Four Investigators Close to Baptism

Hey Famiglia!!

First off, I’d just like to say that it was super great being able to Skype! I can’t wait to be able to Skype again for Mother’s Day!  It will be awesome.  [After watching a video on how to cook an Italian pasta dish, I asked Craig if he had ever had it before.]  As for spaghetti aglio e olio, I’ve had it a couple of times.  It’s really easy to make so it’s something we make for lunch time here in Crotone.  They have a type of red ground pepper here that we put on it as well.  It’s not my favorite type of pasta here, but it’s pretty good.  Another cool spaghetti you might want to look into is called Pasta Carbonara.  It’s a pasta made with eggs and pancetta (bacon), with some cheese.  It’s pretty yummy, and it’s interesting how they cook it.  You scramble the eggs with some cheese, but then pour it on the spaghetti after you cook the noodles and let the noodles cook the eggs. It sounds sketchy, but it’s pretty good.

[In the next several paragraphs, the names of all investigators have been changed.]

I can’t believe it’s already transfer call week here in Crotone!  I’m 99% sure I’ll be staying, but there’s always that chance.  I’m happy to stay here another transfer.  I like it here.  It’s really calm, pretty, and there’s great weather.  I’m thinking it’s pretty likely Anziano Robertson will stay as well, but there’s a bigger chance that he leaves.  There’s also a lot of people we’re teaching.  Right now we have 4 investigators right on the verge of baptism.  One is a guy named Vincenzo, and he’s really awesome.  He’s spent quite a bit of time with us, and we like to do activities with him.  He’s 23 years old.  His mom is a member, but he isn’t.  He wants to be baptized really bad, and is really active in the church, but he is caught up on smoking.  He’s only smoking about 3 a day, practically nothing.  Once he quits, he’ll be baptized without any delay.  He’s really great, and enthusiastic.

Caterina is another investigator of ours, and is another really solid one.  She is actually really prepared for baptism.  She doesn’t smoke, and is really funny. Her only hesitations are the church’s rules.  She thinks they’re too strict and that there are too many.  When I honestly put myself in her shoes, or the shoes of any investigator in fact, I don’t really blame them.  Being a member of the Church, it’s easy to discern all of the amazing blessings and benefits of being a member, but from the outside, it probably does seem daunting.  It made me think a lot of Elder Uchtdorf’s talk in General Conference.  Why on earth would anyone want to join this Church?  It seems insane almost.  It’s a trial of faith.  Whenever we have our doubts, we always have our spiritual experiences to look back on.  This is where our foundation is, in our testimonies of the Book of Mormon, of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and in Jesus Christ, and our experiences with prayer.  But this is exactly what we are trying to do for our investigators, to create these spiritual experiences, the exact purpose of these commitments we give them; to read the Book of Mormon, to come to church, to pray.  Through doing these things we gain our witness – we have spiritual experiences – that this church really is the true Church of Jesus Christ.  I love the quote from him, “Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.”

I thought I’d try and add a bit of a spiritual portion to the e-mail this week. After all, I am a missionary! 🙂

We’ve got a really cool new investigator this week named Angela.  She’s from the Philippines and is very nice.  She’s probably around 30 years old, and speaks perfect English.  It was her first language actually.  She has a couple of kids but was divorced in this past year.  She’s a school teacher here in Crotone and teaches English.  We found her through another Filipino member of our branch.  Angela came to church yesterday and loves it.  She gave a really cool prayer in Gospel Principles class.  She thanked Heavenly Father for bringing her back and helping her to find us.  She even came caroling with us over Christmas when we invited her.  I’m pretty positive she’ll be baptized once we extend the invite.  We’ve done all these things with her and haven’t even had a restoration lesson yet!

As for our baptism for the 4th, unfortunately it’s been postponed… Elena still hasn’t managed to quit smoking.  We’re going to create a program for her to see if it will help.

[In his next paragraph, Craig is referring to this picture, which was taken on Christmas day and  then posted on Facebook.]

The picture of us on Christmas day is us with Salvatore and his sister, and his cousin.  His sister is the one next to me.  We all squeezed in for a picture.  The sea is right behind us in this picture, but it’s dark so you can’t really see it.  On Christmas day after we all ate together and spent time at Salvatore’s house, we all went to the beach for a walk in the evening.

Sorry to hear the Cougs had a rough week!  At least they’re still going good in volleyball! 🙂

That’s about all that I can think of here in Crotone for the moment.  Thanks again SO much for the Christmas money!  I can’t wait to get to use some of it soon.

Ciao!
Anziano Jones

[Craig did not send any pictures this week, but fortunately I was able to pull some from Sister Waddoups’ blog and a few more from Facebook.]

This photo was taken at the Calabria District Conference held in Cosenza on December 7-8.  Craig and his companion, Anziano Robertson, are on the left.  Click on the photo for a larger view.

Elder Detlef Adler from Germany was the visiting area authority at the conference, and he gave Craig a birthday hug.

Craig sporting his new pair of Italian pants.  My sister said she thinks he looks like an Italian model when he wears those.

This photo was taken during the Taranto zone conference.  Craig can be seen on the left side seated at the piano.  Click on photo for a larger view.

A close-up of Craig at the piano.

Another photo taken during the Christmas day walk.

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