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Catania – Week 11

Ciao tutti!!

I hope that you all had a great week and that you are all doing really well! So today was deep cleaning and that is why this email will be getting to you guys a little late. Today is a big national holiday here in Italy where there is nobody out and a good time to do some summer cleaning! The house looks really good now and feels nice to have been able to have the time to work on a few things we needed.

This week passed by really quickly and was really good! We weren’t able to see everyone that we wanted to see nor as frequently as we had hoped to see them. We did get to see one of our investigators that went really well. We had originally invited him to a dinner with some members, but then he had to cancel on us and we saw him the next night. He is doing well and he kept his commitment to read the introduction to the Book of Mormon and the testimonies like we had asked him too. He is really awesome and it is so amazing to see his real intent and desire to grow his spirituality. I really hope that he will continue to push himself and that he will search really hard for all that is in front of him. I am excited to see where he will go.

We were able to visit with some members this week and we are continuing to do our best to align our efforts with theirs and work hard together. We are trying really hard to work on getting over to their houses more to continue to encourage them in all ways to share the gospel with everyone that they know. It is something that I have been definitely trying hard to learn and do the best way. It is really amazing to see the growth in the relationship that we have seen grown with everyone here in Catania. I really love the members here and they are definitely really special to me. I really hope that I will be able to stay here at least another transfer. Only two transfers would be really fast here in Catania.

I can’t believe how fast summer has gone by, but we have been enjoying all that the summer has to offer here in Sicily. I really hope to continue to push myself over these next months and grow and learn all that the Lord needs me to learn. I know that this is just a moment here in the mission field, but I really want to do all I can to apply the lessons that I have learned from the successes the failures and all that I have had the opportunity to experience here on the mission. I know that there is so much to do and give to the Lord. I am thankful for his guidance and his help that he is so willingly and so freely offers us. I loved this scripture that I came across this morning.

29 Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked–

30 And land their souls, yea, their immortal souls, at the right hand of God in the kingdom of heaven, to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and with Jacob, and with all our holy fathers, to go no more out.

I really loved this because my mind was drawn to the fact of the Lord leading Lehi and his family through the wilderness and guiding them on the course they needed to be on to experience the things that they needed to experience and learn all they needed to learn through that.

I know that the scriptures will offer us the correct courses in life.

That doesn’t mean that it will be easy. Living the gospel isn’t always the easiest thing. Sometimes it is much harder and takes much more commitment than other paths in life. I know that it was probably pretty lonely also for Jesus Christ at times during his ministry. I love the words he offers of the reality of what he experienced during his mortal ministry.

Luke 9

58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

I know that isn’t always the easiest but I promise it is the path for each one of us and the path that we have to walk to matter the troubles and the difficulties. I know that he has given us the instruments necessary and the help that we all need in order to make it there on the right hand of God. I love you all and thank you for all your support and the love that you offer all us missionaries.


Anziano Garrett

[We received an email from Daniela B. in Boston, forwarding some pictures from her sister-in-law in Catania, taken on Sunday at church.  She also sent word that Taylor will be staying in Catania for this next transfer but switching companions to serve with Anziano Nielsen as one of the zone leaders there.  He’ll even get to stay in the same house!  Thanks to both Sister Battezzatos for the pics.  Very thoughtful of them and much appreciated.]

Anziano Albello and me with the Battezzato family at church on Sunday in Catania.

Anziano Albello and me with the Battezzato family at church on Sunday in Catania.

Catania – Week 6

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…]

Cosenza – Week 11

Ciao tutti!

I hope that everyone had a great week and that everything is going well wherever you find yourselves! This week went really well and flew by too! Monday we were able to have a couple of lessons with people and one which was just spontaneous, but ended up being really cool. It is super neat to see how when we have these unexpected opportunities the spirit really guides us to know what we need to share and it’s been really cool to see that this past week. The lesson with our one really sick [awesome] investigator went really well and it is awesome to see that he doesn’t try to find criticism whatsoever in the messages any more, but he just adds things that go right along with the message. It is super cool to see his progress even if it is slow sometimes. I will definitely miss him a ton.

Tuesday we were able to have DDM [district meeting] in the morning, which ended at 11:45 and we had to catch a bus at 11:50. We made it to the bus station and bought our tickets, but we ended up missing the bus. We asked one of the workers for the bus line where the next closest stop was so we could go and catch it. He said there wasn’t one and so we took off running after the bus and we ended up making it! Then 2 minutes later there was a stop that we could have easily made it too hahaha. We had a good visit with a less active person and were able to share a talk with him by President Uchtdorf entitled, “You Matter to Him.” It was a great visit and he is such a funny guy. He is really lonely so he really loves the comapany that we give him as well when we are over there. One of the few people that I have met here that really understands sarcasm hahaha. We then almost missed the bus that was supposed to head back into town as well, thank goodness we were blessed with another miracle. We had English groups that night and then we had a meal appointment with a member where we were also able to bring our sick investigator to. He is so cool and is awesome to see how integrated he already is into the ward and how polite and kind he is. He is so cool. We were able to have a good dinner with a good spiritual thought as well.

Wednesday we got on the train and headed down to Messina and then to Mistretta. Before we got on the train we did notice a sign that said something about a strike so we were a little worried, but it said our train was coming and we ended up being fine. We got down to the right station and then we were able to catch a ferry over to Messina. Once we got there we walked to the train station and then we were trying to find out where our train would be and this guy comes around the corner and starts speaking perfect English with an accent to us. Of course we were at the train stations so someone came up asking information about trains since they think we look like workers hahaha. It is good for service!! He explained how the train may get cancelled because of the strike so we needed to ask about what was going on. Well he commented on us in what rubbed us the wrong way and walked off. We went over near him and he started talking again and then we were able to get a good conversation going. He is half Italian and French, teaches at a university in the DC area, has 4 doctorate degrees, studied at Yale, speaks 4 fluent languages and has studied some others, and was just such a smart guy!! It ended up being a super cool miracle though since we were able to talk to him the whole ride down. We were able to have some really good things in there and he accepted the mini Book of Mormon that I had. We wrote our testimonies in it and gave it to him. It was super cool to see that we were supposed to go down there for even just a miracle like that. We were able to have some really good appointments up in Mistretta as well. It was really cool to see some of the work and the people that Anzinao Nessen had worked with and the love that you can see and feel between all of them. There was a family in particular that was super fun to meet, and it was so great to really see the love they have for the missionaries and the great faith that they all have. It felt super good to be in Sicilia again and was a lot of fun/productive trip! [Read more…]

Cosenza – Week 7

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.

Roma 1 – Week 18


We are alive and well and finally were able to return to working normally again. I really am excited to be back and at it. Well I will start with the big news since we received our transfer calls Saturday.

So here is what happened. Usually we get our call sometime during the study hours which are from 8:00-10:00 but this time we didn’t because we had a “deep cleaning” day in the house since it was a holiday and a ton of people leave to go on vacation the same day. So we got our call around 12:00 or so while we were cleaning. It was a super fast call because Anziano Rasband and I are both staying here in Rome 1! And the sisters are all staying here too and we will receive a new sister Thursday. Definitely crazy we are all staying here. I would never have guessed that to happen again. We are excited about the new transfer and really think we can improve on some things together and see some amazing things happen.

Last week we got back into the work and we were able to start seeing people again. A lot of our investigators have been out of town so we haven’t been able to see them for a while. We are really looking to get new investigators and keep pushing to find more, especially referrals. We saw some less actives that I always enjoy seeing and helping them with what the Lord needs us to do. I am excited to see some of the people getting back on vacation soon.

We had English Course as normal this week, which is going well, and we are seeing new faces pop up here and there, which is nice.

The weather has been nice here and I hope it will stay this way. We had a nice day today we went to St.Peter’s Basilica which was really neat and had an amazing view from the top. Before we went there we had an amazing conversation with a younger couple that is on vacation. We were just waiting for the order missionaries and the guy comes up to us and says he was trying to explain about the Mormon church to his girlfriend just earlier that day. Then he said I figured you guys could do it better. It was a really fun time and we shared the restoration with her and I really hope that they will have further exposure to the church down the road. I really really hope so because they were so nice and super awesome!

We had a good time at church yesterday and was great to see the members again. We are looking forward to this coming week and really looking to kill it! I am excited about it and just hope that we can keep pushing forward even when things always don’t work out the way that we expect.

I read in Ether 12 this past week and enjoyed reading about faith. I was feel like there is room to always look to improve our faith. I read this in True to the Faith and it can say it better than I can so I want to share this with you guys. [Read more…]

Roma 1 – Week 13


I hope that everyone has had a great week. This week for me was a little nuts. We were all over the place and it just all seemed like a lot of traveling and stuff.

So Monday night we went and picked up Anziano Calvagna and we were planning on going to Terni that night but we had to wait for the train so we went and grabbed some dinner while we were waiting. We went and ate at Asian Delight again which was so good. That place is really awesome. Well we were sitting there and felt like we should call the sisters because we knew that one of them could probably use a blessing because she had something happen earlier that day. So we went and did that and then got a call and we totally forgot that we had an appointment set that night but we got all thrown around with having to go to Terni for a couple of days. So we stayed in Rome 1 and then rescheduled that appointment with that sister for the next day and had a good service opportunity there as well. We then went to Terni after that and we got there to have enough time to get to an appointment. The lesson went really well and we taught about the Plan of Salvation and she was really struck by some things that she hadn’t heard before such as Spirit Prison and Spirit Paradise and the three different Kingdoms of Glory. Instead of just heaven and hell. It was really nice and the member was really good as well. We then had a good English course and we watched Legacy the movie about Joseph Smith. One guy seemed really interested about it so that was sweet!

After English course we had another lesson that went really well. This investigator really accepts things easily and she seemed super cool.

We taught on the word of wisdom there. It was a really good lesson. To finish off the night we went and picked up some pizzas from this place that cooks Napoli pizzas and the guy was from Napoli. That was the best pizza I have had while I have been here hands down. It was so good. Well the next day our appointments fell through so we headed back to Rome 1 with all three of us in the afternoon, and had a lesson with a less active and a new investigator. It went well but it will just be a slow process for sure. The next day were transfer days so we went and dropped off Anziano Calvagna in Termini where all the transfers basically go down and helped a little with the bags as well. [Read more…]

Roma 1 – Week 7

Ciao Tutti!!!

This week has been fun and we saw a lot of really cool things happen to us!  Monday we had our p-day and it was a lot of fun.  We had the chance to eat lunch with Tony Oliver and his sister, which was a lot of fun and a good time.  It was super nice of them to get us lunch and spend a little time with us.  We had a great lunch and a great time talking.

We then went and had to go find a picture thing for Sorella Arnold, who was going home, and we had a good time hunting for one of those and running around to get it in time.  Those painting things that the people sell on the streets are actually really sweet.

We then ran back to the Metro and made it back to the Villa all while running into different missionaries along the way.  It was a really fun day and we got to see how packed the Villa was with the 23 missionaries going home.  It was a fun day.

We then went back and had a lesson with Alessandro.  He is super awesome.  We, unfortunately, didn’t get to meet with his wife because she was busy, but we hope that we can next time.  The lesson went really well and I can see a strong desire in him to draw closer to God.  Heavenly Father really blessed us this week with that miracle of Alessandro texting us and us getting the chance to talk with him. [Read more…]

Roma 1 – Week 6


This week has been really nice and sorry I don’t have a ton of time to write today, but I will tell you about my week and what all we did.

Well last P-day was a lot of fun and we just walked around Rome and saw some things, since Sorella Arnold is headed back home this week from her mission.  We ate at Subway (which was really expensive for Subway), but it hit the spot for sure.  We then just went around to some other significant places and such and didn’t do anything too new, but I still love just getting to walk around.

We received a fair amount of biedones (where we get a lesson cancelled), but that is OK and we just keep on working.  A lot of our investigators are about the same as last week.  We only got to see a couple of them this week.  We saw Riccardo and he is just still struggling to find his faith and it’s hard.  We are trying our best to help him find it and understand that faith is action (Peter 2:17).  We have to have action to exercise our faith.  Without it we won’t receive testimonies or answers if we never pray and ask Heavenly Father.  He wants to hear from us and has so many blessings in store.  We just have to sincerely ask for them with real intent. [Read more…]