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Missionary referrals increase following Church programs aired on Italian television

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ROME, Italy — Two programs featuring the Church on national television in Italy in the past three months generated a considerable number of missionary referrals, said Giuseppe Pasta, national director of public affairs for Italy.

"My phone number appeared at the bottom of the television screen during the first broadcast," Brother Pasta said. "When the program was over, I started receiving phone calls from all over Italy during the rest of the day. Almost 1 million viewers could have seen the program."

Each morning, Italy's national network, RAI, airs a program of general interest for viewers called "Dieci minuti di . . ." or, "Ten minutes of . . ." The program features different associations, religions and cultures, explained Brother Pasta.

Elder Raimondo Castellani, Area Authority Seventy, along with Brother Pasta and Nicoletta Pagnani, Relief Society president of a ward in Rome, were interviewed during the first program by the director of the program, Carlo Fontana. Key points of doctrine, missionary work, the Book of Mormon and the Church were introduced.

"We continued with a second program which aired in June," Brother Pasta said. "Leopoldo Larcher, family history adviser for Italy; Emma Cannata, assistant for media relations; and I introduced the FamilySearch website and gave further explanations about the Church.

"Like the first program, viewer interest was very high," Brother Pasta said. "These programs are also aired by satellite across Europe.

"The director of RAI told us that their doors are open to us. Because of such good connections," said Brother Pasta, "we will continue these programs every three to four months. The next program will feature the Church Educational System.

"I can see the hand of the Lord in this work," Brother Pasta said, describing how efforts to be broadcast on television were not possible until "a recent convert with business contacts with RAI in Rome" helped open the door with directors.