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