Ciao! We’re Mario and Sheila, and we’re so glad you’re here! We’ve been happily married 40 years, walking with God since 1982, and serving him in Italy since 1989. We have 2 great children and 9 wonderful grandchildren. (Yes, nine!)

How it all began

It started with Mario’s burden to share the Good News with his people.

He was born in a southern Italian mountain village, but raised in the Bronx by non English-speaking parents.

Little did we then know that Italy is known as the missionary graveyard. Or that most missionaries leave after only a few years because of depression, lack of results, bureaucracy, corruption, and cultural difficulties.

But God has given us a deep and abiding love for this land and its people, and helped us to endure!

And we believe that through the power of prayer, and by God’s grace, we will continue to see hearts touched and lives changed by the Gospel. Please pray that the Lord would use us as his heart and hands reaching out to these, our people.

Nearly 30 years here

During our years here we have worked in pastoring, church planting, teaching, counseling, discipleship, evangelism, children’s and youth work, drug rehabilitation, and refugee aid.

Jack of all trades, masters of none? That about sums it up! Because we’re just ordinary people used by God in the ministry of helps — in spite of all our mistakes and shortcomings. All the glory goes to him. He is the one who does extraordinary things, not us!

A journey of over 50 moves!

Our walk with him has taken us on a journey of over 50 moves, from tents to tarantula-infested campers (shudder), and from nice apartments to ex-chicken coops, so cozy the chickens kept returning! Along the way we’ve gotten rid of a lot of stuff, many times over, and known times of great want.

And even though (for now) we’ve come a long way from those earlier needy years, we’d go back and do it all again. Because through it we learned that a life of purpose and meaning is what’s really important.

For the record:

I (Sheila) created and set up this site. (Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?) The homepage images are all ours (as are most images on this site). I am also the main contributor here; I communicate best through writing.

As a child in my home state of Michigan, I never dreamed of one day marrying an Italian and moving to Italy. But that’s what God had in store for me, and ’twas but the start of the adventure of a lifetime!

Mario is a people person who communicates best through talking, hugs, and kisses on both cheeks! He is the main photographer. (Most images on this blog are our own.) He does occasionally write posts, which you will recognize by the heading: A Word from Pastor Mario. For though we no longer actively pastor a church, he has an eternal pastor’s heart.

We love reading, studying, creation care, and simple living. The greatest blessings in our lives are family, friends, and the many spiritual children he has given us. But more than anything we love to tell the old, old story… of Jesus and his love. Our main desire is know him more and become people after his own heart. He is worthy of all.

For more updates on what’s happening with us, join our Facebook page or become our prayer partner!

Please pray with us that God would continue to use us to reach this nation!

Images ©TheScorziellos.

Mission Italia, an ad-free blog, is also award-free — but we do thank you for thinking of us! No reblogs allowed.

32 thoughts on “About

  1. I enjoy your blog and love your style of writing. It is clear and easy to follow. I have done a lot of short term missions work (including Erfurt Germany which I am assuming is similar to your spiritual culture) and have talked to other “tent making” missionaries about the need to live among people in urban settings just as you are doing. Therefore, I very much appreciate what you are doing and love reading about your journey and perspective. Thank you for sharing!


    1. Thank you so much, Julene, for your encouragement! I’m sure you know how much it means. I enjoy your blog too, and am happy I found it! I imagine being clear and easy to follow is a result of living so long overseas. In English we have to speak simply or few would understand us. And in the beginning at least, we are only able to speak simply in our adopted language. So simple becomes the norm for us! LOL!


    1. No Karen, we live in Abruzzo, the region to the right of Rome. At least most of the year. We also have a 2nd base in the Salerno province. Thank you for your encouragement, and the prayers for our wonderful people! So glad to have you on our journey in this, the land of our hearts!


      1. I can well imagine how life-changing they are! Thanks so much for your prayers and support. Many blessings to you and in the work you’re doing too.


  2. Sheila! If you hadn’t liked my post I would never have had the chance to read about YOU – such a great intro and I am so excited to start following your blog (and that’s not an exaggeration). Judging by your list of unchangeable facts I think we’d be great friends – I’m also an INFJ 😉
    I hope your simple Italian life continues to be everything that you express so beautifully here. Be blessed, Sheila, and I’ll be reading. Jessica

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Jessica! A fellow INFJ! Woo hoo! There’s not a lot of us around! I’m so happy we can follow each other’s journeys–it’ll be fun and encouraging. I’m sure my Italian life will keep on pretty much as it has. This is home, and it has my heart! Thanks for your encouragement and have a great day!


  3. What a life God has given you together!

    We lived in Germany for six years and Italy was one of my favorite countries to visit. Loved Rome, Venice, Sorrento and Tuscany so much! Northern Italy was a place I escorted tourists to when I was a tour guide. You are living our dream. My hubby and I wanted to become missionaries to the Ukraine but God closed those doors but sent us to another place to serve Him. Proverbs 3: 5,6. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Italy is both gorgeous and wonderful, that’s for sure. But no matter how beautiful any place is, if us being there makes us out of God’s will – it loses its beauty. So right where God has you planted is the most beautiful place in the world for you. And personally, we’re coming more and more to the conclusion that the USA now probably needs “missionaries” more than any other place in the world. We’re grateful for all the shining lights God has in the nation. So let your light shine!!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Amen!!! God has given you a discerning spirit. America certainly needs to turn to the Lord. We are so grateful that those who are attracted to and have joined our little church this past year are searching for Biblical Truth. Please remember Ridgewood Baptist Church in prayer as we will remember you. Blessings my new friend,


  4. So glad to connect with you here on WP.
    First I have to ask what INFJ means??? Then I have to admit I’m a little jealous of anyone who gets to live and minister in Italy. We spent 5 weeks there a few years ago and simply loved it 🙂
    May God bless you & Mario as you serve Him and give you an open door for sharing His love, grace, and truth.
    Blessings in Jesus,


    1. Thanks Kelly! It’s an honor to me to be able to connect with you! INFJ is a personality type, meaning Introvert, iNtuitive, Feeling, and Judging (which doesn’t mean a person is judgmental). The Judging part (vs Perceiving) reflects how a person implements the information he/she has received and formulates their life in regards to that info. I was so amazed at the accuracy of these tets. (Shows we should listen to our kids sometimes!) And they helped me better understand others too.
      And yes, Italy is beautiful. But what we most love is the lifestyle. Laid back, easy going, and always time for an espresso in piazza with family or friends. But it can be maddening at times too. What’s great, is knowing it’s where God wants us to be! And we’ll take that open door…actually we’re praying for many of them! Thanks so much for the encouragement!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Heather, and it’s a pleasure to meet you too! So glad that the Lord shines throught in this. The older I get, the more I realize that we truly can do nothing without him. We’re missionaries, but only because he chooses to use us in spite of our imperfections. And the greatest work is what he’s don in our hearts. Loving us, changing us, and never, never giving up on us! God bless you, dear sister in Christ!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sheila, I am beyond excited to meet you. Thank you for commenting on my blog post. Now I know who you are and, honestly, I’m in tears. Your ministry for the Lord combined with your great love of Italy and the people cut me deeply. My website is a culmination of my great love for Italy and all of the things you mentioned about it…beauty, slow living, always time for others, history, and even though I have not mentioned the Lord in my posts, I think about Him. He told me once to “illustrate My beauty” and I’m doing my best with what He has put in my heart. Your love for the Lord is so precious. Thank you for stopping by and introducing yourself. I am reading through your posts and finding amazing encouragement. Blessings to you and Mario!


    1. Wow Susan! It’s so wonderful to meet another blogger who shares our great loves: Italy, Italians, and the Lord! I love your blog, mainly because you show that not only rich people can afford to visit Italy! And your love for this nation pours out of your posts. It’s a special place and (or at least we think) one to be experienced, not just toured. Yes, there is beauty & history to see and admire. But there is so much more below the surface – a special “live life & love it” quality in the lifestyle that has to be experienced to be appreciated. Glad you like our simple blog and especially that you find it encouraging. That makes it all worthwhile! Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Sheila, thank you for the follow. I read through a couple of your posts and I will follow you also because I clearly can learn from you and Mario. Italy, always wanted to go there but my wife of 46 + years isn’t keen about travelling and if the truth be told, neither am I. We’re home bodies and our five grown up children and our six grandchildren all live here in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Whenever I think of Italy I think of the Apostle Paul in prison there and the early Christians that suffered through persecution. I was close to Italy for a few months, served with the United Nation Peace Keepers Armed Forces and spent six months in Cyprus. I look forward to reading more of your posts. May God richly bless you and Mario in your work for our Lord.


    1. Thank you Bruce, and we’re so glad to have you! But I know the learning will take place on both sides…we learn and glean so much from all our blogging friends. I love your blog ans sounds like you’ve had an interesting life!

      Liked by 1 person

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