Tuesday, December 27, 2016

All You Want for Christmas is Me - 12/26/16

Merry Christmas!!!!

I hope everyone had a wonderful time over Christmas. I know I did. 

Anyways I'll cut to the meat, because it's the best part of any weekly email. This week, J passed his baptismal interview and will be baptized this Wednesday. He is super excited and his dad, who will baptize him, is excited as well. That's the biggest hunk of meat in this email; all the rest is about fun things. This week, we had fun (and we did work too).

So on Friday night we had the whole zone into Napoli. We all met up at one of the busier areas of Napoli and we sang Christmas carols for a solid 2 hours and 30 minutes. It was one of the sickest (coolest) things. We had a massive crowd, and everyone got into the Christmas spirit. I was genuinely surprised at the size of the crowd. 

On Saturday, we had a really amazing meal appointment with some great members. We ate all kinds of fish, spaghetti and salads. It was pretty terrific because they have a few kids who are going on missions soon, that are awesome. I really enjoyed the time spent together with them. They then surprised us and gave us gifts! We got belts and kaleidoscopes. How amazing!!!

On Christmas, we had an awesome time at church and then went with Ev and F to Ev's house. We at like 5 pounds of fried rice each...no kidding. And then we ate goat legs! I can't say I am much of a fan. After, we got to teach Ev how to baptize and prepare for the baptism.

The coolest thing was that night I Skyped with my beautiful family. It was so great, because I got to feel like a brother again. I miss my brothers more than I realized – hahaha!  I only remember when I am reminded of how awesome they are. Also, my parents - they are the best! So fun to catch up a bit on life and such. 

Today I got brown shoes. I expect to be leaving Napoli this week, so we will see! Transfer calls are Tuesday and on Friday we leave. So next email I'll update y'all. It will be sad saying goodbye to Anziano Youngblood, because he is a beast and a great "son."

Anyways, I love you all! Thanks for all the love!

Anziano Ridd

Skyping with our missionary ~ our favorite part of Christmas!
We are all wearing our Italy t-shirts for the special occasion! 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Buon Natale! 🎄 12/19/16

Hey family! 

This week was pretty solid. I can't lie; I just keep getting more excited for Christmas and the holidays. So that's fun stuff. 

Ok, so I'll start off with a pretty cool thing that happened this week. Anziano Youngblood and I were walking around last Pday when we heard a voice say, "Elders." We saw who it was and it was an African man. His name is V and he had met with missionaries in the past. So we made an appointment to go visit him. When we confirmed his appointment, he told us that he has a surprise for us...which is always fun. So we met up and he pulled out a triple combination (The Holy Bible plus The Book of Mormon) and says, "I need to tell you the full truth." He then goes on to tell us that he joined the church about 3 years ago in Spain, where he was living for 24 years. He expressed a desire to come back to church, so he should come next Sunday with his whole family, none of which are members. We are excited for him! 

Then that night we attended the baptisms of L and Jo. They are these two little girls of a member that the zone leaders were teaching. One is 11 and the other is 8. It was super awesome. 

J is still progressing to baptism. We are excited to teach him this week, and eat at their home for Christmas! What's better is we also get to bring F. It will be an amazing day. That and I get to Skype my family! 

I would like to throw a shout-out to the best mother in the world. Today is her birthday, and she is still doing it all and young as ever! I love you, Mama! 

Also a side note, things are getting pretty Christmas-y here in Napoli. We have some cool pics of lights and things that I will send over. One might say that Italy is very Christian, so they do love Christmas. That's nice.

Anyways, I love all of you and wish you all a Merry Christmas! A small spiritual thought is Mosiah 4:6-10:

6 I say unto you, if ye have come to a knowledge of the goodness of God, and his matchless power, and his wisdom, and his patience, and his long-suffering towards the children of men; and also, the atonement which has been prepared from the foundation of the world, that thereby salvation might come to him that should put his trust in the Lord, and should be diligent in keeping his commandments, and continue in the faith even unto the end of his life, I mean the life of the mortal body--

7 I say, that this is the man who receiveth salvation, through the atonement which was prepared from the foundation of the world for all mankind, which ever were since the fall of Adam, or who are, or who ever shall be, even unto the end of the world.

8 And this is the means whereby salvation cometh. And there is none other salvation save this which hath been spoken of; neither are there any conditions whereby man can be saved except the conditions which I have told you.

9 Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.

10 And again, believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you; and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them.

Learn of God. Believe in Him. If you do, follow His teachings. The best gift you could give to your Father in Heaven is a broken heart and contrite spirit, so be generous this year. 


Anz Ridd

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Joy of The Truth - 12/12/16

Hey family! 

I hope all is okay this week. I know things might have been a bit more emotionally rocky. I was pretty sad when I heard the news this week about Grandma Lucia passing away, but then I remembered how wonderful she is. She is happier now, and I know she smiles upon us as we make the right decisions in life. I felt peace as I prayed about her. 

This week for the work we seemed a bit stagnant, but at the end of the week we saw some sweet miracles. So J, the son of E, is progressing to baptism right now. He is going to baptized at the end of month! We are excited about that. Then we saw an interesting miracle. When we were at F's house we met a friend of hers named L. He lives in Torino, but he was SO interested in the gospel. He actually took the Book of Mormon out of my hands so he could read it. Then we taught him, he came to church, and we taught him again. So we are sending an amazing referral to Torino. 

And then this weekend we set up like 5 appointments for next week with people with good promise. We can't wait to see if they are ready to receive the restored gospel. And on Sunday I got to do my first baptismal interview. It was for the cutest 11-year old girl. This next Saturday she will be baptized. 

Sad to say that this week had more than one death. This week a member of the branch passed away as well. So on Thursday morning we went to her funeral and were pall bearers. That would be nice, if we didn't have to carry the 200 lb. casket with the 400 lb. woman up the 2 flights of winding stairs. It was scary and difficult...

Anyways I wanted to leave a quick spiritual thought too. This week I read an amazing talk by President Hinckley. It is called "I Believe" and you can find it in the August 1992 Ensign. He talks about 10 of his beliefs. I love a lot of what he says and I wanted to add my 2 cents. I believe in the family as the most important part of society as well. I know that the family can be eternal if we follow the gospel of Jesus Christ - and if the family is strong, the world will prosper. Click here to read this talk. 

I believe in diligence. That everyday we should improve something.  If we do this, we will find joy every day in our lives. And I believe in charity as an ideal and a goal. As President Benson once said of charity: "The pure love of Christ seeks only the eternal growth and joy of others."

I know my family is eternal, and oh what joy does that bring to my soul. 

I love y'all!

Anziano Ridd 
Photo credit: F. Ocampos

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Zone Calcio - 12/5/16

Here is our Nativity scene at the Specialized Training meeting.
Anziano Ridd is the Shepherd standing in row 2, 2nd from left, holding a cane (umbrella).
Anz. Ridd is 2nd from right (front row)

This last Monday ended super sick. We played football in the park and then taught some interesting people. One was a girl named GV. She is an evangelist, and she was trying to convert us the whole time we taught. So then after we finished teaching, she said she would give the prayer. She proceeded to grab our shoulders and bless us that we can find the truth and come to her church. Yeah...luckily, in her church we are already saved, according to their doctrine.

Anyways, other than that, we had a decent week. I wouldn't say it was as successful as some, but that depends on what you look at as success. We had a great scambio, learned a ton, and now have a clearer vision of what we need to focus on. The highlights of our work are EV and his family. We taught them on Saturday, and it went very well. Next week they said they will make us Fufu, a famous African dish that makes you strong. Then they all came to church on Sunday, and I got the pleasure of giving EV the Priesthood, which was a super great experience for both of us. His son J is still preparing to be baptized at the end of the month. 

Now here is the fun part of finding this week - football finding. It seems that a massive part of Italians have no idea of what football is and are interested in talking when we have it. So I have been loving it. People are now stopping us occasionally to talk with us about what it is and who we are. 

This last Saturday we had a Specialized Training. It went very well and I really had a ton of fun. In fact, when we finished, we did a Nativity scene. I was the Shepherd. Pictures may follow. 

A strange take-away I had this week: Anziano Spencer was talking about some advice he got when he started his mission. He asked the AP at the time what he should know as a new missionary. His response was, "Right now you are just a child. When you finish your mission, you will be a man." Now that might not seem like news, or something super profound, but it made me think of a chapter in the New Testament: 1 Corinthians 13:11- "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." This is true. You stop doing some childish things. 

Anyways, life is great. We had a sick zone calcio this week and I LOVED IT. So I'll send a pic of that. I'm slowly being converted to the sport. 

Well…I think that's it. I love doing this work. I learn a ton every week. I recommend doing it as members. Just invite someone to the ward parties this winter or like...show the "Light the World" video. Click here to watch the Light the World video (2+ minutes) and for service ideas for each day through December 25th. 

Love y'all,
Anz Ridd

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Thanksgiving is Gone; Now Light the World!

Awesome Thanksgiving feast, thanks to the Hydes!

Hey family!

So this week was decently eventful, and sadly it wasn't because we baptized anyone. 

Ok, well I'll hit the work first. It goes well. Not the best, but we are searching for the elect and that takes some work and a lot of changing on our part. That's why I have been loving Moroni 8:16. "Wo be unto them that shall pervert the ways of the Lord after this manner, for they shall perish except they repent. Behold, I speak with boldness, having authority from God; and I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear."

So the sad thing is we didn't teach a ton this week. The good thing, we taught Ev and his family - including his son who now has a baptismal date and is the most athletic 9-year old ever. They came to church on Sunday, and next week Ev will receive the Priesthood. That's super cool, because it means that he will be able to baptize his son!!!! Other than that, things were pretty low key.

Key events. Thanksgiving- we went to the questura - that took like 5 hours of my life, but we got it done. Then the Hydes were AMAZING and made us a Thanksgiving feast! They had turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, fruit salad, cranberry sauce, broccoli with holiday sauce and pumpkin cake. So to say the least, we are spoiled! That was fun. 

Next key event, ANZIANO YOUNGBLOOD HAD A BIRTHDAY, SHOUT HURRAY!!  So his birthday was yesterday. We made pancakes for breakfast and then ate cake at a member's house. It was super nice and fun. He is now 19, which is a useless age... trust me. Might as well donate it to a good cause. 

Other than that, our Pday event will consist of going to a park and playing with a Christmas gift I opened early. It was in the shape of a football. We are excited. 

This Christmas go to Mormon.org and Be a Light. (Or, Light the World in English). It's a super awesome way to get into the Christmas spirit and all of us here in Italy are pumped to do it as well! Click here to watch a 2+ minute video to get into the Light the World Christmas spirit! There will be an updated service idea each day from December 1st through 25th, for those interested. 

Love y'all! 
Anziano Ridd

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Scampia Bro Bacio - 11/21/2016

Castel Nuovo, better known locally as Maschio Angioino. Naples, Italy.
Hey Family, 
Happy Thanksgiving week!!!

This week was pretty sweet and was super busy because of transfers. 

So on Monday night we received transfer calls, and I got lucky and get to stay here with Anziano Youngblood to finish my training. I was kinda scared because recently some trainers had been split from their trainees. I am really excited about that, because it means we get to spend his birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas together. And almost New Years and my birthday...but we will see about those. 

Then my trainer, Anziano Jensen, spent a night here and we got to do a mini scambio when he passed on his way to his last city, Argrigento. That was a cool thing. Interesting things about transfers - I'm still the DL, and the new ZL is Anziano Berger. He is from Michigan and is such a beast at missionary work…and swimming. He swims for BYU like my buddy Ryan Sorenswim. 

This week our work went pretty well. We are teaching a couple named “Mc” and “Mi.” Mi is pregnant, and they are super excited to become parents. They also accepted a baptismal date for the 30th of December. Then we are teaching a Ukrainian lady named “An.” She is superb. She has a huge desire to grow her faith in Christ, and find what is missing in her life. Sadly, none of them came to church. So we will see how things shake out. This week was super cool for finding potentials. Next week will tell if they are all good or bad. 

We also are now teaching a new convert named “Ev.” He and his wife are members that are from Togo. Their son is 9 and not baptized so we will be working with him to help him get there. They are an awesome family and I love them so much! 

Ok, my thought today is one of my favorite scriptures as of the last week. It's Moroni 8:16 which says, "Wo be unto them that shall pervert the ways of the Lord after this manner, for they shall perish except they repent. Behold, I speak with boldness, having authority from God; and I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear." This verse is the bomb. It talks about all the things I love the most: Repentance, Boldness, Authority (Priesthood), and Love. But the part I will point out specifically is "perfect love casteth out all fear." When we have enough love of Christ, we will never fear to do what is right, even if it is hard. So next time we think of something nice to do for someone else, do it. Don't fear doing the right. Don't fear sharing the gospel of Christ. We do it out of love, and we do not fear men, or the rejection of men.  
Time for the funny story and the title explanation. Yesterday, we were on an escalator and there was a HUGE Italian behind us. I'm talking, 6'5" and built massively, and kinda scary-looking. So I turned toward him and we made eye contact. He immediately asks if we are English. We reply that we are American and he gets super happy. We talk for a bit and we learn he plays rugby. As we talk, I notice not only is he huge, but he is missing half of 2 fingers, so it adds to the huge scary dude look. He is from Scampia, which is in our area, and he loves Jesus. We talk for a bit longer, become bros or "fratime." We part ways after getting his number, and we bacio, the normal Italian 2 cheek style. Normal stuff; I kiss people on the cheeks all the time. But he tells me in Scampia they bacio (kiss) differently because they are heart brothers. So he shows me with his buddy. They kiss each other on the cheek, then on the lips...I never expected that from a huge guy like that...so when we go teach him I guess we will see what happens (Please note - I have not kissed a man on the lips...yet.) 

Anyways, one can see that my week and life are great. Anziano Youngblood and I are slaying it, and our house is super clean and pretty! We are prepping for Christmas. Thanks, Mom!!!

Love all y'all! 
Anziano Ridd