Craig’s 19th Birthday in Italy (and his 6-Month Mark on his Mission)

Hey Famiglia!!!

I thought I’d start off by thanking you all SO much for the cards!  They are so awesome.  I love them all so much!  It was awesome to open them all today.  I am also planning on rocking those crazy sunglasses today.  It was super great to have them.  I’m glad I got to hear from all of you!  I’m still going strong on keeping up with the Christmas puzzle!  I’m super excited to see what it says!  These first 6 months have actually gone pretty fast!  But I hear it goes crazy once you hit the year mark.  That will be a weird experience.

Anyways, we had zone conference in Taranto on Friday.  It was a 3 and a half hour drive, so we woke up at 4:45 to make it in time.  It was a super short one though, but I still loved it.  President had us all do a little play.  We drove with the Thompsons, and then we drove back down the same day (for a total of 7 hours of driving that day!)

Today for my birthday we’re going over to Salvatore’s house for lunch after we e-mail, then I think we’re planning on heading over to the mall to buy some stuff.  I was going to buy some more clothes with some of the birthday money you’ve sent.  Thanks SO much!  It really is so great.  After that, I kind of think I need a haircut, but it depends on how the timing goes.  Then after P-day ends, we have an appointment with another member tonight.  I think he said he wants to roast some chicken over the fire with us.  It’ll be a fun day!  I was planning on buying a big old pizza to celebrate with, but we got booked up with appointments this evening.  We’ll have to celebrate somehow else!

Anyways, after being gone all Friday for zone conference, we headed right back up to Cosenza on Saturday for district conference.  Elder Adler of the 3rd Quorum of the Seventy was there to preside.  He is incredible!  He reminds me of Elder Uchtdorf exactly (probably thanks to his German accent).  He is so powerful, and he gave me a hug when Sister Waddoups told him it was my birthday tomorrow.  I think she snapped a picture of us.  It may be up on the blog sometime soon!  It was a really cool conference!  I accompanied the sisters in Cosenza on the piano for a musical number for the conference, and then President Waddoups also had us get up on the spot and bear testimonies to the members of the district.  We had a special meeting on Sunday morning (we spent the night in Cosenza, there were 10 of us in the apartment that night…) for that two-day conference.  Then we got back Sunday evening.  And now it’s P-day!

As far as the Skype goes, whichever day is better for you all, but not on Christmas Day.  As far as the best day for me, I feel like the day after Christmas would be best, but I also don’t want to wait until after Christmas….  Christmas Eve we have an appointment in the evening, but I think you said you have to pick up Dave and Linda.  The best thing to do is make sure you have your Skype account ready to go and send me it’s info.  I’ll have to create one before we do Skype, but then I can just Skype right away because I’ll have your info.  Make sure you get it all set up and let me know soon!  It will either be Christmas Eve (before you go to the airport, after probably won’t work because we’ll be eating) or the day after Christmas.  We’re getting our plans set in stone this week, so I can for sure let you know by then the day and time.

I’ve had quite a few e-mails to read and have been e-mailing back and forth with people, so I hope this e-mail is long enough.

Our district is us, the senior couple, and the Catanzaro elders.  Yes, Elder Robertson is the district leader.  The branch had 8 members (that aren’t missionaries) in church on the first Sunday.  We’re very small.  We’ve got a LOT of less actives to work on.  We have a couple baptismal dates set up.  I hope they work out!

Anyways, I’d best start wrapping it up.  The main thing is making sure your Skype accounts are set up so we can connect without any problems!  Anziano Robertson and I are just trying to get those few days around Christmas planned out.  It looks like they’re going to be a bit hectic.  I don’t think I’ll upload any pictures, but I may depending on if I have time or not.  I have to write President now, too.  Maybe Salvatore will upload some for me this week. 🙂 He’s a great guy.  My MTC teacher (Fratello Mortenson) was actually at his baptism 3 years ago and sang at it.  Salvatore was one step away from taking his final vows and becoming a Catholic priest, and then he met the missionaries.  He’d also already written 4 books on religion in general.  Then after he was baptized, he stopped selling those books (because the doctrines were a bit different), and he became a member.  Really cool guy.  He helps us almost every day.

That’s all for now, folks!  Thanks a million for all the birthday gifts!

Anziano Jones

This photo of Craig, his companion, Anziano Robertson (center) and Salvatore (right) was posted on Facebook by Salvatore!


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