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Close cousins surprised to be called to the same Mormon mission (+video)

Cousins and best friends Josh and Stephen Pinnock knew it didn't matter where they served their missions; what mattered was being able to serve the Lord.

Although family members joked about them serving in the same country, no one could have predicted that the young men would be called to the same mission and scheduled to leave on the same day. That amazing moment was recently captured and shared on YouTube, titled "2 cousins. 1 mission."

On March 7, both young men received their mission calls after submitting them weeks prior on the same day. They gathered with family at Josh's house.

Being two months older than Josh and having just turned 18 the day before, Stephen opened his call first and discovered he would be serving in the Italy Milan Mission and enter the Missionary Training Center on July 24.

"My sister has spent a lot of time in Italy, and she talked about Italy so much that it made me want to serve my mission there," Stephen said. "I was so excited when I found out I would be."

After a few minutes of congratulations, it was Josh's turn to open his call.

"My first emotion was shock; I didn't believe it at first," Stephen said. "I was looking over (Josh's) shoulder while he was reading his call, so I knew where he was going before he read it aloud. But it didn't hit me at first."

"For the rest of the day, it felt like a weird haze. I was trying to comprehend what had just happened," Josh said. "The next day it hit me more that we would be serving in the same mission. I was really grateful."

Josh and Stephen were born two months apart and grew up together. They were in the same ward for their first seven years of life and have always been in the same stake. They also have attended school together, including pre-school.

"They have been so close for so long, we know it will be a fun experience for them to serve in the same mission," said Larry Pinnock, Stephen's dad. "We've never heard of anything like this happening before, so we're still a little numb it's happened to us, but we know they will work hard and serve the Savior well."

"They have a relationship that is closer than most friendships," said Tammy Pinnock, Stephen's mother. "For 18 years, they have been each other's best friend. This mission experience will be a whole new dimension into their relationship. I think it's something that will bless not only their lives, but their family's lives in the future."

Josh believes he and his cousin were meant to be missionaries in Italy.

"I personally have no idea why we were called to the same mission, but the fact that we are means there is a purpose and a work we can do that needs to be done," Josh said.

The young men see the possibility of being missionary companions as a great opportunity.

"I feel like Josh and I work really well together, so if we do get the chance to be companions, I know we will be really effective missionaries," Stephen said.

As the young men reflected on their futures as missionaries, they said some things are certain.

"This is going to be an incredible experience for both of us, and it feels right," Stephen said. There's no doubt in our minds that we are both suppose to go there."

Kylie Lewis is an intern for the Deseret News where she writes for Mormon Times and does other feature articles. She recently graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho, receiving a bachelor's degree in communications.