in an hour and 15 minutes. I have to email you and mom and then Presidents letter that takes more than half an hour especially now being a Zone leader because we have to report on a bunch of things every week to president so that takes up most of the time. Then reading the emails takes a bit of time. So it only leaves a little bit of time to do the emails to you guys. There are two rules that I have really tried to keep in the mission. 1. Do internet in an hour and 15 minutes and 2. Don't mention names of investigators in emails and don't be to specific about it. They are two rules that not a lot of missionaries follow but I know that the more obedient in the mission that I am the more in tune with the spirit I will be, and being in a mission where everyone hates to hear from us, I feel like I have to try to be extra in tune with the Spirit to be able to find those people. I know you might think it's lame that I would follow lame rules like this but I have seen so many times in the mission when you truly try to be 100 percent obedient to the rules you find tons of blessings in the work. Maybe it's not always finding new investigators or setting tons of baptismal dates but it is more energy throughout the day and more self control. Ohh yeah it's not for sure but President Kelly said I will more than likely train in October or November so that's cool. He also said that I will probably stay In Palermo for 1 more transfer! That's so crazy! I have been there forever! But if that's where the Lord needs me that's where he needs me! Anyway better run! Love you tons!!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Teaching Tithing

Hey! Thanks for writing. Yes, Anziano McMullen and I are excited to be together another. We are hoping that we can have a lot of success this next transfer. Being zone leader and district leader is a bit of a task. As a district leader you have to prepare a training for district meeting every week and then as a zone leader we have to do a training for the zone and do exchanges with all the missionaries in our zone. So it will be a lot of fun! I hope that we can do it all and still stay on top of our investigators. So, this week we are not having zone leader conference it will be next Tuesday. We will be driving a car up from Gela on Monday and then we get to drive the new car down on Wednesday after zone leader conference. We get to spend a little bit of preparation day in Rome so we are really excited about it! It should be a really good conference. Thank you for writing that letter! I'm sure it will help a lot! She is great and we have been talking to her and trying to help her a lot. She keeps telling us that she just needs to pray about it. Which is good! We know she will get her answer. Every time she talks about anti mormon things the Spirit leaves immediately and she just tells us how sick inside she felt when she heard that stuff, but it was sad to see that slowly, little by little she was becoming ok with that stuff and it was hard to see her becoming comfortable with a thing that is so evil and spiritually killing. I think that it is the same with any sin. I remember when I was little growing up in a family where bad language was never used. As I was little I remember hearing those words gave me that terrible feeling inside, but slowly, little by little being around that language in middle school and high school it becomes a thing you accept and a thing that is normal and you no more feel bad about being around it. Wow I can't believe he wrote you all a letter saying all that stuff! Is he sure it is a smart idea to risk dragging other souls into that evil stuff because he started questioning?! I think that is a very bold step for him to take in his life just because he questioned his own faith. I don't think I would want to risk that if I had some doubts about my faith! I would not want to risk dragging others down a path that very easily could be a path made by satan unless I was completly sure of it. It's too bad to see that. Well he has a chance to change! Let's hope he does! Anyway, it was a great week! We had a lot of success. We are preparing for 2 baptisms next Saturday! Let's hope everything goes well for them!  That's good to hear Connor is having a great mission. It's so weird that over a year ago we were in the MTC together. He is a great kid! Anyway I better run! Have a great week! Love you tons!!! Hey Dad!  Thanks for writing me about that experience. That is awesome! I think teaching tithing is one of the best things we can teach as missionaries. I love teaching it. There are so many blessings that we receive from it. I think that a lot of missionaries get nervous teaching it to a family who is struggling with money. I love teaching it to families who are struggling with money! I have seen miracles with tithing here! It is amazing the blessings we recieve from it. Cause those familes who are struggling with money the most have need the most of the blessings of tithing. I love to go into those lessons and just explain to them how happy and excited  I am for them to be able to pay tithing to the Church of Jesus Christ because they are going to get straight up wrecked with blessings! It is sweet! This week has been kind of draining. I had a two and a half hour lesson with a Jehovahs witness. I showed him in his Bible that Jehovah is Jesus Christ with a ton of scriptures and he was surprised and didn't know what to say. So He told me I knew the Bible very well and that I would make a great member of there church.. Haha I told him he would be a great member of the Mormon church. Then he tried to attack a bunch of our beliefs.  I told him that I know our church is true because I prayed about it and asked if it was the true church of Jesus Christ and I got an answer. He told me he did the same thing with his church and got the same answer, so I called him out on it. It was pretty funny! Anziano McMullen was pretty depressed that night cause he felt a little athiest because he didn't understand how God could give that guy that answer. haha it was funny. So we all had to reassure him that that guy was full of it. The next morning Anziano McMullen was really embarrased about feeling atheist for a little bit. Haha it was great! Anyway Battling Antimormon doctrine, slaying Jehovah witness' teaching all our investigators and doing it all in the sun is starting to weigh on me a bit. Haha Not really it's great! anyway Hope you had a great week! Love you tons!!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Staying another with Anziano McMullen

Hey! Sounds like you all had a great vacation! Glad that it wasn't as crazy as the St. George trip haha. Anyway, I guess you want to know what is going on with transfers right off the bat.. I am staying another with Anziano McMullen!! That really caught us off guard but we are happy! We are the zone leaders again and now I am district leader too. So that will be fun! Transfers are today and tomorrow so we are trying to help out with that and next week should be zone leader council in Rome but we aren't sure what day it will be yet. Also Anziano Miller and Marengo are staying together and the sisters in our district are staying the same. Anziano Shipton is getting transfered from Trapani to Naples zone and there are a few other changes to the zone but not huge changes. On Friday we did an exchange with the Gela Anziani. Anziano Cardinet and Anziano Nelson, they are really good missionaries. They are very good at finding and just really positive. I learned a lot from them. It is soo true the longer out in the mission you are, the faster it goes. That transfer was too fast! Sunday was great! The Africans in our ward are just bringing friends every week to church! We had 4 African investigators that our members brought to church. It has also been fun translating for them. It really helps you get better at the language. So we are trying to keep up on seeing our investigators this week and visit all of the new ones we have. Hopefully we can set some more baptismal dates and work with the members better. We have 4 baptismal dates right now. Two of them are looking really promising but the other two have been struggling coming to church. We will have to work with them a bit more. We have also been going to the members houses a lot to try to get them pumped up about missionary work. So we have had dinner every night this week with a member. It is so good but they feed us too much! ha it is great! The Sicilian dishes down here are amazing! They know how to cook! Well today I don't have a lot of time cause we have to go pick up the Trapani Anziani from the station and get them sent off to their new city. Love you tons!! Have a good week!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Exchanges with other Missionaries

Hey family! Agrigento was great! We did an exchange with the missionaries there on Thursday. I went with Anziano Migliori, who is from Peru and Anziano McMullen went with Anziano Andersen. It was a great exchange. Anziano Migliori is a very nice missionary and I feel like I learned a lot from the experience. Agrigento is a really pretty city and the members there seem to be really great! The next day we went home and unfortunately there was a funeral of a member from Palermo 1 who was in a coma. That has been the 3rd funeral in 2 transfers! Other than that we have just been busy with finding investigators in the sun and going to appointments that end up getting cancelled on us. Anziano McMullen and I have felt really good about the investigators we have found lately. We just set a baptismal date with one of them and hoping to set more soon. We now have a member of the church living in our apartment named Brother Pastanno. He is staying in our house to repair all of the broken things and to repaint the apartment. He got back from his mission a few years back and now he is doing this. He is a really nice guy and we have been trying to help him out with everything. Today we went to buy a bunch of new things for the apartment and we went to eat at a pizza place from Naples.. It was unreal! So good!! Today has been nice celebrating the fourth of July. We haven't done anything too fancy but we sang the national anthem together and tomorrow at English course we will have a party after to celebrate by eating American food and playing games. How was Idaho? I love Yellowstone. I still remember it from when we were little. Are you going to go to all the hot springs and Old faithful (Alfalfa). Did you set off any fireworks? This week Italy played in the finals for the Euro cup against Spain. Unfortunaly they lost 4-0 so all of the members and Italians have been a little upset but Italy is great anyway.  Anyway this week we will do our last exchange with the Anziani of Gela! Anziano Cardinet, my old MTC companion, and Anziano Nelson. They are great missionaries and we are really looking forward to do theis exchange with them. Saturday we are getting transfer calls! So we will be on edge for that. Better run. Love you tons! Have a good week! Hey Dad thanks for writing! How is Idaho?! Happy fourth of July!! How was Yellowstone? I hope you all had a great time with each other. What is a MLM company?? Sounds sweet! Haha Wow I can't believe there was a fire in Alpine! Did any houses get burnt down? Hope not. This week  has really been hot. It is kind of hard to keep going hard in the sun sometimes, but you find strength when you push through. How has the Colton been doing. When is he going to start his papers? Because it's going to stink if we overlap each other by exactly 2 years, so it would be nice if he left in October or right after I get home, But if he left  at the beginning of March that would stink. but he should definitely go when He feels ready. How is the new calling in Church going? are you enjoying it? I sure am on edge for transfer calls this week. I kind of think that I am staying here another one. I think McMullen is going. But I guess we will see. Well I better run. Love you tons!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

This week has been HOT!

Ciao! This week has been HOT! The Humidity is brutal! But it's great. It is a nice change. No one wants to talk to us in the sun so we kind of have to do finding in the shade, or house. This week in church was really great we had 3 less actives come back to church and a 4th told us that she is going to return to church this week! So we have been really happy about that! Yesterday we did an exchange with the Palermo 1 Anziani. I went with Anziano Miller and Anziano McMullen went with Anziano Marengo. It was a great exchange. Anziano Miller is a really good missionary and he is a very good teacher. He explains principles and doctrines very simply and clearly. I hope we can go do some mountain biking together after the mission. Tonight we are leaving to do an exchange in Agrigento, with Anziano Andersen and Anziano Migliori. So it will be fun to get to know them some more and work together with them. Thank you for the pictures! They turned out really great. Did you get any of the extended family? I loved the picture of Angie and the baby. I also liked the one of Tayler and Jared just standing there looking straight forward! It reminded me of that farmer painting  of the farmer and his wife standing there with the pitch fork. They looked almost exactly the same. That is awesome that Colton is going to Moab! He will have so much fun. Moab is great. That is great to hear about Jansen. I have to write him! I'm sure that he is a killer missionary. Could you email me the address of the mission office in Fiji. I probably wrote it down somewhere but haven't been able to find it. Well love you tons but I have to run and catch the bus to Agrigento Ciao!!!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Exchanges are Great

Hey! Anyway this week has been great! We helped reactivate a lady! That was really cool to see! We are hoping that she will stay active so keep her in your prayers. We have been staying busy with lessons and getting used to the Hot Hot sun! It's great. This week we had an exchange with the Anziani in Trapani! Anziano Shipton and Anziano Simonetta. It was really cool to see them and work with them. Trapani is really cool and they have great members. The pizza is really good there! Exchanges are great! You really learn a lot from each other. I think next week we'll be going to Agrigento for an exchange there. Now we are just getting back into the swing of things with our own work! It has been nice to see all of our investigators and getting back to the normal schedule. We found an incredible family this week! They are from Romania. So we taught them and gave them a Book of Mormon in Romanian and they are really interested. They said they are coming to church on Sunday and want to meet with us after for a lesson. It is great when you find a family that is truly interested in the gospel. You are so right our family is great. I really miss everyone a ton! It is funny how much I miss just a small conversation with a family member. Miguel is the man! Haha I did just get the letters from Nan at zone conference! It was great to hear from them! Are you still going to send those wedding pictures or does that company still have them or whatever. Well I've got to run! Love you tons!! Ci vediamo!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Zone Conference Week

Ciao! Wow a lot has happened this last week! So first off Thursday we flew up to Rome for zone leader conference which was great. It was really good to see the other zone leaders and talk about the work. We had a really good training from President and Sorella Kelly and also the assistants. Anyway, then we went home and planned out our week and planned out our training for zone conference and then Saturday and Sunday we had Stake Conference, so those days were busy and then we had to leave Monday after lunch to go to Catania for our interviews with President Kelly and Tuesday was zone conference and today is our preparation day. So it's been a little bit crazy but a good experience. Zone Conference was really good! President Kelly talked a lot about, being more effective with our time and making the best of things when in the face of difficulty. We decided to do our training on testimonies and how it is one of our strongest tools as missionaries. We asked a sister in the Catania zone, who is French, to bear her testimony in French and Anziano Kandler to bear his testimony in German to show that it isn't always about the words that we say but it's about the spirit and power that comes from a testimony. It was great seeing everyone. Today we are heading over to Trapani to do an exchange with Anziano Shipton and Anziano Simonetta who are two great missionaries! So we are excited for the exchange. Wow I can't believe all of the kids are out of Alta! Sounds like you all had a sweet party for the graduation of Colton. That's great you got to meet Anziano Weeks! He was the man. I really looked up to him. He has been missed. And definitely me and Anziano Miller will hang out after the mission. He is hillarious. Anziano Marengo is fitting in great! We are all learning the language a lot better from him. Well I better run! Love you tons!! Ciao Hey Dad! Thanks for writing! This week has been CRAZY!! But a lot of fun! I have learned a lot! Zone leader conference was great! Sorella Kelly cooked us American food! It was delicious! We talked a lot about the work and then when it's over we can ask President and Sorella Kelly anything, about marriage, politics, sports, you name it. So it was a lot of fun! Our zone conference training on Tuesday went well! I think everyone really enjoyed it and I'm starting to like to talk  in front of lots of people. Haha That is cool to hear about work. Haha It's funny that you said that about everyone being kind of scared when you come in the store! Ha It's kind of the same as a zone leader when you go to the other missionaries houses. Everyone is trying to be super obedient. President Kelly told me a really cool thing about leadership. He said Leadership is Relationships. And that is soo true. Because I think it is good when other missionaries have a little bit of fear of you to kind of push them but also just be a really nice person and look for those things that every missionary is good at so that you can compliment them to help them feel better about themselves and that they are really important to the work. And then don't be afraid to jump in and be charitable. Make someones bed and clean all their dishes. It  has been a great opportunity to serve others! I love it! Well I hope everything goes well with work. It sounds like you are really tearing things up! Love you tons Dad! Ciao!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Letter from Mission President

Dear Family of Anziano Larsen,  

We are pleased to inform you that your son has been called to serve as a Zone Leader in the Italy Rome Mission.  He will have the responsibility to preside over two or more districts in one of our zones here in the mission.  He will be responsible for his zone both spiritually and temporally.  He will teach them once a month in a combined district meeting and will help with the planning and training at Zone Conference.  He will go on exchanges with all of the missionaries in his zone to help them with teaching or language skills.  He will also serve as a member of the Zone Leader Council which helps direct and plan initiatives for the entire mission.

We love your son and are excited for the opportunity to work closely with him.  He is an outstanding missionary.

With best regards,
Thomas E. Kelly
Italy Rome Mission

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

He Found Work

Hey! This week has been great and really busy! We have been having some really good success I feel. In a lesson this week we taught a guy from Ghana who is awesome. He came here to find work and hasn't been able to find work. We were teaching him about the restoration and we promised him that the Lord will bless him if he reads The Book of Mormon and that if he reads it and prays about it all week he will find work. And guess what..... He found work!! Ha it was really cool that he recognized the blessings of the gospel in his life and he had so much faith. So we set a baptismal date with him. Anyway tomorrow me and Anziano McMullen are flying up to Rome for zone leader conference, so that should be fun! Then next Tuesday is the zone conference for the zone of Palermo and the zone of Catania combined so we have to prepare a training for that this week. And then this transfer we will be doing a lot of exchanges with the missionaries in our zone, so we have an exchange planned out for every week. It will be a lot of fun and I'm excited to learn from everyone. That is great Colton graduated! Wow time flies! He is going to go far in life. How is Tayler doing? Do you see her a lot still or is she gone most of the week?  Haha he laughed at the pizza in Rome?! Yeah Rome pizza isn't great. It's better in the south. I meant to say in the Rome Mission. You will have to say Hi to Anziano Weeks for me! That's crazy that he is home! He was a really good missionary. Anyway sorry I don't have a lot of time today but I love you all!!! Ciao!!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

New Zone Leader

Hi! So, transfer calls are in so I will just get that out of the way right off the bat. I will be staying here in Palermo with Anziano McMullen for another transfer, and we will both be the zone leaders. So that's kinda scary but I'm excited, I think it will be a good experience. So I would love any advice if you have any for me. But we are really excited to be staying together for this next transfer. We feel like things are going to go very well this transfer! Anziano Weeks is leaving today for Rome and will be missed. The new companion of Anziano Miller will be Anziano Marengo, a Peruvian who lives in northern Italy. So we are all excited to learn a lot more Italian! This week we found a really sweet family that we have taught a few lessons. They seem pretty interested and told us that they will come to church this week. So we are looking forward to that! Aside from that we have just been working with our investigators trying to help them progress! The Palermo 1 Anziani have a baptism tomorrow. He is a guy from France that is really nice, so keep him in your prayers. The weather here is getting hotter and hotter. Luckily Italians love the heat and are always outside, so it makes for good finding. Wow I can't believe Grandpa got a tractor! Haha that's great! Sounds like everyone has been busy with that stuff! Our family sounds like they are turning into a bunch of Hippies! Ha That's great! Anyway, That is too nice of Grandma and Grandpa! They are so great! They really didn't have to do that!  There was a sweet suit on sell down here.. Maybe I'll get it!  Tell them I love them and I'm writing both the grandparents letters and sending pictures. I can't believe that Colton is graduating! That is crazy! Auguri Colton! Well my time is running up! But I love you all a ton! I know that the Church is true and I'm so grateful for it!!! Vi Voglio Bene! As for the Missionary Mom signs you can write a number of things. Auguri ( Congratulations) or Non Sposarti Troppo Presto! ( Don't get married too fast) or Tu sei un grande!  (Your great)  La Pizza nella missione di Roma é tanto Buona Quanto quella a Milano ( the pizza in the Rome mission is better than Milan).

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Fun Times

Preparation Day
Just found this cute picture of Caleb with his district on Preparation Day in Rome,  that President and Sister Kelly posted.  I decided to add it to his blog as well!
My original MTC group reunited
Hello! This week was great! And the transfer is really flying by! This week we had a really good week working with the members.They have been giving us referalls and are great at sharing the gospel with their friends and family! Sunday was really great! We did Mostra,where we set out some posters with questions and pictures on it and got to talk to everyone, and we had Anziano and Sorella North come ( the senior couple) to play the cello and violin while members sang church songs and we got to go talk to everyone. It was really cool to see how many people were interested in what we had to say. Yes, I did hear about the earthquake. All the members were talking about it and about how a car bomb went off somewhere in Italy as well. I told Anziano Weeks to keep an eye out for you at his farewell. I don't think that he is in the same ward as the Dixons but maybe the same stake. I can't believe that he is going home! It's crazy how fast time goes by! I hope that I can always use my time wisely because I would hate to waste any of it cause time is not on my side. Congrats on the new calling! You will be great! Are you excited? How did your week go? Anyway, Palermo is still great I'm loving it a lot. I think I'm just a big city guy! Hope you have a great week and that you do something fun as a family! Love you tons!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Catania Zone Conference

Hey! It was so great being able to talk to you all! It made my week! I hope you had a great Mothers Day. Everyone is changing so fast. It is crazy! Yes, the missionaries here in Palermo are great. We all get along very well. The home coming of Anziano Weeks will be on June 10th and it should be in the Draper 16th Ward at 9:00 am. He is a really good missionary. Anziano McMullen was at home when I was skyping because he wanted to call his family on the phone. Anyway, yesterday we went to Catania for zone conference. It was a really good zone conference. President Kelly always talks about the exact things that you need to hear. It was also really great seeing all of the missionaries. My MTC companion, Anziano Cardinet, was there. He is serving in Gela now. After that we were planning on staying in Catania for our preparation today so that we could hike Mount Etna but we decided not to because it would have taken up too much time. So we had to get up really early this morning to come back to Palermo. Thanks for the pictures with the email! They are great! I can't wait to get more. About the stories and quotes, you can email me them if that's easier for you. Either way works for me. Haha thanks for the picture of us in the MTC. I can't believe it is hanging up in BYU haha. Thanks Megan! Other than that I have pretty much told you everything. The mission is great! Love you all tons!! Ciao!!

Poster Missionaries

Some may remember this cute photo of Caleb, when he first entered the MTC.  Recently a cute friend of ours saw this photo at BYU- and sent it to me attached with this message:

Hi Tracy! I've been meaning to tell you...I had some spare time before one of my classes a few weeks ago and I saw a picture of Caleb on a bulletin board advertising a need for volunteers at the MTC! I was so shocked when I saw it. I was just walking past and then I turned around, looked at it and immediately got a grin on my face. Just thought you should know that your son is definitely one of the poster missionaries at Brigham Young University! :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sweet Ping Pong Tournament

Hey! I'm really excited to hear from you all this Saturday! Yeah we will be skpying at 6:00 but I might be running a little late. Just know that I will get on within that hour. Anyway, this week has been pretty good. More finding!! haha Also unfortunately a member of the ward of Palermo 1 went into a coma last week and on Friday night he died. Leaving his wife and 2 kids who are 25 and 21. So we went to the funeral on Monday. It was really hard to see how sad the family was but you could tell that they had the faith and hope that they would see their father again. Our investigator with a baptismal date is good. He is a new investigator and we have only taught him two lessons but things are looking promising. We are going to have a sweet Ping Pong tournament here on Friday night in our church. So this morning we went to the university here to hand out pass along cards for the tournament. I think a few people thought we were some weird Ping Pong fanatics. Other than that a pretty average week. Plus I'm going to talk to you all in 3 days so... yeah. Thanks for writing!!! We will hear from each other in 3 days!! Ciao!!! Hey Dad! First off no I didnt know Anziano Weeks before the mission. But he is a really cool kid. He is a master with scriptures. He can tell you where any scripture is. Haha Sunday night this guy started bashing on our church with tons of scriptures and me and Anziano Weeks destroyed him. haha. So that was cool. That's cool that Jared doesn't want to come. I totally understand! I mean he is married to my sister but if he doesn't want to talk to me, he doesn't want to talk to me. Haha just kiddin. Well to be honest I just don't have much to say. I guess it's because I know that I will talk to you in 3 days so yeah. I'm really excited! Can't believe the time has gone by so fast from the last time we spoke. Anyway, See you in three! Love you tons!!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Fun Week of Finding

Ciao Tutti! So I talked to my companion and we will be calling next Saturday at 6:00 PM so It should be 12:00 noon there... I think. So I'm really excited to see you all. Anyway this week was great! I really enjoyed a fun week of finding. It is getting a lot hotter here so that's been nice! We found some really sweet new investigators this week and set a baptismal date with one of them. So we are hoping everything will go as planned. But a pretty average week overall. Oh yeah we almost got killed! It was crazy! OK maybe a little bit of an exaggeration. But a guy tried to throw a bottle at us and then we started walking away from him and this guy smashed the bottle tried to stab a guy with it. It was intense! Grateful that the Lord protected us. How is the extended family? Anziano McMullen has been great! We seem to really get along. He likes rugby and I like football so that's cool. I think he wants to move to Utah for his schooling. Good to hear that Miguel and Mimi are doing well. How is my English? Is it weird at all? I hope not. Anyway this morning we got to go play basketball with the Anziani of Palermo and the Anziani of Trapani. It was a lot of fun! I'm really not good at soccer so basketball is something that I'm more used to playing. Anyway I got to run! Love you tons! Have a great week!! Hey Dad! Thanks a lot for your advice! I really appreciate it! I do feel like I need to be more happy and friendly with our investigators. I feel like I have kind of gotten into this zombie mode of just work work work. And you kind of get a little bit numb to peoples feelings. Ha ha It's weird! Maybe you understand that mode. That is awesome that you have been hitting the gym every day. Do you guys have a gym membership anywhere? I hope to get back into shape when I get back from the mission. I have lost a lot of weight. I need to gain weight! Palermo has been great but the work is pretty hard. There are so many less actives and our ward wants us to visit them all so it is really hard to find investigators who are ready for this message. Hopefully we can get on the ward to do their visiting teaching so we don't have to see everyone. Plus all the less actives love the missionaries, so a lot of the time they will not let members come see them and they just want the Anziani over. How is work going? Hope all is going good! Well Anyway I better run. Love you tons Dad! Have a good week! Ciao! Anyway I got to run! Love you tons! Have a great week!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Trying to learn some Siciliano

My new companion is really cool! He is from Saint Luton, England. He plays rugby and he is a really hard working missionary! We will have a good transfer together. Anziano Weeks got a new companion, Anziano Miller, and he is a really nice kid. Anziano Mcmullen's accent is great! We sometimes tease him about things that he says haha. He has got a good sense of humor and is a powerful teacher. This week we have been trying to do a lot of finding. Here in Palermo you can get a lot of numbers and set up a lot of appointments but then they just don't show up to the appointment. So we need to find some more reliable investigators. Wow Todd Engen! He will be a great bishop! Yeah the bishopric will be really good. I did receive the wedding invitation but it would probably be better to send everything to the office cause I guess the mail man here in Palermo has ripped up missionaries letters in the past. That is great that you will have the Mota's over. Tell them Hi for me. And as for the mothers day stuff, we will set it up and let you know what time. It would be great if grandparents came if its alright with you. This week has been really fun. I have been trying to learn some Siciliano ( the dialect of Sicily). It is really different from Italian but sounds really cool! The members love teaching you it if you ask them. Hopefully I will be able to pick up quite a bit before I leave Sicily. It is Strawberry season here, so me and Anziano McMullen can't stop ourselves from buying them. They are so good! Especially with nutella on them! The fruit down here is probably the best in the world. Anyway I better run, It is a holiday in Italy today so our ward is throwing a party in church that we want to go to. Love you tons! Ciao! Hey Dad! Sorry I don't write as much these days. I just dont know what to write anymore haha. A lot of the same things happen every week. Usually we do finding forever and everyone says that they are Catholic, then we tell them that a young boy named Joseph Smith saw God the Father  and His Son Jesus Christ and they tell us that a friend saw Maria! So it is hard sometimes. Probably one of the most frustrating things I've ever done. No.. I mean it is the most frustrating thing I have ever done but it is all good. I love the mission. It just makes you thicker skinned. The mission has changed me but also really makes you feel out of place in a world of worldly things. So that's the hard part about it. Wow that is a great new goal!  Does Bart live close? How is he? You can do it! And I wish you the best of luck! I'm glad to hear Tayler and Jared are so happy! That is great! And GO UTES!!! That's awesome news! I really hope the Jazz do well also! GO NUGGETS!!! haha. What is the best advice you could give me for this time in my mission? Anyway Love you tons Dad! TVB!! CIAO!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

An Earthquake

Hello! This week has been great! First off earlier this week there was an earth quake! It was the first one that I have ever felt. It wasn't very big but it was kinda freaky. Then the next day we got transfer calls. I am staying here and Anziano Parry is off to Bari. We had a good run together but I guess it's time for us to part ways. My new companion will be Anziano Mcmullin (Don't think I spelled that right) he is from somewhere in England. So that will be cool! I have met him like twice before and he is way cool and nice! He too has been serving in Malta and will get here tomorrow. Then in Palermo 1 Anziano Davis got transfered and another Anziano will come so we are all going to be a little new to the area of Palermo.  Aside from that a pretty average week. We got to go to Mistretta on Monday to help the Sorelle with some stuff. Mistretta is incredible!! I loved it! Super duper Italian. The members that we met were awesome! They were way nice and had some strong testimonies. I would love it if Anziani could serve there! Italy is great. It grows on me more and more everyday! Sounds like everything in Dallas went really good! That's good. Taylers just growin up on us! haha Did you fly down to Dallas? And did the whole fam go? Wow I loved Bishop Handley as our Bishop. That's too bad but I'm sure they will get another great guy. So I figured that I should already start setting up for our calls on mothers day. What time would be best for me to call? So I can start talking to members about it. Well I hope everything is well at home. I hope Tayler is enjoying her new life. I love you all a ton a miss you!!! Ci Vediamo

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Can't Believe she's Married!

 Wow! I can't believe that she is married! Haha Congrats Tayler and Jared!!! I loved the pictures that you sent! Thank you so much for them! I hope you can send more soon! Sounds like everything went perfect and everyone was super helpful! How long will they be in California for? It seems like they are super happy together. They are great. Haha I loved the cardboard cut out! Haha I was joking about that! I can't believe you really did it! Haha You really didn't have to! but thanks anyway! My easter was great! We ate at the Catalanos house for lunch and then we had a good night of finding! It really was nice. Everyone here eats and sleeps for easter so it was a little rough finding people to talk to but it was fun anyway. How was your easter? Glad to hear that Colton is filling in my shoes with finding the prize egg. Brian and Heathers family always find it. I'm so sorry to hear about Porter! :( Him and his family are in my prayers and fasts! They are a great family. If there is anything I can do let me know! This week has been a good week! We got our interviews with President Kelly! It went really well! He is the best Mission President! Before the interviews we had a district meeting and he joined us to talk about our work and he gave us some really good advice for our investigators. Then on Monday was our cleaning day. We did a really deep clean of the house, so it has been nice living in a cleaner home! I'm hoping we can all keep it really clean. Anyway, this morning the other Anziani wanted to go to Cefalù. It was fun. Hopefully I can send pictures next week! Better run! LOve you tons!! Ciao!! Dad, First off, I am blown away that Tayler is married!! Wow!! That  is crazy! We finally did it Dad! We got rid of her!!!!!!! I thought we would never see the day! Haha Just kiddin! That is so great! Man, Really sounds like everything went really good! They look so happy together!! Wow! Jared really seems like a great guy! That is great to hear that you gave her a fathers blessing the day of! Those have always helped me out and I have always been grateful for you and the blessings you have given us! I will be sure to give them to my kids some day. That is great that you did initatory with Jared! I really miss the temple! I can't wait to go when I get back! I can't believe that transfer calls are this Saturday!! And I will Skype you all again 2 weeks into the next transfer! Sounds like everything is going great with work! WOW those are some big numbers! They better give you a promotion! haha. As long as you save up a little money so that you can come back to Italy with me I'll be happy! haha jk Anyway I would love it if you would egg the cowboys stadium for me and wow Mitt Romney!! what a guy! That's awesome!! Hope he wins! Better run! Love you tons!!! Ciao!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Conference was really sweet this week!

So conference was really sweet this week! I really enjoyed it! We got to see all of them but the Sunday night session. The spirit was really strong and we are really hoping that our investigators, who came, received answers to their prayers. I know that I did! I really liked the one talk given by Elder Hallstrom where he said you can be active in the church but less active in the gospel. It is so important that we don't just go through the motions without putting in the effort to strengthen ourselves and others in the gospel. All the talks were great and answers to prayers were received. Conference really is just a huge spiritual boast that helps people recognize that this isn't just some ordinary church. This church has more. I am grateful for the great spirit that I felt from the inspired leaders  of the church, that truly receive revelation from God, to guide his church. I can't believe that Tayler got to go through the temple! That is awesome! I miss going to the temple! It's such a great blessing to go to the temple. There is no greater spirit that I have felt than the spirit I have felt in the temple. I hope she had a good experience. I still can't believe that the wedding is this Saturday!!!! Wow, So wierd! I can't wait to hear about it. I hope everything goes perfect!  Yesterday we had Zone conference. We had a lot of trainings from President and Sorella Kelly and from our zone leaders and one of the Assistants. All of it went very well. I received answers to prayers there as well. It is awesome that we have an inspired President and also inspired leaders that give us great council and advice to direct the work of the Lord here in Italy. Anyway I love you all! Hope you have a great week and that everything goes well with the wedding!! Ciao!!