Friday, June 24, 2016

Summer, getting hotter, finding people in Bologna to teach

Hey everyone! Ciao!

I can't believe that it is already officially summer! It is definitely getting hotter outside but it hasn't been too bad lately. We had a good week just trying to find more new people and getting the ball rolling in Bologna. Our new mission president, President Allen, arrives sometime next week which is pretty exciting.

Un bello lasagna dal mio collega
 As I wrote in my letter last week, we were able to go to Venice on Wednesday and have an exchange with the Anziani who live in Mestre. We were able to get some great work in over there and we even ended off the exchange with an all you can eat sushi buffet with gelato! While we were in that area we ran into about 6 different Mormon families from America who stopped and talked to us which was pretty cool.
The ward family night we had!  Such great people!

 We had some pretty awesome things happen to us this week while finding. While talking to people in the parks and on the busses, we've been able to find 1 family and 4 other people who want to meet with us again! The 1 family we met was while we were on the bus Monday night.  It is a mom, dad, grandma, and 9 year old daughter all from Ecuador!

I'm honestly super excited to see how things turn out in the next few weeks here. There seems to be so much potential with the people we have found, it's really exciting.

 This last Sunday was Father's Day! In Italy they actually celebrate it on a different day so it just seemed like any other day. I am honestly so grateful for my dad for raising me, supporting me, and inspiring me to be the best missionary I can be. I hope to be as good as a missionary as he was when he served in California. I am also so grateful for our Father in Heaven who has an incomprehensible love for each and every one if us. Being on a mission has really helped me realize even more how truly real and loving our Father in Heaven is.

 He is there, He is caring, and as real as our own Father is. I love you all!!


Friday, June 17, 2016


Ciao everybody!

This week was such a great week. The email I just typed deleted so this one won't be as long as the others. We are doing an exchange today with the Mestre Anziani and we spent the day in Venice! Most beautiful city I've seen so far. We even knocked on a few doors which was fun!


 We had zone conference last week and we talked a lot about fresh starts and trying to find new people. Me and Anziano Vasquez made an effort to do our best to find more people to teach. With munch hard work and prayer, we were able to find 5 new people who want to learn more about the gospel.
A really cool miracle happened to us last Monday. We were finding in the park and we were able to teach a university student the restoration and he asked to come back to the park next week. As we were leaving the park, I felt very inspired to walk clear across the street of the park and talk to this man on a bench. To make a long story short, he absolutely loved what we shared with him and had never heard about the church. We will be seeing him again this Friday! I know that the Lord asked us to share his gospel with the world and he promised that he will provide a way for us to do it.
Church on the water
The main piazza

As Nephi said "The Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." Missionary work isn't easy but Heavenly Father sure provides a way for it to be accomplished. I have never felt so much joy in my life knowing that the prompting I felt from the spirit lead us to someone who was prepared to hear the gospel. This work is amazing and it is moving forward. I'm so blessed to be here! Love all of you!
Our zone!...All great missionaries.
Claudio: our ward mission leader!
My MTC companion Elder Mciver and me!


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Working smart and hard is really paying off because we have had so many miracles.

Ciao Famiglia e Amici!

Anzioan Vasquez

Probably the best food I've eaten so far

Best ragu I have ever tasted in my life!
 This week was super sweet! So much has happened in the last 7 days with both Anziano Wright and Da Ponte leaving. As I mentioned last week, Anziano Vasquez is my new companion and things have been great so far. He is actually from Huntington Beach, CA and for the both of us, it's our first time serving with someone from California. So as you could imagine, it's pretty sweet serving with someone who is from the beach haha. We have been trying to do everything we can to not only work hard, but work smart too, and it's working for us! We have been doing lots of finding using the "thanks to Him" video which has stopped lots of people. We have also been going through our area books and calling lots of people who used to be taught by us years ago.
The Manaresi family

 Working smart and hard is really paying off because we have had so many miracles. Since Saturday, we now have 5 new people to teach this week! One of the five is a family who we will be meeting on Friday. Also, we have a baptismal date for Umberto in the beginning of July.

 Just this last week was the beginning of summer here in Bologna so all the kids are out of school and tons of people are visiting here. The summer weekends here are really cool because they block off all the main streets in downtown so that everyone can walk around and it's super fun. The odd thing is that it has been raining almost everyday but it makes for more adventure.

 Anziano Vasquez has a really good friend who lives here in Bologna who picked us up on Monday and showed us all the cool secrets of the city. He introduced us to some really cool university friends who we were super interested in what we do! Then he ended up driving us to our next appointment which was super nice. I ended up sitting in the trunk of his smart car (which is tiny) and he drove us super fast through bumpy cobble stoned streets. Before he dropped us off, we were able to share a scripture with him which he really liked! Today his family is teaching us how to make super good Bolognese food. Ci sto!
Me in the back of a smart car

 I can honestly say these have been some of the best weeks of my mission so far. I love Bologna, I love sharing the gospel, and I LOVE serving other people. I believe Heavenly Father will bless us if we show Him that we are willing to work hard and and put in our best efforts. That doesn't apply to just missionary work, but life in general. Love you all!

 Anziano Hogan

 PS. Fun fact, my dad and brothers came to Italy and went to Firenze "Florence" and ran into some missionaries that I know haha.

this is the famous Bologna Catholic Church.  Way back, the pope took away the funding of building the outside marble because it was going to become more beautiful than the one in Rome.
Street in Bologna
Bologna cat

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Second Week in Bologna

Ciao everyone!

The amazing trio!  I'll miss these guys!

This week was extremely busy and full of awesome experiences. Being in a trio with missionaries who love working hard has been a huge blessing for me. Sadly, Anziano Wright has reached the end of his mission so he'll be leaving tomorrow. Also, Anziano Da Ponte is being transferred out of Bologna so I'll be getting a new companion. I'll be serving with Anziano Vasquez who will be  finished with his mission after this next transfer with me. I'm pretty lucky because he's a hard worker and we should be able to do lots of great work.

Empty bus selfie

We like to put our heads in the freezer because it's so hot and humid all the time!  This is Anziano Wright

Best district ever.  The Bologna district.  Most of us are leaving this week though :(

With this week being Anziano Wrights last week, we planned to reach 21 lessons! It was not an easy task and we had to work super hard to reach it but we got it! It was a miracle because by 4 o'clock on Sunday, we needed 4 more lessons and we were dead exhausted and we had nothing set up. We decided to go to a park, we said a prayer asking for strength and people to share the gospel with. After talking to what felt like the whole city of Bologna, we had reached our goal!
Big lunch we had after church!  So much good Italian food!!

Most amazing member ever.  This is Fratello Palmeri

The funeral for the missionaries going home this week.

Cat pic of the week!  This lady showed us pictures of this cat for a good 15 minutes.  ha ha!
Also, for the 3rd hour of church we were asked to teach the lesson to all the members in the ward which was a super cool opportunity. We were able to share with everyone the importance of missionary work which got everyone more motived to invite friends and come work with us. We have an investigator I think I mentioned last week, his name is Umberto. He is super interested in the gospel and so open to everything we teach. I am very excited to continue teaching him and see him progress! 

I'm super lucky to be in Bologna with such great members, amazing food, and beauty everywhere. There is so much potential here in this city. My mission president said that if we work hard and grow the ward, a new stake would be created within the next few months. The work is never easy but good things always come when we work smart and hard. I'm so happy to be a missionary!
Love you all!!!
The towers of Bologna

This is Santa Margherita park.  aka "the garden of Eden" because miracle lessons happen here.

Ci sentiamo!