What a nice surprise we received in the mail! Elder Fischetti and his companion, Elder M, were featured in an article about the Idaho Pocatello Mission and was distributed throughout the entire area where he serves. We were unable to find the article online, so I am typing it up here:
UPPER VALLEY LDS LIFE
Serving in St. Anthony
Fulltime missionaries find "gold mine" in Idaho
Serving a mission in St. Anthony might be the last place in the world where a native Idahoan would want to serve, but to two full time missionaries from New York and Alabama, it's the best place in the world. Just ask Elders Zachary Miller and Thomas Fischetti, who say they even like the cold winter weather.
"On the day my call came, I was nervous," said Elder Fischetti, a 19-year-old missionary from South Salem, NY. "At first, I thought, 'What kind of work is out there?' - but I just love Idaho. It's awesome living there and there are a lot of amazing people."
"I love it too," Elder Miller of Heflin, Ala., said. "I even love the cold. It's a dry cold and a dry heat."
Elder Fischetti hasn't known anywhere else but St. Anthony. He has served the first five months of his two-year mission here, and expects to be here at least until February before he's possibly transferred to another part of the Idaho Pocatello Mission.
Elder Miller has been serving for nearly a year, with the first nine months in Chubbuck and the last two months in St. Anthony.
While they sometimes go door to door to meet people, their greatest success is when they receive referrals from fellow Latter-day Saints. The missionaries believe it's important to first gain the trust of church members, who will then trust them to speak to their own friends and family members about the gospel.
"It's a gold mine," Elder Miller said of this area. "There is a lot of work here. It's good for it to be hard, for when you have successes, it's all worth it."
Coming from a small town in Alabama, Elder Miller said it's not too much of an adjustment living here.
"Except there are a lot more members here," he said. "I was the only member in my school. The church was about 30 miles away and the stake center was about 75 miles away."
Instead of starting his mission at the typical age of 19, Elder Miller was almost 21 years old before he left.
While he always planned to serve a mission as a boy, from about age 16 to 19 he began to back away from missionary service. "I didn't want to go," he said. "I didn't feel adequate."
His father's death a year and a half ago has helped explain his reluctance to serve when he turned 19.
"I would have been gone (on my mission)," he said of his father's death. "I could stay home and help with the kids. I knew it was divine intervention."
As he looks back, he believes this is the time of his life for him to be serving as a missionary.
"The Lord's picture is perfect and ours is just little pictures we have to put together," he said.
Elder Fischetti is the son of a Latter-day Saint mother who grew up in Lava Hot Springs and then worked as a nanny in New York. While there, she met a nice Catholic man from Brooklyn, and the two were married.
As a boy, he remembers attending the Mormon Church with his mother and the Catholic Church with his father. He was baptized at age 8, with his father being baptized immediately afterward.
"I was the first Fischetti ever to be baptized," he said.
Growing up in New York as a lone Mormon wasn't always easy, but "I was always active and always knew I would serve a mission."
The two missionaries have served together for two months and say they make a good companionship.
"We are both very opposite and it works out perfect," Elder Fischetti said.
"We're really unified too," Elder Miller added. "When teaching, we're just thinking the same things most of the time."
The missionaries who live in a house in Twin Groves, serve in Wilford and Twin Groves, as well as in the St. Anthony 1st and 2nd wards. Because they live 3 miles out of town, they often drive to St. Anthony where they park their car and walk or bike from there.
"There have been days when it's really, really hard," Elder Miller said. "Personally, I came out to be more converted to my Savior, and by doing so I would help others."