Saturday, March 16, 2013


This blog is dedicated to chronicling the mission adventures of Ashley Nef - soon to be Sorella Nef - who has been called to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the Italy Rome Mission. As a missionary, Ashley will be preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to the citizens of Italy, serving them, and trying the best she can to be an example of the Lord. Her mission will last for 18 months - a year and a half - taking from the end of March 2013 to roughly the end of September 2014. Ashley will be set apart Sunday, March 17, leave California on Tuesday, March 19, and then enter the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah on March 20.

Some History of Missionary Work in Italy
Elder Lorenzo Snow
Elder Lorenzo Snow opened Italy for missionary work
in 1850, working mostly in the Piedmont region
(north-western Italy near the French border).  The work
proceeded pretty slow to begin with, membership reaching just barely 200 (most of whom emigrated to the United States), and eventually the church was forced to leave the country because of local opposition.  A petition to re-enter the country in 1901 was denied.

Vincenzo di Francesca
   Finally in 1951, the church was
   reestablished in Italy due greatly
   to the efforts of
   Vincenzo di Francesca
   who had converted years earlier
   after coming across a partially
   burned copy of the Book of
   Mormon without a cover or title page.

His story is so incredible, a movie has been made about him called How Rare a Possession (watch at the link!).  Since then, the work has been growing slowly but steadily in Italy - current membership is close to 25,000.

Vincenzo di Francesca finds a burned copy of the Book of Mormon
from the film How Rare a Possession

Announcement of the Rome Temple
In 2008, it was announced that a temple would be built in Rome.  There is an interesting story in the buildup to that announcement:

Until this last year, the church was not officially recognized as a church in Italy, but as a charity organization. This meant some issues for members of the church - for instance, bishops and stake presidents could not perform weddings. To change this, the church sought a meeting with Italian state officials, and eventually were granted one. Here I quote from an account of the subsequent events:

"In October 2006, [Elder Kenneth Johnson of the First Quorum of the Seventy] accompanied other high-ranking Church leaders, including Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, to a meeting in Rome to make a case for the Church to the government. President Uchtdorf noted the Church's longtime presence and reputation in Italy, but the presiding government official seemed unmoved. Instead, he related that he had traveled—without announcement—to Salt Lake City in preparation for the meeting. Two Italian sister missionaries had served as his guides on Temple Square. He noted the deep impression left on him by these two Italian citizens, and then inquired when the Church might build a temple in Rome. Once these papers are signed, Elder Uchtdorf replied. The officer signed. On April 4, 2007, Prime Minister Prodi gave his signature, and then it proceeded to Parliament." (source)

The Church was granted official status in August 2012.  The Rome Temple is set to be dedicated in Fall of 2014.
Rome Temple rendering
estimated time of completion, Fall 2014

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