Since graduating from Reynolds High School in 2012, Anthony DeVito has been preparing for a two-year adventure. The 19-year-old has never been far away from home, but he is leaving family and friends to give two years of volunteer service as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the El Salvador, San Salvador West Mission.
DeVito said he will report to the Missionary Training Center in Guatemala on Thursday. He expects to be there about six weeks for intensive training in Spanish before going into the field. He said he had one year of Spanish in high school, which he feels is a good start.
“I’m counting the days,” DeVito said. “I’m really excited to see what the people are like, who they are. I’m interested in different customs.”
Besides Spanish, DeVito also took a year of German and one year of Latin in high school. He was involved in the drum line, marching band, jazz band, choir and Key Club. As a senior he was involved in the high school technology department as well. After graduation DeVito got a paid internship in the technology department, which has helped him prepare financially for his mission.
“For the past year I’ve been preparing, saving and working for my mission,” DeVito said.
He explained that missionaries pay for their own missions, with the help of family and friends. During his two years in El Salvador, his entire time will be devoted to preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and serving others.
DeVito is the first person in his family to serve a mission for the church. His parents, Dennis and Sandra DeVito of West Salem Township, are very supportive of his decision to serve the Lord for two years. He is the youngest of five children, having four older sisters, Tara, Sandy, Denise and Emily.
“It’s a great opportunity for him to serve the Lord and teach people about Jesus Christ,” said his mother. “He’s mature for his age so I’m confident in him. He’s a very spiritual person.”
During his high school years DeVito also attended seminary classes, a program that the church offers for youths. He attends church at the Youngstown Chapel, located in Girard, Ohio, so mostly he did home study and classes by webcam.
DeVito said he has had a lot of help and support from his priesthood leaders, his family and other members of the church. His best friend, Austin Wagley, is preparing to leave in August to serve a mission in Brazil.
His mother said a lot of people deserve credit for him making this decision to serve a mission.
“He’s had good examples in his priesthood leaders, members of the ward and his family.”
DeVito said missionary service is voluntary, but missionaries do not choose where they will serve. Church leaders at headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, review each missionary application and are inspired as to where to assign a missionary.
“I feel so right about going to El Salvador,” DeVito said.