Wednesday, December 31, 2014

And I said, Have a very Merry Christmas and to all a Buona Vita

Dear Family and Friends,

Courage is being scared to death, and then saddling up anyways.

Really Nice restaurant we ate at the first day.
View from our apartment.  It gets
really foggy here sometimes.
Thank y'all for the gifts and for the love this Christmas season, it's meant so much to me. I will officially say that my diet has lived a good life and has died an even better life. While in Italy I'll probably be eating quite a bit of sweets. It was funny when I Skyped home, I gave off a discouraged vibe, which was more of a (I love my family and miss home and seeing them is getting me a little sad inside). Kind of funny, but know that most days Im doing really good and life is getting a lot better. It was really nice talking and seeing y'all. 

Today I cleaned the mold out of my bathroom and by my bed, that was a new fun experience.

Jacob Gridley would be a novelty over here, no one has blonde hair unless they've dyed it that way. 

In Alessandria you only see buildings
around you, and roads are often
like this.
Some saying I say over here that are Italian are.. Senza Paura.. Which means without fear.. it's really funny haha.. Ganzo.. neat.. Veloce.. Fast.. When I'm leaving some where and some people I might say.. Buona vita.. (in some form) meaning I hope you have a good life.. I try to make up a little bit for my lack of language with emphasizing and using the words I do know and use passion in what I say.

People don't really talk to us on the streets due to a number of factors.. Its cold out.. A lot of people already talk to them on the streets and they all just want their money.. which kind of makes sense why they automatically don't want to talk to us.. (Though I don't want and wouldn't accept any money anyways haha).. they're frustrated with religion which I get from talking to some of the other missionaries about.. it just makes doing things quite a bit more difficult over here.

In Centro trying to talk to some people
We visited a man in a psychiatric hospital two days ago. The story behind that is.. his sister almost tried to kill him with a knife.. and he's really stressed so he checked himself in to the hospital.. he's not actually crazy just having some troubles. Hes really interested in the gospel though and Anziano Taylor and Wilson have set up a Baptism date with him.

We then had family night right out side the door of a members apartment, since there was no old enough male present. It was really funny and good. The language is slowly coming. I found the humor in it haha
Picture from the MTC with our
teacher Fratello Hinz.
On Sundays we do family night with the Ganz, which means the young single adults. Kind of a cool name, but during this afterwords we eat dinner and play Foosball, and I have a little bit of skills from back in the day haha, anyways they take it pretty serious and I do as well haha, but I beat a native twenty six year old guy here 10-9 anyways that's kind of fun. Hes the ward mission leader Martin. Really cool guy, we played chess and monopoly on Christmas, as we stayed over there house for lunch and Skype. He beat me once at chess then I beat him.. Anziano Wilson Rovini all of us.. He has some major luck dagnab it. How do you beat someone that lands on all the of the properties and two of the people you cant talk to that well and are super shrewd traders..  
Anziano Lewis

We have four Anziano in Alessandria all in the same building in two separate apartments. Which is really nice and cool, Anziano Lewis and I slept over at the other Anziani apartment Christmas Eve and Christmas which was super fun. We watched the testament (which is the only LDS film I really don't like.. Legacy I really like etc) but we turned off the sound and made up the voices for them making the movie so much better than it is.. it was a good time. 

Chinese Salon place haha.
The scripture that I tried to give and I'll give again Alma 36:27. Another scripture that's really good. Is Exodus 14:14 which basically says I will fight for you so be patient. Its short and really nice. I've found in the old testament often if you are obedient and do what the Lord asks he helps you in this life. I know that this is true and I've seen it in my own life, I challenge y'all to try finding this out for your self or to keep trying it. I know that it makes a difference. 

On that note I saw the picture you put with my plaque. I got a picture of it where my lips were weird and I looked like the Joker. Can we maybe please change the picture.. haha kind of funny, but I'd rather not be too much like the Joker in this life and that picture might jinx me. 

Anziano Lewis got his hair cut today at a Chinese Salon place. It was soooo funny the music and what not going on there.
Milan Centro Cathedral.  Yes
Uncle Russell I got to go :)

We aren't having too much success at the moment, but I'm optimistic and I believe things will get better soon.
I like the people that we meet on the street that aren't too busy or closed minded to talk to us, even if we have different opinions and we just leave in peace or something. Those type of people are generally nicer etc, and I think it's good to be like that generally. Maybe it's just comes back to the basic treating people decently I'm not sure, but this principle is good.

A big Christmas tree by said Cathedral.
We had dinner sort of last night with a Filipino family. (There are a lot of Filipino members here as basic knowledge for you.) He served a mission quite a few years ago, he married his wife who he met at seminary and university. He has a son named Moroni, who's going to school here. This guy watched his son while his wife worked because no one else can watch him during the day. He's looking for work either while his son is at school or at night. This guy loved missionary work and has been living it even now. He's an extremely patient and loving man, who for me was an extremely good example for me. He helped me gain more perspective. There are a lot of good examples out here in Italy and a lot of bad, I've been noticing them and hopefully I'll change myself to a better person and maybe they'll just plain rub off on me.

Alessandria. Kind of how it is.
The bricks move under us as we bike
which is fun.
I've been kind of having a hard time sort of pouting and feeling bad about the situation, but I feel so much better now and ready to lock and load. I can't communicate super well or anything yet, but I have a desire to help this people as I can and I'm going to fake it till I make it which is generally a good thing to do in life. If you don't like to read the Book of Mormon, or go to church.. fake it till you make it. If you don't like to run but want to run fake it till you make it. The desire and being good at things generally come after time of trying and doing that something.

Alps. I have seen the Alps! (Sorry if
you can't see in this picture, but they
are there if you look hard!  haha)
I challenge y'all to fake it till ya make it (about something good), it'll hopefully work and do wonders for you. 

I hope y'all have had a very marvelous Christmas and New Year. I'm praying for y'all and I know everything will eventually work out.

(If you can guess or know what these quotes etc are coming from you'll win major brownie points from me. (Generally they are movies.))

I'm your huckleberry.

With Love,  Anziano Gridley

Friday, December 26, 2014

A special Christmas Skype call

We had the projecter all set up at the house awaiting Anziano Gridley's call.  A little after  9am we finally got the Skype notification and we had a 40 minute conversation with him.  It was wonderful to see him and talk with him.

He was at a members house and we could see a Christmas tree in the background with the Elder's playing Monopoly with the family.  It looked like a wonderful celebration they were having. After we all visited with him, we had Cathi offer a very touching family prayer and said our goodbye's until Mother's day when he'll be able to skype us again.  What a wonderful treat it was to hear from him!

Here's part of the conversation:

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Buon Natale (Merry Christmas)

Buon Natale Friends and Family,

I've asked a few people how I can get a quad of all four scripture books in Italian, and they keep telling me, You'll paper cut your eye out kid. (They dont have an Italian quad here, they kind of have a weird bible thats almost the same)

Language: I'm now at level 2(ish). Everyone laughs when I speak from how I say things and how it makes sense, and I can communicate sort of.

A man we are teaching is interesting. He got baptized a while ago. He has a wife and two daughters. He's a bit two faced in the fact that he is really nice to us and the members, but not very nice to his wife and daughters. I hope that we especially during this time of Christmas, can be the most nice to those who matter most.

Another man that is Italian, married a woman from Ecuador that moved here. For a few years, they decided to move to Ecuador and she moved a few months ago and he is saving up to move when he can. She got baptized in Ecuador, and he's now looking up the church here and trying to learn more. We've only met with him once, but it's a pretty cool story and we are hoping for the best. He says that he doesn't want a house divided against itself, hence hes investigating the church.

Some more fun things I think I forgot to mention. Cars here if you dont have legit parking somewhere, you flip on your hazard lights, letting everyone else know you'll be back in about 5 minutes and go do what you want to do.  Its kind of legit. Also stop signs are more like guidelines here haha.

We do caroling quite a bit which during we hand out pass along cards. One was on the ground as we were walking by. This woman picked it up (it had a picture of Jesus on it) she says to herself, who would ever throw this away? Kind of some wisdom type of thing there.

We went into Milan yesterday for new missionary training, basically they want us to do better among other things. We did 7 lessons last week and they asked those there that they wanted 21. Which for us (I don't know if I'm of little faith or what, but) its not really possible at all. We'll see what happens I guess=). Goals aren't too useful if they are impossible though haha.

I think I was shell shocked the first week out here. I feel a bit better and everythings working out ok. Its kind of funny. We have encountered a few people who only like the bible, from what I've researched recently anyone who thinks that is a bit foolish, which is a bit hard to say tactfully or if they don't want to talk to you, but who is anyone to restrict Heavenly Father on what he wants to teach us etc? There are lots of other things as well, but if this is holding anyone back back at home, I suggest you don't let it. Someone said that I really liked at the training from a non member.

I don't generally have any answers from my prayers, like concrete answers. I generally just feel peace. Which I can heavily relate to and which I've grown to love even more this week.

 Thank you all for helping me in my life. Remember what is important and have mercy like the Mr. Miyaugi in Karate Kid. Be grateful for what you have=). I hope my absence helps bear testimony of some semi hidden important things of life.

With Love,

Anziano Gridley

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Italy =)

Dear Family and Friends,

A long time ago in a country far far away. Their lived two young Jedi, The apprentice and the master. They both were trying to teach the ways of the force to the popollo of Italy. Most of the people did not have time or were interested in the Jedi, but this is their story.

I'm in Italy now in a city called Alessandria. There is no snow here, but its much colder here than Utah. The city is like from a movie. You cant see any of the countries because you are surrounded by buildings. There are these narrow brick roads that we bike on and walk on most of the day. We don't have too many investigators and those we do have are A) Too busy or B) not truly interested. Making it nigh impossible to meet with them at all so we have been looking for new people this last week. Not many people respond to us, and if they do believe in Jesus Christ they aren't open to our message. A lot of people don't believe in Jesus Christ though. 

We went caroling the other day, the four Anziano. Three would sing and one would hand out little hand out things. We then started handing out pamphlets and a few book of Mormon that were gift wrapped. (yes we are very clever haha). But the funny thing is, very few people would take, the presents. If I was back home and someone handed me a present on the street, Id be all over that stuff. Also we ll ask people if they like Christmas, and they basically do a Bah-humbug type of response. Kind of funny, while really sad. Its good to take things with a smile as you can as a missionary though. 

I hardly understand people here, even my trainer. Its like level 10 to level 1 of the MTC. I'm trying and I'm being patient, but I don't have an ear for the language yet. Hence hes done more of the talking. Example I ask people often on the streets. Do you believe in Jesus Christ... and they don't understand what I say even if I say it twice... even though I've gotten lots of practice. Kind of funny. But I hope the language comes eventually.

On a bright side... The food is amazing. Out right amazing. The pizza, bread, etc is so good. They know how to eat here. I would know =). Ive been very hungry often but thats ok. They eat a small breakfast big lunch and a small dinner. So I'm trying to adjust. 

They are very good at driving here... But they are also very crazy drivers. Its a little scary haha. and they are mean yet nice. If you are walking or biking.. you make the cars stay out of your way type of thing. The culture is different that way. Also there is graffiti all over the place. 

My trainers name is Anziano Lewis. He is super nice, patient, cool etc. If you have seen or want to see Fried Green Tomatoes, he looks Like Buddy, and kind of acts like him too. Hes amazing at the language. Hes been out here a year and a half. Hes from Logan Utah. He says cool beans a fair amount. He knows his stuff. 

There are 6 missionaries in Alessandria. Two sisters and four elders. The sisters are nice. The elders live in the same building one floor down so we see them a lot. They are the zone leaders and hence have a car, they drive us around every once in a while so that's very nice. Anziano Taylor sings, and has a very funny sense of humor, hes also very spiritual. Anziano Wilson is super funny, he ll often do funny things that get me cracking up and he similes a lot which I like. 

The Jedi would often pass people on the street. They would do a slight wave as a friendly gesture, but in all honesty they would do it hoping that they would Jedi mind trick them into listening to them. (Kind of funny=))

Its been semi successful though, because we have met two men on the street the last two days and we are meeting with each of them at different times tonight. I'm excited and hoping for the best.

Its easy to see the bad parts of being here etc. a little harder to see the good side of things at times. Which I'm going to work on. 

The other Elders had a baptism on Saturday which was super cool. This younger guy who has super cool hair in Italy. Speaking of, in Italy its really in to have buzzed sides and a long top. Dad has been having us boys use that for years, so maybe it was all meant to be haha. 

In the MTC some things I liked before I left was, We watched the Christmas devotional, there was a story of a two year old boy who had cancer he was going to die soon before his three favorite holidays. Halloween his Birthday in November, and Christmas. So his ward and stake celebrated all these within a week.. he died three days later. I cried quite a bit at this story, haha. It just gives me hope in the human race and goodness of people. I watched the Joseph Smith Restoration and some things I learned, every blessing we receive comes through obedience. Emma asked Joseph Smith Do you ever think he asks too much.. I don't let myself (was his response). All our losses will be made up if we are faithful. Sometimes the greatest acts of kindness are the small things. 

A scripture I loved this week was. Alma 36:37 which basically teaches not to fear, which I really like. 

Sorry I didn't call home more than twice. I couldn't check the email the day before, and I only had a minute to call the two numbers I remembered. We were so busy. No extra time. 

The members in Alessandria are so nice and good. They've fed us a few times already and we love and appreciate them and them us. We mostly make our own food here. So Ill probably come home a master Italian chef as well. 

Funny story to kind of explain things here. A man parked his car in the middle of a small road so no one could pass, with 3 or 4 cars behind him. They all honked at him. He opened his door and grunted very loudly... twenty five seconds later he drove off. 

I've gained even more perspective here which is surprising... I appreciate things more now. 

We also have bikes. Which I really like which is surprising. We get to bike fast and what not. Its basically like having your own poddracer, mi piace. (I like it) 

Italian For The Week... Ganzo, is a cool way to say neat.

I've taken a few trains while I've been here which has been fun. They aren't super nice trains, but they aren't terrible. 

People smoke sooooo much here. I HATE it. I don't like breathing in the second hand smoke, and its utterly unattractive. The young people still think its cool so they get hooked on it. 

Over all I like it here and I'm thankful. Thank you for those who have written me (recently and not). I really do appreciate it and it lifts the spirits of a Jedi. Thank you for your prayers. Maybe remember that I need help with the language over here in your future ones. Enjoy what you have while you have it. Be thankful. We are only on earth for a short amount of time. 

With Love
Anziano Gridley

Friday, December 12, 2014

Austin's first assignment - Alessandria

Elder Lewis, Elder Gridley, President and Sister Dibb
Last night we got an email from Austin's Mission president, President Dibb. Austin has been assigned to serve in Alessandria, and his trainer is Elder Lewis.

The email also included this FAQ document which was pretty informative.  Also the Missionary Handbook.

We're looking forward to hearing from him on his next P day which is on Wednesdays.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

He's there!

We got an email from the mission secretary:

I wanted to make sure you learned of the smooth arrival of Elder Gridley in Milan this afternoon!
I was able to meet him personally, and I can tell he’s going to do great.

Tomorrow he and the other missionaries will be matched up with their trainers, and he will head off to his city of Alessandria (about 2 hours south west of Milan) with his trainer Elder Lewis. 
Preparation day in the Italy Milan mission is on Wednesday, so please expect an exciting email from him next Wednesday morning. You’ll also receive an email from us within the next few days with the picture of Elder Gridley and his trainer with President Dibb, and some answers to frequently asked questions.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

He's on his way!

Some mom texted us this photo of Elder Gridley and his flight companions at the SLC Airport.  He's on his way to Dallas where he will connect to a flight taking him to London I think.  We're hoping he calls us at the layover in Dallas so we can get more information from him and catch up a little.

Waiting patiently for his flight to Milan
Cyber stalking Elder Gridley

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Dear Family and Friends,

In the land of Earth, in the Fires of Satan's domain, the Dark Lord Satan began tempting and destroying the lives of everyone, and into this earth he poured his cruelty, his malice and his will to dominate all life. One by one, the free lands of Earth fell to the power of Satan, but there were some who resisted. A last alliance of Latter Day Saints (and other good people) and Missionaries marched against the armies of Satan, and on the very slopes of Earth, they fought for the freedom of Earth. (*Spoiler alert* (Satan loses))

ThanksGivin Day -
We had a great lunch and then made sack dinners for dinner. We helped make a little under 400 thousand meals for people in need in Utah. I specifically helped make 3000. 
Elder Bednar talked to us, some things I liked about his talk (notes). Feel the energizing effects of this work. Prayers that are more specific are generally better prayers. Having faith in science is flawed and is just as vague if not worse as faith in other things, granted science helps answer many questions, but not many of the questions that really matter. For me I'll have faith in the Lord and not in the scientist. Many older couples can and serve missions. They can be bad examples as well. The power of being absent from your home is a more powerful testimony than being there (for a season). Faith comes by trails and afflictions hence be careful what you pray for. Agency isn't about being disobedient. A mission is boot camp for life. You are clean if the Holy Ghost is present within you (I'm going to say generally). One side of a wing is the husband, the other is the wife. You need both wings for the plane to fly. (Missionaries are helicopters hence independent ( and I may remain a helicopter for life haha (He didn't talk about helicopters, that's something I came up with).  Being a missionary shouldn't be a chore. When you aren't sure about what to say or do in a lesson etc. Bear your testimony of Joseph Smith and the Restoration. He promised that if you prayed morning and night and read the Book of Mormon every day, you will never fall away. 
They already have the Christmas lights out. I'd rather be home etc to enjoy the time of ThanksGivin, but I have been and am doing good. 
Despite all of my efforts to avoid a movie I did not want to see, (mostly cause I'm stubborn). --They played for us on ThanksGivin Meet the Mormons. I really liked it and I do recommend it.
Stories -

  • The producer of Noosies and The Other Side of Heaven gave a talk along with the actual missionary from the Other Side of Heaven at a BYU Devotional. The producer talked about how, he had an ordinary mission and was an ordinary missionary. He went hiking in the mountains for an over night camping trip several years later with his 10ish year old son and took 2 of his son's friends, he also took their dog. He pitched the tent and he was in the tent with the dog. The tent and he get hit with lightning, the dog dies. The boys are freaking out and praying (they're fine). He feels he's dying and he thinks he should probably pray. Before he does he hears "You were my missionary, ask what you will now." In a few hours he was well and they all hiked down. I got a bit teary eyed. 
  • An Elder offered another Elder, some white shirts because the other missionary was lacking. I was really impressed and going to try to be more like that.
  • One of the Sisters was talking to my collega and he said he kicked his dog if it was needed, and she said "Do you kick your collega to? Is that why he is so quiet and submissive?" I wasn't really listening and it didn't bother me too much, but she felt really bad, so she wanted to do something to make up for it, I told her that it was fine, she got me quitips regardless. I had bunches of em already so I gave them to one of our Language teachers. Was kind of funny. I am pretty quiet and what not here. I have a feeling I'm generally misunderstood. I don't mind and don't care, but for documentation purposes and so ya know, here ya go. Kind of funny though.

Language Teaching - 

  • In Italy you don't say "good luck" that's sarcastic and rude. Instead you say, "In Bocca al Lupa", which means In the mouth of the wolf, you then respond, "Crepi", which means "May you never die". So if you are in a wolfs mouth, may you never die, is what's said, kind of odd and funny.

I like doing laundry on P-days which seems odd but I do. I imagine doing laundry for lots of people makes it not fun though, so thank you mom :). 

I'm doing really good at being patient with others etc, but I think something I'm going to work on in my mission is turning outward when things are going bad etc, instead of being hard hearted and selfish. It's tough if you're doing it right.

I'm leaving Tuesday morning for Italy. I don't know when my next P-day will be, so try to be patient for an email. 
I'm excited and not really worried. The language is coming along great.
I hope ya'll are doing alright, I'm praying for you. 

There may come a day when our shields may be shattered and the wolves devour us, but it is not this day, this day we fight!

With Lots of Love,
Anziano Gridley