REAPER - Swiss Mission,
Volume 3, No. 21, page 1
Saurday, February 27, 1965


On Saturday morning, February 27, 1965, 23 missionaries (Elder Donald Cavalli was absent due to surgery,) met at the Lokal in Lugano in the spirit of prayer and fasting to receive instructions and assignments from Pres. Russon prior to officially entering Italy for the first time since President Lorenzo Snow opened a mission in that land in 1850.

An Italian Zone of three districts located in Milan, Turin, and Vicenza was created and the Tessin District dissolved. Elder Frank Pizzuto was appointed Zone Leader and leader of the Milan District. Elder Paul Loveday, formerly of the Bavarian Mission, was called as leader of the Torin district, and Elder William Nelson, formerly of the South German Mission, as District Leader in Vicenza. The assignments for all of these brethren appear elsewhere in this REAPER.

Following a period of testimony bearing, President Russon accompanied 18 of the group into Milan, where all teams were dispatched to their fields of labor. One team remained in Lugano. Another team will move from Mendrisio to Como-Varese within the next couple of weeks. All teams will be laboring in areas where there are one or more member-families, around which a Sunday School and/or branch can be or has been built. Aviano (Pordenone) and Vicenza-Verona already have strong Servicemen's branches.

May the Lord bless these brethern and prosper His cause in Italy!

FLASH! Elder Pizzuto reports that someone broke into the V.W. bus in from of the Milan railroad station and stole all baggage belonging to the two teams assigned to Milan. Apparently the devil is determined that these four shall proceed without purse or scrip.

REAPER - Swiss Mission,
Volume 3, No. 43, page 1,
Saurday, August 7, 1965


The big day has come. At 10:35 today, Thursday, August 12, President Rendell N. Mabey, his wife Rachel and their son Thomas arrived at the Kloten airport. There were many on hand to greet them as members and missionaries combined their ranks to give the Mabeys a welcome they will never forget. A huge banner spelling out "Welcome Mabeys" was displayed as the Mabeys deplaned and made their way to the airport terminal. First to greet the incoming family was Pres. Russon. After customs, the family proceeded to the parking lot where they were greeted personally by the group and all joined in singing "Sehet Ihr Völker".

In assuming presidency of the Swiss Mission, President Mabey relinquishes leadership of the Bountiful East Stake which he has directed for the past 2 years. He has previously served as Bishop of the Bountiful 17th Ward, high priest group leader, and as an officer and teacher in various priesthood and auxiliary organizations. From 1929-1931 President Mabey served as a missionary in the German-Austrian Mission.

A son of the late Charles R. Mabey, former governor of Utah, President Mabey was reared in Salt Lake City. An attorney and businessman, President Mabey is a member of a Salt Lake City law firm. He is chairman of the board of Bountiful State Bank, a director of Bear River State Bank, Bountiful City attorney, general counsel for Western Industrial Shares and a member of the board of Investment Management Corp. In addition, Pres. Mabey is chairman of the Weber College Board of Trustees, a former speaker of the Utah House of Representatives and former state senator. He married Rachel Wilson, and they have four children: Rendell N. Jr., Waterton, Mass.; Jane, who will arrive on the 24th of August; Ralph R., present EIS man in Frankfurt; and Thomas C., who arrived today with his parents.

Sister Mabey has been very active in the Church throughout her life. At the time of her call she was teaching Sunday School in the Bountiful 17th Ward. She has served in the past as ward Relief Society and YWMIA president, as Primary stake board member and in various other positions. Our new mission parents are certainly well qualified for their positions as we can see by their achievements. We are all looking forward to getting to know them and we know that under their guidance the Swiss Mission will thrive.

The following article contains the account of Brother Antonino Giurintano's baptism, held in the waters of the harbor of Palermo, Italy, on November 23rd, 1965.

REAPER - Swiss Mission,
Volume 4, No. 7, pages 1, 2
Saurday, December 4, 1965


Recently I was requested by the legal department of the church to go to Palermo, Sicily, to view a parcel of land. After attending a very important conference in Naples, I proceeded to Palermo -- first, having written to elder Don Vincent Di Francesca to meet me in the lobby of the Jolly Hotel in Palermo on the 22nd of November. Brother Di Francesca was more than happy with my visit; he traveled several hours by bus from his little village in the mountains to keep the appointment. His is 78 years of age, walks with the aid of a cane, was baptized by President Bringhurst on January 18, 1951, and is one of very few members of the church in Sicily.

The investigations that followed indicated the land in question was located in an isolated mountain area and of dubious value. We debated the wisdom of going into the mountains the next day to locate the land. Brother Di Francesca was of the opinion that it would be a waste of time. I any event, as you will presently read, the Lord apparently decided I was to do something else on the morrow.

I had brought with me a letter from a Mr. Antonino, to whom I had some six weeks earlier mailed a Book of Mormon. I told Brother Di Francesca that I felt we should visit that man that very night. When we finally located the good man and his family, he was overwhelmed with joy. He handed me a letter which he had just written in which he requested that I come to Palermo at once and baptize him. He was just about to go out the door to mail the letter to me as we arrived. After some three hours of inquiry and discussion, it was concluded that this man was ready for baptism.

He agreed to close down his little factory for the baptism. We met the next morning and, with his wife, son, and his sister who is a member, proceeded to the market place to purchase white clothing suitable for baptism. The best I could find was a pair of coveralls, which I had to bend over to get into and the legs of which hit just below the knees. The best the candidate could do was get a pair of white, long drawers.

The six of us adults then climbed into a little cab with the driver and proceeded to the sea just outside the harbor area. Sicily is not unlike a big rock pile, and the sea coast is very unfriendly as far as beaches are concerned. We finally selected a fairly secluded piece of coast. It was cold and the waves were substantial. We changed our clothes among the large rocks, held a prayer circle, and then I held Brother Antonino by the hand and together we entered the water. Brother Di Francesca sat on a rock above us and served as witness.

It was very difficult to stand because of the sharp rocks, high waves and an undertow. Suddenly it was not so cold and the waves subsided enough for me to baptize him. As he arose from the water a big wave hit us and pulled us into deep water. We were just about to undertake to swim when another wave pushed us back towards shore. We were then able to touch bottom and reach shore.

There Brother Antonino sat on a rock and was confirmed a member of the church by brother Di Francesca.

He was truly a choice soul and the Spirit was with us. I had gone to view a piece of land which I never saw -- but concluded with a baptism. "The Lord moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform."

May the Lord bless us all that we will frequently have sweet experiences such as this.

Sincerely your friend and companion,
Rendell N. Mabey

REAPER - Swiss Mission,
Volume 4, No. 16, page 1,
Saurday, February 5, 1966


On the turnpikes throaty Maseratis and Ferraris, Alfa Romeos and Fiats, Volkswagens and Martins still see-saw back and forth in Italy's eternal, competitive rite of masculinity.

However in dozens of apartment homes each night, the television set dims, a prayer subdues the atmosphere and a new power jockeys for position in the hearts of the North Italians. How has this new influence fared so far?

The first round was lost to the cheeky "portinaios", the doormen who guard the entrances of North Italian apartment houses against door-to-door salesmen and more recently against Mormon missionaries.

The second round was won, however, through the Italian's amicable, ever curious religiously aware personality. He was very interested in his trip to the "Mormon Pavilion" and insisted on inviting the neighborhood to hear more. He also had friends all over the city who "might be interested." As an unexpected bonus he actually knew what his church believe. (Polygamy did not even ring a bell with him.)

The next round seemed to go to the missionary who was willing to work out the logics of the top questions concerning Popes, authority, godhead, immaculate conception, etc., leave his testimony, and kneel in prayer with choice people unaccustomed to kneeling outside of church, but anxious to prove the wonderful message. Today church services are being held with both members and investigators in every area of missionary endeavor in North Italy.

Future rounds will be governed to some extent by: the reputation the Church gains in Italy, the founding the new members receive in the Church, the spirit and quality of the missionaries. A standing population of 70,000,000 souls is in the balance.

Your Brother in the Gospel
Elder Ralph Mabey

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