Main Menu

Sciacca – Week 6
Transfer 15, Mission Week 95

Ciao tutti!

I hope that everyone had a very Merry Christmas and that you all enjoyed the holidays yesterday!! I always love the family time that comes out of the holidays when we are all able to just pause on life for a while and spend time with one another. It is super important to always treasure and cherish these times and memories that we can share with one another. I am thankful that the Savior can really unite us all together and I am thankful for the significance of this holiday to commemorate the coming of our Savior. I know that He has come and done all that He did for love of God and all mankind. I know that He will again come and that we can do all that we can to prepare ourselves for that time!

We had a great time here in Sciacca this Christmas! Babbo Natale [Santa Claus] passed by our house so that was super cool. We were able to go to church in the morning and it went super well! We were all edified by the talks that were given and the simplicity of the messages with their testimonies. It really helped us continue to feel the spirit of Christmas and reflect on the birth of our savior. Our branch President read through some of the verses in Luke 2 and elaborated as he went through it. After church we watched part of a movie and then went to a lunch with the branch President’s wife’s family which was a lot of fun! There was a good number of people, not as many as back home, but more than last year at Christmas, which made for a crazy time! We enjoyed being able to spend the lunch with all them and interact with them as we ate a delicious lunch because of which it was difficult for us to walk back to the church afterwards! We finished up that movie and then watched half of another one. Which we will be finishing today! We watched Zootopia and then It’s a Wonderful Life. Neither of which I have seen, but I thoroughly enjoyed the first and am loving the story of the second. We then got to finish off the night Skyping our families which was so much fun! I had a great time being able to talk to all them again and this time around it wasn’t really hard to hang up at all. It was nice to feel like we were all just sitting around again telling stories and such hahaha. It was a great time and definitely love them all so much!

The week went by super fast and was jam packed with a ton of things that we were able to do! We started off the week playing Zone Soccer and caroling later that night which allowed me to reminisce on last years zone activity that we did as well! We had a great time doing that and were able to sing fairly well together too! We then had DDM Tuesday in Palermo and then a super awesome lunch at the Garrett’s home so that was cool to be able to invited by some of the family even though I am far away from everyone else hahaha. That was a lot of fun and we had a white elephant gift exchange and I made it out with a nice scarf! We proceeded then to have a nice scambio with the zone leaders and it was cool to be able to go with Anziano Blocker who is in my group and that was the longest that we were ever able to work together so it was a lot of fun. I love being able to learn form other missionaries and be inspired by the way that they work and what we can all learn from one another. We were able to then have a scambio with Agrigento here in Sciacca which went well too! I was with Anzinao Alexander and Anziano Jensen was with Anziano Campbell. We saw a lot of neat miracles in getting the husband of our member to join us for the spiritual thought this time around, and we were able to see a lot of finding miracles too that we hope all pan out super well this week too! Love getting to feel the energy and excitement that Anziano Alexander has and all the hard work he puts in!

It was a great week and it just flew by! We were able to accomplish a lot and had little small moments to serve other to the best of our capacity. I really hope to be able to continue to put in as much hard work as possible! We are looking forward to see what the Lord has in store for us this next transfer when we will receive the calls tonight! I am excited to always be able to learn from the experiences and the oppourtunities that he places before us. We just have to continue to act, have faith, and trust in him! I am thankful for this time that we will also have to look back on another year and reflect on what is to come! There is a talk that comes to my mind that I would invite you to all read found at this link.

Here is a short little part that I love from this:

An old proverb says, “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.”

There is something wonderful and hopeful about the word now. There is something empowering about the fact that if we choose to decide now, we can move forward at this very moment.

Now is the best time to start becoming the person we eventually want to be–not only 20 years from now but also for all eternity.

I know that we can start now and we can commit to change and with the Lord there to help us we can become the person that we really want and need to become!! Once again a Merry Christmas to all! I love you all and thank you so much for all the love and support you show me!


Anziano Garrett

Christmas luncheon in Palermo, a few days before Christmas. Hosted by Anziano and Sorella Craig Garrett (the senior couple in Palermo).

[Editor’s note:  Craig Garrett is my step-cousin.  He served in the Italy Catania Mission in the late 70s.  He and his wife are now the senior couple assigned to Palermo]

Christmas Conversation
The last call home

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

iPhone screen grab of our FaceTime conversation.


Cosenza – Week 8
Transfer 10, Mission Week 62

Ciao tutti!

I hope that everyone had a great day and as well as a great Mother’s Day yesterday! Hope you are well! This week went well for us even though some things didn’t go as planned. We were able to see our investigators and it went really well with the lessons that we had with them. We are still looking to help them keep their commitments and realize that is the key for knowing for themselves whether the things that we are telling them are true or not.

This was our first full week together and it was a lot of fun.  Anziano Nessen is super funny and I am really enjoying working hard with him each day and we are excited to see what we will be able to do together this transfer. We have some great work going on right now and we just want to keep finding more and more and rely on the Lord to help us in all that we are here to do. We had some good lessons this week and I am just so thankful for the Book of Mormon in my life and how it really testifies of so many things. I am thankful for those in ancient times for keeping records and then for Mormon to bring to pass a work that was truly amazing and compile all the needed records to make the Book of Mormon. I am thankful for this scripture when Lehi teaches his son, Joseph, about Joseph of Egypt who prophesied of Joseph Smith and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. This scripture lays down one of the missions of this wonderful book.

12 Wherefore, the fruit of thy loins shall write; and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together, unto the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days, and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord.

I like how it states that it will confound false doctrine. Then if we go to another scripture in the Book of Mormon where Moroni explains that it is written to help us believe the things in the Bible.

8 Therefore repent, and be baptized in the name of Jesus, and lay hold upon the gospel of Christ, which shall be set before you, not only in this record but also in the record which shall come unto the Gentiles from the Jews, which record shall come from the Gentiles unto you.

9 For behold, this is written for the intent that ye may believe that; and if ye believe that ye will believe this also; and if ye believe this ye will know concerning your fathers, and also the marvelous works which were wrought by the power of God among them.

10 And ye will also know that ye are a remnant of the seed of Jacob; therefore ye are numbered among the people of the first covenant; and if it so be that ye believe in Christ, and are baptized, first with water, then with fire and with the Holy Ghost, following the example of our Savior, according to that which he hath commanded us, it shall be well with you in the day of judgment. Amen.

It does such an amazing job of showing us that the Book of Mormon is there to support the Bible. I know that is true and the more I study the more I can see this is so true. It will confound false doctrine and helps give us a single interpretation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Those that truly want to learn more of Christ simply have to pick up the Book of Mormon and read it. That is how you will know that anything the missionaries say is true. We never ask anyone to believe our words and just follow us blindly in what we practice in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We ask that they read and ask God for themselves to receive a testimony of truth and light. The Book of Mormon truly blesses our lives more than we can imagine.

We are working with some really cool people and they want to know if these things are true and we are enjoying being able to meet with them. We know that the Lord continues to prepare people to receive the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and we just want to continue to work to find those that are ready to accept our message.

The weather has been cold and rainy a lot of the days with the occasional really nice and beautiful day sprinkled in. I hope that will start to become the norm soon. This week we have zone conference so we will be leaving to go to Taranto tomorrow morning after studies and doing a scambio with them there before Wednesday and then continue that afterwards and finish up Wednesday after conference with a zone blitz. Should be a lot of fun and we look forward to helping all the missionaries in Taranto.

So I was able to talk to my family for the third time on my mission and it went really well! We had a good time talking to each other and catching up on just little things, but overall it just felt that I got to hang out with my family for a while. It was super funny and just time well spent together. Definitely miss them and so many others, but I am very happy to be here and doing this work. Can’t believe how fast the time has gone by here and how many amazing experiences that I have been blessed to be a part of. I know that this work is true and it is so worth being away from home for a short 2 years to help those over here in Italy receive blessings beyond imagination through Christ’s restored gospel. It is truly amazing.

Yesterday we had a special day for all moms everywhere and I am so thankful for my mom and all that she has done for me. As well as my grandmas and the love they show their kids as well as us grandkids. I am extremely thankful for them and all the love that they give us all that is truly undying and always there. Moms go through so much with us and are there every moment helping us along the way. I love this video that was made for Mother’s Day, but I would like to still invite you all to check it out. It is really special to think of the divine roll that mothers have! It was so nice to talk to my mom yesterday and I would encourage you all to get to know your moms and continue to grow that special relationship always.

I hope that you all have a great week and thanks for all the support help and love that you send this way! I love you all and will talk to you guys soon!


Anziano Garrett

Mother’s Day Skype Call

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

Skype for Mother's Day

Skype for Mother’s Day

Cosenza – Week 2
Transfer 9, Mission Week 56

Buona Pasquetta tutti!!!

Hope that everyone had a nice Easter Sunday and a great weekend. We were able to have a really nice Easter yesterday and the rain luckily stopped for the whole day.

This past week went really well and we were able to enjoy a nice week of work here in Cosenza. We were only able to see one of our investigators this week, but we went over to his house and then were able to sit down and talk with his whole family, which went really nice, and they want to have us all over to have dinner with them again. They were super nice and the father speaks English really well due to work, so he loved to be able to speak English with us the other night. The lesson with the investigator went well, but we, unfortunately, didn’t get to talk about the spiritual things with the family when we sat down with them. We will look to pick them all up as investigators the next time that we go over to meet with them all.

During any time this week, where we didn’t have a prospective lesson or anything, we went in search of less actives, and finding the right places here in Italy can be very difficult sometimes. We were unable to find some of them and the ones that we did find we were unable to get inside to get to know them and share a short message. It was really neat the because Saturday night we had helped a Sorella from the church here in Cosenza buy some Easter eggs for the kids in the branch. After that we went out again in search of some less actives and we were able to find some of the places, but one didn’t live there any more and the other wasn’t home. We then decided to walk a ways to try the last two of the night. We had to walk up these pretty big hills to get to one and it ended up that Apple maps sent us to the wrong street. We had two good conversations and one was with a younger couple who were both really cool and super nice. It was awesome to be able to see that we may have been sent to the wrong street to talk with them. They directed us to the right street and at last we found the house that we were looking for. Upon arriving, we knew that we only had this one last house before having to head home. We doubled tapped the citofono (that double tap works miracles) and the door just opened. We went up the stairs and got to her door and rang the door bell. When she opened the door she was so surprised. She told us to wait and came back out 15 seconds later. We weren’t able to go in since there wasn’t a man at the house but we got to know her for a little bit and were able to share the Easter video with her. It was really awesome and super special that we were able to do that and it was really touching to see that she appreciated the visit. I really hope that we will be able to see her again soon and help her in any way that we can.

Easter was really nice and we got invited over to a member’s house for lunch and had a nice meal with them. We had some home made gnocchi with a red sauce with some beef in it. For the second plate we had potatoes and chicken, with a zucchini casserole on the side, some meat balls, salad, oranges for the fruit course, and then finished up with two different types of cake and some chocolate. It was a really nice meal and the family was so nice and were super happy to have us over for lunch. They are so nice and I look forward to continue to getting to know them better. They gave us chocolate eggs here too which is a different tradition than the Easter egg hunt that we do back home.

They were really good and I was able to hold their pet bunny so I thought that was pretty festive as well. It was a good time and we were able to then go and visit a less active in the afternoon as well. [Read more…]

Tràpani – Week 14
Transfer 7, Mission Week 44


I hope that everyone had a fantastic New Years celebration and that everyone started the new year out super well!

So this week we were able to accomplish some really cool things. Monday we had a lesson with one of our investigators and we unfortunately had to drop him. He just wasn’t in the right mindset to listen right now and wasn’t keeping the commitments necessary to be able to keep moving forward.

He expressed interest in English Course so we hope to be able to keep in touch with him through that and hopefully in time he will be ready to meet with the Anziani down the road. We then were supposed to have a lesson with a potential [investigator] after that and we had a member there with us as well, but the investigator showed up late. We got to talk to the member, though, while we were waiting and it ended up being super worthwhile because we were able to help him out and we could feel the spirit super strong while we were talking with him. It was super cool and special for us to be able to have that. Literally as soon as our member had to leave the investigator showed up. It is interesting and amazing how that all works out. We had a good lesson with our investigator. He kind of takes things he likes from all different religions and flows with that so we will see where it goes. If he reads the Book of Mormon everything else will fall into place.

Tuesday we had district meeting and then a member lesson after we got back from Palermo. It went really well and we were able to help the Sorella out the best we could. We then had English Course that night and were able to have a nice lesson with them. I really love our English Course students a lot. They are all super cool and super nice. We always enjoy getting to see them and then sharing the spiritual thoughts at the end.

Wednesday we tried to go down to centro twice to be able to find some service opportunities but didn’t come up with anything. We had correlation that night with our branch mission leader and we were able to talk about all the work going on. Our branch mission leader is super awesome though. He is so nice and really funny.

Thursday we had a super cool lesson with an new investigator, that we had originally met with a random text in October when Anziano LaPray was here. These were the texts.

Random Phone Number: Buon pomeriggio signore Antonino chiedo scusa per il ritardo che avrò nei suoi riguardi. Farò lo più presto possibile.

Nome. Grazie (Good afternoon Mr. Antonino excuse me that I will be late. I will do it as soon as possible. Name. Thanks!)

Us: Simao I missionari che facciamo il corso d’inglese io gratuito.

Possiamo aiutarti con qualcosa? (We are the missionaries that have a free English course. Can we help you with something? We thought that she was originally asking for English course because we had received a call from someone with the same name a couple days prior)

Random Phone Number: Siete voi che fate il corso d’inglese io pensavo che erano i mormoni. Dove lo fate e che giorno? (You guys teach the English course? I thought it was the Mormons. Where do you do it and what day?)

Us: Sì. Siamo i mormoni e facciamo questo corso per servizio. Lo abbiamo ogni martedì e giovedì alle 18:30 Bella Nostradamus chiesa.

Via Della Provincia 5-7. (Yes we are the Mormons and we do it as a form of service. We have it every Tuesday and Thursday in 6:30 I our church.)

Random Phone Number: voi date anche il corso operatore socio sanitario che ad iniziato ieri? (You guys also give a social sanitary operator course that started yesterday?)

Us: Allora. Non facciamo quello corso. Mi dispiace. Ma, hai l’informazione per il corso d’Inglese? (So. No we teach that course.

I’m sorry. But, you have the information for he English course right?

Random Phone Number: No ne ho l’informazione. (No I don’t have any information.)

Us: Lo abbiamo ogni martedì e giovedì alle 18:30 nella nostra chiesa.

Via Della Provincia 5-7 (we have it every Tuesday and Thursday in our church at 6:30)

We totally thought this was some sort of prank. We had to give her the information twice so we totally thought it was some monelli (rascals).

We then are doing finding a little later and end up meeting this lady on the street and it ends up being that same person. It was super weird but really cool! She came to English course once but hadn’t come back since. Anziano Spencer and Anziano Trejo met her on the street during the scambio and now we are teaching her. She is really cool and has a lot of faith and great relationship with Jesus Christ and our Father in Heaven. She said a lot of awesome things during the lesson and hen after said some really profound stuff that really hit me. It was super cool, and you could feel the spirit very strong. We had English course again but only two people came because it was New Years Eve but it still went really well! We shared this super cool video about the New Year. It is really cool and I really like the message.

It counsels us to not look back at the past, but to look forward with faith and keep going forward with our savior. It is really good and I would invite you all to watch it.

For our celebration for dinner we made some beans and had resses and jones soda. It was a good way to celebrate. It is crazy to think another year has come and gone and it just absolutely flew by. I hope to be able to set some really good goals for this year and keep moving forward and progressing as much as I can.

For New Year’s Day we were inside all day cleaning. We cleaned non stop except for a short dinner break and then went right back to cleaning.

It was good though and we were able to get some things thrown out and did some good cleaning and the house looks even better now. We had to throw out and old fridge and a member came and picked it up in an ape [autocorrect error??].

It was hilarious. I wish I had a picture of it hahaha. Saturday we saw a member and had a less active lesson and it went really well too.

Sunday we had a great meal after church and we ate some good food. We had a pasta del furono shock was killer. It had some different meats in it boiled eggs, and a nice ragu sauce. It was awesome. Then we had some beef wrapped around prosciutto with Parmesan in the inside and along the outside, with salad and bread of course. Went to our fruit next where I had a pear. Then finished it off with empanadas looking things with ricotta in the inside. It was an awesome meal. The food is really good down here and we were able to share a spiritual thought for someone who isn’t a member afterwards. Had some finding after that down to centro and back home to close up the week.

This week I got an email and it was talking about missionary work and she said how exciting it must be to help people change their lives and how one person can just change someone’s world. It caused me to reflect on that and I thought it about the Savior. He did that he changed my life, but not just mine. He literately changed everything.

All of our lives. I am so grateful for that. For the cleansing power of his atoning sacrifice and how we can truly change our lives through him. I am thankful for the savior and know that everyone of us can look to draw ever closer to him this year.

I hope that you all will have a wonderful week and that you will be able to enjoy everything that life throws at you. I love you all and talk to you all soon!


Anziano Garrett

Excellent missionary food

Excellent missionary food

Excellent missionary food

Excellent missionary food

Anziano Spencer is ready to eat!

Anziano Spencer is ready to eat!

Caroling in Palermo, Dec. 24, 2015

Caroling in Palermo, Dec. 24, 2015

Caroling in Palermo, Dec. 24, 2015

Caroling in Palermo, Dec. 24, 2015

Caroling in Palermo, Dec. 24, 2015

Caroling in Palermo, Dec. 24, 2015

Caroling in Palermo, Dec. 24, 2015

Caroling in Palermo, Dec. 24, 2015

Caroling in Palermo, Dec. 24, 2015

Caroling in Palermo, Dec. 24, 2015

Caroling in Palermo, Dec. 24, 2015

Caroling in Palermo, Dec. 24, 2015

Tràpani – Week 13 (Christmas Week)
Transfer 7, Mission Week 43

Ciao Tutti!

I hope everyone had a great Christmas week and a good time celebrating with friends and especially family. The week was really weird. I was in Palermo from Tuesday until Thursday doing a scambio with Anziano Palazzo. We had a really good scambio and I definitely learned a lot from him. We were able to see this new investigator that they received. Months ago the Sorelle met this younger guy on the bus and they were talking to him and he was asking questions and they said it was a really good conversation, but he wasn’t interested to meet and learn more. They felt they needed to leave him with the Book of Mormon so they did. Then just about 2 weeks ago he showed up to English course and he had read the introduction and something really hit him about the Book of Mormon (the spirit). He is now super interested and wants to learn more so we met with him and had a really awesome lesson on the restoration. He is very intelligent and understands things really well. He is such a humble guy and super nice. We then had English course there and talked about Christmas for the lesson which was a good time.

Wednesday we did finding in the morning for English course and then switched it to a Christmas survey before lunch. We handed a ton of English Course bigliettini [cards] out. Then, disgustingly, I somehow ate 425 grams [15 ounces] of pasta in a sitting and was still hungry afterwards. That was really gross. In the evening we went to this Palace in Palermo and sung for the employees there. It was super cool! A member had set it up and invited the missionaries. We then did finding on the way back to Palermo 1’s church. Anziano DaPonte and I went out and did Christmas Survey finding together which was a lot of fun. We were then able to finish up the night with another lesson with that super sick guy. The plan of salvation really went well and he is such a good guy.

So for the holidays it worked a little different than a normal week.

We had somewhat of Pdays you could say starting at 1:00pm on the 24th and going until 6:00am on the 26th. And we had permission during this time to skype our families, go to members for meals, watch 2 animated movies, and other pday appropriate activities. Thursday we had our zone blitz where we sang Christmas carols with all the missionaries in the zone. It was a really good time, and my voice definitely hurt afterwards. We had some members and investigators there with us singing as well. We sang at the two big piazzas where the opera houses are in Palermo. They are really cool. So we had a really nice backdrop for our caroling. We were talking to people that were walking by and listening to the caroling. We shared the Christmas video with them and tried to receive potentials for the Palermo areas. [Read more…]

The Christmas Skype Call
A whole hour to catch up!

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

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

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