Craig’s Homecoming

The following pictures and video were taken on May 26, 2015 when Craig returned home from his mission to Italy.

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Last Night at the Mission Home

These photos were posted on Sister Waddoups’ blog and are from Craig’s last night at the mission home before he and the other twenty missionaries left for the airport early this morning.

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After having dinner at the mission home, they all went to get gelato.

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These last five pictures are from Craig’s camera and were taken at the airport and during his flight home.

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Anziano Kelley and Craig on the airplane.

The Last E-mail

Hey Famiglia!!

Well, this is IT!!!  I am so stoked.  Today we did some shopping and cruised around the center of Rome because our Vatican tour hook-up fell through… If we have time, we’ll do it next Monday.  If not, oh well!  I’m really excited that I’ll be able to get released Tuesday night.  That will be a huge relief!

Nabil’s baptism was AWESOME!  It went really well.  Then he was confirmed on Sunday and (I didn’t know it was possible…) he received the Priesthood on Sunday as well!  He chose a member for the baptism, and bishop to give him the Holy Ghost.  Then I was surprised when he chose me to give him the Priesthood!  I’ve never done that before.  It was a really neat experience.  I’m really glad I was able to do that.  That will be my last baptism of my mission!!  My other buddy needs some more time.

On Sunday, I was at the microphone for all three talks because the first two were American speakers, and I had to translate what they said after every other sentence they said, then I was the closing speaker.  It was sort of my “farewell talk” there.  It was really cool.  I’m pretty sure everyone got tired of hearing from me though…

I’m really sorry to hear that the surgery didn’t go super well, Mom!  But I’m glad you’re okay 🙂  That sounds crazy!  I’m glad Dad’s been taking good care of you though.  I hope you are recovered now.

My toe is doing A LOT better now.  But I had to go to the doctor on Friday because I was still in lots of pain.  The doctor thought it could even have been fractured, but I literally had a miracle healing yesterday!  The foot specialist cut off a good chunk of the toenail and I got medicine for it.  Then she put a big bandage on it for 2 days, so I had to rock a flip flop around Rome for the baptism and a couple days.  There was no way I was staying inside…  Then Sunday, when I unraveled it, it looked AMAZING!  There was no discoloration, no pain, no nothing!  Obviously, part of the toenail was still gone, but it feels completely fine now.  It’s obviously not fractured, which is a huge relief, so I won’t have to go back to the doctor.  Yay!  I uploaded the picture of it, so I hope you don’t mind… 🙂  I’m really happy.  I’m all ready for action!

One thing I’m super excited for (even though it may seem small) is AMERICAN DEODORANT.  Oh my goodness.  My favorite is Old Spice Pure Sport (if there was a stick for me at home, I would be super happy… but yeah.  I can always go grab some later).  Like I might have said before, Italian deodorant just doesn’t quite cut it.  Neither do the Italian shavers…

Well…  That should be about it.  I can’t wait.  I’ll call you from the Chicago airport if there’s time… If I don’t get around to it, don’t worry though!  I hope customs isn’t too big of a pain.  I won’t have to worry about paying any fees though, I’m way below the limit.

I’m excited my room is all ready to go!  That’s so crazy.  I can’t wait to see all my old stuff again…  It will be really, really strange.  I’m pretty scared of real life again, but I’m sure I’ll be able to adjust…  Thanks for everything!

Like I said on Skype, Mom will for sure be getting the first hug. 😉

I love you all, and can’t wait to see you!  Let me finish with my last “electronic” testimony to you all.

I’ve been so grateful for these two years because it has strengthened my faith in our Savior SO MUCH, more than I could have imagined.  I’ve received so much support and strength from Him in my mission, and I know without a doubt that this is His church.  It’s not easy to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, which includes being a member of His church.  But to grow spiritually, inevitably will involve some stretching.  I love my Savior and what He has done for me.  I love the Book of Mormon, and I love our living Prophet.  I know that he, along with the rest of the Apostles have the keys and authority to guide the true church on the earth.  I sure hope it’s still a tradition for missionaries to share their testimonies in their mission language, because that will be a huge pleasure.  But surely I’ll do it in English too. 🙂  I wish everyone would be willing to come unto the Savior and partake of the fruits that His gospel brings into their lives.  It’s the most important thing we can have!

See you soon!

Anziano Jones

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These first four pictures were taken in Rome.

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Craig with Anziano Line.

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Nabil’s baptism.  Left to right:  Anziano Castillo, Marco Tumminelli, Nabil, and Craig.

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The missionaries organized this lunch with the ward leaders and invited some investigators to join them.

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Anziano Castillo and Nabil.

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The embassy of Spain.

Final Soccer Match

Hey Famiglia!

So unfortunately in our final soccer tournament, we took 3rd place… of 4.  So, not so hot, but… it was lots of fun!  My toe got DESTROYED.  I kicked Anziano Palazzo (6’3″ and like 240 pounds of muscle Texan football player) as hard as I could on his foot that he was pivoting on.  The result was a purple toe… My guess is that the nail is gonna be a goner pretty soon… Oh well.  I’m still mobile, which is good!  The victory we had for 3rd was against Anziano Line’s team.  I had a header in the last 30 seconds to seal the deal, haha.  It was really awkward, because there was a sky ball pretty close to their goal, so I jumped up and headed a rainbow that seemed to float for at least 10 seconds.  It was probably the slowest goal made of the day, but it went in!  That was a great way to end my soccer career in Rome…

I really enjoyed the Skype.  Just as I reflected on it, I would REALLY REALLY like to be released Tuesday night if at all possible even if it’s around 10, because waiting until Wednesday seems less than pleasing to me.  Let me know what he says!  It was interesting because President Bunting said that by the time I got back from my mission, there was the chance of him no longer being stake president because he’s been serving in that calling for so long.  And lo and behold, he’s still there!  That makes me really happy though because he’s such an amazing guy.

Well, other than limping around a little bit for now, things aren’t going too shabby.  We’re getting ready for Nabil’s baptism this Saturday.  I’m so happy that I’ll get to go out like this.  It’ll be a great way to finish up the mission!  I’ve been really blessed with the success I’ve been able to see in my mission.  I’m so grateful for every person I’ve been able to teach and help grow closer to Christ.  That’s what it’s all about, in the end.  There have been a lot of sacrifices in coming out here, but I know it will all be worth it.  It has already been worth it.  I’ve looked back at the person I was before my mission and who I’ve become out here, and I’m really happy and grateful for what I am able to see.  I just can’t describe it all.  I hope you’ll be able to see the changes in me after I’m home!

That’s about it for this week.  Next week will be the last time I do a full e-mail!!  Wahoo!!  I’m excited about that.  So let me know any last details you want me to fill in, otherwise you’ll have to wait!

Anziano Jones

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This photo is of a gesso (chalk activity) that the missionaries did.  The map was drawn by one of the sister missionaries.