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Sciacca – Week 11
Transfer 16, Mission Week 100

Ciao tutti!

We had another great week here in Sciacca and all is going well! We had a lot going on in another busy week here and we were able to accomplish a ton. We had a good number of lessons with our investigator who accepted the baptismal date for the 4th. His progress has been miraculous, to say the least, and he is doing so well! He is reading in the Book of Mormon, his prayers are always spot on, he loves saying the prayers during lessons, and he is just already so well integrated into the branch. One cool thing that happened, for instance, is when we taught about Sabbath Day observance this week we invited him to keep the Sabbath Day holy and at the end he didn’t think that he could do it because he would have to work on Sundays when he got a job. We explained that he could ask the people during the interviews if he would be able to have Sundays off so he could do his best to always make it to church and not have to work. He agreed that he would try, with some skepticism still. Well, the next day in another lesson he explained how he went home that night and kind of felt guilty that he didn’t think he could do it. He was thinking how, in the creation, God created the world in 6 days and on the 7th day he rested. He was questioning himself and asking why he couldn’t do that. So he prayed that when he finds work that the people will understand his beliefs and he will be able to have Sundays off.

He as been doing really well with everything and he will have his interview this week, when the zone leaders come down to do a scambio, and then we will be holding the baptism this Saturday at noon! It has been amazing to see the miraculous changes that he has had in his life. He has been humbled and he is always expressing thanks that there is light coming into his life, which we know this God’s light entering his life and penetrating him. It is amazing to see that God has blessed us with the opportunity to know him and be able to hear his story. I am really excited to see how it will all turn out for him during his life.

We had another great lesson with his sister this week, with some of the sisters from the branch again, that went really well! She is engaged in the invitations that we have extended to her and she is doing well in searching all the things out that she needs to. She really loves the teachings of the gospel and does a great job in expressing her feelings about what she feels and thinks. She really has a testimony of these things, but is just having a hard time recognizing that she does know that these things are true. We are doing our best to teach and ask questions to help her really see for herself what she has instead of just telling her. This will really help her realize that it has been there for a while and she will be willing to act on what she knows to be true because she knows it and not anyone else. It is all going really well with her and we hope to see her continue to progress as well!

We were finally able to see our other investigator this week twice after a couple weeks of not hearing from him at all. We called one night kind of thinking that we wouldn’t get a hold of him again and low and behold he answered! We had two great lessons with him this week and in one we talked about real intent and really working hard to seek and find the things that we desire to obtain. We were able to really explain the importance of daily scripture study, prayer, and church attendance and he has recommitted to really be doing these things and he is doing a great job thus far. He started to read more in the Book of Mormon and he came to church this past Sunday which was great! We also saw a miracle with him along his path to obeying the word of wisdom and to stop smoking. He usually smoked 20 cigarettes a day and is all the way down to 1 so that is really amazing! We were super happy for him and he is doing so well!

We also had a branch activity this week on Friday night where we played a mixture of games that were set up by our branch President. It was a lot of fun and we played boys verses girls and it all went super well! The games were fun and we were able to help out with some but not all of them since it was Italian proverbs and such, which most of time went over our heads. It was fun though and we were able to see how competitive everyone was getting. Then in the spirit of Italian jokes as usual there were a few Carabinieri [police] jokes told hahaha. Then at the end someone asked if our branch President would share this story that he told them a little bit ago and he asked us if he had told us this story or not and we said that he hadn’t so he got into this whole big story about these guys dining and dashing with his wife around one of their anniversaries since they were nice enough to make some room at their table in this restaurant. It was this whole long story and we were just all hanging off on every word that he was saying because he is so good at telling stories and it just seemed so real all to find out it was another big joke hahaha. It was really funny.

We had the missionary broadcast this past Wednesday evening with all the other missionaries in the world. It was set up in a council setting with the Missionary Department council which consists of Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Elder David A. Bednar, Elder Neil L. Andersen, and others. It was super cool to see everyone respond to questions and share their thought sand ideas over snippets from last years missionary broadcast in January. It was super cool to be able to learn from them and really learn what more we can do as missionaries to teach repentance and baptize converts. One thing that Elder Bednar said that struck me was that, “All is one in Christ.” He talked about too often in the church we have this look at the gospel of Jesus Christ, consisting of: faith, repentance, baptism by immersion, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end, as all separate processes or ingredients to a recipe. He talked about how it all is interrelated to one another. This was something that I really enjoyed and immediately the verse that Elder Andersen ended up sharing with everyone was the one that came to my head. These verses are found in Alma 34 and I have always loved this phrase “faith unto repentance.”

15 And thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance.

16 And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety, while he that exercises no faith unto repentance is exposed to the whole law of the demands of justice; therefore only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption.

17 Therefore may God grant unto you, my brethren, that ye may begin to exercise your faith unto repentance, that ye begin to call upon his holy name, that he would have mercy upon you;

I really love that it is faith that leads us to put our trust in Christ’s Atonement and in his deliverance from our sins. That is what leads us to the change that can come through repenting of our sins and being clean again, naturally leading us into the next steps of baptism for the remission of our sins and receiving the Holy Ghost as a constant companion to help us for the remainder of our lives. This is why enduring to the end is applying this way to live our life each and every day with continued faith unto Repentance and partaking of the sacrament weekly.

There was also an announcement on a change of our key indicators which have been simplified into 4 numbers instead of 9. These are baptisms & confirmations, investigators with a baptismal date, investigators who attended sacrament meeting, and new investigators. It is really nice with helping us focus on working towards helping these people repent and be baptized. There was also an announcement on the change of our daily schedule which consists of things that we need to do each day, with a flexibility of being able decide when to do them. This will help us all to really decide what the best way to use our time is, since each mission is different, as well as each city in a certain mission. It will really be nice moving to this new way to plan and do everything, and we get 2 extra hours of pday staring at 8:00 instead of 10:00!

We had a super cool service opportunity as well this week! We got a phone call one morning from our investigator that is the husband of a member. A week or so prior we had met in a panificio [bakery] near our house (the people that work there used to live in Chicago, so we sometimes pass by and chat with them since they have been friends with the missionaries for a long time). So one of the ladies that works there asked if our investigator could help get a hold of us to go in and visit them since they needed help with something. So we went there after our studies and they needed some help with English to help her son study for these exams to try and enter into a military academy since he wants to become a pilot in the military. So we went to their house later that day and helped him out and it just went super well.

They are such a nice family and we really enjoyed being able to help them with everything. So they wanted us over for dinner and last night was the only night that we really have free all week so we were able to go out and have an awesome dinner with them last night. They showed us around their house and we were able to get to know them all better and at the end we shared the message of the restoration with them and they all agreed to read the Book of Mormon. It was super amazing and the kid, who is about our age, is really cool and was talking to us on the way home how he admires what we do. We really hope that all this goes in the right direction and we will be able to help them out. We will be heading to see them again and help out a little more with studies this Friday.

We had a great week though and I look forward to this upcoming week with all the things that we have planned. So late this past summer the day in which departing missionaries go up to Rome changed a little bit. We no longer head up the Saturday before and then are there until Tuesday, but now you go up Sunday evening so you are able to spend the maximum time in your area. Well, this time it is a little different and we are actually headed up to Rome early Sunday morning at 6:40, which means we will make it up there in time to head to Rome 1 for church! I am definitely excited about that and will be able to bear my testimony where I stared and bore my first testimony in Italian on my first Sunday in April 2015. It will be great to see all the members up there and talk to them. So we will then do proselyting in Rome that evening and then sleep there. My interview will be held the Monday following in the morning, most likely after some other things in the office like turning in my iPad and such. We will then have a pday in Rome and be able to go around Rome for one last time and then we will all meet in the Villa for departing dinner and testimony meeting. Then Tuesday Anziano Blocker and I will be headed to the airport first, since our flight is at 8:00, and we will go from there.

Well, I look forward to being able to tell you all about this last week here in Italy next week! So I am not completely sure if I will be able to write an email next week and surely wont have time to write anyone personally at all, but if I don’t, I plan on writing up my last blog post upon arriving home so everyone can get the final update on how the week went and what not! Look forward to seeing you all soon and being able to tell you more of all my experiences here these past 2 years! Love you all and thanks again for everything!

Vi voglio bene!

Anziano Garrett

Members of my MTC group in the Palermo Zone. We have one week left!

Me with our favorite Sciacca family

Anziano Campbell with our favorite Sciacca family

Sciacca – Week 10
Transfer 16, Mission Week 99

Ciao tutti!

I hope that everyone has had a great week and that you are all enjoying the winter back home, which never seems to make up its mind, for Illinois at least. Hope that all is going well in your lives too!

This week was another great one and we were able to see a lot of really great things happen and it was super cool to be able to do all that we did. I recounted a little of our zone conference things and such and then we had our pday on Tuesday of last week. Towards the end of Pday we had our english course and we have been in small numbers for a while now and we were able to get a new student this past Tuesday who is in fact the brother-in-law to our branch President. Well we had another lesson with him after the course, which our President came to as well. Well the lesson went super well Sunday and this went just as well! We weren’t able to leave all the normal invites due to time restrictions Sunday so we extended all the invites and we were able to do that Tuesday. It went so well and he has just come out of a difficult time in his life and he has humbled himself so much and really wants to find more faith in God and just be at peace wit himself again working at always being a better person. He is such a great guy and he accepted a baptismal date for the 4th of February which is so amazing!! We are so excited and we will be preparing him for his interview next week. It was such a fulfilling lesson and his prayer at the end was super powerful.

Wednesday we had a scambio with Caltanisetta that went super well and we were able to accomplish a lot of good things during that as well! Unfortunately Anziano Bowers and I were unable to get into a lesson setting because our lessons fell through. We did some great finding though and it all went really well! We were excited to work tougher and we got to know each other a little more too! It was great stuff! I loved the way that Anzinao Bowers can really play well off of everyone. He listens intently to the people we are talking to as well as his companion which he is very easily able to play well off of what the people really need. It was very instructive to be able to do some finding with him.

Thursday the highlights were definitely getting to go visit our member who is in the hospital right now for an operation. He was very happy to see us and you could tell that he was very grateful that we came. It was really great to see him and talk with him and his mother who is super nice as well. The other people in the room even chatted with us and a lady was asking a lot of great questions as well. We then had another great lesson with our new investigator and he really understood everything contained within the Plan of Salvation. It was a great lesson and we were very happy with the way that it went and the more and more we meet with him the more that we can tell he is ready for baptism. He didn’t hesitate to accept that baptismal date and knows that it is going to change his life for the better. It is a very big commitment, but one where we really come to know that God gives way more than we realize on his side of the pact or covenant that we make with him. I know that it is going to bring many blessings to his life and the lives of those around him as it would with anyone.

Friday was a great day and we were able to go visit our member in the hospital again really fast which was another great visit with which we were able to help lift him up again. After that we headed straight to what we were hoping would be a lesson with one of our new investigators with his wife who is the member. He unfortunately didn’t join us this time and we are heading back there today to watch the restoration video with them all. We are really excited to see how that will all play out and where we will get with him. It was really cool to see more and more the changes in him since we have been here. We dropped off that pamphlet to him after we got back from zone conference and we wrote a little dedicha (like a letter thingy) in the inside. I put my name as Anziano Taylor Garrett and so he was making some jokes about the inauguration and how they were missing two Anziani there and he used my first name by memory so I was super impressed by that hahaha. He is so funny and just has this Sicilian mumbling voice that cracks me up no matter what he says hahaha.

We had a great day Saturday and we were able to have another great lesson with our branch president’s sister-in-law which went super well too! We taught the restoration and we had three other members there with us and it was great to see all the different conversion stories and how we each have our own way in which we gained our testimonies. This ended up being an essential ingredient to all the invites that we left her. The first one we extended we were floored to find out that she has already read the whole Book of Mormon this past summer after she had a surgery. Well she was willing to read it again thank goodness and she also accepted a baptismal date for the 25th of February. It was a super powerful lesson and we were able to really see the blessings of having member there to help us out in explaining things and offering another witness to the truths that we are bringing to them.

Sunday was a crazy day. It started raining in the middle of the night when we would wake up occasionally because of the wind or the thunder and such. It continued to rain really good while we walked to church with some good lighting going off around us. it was coming down hard all morning during the classes and sacrament meeting. It was pouring and the power was flickering on and off. Well after we found out there was a lot of water on the streets similar to how it was when I first got to Sciacca. President went and took our new convert home with his friends and had to go contrary to the one way honking to make it to the house. We then went to the hospital to go and give the member the sacrament and a priesthood blessing. Well there were rivers everywhere on the street it was crazy!! I haven’t seen flash floods like that since I was in kindergarten hahaha. It was really cool, but there were some spots that were really crazy, but it was a great day in church. We had both our new investigators there and our new convert brought three friends so we had a nice filled up room for everything this week!

I really enjoyed being able to study out of the Doctrine and Covenants this week and I am now doing a study of them which is going super well! I am enjoying studying also the context in which the revelations were received getting a historical background on it I have been able to also reflect a lot on Joseph Smith the first prophet, seer, and revelator of this last dispensation. I know that he is a prophet of God and the more and more I study his life I know that he has done many divine things to further the Lords work. He taught pure doctrine and was always stringing to help all those around him. I am thankful to have this knowledge that he was truly called of God because I have read the Book of Mormon and asked if it was true or not. I know that we can all know he is a prophet if we ask God. What a message of hope to know that God has restored priesthood keys once again to the earth that he truly speaks to us today and that there has been a line of prophets ever since that have had these keys as well. I love this story and quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson

Later, the incomparable Ralph Waldo Emerson rocked the very foundations of New England ecclesiastical orthodoxy when he said to the Divinity School at Harvard: “It is my duty to say to you that the need was never greater [for] new revelation than now.” “The doctrine of inspiration is lost. … Miracles, prophecy, … the holy life, exist as ancient history [only]. … Men have come to speak of … revelation as somewhat long ago given and done, as if God were dead. … It is the office of a true teacher,” he warned, “to show us that God is, not was; that He speaketh, not spake.” In essence, Mr. Emerson was saying, “If you persist in handing out stones when people ask for bread, they will eventually stop coming to the bakery.”

We know that he speaks today and it all started with a 14-year old boy in a sacred grove in New York City in 1820. I know that Jesus Christ lives and that this is his church today. I love him and thank him for leading and guiding this church through the prophets chosen of God. I love this verse from D&C which is very powerful to me.

D&C 135

3 Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. In the short space of twenty years, he has brought forth the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God, and has been the means of publishing it on two continents; has sent the fulness of the everlasting gospel, which it contained, to the four quarters of the earth; has brought forth the revelations and commandments which compose this book of Doctrine and Covenants, and many other wise documents and instructions for the benefit of the children of men; gathered many thousands of the Latter-day Saints, founded a great city, and left a fame and name that cannot be slain. He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord’s anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood; and so has his brother Hyrum. In life they were not divided, and in death they were not separated!

I know that to be true. I hope that you all have a great week and that everything will go just well for you all!

Ti voglio tanto bene,

Anziano Garrett

Sciacca traffic

Good pizza

Palermo Zone, January, 2017. My last zone conference.

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.

Catania – Week 8
Transfer 12, Mission Week 73

Ciao tutti!

Hope that everyone has had a great week! This week has been really good for sure and we really enjoyed it. We are still on the search for a lot of work right now, but we were able to go and see our really awesome investigator that has been reading the Book of Mormon. He was really impressed with the way that the Book of Mormon is so similar to the bible. It was really cool to get to meet with him again. It was really amazing to explain to him the plan of salvation and he had looked ahead at the pamphlet so he was able to understand really easy all that this plan that our Heavenly Father has prepared for us. We were also able to have a really special meeting with the family of the sisters’ investigator where the spirit was really manifested strongly in that meeting. Another awesome miracle that we were able to see was the effect and results of that lesson to the less active family that I shared last week while we were in the trio. The son of the family met the Anziani earlier in the week and he said that his dad wanted the Anziani to come back to their house again. He wanted to meet with us but not only that he said that the whole family was going to come to church! Yesterday the whole family was there! It was super awesome and was so good to see how the spirit really touched and changed his heart. We are really enjoying Catania and the increase of missionaries here will really help this ward continue to be excited about missionary work. We are excited to see in what ways we can help them and do our best to serve them in any way possible. We are doing our best to try to find people that are ready to listen to our message and act on the invites to see if it is true or not. That is something that is so nice about our message is that there is no middle ground to it.

It is either completely true or it is not. I know that God can confirm to each one of us that it is true. I know that the scriptures are ways for us to know the truth and especially reading, pondering, and praying about the Book of Mormon. At the beginning of the Book of Mormon there is a story of Lehi, this father and prophet, that is leading his family into the wilderness and they have a type of compass that works by faith for God to instruct them on where to journey to. I was reading how Alma, another Book of Mormon prophet, later counsels his son using this story as an analogy to the scriptures. He states

38 And now, my son, I have somewhat to say concerning the thing which our fathers call a ball, or director–or our fathers called it Liahona, which is, being interpreted, a compass; and the Lord prepared it.

39 And behold, there cannot any man work after the manner of so curious a workmanship. And behold, it was prepared to show unto our fathers the course which they should travel in the wilderness.

40 And it did work for them according to their faith in God; therefore, if they had faith to believe that God could cause that those spindles should point the way they should go, behold, it was done; therefore they had this miracle, and also many other miracles wrought by the power of God, day by day.

41 Nevertheless, because those miracles were worked by small means it did show unto them marvelous works. They were slothful, and forgot to exercise their faith and diligence and then those marvelous works ceased, and they did not progress in their journey;

42 Therefore, they tarried in the wilderness, or did not travel a direct course, and were afflicted with hunger and thirst, because of their transgressions.

43 And now, my son, I would that ye should understand that these things are not without a shadow; for as our fathers were slothful to give heed to this compass (now these things were temporal) they did not prosper; even so it is with things which are spiritual.

44 For behold, it is as easy to give heed to the word of Christ, which will point to you a straight course to eternal bliss, as it was for our fathers to give heed to this compass, which would point unto them a straight course to the promised land.

45 And now I say, is there not a type in this thing? For just as surely as this director did bring our fathers, by following its course, to the promised land, shall the words of Christ, if we follow their course, carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise.

46 O my son, do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way; for so was it with our fathers; for so was it prepared for them, that if they would look they might live; even so it is with us. The way is prepared, and if we will look we may live forever.

47 And now, my son, see that ye take care of these sacred things, yea, see that ye look to God and live. Go unto this people and declare the word, and be sober. My son, farewell.

I love this profound teaching that shows that if we look to the scriptures we may live forever. It truly will lead us down the paths of life and help us become who God wants us to become. I know that if we take heed, study, and treasure up the word of God we will truly be lead “into a far better land of promise” after this life. I love you all and hope that you have an amazing week!

Anziano Garrett

Anziano Goode taking Catania District selfie

Anziano Goode taking Catania District selfie

At church with Anziano Albello and Sorella Bellomo.

At church with Anziano Albello and Sorella Bellomo.

4 of the 6 missionaries working in Catania before the last transfers.  There are 8 now.

4 of the 6 missionaries working in Catania before the last transfers. There are 8 now.

Housemates in Catania

Housemates in Catania

Catania District baptism

Catania District baptism

Anziano Goode's district selfie

Anziano Goode’s district selfie

Catania District before the last transfers

Catania District before the last transfers

Anziano Goode

Anziano Goode

Saying goodbye to Anziano Goode.  He's off to home.

Saying goodbye to Anziano Goode. He’s off to home.

District meal!

District meal!

Catania – Week 6
Transfer 11, Mission Week 71

Ehi tutti!

I hope that everyone had a wonderful week back home and that you are all enjoying your summer!

This week went by super fast and we were able to have a lot of really cool moments this week where we were able to teach some sweet lessons! One of the really cool miracles for me this week was while we were doing some less active finding in a part of town that we hadn’t been to and we were searching for two families that a member had mentioned we could go and check out. We went in search of this house and it ended up being really strange. The number that we had of the address was 123 and we were on the right street, but we made it further down and noticed a problem.

We got to 121 on the corner and then the very next house was 125. It was really weird and seeing as I forgot what spell we were supposed to cast to get into Sirius Black’s house we had to resort to asking people where the heck this house and family lived haha. They unfortunately didn’t know either so seeing that it was kind of late we moved on to go the next family’s house. We ended up finding the daughter of a less active and she is not a member. She and her husband were home and we were able to come in and share the Restoration with them. They agreed that they would read the Book of Mormon and pray to know if was true. It was really awesome and they have two kids! One that is 9 and the other is 2. We really hope to get back over there this week and see what we can do to help them out even more. It was a really special miracle and I really pray that their hearts will be open and they will be willing to just try their best to search for the answers.

We were doing finding in the park here in Catania the other day searching for some people and we had 3 lessons that morning with people that we were meeting on the bench and it was going really well.

The last lesson we had ended up being one of the better ones where they were into what we were saying and it was the last one that we had before going home for lunch. We are doing our best to search for as many people that want to act on the message to just find out if it is true or not. It a was amazing to see at the end of the week on Friday we were able to have two baptisms one from each of the companionships. These girls are super awesome and they were so happy to be baptized.

It was really special to see and I am so very thankful that we were able to be there to witness it. They have really grown spiritually and were so happy to make these covenants with Heavenly Father. I was able to confirm one of them on church Sunday which was the first time that I confirmed the gift of the Holy Ghost to someone. It was a special opportunity for sure.

Anziano Goode went home Saturday and we sent him off nice and safely up to Rome. It was a pleasure to work alongside him and I was able to learn a lot from him over the past few weeks. He trained Anzinao LaPray in Trapani so we would often chat about Trapani and all the great and wonderful people there. I do have a friend that decided to go on his mission again from Trapani and I am so excited for him! He will leave this September I found out today! Super cool!

After that we went and did service at an English Group member’s house and we primed the tile on his porch. We then ate pranzo with him and I have never eaten 3 arancini [stuffed rice balls which are coated with bread crumbs and then deep fried. They are usually filled with ragù (meat and tomato sauce), mozzarella, and peas.] in one sitting with 2 mini pizzas, fruit, and gelato to top it off. It was super fun and great to be able to do that service for him. We were also able to share the restoration with him and his wife. It was super special and they were so very nice to us. Hope all goes well with them as well!

We have been in a trio ever since Saturday and it is going really well. We are doing a good job at trying to stay as busy as possible and we hope that we will be able to continue to be as effective as possible until transfer day. We are all staying the same and Anziano Berger will be getting Anziano Neilson who served with Anziano Rasband in Sardegna. I am excited to talk to him some more and he likes to run so we will all be going running in the park here in town. Been able to pretty much run everyday lately and I was able to go for a nice 6 mile run the other day. It definitely feels good to be able to run. I am excited to stay with Anziano Albello and we hope to continue to be able to do all we can to find as many people to teach and work side by side with all the members. We will be getting 2 new Sorelle in the city so we will have 8 missionaries in the ward. That is a ton! It’s the most I have ever heard of in one ward so we really hope that we will see a lot of great things this summer as we help as many people by inviting them to come unto Christ.  [Note:  Several other missionaries have reported that this transfer is affecting 72 out of the 75 companionships in the mission, so it looks like only the two anziani still in the middle of training new missionaries, including Taylor, and the two assistants aren’t changing this transfer!]

We have been studying a lot about repentance, change, and coming unto Christ as a mission. I enjoyed this scripture from the part in the Book of Mormon when Alma and the sons of Mosiah are converted. They are going around destroying the church and bringing people away form the truth. An angel appears to them and commands them to stop. Alma falls and loses all his strength. [Read more…]

Tràpani – Week 5
Transfer 5, Mission Week 35


I hope that everyone had an amazing week! This week was weird for us, but we made it through and were able to really see a lot of good things happen this week.

So Monday night we had a family home evening and had a new investigator that night. We talked about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It started out really well and then went kind of crazy (not in a bad way. Just got a little off topic and such) and we got it reeled back in. We went off topic after a few minutes more and we just needed to get it reeled back in. We went from talking about the Great Apostasy and went straight into Joseph Smith and the First Vision. It was really amazing because everything just got quiet and we could feel the spirit really strongly as we shared about Joseph Smith and the first vision. It was really amazing to just feel the spirt as we talk about that event that changed everybody’s lives. It was a really cool experience.

Tuesday we went to Palermo for our DDM [district meeting] and then we had to stay there because we went to the airport to go pick up Anziano Goode, who had to come back down to Tràpani to pick up his permesso (papers to stay in Italy). So it was a long day but it was really good. We got the permesso, no problem, and sent him back to Palermo and then we went and had some lessons.

Thursday we had a scambio and Anziano Trejo got to come back here to Tràpani. This was his first city in the mission and now he is back in Palermo as one of our zone leaders. He is super awesome. He is really funny, loving, kind, and is an amazing missionary. He was super fun to work with and I had a lot of good things to learn from him.

Friday we had some lessons planned but some of them fell through, but we had a good night. We made some caramel apples for some people and the first batch was a big learning curve. We are no Sister Cloward, but we tried our best.  The second batch looked and turned out much better. The third should be even better.  [Read more…]