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, August 19, 2017

Fun of a Different Sort

Carissimi,

When I read this week of each of your adventures in the Great Maine Walker Family Reunion, I almost felt a tinge of jealousy, but then I remembered I'm in Italy, and that the fun we're having out here is just one of a different, but nonetheless real, sort! Our joy comes from seeing others accept the message of the restored gospel and make commitments that will set their eternal course in the right direction. 

While many of you were paddleboarding, swimming, kayaking, and participating in other fun water sports, I got to admire the Adriatic from a distance! Che Bellissima! One day I will swim in her waters, just not for the next 16 months!

As Camille met boa constrictors in NYC, Anziano Waddell and I found Biscotto, (as he has now come to be called). Biscotto is my childhood dream of having a dog come true in the form of 30 second, slobbery hellos exchanged as we go to and from our house each day. I recognize the reason why we can't have pets as missionaries, because if he wasn't kept from us by a gate, we'd never get anything done, we'd be playing with him all day!

Biscotto

As you ate ice cream, pizza, lobster, clam, crab, and countless other meals, my culinary abilities were flourishing on the other side of the globe. New, hungry missionaries, heretofore reliant on college meal plans need food to eat, but don't know quite how to prepare it themselves. That's where two "veterans" of the Italy Rome Mission step in. This week was filled with classic Toronto household dishes such as fajitas, German pancakes, and cereal, along with newly acquired plates like gnocchi, chicken fried rice, and 4 cheese pesto. If I have learned anything besides how to effectively preach the gospel in the months I have lived here, it is how to cook, and cook well... a skill no doubt my family and friends will thank me for in the future, not to mention my wife. ;)

Arrosticini

As you roamed the streets of "Little Italy," I roamed those of "Slightly Bigger Italy," searching for those with a thirst like that of the woman at the well. The living spring that is Jesus Christ is the quenching draught they seek, and only when his servants walk by, smiling and friendly, do they recognize how tantalizing the water is!

As you discussed Safe Harbors, and rescuing the one, we were trying our best to put the concept into practice. Anziano Waddell and I have dedicated this week to searching out those who need to be brought safely home, and ensuring them passage on the Great Ship Zion. Not all want to come aboard, in fact many prefer to swim around the boat, and hop on that ship "Vice and Temptation," so expertly guided by the Enemy of our Souls. Our work is to provide them a ticket, and allow them to choose whether to come aboard, or seek refuge elsewhere. I testify the only true refuge is found in the safety provided by the commandments.

I echo the invitation from Nana this week, to firmly plant yourself on the Rock of our Redeemer. As you do so, the insignificant shafts in the whirlwind will have no power over you. In reunions to come, we will see others missing, serving the Lord selflessly in other lands and bringing the gospel to those who have need of it! I truly can't wait for that day! 

All of my love, and a warm Italian abbraccio, 

Vi Voglio Bene,

Anziano Toronto II 🇮🇹

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Q and A

Sunday Night Gesso with the Pescara Squad


Q) What is your favorite food in Pescara?

A) Without a doubt, Arrosticini... these succulent lamb skewers can be eaten by the tens, and the Law of Diminishing Returns, or marginal benefit doesn't seem to apply! I haven't had the opportunity yet to eat any fish from Pescara, but everyone I talk with tells me I can't go wrong with Arrosticini!

Q) What is one important thing that you have learned from your current companion, and one thing that you believe you have taught your current companion?

A) I don't quite know how to limit the things I have learned from Anziano Waddell to just one, but perhaps the greatest takeaway of the last two weeks has been the unquenchable thirst for knowledge that he carries with him everywhere he goes. His energy, happiness, and desire are all contagious! I hope I have taught him to some degree the diligence and consecration a mission requires.

Q) How are you doing at modeling the standard of obedience to your district?

A) While it seems to be a point I seem to never be able to perfect, it is always one I'm searching to improve upon. President Nelson, if I remember right, gave a talk entitled, "Perfection Pending," and that's just about exactly how I feel about it! I'll continue to work my tail off to get there!

Q) How are you doing in the absence of the Pickards and how is the mission doing?

A) Absence no more! President Pickard should be returning tomorrow, and Sorella Pickard should be joining us in early September! In their absence, things went smoothly, helped a lot by a pair of veteran missionaries currently serving as APs... They took care of small scale, logistical issues, while decisions were made by President Euvrard. Here is an excerpt from my weekly letter to the mission president, "I'm not quite sure which President I'm reaching with this letter, but given the opportunity, I wanted to thank President Euvrard for his example of selfless service. In the MTC we were taught that we were sent to our specific mission to learn from the mission President we would have there. I have no doubt this included both President Pickard and President Euvrard! I will strive to always keep in mind the concept of finding, focusing on, and saving "the one," and seeing others with the eyes of God. I will also strive to be ready to be called upon when there may be a need!"

Q) How are you feeling about your Italian language skills having now been in the country for about six months?

A) Fortunately, that hasn't been a worry of mine in quite some time. I am more than capable in communicating with just about anyone, a gift I never can thank my Heavenly Father enough for. I have room to improve, as with all other areas of the work, but my language study seems to be improving my ability to comprehend and teach every day!

Q) What have become two or three of your favorite scripture verses? Why? How has your gospel study changed since becoming a full time missionary?

A) Certainly among my favorites, would be the entire Chapter of Alma 26, with its different applications to the praise of God, and the success we receive as missionaries. See verses 10-12, 16, 22, 27 for a few of my personal favorites! I would be remiss to leave unmentioned Alma Ch. 5, with its self-evaluation based on desire, worthiness, and asking myself if I have received the image of God in my countenance, and if I have, can I feel so now? Mosiah 28:1-4 should have a special place in any missionaries' heart, emphasis on verse 3, "Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble." As unreachable as that desire may seem, it's a goal, and seeking to obtain it certainly can't hurt!

Q) What are one or two things that you plan to do differently in your life, than before, based on having served a mission? How do you plan to make sure that those are lasting changes?

A) I would say the two biggest changes will be an increased gospel study, with daily scripture study and prayer, and more effective time usage. When you spend hours and hours every day striving to bring salvation to the people of Italy, all other endeavors can seem insignificant, but with that comes an appreciation of what things are most important! School and personal progression will no longer take a back seat in any sense to social media, entertainment, or similar pursuits!

Q) What are two or three of your favorite things about Italy? When you think about the day down the road when you will have to return to the United States, what will you miss most about the country?

A) I love the food, and fortunately that is something I'm able to bring back with me, in the form of knowledge learned. I feel like my cooking skills have been consecrated out here, and I can't wait to show all of you the product of 2 years of perfecting my ragù! One other favorite has to be the people I've met, and continue to meet every day. Members, investigators, friends, even crazy people, I will miss their Italian pride and crazy side!

Q) What was one of your funniest conversations this week or this month?

A) Explaining to an Italian ragazzo, the cardinal sin he was committing as he wore a LeBron James Cleveland Cavaliers jersey, with Golden State Warriors shorts and socks... I likened it to wearing a Francesco Totti Roma jersey on top, with a pair of Juventus shorts, or even worse, clashing Real Madrid, and FC Barcelona... He laughed, and told me he would continue to wear the two together regardless... I shrugged my shoulders, continued the conversation, and left him with an English Course bigliettino, laughing at the absurdity of the whole thing.

Q) How do you feel you are doing with getting along with your companion? What are you learning thus far in your mission about this great skill?

A) Can't say enough good about Anziano Waddell! We get along great, largely as a result of his desire to work, and work we do! The amount of sweating we did this week pales in comparison to that which I did a few weeks ago. I just don't think I'll ever adjust, but my body seems to be doing fine nonetheless.  As far as developing this skill for work, with each of my last 3 companions, I have gotten progressively better, and look forward to continuing the pattern.

Q) How are you doing in staying morally clean, placing appropriate barriers between you and the adversary (see Alma 53:3-4)?

A) The church does real well, protecting us there, as we apply with exact obedience the guidelines found in Safeguards for Using Technology, but there's a secondary factor, my mind. Striving to constantly "let virtue garnish [my] thoughts unceasingly," has been a significant blessing in my ability to, as Anziano Callister suggests, serve without a foot in the door.

Q) If I asked two or three missionaries in the Italy Rome mission to tell me about Anziano Christian Toronto, what would they say? What would President Pickard say about you? What would your local bishop say about you?

A) In true reflection, I would hope each would give similar answers, specifically my leaders, but my peers and fellow missionaries the same. I would love that it would be said of me, if the Lord, President Pickerd, my Bishop, my companions, and other mission leaders need an errand run, a service performed, a person taught, or a message shared, Anziano Christian Toronto is the one to do it.

Q) If we had just one hour to talk to each other, what would you talk to me about? What things do you wish we had more time to discuss each week?

A) Honestly, an hour could cover so many different topics, but among the most pressing, or even entertaining, would be first, advice for the future. I came out on the mission, knowing at some point I would need to decide on a major, or career path, before I would return, and in the past 7 months I haven't really had the opportunity to give it any thought. Now, knowing that some fairly critical decisions need to be made in the next year, and even in some cases less than that, I could certainly use the guidance of one far more experienced than I. It in no way has become a distraction, but President Pickard likes to remind us there is life after the mission, and that we are preparing for a lifetime of service after this two years of service here. There is a small corner in my mind reserved for post mission consideration, and in the next six months I will need to begin to address a few of those things contained within. An hour could pass by in a wink talking of that... Also, just a man talk about sports, or politics, or Team of Rivals, or Star Wars, and what will happen in movie 8, or just about anything normal. Sometimes I just need to unwind, and that is one way. Knowing that football is starting up again is hurting me just a little bit, but I think I'll make it through all right... I'm prepared for reports of heart wrenching losses, caused by the only consistent in Cougar sports: inconsistency.😉

Another fantastic week out here in Pescara, with some great progress seen in our investigators' journeys! Can't wait for the success the Lord is waiting to give to us!

Vi Voglio Bene,

Anziano Toronto II 🇮🇹

Pescara City Streets


Sunset View from Pescara's most famous bridge.

Anziano Waddell on his first day in Pescara,
struggling to keep those eyes open. 😉

Just about all week was this or higher.






Monday, July 31, 2017

Going Green!

Gesso Pic feat. Sorelle Adams, Batres,  Dustin, and Aranas,
along with Anziani Ridd, McConkie, and Waddell!

Cari,

No, my title for this week does not indicate support in any progressively liberal all-green initiatives, fortunately living in socialist Italy hasn't changed me quite that much yet! Instead, it refers to the state in which my companionship, house, district, zone, and mission are currently in. With summer, came new missionaries, and with new missionaries came the need for new trainers. Despite a lack of experience, and feelings of inadequacy, I have been immensely blessed this transfer and the next to train!

My new missionary, affectionately referred to as a greenie, is named Anziano Waddell, and he's just about the biggest stud in all of Italy right now! Before the mission, I had the chance to eat lunch with him through a mutual friend, and I had absolutely no idea that 6 months later we'd be having the time of our lives out here in Pescara. He didn't even have his mission call yet, but he mentioned how cool it would be to serve in Italy, some dreams do come true folks!

Anziano Ferrara headed off to Palermo 3 Thursday, but not before we managed to grab a pizza from Fratelli di Bufala a Porta di Roma, along with a few other missionary friends! Highlight among those, was definitely Anziano Osmond, who I hadn't seen since day two in Italy!

Since arriving in Pescara, we've had a multitude of adventures but a few quick points, and I'll let you return to your normal daily life:

1) Pescara trains - This transfer we received two more companionships in our district, both of which are training. This leaves one companionship out of the 6 in our district who are not training right now! Pescara is filled with some greenie fire, and the members are beginning to engage in the work of Salvation. We eagerly anticipate the opportunity to move to a larger, American style chapel in later September, and we know the Lord has great plans for this area!

2) Block parties in apartment complexes - After returning to our house last night, we heard a voice yell up to our 3rd floor apartment, "OOH (also known as the Roman Bark), Raggazzi, volete mangiare??" Or, "HEY! Boys, you wanna eat?" The sweet scent of Arrosticini drifted up, and our empty stomachs answered the all too easy question. A quick, "Sì, scendiamo subito," or "We'll be right down," was all needed in response. We celebrated as most Italian's do, just without wine and coffee to accompany our food. We ate as fast as possible with our new best friends, and wished the host a happy birthday. Doing our duty as missionaries, we brought the spirit by singing "I Need Thee Every Hour" in Italian as we said good night, and said literally 14,000 'grazie's'... what a NIGHT!

3) Gesso finding fun - We also had the chance to Gesso as a city last night, and seeing 4 basically brand new missionaries with their extraordinarily capable Italian was truly a sight to behold! How grateful I am for the reminder of the joy of missionary work, seen as they teach, find, and watch others make and keep commitments on their way to baptism. They truly have a fire, and I'm just gonna keep adding fuel to it!

Last, but unquestionably not least, I'm grateful for the incredible plan of our Heavenly Father this week. My testimony of the Plan of Happiness was strengthened this week as we watched Mimo accept it without hesitation. I bear testimony the only true happiness is found in the Christlike love and service of others, and the knowledge and reassurance found within the gospel of Jesus Christ. We will be with our families for eternity, as we make the conscientious choice to serve God and Jesus Christ, and endure to the end every day! In the words of King Benjamin, "Now, if ye believe all these things, see that ye do them!"

Have an incredible week, and try not to be jealous of the adventures and fun we're having out here in Pescara!

Vi Voglio Bene,

Anziano Toronto II 🇮🇹

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Return Appointments, Hastags, African Suits, and Italian Street Ballers

This week there isn't much to mention more than what was said last week, except that the work here in Pescara moves forward! After a tougher week, this week we were blessed to find 6 new investigators, each of whom have solid potential! Most awesome of those are Mimo and Mattia Salvatore, who own a fruit stand right across from the new chapel being built a 3 minute walk from our new apartment! After buying fruit a couple of times, and after a bit of small talk, this week we had the chance to teach the both of them the Restoration, and give them Books of Mormon. They were struck by the message we shared, and set up not just one but two return appointments with us this week! We are beyond psyched to teach them!

We still don't have hot water or gas in our new appointment, so we'll continue to shower quickly in cold water, and eat a lot of cold food and microwaveables! Im grateful for the amount of walking we do, which is currently justifying the amount of gelato we are eating... #RIPdresspants #Thank-heaven-for-Piazza-Italia-and-10€-slacks #using-hashtags-like-jjtoronto7 #like-father-like-son

I invite you to reach out this week to the one, that one lost sheep who is struggling to find their way! They are waiting for your invitation to return, or discover for themselves! As you search to do so, Heavenly Father will place those people in your path, and will guide you to them! Never let them pass you by!

Here is a pic of New(ish) Convert Felix with Anziano Ferrara and I, rocking his best looking African Suit, which he says he can get for us!



Anziano Toronto out finding where the people are... Can't tell you how shocking a big white American missionary who can dunk in missionary clothes (unfortunately not pictured here), is to Italian street ballers... but captured in the video, and throwing the alley-oop is a great friend we made this week from Belgium! He is 15, plays on the Belgian National 15U team, and is an absolute stud. Despite a language barrier, we had a solid conversation with his dad who speaks Italian, about the church and what we're doing here... Turns out he knows some members in Belgium, so I told him to go back and find out a bit more about them and the Church! Like Dad, I used Instagram this week as a missionary tool, sending my Belgian baller to my profile telling him we'd talk for real in a year and a half when I get back, and that he can see what I'm doing as a missionary on Instagram!

All my love, from Italia on this wonderful transfer Monday!

Vi Voglio Bene!

Anziano Toronto II  🇮🇹

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Perspiration and Consecration

Famiglia e Amici

The last week can be summarily described as the subject line denotes, perspiration and consecration... Pictures this week are non-existent, as consecration isn't really photograph-able, and I'm 100% the last thing I want is pictures of how much I perspired this week anywhere near the internet... I guess I'll write about a thousand words for every picture there should have been!

First off, perspiration: 

After receiving news Tuesday morning, two weeks ago, that our new house was prepared to move into, Anziano Ferrara dropped everything and began a mad dash preparing for what we hoped would be a one day move. A week later, after plenty of miscommunication, transportation, and yes, perspiration, we finally began the true move-in process! Tuesday and Wednesday were spent in the service of our fellow beings, as we helped the Sisters move into their apartment and, along with many of the active men of the ward, lent a hand to an elderly sister in the ward, who by necessity needed to move out of her apartment. The former was only a 2 floor job, but the latter asked much more of our suffering legs. Up and down her 6 floor apartment we trampled, carrying the collected goods of a lifetime pack-rat along the way. My shirt didn't quite dry before we were back working on our own move, from Montesilvano, a little northern suburb of Pescara, to Pescara itself. We had the assistance of La Coppia Hyde, all the way from Napoli, who were absolutely irreplaceable in their tenacity and van driving skills! By Saturday afternoon, we were all moved in to our apartment, which is temporarily without hot water or gas, (count your blessings, for as Kris Allen says in Live Like you're Dying, "You never know a good thing till it's gone"...) and decided we would hit up the local basketball court despite our missionary attire. All eyes were on the two Americans dressed in white shirts, slacks, and ties, who walked on up to the court, declaring that we wanted in on the next game. After assuring our boys we weren't worried about how silly we looked, we got in the game. An hour and a half later, there was not a dry part of my body, nor a dry piece of clothing on me, (even my tie, to be entirely honest, and to paint the picture since there is no way in this world or the next I was going to let anyone take a picture of me in that state, haha) but hey, numbers were acquired, gospel principles were taught, and friendships were made. WhatsApp is probably going viral with videos of a giant, American, Mormon Missionary throwing down some tomahawk dunks. Let's just say my bounce was truly righteous... 

Consecration: 

In the process of the move, I found a binder filled with inspirational talks on missionary work. Inside, was the talk, "Becoming a Consecrated Missionary, " by Anziano Tad Callister. Remembering that I had been given the talk by Anziano Berger back in Catania, but I was unable to read it because it was in a weird format, my interest was piqued. I began to read, and I was absolutely enthralled until the final, "Amen". Many of the questions I had as a missionary, and my own perceived inadequacies were discussed by Anziano Callister, and it has been an incredible catalyst for change in the last couple days! As I read it for the second time, I cursed Apple technology, for not having been able to read it sooner, but I realized I was being prepared up until the moment I found it. I wouldn't have understood it, nor received the same inspiration from the words, had I read it even a month earlier. As a missionary, I cannot change the past six months, nor would I want to. I have learned an incredible amount in an incredibly short period of time, and the Lord waited to give me this specific counsel until I was ready to receive it and act upon it. 

The gratitude I have for my Savior's Atonement is absolutely unequivocal. I fall short in so many ways, yet that has no bearing on the infinite gift you and I have been given. The Lord chose imperfect servants to preach his word throughout all of history, and he has done so again with me. We can't do anything to deserve our Savior's love, but surely we can emulate it in our relations with those around us. We cannot fathom how we have obtained forgiveness, but surely we can offer that forgiveness to those surrounding us. I invite you to chose some aspect of your life, and consecrate it in gratitude for our Saviors infinite sacrifice. Choose to serve and lift those around you, and you in turn will be lifted up. Sweat in the service of your friends and loved ones, and when you do, know that there is an Anziano not too far away in Italy doing the same thing. 

Vi Voglio un Mondo di Bene,


Anziano Taranto II 🇮🇹

Monday, July 10, 2017

Weekly Update and Pictures

Fam bam,

After last week, I figured I had plenty to digest, and that you had written a ton, so I didn't want to make you do the same again this week! Thank you so much for taking the time to write me, and address those few concerns of mine. As I searched PMG this week, and prayed and fasted, many of the encouragement and much of the advice you gave me, I was able to feel and discover for myself! You are each such great examples for me as a young missionary, and each of you know those struggles I'm going through, so any further advice is always welcome! I love each of you, and will be praying for you this week! 

Vi voglio bene,

Anziano Toronto II

1. Baptism of Stefania! How awesome is that!



2. Marriage of Carlos and Valentina, two blind, but iper capable and independent members of the church!




3/4. Pictures from our Patriotic 4th of July DDM!



Monday, July 3, 2017

Troughs and Peaks




Current Pescara Bravi, with Anziano Ferrara, e Sorelle Dustin and Aranas
A little reflection on the week, edited slightly, but I wanted you to understand how I'm doing.

An interesting phenomenon spoken of in CS Lewis' "The Screwtape Letters", is what's called the Law of Undulation. In effect, we are never staying put, but instead are constantly progressing or regressing. At the same time, we are in a series of troughs and peaks-- whether those refer to our success, exact obedience, language, or health. This week was a definite trough in success. We received bidone (cancelled lesson) after bidone, and no matter how many people we talked to or smiled at, we weren't able to find someone with real interest in our message. Yet with the lowest of all troughs, when it comes to the science of physics, there exists the highest potential energy, or potential growth. Anziano Ferrara and I had a rough week, but we look forward to another one, knowing our rough week is nothing compared to the suffering our Savior experienced in Gethsemane.

One peak of the week was Zone Conference which was fantastic. It was themed around the General Conference talk "Onward and Upward" given by President Kimball in 1979. In the address, it speaks of plateaus we reach, and how we must consciously choose to propel ourselves onward and upward. What plateaus have you settled on and in what ways can you move yourselves onward and upward?! I invite you to reflect on the talk, and react to those promptings that come. Jump off those plateaus, and go climb some mountains!

As I reflect on my first 6 months of service, there are certainly things I'm proud of, and those of which I am not, and wish to improve upon in the next 17 or so. 

One thing I still struggle with, even to this day, is regressive drive. After a while, no after no takes its toll. There's an even more vicious cycle, in which you find someone who seems interested, listens to what you have to say, even gives you their number, and then never responds to your calls. I have yet to find the solution for the inevitable frustration that results from this phenomenon.  Mission is more than 50% finding. You are simply out walking and talking for much of the day. This takes its toll mentally and emotionally, as you truly desire for the salvation of those you meet, but they want nothing to do with the message of hope you have. Member referrals are pretty rare in Italy, due to the lack of super strong members. 70-80% of baptisms are found in the street or at English Course, instead of the opposite occurring in America, where 70-80% are based off of member referrals. 

Satan's most effective tool in this mission is telling you two things, "you COULD talk to that person, but they'll just tell you the same thing every one else does, that they aren't interested, or that "what you're doing is a nice thing, but I'm Catholic and that's how I'd like to stay"," or "you're too tired to go out and do finding for the next 3 hours, you won't find anyone to teach, or that will want to be baptized..." I still don't have the answers, at least the perfect ones, but I'm willing to continue to work to try to find them, and that's what makes the difference for the next 17 months. I will face discouragement literally every day, but the yes's in between the dozens of no's make it bearable. I also find comfort in the PMG paragraph, "No Effort is Wasted". As I work, no matter if they accept or not, I've done my part, and will be blessed for doing so. Eventually, maybe even tomorrow, I'll find and investigator I can teach and baptize, but until that happens I'll be looking for him or her, and praying for the constant guidance of the Holy Spirit. 

I think all of that can be summed up in a sentence, that "Missionary work is the hardest thing I've ever done." Everyone tells me it will be the most rewarding thing I'll ever do, but I'm still working on seeing that side of it. It's certainly harder for me to understand how I've been changed by the mission, and oftentimes the personal rewards come unseen. I think the rewarding piece comes in hindsight, and I'm not sure I can fully appreciate it right now. 

Despite all the doom and gloom, there is joy and happiness out here in Italy. There will be a baptism on Saturday for an investigator the Sorelle are teaching, and I had the chance to conduct her baptismal interview on Sunday. As she testified to me the truths she had come to know, and I responded with my own personal testimony, I was overjoyed with how prepared she truly was for this "next step". Anziano Ferrara and I get along really well, so that's another positive! This week I have a goal to focus on more positive thinking, and to accept rejection with a smile, we'll see how it goes!

All things considered, I'm doing great, and look forward to another 17 months in the Lord's service! I am grateful for your constant support! 

All my love from a lovely fishing town in L'Italia, 


Anziano Toronto II 🇮🇹

Gathering of old MTC District friends,
including Sorelle Manning and Rhoades,
and Anziani Maytham, Gibson, and Hinckley.

Combined Roma Est e Ovest Zones

The Roma Anziani


Preparation for Zone Conference musical number


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

S/O to Sergio



Fam,

Not a ton to update on this week! No earthquakes, no fish eaten... rather boring actually, until p-day!



We woke up at 4 AM, (this is becoming a bad habit), and we hopped on a train headed for Ascoli Piceno, a city in which 2 Anziani in our district serve. We arrived in Ascoli at 7:05, and by 7:15 we were playing tennis with an ex-semi pro contact named Sergio that the Ascoli Anziani are teaching (see photo). What a blast!!! For the first time in 6 months I got to absolutely wail on a tennis ball, and after shaking off some major rust, I slid right back into form. My serve clicked, and it was if I had never left the court... the Lord truly blesses his servants who make sacrifices😁

Although I didn't manage to pull off the victory with Anziano Mayer, who had never before played tennis, I did manage a little better with Anziano Ferrara, who was, in his own words, "a High School PE all-star"! I cannot tell y'all how fun it was being out on that court again, but, like everything else, I leave it again to serve... A serve that gets rusty through service is a serve easily regained, let that be an extremely profound lesson for all of us this week😉



Other highlights included lunch at another contact's pizzeria, where we ate, wait for it... not pizza! Instead we had a variety of meats, including pork, steak, and last, but in the taste category certainly not least, rabbit! (Also for those concerned for my health back home, I ate some salad too...)

Also a steaming highlight has to be the Gesù statue, only slightly less famous than that found in Rio Di Janeiro, which required a substantial hike to summit. The view was well worth the many ounces of sweat lost along the way!



The only negative thing I could possibly say about how things are going, would be the heat. Regularly during the day, temperatures hover in the mid 90s, and being on the sea, humidity is a definite factor. I don't know that I've ever sweat in my life as much as I've sweat in the last two weeks, literally holy buckets😥

Sweat is a small price to pay for the great work we're undertaking here in Pescara, and I can't wait to sweat some more this week!

All my love,

Anziano Toronto II 🇮🇹


Monday, June 19, 2017

Pescara

Fam and Friends,

▪Monday night, after a disappointing lesson with Giovanni Bellavia (see about 2 transfers ago), we received our transfer calls from President Pickerd. I happened to be driving so I passed the phone over to Anziano Alexander who was with us as a trio following Anziano Bertoldos departure for home. He received the news that Anziano Allen would be joining him in Catania, and he couldn't have been more psyched! Following this, the phone was passed to Anziano Kolsen, who as we had guessed, was to receive a new missionary in Catania, (he will have a lot of fun training!), and then I pulled over, now knowing for a certainty that I was leaving Cat-City... President Pickerd informed me I would be heading clear up to Pescara, to follow-up train Anziano Ferrara and be District Leader, I was somewhat blown away! The next few days were filled with goodbyes, to both members who had raised me, and the city that did the same. Highlight had to be pranzo Wednesday afternoon at who else, but la famiglia Rochira. An incredible pistacchio lasagna, followed by legendary Sorella Rochira mystery meat roll ups, capped off with some gelato, sealed what were an incredible 4 months in Catania! The next morning, after waking up at 4 to get people to the airport, I hopped on my train, alone, headed for Termini. I sat down, and began to think, and think, and think, about all I had accomplished in those three transfers, my successes, the miracles, my regrets, and every day in between. This one hurt a little more than leaving home... I was distracted by the stopping of the train in Giarre, and a young man who got on, and sat down across from me. I began to small talk him, and we ended up having quite the Gospel Conversation with him and another man across the aisle. An hour or so passed, I moved, seeking a nap, but didn't get one thanks to another young man who sat himself down 2 seats to my right. Knowing I wouldn't be able to sleep if I didn't at least try to talk to him, I asked him why he was headed up to Rome. This simple question led to a 3 hour exchange of beliefs with a 25 year old, ex-catholic, now atheist, aspiring law student at Sappienza, who very cordially cited Agrippa's words to Paul, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian," at the end of our time together. While these two conversations came with no baptism date, no accepted Book of Mormon, nor even a desire to learn more, It served two purposes. The first was to plant a seed that may not be ready to grow now, but a missionary one day will reap the benefit, and the second was a confidence boost in my ability to speak and communicate effectively in Italian! Coherence in an English theological discussion is difficult enough, throw on a language you've had about 5 months to learn, and you shouldn't get a pretty result, but the Gift of Tongues is real folks!

▪I arrived and headed straight over to the GANS Center with Anziano Melling, where we met the Thackers (GANS Center senior couple), and held English Course. It was so funny seeing the faces of those who had been introduced to the GANS Center through Simeon, and who remembered him so vividly, then met me! I got to be a GANziano for a night, what an awesome experience that was!!

▪The rest of the night was a blur of wrestling, laughing, joking, and eating as 11 Anziani slept in the GANS Center Anziani's house, including Anziani Draghi e Friedman, Farinotti e Olsen, Ridd e Boscon, Melling e Cates, Smith e Hinckley, e yours truly! The next morning I hopped on a bus out to Pescara and the rest is history!

The week flew by, but a few introductions points...

▪Anziano Ferrara - From Cali, trained by Anziano Chugg, football player, 3rd transfer, great guy, we'll have a blast out here!

▪Rest of the District is composed of Ascoli Anziani, featuring Anziano Parkinson and Mayer, and Sorelle in Pescara and L'Aquila, Sorelle Dustin and Aranas, Taylor and Palacios...

▪Pescara ward features about 75 active members including an incredible Vescovo Salvatori, (on who's Facebook Page one would find a pair of comical pictures with the two of us and Anziano Parkinson, as always, referring to my height), his son Roberto the Ward Mission leader, an absolute stud, and Fratello Conforte, who unless I'm mistaken, has been a mission President in both Catania and Padova!

For the first time sending my love from a place not in Sicilia!

Vi Voglio Bene,

Anziano Toronto II 🇮🇹

Pic with Anziani Alexander and Kolsen


Monday, June 12, 2017

One Miracle, One Awesome Story

Dear Family,

We saw a few miracles and did some awesome stuff which I will quickly cover, but it was also a preparation week, working with the shadow of an almost certain transfer hanging over us.

First one miracle, then one awesome story.

Miracle: I got a call from a recently activated member today, and despite protests by others to leave the call, I picked up, and began to talk. As Pino talked to me, asking if we could help with a home teaching visit later this week, I worked out a time that we both were available, and said regardless of whether I would be there or not, there would be Anziani to help him out. Then, just as I was about to hang up, I felt impressed to ask a favor from this member. Two transfers ago, a man left the church, swearing to never have anything to do with it again, largely as a result of actions made by missionaries and members. Since he left, any attempt at contact or reconciliation has been met with a cold shoulder, and non-response. I asked Pino, as he was about to end the call, to shoot a text to this man, letting him know we missed him and loved him. Pino called back a little over an hour later, and told us he had responded to him, and had declared similar feelings. I literally almost dropped the phone, recognizing the hand of the God instantly. I asked Pino to send another message, asking if we could visit him the man tonight, knowing that it was a long shot, but wanting to put this again in the Lord's hands. As he tends to do, the Lord came through, and the man declared we were welcome to visit his home. I have been trying to see this man for two transfers, and it isn't till now I've been given the opportunity to do so. I am still somewhat stunned as I write out this miraculous blessing.

Awesome Story: This week, Anziano Kolsen and I had the chance to drive up to Bronte, clear on the other side of Etna again, to visit Angelo, our pistachio farmer investigator. I have never had a cooler lesson in my life. Angelo is a spiritual giant, and the question with him, isn't IF he'll be baptized, but when. He accepted the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the peace that accompanies it, along with the invitations we gave him. Featured are pictures of me with Angelo, and a pistachio tree in full bloom  (pretty dang cool)!





Tune in next week to find out about transfers, and to see where life takes me next!

All the best,

Anziano Toronto

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Lo Stesso- (The Same)

Just a pictures only kinda week!

Etna Excursion with Roy and other missionaries!





Fud is gud: A restaurant in which the menu is written how food names
should sound instead of how they're written...
Loved the solid smoked sandwich!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Conferences



Fam,

This week, Sicila got a little crazy!

Stake Conference: On Saturday and Sunday this week, stake conference was held here in Catania, for the Palermo Stake of Zion. Members, investigators, and missionaries alike gathered to hear the inspired messages given by President Nudo, (Stake President), Anziano Charles, (Area Seventy from London), his wife, President and Sorella Pickerd, Vescovo Uccello and Erica Battezzato, and a few others in between. The theme of the conference revolved around becoming devoted disciples of Jesus Christ, and developing ourselves so that we might do so.

I was particularly struck by three invites given to the congregation by Anziano Charles. The first, was in connection with the beautiful hymn, Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy. We as members of the church, have an obligation to be the lower lights, guiding wayfaring sailors safely home to the superior light, Jesus Christ. The second is to write down promptings issued by the Holy Spirit, and immediately thereafter act upon them. In this manner, we display our willingness to follow, and our desire for further guidance. The third was inspired by Disney's "Finding Nemo," and encouraged each of us to "Just keep swimming." No matter the trial, temptation, struggle, or situation, we swim, and swim, and swim, knowing eventually we will be strong enough to withstand the waves that beat upon us! I echo these invitations given by an ordained mouthpiece of Jesus Christ, and so invite each of you to seek to be lower lights for struggling seamen around you, to write down and act upon promptings of the Holy Ghost, and to just keep swimming!

Zone Conference: As Stake Conference came to a close, Zone Conference was just taking off. Missionaries who had gathered for the former, stayed for the latter, and that meant houseguests, and hungry ones at that. After interviews on Sunday, All 20 or so Anziani and Sorelle gathered in Piazza Universita, and a mass effort commenced. Books of Mormon were shared, testimonies born, and English Group cards handed out like candy! We had a blast, and the next day was no different. The Anziani were woken up well before 6:30, and were hustled through showers and bathrooms in military fashion. We arrived at the church a good hour early, and had the opportunity to both mentally and spiritually prepare for the occasion. After opening formalities, Sorella Pickerd gave a heartfelt training on being anxiously engaged, without anxiety. We talked about stress relief, and ways to keep our expectations high, but do the same with our energy, focus, and happiness. President Pickerd instructed us on being all in as missionaries, using Anziano Sabin's talk from last conference as a second witness. Shortly after lunch, Anziani Vance, Kolsen, and I had the opportunity to share our musical talent in song, with Anziano Young accompanying us on the piano. We sang a 3 part harmonization of "Homeward Bound," and it was incredible (video pending, maybe look on the Pickerd's blog?)... The afternoon addestramenti were awesome, and we were invited to examine our identity, first as children of God, second as agents unto ourselves, and last as disciples of our master, Jesus Christ. The evening concluded with another mass gesso, and again, we saw success. Again we had the opportunity to use our voices, and sang a number of hymns to the masses who passed by, a truly fantastic experience!



Zone P-Day, and Misc: Believing that two days in Catania just weren't enough, we invited the Zone to stay for P-Day today, and, like last transfer, had a blast playing ultimate frisbee in nearby Villa Bellini. Friendly trash talk was exchanged, but a final score of fun-fun left all feeling somewhat competitively satisfied. Food, and strolling through centro were also activities enjoyed by all.



Last P-Day, Anziano Kolsen and I took the opportunity to delve into the fiera, or street market here in Catania. There we found watches. Fake watches, but not tellingly so... Attached are pictures :) Speaking of fake, apparently Asics recently decided to begin half-heartedly, or more appropriately, half-sole-edly, manufacturing their footwear. After a 5 month struggle, my right shoe finally gave up today, and a solid nickel sized hole appeared in the sole. They'll work until I can find a solid replacement that'll last a little longer!



It was fantastic to hear from many of you this week, and I hope all is as well as it seems!

All my love,

Anziano Toronto II

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Staying Put



Fam,

Knowing that we'll have the opportunity to talk face to face later in the week, I'll leave quite a bit unsaid!

That being said,  this week was transfers, and Anziano Toronto is staying put! Woo-hoo!! At least another 6 weeks in the best city in the mission, that's what I'm talking about! Anziano Rodriguez was sent to Roma III, and in his place comes Anziano Kolsen, from the GANS center in Rome! Anziano Kolsen calls Idaho home, but has moved around quite a bit, is an incredible singer, did theatre and choir, but also MMA and Tennis, so he's kind of all over the place. With Anziano Berger's departure home, Anziano Alexander comes from South Central Sicily to take his place. This has created quite a stir among members, as Anziano Kolsen is 6'3", Anziano Alexander is just a little smaller than I am at 6'6", and Anziano Bertoldo, now a dwarf, is a not so short 6'0". Camillo Battezzato, a 85 year old man, who cruises around at about 5'3", couldn't stop laughing when he came and stood in between the two of us, and I couldn't help but join him! Other moments of note, the usual, but still eventful and successful Sunday night gesso took place, with Libri di Mormon being handed out like candy... this P-Day has been a long one, but full of adventures. We bowled in the morning, cruised Via Etnea, chilled, laughed, talked and had a blast!

As far as skyping goes this Sunday, knowing that church in the morning for you means a later Skype for me, you'll have to let me know whether it works best before or after church for the fam. I'll try to be available whenever works best for the others! All my love, and a cheery salute from our 360 degree view rooftop balcony!

Vi Voglio Benissimo!

Anziano Toronto II



The Need for a Second Return


Famiglia e Amici,

Throughout the many years of recorded sports history, some of the great heralded stories are those of returns to action. These returns are always hyped well beyond their actual significance, but often a return signifies a turning point for the athlete, whether in a positive or negative manner. Michael Jordan after a baseball sabbatical, returned to tear up the league another 3 years straight, renewed in purpose and ability. Tom Brady after a league-enforced suspension, played with a chip on his shoulder, and vengefully claimed the Lombardi Trophy. Derrick Rose, after a series of knee surgeries, had perhaps one of the most hyped returns, that quickly fizzled with the appearance of further knee trouble. LeBron James took his talents to South Beach, and in doing so, singlehandedly destroyed the city of Cleveland, OH. His return brought hope, finally realized the summer of 2016, as he overcame a 3-1 deficit to bring a championship to his childhood home.

Anziano Toronto did much of the same this week, as he rose Tuesday morning to fight the bug that had laid waste to him Sunday and Monday. Declaring during daily planning, "Well, it'd probably be a good idea if we stayed off our feet most of the day, and found a few lessons to teach..." Anziano Toronto figured a nice, easy recovery day. Anziani Rodriguez and Toronto proceeded to walk all the way across Catania and back, in the process sprinting after 2 separate buses, and finding for a number of hours. Having analyzed the distances traveled that day, it's safe to say I've never done more walking on my mission! While it was not what I had in mind, it was what the Lord had in mind, and it was my job to put one foot in front of the other, sometimes rather quickly, and trust that I would have the strength I needed! What a test of faith, but at the same time a confirmation of the power of work. President Ezra Taft Benson once declared: 

“I have often said one of the greatest secrets of missionary work is work! If a missionary works, he will get the Spirit; if he gets the Spirit, he will teach by the Spirit; and if he teaches by the Spirit, he will touch the hearts of the people and he will be happy. There will be no homesickness, no worrying about families, for all time and talents and interests are centered on the work of the ministry. Work, work, work—there is no satisfactory substitute, especially in missionary work.”

The truth of this statement was undoubtedly proven in our efforts Tuesday and Wednesday. We have never had a busier pair of days, and I've never felt more satisfied at the end of a day than when I collapsed, exhausted into bed Wednesday night! Each day, I continue in my efforts to apply this quote, and the truth contained therein. 

All of this being said, there are three returns more hyped, and more significant than any other in the history of mankind. The first has already happened, nearly two thousand years ago, while the second only two hundred years past, the last we await anxiously. 

Celebrated just a few weeks ago, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ was the greatest return to date... Having overcome physical and spiritual death, Jesus Christ returned to send his gospel into all the world, in the hands of his empowered and commissioned apostles. The world for the most part, rejected his gospel, and slew his messengers, erasing Godly power, in the form of his holy priesthood, from the earth for nearly two thousand years.

Thus arose the need for the second return, that of eternal truths, lost in mistranslation and intentional corruption, and Godly power, again, that of the Priesthood. These truths, and this power returned to the earth through the hands of his holy messengers, Moroni, John the Baptist, Peter, James, John, and many more, upon the head of Joseph Smith, and those who the Lord saw fit. The Gospel of Jesus Christ was restored in its' fulness, allowing us the opportunity to make covenants, or promises with our Heavenly Father once again. 

All of this is done in preparation for the third and final return. Jesus Christ will return, as he declared when among his disciples in Jerusalem and the Americas, to reign in glory forever. Banished will be the influence of the adversary, and eternal will be the salvation of those who chose in this life and the next to follow the example of Jesus Christ. How great and incomprehensible is our responsibility then, to strive to follow him, in every thing! How grateful I am for the gift of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and all he suffered for each of us individually. As a representative of Jesus Christ, I testify, as many others have, that he lives. He rose from the dead, restored his gospel once again upon the earth, and will return once again to reign forever. How grateful I am for the chance in this life to prepare to meet God, that we might be able to stand, confident in his presence! 

Vi Voglio un Sacco di Bene! 


Anziano Toronto Il Giovane 






Monday, April 24, 2017

Highs and Lows

Famiglia,

In what is one of my favorite books, "the Screwtape Letters", written by C.S. Lewis, Screwtape, a demon who might be aptly described as a trainer, teaches his protégé, Wormwood, and important lesson about peaks and troughs. In the lens of the novel, these peaks and troughs were the high and low points of one's personal faith, but as with all aspects of life, missionary work too, has its' highs and lows. I share with you a couple of each, seen in the past week!

High: Zone Conference! As each companionship, from Ragusa all the way up to Reggio Calabria gathered in the Catania chapel, there was undoubtedly a special spirit. The theme for this conference was taken from a mix between Anziano Oaks' general conference address, "Good, Better, Best," given in October 2008, and Anziano Ballard's instruction from this past conference, entitled "Return and Receive". The most impactful lesson for me was taught in the addestramento given by the APs. Their focus was on using the Book of Mormon to answer questions, instead of answering them ourselves, and then supporting our answers with scripture. Finding and teaching in this manner causes conversion to the Book of Mormon, and the truths found therein, as opposed to conversion to missionaries, who seem to have all the answers. As we put this method into practice, great success was found! As we sought to create a reliance on the Book of Mormon, our investigators and potentials found themselves with a greater desire to read it, and find the answers contained within.

Low: Sacrament attendance. For the first time since I arrived here in Catania, we did not have an investigator in church. In fact, between three companionships of missionaries, only one investigator came. Contrast that with the combined 6 we had last week, it was a pretty sharp drop off. What does it mean? We need to work even harder to help our investigators recognize the importance of church attendance and the sacrament!

High: Scambi, a.k.a exchanges! On Monday night, after Pasquetta activities, our plan was to do a giant gesso with the 20 or so missionaries that had arrived throughout the day, but this plan was changed by the APs, who decided to do a spontaneous exchange with Anziano Rodriguez and I. This meant I got to spend from 6-9 working and finding with Anziano Battaglia! What an incredible experience it was! We walked, walked, and walked some more, finding as we went. I learned so much in just a short period of time, but the most profound lesson was taught in an agreement we made as we set out. We both would respond without hesitation to any prompting we received, no matter what. This led to many, many conversations, and what turned out to be a great time! Another lesson learned was the need to be fearless in presenting the gospel to everyone, after all, we are talking about their eternal salvation here right!? Friday came with another surprise scambio with the Zone Leaders, and I had the chance to work with Anziano Berger from Friday afternoon to Saturday afternoon! We journeyed here and there, teaching, finding, and learning as we went!

Low: I woke up Sunday morning around 2:00 AM, feeling like I'd been run over by a semi... I struggled to get back to sleep, and spent the most part of the next few hours sleepless... After receiving a blessing, and taking some ibuprofen, I decided I would try to make it through church, and the meal appointment we had at the Rochira's afterward. I made it through sacrament meeting alright, but the ibuprofen wore off, and I soon found myself shivering, with a pounding headache. It was a miracle I made it through 3rd hour, and determined not to disappoint Sorella Rochira, we made the drive out to Paternò. I sat in the car, basking in the heat of the sun, and told myself I could make it, but when I left the heat I quickly realized I had overestimated my abilities.  I collapsed on their couch, and allowed Sorella Rochira to work some magic on me, while the others ate. I was the subject of many jokes, including those pointed at how someone of my stature was brought low by a virus who's size is better measured in micrometers, much like the story of David and Goliath, (however I'd like to hope the Lord was on Goliath's side in this case).  I somehow managed to make it to the end of the appointment, and even had the strength to share our spiritual thought. This however, was all I had left in me, and we headed back to the apartment so I could try to recover. I went through a couple different stages, but the worst was as I woke up later in the evening, fever broken, but absolutely drenched in sweat. Since then, I haven't improved much, and I'm still on bed rest at the command of Sorella Williams, the mission nurse, but I'll probably make it out alive!

The key to success and happiness is transforming our lows into highs, after all, the lower we are, the greater the heights we can reclaim! Joseph Smith received some of the most insightful revelation ever recorded, while at his lowest point, incarcerated in Liberty Jail. God allowed Job to be tested with the lowest of lows, so that he could then bless him with the highest of highs. Let us remember in our lowest moments, he who "hath descended below them all", even our Savior, Jesus Christ. How grateful I am for his example of strength and dignity even in the lowest of lows!

I testify he loves each and every one of us, and descended below, so that as Alma writes, "That he may know...how to succor his people according to their infirmities." He knows what each of us go through, and will be there to carry us through when we can no longer walk on our own.

Vi Voglio Benissimo,

Anziano Toronto II

A special Happy Birthday s/o to the one and only Jonathan J. Toronto. I wish I was there to eat oatmeal with you, and skip the cake and ice cream, sounds like it was a blast;) What an incredible impact you've had on my life, one that is truly ineffable. I can only express the smallest part through an email, but hoping for many more birthdays to come offers consolation for this inadequate expression of love!

Monday, April 3, 2017

General Conference Babbbyyyy!

Catania's Missionary Apartment Flag

Now featuring the signatures of Anziano Taranto
and Anziano Taranto II Giovane.
Torontos,

Anziano Toronto's Conference Invitation:

What an incredible blessing it is to hear the voice of our prophets and apostles every 6 months. How truly guided their remarks are, and how personal they seem... a testament to their calling and union with the spirit. Among my favorite discourses were those given by Anziano Sabin, Anziano Holland, Anziano Uchtdorf, and Anziano Oaks. Each answered questions and taught doctrine I came to conference seeking to understand. What a blessing personal revelation is, and how grateful I am for the spirit we feel every time these beloved leaders speak. This gospel is personal, in every way, and those talks that spoke to you, might not have struck me in the same way. I invite each of you that read this, to think on the messages you have heard, or go listen to them, if you have not. There is power in the spiritually guided lessons taught by the Apostles called by God, and despite their brevity, those taught by his living Prophet, Thomas S. Monson. Let us read or reread their words, and commit ourselves to more diligently accept their invitations. The blessings they have promised are real, therefore let us seek to attain them. In the following week as you study, email me your thoughts, and your favorite, or favorites, as you find them!

A few thoughts on the work and the Atoning Gift, given to each of us by Jesus Christ:

Alfio chose to stop smoking for the third time yesterday. He was convinced this was the time, he felt strong, and prepared, but he only made it 19 hours before his body overthrew his small amount of self-control. I was devastated, but I instantly was reminded of my own struggle to change, in many, many ways. I fell short wayyyyy more than 3 times, and in many ways, I still fall short, but the gospel isn't about being perfect, but rather becoming so. As Brad Wilcox so eloquently put it, "There are not only two options for a young piano player, Carnegie hall, and giving up..." The Atonement of Jesus Christ empowers us to make the necessary corrections, despite our falling short over and over again. Poignant and piercing, are his descriptions of those who give up, simply because they fall short.  As he says it, "They say, I just can't do this Mormon thing. It's too hard, I've tried... these people do not understand the atonement of Jesus Christ." "Never fear", as Anziano Uchtdorf reminded us yesterday, because we have a superhero on our side even stronger than Superman, even more noble than Captain America, much less snarky than Tony Stark, and who didn't get his power from a radioactive spider, but rather the Divine Creator of all, even God.  He is Jesus Christ, and he will not forsake us, rather it is us who often forsake him, for the alluring nature of our own personal Lexus Luthors, Lokis, Jokers, or Ultrons. They can seem more powerful, even impossible to overcome with our own limited strength, but we must understand our strength has no limit. As Ammon declared, in Alma 26, "Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things." I testify with absolute confidence, there is no shortcoming too trivial, nor desperation too deep, that our Savior will not be there to help us through. There is no addiction you cannot overcome, and no sin from which you cannot repent. Repentance is change, but the desire must come from within. We must simply set aside our pride and reach out to him. He awaits our hand, stretched forth in humility, and will lift us up beyond where we believe we could be.

Other:

Zone P-Day was highlighted by an awesome game of Ultimate frisbee, despite intermittent rain. I am ever thankful for the gift of sports, because I don't know where I would be without them. I miss tennis pretty bad, (but more just beating my dad😉), it isn't even funny, but a few basketball and soccer games here and there are compensating.

Ultimate Frisbee on P-day



Last note and challenge for each of you. If you have not already done so, watch the Church's Easter video, Prince of Peace. Watch it again because it's awesome, and then share it on whatever social media sites you participate in. It is incredible, and inspiring, and brings the Spirit. Each time I watch it I become even more grateful for his life, and for His Infinite Atonement!

With love and gratitude for each of you,

Anziano Toronto II

A creative way to meet people on the street.