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Sciacca – Week 7
Transfer 16, Mission Week 96

Ciao Tutti!!

Ok so I will start off with news on how transfers went down! I will be staying here in Sciacca with Anziano Campbell which I am super excited about! We get along really well and we are working hard together. We have been able to see many awesome miracles and I really hope that we will be able to see many more as well. We were both content and excited about what the next 6 weeks has in store for us!

So this week was really crazy busy and we had a lot of stuff going on! We had a really amazing miracle last Monday night that was really awesome. We went to go teach our investigator who we had invited to pray about his baptismal date for either the 7th or the 14th of January because he had expressed that the 31st of December was too soon. So at the end of the lesson we followed up with him and asked him what he had felt like the right day was. He starts off by saying, “Well I don’t see a point… in waiting we can do it the 31st.” We were both dumbfounded and struck by what had just come out of his mouth. We were really excited though and we worked super hard with him all week and were able to get everything in that he needed to know and he was doing a great job of understanding it all as well! We were very content with how it all went and he passed his baptismal interview on Thursday night. He is such an awesome guy and has such a big faith. So Saturday roles around and we were able to have the whole branch out there to support him. We had a great baptismal service that was super special to have everyone participate in some way in it. He was very happy as everyone else in the branch was as well. I was able to be a testimony for the baptism and then I had the privilege of confirming him a member and giving him the gift of the Holy Ghost. It was all very special and there was a very special spirit there with us those two days. It was a really great miracle.

We were also able to have some non-members there at the service, one of which is our other investigator. It all went so well and was a great opportunity for them to see and experience what a baptismal service is like. We had some other finding that we did this week and we were able to find a new less active member that we will now be working with! When we went to his door for the first time we weren’t sure what button was his on the citofono and he came to the door and opened it up since it was on the ground floor. He was really happy to see us and didn’t hesitate to invite us right in. It was really nice to meet with him and get to know him. We are excited to start working more closely with him and how we can be of assistance in helping him draw closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

We found out last week that we will be traveling to go and get Anziano Campbell’s permesso at his former city in Ascoli Piceno so we have quite a bit of distance to cover! Despite being out of our area for a little it will a great opportunity for us to continue to help God’s children in our travels searching and seeking out the people that need our help and who we can give a helping hand to. We are really looking to that aspect of the travel and doing all we can to continue to be the Lord’s representative at all times and in all places. We head out to Palermo tonight and we will start our travel tomorrow.

This week was a crazy week full of many wonderful experiences and lessons and the ability to help people draw close to Jesus Christ and it was such a fulfilling week. I really was able to think and reflect on how special it is to start over and that is what baptism gives us an opportunity to do. It symbolizes not only the death and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ, but also the death of our old selves and the birth of our new life in Christ. I am so thankful that we had the opportunity to help James out and start off the new year in such an amazing way! I know that he will do great things as he continues to live gospel principles daily and continues to draw nearer and nearer to the light and love of Jesus Christ. I am so thankful that we have the opportunity to start over every single day. I know that this is all through Him that has walked on this earth for us and I know that we are always able to start over with him at any moment.

We aren’t perfect and this is why I am so thankful that he can cleanse and perfect us. I love this scripture:

Isaiah 1

18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

I know that to be true and that we can all be cleansed from all the guilt that sin and the mistakes we have made create within us. We just have to counsel and reason together with the Lord each and everyday and do all we can to continue to bring our lives more and more in harmony with his will. We will not be perfect, but I am thankful that he was so I have someone to rely on each day to help me through with everything that I have going on. I love you all and hope that you all enjoyed the New Year’s Eve parties and are ready for another amazing year! I love you all and will talk to you all soon!

Vi voglio bene,

Anziano Garrett

[Here is a map of the trip for this week to get Anziano Campbell’s permesso.  It is a trip of over 700 miles.  On trains, that will likely take a whole day each way, plus the time to get the permesso]

Zone Christmas Party in Palermo, Dec., 2016

Sicilian Christmas tree

Good Christmas food

My Christmas tree

Christmas ties

On the way to the baptism

On the way to the baptism

Ready for the baptism

Discussing the baptism

Ready for the baptism

Ready for the baptism

Entering the waters of baptism

Entering the waters of baptism

Ready for baptism

Ready for baptism



Drying off

Our new member in Sciacca

Palermo zone soccer, Dec., 2016

It gets cold at night in Sciacca!

Sicilian celebration

Everybody loves cotton candy

Day ends in Sciacca

Sunset over Sciacca

Sciacca – Week 3
Transfer 15, Mission Week 92

Ciao tutti!

I hope all is going well now that all the Christmas festivities are in full swing and you all need to enjoy this month of December! Things have been nice and busy as normal this past week and we are loving it!

So we had a busy week being able to see some people and then we were in Palermo a couple of days as well! It all has been going super well and we are doing a lot of great things down here in Sciacca!

We had a great lesson with one of our investigators last week and he has been doing really well. It was a super touching lesson and we were able to pass over the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and see what his testimony and remembrance was regarding that lesson. He remembered a lot in detail about the lesson so it was able to be a simple pass over with a great opportunity to go into some more detail with him. We look forward to being able to see him tomorrow night and talk about the plan of salvation with him. He is a great kid and I really feel like he will make it to baptism for sure if he keeps working hard to find his answers.

We had a referral that was given to us the other week from a member that lives in Bari that was passed to us through the Palermo 2 Anziani. This lady has been so prepared from God! She was so excited to hear from us and meet us the other day! She is really wanting to make sure that she is drawing closer to God and finding greater peace in life. You can tell and feel this sincere desire that she has. It is so cool and special to feel the spirit as she asks questions that you know she just needs the answer. We are excited to see where we will be able to go with her and how we are going to be able to help her and guide her down this path to finding greater happiness! We are excited at how prepared that she is. So a few weeks ago she had a moment to sit down and reflect on where she stands before God and felt like she just had to make some changes. She kind of went through her head and went over all the commandments that she needed to make sure that she was keeping and coming up in that was the word of wisdom. She was all of a sudden able to realized without evening having a knowledge of the word of wisdom to give up smoking and drinking alcohol! It was so cool to hear that testimony from her. She is great and we are excited to be able to see her again this week!

We had a rare occasion this week and I am sorry for putting this down all the way here! We had some emergency transfers this week and I got a new companion  who is Anziano Campbell! I will definitely miss Anziano Hughes and hope that he will keep finding success all along the way! We were only together for a short period of time, but it was really great! I am glad that we were able to share the experiences that we did and I was able to learn from him! He is great and will keep doing amazing things! Anziano Campbell is awesome though and he is from Layton, UT. We are getting along great and we are excited to see all the things that we will be able to do here together and accomplish with one another. We are going to do great things and we are already seeing a ton of miracles together. I hope that we will continue to be able to have a great time with one another and recognize all that the Lord can teach us and is blessing us with.

We had a great time in Palermo for Specialized Training and I was able to learn a lot that we can apply into our work here in Sciacca.

We are excited to see what we can apply from what we learned to make sure that we can get to where we need to go. President Pickerd went through all the baptisms from this past transfer and it was great to be able to see all the pictures and hear all the miracles that are happening in the mission! One was this new convert that was baptized a week or so ago! She was the sister of this new convert that was baptized a few months ago! So the new convert was in fact someone I spent a pday with in Segesta with the Palermo zone leaders and Anziano Spencer a long time ago! She was doing well when they were teaching her, but then the Anziani decided to rest her for a little and she was picked back up a few months ago and was so ready to learn again and made it all the way to baptism. I think it is super cool because last winter when I was on a scambio in Palermo Anziano Palazzo and I were doing street finding for a Christmas sondaggio and we stopped this new convert’s other sister (one that isn’t baptized yet) and that is how she met the Anziani. It is amazing how different everyone’s stories are and that she was able to finally make it to baptism. Super cool to see how it can all start with one simple conversation on the street and helps you know to just keep going and opening your mouth.

This week went really well and we are excited to see what next week has for us. We were able to walk forever yesterday all the way out to a less active’s house and I think that they were super excited to have us over and they were surprised that we walked that far to go and see them, but it went super well and we had a great little lesson with them last night. Hopefully we will be able to see some great things happen with them because the wife is the only member of the family and they have 3 boys. Would really be amazing! Everything is going great though! We had fast and testimony meeting yesterday and I am thankful that we have the opportunity as we serve God and do the acts that Jesus Christ would do for others to come to really know our Savior, not just know things about him.

This talk that Elder Bednar gave last general conference really touched me and I would invite you all to read it because he really helps us realize that is important to know the Savior and we can do so through the simple steps that he lays before us.

It is a great talk and don’t forget to keep checking on how we can do these acts of service daily this month! Love you all and hope that you have a great week!


Anziano Garrett

Palermo Zone, December, 2016

Palermo Zone, December, 2016

Palermo Zone Anziani, December, 2016.  My new companion, Anziano Campbell, is on the far left.  He is in his 4th transfer.

Palermo Zone Anziani, December, 2016. My new companion, Anziano Campbell, is on the far left. He is in his 4th transfer.

Sciacca – Week 1
Transfer 15, Mission Week 90

Ciao tutti!

This week has been crazy busy and has felt fast and slow at the same time due to everything that we have been doing! I will start with the good stuff so that way you can know where I am at right now! So I was transferred to Sciacca which is a small city on the southern end of Sicilia! I will be training a new missionary here and we are both new to the city and don’t have a clue about anything at all really. My new companion is Anziano Hughes and he is from West Valley, Utah. He is super awesome! He has so many different hobbies and interests and is very talented in a lot of things. Has a great character and is just super nice to everyone he meets and encounters. I am super excited to work with him and we have hit it off super well! We are excited to see what kind of work we will be able to start up together with the Lord in Sciacca! We are super ready and excited for all of that!

The last week in Catania flew by and we were busy with lessons and saying goodbye to the members that I have had such a great chance to know and love over the four transfers I was there. I really love that city a lot and have a deep love for the people there! It has been great to be able to serve there and be able to learn so much from all the experiences that I have had there. Anziano Ponce and I had some great last lessons and we were happy and really felt blessed for the things that happened this past week. It seemed like this has been one of the busiest transfers of my mission. We have always had something going on and have been all over the place! I am thankful though for all that we accomplished and hope that we can all yet accomplish more over the course of the time we find ourselves here in Italy serving the Lord. I was able to say bye to many families, investigators, members, and missionaries that have all become my dear friends.

It was really cool on the way down to Palermo there was this kid waiting to get on the train, and of course as I have explained in the past everyone confuses us for the Tren Italia workers. So we started a small little conversation before the train took off, but then we continued that with another girl he sat across from on the train. We all started talking and then this lady sitting behind me joined in and before you know it another lady came over too. Our whole cart was just chatting away and I was able to share the restoration and the Book of Mormon with the lady behind me. It was so awesome to be able to listen to each other and just apply the gospel to all of our lives. It was a very special experience and even though she didn’t agree to have the missionaries over just yet she accepted the Book of Mormon and was willing to read it. She promised that upon reading it if she really felt that she needs to go forward with it she will give the missionaries a call. Really hope that she will be able to recognize that spirit and then act accordingly.

We made it to Palermo and had to stay the night there and wait until the next morning to leave. We made it safe to Sciacca and our branch President was nice enough to help us out to get all our bags over to the house. We settled in and ate lunch and were able to do our weekly planning after having a lesson in fact that night with an investigator. It all went super well despite some small obstacles that we will have to overcome because our data in the new area book app isn’t there. [Note:  The area books are where missionaries record contact information, etc., for the next missionaries.  The area books have been on paper in the past, but were recently moved to an app on the iPads.  Apparently, they’ve had a problem with the app.]  It was somehow lost so hopefully this problem will be resolved.

We then started doing permesso things for Anziano Hughes Saturday before heading out to Palermo for Stake Conference. We had great stake conference meetings and I was able to see all the members that came from Trapani! That was such a sweet reunion to see them and know that they are all doing well! I was super happy and excited about that. We had great sessions where we talked about how trials help us grow spiritually. It was hard for us to hear the talks due to technical difficulty so that was a little bit of a bummer to miss some of the things said.

I had a meeting to go to Sunday night and we ended up not being able to make it back to Sciacca that night either so we stayed in Palermo again. So technically I have spent more time in Palermo since I have been here. We were able to take a tour of Teatro Massimo today though and it was cool to imagine what it must have been like back when that place first open to go and see an opera show or a concert of some sort. It was a great first pday for Anziano Hughes and I and we were able to eat some great food from Palermo!

I am super glad to be here in Sciacca and I am grateful to be here! This week we know that it is Thanksgiving and I am excited for you all back home to be able to eat your guts out and enjoy time with the family. I really love Thanksgiving and all that it entails. I think often we aren’t as grateful as we should be for all the many and wonderful blessings that we have. I love that Elder David A. Bednar invites us to give prayers of just thanks for the the things that we have! I love that we can truly just give thanks for the many wonderful blessings in our lives. I love this video that was done by the church entitled:

In the Spirit of Thanksgiving (4:48)

In the Spirit of Thanksgiving Random people on the streets of New York City share a variety of grateful responses to one simple question: What are you thankful for?

It is super cool and I would invite you all to watch it and then this week to write down everything that you are thankful for. I know that our blessings are so many I don’t think that we will be able to truly count them all! Then offer this prayer of thanks without asking for anything. Here in fact is an excerpt from his talk about prayer given in October 2008 entitled “Pray Always.”

       During our service at Brigham Young University–Idaho, Sister Bednar and I frequently hosted General Authorities in our home. Our family learned an important lesson about meaningful prayer as we knelt to pray one evening with a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

        Earlier in the day Sister Bednar and I had been informed about the unexpected death of a dear friend, and our immediate desire was to pray for the surviving spouse and children. As I invited my wife to offer the prayer, the member of the Twelve, unaware of the tragedy, graciously suggested that in the prayer Sister Bednar express only appreciation for blessings received and ask for nothing. His counsel was similar to Alma’s instruction to the members of the ancient Church “to pray without ceasing, and to give thanks in all things” (Mosiah 26:39). Given the unexpected tragedy, requesting blessings for our friends initially seemed to us more urgent than expressing thanks.

        Sister Bednar responded in faith to the direction she received. She thanked Heavenly Father for meaningful and memorable experiences with this dear friend. She communicated sincere gratitude for the Holy Ghost as the Comforter and for the gifts of the Spirit that enable us to face adversity and to serve others. Most importantly, she expressed appreciation for the plan of salvation, for the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, for His Resurrection, and for the ordinances and covenants of the restored gospel which make it possible for families to be together forever.

        Our family learned from that experience a great lesson about the power of thankfulness in meaningful prayer. Because of and through that prayer, our family was blessed with inspiration about a number of issues that were pressing upon our minds and stirring in our hearts. We learned that our gratefulness for the plan of happiness and for the Savior’s mission of salvation provided needed reassurance and strengthened our confidence that all would be well with our dear friends. We also received insights concerning the things about which we should pray and appropriately ask in faith.

        The most meaningful and spiritual prayers I have experienced contained many expressions of thanks and few, if any, requests. As I am blessed now to pray with apostles and prophets, I find among these modern-day leaders of the Savior’s Church the same characteristic that describes Captain Moroni in the Book of Mormon: these are men whose hearts swell with thanksgiving to God for the many privileges and blessings which He bestows upon His people (see Alma 48:12). Also, they do not multiply many words, for it is given unto them what they should pray, and they are filled with desire (see 3 Nephi 19:24). The prayers of prophets are childlike in their simplicity and powerful because of their sincerity.

        As we strive to make our prayers more meaningful, we should remember that “in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments” (D&C 59:21). Let me recommend that periodically you and I offer a prayer in which we only give thanks and express gratitude. Ask for nothing; simply let our souls rejoice and strive to communicate appreciation with all the energy of our hearts.

I am thankful for all the wonderful blessings that Heavenly Father has given me our Savior Jesus Christ, opportunity for eternal life, my family, my friends, my mission, my talents, my abilities, nature, the scriptures, power of prayer, guidance, love, and so much more! I know there is so much to be thankful for! Love you all and thanks for all the support!


Anziano Garrett

Apple-picking service in Catania, Italy

Apple-picking service in Catania, Italy

Apple-picking service in Catania, Italy

Apple-picking service in Catania, Italy

Apple-picking service in Catania, Italy

Apple-picking service in Catania, Italy

Apple-picking service in Catania, Italy

Apple-picking service in Catania, Italy

Apple-picking service in Catania, Italy

Apple-picking service in Catania, Italy

Anziano Ponce teaching

Anziano Ponce teaching

Catania District soccer studs

Catania District soccer studs

Catania District anziani, November, 2016

Catania District anziani, November, 2016

Catania District sorelle, November, 2016

Catania District sorelle, November, 2016

Catania District, November, 2016

Catania District, November, 2016

Gospel Essentials

Gospel Essentials

SCIACCA, ITALY - FEBRUARY 22, 2014: panoramic view of coastline with downtown in Sciacca, Italy. Sciacca is known as the city of thermal baths since Greek domination in the 3rd and 4th centuries BC (Licensed stock photo from Adobe Stock)

SCIACCA, ITALY – FEBRUARY 22, 2014: panoramic view of coastline with downtown in Sciacca, Italy. Sciacca is known as the city of thermal baths since Greek domination in the 3rd and 4th centuries BC (Licensed stock photo from Adobe Stock)

SCIACCA, ITALY - FEBRUARY 22, 2014: panoramic view of coastline with dramatic sky in Sciacca, Italy. Sciacca is known as the city of thermal baths since Greek domination in the 3rd and 4th centuries BC (licensed stock photo from Adobe Stock)

SCIACCA, ITALY – FEBRUARY 22, 2014: panoramic view of coastline with dramatic sky in Sciacca, Italy. Sciacca is known as the city of thermal baths since Greek domination in the 3rd and 4th centuries BC (licensed stock photo from Adobe Stock)

Catania – Week 19
Transfer 14, Mission Week 84

Ciao Tutti!

I hope that everyone had a great week and that all is well with everyone! We had a super week over here and we have just been all over the place. So to begin my email we received our transfer calls Monday night and I am staying in Catania for a fourth transfer! I have received Anziano Ponce from Lima, Peru. He is a great missionary and is super dedicated to the work and really gives it all that he has. I am super excited to be staying and able to work with everyone down here for another 6 weeks. We have a lot of great plans and good work going on that is starting to grow as well! We are excited to be here and look forward to working together and seeing a ton of miracles.

So this past week we had to take missionaries to the airport Monday and that went well! I received an email from Anziano Nielsen and he has safely made it back home to Salt Lake City. He was super fun to work with and really taught me a lot. I hope to be able to continue to apply all those things that I have learned from each of my respective companions here in the mission. We proceeded to play paintball with almost the whole zone after that and it was a ton of fun! We had some members there as well which was really nice. A lot of people came out with some bruises and welts, but I didn’t seem to get any for some odd reason. It was good though!

For half the week I was on scambio with Anziano Cox because Anziano Clasby also went home. We had a great time together and were able to have a really cool lesson with two of our investigators who accepted baptismal dates that we will continue to help them towards and all that they need to do in preparation for that. I am thankful for the sweet spirit that we feel with them and all that we can truly learn together as we are all edified during those lessons. They are super special and the daughter of this member is working hard at reading the Book of Mormon and praying. It is super awesome! We also had a some great less active work done as well.

Transfer day was crazy and started off super well with all the departures and what not! Sorella Gleave and Sorella McKenzie were in opposite companionships here in Catania and headed off to Cosenza. I thought that was such a super cool transfer call! I was able to make dedicas for all the members with photos that we had taken together. I was super excited for them to go there. We had some crazy traffic all day here in Catania so that didn’t help with getting everyone where they needed to go! Driving here is insane. It is just an organized mess if that makes sense. It is a good life skill though! We were able to eventually get everyone to where they needed to all go and help out everyone with all the bags and what not! It was super fun at the end of the day and we accomplished a lot!

Other things that we did this week were the fact that we were able to translate for a member with President Jarvis of Sigonella, the American military base. It was super fun to help out with that. We also had to go and find some spray for the cockroach infestation that the sisters have at their house. We were able to plan a lot and do all that we could to get ready for everything that we need to do. We have zone conference this week and it will be really great as well as the mission conference next week in Rome on the 20th! We will be driving up there so that we can switch out the cars. It will be a beautiful drive and will take roughly 9 hours. We will be headed to stay at the Villa that night so it will be great!

I had a great study this morning and it connected super well with everything that I was touching on. It was revolved around the atonement and I really love this quote from Bruce R. McConkie:

All things center in, revolve around, are anchored to, and are built upon the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no language given to men or angels to proclaim these truths with the power and verity and dignity that should attend them. Let it be blazoned in burning  fire  through all the sidereal heavens that salvation is in Christ and comes because of his atoning sacrifice.

I think that is so true and such a powerful statement on the Atonement. It is impossible to even imagine fully all that he did for us. I am so thankful for that sacrifice and that I have an older brother that did that for each and every one of us. I am so thankful for the knowledge of from the Book of Mormon and modern day revelation through prophets and apostles that continually testify of the divinity of Christ and his mission. It is something amazing to think that we have that. Those special witnesses just like in days of old. I love you all and hope that you all have an amazing week!

Anziano Garrett

Catania – Week 17
Transfer 13, Mission Week 82

Ciao Tutti!

Thanks for all the birthday wishes! Feels like just yesterday I was in Rome on my birthday. Weird how another year passes by so fast! Sorry again I couldn’t get to every one last week! All of us Anziani were able to go and take a trip up to Etna with a member. It was a lot of fun and we had a really good time together. We got to hike a little bit and really enjoy all the scenery with him. It was really cool and we had a great day with our member. Had a nice and busy week again! We have been really staying busy throughout this whole week and we were able to see some really cool miracles.

We had a great week trying to see all the people that we have to see.

We were able to see a lot of new converts and less actives this past Tuesday and the lessons went super well. They were all really receptive to what we had planned for the and what we shared with them.

We have been doing our best to apply the counsel that was given to us at the President Kearon conference. For instance one of the families that we are working with we did our best to teach to their level and teach them and by doing so we can also at the same time catch the attention of the parents by doing so. It was really neat to see the receptiveness of the family as we taught them. It was also super neat to see them all make it out to church yesterday which was amazing.

We had a great District meeting this past week with an excellent addestramento by Anziano LaPray on love and charity which was super applicable to all of us to hear and learn from. I really enjoyed being able to talk about how that is the essence of the gospel. I am so thankful for the love that the Savior gives us and how we need to emulate that love to others. I love how it works as we serve others and pray continually for that charity we can be filled with the pure love of Christ that we can then offer to others. I am thankful that love is what can help fuel our desire to continue to do all that is right for our love for God. Something I really enjoyed learning was from this verse in the gospel of Matthew when Jesus Christ is asked which of all the commandments is the greatest.

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Here we may only think that two people are the ones we are showing love for, God and our neighbor, but Anziano LaPray underlined the fact that it states as thyself, meaning that we need to love ourselves. Of course not in a prideful or evil what, but in a way that really helps us remember that we are loved by others. This is really good for our own self esteem and was something that I really enjoyed.

That evening we were able to get over and visit a member at his house after a lesson outside of Catania and we had a good family home evening with them and they invited over some of their friends that the sisters used to meet with. It was cool to get an update on how they are doing and being able to share a little spiritual thought with them. It was a really cool spiritual evening with them all.

Thursday we went and did a scambio with Anziano Whitaker and Anziano Jackson in Reggio Calabria so we went to Messina and then crossed the straight to go and spend half of Thursday and Friday with them. The scambio went really well and we were able to see some really cool miracles from it. It was a lot of fun and a good time to get to know them better and work with them in their area. It was nice to get a little bit of finding in with them. We had a cool experience Friday morning where their investigator didn’t show up, and we finished up the scambio with some finding. The last couple that we ended up talking to were these moms on a bench in the park. It was super cool to see the progression of the conversation as we shared the restoration with them and then gave them a Book of Mormon and offered them to read it. After the Presdient Kearon conference I have been really trying to work on smiling  and being excited about leaving invites and it is really interesting to see how that is working. I think that when we know that the gospel has worked so much in our lives we need to be excited about all that we are doing and what we are inviting them to do. They were eager to read the Book of Mormon and also learn more. We got a return appointment and it was a really sick miracle.

That evening upon our return to Catania we had two lessons. We ended up sharing the same talk at both lessons. They really fit for each of them. We were able to explain to them a little of what General Conference is and why it is important and then share the last message that President Monson shared with the world. It was cool to see how this message applied to both groups personally. A lot as well with keeping commitments to read the Book of Mormon, pray, and come to church. I really enjoyed watching it with them. With the part member family that we are visiting the daughter was able to make a connection on how the message that he shared with the everyone ran in correlation with the chapter that she was reading in 1 Nephi 17. It was super cool to see her applying the things that she is learning and not just reading for curiosity, seeing how it works and can apply in our lives personally. I am so thankful for the converting power of the Book of Mormon and then help that it offers each and every one of us.

We were also able to visit some others over the weekend and we were able to see a baptismal service for one of the sisters’ investigators who is over 80 years old. It was wonderful to see him and how happy he was to be baptized and make this great covenant with the Lord. We are headed into our last week together for Anziano Nielsen and I. He will be headed up to Rome next Monday and head off home on Tuesday. It has been awesome to work with him and be able to learn all that I can from him. I am excited to see what we will be able to accomplish this week as well. It will be a lot of fun.

I am so ready for General Conference this week and being able to hear from the Prophet and all the other Apostles. It will be super special and I always get really pumped to hear the messages that they have prepared for us. I was studying a little bit about general conference in preparation for this weekend. I really love this quote from Elder Robert D. Hales.

These conferences are always under the direction of the Lord, guided by His Spirit. We are not assigned specific topics. Over weeks and months, often through sleepless nights, we wait upon the Lord. Through fasting, praying, studying, and pondering, we learn the message that He wants us to give.

Then a quote by Jeffery R. Holland

If we teach by the Spirit and you listen by the Spirit, some one of us will touch on your circumstance, sending a personal prophetic epistle just to you.

I know that if we prepare for General conference we will be able to listen to the messages and receive the answers we so seek to our questions and concerns. I invite you all to tune in to a session of general conference and search for the spiritual answers and comfort you are seeking or may just plainly enjoy. Here is the website with the information, times, and how to watch from the comfort of your home!

I love you all and am thankful for the love and support you give us all! Love you guys and have a great week!

Vi voglio un sacco di bene!

Anziano Garrett

This picture is from Anziano Scott's blog (far left). This is my comp, Anziano Nielsen (center) and 6 of the 7 companions he has had on his mission. Taken at the Mission Conference in Palermo.

This picture is from Anziano Scott’s blog (far left). This is my comp, Anziano Nielsen (center) and 6 of the 7 companions he has had on his mission. Taken at the Mission Conference in Palermo.

Catania – Week 13
Transfer 13, Mission Week 78

Ehi tutti!

I hope that everyone is doing well! Crazy to think that summer has wound down back home and is winding down here. August is a big month for everyone in Europe to go on vacation. It has been great being able to see miracles continually though! We were able to get over to work with the members a lot this week and it was really nice!  The members here are amazing and they are wonderful people. We are really excited to see all the work that we can start doing with them as well. They have strong testimonies and desire to share the gospel with those around them. We had some planning to do for our activity and it went really well! Friday we had the American breakfast with everyone that came. We had around 40 people which is less than we had planned and expected for unfortunately, but it ended up being great! We had some trouble with all the griddles and skillets we had and only one out of the three worked so it took a while to cook everything unfortunately, but everyone seemed to really enjoy it. I thought that the pancakes would definitely be the crowd favorite but it happened to be that the hash browns with cheddar cheese were the go to for everyone, but it was unfortunate that they took so long to make. It was a great activity and we topped it off with a little church tour to finish off the night.

That night at the activity we found out from the Edgels that they had a service opportunity for us in Acireale, a small city outside of Catania, with a group that was going from the military base, Sigonella. So the community in Acireale has this old park that they finally are restoring and there were these hot spring baths that will be available once it is done as well. So we spent the morning picking up a ton of branches and pine needle leaves to clean up the park. It was super weird being around so many Americans and to hear so much concentrated amounts of English from others. It was an awesome opportunity and it was well appreciated by the group. They then took us out for granita and we got a little lunch as well. We had the oppurntiy to meet some really cool people and were able to make some cool friends. I really hope that we will continue to find these opportunities to serve others like we had the opportunity to do Saturday.

We also had the great opportunity to search some more less actives and we were able to see little miracles with it. Last night we had one where we were checking at this house to see if the less active still lived there. Before we were able to ring in this lady asked who we were looking for. This was a lady of at least 80 years old and it just so happened that the member would have been around that same age. We told her the name that we were looking for and she said, “Woah that is me!” It was so funny and we came up and talked to her and I don’t think that she remembers too much at all but she showed us some pictures and then we left setting another appointment where we could bring someone with us. It was only a few minute conversation, but she was super cute and it was a funny conversation because things kept lining up. At first the first name on the list we had was wrong but then we said the second name and she said that was her. It was super awesome. On the way home we were cutting through a neighborhood and on the way up a hill at this intersection this guy stopped and asked in English if we were lost. We went up to him and he was a young guy in his mid 20s. He offered a ride and said that the neighborhood that we were in wasn’t the nicest part of town. It was super nice of him to pick us up I and unfortunately he wasn’t super interested in religion at all but he spoke English really well so we hope that he will make it out to English group. It was a super cool miracle to finish off the week.

I am enjoying being here in Catania with Anziano Nielsen and really learning all that I can from him. He is a great missionary and really helps me realize where I can get better in my reasoning and decision making. He is super practical and helps me really see how important a all the little things we do that makes the big difference in what we do here as missionaries. It has been great to pick up conversations like it was yesterday with Anziano LaPray. It is funny how we can do that but it keeps everything really fun here in Catania together.

Anziano Parkinson is a sick [missionary-speak for “awesome”] new missionary and he played soccer before the mission so we will talk about that and he is just trying to learn everything that he can from everyone. I am loving it down here and really looking forward to seeing what we all can do to really bring this work forward here! I know many of you heard about the earthquakes here in Italy and thankfully all the members and missionaries are safe, but we do know that there are many that were killed and injured and we really pray for them and their families. I hope that each of you has a wonderful week and that you all will have a great start to September! I love you all and hope that you are doing well!


Anziano Garrett

Catania – Week 1
Transfer 11, Mission Week 66

Ciao Tutti!!

So this week went by super fast! We had a nice busy week, full of fun things going on over here! Monday, Tuesday, and Wedneday I was able to have a lot of lessons with people while saying goodbye to less actives, investigators, and members. It went really well and we were able to have a lot of spiritual lessons with people. I was pretty shocked for sure about recieving my transfer call so I had to say bye to a lot of people really fast. It was really nice though and I am thankful for the things that I learned in Cosenza and for what the experiences that I learned there really helped me to gain things that I needed and helped me grow more into who I need to continue to work on becoming.

I definitely made a lot of amazing friends over there in Cosenza.

So Thursday was the day of transfers and it was a pretty hectic day.  We got down to the station and everything with the help of some ward members that gave us a ride to the train station so that we didn’t have to walk. It was really nice and super awesome of them to do that.

We had to wait in the train station at Paola for a little bit and then my train came. So I knew that my greenie was going to be on the train and I happened to get a picture from my Grandpa [from Sister Waddoups’ blog] of the two new missionaries that had just come in. So I thought they knew I was going to be joining them on the train there. I get on to a cart, but I was supposed to be on cart number 5. Thinking that logically it would make sense that the first one started at the front, I made my way backwards on the train trying to get to number 5. I have three giant overweight bags with me as well. I remember that Presdient Waddoups asked me on my first transfer day if I have ever heard about preaching without purse and script but it seems that lesson has still not settled in for me quite yet. I made my way all the way to where I think 5 should be and I am squeezing past people. Well there comes a point when I can’t go any further and I run into a group of people that tell me I am now at number 2 and happened to actually get on the right one the first time.  But I hadn’t seen any missionaries there at all. So at the next stop I get off the train and race back up the platform with the help of the Crotone missionaries and the senior couple and manage to get on the train just fine, but still haven’t found anyone. I left my bags with a nice lady in my assigned box on the train and ventured off in search of my greenie. Finally managed to find 2 missionaries on the front of the train that were headed to Palermo, but that meant that the front part of that train would split off once we got down to Messina. So then I finally got the information (after a ton of time) that they were sitting in first class which happend to be the very last cart of the train. So needless to say I was finally able to find them and meet my companion who is Anziano Albello.

Anziano Albello is from the Philippines and is a super awesome guy!  He is a little quiet, but he is super cool!! He really has so many amazing Christlike qualities that I have been able to learn so much from all ready! I don’t know why he went to the MTC in Provo, because he lived in Milan for 6 years and then moved back to the Philippines 2 years ago. When he first started talking Italian to me I was super impressed and he told me that he had studied for a year. I didn’t find out until we got to Catania (from someone else) that he lived in Italy for 6 years. He is using grammar that I haven’t even been able to scratch the surface of hahaha. That helps out a ton when it comes to missionary work! He is going to do amazing things here with all the skills that he has. I am excited to be with him and get to know him better! He is from a family of 4 and likes movies, music, to travel, and guitar as well! He is going to be an awesome missionary and we have already been able to see some really cool miracles together! [Read more…]

Cosenza – Week 7
Transfer 10, Mission Week 61

Ciao Tutti!

This week went by super fast and I can’t believe it is already Monday again! I hope that the week went really well for all you guys and that you all enjoyed everything that life has to offer. Thursday went by well for transfer days and everything got figured out just fine. I was able to send off Anziano Borner on the train up to Rome and Anziano Nessen got off the same train.

We were able to say goodbye to everyone that Anziano Borner had the opportunity to work with down here and that went really well! We were able to see a good number of people and were able to have some really cool lessons with them as well. We were able to do some good work and we really hope to be able to continue to increase all the work that we have going on here in Cosenza. We are really looking forward to seeing all the things that we will be able to do here with what we have and all that we hope to gain. I am so excited for this transfer and so excited to be working with Anziano Nessen. He is so funny and he just keeps everything so fun. We are going to have a lot of fun together, and be able to get a lot of work done as well. We are super pumped for everything that we have. This week will be really important in finding new investigators and making sure that we can really help them get to where they need to go. We really hope to do a lot this week and pray and expect the miracles. It is cool to feel the energy here and in the whole mission right now and how we are all working together to reach 40 baptisms in one month. We are really pushing for this hard right now and really want to be able to help all those that are in the zone push together. It is really fun to be here right now and be doing all these great and wonderful things with everyone.

We were able to have a Missionary Leadership Council this week that went really well and helped us really see things that we can work on!

We had to go down to Crotone for that and that is where Anziano Nessen started his mission so he was really excited about that!

This week is Mother’s Day and I don’t have much time to write, but I really wanted to share part of this talk from the October 2015 General Conference with you all about Mothers.

“Prophesying of the Savior’s Atonement, Isaiah wrote, “He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.” A majestic latter-day vision emphasized that “[Jesus] came into the world … to bear the sins of the world.” Both ancient and modern scripture testify that “he redeemed them, and bore them, and carried them all the days of old.” A favorite hymn pleads with us to “hear your great Deliv’rer’s voice!”

“Bear, borne, carry, deliver. These are powerful, heartening messianic words. They convey help and hope for safe movement from where we are to where we need to be–but cannot get without assistance. These words also connote burden, struggle, and fatigue–words most appropriate in describing the mission of Him who, at unspeakable cost, lifts us up when we have fallen, carries us forward when strength is gone, delivers us safely home when safety seems far beyond our reach. “My Father sent me,” He said, “that I might be lifted up upon the cross; … that as I have been lifted up … even so should men be lifted up … to … me.”

“Today I declare from this pulpit what has been said here before: that no love in mortality comes closer to approximating the pure love of Jesus Christ than the selfless love a devoted mother has for her child. When Isaiah, speaking messianically, wanted to convey Jehovah’s love, he invoked the image of a mother’s devotion. “Can a woman forget her sucking child?” he asks. How absurd, he implies, though not as absurd as thinking Christ will ever forget us.

“This kind of resolute love “suffereth long, and is kind, … seeketh not her own, … but … beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” Most encouraging of all, such fidelity “never faileth.” “For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed,” Jehovah said, “but my kindness shall not depart from thee.” So too say our mothers.

“You see, it is not only that they bear us, but they continue bearing with us. It is not only the prenatal carrying but the lifelong carrying that makes mothering such a staggering feat. Of course, there are heartbreaking exceptions, but most mothers know intuitively, instinctively that this is a sacred trust of the highest order. The weight of that realization, especially on young maternal shoulders, can be very daunting.

“To all of our mothers everywhere, past, present, or future, I say, “Thank you. Thank you for giving birth, for shaping souls, for forming character, and for demonstrating the pure love of Christ.” To Mother Eve, to Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel, to Mary of Nazareth, and to a Mother in Heaven, I say, “Thank you for your crucial role in fulfilling the purposes of eternity.” To all mothers in every circumstance, including those who struggle–and all will–I say, “Be peaceful. Believe in God and yourself. You are doing better than you think you are. In fact, you are saviors on Mount Zion, and like the Master you follow, your love ‘never faileth.’ ” I can pay no higher tribute to anyone. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”

I really love this talk and am so thankful for the divine role of mothers and the responsibility that God has given them all. I am thankful for all the sacrifices, love, charity, lessons taught, patience, examples given, and so much more that they all offer us. I love my mom and am so thankful for all that she has done for me and I know that Heavenly Father is happy with the work that she has done in raising us. I know that all you moms out there really at times carry the weight of the world on your shoulders and I just want to thank you all to for all that you do! I am so excited to talk to my family this week and can’t wait to hear from them. I have to go, but I love you all and am thankful for all the support. Talk to you again next week!


Anziano Garrett

[This photo was posted on Anziano Yskes’ blog.  This is the Crotone District in the last meeting before transfers.  Anziano Yskes was transferred a few days later to Sciacca, in western Sicily near Tràpani]

Crotone District, April 2016, courtesy of Anziano Yskes' blog. The district comprises the cities of Cosenza, Catanzaro, and Crotone.

Crotone District, April 2016, courtesy of Anziano Yskes’ blog. The district comprises the cities of Cosenza, Catanzaro, and Crotone.

Cosenza – Week 6
Transfer 9, Mission Week 60

Ciao tutti!

I hope that everyone is doing well and that you are all enjoying life. I am sorry that this will not be the longest email that I will be able to send this week!

So for transfers I will be staying here and Anziano Borner will be headed to Rome 5 this Thursday.  I will get Anziano Nessen who is coming up from Mistretta in Sicily. He is super awesome and we were in the same zone for 4 transfers so it will be awesome to get to work with him and know him better. Will be a lot of fun for sure. We are really looking forward to it.

This week went by really well and we were able to have some lessons with people.  One lesson with our investigators was really cool because at the beginning of the lesson we followed up on his Book of Mormon reading and he was able to recognize that he needs to be reading it way more. It was just cool to see that prayers for him came in a different way than we had expected. We assigned him some chapters to read and we really hope that he will be able to read them and we will be able to really teach according to his needs and what will help him find the truthfulness of our message on his own. We can’t give it to him, he has to search it out himself.

We got a referral this week that sounds really awesome and we strangely got the call from the St. George Utah Temple visitors center from the sister there, which is generally not allowed I don’t think, but she was from Italy and gave us the referral and we were able to go out and contact it and we will be setting up a lesson with him and his friend this week, so we are super stoked about that too! He knows some members as well which will be super nice to be able to get them to help with lessons when they are available.

We had two other really spiritually powerful lessons this week. One was with a new convert that was about fatherhood, based on Elder Christofferson’s talk from last conference, and it went super well. It was awesome to hear his testimony and the responsibility he knows that he has as a father. It was so cool and he is such a strong guy with an amazing faith and their family is super awesome. They have really cute kids. The other was with our Branch President who is recovering from a heart attack. It was super cool to go visit him and he really enjoyed having us over and we were able to share a nice short message with him. Glad that he is doing better and he should be back home in a few weeks or so.

Thank you guys so much for all the support from back home and all the prayers that you guys offer for me. I am very thankful to know that we have all the support that we do. I love you all and hope that you all have a wonderful week and that you will all be able to enjoy it as fully as you can!

Anziano Garrett

[The following picture was borrowed from Sorella Carver’s blog this week.  She describes a member who invited a bunch of members (and the missionaries serving in Cosenza) over to her home for games and food]

From Sorella Carver's blog: "Most intense game of Jenga I've ever played! - Sorella Pinnegar, Anziano Garrett, and Luka." Cosenza, April, 2016.

From Sorella Carver’s blog: “Most intense game of Jenga I’ve ever played! – Sorella Pinnegar, Anziano Garrett, and Luka.” Cosenza, April, 2016.

Cosenza – Week 4
Transfer 9, Mission Week 58

Ciao Tutti!

This week went really well and we were able to see a lot of really cool miracles throughout the week, big and small. We didn’t get to meet a ton with the people that we are working with right now. We did get to meet with one and we really have to help him read the Book of Mormon because that will be the only way that he is going to know if the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true or not. He is such an awesome guy and is super funny and all. He is really smart and I just hope that he will really continue to strive to read the Book of Mormon each and everyday. It will truly make all the difference.

Anziano Borner and I started running last week and we have been going out every day, so that has been super nice and we have really enjoyed it a lot. We feel really good throughout the week and it is just super nice to be able to get back into the running mode and everything. I have really missed it. I feel out of shape, but nothing terrible, thank goodness. The runs are super pretty here though and super fun. We like running towards centro storico. They are also super hilly! We did a solid mile up a hill during the week so we were really tired after that. It was super cool though and was a really pretty view. It has been fun though! Our goal is to run out to McDonalds, eat breakfast, and run back by the end of the transfer. We plan on doing it the next Saturday after this one hahaha.

So this week during English course we have been able to get a lot of new students and there is this one younger couple that are super cool.  They are super fun and we really love having them here. We hit it off at the end of the class when the guy and I were talking about music for just a second. We were able to get their number the second lesson and they are totally down to meet!! We are really excited to see how it will turn out and what will come of it! I really hope all goes well! They have a 3 year old son too!! So awesome!

Another miracle that we were able to see was when we were doing finding on the main drag of centro. There were a ton of people out and we were trying to stop so many, and not a single one stopped to watch the video the whole time. We turned off the road and the first or second person we stopped watched the video and we were able to set an appointment right there with them. The lesson was last night and it went really well and they are so nice. We only did it with the grandma but there is a whole family that lives here so we really hope that all goes well and we will be able to teach the whole family about the gospel! We were super excited about it for sure though!

We were able to go up to a small town called Saracena this week where we have some members. It was a really good visit with them and it went really well! We also found this store that sells candy from America and the UK so that was pretty cool! We bought a few things that, of course, we probably didn’t need, but it was nice to have some more candy from back home! Saracena was a really cool city and the members are so nice. They don’t get a ton of visits so it was nice to get up there and see them!

We are enjoying working together and being able to be here in Cosenza together. The time has flown by since we have been here, and it has been a really good time together! So this transfer is still the normal 6 weeks and the next one will be 5 weeks so that one will probably go by pretty fast! I don’t think that Anziano Borner will be here for the next one so we will enjoy all the time that we have together. [Read more…]