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Christmas – Blood Work – Transfer – Week 13

Well this is gonna be one crazy letter home, from Christmas, to eating horse, to blood work, to getting spaced transferred and closing down
Mantova. You could say it was a long week.

Christmas for Anziano Brooks and Griffiths

Christmas for Anziano Pack and Griffiths

Christmas Eve was good. We went to the Campos house for dinner. They are from Brazil and they are super cool! They have a son on a mission right now in Ogden. He will come home in February. Okay, super funny story… So we’re on the couch waiting for dinner and we’re talking to another member from Brazil who is here on vacation, who they also invited over for dinner. Anyways, we’re talking and we look down and their dog is having its way with this pillow, and I start dying. I can’t help it. I’m trying not to laugh but I’m losing it. So we try to like take the pillow away and get the dog to stop, but he has this death grip on this pillow. So we pick the pillow up and the dog is holding on for dear life in the air but he’s still holding on to the pillow.

I’m losing it at this point and I can’t breathe, I’m laughing so hard. The family is in the kitchen so they have no idea this is going on and we don’t know what to do. We put the pillow back down then finally we just ripped the pillow out from under him and put in on a shelf. It was the funniest dang thing ever. Anyways dinner was super good. We had lots of bread and cheese and meat. And one of the meats was horse. It was good but very chewy. It was weird.

Zambonini Family in Mantova Italy

Zambonini Family in Mantova Italy

For Christmas we went to the Zamboninis all day. Ahhh we had duck and turkey and potatoes and homemade lasagna that was to die for!.  After, we Skyped home, which was amazing! It was super nice to see everyone:)! After we got done Skyping we went down stairs and talked with the family and taught a lesson on the importance of remembering Christ and we gave away 3 Book of Mormons to their other family members. It was a Buon Natale.

Saturday we were doing our studies, nothing out of the ordinary, and all of a sudden we receive this call from president. This was a little different because it’s usually Sorella Dibb who calls. Anyways, I just assumed it was about my health so I get on the phone with him and he
asks me how I’m doing. (Which, is the same answer as always, sick)  Then he said, “Well, we want you to come to Milan to have your blood work done. So here’s what we’re gonna do. I want you to say all of your goodbyes to your members and investigators today and tomorrow.  You’re going to pack your bags and you’re going to say goodbye to your companion at the train station on Monday and you’re going to head to Milan. Your companion is going to get on another train and he’s going to Pordenone.” (It’s North East of Venice)

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Merry Christmas From Mantova – Week 12

Merry Christmas from Mantova Italy

Merry Christmas from Mantova Italy

Well, this week was a little crazy…everything from gingerbread houses, to MRI’s, to law of chastity lessons. But over all, it was a good week!! I hope you all are having a great holiday season! I miss the snow and mountains. But whenever I think I miss something about Utah, I remember I’m in Italy and then I go walk outside, eat a gelato, maybe get some fresh bread, and I feel a lot better.  JK, I really do miss Utah though.

World Without A Savior

We had zone conference last Thursday and that was fun. We talked more about the, “A Savior is Born” video. We now have the, “A World Without a Savior” video in Italian. If you haven’t seen it, you should watch it! I actually don’t love it in English… I think the voice sounds like Liam Neeson.  He’s the actor in the movie “Taken” that says, “I will find you and I will kill you”.  And the music sounds like Kung Fu Panda so I just think of Liam Neeson saying, “I will find you and I will kill you” to Po, and it kinda ruins the whole video for me. So if you can get past that, then it’s a great little video!!

Also at zone conference we built ginger bread houses! But in Italy they don’t have ginger bread…or gingerbread house stuff. So you could say it was interesting. Ours took second place so we didn’t win the Pandora :(, an Italian holiday cake type thing. But it was still fun!

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19th Birthday – Week 11

Milan Mission Chums

Milan Mission Chums

Ciao, Ciao Everyone,

birthday-gelato-Well this has been an eventful week, although it seems we  didn’t do a whole lot. However, we did lots of street finding which can make the days really long. So, we like to break those days up with a nice gelato. We tried a new gelatoria and I was convinced it was my new favorite place. It was only 2€ and it was super, super good. Then we went and we tried another new gelatoria. Now I’m convinced it’s my new favorite. It was still only €2 but it was amazing and they gave us more than the other place. Basically anywhere you get gelato is amazing. I don’t think there’s a bad gelatoria!!!

19th Birthday

Also this week I had my birthday!! Officially 19! Wahoo!!! Next year I’ll be 20 and that’s weird. Well, in the morning Anziano Pack made pancakes so that was nice of him! They were pretty good. I usually just have a banana or an orange for breakfast so that was a big breakfast, even though I only had 2 small ones. Then we did our studies. Friday is weekly planning so we plan for our investigators and try to set up appointments and things.

After planning, we went to lunch at the Zamboninis (members house) they made this really good pasta with a cream sauce and beef.  Then we had chicken and mashed potatoes…then we had some oranges…and then they made me a cake! It was really nice of them!! It was different than American cake haha. It was like a mix between a brownie and a cake…kinda, sorta. I don’t really know how to explain it. It was very good though!

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Psh…..Italians – Week 10

Anzianos Pack & Griffiths - Pres. & Sister Dibb

Anzianos Pack & Griffiths – Pres. & Sister Dibb

Hey hey hey, ciao ciao ciao!

Fog-in-Mantova-italyHow’s it going back in good old Utah? Lots of snow? No snow? Is it gonna be a White Christmas? Here it’ll probably be a foggy Christmas. The fog is insane here! It’s everyday, all day. Sometimes it’s super super foggy. In some ways it’s really cool. But then, it stinks too cuz when it’s foggy everyone goes home, so we have no one to teach. We had an appointment with an inactive member at 7:00 pm and it was a super foggy night. We couldn’t find her exact apartment so we called her to figure it out and she told us that they already gone to bed. “It’s too foggy.”

Also they have random holidays all of the time. They had a holiday yesterday and I’m pretty sure that the only point of this holiday was to get off work. We tried to ask people what the holiday was about and what we understood is that people just pray on this day and that’s about it. So ya know, let’s close the city and not go to work cuz we need to pray today.


Also I’ve discovered that they LOVE 4 things:

  • 1st–Cheese! They put so much cheese on all of their pasta, it’s crazy. It’s super good. But it’s crazy.
  • 2nd–Smoking. EVERYONE smokes. It’s nuts. I don’t even know how to describe it. Everyone is constantly smoking…it’s crazy.
  • 3rd–Olive oil. You’re having a pizza and they take olive oil and pour it on top…it’s the weirdest thing. You have olive oil with everything.
  • 4th–Eating. Everyone says that Americans eat a lot and that our potion sizes are huge. No way! Italians eat so so so much food.

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Health Issues and Training – Week 9

Hi Family and Friends,

Milan Basilica di San Lorenzo 402 ad

Milan Basilica di San Lorenzo 402 ad

This week was a little different for Braden and he expressed that he wasn’t able to write a typical letter home. He did write, but he spent a lot of time just answering questions that we had for him. So, this week, we are going to give a little breakdown of what is happening in Italy.

Braden’s Health

The main thing that we have been focused on for Braden is his health. Unfortunately, he hasn’t felt well since the day after he got there. He started feeling dizzy, light-headed and also nauseated. He  attributed those symptoms to the fact that he was quite tired from the travel and that he knew there would be several days of recovery from the jet lag. Well, after three days of feeling miserable, he finally mentioned something to his companion. They got Sister Dibb (Mission President’s wife) involved and she set an appointment to see a doctor. The doctor couldn’t diagnose anything at the time and gave Braden a prescription to see if they could pinpoint the problem.  Unfortunately, it didn’t help.

Well, that was 4 weeks ago now and he hasn’t seen any improvement. He feels the most sick right after he wakes up in the morning and also right after eating a meal (Although it is constant throughout the day)  He loves the food but doesn’t have the 18 year old’s appetite that he had before arriving in Italy. He still feels light-headed and they have now asked him not to ride his bike for the time being. He and his companion are out working each day which is a good thing. He is pushing through and enduring this.  He is feeling frustrated, of course, and is just hoping for some relief. He’s trying to stay positive but, after 4 weeks, it is taxing on him.

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A Very Good Week – Week 8

Verona - Elders Skinner & Griffiths

Ciao, Ciao…

Good week this week. I’ve been reading in Alma lately and I don’t think I appreciated Alma enough before the mission. It was always just the long book in the middle but I have found so many good insights in it. It’s awesome! Like everyone knows but Alma 32 is stacked with great scriptures. I hope everyone is having a good week and I have really appreciated all the prayers, thank you so much! And I love hearing about everyone’s week. Emails are the best!  Grazie mile!

Verona Zone Conference

Verona Tight Fit Parking

Verona Tight Fit Parking

Thursday was zone conference which was in Verona, so that was cool to go see. (Above photo taken at dusk) We talked a lot about how awesome sister missionaries are and how the best part about the age change was that we have more sister missionaries and how they bring a different power to the work. Then we talked about how to better use our iPads. It was way helpful because my companion is kinda anti-iPad a little, but now we have to use them.☺️

Also we had a thanksgiving type lunch which was good except for the part where I don’t want to eat. I ate some though, but eating just makes me feel even worse. We had turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, a salad, and a piece of cake. I ate a little turkey, almost all of my mashed potatoes, all the green beans, half my salad, and I gave away the cake!  So, I thought I ate a lot but everyone else had like thirds of everything so…. yeah. Basically I just have no appetite. But, then I eat something because I know I have to, but that just makes me feel worse.

Missionary Friend

We went to dinner that night with a man named Claudio. He’s been taking missionaries to dinner for like 10 years. He’s very catholic but likes hearing about the gospel. We are actually going to start teaching him so maybe he’ll convert. Haha. We went to a really nice restaurant (apparently he’s loaded) it was 27€ each!!! We had these freshly made noodles with cantaloupe meet, (auto correct can be crazy…we think he meant “antalope meat” but we aren’t sure. Anybody know? Noodles and cantaloupe don’t seem to go well together – Wade)  That was good. Then we had donkey stew and some weird bread jello thing….and some veggies. It was pretty good. I didn’t know it was donkey until about half way through. It was pretty good though! It tasted normal! It was very tender! I liked it.Verona-Italy

Lot of Food!

I figured out why Nana makes so much food for our Sunday meals, it’s cuz she’s Italian. They make SO much food here it’s nuts. Friday we went to the Zamboninis and had lunch. They are members and they feed us every week. They’re sooooo nice. They have 4 kids. Their youngest girl is adorable. Their oldest is going to school in England.

We had spaghetti that was sooooo goood then we had potatoes and chicken that were baked and smothered in olive oil!  Haha, they love love love love olive oil here. But it was way good. Then we had some fruit and they have this fruit that’s only found in Italy. It’s called kacchi (no idea how to spell it) but it’s good. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s red and it’s sweet and it’s like jello-y and you eat it with a spoon.

It was like a TON of food and I’m not exaggerating at all. I was so full by the end of the lunch. And when I eat it makes me feel 10,000,000 times worse which is probably why I have no appetite. Yeah so my portions of eating are small. I never want to eat but I do cuz I have to. I still don’t feel good at all. But, the thing is…it tastes good.

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First Week in Milan – Week 7

Ciao Everyone,

Braden-Griffiths-Mantova-ItWell okay, first about London!! All we did was stay in the airport. I was gonna try to call you but we didn’t have any time. After we made it through security it was time to board the next plane. It was like 2:00am for you anyway, so you were probably sleeping. Anyways, I didn’t get to see any of London. I was never close to a window so I didn’t even get to see it from the air:(  But, on the plane, instead of asking if we had any garbage, they asked if we had any “rubbish” so that made me lol.  Okay, so the flight wasn’t bad at all!! Our family’s flight to Florida was like a million times worse. I slept for like 4-5ish hours to London which was was nice and then for about an hour from London to Milan.

Mission-PizzaThe president picked us up from the airport and we went to the mission office and we had some pizza! It was out of a box so I think it was like a Pizza Hut of Italy. It was decent. Mine was a little burnt but that was okay!! We had fresh fruit like oranges and they were soooooo good!!! And we had fanta and that was yummy.

So then, we had some meetings and they gave us iPads to set up. Then we went to the Duomo!! It was so pretty!! Holy cow it was amazing!!  Like so so so pretty!!! It was incredible. I want to tour it. And I want to come to Italy with a nice camera sooo badly.Duomo,-Milan-Italy

That night we went to the president’s house and had dinner. We had a little pizza, salad, SUPER GOOD lasagne and the some gelato (basically just normal ice cream so not the real stuff…yet) We then went to bed!

The next day we got our trainers and areas!! But you already know that…My companion is Michael Pack. I’ll have him type up a bio about himself. My area is Mantova!! Or Mantua in English. It’s super pretty and they have a really pretty lake that we ride our bikes to on our way to the church. The streets are exactly how I imagined them.
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Milan Italy Mission – Finally – Week 6

Hello Friends and Family…Since Braden left the MTC for Italy, and we likely won’t hear from him until his next P-Day, this week’s message is brought to you from Dad:)
Dallas-to-London-AirportThe highlight for us this week was talking with Braden, of course, and then being able to track his flights from Salt Lake to Milan. For those that have never tracked a flight before, it was really cool. I’m sure there are several online trackers but the one we used was called FlightAware. The website is  We just put in the airline carrier and the flight number. You can actually see the plane move. Super easy. Next time you have a loved one traveling, check it out.

We did receive a brief email communication from Anziano Wright who is the mission secretary. He infomed us that Braden had arrived safely and that he had received his first companion and assignment. He will be serving with Anziano Pack in a city called Mantova (Also called Mantua) which is southeast from Milan about 80 miles (As the crow flies).  It is about 115 miles by bus and train and will take about 2 hours.

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Flying the Coop – Week 5



(Good Morning)

Last P-day in the MTC… Finally! I’m so ready to go to Italy. The MTC has its perks though: It’s really easy to get mail and packages and you don’t have to cook for yourself! But honestly, I’d rather cook than eat styrofoam veggies. Anyways, it’s hard being here because I can walk to two of my aunt’s houses or either of my grandparent’s houses in like 15 min. or to Miranda’s dorm in about 2 min. I am excited to go and find out where my first area will be.

Departing for Milan

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Way Cool Week 4

Ciao everybody! This week was actually way cool! The days are long but the weeks are fast! It’s crazy to think that I only have 2 weeks left… there’s no way I’ll have enough Italian in two weeks. I can say “atonement” and “restoration” but I have no idea what “store” or “park” is. So that’s the MTC for ya.

Funny Stories

2 Great Look'n Dudes - Rizzo - Me

Two Great Look’n Dudes – Rizzo – Me

So a few funny stories to brighten your day. So, we were teaching about how Joseph Smith received the Priesthood. We explained that three “agnello” (an-yellow) came down to Joseph Smith and gave him the Priesthood.  Well, turns out we should have said “angelo” (an-jello)……. “agnello” means lamb and “angelo” means angel… so three lamb came down to Joseph Smith and gave him the Priesthood. So that’s awkward.

Then in a different lesson we were saying who Joseph Smith gave the priesthood to and we didn’t know how to say worthy men. So Anziano Brooks said “bellisimo”…. uh, no. The investigator started laughing cuz it was so funny. Joseph Smith gave the priesthood to only very beautiful men…  come on.. so that was funny…

Okay another funny story, Elder Brooks was trying to say say “baptism shows”…..mostrar…. but he said baptism monstar…. baptism monster… so we’ve had some rough lessons but its been good and really funny.

Apostle Neil L. Anderson

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