We have been very busy the past few months
and apologize for the lack of posts. To get us
through from summer to Christmas, we
will start by listing the four sets of visitors we
had starting in September through November.
In September our good friends from Oregon,
Reed and Jean Baxter, came and spent several
days with us. We had so much fun and picked
up where we left off over 20 years ago when we
moved to Texas. We loved looking at iconic
Italian scenes as Reed is an excellent artist and
he collected many photos for future works.
The end of September our
daughter Tara visited us and
we were able to take Tara to
see where Patti lived in Italy
50 years ago in Arenzano.
We also saw Portofino,
Florence, Ravenna, Venice,
Bolzano and the Dolomites
and ended in Como.
Tara is our good traveling
buddy and usually tells us what we need to see
and why. We got to see Otzi, the 5,000-year-old
Ice Man in Bolzano and take a gondola up to
Alpi di Suisi in the Italian Alps. Even though it
was a whirlwind trip, we had the best time and
loved having Tara visit us.
Right after Tara in October, Patti’s sister Holly
came for several days. Holly really enjoyed
seeing where they had lived and went to school
when they were younger. It was a very nostalgic
time. We had to do some missionary work while
Holly was here, but she found her way around
Genova and loved walking the streets and
eating outside watching the Italians. She is a
good traveler and we spent many hours just
talking. It was a very pleasant and calm visit.
She even treated us to a Brazilian Churrascaria
In November our son Chris and his wife Kristy
came to visit Italy with their friends from Texas.
They saw Rome and Siena before we met them
in Florence. We also saw Pisa and a lot of
Genova. They were able to come to church with
us and see what we do on Sundays. We sent
them on their own to Cinque Terre, as we had
some work to do here at home. We drove them
to Portofino and had a lovely time, but had to
leave them in Santa Margarita with their friends
before they returned to Rome. They flew Turkish
Air through Istanbul and loved it! They were so
interested in all the sites, especially Kristy, who
made many videos for posterity. One very cool
thing was when Chris met an Italian firefighter in
a store. They exchanged shirts and jackets from
their stations. It was cool to see that the
brotherhood of firefighters extends beyond
Halloween parties for the two church groups
(wards) in Genova. We were surprised to see
how much Italians love to celebrate Halloween.
It was a huge amount of effort to pull them both
off, but well worth the time. The members loved
it and many people came and there was great
We had the Genova missionaries for
Thanksgiving at our house. We had to order the
turkey from a local butcher shop. It wasn’t a
Butterball, but, it only had a few feathers and
tasted great! Everyone made a favorite dish
from their family Thanksgivings.
We were also able to find a new apartment for
the sister missionaries and help them move in.
We also inspected 15 missionary apartments
including San Remo, Savona, Genova,
Alessandria, Cuneo, Collegno and Torino. We
are trying to teach our young missionaries how
to manage a home. Miles also does the minor
needed repairs. On our inspection visit to
Collegno we were able to have dinner with the
Caruso family who I knew 46 years ago when I
served my mission in Italy. We shared fond
memories of the good old days and the food
was amazing as usual!
The first week in December we went to Milano
for a Senior Missionary Couple Conference. We
had a great time with the other couple
missionaries and visited Milano’s Duomo,
shopping and La Scala. We also went to Como
one evening and rode the funicolare to a great
view of Como. We also saw amazing Christmas
lights they project on the walls of the buildings in
their main square.
We have had a busy month of December.
Besides our normal activities we got a call from
a missionary who hurt his knee playing soccer.
Long story short, he completely tore his
meniscus and ALC and bone chips off his
femur. We took him up to Milano and he had to
go home for surgery. Hopefully he can return in
3 months or so?
We had a couple of Christmas parties which
included a lot of planning and cooking on our
part. We have a new center for the young adults
and we had a Christmas Lunch for them. Patti
made Hawaiian Sliders and meatballs which
they downed. We played the White Elephant gift
game which they had never seen before. They
caught on very quickly and were stealing gifts
like crazy. It was a lot of fun! After that the kids
got on a bus and we all went to a rest home and
sang carols to the old folks. We also went to the
room of an elderly sister, Cate, who is staying
there after breaking her leg and having a heart
attack. It was touching and the event was a total
success and we all had fun and it was good to
see the kids enjoy service.
The next day we rewarded ourselves with some
R&R and went to Bressanone on Monday
morning. The train ride was very relaxing and
once we got to Bressanone we met up with
another couple serving from Switzerland. We
were able to have dinner with them and go to
We stayed in a very lovely hotel that was
originally over 500 years old. Of course, its
been brought up to date and had THE #1 best
Super creepy guy statue outside of a restaurant.
Never got the story on him.
They were having their
Christmas Market in both
Bressanone and Bolzano.
They were just the cutest,
typical Alpine villages with
these adorable little shops
set up in the town square.
We just couldn’t think of anything quainter!
Except maybe more snow on the ground.
The town of Bressanone is
beautiful. So immaculately
Everyone speaks German, but they
understand Italian and some speak it.
We would love to live here in this idyllic
Everyone was so friendly. But it was a tad on
the freezing cold side. We had the bright
sunshine, but it was cold.
We also went to a museum that had Nativity
scenes from the 1700s. Like the entire village
around the Nativity. They were amazing! There
were also other scenes such as all the prophets
who had prophesied of the birth of Christ.
south of Bressanone on Wednesday and met
one of our Pathway students, Joseph and his
family, and took them to lunch. The missionaries
in Bolzano came with us. They also had a
Christmas market in Bolzano.
We also got to ride a really steep gondola up the
mountain to the PLOSE ski resort in
Bressanone. Its was so beautiful and so
freezing cold up there. But we got a great view
of the town in the valley below. It was something
different to do.
We rode the train back to Genova on Thursday.
It was relaxing and uneventful. Just what we
president’s house with the missionaries with
both red and pesto lasagna’s - yum! Patti made
macaroni and cheese which they love – go
We really missed our family this Christmas and
we are a little homesick but we got over it
quickly as we went back to missionary work. On
Christmas we took one of our Nigerian brothers
with us to dinner at the institute director’s house.
We had a good Christmas dinner. Smoked
salmon, pasta, antipasto, baked salmon,
potatoes, etc. Oh, and panettone. That’s
Manuela in the red sweater, who we work with.
She is the Institute Director and her daughter,
Christina. Mavis is the young man from Nigeria
and we learned a lot that made us so sad for
him. Too long of a story to go into now, but at
23, he has already been shot at, seen his
friends killed, put in prison for two months and
his boat to Italy sank, but, they were saved by
the Italian Navy. We just love Mavis!
We heard a great quote yesterday - “Everything
we want is just on the other side of fear”. We
need not fear for the Lord wants us to be
successful and happy!