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.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Best Way to Spread Christmas Cheer



The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear..."--Buddy the Elf

Cari,

Lots that happened this week, but even more excitingly for my mother, there were a lot of pictures taken along the way! Not sure what order the pictures are in, but enjoy the captions anyways!

▪Louis takes a swim - Louis was brought to church by his good friend, Kelly, (who as many of you may remember, was baptized just a month or two ago), immediately loved how he felt, and started to take the lessons. Only days after meeting Louis for the first time, we saw him on a bus and asked him about the Book of Mormon. He replied with a grin, saying, "It's my favorite book! I always keep it close to me. Man, the Book of Mormon is my breakfast!" Louis is a great example of how new converts are a prime resource for receiving referrals who are ready to accept the gospel!



▪Canto, perciรฒ io sono (I sing, therefore I am) ๐ŸŽค - The vocal cords got some major exercise this week, as we Lit the World, one note at a time. Friday, we had the chance to visit a nursing home near Pescara, and do a mix of room to room, and large group Christmas caroling! It was incredible seeing how much joy we brought to a room full of the real "Anziani!" Sunday night, we took advantage of the 10 missionaries working in Pescara, and did a singing gesso, full of Italian, and American favorites. Can't tell yet whether I like the way Italian's sing along to "Jingle Bells," but as Simon Cowell, or even the peanut gallery in my own family might say, "They were just a bit pitchy..."๐Ÿ˜



▪Giving the blind their sight, well... actually he settled for a Christmas tree๐ŸŽ„- Saturday we had the chance to #LighttheWorld by helping Carlos, (blind), surprise his wife, Valentina, (also blind), by going out a getting a Christmas Tree, setting it up in their apartment, decking it out, and lighting it up! I loved how excited he was, this being their first Christmas together as a married couple, and it was a blessing being a part of lighting someone else's visually, (but not spiritually!) dark world. ๐Ÿ˜Š

▪P-day in Chieti - Had the chance to visit the church of San Giuliano.


We met a turtle friend, (unfortunately made out of bronze), who will be featured in my new Facebook profile picture.




We met some new friends, who told us they hadn't seen missionaries in Chieti in 15 years.


Last, but certainly not least, had a nice fashion photo shoot, featuring predominantly Anziano McDonald, followed by Anziani McConkie, Snyder, and Parker.







Keep lighting the World this week, and serve God by serving your fellow men!

Vi Voglio Benissimo

Anziano Toronto II ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

Monday, December 4, 2017

Sii Felice, Oh and also una Luce!


Fam,

Long week, with highlights and lowlights, but unfortunately not enough time to record them all! Therefore, we'll stick with the highlights, abbreviated version!

Highlights:

▪Anziano Waddell came back to visit and to take care of some document issues! Had fun with him and Anziano Misa, his companion, and got to spend the night reminiscing, and laughing!

▪Dedication! This week we held an open house, and the culmination on Saturday was the dedication of Pescara's brand new chapel. (Opened a few months ago, but not dedicated until a few nights ago). Special guests included President Pickerd, the Rome East Stake Presidency, and the Mayor and Vice mayor of Pescara!

Here's a few pictures to tide you over until next week!

▪Cereal parties, ft. My 70s themed jacket
 


▪Our apartment isn't entirely devoid of Christmas Spirit, nor church proselyting materials!


▪Merry Christmas from your very own Pescara Cinque #MissionaryChristmasCard


Spiritual thought, taken from the Book of 4th Nephi: 

15 And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.

...and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.

There could not be a happier people among, how marvelous a thought. This Christmas season, as we lose ourselves in selfless service, we'll count ourselves among those who have the love of God, dwelling in our hearts, and among those happy, happy disciples of Jesus Christ! Participate in lighting the world, and make a difference, no matter how big or small! 

Vi voglio bene!

Anziano Toronto II ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

Monday, November 27, 2017

Thanksgiving Turkey Aftermath

Fam bam,

Sounds like you had an incredible week, and that all is well on the homefront! Not a whole lot to say da parte mia, but it was another awesome week out here in the GIRM.

News: Transfer call came early this week, and I'll be staying a 5th, count 'em, 5th, transfer in Pescara! 3 turns out to be a magic number, and Anziano McConkie and I will be joined by Anziano Parker, from Stockton, CA, who has been up in Ascoli for the past few transfers. #Trio We'll be here until the middle of January, so I'm getting nice and comfortable. As to be expected, 7 months is a loooong while to be in a city, and there's undeniably a little bit of "area burnout" right now, but I "will go where [he] wants me to go," that includes another 6 weeks in Pescara! There's clearly something more I need to accomplish here, and many more lessons to learn from the Members, people, and other missionaries!

Highlights of the week:

▪Adamo accepted a baptismal date. He is working towards the 23rd of December, and we have so much hope for this good, good man. He has so much to gain, most of all, an eternal family. He may have been taking the missionary lessons since Giuseppe Taranto was a missionary in Italy, but this is his time!

▪Louis will be preparing for baptism next Saturday, so prayers up for him in his conversion process! His faith is incredible, and he accepted the commandments as God's will without batting an eye!

▪Thanksgiving was awesome, even if we couldn't quite cook like an Allison/Amy/Sim/Dad and others dream team... #DadOnTheMashedPotatoesLikeIt'sHisJob

Praying for each of you, and love you so much!

Anziano Toronto II ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Thinking to Thank



Carissimi,

This letter is dedicated to you, as an attempt, inadequate, yet attempt nonetheless, to thank each of you for the impact you have had on my life. While Thanksgiving shouldn't be the only time we "think to thank," it is certainly a great reminder to reflect on, and thank, those who have shaped and changed your life for the better. Each of you without exception fall under that category, so consider yourselves properly thanked! 

I am thankful this week that Luca was baptized. Ironically, the 300 or so lb. man chose the skinniest missionary to baptize him, so I was chosen as backup, to help lift him out of the water! What an honor it was to take part in this man's conversion, and to confirm him a member of the church the day after. The Holy Ghost will bless him, and all those who interact with him for the remainder of his life.

I am thankful for the chance to have played tennis 3 times this week, smashing the previous record of 1. Besides two P-day tennis excursions, Giorgio warmed up the Ascolian Open court, (which by this point should be named after me๐Ÿ˜‰), and we had the chance to play for an hour or so, early, early in the morning. Other p-day highlights included a "Turkey Bowl" of sorts, cut short by the local calcio squad, who needed the field to practice, and a few hours of tennis in the morning, first doubles, then singles with Anziano McConkie. #RustIsReal

I am thankful for the Book of Mormon, for the truths it contains, and the witnesses, both living and dead, who have given their lives for the Gospel it sustains!

I am thankful for a living Prophet, Thomas S. Monson, who guides the church through revelation!

I am thankful for the chance to have spent nearly a year in the service of my Heavenly Father, and his son Jesus Christ!

I am thankful for "Goodly Parents," who love the lord. Daily I learned from them, (even if progress was slow๐Ÿ˜) until I was called, to preach the gospel to all the world! 

I'm thankful for missionary examples! Heroes such as Alma, Amulek, Ammon, and Aaron, Giuseppe Taranto, Wallace Toronto, Ronald Walker, Chris and Judy Toronto, countless aunts and uncles, Jonathan, Anne Katherine, and Simeon Toronto, and so so many more! (Not to mention many of you reading this!)

I am thankful for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. 

I am thankful most of all for my Savior, Jesus Christ, for his infinite atonement, patience, and love! 

Vi voglio un universo di bene! Buon Thanksgiving!

Anziano Toronto II ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น


Luca's Baptism


Testing out baptismal clothes for Luca๐Ÿ‘ป

Ascoli Scambio feat. Beautiful Trees and Views



Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A Challenge to Each of You


Anziano Toronto meeting Elder M. Russell Ballard

Dear Family,

This week ended triumphantly with an incredible Stake Conference and a successful baptismal interview of Luca! We're so excited for him to be baptized this Saturday at 5! So when you're eating breakfast next week, say a quick prayer that Luca is actually getting baptized.

Anziano Toronto with Luca and Anziano McConkie

Luca never ceases to inspire and amaze me. Literally, bless his little Babbo Natale heart, he carries his copy of The Book of Mormon with him everywhere he goes. He is an amazing example of having a change in heart and starting a completely new life in the church! The only concern in preparing for his baptism, is that we have to find baptismal clothing that fits him. But no need to worry, I'm sure we'll make it work! We have a big white sheet at home so if all goes wrong (or perfectly) we'll do the baptism roman toga style...๐Ÿ˜‰ We might need 2 people in the water, one baptizer, and one spotter! No, I kid, by far the biggest thing about him is his heart and his desire to follow our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I love him so much and it has been such a miracle to witness and play a part in his conversion!

One of the most fulfilling parts about the mission is the chance to witness firsthand the truthfulness of the gospel on a daily basis! For example:

We have been working with a man named Michele for a few months now. He works with Bishop, comes to church every week, and we meet with him every saturday morning. The sad part is that Michele struggles with crippling depression. He has severe anxiety and this makes it so he can't leave the house very often in the evening. Michele has been through some tough times in his life which has driven him away from God. The first time we met with him, he had absolutely no faith whatsoever. We continued meeting, but saw little progress...

We met with him this Saturday, for the 4th or 5th time, hoping that this would be the week to break through! We began by reminding him that we aren't psychologists, but messengers from the Lord and the only thing we can give him is, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which, as Paul declared, is "The power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth;" (Romans 1:16). We asked him if he felt any feelings of depression, anxiety, and worry when he was in church and he said "assolutamente no". So that put us in an awesome position to talk a lot about the Gift of The Holy Ghost and how we can access this peace and comfort after we are baptized and receive the holy ghost! We extended a baptismal invitation to be baptized on the 30th of December, knowing that he still has some major steps to take, and he accepted it! It is amazing to see that a man, brought as low as he has been, feels and recognizes the love of God! #Man'sExtremityisGod'sOpportunity

My challenge to each of you, (like much of this email*), is plagiarized, but heartfelt nonetheless! Since the beginning of the year, the Rome East Stake has been working on a challenge, given by the Stake Presidency. Their task, is to write their testimony in a copy of the Book of Mormon, and then give it out to a friend, acquaintance, or to whomever the spirit directs. During Stake Conference, this challenge was once again issued, in accordance with Elder Ballard's invitation to Italy, to "Touch someone's heart, and to bring them to a knowledge of the restored gospel between now and Christmas." He asked that that would be our gift to the savior! In fine, I extend this same challenge to each of you. To write your testimony inside a copy of the Book of Mormon, and give it out, sharing that testimony of Jesus Christ, and the matchless power it contains. I will be following up, so just do it, so you can all be "progressing investigators๐Ÿ˜"!

Vi voglio bene,

Anziano Toronto II ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

*Themes and material borrowed with permission from Anziano Alexander Stoddard McConkie Weekly Emails Inc.


Tennis Photo Shoot




Monday, November 6, 2017



Carissimi,

What I lack in creativity and pictures, I'll make up for in substance this week, hope you enjoy๐Ÿ˜

▪80% of the Great Italy Rome Mission gathered in Rome 1's chapel early Thursday morning, to hear from Elder and Sister Engbjerg of Denmark! All missionaries from Rome East/West, Napoli, Bari, Taranto, and Sardegna were present, along with senior couples galore. For what could be the last time together, Anziano McConkie and I had the chance to share our musical talents with the mission, singing a lovely TTBB quartet of "Joseph Smith's First Prayer." Unfortunately, this one wasn't recorded for posterity, (blame the "no recording during Zone/Miss Conference rule...) but rest assured there will be no dishonor on me, nor my cow, for the finished product! We were instructed on touching, or reaching out to "The One." Meaning both the Savior, Jesus Christ, and each individual who crosses our way! Once again we were challenged by President Pickerd, to become the greatest generation of missionaries in the history of the Great Italy Rome Mission, and that our bar needs to be raised! While perfection is certainly pending, we're working hard on it this week!

▪Conference also meant seeing many friendly faces! On Wednesday night, we were hosted by Rome 1's Zone Leaders, Anziani Alexander e Young, both of which I got to know and love down in Catania. Not much sleep was had:) The next day I had the chance to spend some time catching up with Anziani Rodriguez, Osmond, Waddell, Dickey, and countless others, along with the Sorelle from our MTC Group, and a few other awesome Sisters!

▪Luca will prepare to be interviewed for baptism this Saturday, and we have confidence, faith, and hope that all will go well. Our mock interview was stellar, and he continues to make changes in his life to place himself in harmony with the gospel of Jesus Christ, and it's standards, notwithstanding the height thereof! This man has done a complete 180°, and was prepared for our message long before he met us! We are so excited to see him continue his progression, and path towards baptism, and the service he will render from then on the the church and the other Pescara fedeli!

▪Celebrated both Halloween and Anziano McConkie's birthday this week, and the latter was by far the more enjoyable holiday. I ended up making a cake with what ingredients we had, and a nice fried rice and chicken pranzo, and we ended the day with gelato at our favorite spot, so, even with fast Sunday, calorically I'm still recovering:) 

▪Last (but not least) night we enjoyed a dinner appointment with Vescovo Salvatori and his family. The carbonara was delicious, and they let us know they were working hard to find us referrals to meet and teach! We enjoyed talking a little about everything, and I will always be grateful for that wonderful family!

▪Challenge for the week: Go strengthen your testimony of Joseph Smith, and his divine call, by reading his own written Testimony. I know he was called of God, he accomplished the work he was sent here to fulfill, and he "has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it," (D&C 135:3).

Vi voglio bene!

Anziano Toronto II ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น


Pescara District with Luca and Roberto
Group Shot from Mission Conference




Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Audio Recording of Anziano Toronto's Adventures this Week




It was just a recording and pictures type of week, ya know!?

Vi voglio bene,

Anziano Toronto II ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

P.S. Go to the link below and push play to hear about Anziano Toronto's adventures this week.

https://soundcloud.com/user-565039128/christian-mission-10292017