The Mission Conference in Catania

Hey Famiglia!

This week was crazy.  We got to travel down to Catania for the mission conference, which was absolutely awesome!!  AND I GOT TO SEE ANZIANO BARROW!!!  [Craig’s friend from Timpview High School]  It was so awesome finally being reunited here in Italy.  We had a good time together.  I would love to be companions with him one day…  It would be sweet! We sat next to each other during the whole conference and got lots of pics.  [I had read on another blog that the missionaries would be staying in hotels, so I asked Craig about that.]  Well, a lot of people got to stay in hotels.  We happened to stay in the Catania house with about 20 other dudes crammed in there….  Unfortunately we weren’t a part of the lucky groups.  No continental breakfast for us. 😦  They did like 2 or 3 Elders per room in the hotel.  I’m not too sure.

Elder Kearon was there to preside over the meeting.  It was super cool.  He had a lot of really good advice.  Sometimes trainings can be dry and a lot of “I already knew that….” or the same old stuff, but he really had some good advice and addressed some real problems here in the mission.  I loved it.  Afterwards we went out and did some finding in Catania, and headed back Friday morning (about 18 hours of travel this week….)  We managed to snag some arancini and cannoli while we were in Catania, some of Sicily’s specialties.

[I found these photos of arancini and cannoli on Wikipedia.  Arancini are fried rice balls which are usually filled with a tomato meat sauce and mozzarella.]

[Cannoli are Sicilian pastry desserts that are shaped like a tube and filled with cream.]

I’m glad that you all had a really good time at Tucanos!  That must have been lots of fun. I’m sorry to hear that Joey couldn’t come though.  That’s too bad.  I’m glad that Grandpa enjoyed the card!

The good news is that we get to shed our jackets in just under 2 weeks!!!!!!  We couldn’t be more excited  because it’s already a bit too toasty some days to have a suit coat on.  I can’t wait for another General Conference.

By the way, I thought of something I may need that’s small for the package.  It’d be really nice if I could get a new American wallet.  I haven’t managed to find many decent wallets here in Italy, especially because they’re built for a different currency.  I prefer something really simple and slim.  I love my current wallet, but it’s getting a bit beat up.  Something slim, (preferably leather) and black would be awesome.  5’s, 10’s and 20’s all fit fine in the American wallet, but 50’s are too big (in Euros, the bills aren’t the same size).  But the funny part is that even Italian wallets can’t fit the 50 Euro bill.  It’s weird.

Well, something exciting that happened is that we set a baptismal date for Angela’s daughter, Julietta, for the 19th of April!  [The names of all investigators have been changed.] We’re super excited for her.  Angela’s 2 daughters are the cutest.  Julietta is 11, and the smallest (Lucia) is 7.  We’ve also figured out that Debora and Michele will be married on the 21st of June, so their baptismal date is now the 22nd of June!  We’re super excited for them as well, but their date is a ways off.

We went over to Pietro’s to visit him and Regina.  They are the funniest.  We were planning on getting a fixed date for them to be baptized, but they had a son and his wife that were visiting with their four small little boys and a big golden Labrador.  We changed plans and taught the Restoration to them, and they loved it.  The only thing is that they live up in northern Italy in a city called Rimini, but we have a gold referral for some other Elders up north!  While we were talking to Pietro, he mentioned one of his sons got a gash above his eye after he slipped as he was getting out of the shower.  I said, “Showers are dangerous!” and he said, “Yeah, that’s why I never take any!!”  It was really funny.

Hmmm…  Today is already the last e-mail before transfer calls!!!  We’ll be getting them this Saturday.  I’ve got a hunch I’ll probably be staying because things are going extremely well here.  I’d be fine with staying for another one here.  Sister Merenda (one of the sisters here in Crotone) will be going home this next Tuesday morning!  For some reason they may be sending home missionaries earlier in the week instead of later on Saturday morning.  That’s pretty crazy!  This will be her last P-day here so our Branch President said he’d take us all bowling later today.  It should be fun!  Tonight we’re also going to do another FHE with some investigators.

We’ve got a jam packed week and we’re looking towards getting lots of work done!  We’re planning on another good five baptismal dates.  It will be really awesome to see what we can accomplish!  Oh!  And I also picked up the package at the mission conference because they brought down all of our mail.  Thanks a ton!!!  The Hershey’s bar is already long gone, and the Red Vines are on their way.

I’ve got lots of pics from the conference!!

Anziano Jones

 Craig with Elder Kenney during the ferry ride to Sicily at night.

These are all of the missionaries in Craig’s district on the ferry to Sicily.  Sister Merenda is on the far left.  She is the one whose mission is about over, and she’ll be going home next week. Click on the photo for a larger view.

 Craig and his Timpview High School friend, Ben Barrow, finally meet up in Italy!

 Craig with Elder Morgan.  They were roommates in Caserta.

 It looks like Ben and Craig were really glad to see each other.

 Elder Romano with Craig.  They were roommates at the MTC.

Left to right:  Elder Nathan Kelley, Craig, Elder Hunter Romano, and Elder Ben Barrow. Nathan Kelley has a blog that I read every week.

Craig with Elder Skyler Rigby— his very first companion when they were at the MTC.

This photo is an MTC reunion picture.  All of these guys were at the MTC at the same time, but the last time they were all together was last summer when they spent the night at the mission home on the day they arrived in Italy.  Pictured, left to right:  Elders Romano, Rigby, Stout, Jones, Kelley, Kenney, and Gardenhire.   You can tell from their smiles that they were really excited to see each other again.  The only one of Craig’s MTC roommates who wasn’t at this conference is Elder Regan Smith who is currently serving in Caserta (Craig’s last area). Click on the photo for a larger view.

I don’t really care for this picture because they aren’t smiling, but this is Craig and Elder Kenney on the ferry during the return trip to Crotone after the mission conference.

 Another photo taken on the ferry.


2 thoughts on “The Mission Conference in Catania

  1. Anziano Jones, This is Elder Kelley’s mom. I was so happy to see that you were able to finially meet up with your MTC companions in Sicily/Catania after arriving in Rome and heading to your first areas. I follow your blog and have emailed your mom on occasion. We are so proud of all the missionaries in the Rome, Italy mission. We wish you much success in your service to the Lord. Sister Kelley

  2. Monica, It’s nice to hear from you again. Thanks so much for your comment. I will pass it on to Craig in next week’s e-mail. I read Nate’s blog today. I’m glad he and Craig got to see each other at the mission conference. It sounds like they both really enjoyed the conference and learned a lot.

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