I’ll start off this week by answering the questions you sent me:
1) Don’t worry about buying me any ties/clothing before I go to Italy. But it actually might be nice if you could send me a tie or two that I already have at home so I have a larger selection. I’m going to send back a tie or two that I don’t want to take to Italy to unload some stuff. Plus, my plan is to buy some nicer Italian ties once I get there. I can’t wait to do some shopping for a tie or two in Italy on my P-day :). The same goes for other clothing, I’d probably rather buy some nice Italian made pants there. Apparently stuff is a lot cheaper over there. You can find some good deals on stuff in the smaller stores and places like that.
2) Shoulder bags are still optional. They have their ups and downs. If I end up really needing a shoulder bag, I’ll just buy one in Italy for another cool Italian goody to have :).
3) That’s a tough decision! I think Oreo truffles sound really good. Those may be the winners :).
4) I won’t know where I’m going until I arrive in Italy. I’ll find out on the 24th.
5) I really don’t have too much of a preference for Krispy Kreme. I like all sorts of them. I’ll leave it up to your discretion :). But if you do choose assorted, I don’t like jelly filled ones.
A request or two/info:
I need a small travel size shoe shining kit. My shoes are already taking a beating and we haven’t even left the MTC yet. They’re starting to look a bit shabby.
As far as when I call next Tuesday, we’ll leave the MTC around 8 o’clock or so, which means I’ll probably get to the airport at around 9. I’ll probably call between 9:45-11:30ish (I think I’ve already told you that, but better to double check). My plane leaves at 12:15. My layover time in Dallas is super short so I probably won’t have time to call from there. I bought that $5 pre-paid card that let’s me talk for however long we need to, as long as I make my flight on time. But I’ll also need to be courteous to other missionaries. Hopefully there are enough phones.
One last thing is that I’ll probably be sending a box back with my large English copy of PMG, along with a tie or two, and other miscellaneous things I don’t need/want to haul with me to Italy. I’ll try and do that cash on delivery thingy you told me about.
Anyways, I’ll try and get into the bulk of the e-mail now. This week went by pretty quick, even though nothing too exciting happened. It was Fratello Weller’s (one of our teachers) birthday last week on Friday, so our district put together a little birthday present for him. I’ll send a picture of it attached later. The computer I’m typing on doesn’t have the option to upload photos on it. I’ll upload them later during laundry time (4:40). I think he thought it was pretty cool. We used balloons that Anziano Smith had got for his birthday before Fratello Wellers. He sacrificed his birthday balloons to give to Fratello Weller.
This past Sunday I had the chance to give a talk in Sacrament meeting. How it works is everyone in the branch prepares a talk for that Sunday, and after we take the Sacrament they randomly choose who’s speaking and let us know that we are. Then we get up 30 seconds later to give our talks. But this wasn’t just any old talk. They released our current branch president, President Miller, and called a new second counselor, Brother Robinson. The previous 1st counselor (Brother Willis, now President Willis) became the new President, and the 2nd counselor became the 1st counselor (Brother Whiting). To do this the President of the MTC, President Nally and his wife came in to take care of that business. I had to give a talk in front of the MTC President. That was pretty scary, but I think it went okay.
I’m sorry to hear about all of the car troubles! It sounds like you’re having quite the crazy time with those cars. It’s a bummer that the bug already is in the shop! It’s crazy that they thought they lost it. I hope it all works out! Let’s hope that bug doesn’t keep breaking down.
The devotionals were great as always, but the Sunday’s devotional was a bit weird. They had 4 converts come up who were baptized in the past couple years, and share their conversion stories. One of them was particularly weird. The first guy had a huge crush on one girl in his high school, and I guess they hung out quite a bit. He wasn’t a member before, but she was. But due to a complex family situation, this girl’s family that he had a crush on ended up adopting him into their family (like a legal adoption) so he became brother and sister with this girl he had a crush on, and now they’re sealed together as a family in the temple. He was baptized once he was adopted by this family. The other stories were also a bit strange, but not quite like that one. I thought that was bizarre.
Tuesday night’s (last night’s) devotional was pretty good and was given by Elder Richard G. Hinckley, an Emeritus General Authority. I’m fairly sure that’s President Gordon B. Hinckley’s son, isn’t it? He sounded an awful lot like President Hinckley did. He had some great thoughts and quotes, such as “Sometimes every day feels like Groundhog day” and “The greatest suffering a missionary can experience is regret.” He also made a point how even though we have access to phones/tablets and all these great resources now, the most important tool is still the missionary with the Spirit. I thought that was a really great talk.
As far as sending me packages in Italy, it’ll probably be pretty tough. If you ever want to send me a tie or something rather than shipping one for $50, just let me know that you put like $5 or so into my account for a gift to get myself, and I’ll go buy a tie or something with it, and I’ll be sure to send back a picture with what I got. That was also the suggestion in the e-mail we got before coming into the MTC.
Also, from what I hear, a lot (if not all) of my clothes will be somewhat yellowish and worn by the end of my mission. Something other elders have done from Italy is just toss all of their old clothes and buy some new, fresh Italian shirts for the trip back in the last day or two before they leave. That actually sounds like a good idea to me. I may toss out a few of my things and come home with some new Italian stuff at the end of my mission. It sounds like gas isn’t cheap over there, but a teacher showed us some cool stuff he got for a great price over in Italy. He said that fashion doesn’t cost much over there like it does here.
Oh! And it’s Elder Rigby’s birthday on the 23rd, the day we fly out. Just sayin’. Maybe a card or something is in order :). But don’t get something huge like a bunch of food or a huge item, because we can’t take stuff with us, and we already have too much food to dispose of before we go. A card or something would be perfect.
Hope you like the pics! Next week come the cool pics!
Anyways, this is the last e-mail I’ll be sending before I get to Italy! Hopefully I’ll get to shoot off a quick e-mail once I get to Rome letting you know I’ve gotten there all right, but don’t count on it. It’s up to President Waddoups what we get to do. He may even send an e-mail himself to you to let you know we’ve gotten there.
Well, my time’s about up. I’ll talk to you next Tuesday! I’ll probably send you at least one more letter before I leave the MTC.
And then their other friend, Boone Christianson, who is currently at the MTC and will be going to Mozambique, also showed up! This is a cool photo because these are the same four guys who were at our house the night before Craig left on his mission (see photo below). For half of a second, I wondered if they planned this meeting at the temple, but I seriously don’t think they did. It really was just a coincidence!
Craig said, “There are the two journals I’m going to fill out first. I bought the red and black one just the other day. It was originally only $10, but I got it for $6 with my missionary discount. I really like those journals because they’re nice and surprisingly cheap, and now I have matching ones!”