A Talent Show and Some Ancient Ruins

Hey Famiglia!

It has been a really wet week for us over here as it’s been raining for the last three days.  We had to practically swim up the castle to get to an appointment one morning.  Up on the castle all of the water falls freely down the little Italian cobblestone streets.  I wanted to take a picture, but I didn’t want to risk destroying the camera.

I’ll quickly answer all your questions first.  I haven’t gotten the second package yet, unfortunately. 😦  That picture of a bunch of writing on Facebook was what we call a “dedica”.

[Craig is referring to this photo that was posted on Facebook by Alessandro.]

We gave a Book of Mormon to a really awesome guy named Alessandro, and it’s a big tradition here in Italy to write a small little note in the front covers of books that you give away.  He asked me to write in his.  Alessandro wants to go to Miami with President D’Oppido, and we’ve gotten a pizza together from a place called “Pizza Shops.”  So I wrote “What a man.  See you in Miami!  But sincerely you are awesome.  You play the guitar super well, and you speak English perfectly (he’s an English course student sometimes).  This book is special.  It will help you in your life.  I’m sure of this because it has been a help for me in mine.  I’m grateful to know you.  One of my favorite parts of my time here in Crotone is when we spend some time together and we go to Pizza Shops.”

I have a good time with the dedicas and write little messages that the Italians like to read.

The talent show was a lot of fun.  Alessandro and Maria Pia are the ones in the photo with me, the one where I look like a giant.

Maria, Alessandro, and Craig

We made a little band because Alessandro plays the guitar and Maria Pia sings.  We did a little song for the talent show, one by Miley Cyrus.  It was a lot of fun.  Sister Taylor played her drum for her talent in the talent show.  We also had a Nutella pancake eating contest – but the catch is that you can’t use your hands to do it!  It was fun.  Presidente won….  And yes, President D’Oppido and Maria Pia do like each other, but they are not dating “officially” yet…

[Craig is referring to this picture I found on Facebook of the branch president and Maria.]

I thought those really old pictures are the coolest!!!  Those slides are interesting.  I’m sorry to hear about Mak’s kitty though…  That’s so sad!!!  The poor thing.  Topher is going to be a really cool missionary.  I can’t wait to hear where he goes!  And go Cougs!  You’ll have to let me know how it goes.

A lot of our investigators come from English course, and through people knowing other people.  They come from basically everywhere though.  For example, this week something crazy happened.  We were engaged in a conversation with a guy a week or so ago about English course on the street after he shouted out to us and beckoned us over.  As we were talking, an older fellow with a big fat cigar in his mouth leaned into the conversation, and asked us a little bit about where the church was and what time we met on Sunday.  As we had kind of two conversations going, and we were on our way to an appointment, I handed him a pass along card briefly explaining a bit about our church and we headed on our way.  I didn’t really even think much of it until Sunday.  This guy brought not only his wife, but his son with his daughter-in-law, and another son with a different daughter-in-law to church.  I was shocked.  Not only that, but his big ol’ fat cigar was gone and he was neatly dressed and all cleaned up.  They loved church and loved our message of the Restoration, and think the Book of Mormon is absolutely necessary.  We’ve got another appointment with them on Tuesday.  They even have a few young kids!  The guy and his wife also came to the talent show last Friday and had a good time with us all.  But don’t get me wrong, that like NEVER happens.  The vast majority of our contacts come through people that know people.  I like going to all sorts of activities to meet people.

Oh!  One last thing I need to mention.  Right next to Salvatore’s apartment there’s a law office.  His apartment is right up on the castle.  We were waiting for Salvatore outside his house on Saturday night to meet up to go to an appointment together when the lawyer saw us and invited us into his office because it was cold outside.  I remember that Salvatore mentioned this lawyer had discovered some ruins below his office.  I brought it up to strike up some conversation.  He excitedly took us down to quite literally below his office.  He bought the office about 15 years ago, and since then found out that all this stuff is under it. This little old lawyer had an altar under his office that is over 2,600 years old, where they used to do human sacrifices, and a big hole where they used to toss in offerings to the Gods. It was super crazy.  He showed us around his office.  He’s traveled literally EVERYWHERE in the world, and has countless artifacts from all over the place.  It was a cool visit.  I took some cool photos.

I’ve gotta wrap it up.  It was a fun week!

Ciao for now!
Anziano Jones

These first several pictures were taken on Friday night at the branch talent show.

The Nutella pancake eating contest.  Craig and his companion, Anziano McArthur, are in the center.  The branch president is on the far right.

Eleonora and Maria

Alessandro and Maria

Sorella Taylor, one of the sister missionaries, getting ready to do her drum solo at the talent show.

That’s Alessandro with his guitar, but Craig didn’t mention who that is in the striped sweater.

The next nine photos were taken of the ruins below the lawyer’s office.  It all looks to me like it’s extremely well-preserved, so I’m guessing that the lawyer must have put some money into restoring it.  Wouldn’t it be cool to find something like this below your office?

This must be the hole where they tossed in their offerings to the Gods.

The rest of these photos were taken by Sister Waddoups at the Taranto Zone Conference and were posted on her blog.

President Waddoups (The Mission President) with Craig’s companion, Anziano McArthur.

Craig is in the front of this photo on the right.

Sister Waddoups explained on her blog that one of the sister missionaries gave a lesson at the zone conference.  She asked the missionaries how many goals they had set the previous week, and then they had to do one push-up for each goal they had set.

I’m really glad that Craig is getting some opportunities to play the piano.  I was worried that he would lose some of his talent while he’s in Italy, so I sent a message to Sister Waddoups telling her that Craig would be happy to play the piano whenever they need someone.

Sorella Taylor and Sorella Merenda are the two sister missionaries who are in Craig’s district.

It looks like Craig and his new companion got matching ties!

The Taranto Zone.  You can click on the photo to see a larger image.

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