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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…]

Cosenza – Week 3
Transfer 9, Mission Week 57

Ciao Tutti!!!

Today we didn’t have much going on so we walked around down in centro and enjoyed the weather with some gelato too. We did get to go running this morning which we are planning on continuing to do all month. It was a nice 5.5 mile run, but we were in the middle of it and we heard these stray dogs start barking in the woods. They are common here and will sometimes hurt people. Never had any problems with them, but yeah we totally turned around and sprinted in the opposite direction hahaha. It was super funny and I am sure the look on my face was priceless.

This week went by super fast and we had a great time doing all that we could do this week. We had a lot on our plate this week, but it was really awesome and super fun. So we started off the week with the deep cleaning last Monday of course and then Tuesday morning we were planning on going to Taranto early so that we could do a scambio with Anziano Pingree and Anziano Pineu which ended up with us getting denied getting on the bus which was the first time according to Anziano Borner. The bus lines had no more spots free the rest of the whole day so we had to take a train and bus combo around mid day to get down there. We made it down and went to the church and were able to start the scambio. I was with Anziano Pineu who is in his second transfer and from Oklahoma. We were able to do a lesson together along with English course as well. It was really cool and went really well!

It was a good start to the scambio and I had fun working with him a lot. Got some pizza for dinner and headed back to the apartment. 4 missionaries live there and they have two greenies who are both awesome and they are super funny. Anziano Raimondi is from northern Italy and his companion is Anziano Haroldsen who is from California.

They are both super cool and are doing really well together. It was a lot of fun to be down there.

Wednesday we were able to have our specialized training and it went really well. We talked a lot about reaching new heights and it was really awesome to see that the addestramenti all flowed together. It was really cool. Sorella Valencia talked about the unity of companionship and the fact that we have to be one and work together in all that we do. We were able to really learn a lot from her and how we can work together to be more obedient and have our voices sound as one trump together. We talked about reaching new heights with self control, good attitude, and trusting in divine power. We based ours off a talk by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf called “On the Wings of Eagles.” It was super good and we were able to involve flying and the fact that we can truly meet these new heights with the spirit and the counsel that President Uchtdorf offers in this talk. Then President and Sorella Waddoups talked about finding new investigators. It all went super well and we really learned a lot and were able to come away with a lot of thing that we could do to improve and push the work. [Read more…]

Cosenza – Week 1
Transfer 9, Mission Week 55

Buongiorno tutti!!

I hope that everyone was able to have a great week and that you are all doing well! I made it to Cosenza nice and safe and everything. I was traveling with Anziano Cleveland, Anziano Raedielli, Sorella Holiday, and Sorella Workman. It was really nice and we were able to really enjoy the time getting to know one another better. It was really pretty across Sicilia and the train then gets loaded on a ferry and then we get to the mainland of Italy. It was really awesome and it went well.

It was a busy last week in Tràpani and I was able to see a lot of people to say bye to them and everything. It was a lot of fun and I will really miss a lot of the people that the Lord gave me the opportunity to know. It was a time that I really loved and was able to spend with so many wonderful people. I am now looking forward to the time here in Cosenza! It will be a lot of fun.

I got in to Cosenza about 3:00 last Thursday. Anziano Borner is my new companion and he is from Idaho. Including the transfer that we have together he has 3 transfers left and has been up here in Cosenza for 4 already so this will be his 5th. We have some similar interests so that is really nice and I am sure that we will enjoy this transfer together.

We have been able to do a couple of lessons already. One of our investigators up here is really cool. He is studying law and he is a younger guy and he reminds me so much of Niko from the cross country team. It is super awesome. He has a hat just like Niko had and he has a beard and everything. He is also just super smart as well. It is really interesting to see so many similarities in people here in the mission that I know back home hahaha. We were able to have a lesson with him and then went out with him to get some cotton candy at this fair that is super close to the church. He is super cool and I look forward to seeing how we will be able to help him progress. I wasn’t able to see any other investigator here but met some members and then was able to see a lot of them at church as well. They are super nice and it is about the same size, probably a little smaller, than Tràpani. I look forward to getting to know them all and be able to develop close friendships and relationships with them. It will be a lot of fun and a good time to get to know them all.

Today we haven’t done much since we did spesa [finances], cleaned, and ate lunch. We are meeting someone here in a little because he needs help with something.

I am very thankful for Christ and his Atonement and this sacrifice that he made for us. I hope that you all had the chance to look at the website that I posted last week. There are a lot of good things on it.

I am excited to be able to celebrate Easter next week. I am so thankful for all that the Savior has done for us and through this infinite sacrifice we will be able to live again. And we can even live together with our families forever.

8 And now, behold, I will testify unto you of myself that these things are true. Behold, I say unto you, that I do know that Christ shall come among the children of men, to take upon him the transgressions of his people, and that he shall atone for the sins of the world; for the Lord God hath spoken it.

9 For it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yea, all are hardened; yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement which it is expedient should be made.

10 For it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice; yea, not a sacrifice of man, neither of beast, neither of any manner of fowl; for it shall not be a human sacrifice; but it must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice.

14 And behold, this is the whole meaning of the law, every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God, yea, infinite and eternal.

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.

I am so thankful for this infinite and eternal sacrifice. After Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden it was all dependent upon Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer to truly reach out and save us all. I know that he has and thanks to this we have so many wonderful blessings and things in store. I am so thankful for Him and the love that He is full of to save us all, and to always show forth that love towards us no matter what.

Love you all and hope that you have a great week!! Talk to you all soon!

Our travel group, leaving Sicily on the ferry, March 17, 2016. Note the train on the ferry in the background. Front, Sorella Holiday, Sorella Workman. Middle Anziano Cleveland and Anziano Raedelli. (Photo courtesy of Sorella Holiday's blog)

Our travel group, leaving Sicily on the ferry, March 17, 2016. Note the train on the ferry in the background. Front, Sorella Holiday, Sorella Workman. Middle Anziano Cleveland and Anziano Raedelli. (Photo courtesy of Sorella Holiday’s blog)

[Here are some photos from this week from Anziano Spencer’s blog.  Taylor has really enjoyed working with him for the past 12 weeks and will miss him]

On a hike with Anziano Spencer on last P-Day in Tràpani

On a hike with Anziano Spencer on last P-Day in Tràpani

Last session of the English course in Tràpani

Last session of the English course in Tràpani

Recently arrived returned missionary couple that help the missionary work in Tràpani.

Recently arrived returned missionary couple that help the missionary work in Tràpani.

Tràpani – Week 24
Transfer 8, Mission Week 54

Ciao Tutti!!

Hope that everyone is doing well and that you all had an awesome week!! I will start off with transfer calls so you don’t have to dig around for them. So I am leaving Tràpani this week and I am headed to Cosenza which is in Calabria, and my new companion will be Anzinao Borner. It will be hard to leave Tràpani it has become like a second home to me. Speaking Italian better in these past transfers has given me the opportunity to be able to really get to know the members and everyone I have been able to meet well. I have really been able to gain a lot of friends since I have been down here. I am excited to move on to a new city with some new adventures at the same time. I will have the chance to get to know some new people and a new part of Italy where I hear they like really spicy food. So it is a given that I am excited about that. I will miss the people a ton and just the beauty of Sicilia in the countryside and of course in the food as well. I am really grateful for the things that I have been able to learn down here with my companions. I will miss Anziano Spencer a lot!

We have been able to work really well together and I have enjoyed these two transfers that we have had together. I have definitely learned a lot from him and really am thankful for the things that he has taught me and the lessons that we have learned together as well. It has been 4 really awesome transfers down here in Sicilia. So far a perfect track record for 4 cities with 4 transfers apiece. Hope I will be able to continue that as well. I know that Tràpani is in good hands with Anziano Spencer and his new companion will be Anziano Olsen who is coming down from Pozzuoli. Sorella Workman is getting transferred to Rome 1 so that is really sick. So a greenie will be coming in place of her and the new zone leader down here will be Anziano Bellows with Anziano Trejo. So not a ton of changes happening to the district.

This week was really awesome and we were able to have some really good lessons with our investigators. We had one last Monday night where we were able to bring the two move-ins from the recent weeks with us who are both returned missionaries. The lesson went really well and it was cool to see the members and the investigators hit it off. It was really awesome. The lesson went well and we have another one with that family this evening. We had another one with this other family that went well and we really touched on coming to church on Sunday and it went well, but unfortunately they didn’t make it out to church yesterday so we will talk about that with them again this week. We were able to meet our English Course student twice this week which was really nice and the lesson went really well. I hope that he will continue to read in the Book of Mormon and really find his answer as he continues to genuinely search it out. [Read more…]