Milan Missionaries come in all shapes and ages. Younger missionaries leave school, home and friends to dedicate 18-24 months to the Lord. Senior missionaries also leave home and friends as well as careers, children, and great grandchildren to serve their Lord. Older missionaries pack two large suitcases with a few changes of clothing and a lifetime of experience. They step into an unknown future. First Nephi 4:6 describes their desire to serve and trust in the Lord: "And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.°
In Northern Italy senior missionaries provide many services. Couples are assigned to the mission office, host military servicemen, labor in branch presidencies, facilitate young single adult activities, provide housing and health services, and film genealogical records.
In Verona, Italy, missionary couples volunteer in the Italian State Archives to preserve state records from 1871-1942. The family history project in Verona began with one camera in December 2012 when 650 meters of books were identified as needing reproduction. Since then another 350 meters of records were scheduled for “filming”. Five couples using state of the art digital cameras and software take picture of records that date back to 800 AD. Records preservation is vital to governments, religions, and families. Each missionary couple produces about 10,000 pictures a week.
The experts work under difficult conditions. The Verona project preserves documents covered by flood waters in 1965.
“Paper weakens when wet. Today I worked on books still damp from the floods,” said Anziano Savoldi. The volunteers first clean the books from dust, dirt, mold, pigeon excrement, rat droppings, and/or worm and bug destruction.The next step is to capture the images and label them so that indexers can organize and translate the documents. The seniors wear shop coats, masks and gloves; sometimes, laboring under extreme temperatures. An air purification machine helps filter the air.
Their dedication can be heard in words from Anziano Salvoldi, "Families are depending on us. We do our best to save every document. I have seen books with holes in them as large as a basketball. We do our best to preserve what is left." The Italy Milan Missionaries anticipate saving 115 million names on birth records, marriage banns, immigration documents and death records.