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Sciacca – Week 12
Transfer 16, Mission Week 101

[We’ll get an accounting of the last week once Taylor arrives home … stay tuned]

Christmas Conversation
The last call home

We had a wonderful conversation today via FaceTime.  It’s hard to believe that it’s the fourth, and final, call home.  The time has really flown by and this conversation had a slightly different tone to it than the previous conversations because Taylor will be home in just 6 short weeks.  It was fun to talk to him, ask him questions, and give him updates on what’s been going on at home.  What a great way to spend part of the sabbath and Christmas day.  Merry Christmas!

iPhone screen grab of our FaceTime conversation.

 

Transfer Day
Next to last transfer begins today

[This is a photo of all of the incoming missionaries this transfer, so Taylor will have one of these Elders as his new companion.  We’ll update more later.]

MTC group that arrived in Rome on Tuesday, November 17th. I'll be training one of them. Can't wait to find out who it is.

MTC group that arrived in Rome on Tuesday, November 17th. I’ll be training one of them. Can’t wait to find out who it is.

Taormina
P-Day Excursion

[Taylor sent this excerpt from Anziano LaPray’s message home this past Monday]:

Last Monday, we went to a city called Taormina. It’s about an hour north of here by bus and totally worth the trip. I will try to include some pictures; hopefully it works. Basically, it’s just this super cool city on top of a giant hill with a castle an old amphitheater and other pretty sites to see nearby. Another bonus was the incredible gelato in the downtown. So good. We had such a good time we might try to go again in a few weeks.

[Excerpt from Wikipedia]:

Taormina is a hilltop town on the east coast of Sicily. It sits near Mount Etna, an active volcano with trails leading to the summit. The town is known for the Teatro Antico di Taormina, an ancient Greco-­Roman theater still used today. Near the theater, cliffs drop to the sea forming coves with sandy beaches. A narrow stretch of sand connects the mainland to Isola Bella, a tiny island and nature reserve.

 

[Here are some of the pictures Taylor sent]:

Taormina, Sicily

Taormina, Sicily

Taormina, Sicily

Taormina, Sicily

Taormina, Sicily

Taormina, Sicily

Anziano LaPray in Taormina, Sicily

Anziano LaPray in Taormina, Sicily

Taormina, Sicily

Taormina, Sicily

Anziani at Taormina, Sicily: Anziano Parkinson, Anziano LaPray, Anziano Nielsen

Anziani at Taormina, Sicily: Anziano Parkinson, Anziano LaPray, Anziano Nielsen

Taormina, Sicily

Taormina, Sicily

Taormina, Sicily

Taormina, Sicily

Taormina, Sicily

Taormina, Sicily

Taormina, Sicily

Taormina, Sicily

Taormina, Sicily

Taormina, Sicily

Taormina, Sicily

Taormina, Sicily

Taormina, Sicily

Taormina, Sicily

Taormina, Sicily

Taormina, Sicily

Transfer Day

Going from Cosenza to Catania!  When Taylor gets on the train in Cosenza, he will meet his new companion (who will have traveled from Rome) and they will travel together to be “blown in” to their area in Catania.  Being “blown in” is missionary-speak for a situation where both companions are new to the area.  Catania is an old city, founded by the Greeks as a colony around 720 BC, and is the 10th largest metropolitan area in Italy, so it should certainly be another Sicilian adventure.  Before the consolidation of the Italian missions in 2010, Catania was the headquarters of the Italy Catania Mission.

Catania Skyline with Mt. Etna (active volcano) in the background

Catania Skyline with Mt. Etna (active volcano) in the background

Only two new missionaries, Anziano Haws and Anziano Albello, arrived from the Provo MTC on May 31st. One of these Anziani will be Taylor's new companion.

Only two new missionaries, Anziano Haws and Anziano Albello, arrived from the Provo MTC on May 31st. One of these Anziani will be Taylor’s new companion.

Mother’s Day Skype Call

[The Mother’s Day Skype call was a lot of fun!  We even got to talk to Anziano Nessen briefly, which was cool too.  Apparently, the Internet connection at the church is not the greatest, so a member of the branch presidency brought his router from home so Taylor could call.  Much appreciated!]

Skype for Mother's Day

Skype for Mother’s Day

Transfer Day

It’s transfer day!  Tràpani to Cosenza:

 

The Christmas Skype Call
A whole hour to catch up!

Once-a-week emails are great, but there’s nothing like interacting in real time, asking questions, getting answers, and being able to see each other!  We got to have a nice, hour-long conversation with Taylor yesterday (Christmas).  We had some technical difficulties to begin with (bandwidth issues), as he was connecting from the church in Tràpani, but once he had done a router reset, turned off another bandwidth-hogging computer, and determined, with Anziano Spencer, that they would go one at a time, it all worked.  Even though it took about 45 minutes to get it working right, once it was working, things went fine.

Taylor wanted to share a Christmas greeting for his blog, first in English and then in Italian.  So here it is:

My apologies for video quality.  I was shooting with my phone from a little ways away from the TV, but the sound is OK.

Vatican and Colosseum Pictures

[A few weeks ago, Taylor took some photos during their visit to the Vatican.  He was unable to send them at the time because they had just received their iPads and he didn’t have a mechanism in place yet to send the photos.  We finally received them, so here are the photos from the visit of the Rome 1 District to the Vatican back in June.]

Visiting the Vatican Vatican Selfie Vatican Museum Vatican Mummy Vatican Mummy 2 Vatican Art6 Vatican Art Vatican Art 13 Vatican Art 12 Vatican Art 11 Vatican Art 10 Vatican Art 9 Vatican Art 8 Vatican Art 7 Vatican Art 5 Vatican Art 4 Vatican Art 3 Vatican Art 2 Vatican Architecture Vatican Architecture 5 Vatican Architecture 4 Vatican Architecture 3 Vatican Architecture 2 Rome 1 District at the Vatican Into the Vatican Anziani in the Vatican

[The week before they visited the Vatican, they were able to visit the Colosseum.  Here are some pictures from that excursion]

Colloseum with Elder Rasband Colloseum Inside 6 Colloseum Inside 5 Colloseum Inside 4 Colloseum Inside 3 Colloseum Inside 2 Colloseum Inside 1

First Day in Italy
Mission Week 6

Note from Family:

Sister Waddoups posted many pictures on the mission blog this morning.  She also reported on the new missionaries as follows:

We received a new group of eight missionaries from the Provo MTC and one sister missionary from northern Italy who is here on a temporary basis until she gets a visa to travel to her actual assignment.  All of the missionaries received their checked luggage, but four of the elders had to check their carry on luggage because the plane was full and they didn’t get those suitcases.  They should be delivered to the office today, but the missionaries have already left for their assigned areas.  They will return to Rome in less than two weeks and can pick them up then.  As we get closer to the busy summer travel season, we have a lot of interesting luggage situations.  This one is actually a minor one and we’re grateful for that.

We’re excited to have the new “greenies” here in Italy.  They bring with them a renewed excitement for missionary work. 

We don’t know if Taylor was one of those four (50/50 chance) who will be without some things for a couple of weeks.  Also, we don’t know where he is assigned, so we’ll have to wait until next Monday, when he can email, to find out all the details.  On April 28th, Elder Bednar, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, will be in Rome to train the missionaries on using their new iPads, so all of the missionaries will once again be in Rome for that, and the four who are missing luggage should be reunited with their suitcases then.

Here are some of the pictures from Sis. Waddoups’ blog. [Read more…]