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
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.