Flip Flops to the Rescue!

Hey Famiglia!

Whelp, everything went well with my toe in Rome!  I’ll go ahead and answer your questions first.  To get to Rome it takes about 2 hours by car, but a train can get there in about an hour and 10 minutes.  But trains can also take 2 hours or so, depending on what kind of train you’re on.  It’s actually cheaper to go by train to get up there though, because there’s a £13 toll for driving there, plus the ridiculously expensive gas here.  A train ticket will cost you just £10.70 and that’s it.  Anziano Steurer is the one who took me to the doctor.  He’s the mission’s financial secretary, and also the 2nd counselor in the mission presidency.  He just drove me over from the Rome mission office.  All travel expenses are reimbursed by the Church, and thankfully I’m covered by the Church’s medical insurance, so I’m all taken care of.  The Church takes really good care of their missionaries.

I wasn’t a part of the group that Elder Wing saw, but a really funny coincidence happened. [Elder Wing is the doctor in charge of the missionaries in Europe.]  On Wednesday I was back in Caserta, and we had to head over to the train station to head down to Napoli for our district meeting.  While we were walking over to the tabbacheria to buy our tickets, a guy in a suit stepped out and intercepted me.  Then I saw a name tag on him, and it turns out that out of all of the places in Italy we happened to run into each other, it was at the Caserta train station.  Elder Wing and his wife have been touring around all of Italy approving hospitals for missionary use and such, making sure they were good options.  I told him I was the missionary he called a couple of weeks back telling me to go to Rome to get my toe taken care of.  Okay, I’m sure you’re all tired of hearing about my toe now, but it’s getting a lot better.  It feels a ton better now.

As far as getting around, all we do in Caserta is walk basically.  The bus system is terrible.  The only time we use transportation is when we need to get on a train to get out to a different city.  I’d say the majority of our time is spent teaching and getting around to appointments, but there is a lot of time for proselyting as well.  It’s tough.  Typically we may visit a member’s house once a week, maybe once every other week, which is actually pretty good for Italy.  The American members here are really great.  They like to help us out a lot.

I’m glad the grandkittens and Ash are doing well!  It’s also a good thing the Cougars are gonna have good seasons in both basketball and football.

Caserta Ward had a talent show this week!  It was really fun.  We Elders had a nutella pancake eating competition… without using our hands!  Unfortunately Elder Heder won.  He had done it before, so he knew a trick to fold the pancake over in his mouth so the nutella was on the inside so it doesn’t slow you down.  We had a great amount of success bringing investigators; we had about 5 show up throughout the night.  One of our investigators even participated!  He is a really awesome guy.  He did a memorization game.  He memorized 20 words being numbered 1-20 in just a couple of minutes, and then recited them back as we shouted out what number we wanted him to tell us, or what number went with what word.  It was pretty cool.

Another investigator has been a real challenge for us.  He’s actually come to Church probably about 5 or 6 times now, and I can tell he really likes us a lot, but he is very confused.  He is studying philosophy, and so whenever we sit him down, it is always an interesting discussion…  He tries to reason logically through everything.  We’ll ask him if there is, or is not a God.  His response will be, “Well, I think there is more than just a yes or a no to this question, what is God?”  And we’ll dance around in circles.  I asked him once what he believes will happen after death.  Then he drew me a pie chart of how probable he thinks there is no life after death, and how probable he thinks that there is life after death, again, with many other options.  The funny part is that he is practically a perfect Mormon already.  He doesn’t smoke, drink coffee, no alcohol, no issues with the Law of Chastity, nothing.  He is so golden.  We’ve talked to him so much about faith and things like that, but we are having some hard times teaching him.  I really hope that he chooses to eventually experiment on our words!

This week we did take it a bit easy so that my toe could get healed a bit faster.  We absolutely SCORED and got fed hamburgers and hot dogs at a member’s house this week.  I’ve never been so grateful for the awesome members of this Church! 🙂

Zone conference is next Thursday, which is always good!  As far as birthday stuff…  Don’t worry about the Mamba’s.  They are really similar to Starbursts.  That was just an idea I threw out there as an example.  I really am fine with anything.  I really cannot think of a single thing that I’d like/need, except for one thing…  Maybe this could be combined with my Christmas present but an ipod shuffle would be really nice.  I think they’re about $50, but I’d also need a USB to outlet converter, plus some small portable speakers so I can listen to it because we aren’t allowed to use headphones.  The USB to outlet should still just be American style, because I have an adapter here to convert American to Italian.  If that’s something that you think you could do, I’d really appreciate it.  It’s just a thought, but if the ipod shuffle won’t work out, I could also really use a little bit of cash.  I only have 2 long sleeve shirts, and with winter coming up, I may need to buy another shirt or two.  I know where to find fitted Italian shirts for about £8-12, so it’s actually a really good deal.

Let me know what you think!  Thanks a ton!  Anyways, that’s about it for this week.  We are indeed REALLY bummed out about soccer.  For me, not so much because I already have a bad toe, so I can’t play for a while anyways, but it is a shame.  It’s okay though.  [Craig is referring to a new mission rule where the missionaries are no longer allowed to play soccer with members or investigators because there have been a number of soccer injuries.  They are still allowed to play with other missionaries, but they are only supposed to put about 3/4 effort into it.  Ha ha!]

I told the Young Men of the ward on Sunday to be grateful for your parents, because once you head out they’re not there to baby you anymore!

Ciao!
Anziano Jones

Craig and his roommates with a member named Marco who used to play soccer with them.  An investigator who is an ex-pro soccer player had those jerseys specially made for the missionaries to wear when they played soccer each P-day.  Craig mentioned that they felt guilty because right after they received the jerseys from the investigator, the new rule was put in place so that they can no longer play soccer with him.

Craig with Anziano Faggioli just before Faggioli was transferred to a different area.  They were roommates in Caserta for about 3 months, and Craig liked him very much.  Faggioli is from Orem, only about a mile or two from where we live, so he and Craig will be able to see each other again after their missions.

A picture Craig took of La Reggia while they were waiting for an investigator to show up.

An investigator doing his memorization talent at the ward talent show.

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