April 10, 2015

Italy Catania Mission

Free resources about the Italy Catania Mission:

*Other Mission Pages: Italy LDS Missions.

Italy Catania Mission Address

Here’s a recent address for the Italy Catania Mission. We try to keep this information up to date, but it’s a good idea to check the address with several sources, including your mission packet or the mission office.

*This mission became part of the Italy Rome Mission in 2010.

Italy Catania Mission Map

Here’s a link to the mission map for the Italy Catania Mission (LDS).

*This mission became part of the Italy Rome Mission in 2010.

Videos with Italy Catania RMs

Here are in-depth YouTube video interviews with returned missionaries from the Italy Catania Mission.  We interview hundreds of returned missionaries each year, so check back regularly to see new RM interviews.

mission interview  mission interview

LDS-Friendly Videos about Italy

Here are LDS-friendly educational videos about Italy. We scoured YouTube to find the best quality videos about Italy, that are free from inappropriate music, immodesty and profanity.

weather  places  history  food  nature  language  LDS Church  nature

Italy Catania Missionary Blogs

Here’s a list of LDS missionary blogs for the Italy Catania Mission. This blog list includes the missionary’s name, URL and when their blog was updated.

*Send your missionary a gift (mission-specific shirts, ties, Christmas stockings/ornaments, pillowcases, etc.)

Elder & Sister Crawford crawfordsonamission.blogspot.com 2011
Elder Ray Banks twoyearsinitaly.blogspot.com 2011
Elder Jordan Mathis eldermathis.blogspot.com 2008

Italy Catania Mission Groups

Here are Italy Catania Mission Groups- for LDS missionary moms, returned missionaries, mission presidents and other alumni of the Catania Mission.

  1. Italy Catania Mission President DeWitt Years Group (185 members)
  2. Italy Catania Mission Pres. Mario Vaira Years Group (148 members)
  3. Italy Catania Mission President Rempel Years Group (75 members)
  4. Missione di Catania, Italia Connections Group (61 members)
  5. La Missione di Catania Pres. Gli Anni Gambarotto Group (16 members)

Italy Catania Mission T-Shirts

Here are T-shirts for the Italy Catania Mission!

Shirt designs include Italy Catania Mission logo/emblem shirts and Called to Serve shirts. The shirts make great gifts for pre-missionaries, returned missionaries and missionaries currently serving. LDS Mission shirts come in all sizes: Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large, up to 4XL.  The mission designs are printed on white shirts and are shipped to you.

*Simply click on a shirt design to view the details and submit an order. The designs on mission t-shirts may also be printed on other LDS mission gifts, including: Italy Catania missionary aprons, Christmas stockings, ties, pillow cases, teddy bears and Christmas ornaments.

*Click here to browse Catania Mission gifts

italy-catania-lds-mission-shirt-1 italy-catania-lds-mission-shirt-2 italy-catania-lds-mission-shirt-3 italy-catania-lds-mission-shirt-4

Italy Catania Mission Presidents

Here’s a list of current and past Mission Presidents of the Italy Catania LDS Mission.

  1. 2007-2010, James Toronto
  2. 2004-2007, Giovanni Ascione
  3. 2002-2004, Sebastiano Caruso
  4. 1999-2002, Terrance Rempel
  5. 1996-1999, Giovanni Ascione
  6. 1995-1996, Kenneth R. Goodman
  7. 1992-1995, George R. DeWitt
  8. 1989-1992, Mario Vaira
  9. 1986-1989, Vincenzo Conforte
  10. 1985-1986, Dwight Williams
  11. 1983-1985, Norman Turner
  12. 1982-1983, Samuel Boren
  13. 1981-1982, John Lahaderne
  14. 1987-1981, Lino Pablo Gambarotto
  15. 1977-1978, Leopoldo Larcher

Italy LDS Statistics (2016)

  • Church Membership: 26,248
  • Missions: 2
  • Temples: 1
  • Congregations: 103
  • Family History Centers: 68

Helpful Articles about Italy

Italy Catania Missionary Survey

Here are survey responses from Italy Catania RMs, to give you a snapshot into what it’s like to live in the mission.

When did you serve?

  • 2003-2005 (Colin)
  • 1990-1992 (Chad)
  • 1992-1994 (Staci)
  • 2000-2001 (Summer)
  • 1994-1995 (Ceresola)
  • 1992-1993 (Anne)
  • 1995-1997 (Greg)
  • 1986-1988 (Anonymous)
  • 1988-1990 (Kit)
  • 1986-1988 (Jared)
  • 1987-1989 (Aaron)
  • 2008-2010 (Francisco)
  • 1983-1984 (Flavia)

Which areas did you serve in?

  • Monreale, Palermo, Siracua, Bari, Taranto, Ragusa. (Colin)
  • Catania, Siracusa, Taranto, Foggia. (Staci)
  • Agrigento, Syracusa, Messina. (Summer)
  • Ragusa, Taranto, Catania, Bari (twice), Palermo and Siracusa. (Ceresola)
  • Bari, Taranto, Siracusa, Catania, Palermo. (Anne)
  • [Puglia, Calabria, and Sicilia.] Ragusa/Siracusa, Messina, Catania, Palermo, Bari, Messina/Reggio Calabria, and in the mountains in Sicily near Palermo as well. (Greg)
  • Mistretta, Siracusa, Palermo, Catania, Lecce, Catanzaro. (Anonymous)
  • Bitonto, Siracusa, Taranto, Reggio di Calabria, Catania & Messina. (Kit)
  • Barletta, Taranto, Bari, Lecce, Siracusa, Palermo, Catania. (Jared)
  • Brindisi, Catania, Taranto, Bari and Gela. (Francisco)
  • Bari, Palermo, Catania, Siracusa, Trapani. (Flavia)

What were some favorite foods?

  • Cannoli, Pandoro, Pasta nera di seppia, calzone, focaccia barese, gelato al brioce, arancini, frutta di mare, BBQ octopi, parmagiana, salame calabresi, pizza diavola/margherita/etc. (Colin)
  • Pizza, mozzarella balls, fresh bread, rice balls, blood oranges, pasta! (Chad)
  • I loved to eat the arancini. I also loved the pasta al forno. (Staci)
  • Arancini with cheese, ragu, peas; nocciola gelato, bombole (no clue what they are actually called- that was a nickname for some pastry with nutella inside. Pasta al forno. (Summer)
  • Pasta, lasagne, special southern Italian food (arancini) and…GELATO!!! (Ceresola)
  • All the different types of olives, blood oranges, different cheeses, fresh baked bread daily, pizza/foccia, gelato, briosche gelato sandwiches, the unique pasta dishes from each area (like orrecchetti with broccoli rabe and anchovies), and the specialty street foods like…can’t remember the Italian words but fried garbonzo bean flour sandwiches; fried stuffed rice balls with meat, peas and carrots. (Anne)
  • Pasta Al Forno, Aranchinni, Cassat (a sweet cinnamon ricotta cheesecake-like dish that is specific to Ragusa made by a member there). The fresh fruits from the area. Foccaccia from a little hole in the wall (an over in a garage like structure) in Bari where the line reached out the door and down the block where it had hot fresh tomatoes and salt/oil on a chewey light bread the shape of a pizza. Sooo good! (Greg)
  • Arancini. Pasta al’forno. Lasagne. Pasta carbonara. (Anonymous)
  • Carbonara, arancie di sangue, aroncini, gelato, focaccia (the best is in Taranto). (Jared)
  • Pasta carbonara, canolli, pizza, aranciata. (Aaron)
  • La pasta al forno, Arancini and grilled carciofi…. Mmmm Buoni!!! (Francisco)
  • Arancini ans sbucelate. The focaccia at Bari and the pizza di cipolli were favolosi at the Fornaio. (Flavia)

What was a funny experience?

  • I am tall and skinny so youth on a bus were calling me a bread stick. In Monreale, we had only a trickle of water so we saved it in 2 liter bottles and bathed by dumping that cold water over our bodies. (Chad)
  • In every city somehow I tripped on the sidewalks and fell flat on my face. (Staci)
  • My companion, who is almost as tall as me, (there were four of us who were almost six feet and all in the same district at the same time!) and I were walking down a street in a shopping area, and a car full of young men were gawking at us. (We were really pretty…) They ran into the car that stopped in front of them, and when the car that got hit looked back to get angry, the entire car full of guys pointed at us as an excuse, and the people in the car in front nodded, like it was an excusable reason, gawking at us. We started laughing and so did they. (Summer)
  • I practically had fun every day with my companions and with the missionaries, during our “Monday” meetings and out doing work in the street. (Ceresola)
  • The first time I tried bitter soda the missionaries told me it was Italian root beer… I almost spit it out because it tasted like medicine. Funny thing is I learned to really like it by the end of the mission. (Anne)
  • We used to experiment with food and add different things to our pasta. One day I cooked the caviar and the eggs shrunk into poppy seed sized balls that tasted like tuna so I added some mayo and peas and they loved it, though it was a little strange! (Greg)
  • When tracting, we pretended that whatever response we got at the door was the response that St. Peter would give to the person at the pearly gates. When someone opened the door and said: “ma chi siete? Non vi conosco!” and shut the door again, we burst out laughing. (Jared)
  • Bus surfing to Monreale. (Aaron)
  • There are many funny experiences within the mission. I would say the funniest experience has been when my companion and I were street contacting in front of the Piazza Duomo of Catania. There was this older gentleman whom I approached. Immediately, he denied to listen to me. I continued speaking to him in Italian. Then he told me that he wasn’t impressed with an American speaking Italian. He then told me to scram in Sicilian. I didn’t give up… I switched my approach. I then spoke Sicilian to him in order to grab his attention… He was so stunned that he just stood there and couldn’t formulate words… It was so funny. I returned to that same spot, many different times and didn’t have to approach this gentleman ever again. After that day, he was the one who stopped me. (Francisco)
  • Getting locked in the bathroom in Palermo. It was embarrassing. My companion had to hand me my coat and an Elder had to climb through the window to help me out. I was in my nightgown and curlers. (Flavia)

What was a crazy experience?

  • Mafia story 1. Golden contact. Needed money owed to Mafia. Told them my name and where I live and I had the money. Asked Sicilian Mission President. It all worked out. Contact never heard of again. (Colin)
  • Mafia bomb blew up the deli in the grocery store across the street from where we slept. We thought it was an earthquake because we also heard a loud boom from an earthquake in that same city…Syracusa. (Chad)
  • In Catania, my companion and I were walking down a street when a person on the street told us we should not be there. Also walking on the sidewalk in Catania and looking back to see a car coming toward us on the sidewalk. (Staci)
  • In some poor area some pre-teen kid started following us brandishing a pocket knife. I’m six feet tall so I just pretended I wasn’t scared and acted like I was his mom and told him to go away in English. He was intimidated enough that he went away. We also got eggs thrown at us. (Summer)
  • We sometimes were approached by some strange people. We had a crazy experience on the bus, once, with someone carrying a knife and pointing it at us. (Ceresola)
  • Some older teenagers or young adults rode past us on their motorized scooter/moped and someone took the big duffel bag off my shoulder. Also some things had happened that made the Mission President declare all sister missionaries had to be home by dark unless accompanied by elders or members for extra safety. (Anne)
  • We once had a guy who was terrified that he was going to be convicted of being part of the mob as he was trying to bust into our apartment and I stopped him. My companion was in the shower. One of the locals was pretty upset and shaken when he told us that was a dangerous man. Another time, a guy started to draw on us and his capo stopped him. There was a time when car bombs were going off in one city like the 4th of July at night pretty regularly. A port had an old WWII bomb (they had to disarm) and which everyone passed through all the time but the bomb was finally discovered. Another time, there was a guy that gave a bad feeling in one area of his house and something happened there. Another time there was a door we were supposed to skip because of a feeling I got but my companion tested it and the guy said he could have killed us and was very angry. Other things but danger like that is everywhere and usually goes unnoticed unless it hits us. It’s actually safer to be a missionary risk wise than to just be a normal person at home, if we don’t choose to put ourselves in bad situations. (Greg)
  • Hitch-hiking to get to zone conference because the bus wasn’t running to Catania due to the heavy snowfall. (Anonymous)
  • Went hiking with Anz. Marston and slid/fell off a mountain outside of Palermo. (Jared)
  • Car bomb near our apartment. (Aaron)
  • I would say that one of the craziest moments any Italian missionary is able to witness is New Year celebrations. Fireworks are legal and EVERYONE uses them. So when you are on the roof top of your Taranto Apartment and you look across the way to all the tall buildings… The best way to describe the festivities is FIRE!!!! Well at least that’s what it looks like. (Francisco)
  • We were on the bus past hours and far from home. The buses were far and few in between at night. The Spirit told me, as senior companion, we needed to get off the bus immediately. We did at the light which was a miracle. As soon as we got across the highway, our bus arrived. It was a miracle. The other bus would have taken us into a bad part of town at night. (Flavia)

What was a spiritual experience?

  • Teaching discussions when each person tangibly felt the Holy Ghost. (Chad)
  • We had a fast for an investigator to get out of the hospital so he could be baptized. He was able to get baptized by his son. It was a beautiful spiritual experience. (Staci)
  • We were advised to include fathers as often as we could, so they could lead their families, even if they didn’t want to be baptized. We were teaching a family whose father was always gone, but we prayed he’d be there and be willing to participate. For the first time, he was not only there, but he stayed in the room long enough for us to ask him to lead us. He jumped right in, and even offered to say the prayer. His family was all very quiet and smiling in awe. After our meeting/lesson, he said he knew he hadn’t been leading his family spiritually, and that he wanted to from then on. (Summer)
  • Well, we had SO MANY spiritual experiences…hard to tell. Perhaps when we were teaching Dario Radpur (I don’t rembember in which city we were serving at that time). It was hard, because his father seemed to be against the Church. At last, both he and his mother were baptized and we were super happy about it! We surely had one of the most touching moments with them. (Ceresola)
  • The mission was an compilation of the most spiritual experiences I’ve ever had….yes, it was completely wonderful and very spiritual. (Anne)
  • One time an eternal contact named Enzo was sitting in the park. My companion was having a rough time of it and feeling homesick and told me to go teach that guy and that nothing would come of it since everyone had taught him over the years. I was having a rough go of it myself. I asked him what he needed to finish his conversion. He came up with excuse after excuse and told me it was because other people were not what he needed. I told him to try the other branch, then the next city, then the next region, then offered to fly him home if that was what he needed with money I saved up. I had tears in my eyes. He finally fessed up that he was having trouble not smoking and talked to his missionaries and was baptized. He said I had part in it. His baptism was like being in the temple for all the members who were there and couldn’t afford to go north to Switzerland with the others that week. We stood there quietly waiting for the curtains to open and everyone who couldn’t afford or otherwise was unable to make a temple trip they had that week was feeling for that time that they were already there. The Spirit was so strong! And people talked about it afterward. (Greg)
  • When I got to my first area, I was doubting whether I should stay in the mission. I was really at the end, emotionally. I found a spare room in the apartment and poured out my soul to God. He let me know–spirit to spirit–that He was there and that He loved me. That experience is the foundation of my testimony. (Jared)
  • A baptism while injured and confined to apartment. (Aaron)
  • When, I was in the city of Taranto, there was a sister who would do genealogy at the center like it was her full time job. I saw her all the time, but I never saw her at church. One day, I decided to approach her and get to know her better. Come to find out, she was a member of the church and had been less active for a while. She told me that her and her boyfriend lived together and that’s why she wasn’t the most active person. I told her that we will help. She organized a meeting with him where we taught him the first few lessons. He took the Book of Mormon home. We met with him a week later and he told us that he had read the entire Book of Mormon. We immediately felt impressed to ask him to be baptized. He said yes. Then we told him that he needed to get married first. 3 weeks later we were part of a beautiful small wedding in the Taranto chapel where they got married. Immediately after that, I had the honor of baptizing him. A year later, they entered the temple and got sealed for all time and eternity. Today, they are still going strong in the gospel. (Francisco)
  • There were many to be honest. Probably the most spiritual was the baptism of a golden sister. I could feel her ancestors on the other side of the veil who were there rejoicing with us. (Flavia)

What are some interesting facts about the Catania Mission?

  • Mt. Etna, largest active volcano in Europe. (Colin)
  • Apostle Paul taught in Syracusa. (Chad)
  • It has Mount Etna in it, and on the day after Christmas we went up to the volcano and had a snowball fight. (Staci)
  • It isn’t a mission any more. I’m not surprised- baptisms were few and far between. People there treat being Catholic as their race. Unchangeable; part of their DNA. They would take all the discussions, cry with you, pray, say they knew it was true, but when it came to baptism, that was unthinkable. (Summer)
  • I never laughed so hard, worked so hard, walked for so long and read so much in my entire life!!! This mission really tought me a lot and I thank it every day and I miss it every day. (Ceresola)
  • The nearest temple for the members at the time was to travel all the way to the Switzerland Temple and now a new temple is finally in the mission over 20 years later. (Anne)
  • No cars when I was there, except for the office missionaries. The cities have a lot more people packed in them than you realize because they don’t seem so full when you are on foot. The people are very generous and loving. They are also very passionate about their culture and identity. The older generation is very family oriented. Lots of history. (Greg)
  • You don’t drink the tap water in major cities, like Catania, Bari, Palermo, and especially Taranto. Taranto is famous for the tarantula spider. The Strait of Messina is supposedly where Ulysses encountered the Scylla and Charybdis in The Odyssey. The Italy scenes of the church film “How Rare a Possession: the Book of Mormon” were filmed in Termini Imerese, which is a short train ride from Palermo. Two of the most beautiful places on earth are the view of the town’s castle from Caccamo (outside of Palermo) and the view of the sea from the amphitheater at Taormina (midway between Catania and Messina). (Jared)
  • I made the long transfer in the mission twice. (Aaron)
  • Italy Catania Mission wasn’t only an Italian speaking mission. Missionaries had to learn and practice the dialect of the region. (Francisco)
  • The best way to find and teach people was to make small talk. No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care. There is so much history in Sicily that dates to about 500 B.C and the Greeks. The food is he best in Sicily. And if we are willing to go the extra mile and follow the Spirit, we will be most successful. (Flavia)

What was the weather like?

  • Humid, cold in winter. Could see the sea from most cities. (Colin)
  • Warm humid summers, cold winters, not too much snow in Sicily. (Chad)
  • It was usually pretty mild. When it was cold it would be a bone chilling cold. A couple times I remember wearing two pairs of nylons. (Staci)
  • Both extremes. Never a ton of snow, but I had inappropriate winter wear and was chilled to the bone more often than not. The scirocco heat that came from Africa was… amazing. I would try to walk in the shade, but usually there was only the white pavement with heat waves coming off it. The sisters always walked, some elders got a car. (Summer)
  • Hot and hot and hot. (Ceresola)
  • Kind of muggy, humid and hot in the summer, but mild winter. (Anne)
  • Bad days: hot and muggy, or cold and windy. It’ll cook your feet. It’ll change on a dime. But most of the time it is sunny and something you really don’t have to think about. Just stay hydrated since dehydration is a serious issue and a very real danger if you forget to hydrate. It can also rain pretty heavily sometimes. And the streets can flood. (Greg)
  • Warm and humid in the summer. Cold and damp in the winter. No snow to speak of. (Jared)
  • Super hot in Catania. (Aaron)
  • Amazing!!! (Francisco)
  • In the winter in Sicily, it was colder indoors than outdoors. It is very hot and humid during the summer. (Flavia)

Any things you really like about the area/people?

  • Very welcoming, but set in their ways. Southerners are more friendly. (Colin)
  • Very warm, friendly, energetic people. They socialize a lot and go out for passagiatas or walks…old and young. Amazing architecture and landscapes. Monreale and Alcamo were my favorite small villages. (Chad)
  • They are very humble. You could not leave their homes without them offering you something to eat, even if they did not have enough for themselves. They are very excited to share how they prepare their food. They love to talk about food. That was sometimes the way to get them talking about the gospel. (Staci)
  • They were a lot like me. Blunt, artistic, fun, loved to tease, loved work, but loved to be comfortable. (Summer)
  • EVERYTHING. (Ceresola)
  • Such humble, giving people…not everyone wanted to hear our messages but many were very kind to us. Italy has amazing history and it’s buildings and cathedrals are amazing structures. I seriously could not write all the things I LOVED about my mission and the people, there’s just too many things!!! (Anne)
  • They were very generous. They had a lot of love. They also had some interesting quirks. Sometimes as a foreigner, it was interesting to find out things. They are amazing people and I still think of them all the time and they think of me too. Sometimes I find them once in a while on Facebook and the memories start to connect to each other and years later I am still a little homesick for the rest of my people. (Greg)
  • I have kind of a schizophrenic love/hate perception of the mission area. The lack of adherence to order, that is, doing what is necessary instead of what is allowed, really threw me and took a lot of getting used to. Once I bought in to this way of life, I came to love the area and the people. In essence, then, I liked the whole experience. It was just different from what I was used to. (Jared)
  • They were humble and willing to listen, once you found that common ground. (Francisco)
  • I loved all the people and all the cities I worked in. We had great success, many baptisms. I loved meeting relatives on my mission and doing genealogy. (Flavia)

Any packing/clothing advice?

  • Iron-free shirts. Good shoes. We walked everywhere. No bikes, no car (except office Elders). (Colin)
  • Need warm and cold weather clothing. Gloves with finger exposure optional. (Chad)
  • Don’t pack a lot, because their are open markets that have anything you can think of that you would need. They have the most awesome shoes, and nativity scenes! (Staci)
  • If you are taller than normal, don’t expect to be able to buy any clothes or shoes. If you think options are limited in the United States…(Summer)
  • Bring very good, lasting shoes (they will serve you throughout your mission and will be your best friend), enough clothes, a good parka (jacket) that can stand dry and wet weather. (Ceresola)
  • When I was there, missionaries who were leaving left behind a lot of their clothes so in each new apartment (transfer) it was like going shopping for different clothes 🙂 Just lots of layers…nice t-shirts, cottony tops and sweaters or other layers and a long warm coat to go over skirts. (Anne)
  • Italians like it when people look nice and smell nice and remember who you represent, so look sharp. I never used my trenchcoat much, except as a blanket, even though it rained. Shoes will get wet and you will still probably wear them. The ground will be uneven. Go low maintenance and durable but conservative on your clothes. Think rugged but not showing it. Your suit will last longer than expected and at the same time it will wear out. Expect to have to replace your clothes anyway you slice it. Think hand wash, travel, sharp suit, and clean. (Greg)
  • Bring at least two pair of comfortable shoes. Make sure your suitcases have wheels on them. If on an overnight train ride (such as from Taranto to Catania), don’t ever put your bags in a different compartment from the one you’re riding in. They will be taken or rifled through. Also, don’t fall asleep during the overnight train ride. People purposely take the train to steal things. (Jared)
  • In Italy, there is this beautiful thing the month of August… You can get so many deals on everything. At the beginning of the month, they start small like 10% off. Towards the end of the month you see, 60,70 and sometimes 80% off. Be patient!!! (Francisco)
  • Pack light, buy your shoes in Italy…they are better, more comfortable and cheaper at the open market. Also buy some of your clothing there. It will help you meet people that are otherwise unavailable. I felt impressed to go into a dress shop one day and try on clothing. I met a young lady who had had the discussions but had not read The Book of Mormon. The Spirit testified very powerfully. When I went back two years later to do genealogy, she had been baptized and was at church with her newly married husband. (Flavia)

What blessings did you receive from serving a mission?

  • Countless. (Colin)
  • Lifelong foundation of spiritual strength and guidance. Learning to deal with conflict or uncomfortable situations. Learned gratitude for many blessings. (Chad)
  • I was able to speak Italian, and understand it especially when I was presenting the gospel to someone. (Staci)
  • A lot of fun memories, and the ability to tell my kids about them. The example of having been a missionary. (Summer)
  • I am still an active member of the Church (does it mean something???). I grew a stronger testimony of the Gospel and, believe me, it will serve an returned missionary because life outside the mission is pretty hard. (Ceresola)
  • More than I can write right now but it gave me a stronger sense of who I am in the Lord’s eyes. I also learned to love to be in the service of my God and others around me. It gave me confidence in gospel knowledge/principles/concepts and built my testimony stronger than I ever imagined (although it was already strong, it became stronger in ways I could never have imagined)! Now that I am a mother of two sons who will eventually go on a mission, it gave me the blessing to know that a mission is the most important thing my sons can do to prepare them for the rest of their lives as husbands and fathers raising a righteous family in the gospel. (Anne)
  • It tells me things that I am still learning from. It was a chance to learn how to love people more completely and to focus on doing instead of just being. It was a chance to learn about people and to see how I fit in with the other children of God. Memories and stories and experiences that still influence me now, especially in tough times. Missionary work isn’t about being in ideal circumstances, but about living the gospel when circumstances are less than ideal. It’s home teaching for non-members. It’s like being everyone’s God-father (as the Catholics call what I see as their version of home teaching). It helped me connect to others and to become a little more of the person I need to be. It also taught me that the Lord provides what we need when we are on His errands. (Greg)
  • Too many to list. Suffice to say that my employment, successful marriage, and education have all been positively impacted by serving. Most importantly, because I served a mission, I know that God is there and that He loves me. (Jared)
  • Too many to count. I believe the most important one was being able to truly care for the people who I came in contact with. Recognizing them as my brothers and sisters. (Francisco)
  • The blessings were numerous, schooling was a piece of cake after my mission, I was blessed in every aspect of my life. My testimony grew, I became close to my relatives in Italy, it helped me to become who I am, a much better daughter of God, and a much better mother. (Flavia)

What are some skills you gained?

  • Cooking all things Italian. Understanding of Latin-based languages, etc. (Colin)
  • Italian, speaking, living with others peaceably, study, and organization. (Chad)
  • I learned how to work with all kinds of personalities. I gained the skill of courage and love for people that I did not even know. (Staci)
  • Using public transportation. Learning my first foreign language. (Summer)
  • Living with people all the time and therefore accepting our own mistakes, be a positive girl, be humble, work hard. (Ceresola)
  • Speaking skills (people skills), planning, preparing, studying, presenting. Learned to read a map to navigate (we walked or rode buses everywhere), to be patient, to be independent, yet very dependent on the Lord through prayer and the Holy Ghost. I learned time management, how to speak a new language, how to interpret dialects, how to collaborate and work with others….there’s so much more…(Anne)
  • Working with my hands more. Jumping in to help a little faster. Scripture knowledge. A service attitude. More understanding of others, even when I don’t understand. And the language (almost forgot to put that part on here). (Greg)
  • Patience, perseverance, how to get along with a companion, how to communicate spiritually. (Jared)
  • Cooking!!! (Francisco)
  • I would have to say people skills, and a great command of the Italian language, and I was able to overcome being shy. (Flavia)

What do you wish you knew/did at the beginning of your mission?

  • Stop beating up myself so much. It’s not your fault people don’t want to get baptized. Everyone has their agency. They decide, not you. Christ is perfect and few were converted during His ministry relative to the population. (Colin)
  • Focused on people more than study. Prioritize, think about, pray for, and serve people (companions included). (Chad)
  • I wish that I would have practiced the language more. I also wish that I would have spent more time learning about my companions. (Staci)
  • Not to expect so much of some of the elders’ characters. (Summer)
  • Nothing really. I went to the London Mission Training Center and it was a SUPER experience pre-mission. I don’t regret anything. (Ceresola)
  • It was so hard for me to leave my family and go so far away, especially since we did not have the internet or anything other than snail mail and long distance phone calls at Mother’s day and Christmas. But by the time I had to leave the mission to go back home, it was twice as hard because I didn’t know if I’d ever see some of those people ever again! I have been able to keep in touch with a few through Facebook 20 years later, but I guess what I’m getting at is no matter how hard you think it is to leave your family and friends, they will still be there when you get back so put your whole heart and soul into the short time you will be on your mission so that you have no regrets….if you work hard the whole time, you will have an amazing sense of peace and the knowledge that you were a faithful servant of the Lord. (Definitely do not waste time flirting with missionaries…too many missionaries were distracted by other missionaries when they should be focused on the work). (Anne)
  • This is THEIR mission, not yours. It belongs to the people you serve. Don’t focus on yourself. The first half of the mission I tried really hard and the second half I let things come naturally (but still working hard) and had more success. I wouldn’t have had someone “waiting” for me back home and it would have helped to decrease distraction and increase my focus; there is a time and a place for that but not now… you have to be single minded — be fully present. She either will or won’t wait but let completely go and don’t look back. Be where you are. (Greg)
  • I wish I had had a burning testimony of Joseph Smith and the restoration of the gospel. My testimony of this was latent and so I had to develop it on my mission. I wish I knew how to approach people better. (Jared)
  • Patience. (Francisco)

Any advice/testimony for pre-missionaries going to Catania?

  • Give every minute. You have two years to do it and eternity to think about it. Everyone has hard days. Don’t quit, you’re worthy if you made it this far. Everyone who has ever done a mission has wanted to go home. Lean on them. They know what you’re going through. Cry in the shower. That way, your comp doesn’t know. (Colin)
  • Read the Book of Mormon and New Testament before mission. Pray daily on knees for Holy Ghost, forgiveness, and understanding of the gospel. (Chad)
  • Love the people and love the gospel. Don’t be afraid to share the gospel, and don’t let the language stand in your way to teach the truthfulness of the gospel. I know that this is the true church and I know that the Book of Mormon has the word of God. Read it everyday and read it in Italian to help yourself and the Italians to gain a love for the book. (Staci)
  • If you are a sister, expect chauvinism. It runs rampant in Italy, even in the mission. I’m not even close to a feminist, either, almost the opposite. Just keep your head down and pretend you are one of the soft-spoken women that talk in general conference. Especially if you’re pretty and don’t want to flirt. (Summer)
  • You will have the best 18 months/2 years of your entire life! Be ready to serve, study before hand the scriptures and how to teach the Gospel. The mission in a mixture of feelings and you will feel them. But, at the end, you will recognize how much you will miss all the people, your companions, the life you had so close to the Gospel. (Ceresola)
  • Love, love, love the people and if you struggle to love them, keep praying until you do (this includes your companions)…until you love the people you cannot be a true instrument in the Lord’s hands. Do not be concerned with the language barrier…It comes quicker than you think…and the end of your mission will sneak up quickly upon you so do as much as you can in every area you are blessed to serve! (Anne)
  • Focus on the two great commandments and forget about yourself. Go out and serve. This is THEIR mission from God, as much as yours. (Greg)
  • Teach yourself how to get along with people, how to read what people mean and not just what they say. Teach yourself to see people like The Lord sees them. See their spirits and their potential, not what they might look like. (Jared)
  • Know that each and everyone of you has made a promise to find those of whom you called loved ones in the pre-existence. Serve with purpose. Allow yourself to be molded by the will of our Father. Love everyone and do right by them. (Francisco)
  • Love the Lord with all your hearts and love the people. (Flavia)

What was a funny language mistake?

  • Gesu` a soffritto per i nostri biscotti. (Colin)
  • My first city I kept saying Bounjour instead of boungiorno. I also was reading the Ensign in English and read the word kinder as it is pronounced in Italian like the chocolate candy. (Staci)
  • Asking if it was going to rain but saying dust instead. I said “wow” all the time and got teased for it because I said it in an American accent. (Summer)
  • I told an old man it was a picchiare instead of piacere and waived my hand sideways as we said good by. My companion told me that it looked like was trying to threaten the old guy or saying it was a “beating.” The old guy didn’t seem to notice, but it was funny anyway. (Greg)
  • Not a mistake per se, but on the way from the Catania airport to the mission office, I was in the back of the mission van with the luggage. As we got into the city, the AP who was driving kept pointing at other drivers and saying: “Die!” At least that’s what I thought he was saying. He was actually saying: “Dai!”, which means (essentially) “let me through.” I didn’t know that’s what it meant at the time, and it was some time before I was able to convince myself that the AP was not a homicidal maniac. (Jared)
  • Lol… The most famous one… Hello, I am here to share a massage with you!!! (Francisco)