About Me

The adventures of Christian Toronto, a full-time missionary serving in the Rome Italy Mission (Dec 2016-Dec 2018). Christian grew up in Minnesota, then moved to Colorado right before his senior year in high school. He is the third of seven children. He was attending Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah prior to his missionary call. Christian's older brother Simeon completed his mission in Rome, Italy a day before Christian left for his so they literally swapped places. We call them our Roman soldiers for Christ. In his free time, Christian loves basketball, tennis, american history and politics, and music.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Yup, It's Another Recording This Week

Go to the following url address to hear of Anziano Toronto's latest adventures.


Glamour Pics with the Ferrari 


Anziano Cutler and I

The helmet after which Il Castel Sant'Elmo is named

Monday, February 26, 2018



We made it through another transfer week friends, and there's only good news all around! Anziano Cutler and I are staying together for another transfer here in Napoli, and that means at least six more weeks of procrastinating my return to 'healthier' eating. I told Anne Katherine today I have been seeing little success from the "Pizza a day keeps the doctor away" diet*, so we might have to try something else...

The only aspect of Napoli itself, that could be conceivably portrayed as negative, (besides the thriving drug trade or any myriad of actual problems the city faces), would have to be the constant downpour! It rained just about every day this week, and unfortunately you notice that a lot more when there are holes in your otherwise durable-in-every-way shoes! I cease complaining however, knowing there are those in the city who would love a pair of shoes, holes and all. How grateful I am to once again, to be humbled by my surroundings, and the children of God around us who so desperately need the gospel message we bring!

As the rains came down, the baptismal font was filling up, for our brother Stanley! Here's an excerpt from his conversion story: "Stanley spent his second day in Italy, exactly where he needed to be, in church, with friends from his refugee camp. He proceeded to come, just about every week for the next 4 or 5 weeks, until eventually Anziano Cutler and I realized he wasn't a member already! We asked him if he had a Book of Mormon to read, during our second hour Gospel Principles class in English, and he said "No," but told us he wanted one, and that he wanted to be baptized like his other brothers. We were happy to oblige to both requests, and began teaching him. We hit a roadblock, when we found out his literacy wasn't super high, but luckily that was solved by the Book of Mormon audio recordings, which we would send him almost every night! He progressed quickly, and was fueled by a desire to follow Jesus Christ, and keep his commandments." After I baptized him on Saturday, Anziano Cutler sealed the deal, giving him the gift of the Holy Ghost yesterday morning during Sacrament Meeting!

My personal study finally crept it's way out of the tail end of the Isaiah chapters and 2 Nephi, but despite being a bit spiritually drained, I didn't mind taking the time I did to study Nephi's words. They were written for our day, and they contain a powerful, convincing witness of Jesus Christ, built on revelation, and experience. Nephi didn't just write about keeping the commandments, he prospered in the land because of his diligence in doing so! As I head on to the powerful sermons of his brother, I am more grateful than ever for the example of this spiritual giant!

Hope all is well on the Eastern front! Vi voglio bene!

Anziano Toronto II ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

*Just in case you were wondering Mom, no, it's not a pizza a day, that'd be over the top... it is however a good amount, and how many, will remain undisclosed๐Ÿ˜

Monday, February 19, 2018

Be thou Humble(d)

Anziano Toronto with "The Man": Anziano Hinckley


Be thou Humble(d):
Anziano Cutler and I were invited over to the house of a Philippine member of our branch this week. Almost automatically, we said yes, after all, she was making spring rolls, and that is a welcome break to the, dare I say it, monotony, of pasta and Napoli Pizza. (Sometimes you need to step back to remember how much you love something, right?) 

Anyways, we went over, and found her address. Her house was a 1 room, renovated car garage. We knock, and she invites us in. She lays out a spread of rice, spring rolls, and chicken, (not an easy, nor inexpensive meal to make), and I began to look around the apartment. Suffice it to say she lives humbly... I looked at the food we were being offered, and despite being delicious, it was hard to swallow, because I thought of the sacrifice she had made, both of time, and of money to feed two American strangers, and big eaters at that! We shared some wonderful conversation, and learned about her conversion. Last of all, we showed the short video, "Lift," made by the church, about serving selflessly. As we left, she profusely thanked us for the Spirit we brought, and we both just shrugged, knowing she had given us the true lesson, about charity and humility. Shout-out to Sorella Eden!

Drugs, don't do them (even when offered, per un prezzo buono):
This we taught a man, who our branch President later informed us, is potentially a drug dealer. He was interested in the Restoration though, and he has a family, so we'll be proceeding, with a whole lot of caution. Also, while on a scambio with none other than Anziano Hinckley, I was offered drugs, not once, not twice, but three times... note for future reference, avoid the quartieri spagnoli friends...

Lots of other great moments this week, but finding out from investigators and other missionaries that my brother is engaged has to be included! So so so happy for the two of you!

It was the best of times. It was (not really) the worst of times!:
Just like that another transfer is over, it's done! The best of bettors would have me staying here in Napoli with Anziano Cutler, but we'll let you know for sure next week!

Vi voglio bene!

Anziano Toronto II ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

Monday, February 12, 2018

Wimples, Crisping Pins and a Billion Dollar Mansion

How nerdy is that title, haha yikes!

Anyways, enjoy the letter this week, and I'll attach some pictures to another email!

Ciao Belli!

Anziano Toronto II ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

Listen to Anziano Toronto's voice recording for this week by going to the link below.  He even plays a musical number for us on the piano.  (If click on the address doesn't take you to his recording, you might have to copy and paste it on the url address bar.)


Tuesday, February 6, 2018

"The A(ma)L(fia)"

Sup Squad,

It's gonna be a quick one this week, but quality is guaranteed!

▪Nel Lavor che Paolo fe'
(Ask Sim for the translation on that one if you're confused). This week, I knocked of one of my Mission Bucket list items, in working in an area in which Paul himself served. Turns out all you have to do is wait 7 months in Pescara, after which President Pickerd will take pity on you, and send you close enough. Anyways, from Friday into Saturday, Anziano Cutler and I performed a Scambio with Anziani Mayer and Melling, currently serving in the Pozzuoli area. We had a blast eating pizza, playing basketball with potential investigators, visiting and teaching a less-active, and hunting for new investigators, all in a 24 hour period. Working with Anziano Mayer was a BLAST! He's about my height, and is the smiley-est person I know. This Anziano embodies Tad R. Callister's comment, "A consecrated missionary wears a 24/7 smile!" I learned a lesson in positivity, and productivity, as we compared the fundamentals of basketball, to the fundamentals of missionary work. Both are essential if we want to ensure success! 10/10 would recommend working with this stud of a missionary!

P-day this week took us out on the BEAUTIFUL Amalfi Coast, where we enjoyed some nice photo-ops, evidence of which is displayed below. Hashtagging in classic Dad fashion #GottaTakePicsSoMomKnowsI'mStillAlive If you wanna check out where we went, Google "Amalfi/Positano Coast," And It'll be as if you were right there with me, takin in the view!

Literally, it's GodsTime, who Anziano Cutler and I met for the first time together this week. A referall from a Returned missionary in the branch, GodsTime was taught the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation this week, and is making his way to baptism in the next month or so! We're excited to continue teaching him and help him grow his faith in Jesus Christ! Other lesson highlights included New Convert lessons with Sunday, Mark, Moses, and Vivian, and the aforementioned less-active lesson in Pozzuoli! The work goes forward!

Pics will have to do the rest, as Anziano Cutler and I head out for the night! Hope each of you have a fantastic week, and that you'll be praying for missionary experiences along the way!

Vi voglio troppo bene! Ciao Belli!

Anziano Toronto II ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

Monday, January 29, 2018

79 A.D. ๐ŸŒ‹


After pouring out my soul into an extraordinarily detailed email last week, you'll have to be patient. It took like 6 months to charge up that much creative juice! While I begin charging up again, here's some pic/story combos to help you with the wait!

Starting in chronological order, on Wednesday, we had interviews, and Thursday we held Zone Conference. Sorella Oveson, Anziano Cutler and I had the chance to address the Zone, and teach them according to what we felt they really needed. Again I'm grateful, a second week in a row, for the guiding influence of the spirit. We were able to put together a training we felt uplifted and inspired, and we look forward in the coming weeks to being the example of the message we taught!

Friday and Saturday night, we saw the baptisms of Ylenia, and Vivian, the latter of the two being an investigator with Anziano Cutler and I. We had the chance to teach her over the last 2 weeks in preparation for her baptism, and we were psyched to see her take this next step! We can't wait to continue working with her as she strengthens her faith and conversion to the church!

When you're in the Napoli Zone, you do P-Days right, soooo, we hopped on the Circumvesuviana and got off in the shadow of Vesuvius. 2,000 years ago the Volcano destroyed the city of Pompeii and the surrounding countryside (you can bet Rome's "Sin City" deserved it), and today we had the chance to roam those ruins! Pictures don't do it justice, nor did the few explorative hours we had to spend there, I'll definitely be headed back someday!

Non drogatevi, rimanete in scuola, abbiate una bellissima settimana!

Vi Voglio bene!

Anziano Toronto II ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

Monday, January 22, 2018

"The Weirdest Good Week of Our Mission"--Anziano Cutler


Figured it's been a little while, so here goes the first mass in un bel po'... perdonatemi se ve ne frega, se no, va beh, non mi importate haha

In order to set the stage for the events of the week, it must first be established I was sicker than a dog for much of it. After a night of street finding Monday night I came back, and all the other Anziani were making fun of me cause I was shivering and curled up. Little did they know this Minnesotan boy would not be in such a state without some solid cause. Went to bed as quick as possible but sleep didn't want to stay long. In and out, shivering and sweating, it was, quite literally one of the most frustrating nights of my life, just cause I wanted to sleep so bad, but was being kept from doing so by the tiniest little microbes, mannaggia (don't google translate that, take my word that it means dang haha) a essi... Anyways, flash to 6:00 when AT gives up on sleep, and gets up and starts moving around. I made it through the morning thanks to copious amounts of advil, but 10 out of 10 would not recommend feeling like I was. I passed out during Pranzo, and woke up just in time to see Anziano Cutler trying to sneak out the door with Anziano Stucki, intending to teach the lesson we had that night, trying to help me rest and recover. For some reason I wasn't having any of it, I told him to wait, and got ready fast as my poor body could, (imagine Flash from Zootopia). Anziano Cutler and I headed out into the rain, (again, probably not the best idea, but oh well), and waited for the bus that was supposed to take us to Caivano. We waited, and waited, and after 20 minutes we had to conclude it just wasn't coming. We decided to head back up to the apartment, and wait in the warmth for the bus that would arrive about 15 minutes later, this was an idea I could get behind haha. We waited, and I warmed myself, until the bus' was to arrive in about 5 min.

This is where things get real cool... I couldn't tell you it was a voice I heard, but there was definitely the thought that ran through my head saying, "well, today's not your day in general, and it would be just your luck if the bus was just a few minutes early, so why don't you go brave the cold for just a few minutes." I kinda got an "are you crazy, it's cold and wet outside," look from Anz. Cutler but we headed out anyway. Again, leaving the apartment I felt like we needed to move faster, and I turned to start down the stairs, (mind you we live on the 7th floor, and I was definitely not supposed to be leaving the house, let alone running). Anziano Cutler followed my lead and we flew down the stairs, and out onto the street, I kept running to the bus stop and low and behold, as we arrived, breathless, so did the one bus that would get us to Caivano. Literally any slowing down along the way would have meant missing the bus, and therefore missing the appointment, which, as we were about to find out, was not one we wanted to miss.

I don't remember much about the bus ride on the way up, but Anz. Cutler tells me he looked over at one point and I had my head between my legs, so I'm sure it was awesome. We arrived in Caivano, and were immediately sent in the wrong direction. 10 min later we realized this, and course-corrected. We eventually found the street, and began searching for number 41. We walked, and walked, and walked, and finally got to 39, but as we walked on, the next number was in the 140's, not ever what you want. Anziano Cutler ever the optimist, said "it's probably at the end of the street, and don't worry Anziano, I bet it skips a bunch of numbers..." It didn't. We walked from the 140's down to 43, and then to the house after, expecting to have finally reached the house. Number 25 obstinately glared right back at us. It was still raining, we were tired, I was sick, and just about ready to give up. Our phone calls were going straight to voice mail, and we simply didn't know what to do. We sat down on the street corner, and decided to call the number without the country code, and it went through. We reached the mother in law of the family we wanted to meet, and she told us to go to a certain "Bar Moschino," where the family would meet us. We looked up, and not more than 50 feet away was a big white sign that said, "Bar Moschino."

The family arrived 10 min later, and they took us to their apartment, (not more than 5 min away from where we had been searching, but impossible to find without their help), let us in, and began to ask us questions. Here's a quick run down of the family: Rita - contacted the missionaries through mormon.org, self-identifying as "thirsty for the truth," in other words, exactly what we're looking for. Nunzio - Supportive evangelist father, who was "saved by Christ," a few years ago. Similarly thirsty for the truth, but slightly less so than Rita. Domenico e Giusi - ages 10 and 7 respectively. Active, but not overly so, patient, and spiritually in tune. Before we left, Giusi kept asking us if she could say the prayer, and when she showed us she knew how, I was touched by her faith! How can one little body contain that much joy and power!

The Restoration was taught, copies of the Book of Mormon were left, a blessing or two were given, and an invitation to return was given! Two last pieces of the story, not in chronological order, just in order of awesomeness! As we followed up this week, Rita, despite being laid up by the flu, has been poring through the Book of Mormon, with a desire to know if it is true! We know she's going to receive a witness real soon! Last, as we left, Rita told us, "I already know you are true messengers from God. I prayed all day, that if you weren't such, that you would be stopped somehow along the way. Your bus would break down, you wouldn't find the house, you would reschedule because of the rain, literally anything. Yet, you are here, and you have blessed our family!"

I didn't feel another symptom the whole way home, we were on cloud 9! The late President Thomas S. Monson once said, “The sweetest feeling you can have in this world is to feel the hand of the Lord upon your shoulder,” and I absolutely agree. We felt guided in so many ways that night, and regardless of the end result with this family, the process of finding them will be one of the greatest miracles of my mission!

To prove that life ain't always sunshine, rainbows, spiritual promptings, and happy endings, I felt like I had the AIDS virus for the rest of Wednesday and Thursday, and today we got a text from an absolutely golden investigator we had found this week, letting us know his mom will not allow him to see us ever again. He promised us he would keep reading the Book of Mormon, but for right now we need a familial miracle. Hopefully this'll just be a hiccup in his eternal progression, and that we'll be able to work something out with him and his mom, that will allow him to continue on the path he was so excited to begin!

Sorry for giving waaaay too much detail about the week, but if you made it this far, you're a champ!

Vi Voglio un Mondo di bene Ragazzi!

Anziano Toronto

Zone Calcio ⚽️ (For the first time in Forever)