Saturday, February 17, 2007

Ancora il Signore fa miracoli: October 19, 2005

(The Lord still does miracles)
Dear Family & Friends,
This was truly a week filled with miracles, even if our baptism didn't go through and it may be a little while until she is ready. Let's try to fulfill Grandma's wish - we wake up at 6:30 am now (it changed from 7:30 at the beginning of my mission to 7:00, and now 6:30) and pray, then I go into the other room, turn on the lights, and blast (in a sense) EFY music to encourage my companion (tired, but extremely obedient - our senior missionaries claim we are the most obedient missionaries in the world) to get up and exercise with me. I used to jumprope, but now I run in place, do jumping jacks, etc for cardiovascular, pushups and situps and working out with our elastic band for strength, and dance stretches for flexibility. After a half-hour, and I'm finally awake and done yawning, I go shower and change into missionary attire (always ironing the shirt before I put it on... regardless if it's wrinkle-free or not!). I make my bed, then go to the kitchen, where I eat a light breakfast of generic All-Bran and maybe some yogurt and a banana. Next, to the study room for Book of Mormon study. Prayer here is a bit more focused (awake), so I realize and recognize what it is I want the Lord to do in our work today. I ask Him for miracles and then turn to the scriptures to find my part in making them happen. I study until 9:00 (perfect world - we often have appointments that cut into our study time), and then we study together, first singing and praying (what a wonderful leader that realized the essential nature of singing the Hymns of the Church with a companion in the early morning hours!), and then going over our schedule for the day. We talk about our appointments and what else we need to do, who we need to call, and how we want individuals to progress in their understanding of the Gospel. If we have time afterward, we study from Preach My Gospel - doing the companionship study activities in and at the end of the chapters. We then move according to our daily schedule - Monday we have DDM (District Development Meeting) and we usually program because we have no time Friday. Tuesday and Thursday we teach morning English Class (pray for English Class!), where we have amazing members from Rome 1 to help us in missionary work. All we need is for people to come to English Class, and then they're caught! Miracle - Tuesday (yesterday), a woman was walking by the Church around 10:20 and saw our English Class sign. It's almost illegible and impossible to read because of the style, and she came in. She did not read the other, more visible sign that says "Chiesa di Gesù Cristo dei Santi degli Ultimi Giorni" - she was a testimoni di Geova - a Jehovah's witness. She saw it was a Church and still stayed. She refused to put her info on the info survey (ok - that's fine.), left the room when we prayed, almost left when she saw that the intermediate class was grammar-based, finally came to advanced, and said she was going to leave because she didn't want to learn about our church. Another student, who has been to church 5x in this week (wow!), bore his testimony of our integrity - we will talk about religion only together as a group - in the classroom we teach English. A member is planning on making the classroom (also for seminary) speak for us. :) The woman decided to stay and will bring a few of her friends (same religion). We'll have to enlist the member from Rome 1 who used to be one... Wednesday we have gone recently to Civitavecchia to give comfort at the Cemetery - her daughter died and we dedicated the gravesite for her. She needs to give us referrals. Sunday we go to Church at 9:30 (really, we're earlier, but it "starts" at 9:30). We usually make a stop by a contact in the morning, and then on to another appointment, and then back to the apartment for lunch. Here in Italy, all the people eat lunch and everything closes. Even the police department, the stores, the grocery stores, the food stores, everything but restaurants. School gets out in time for them to eat lunch. Lunch is really important here - we have time to study because people don't like to be interrupted during lunch... whatever. We don't have a dinner break. Tuesday and Thursday at 2:00 we teach English to the husband of a member that needs to soften his heart. We often go to Civitavecchia - we have two progressing investigators there - and there we spend a bunch of time traveling. We also plan activities (I'm working toward one a week - our branch president will slowly become used to more and more, until he suddenly realizes that tons and tons is happening in the Church) and work with less-active members. These days most people find us - there is a beautiful promise in the Dedicatory Prayer of Italy that the people will be prepared with visions and dreams and then simply hear about the Gospel and "us" - the members and missionaries of the Church, and then will have deep feelings to quickly search out the truth. We are teaching our members to do missionary work; our best member-missionaries are actually 9 and 12 years old. They talk to everyone at school about the activities at Church, English Class, young women and Primary, and invite everyone to Church, give away Joseph Smith pamphlets, and have actually had huge success - friends have come to Church and activities and children bring their families... little ones - you can do missionary work too! Talk about the Church with everyone - your teachers, friends, playmates, everyone - especially if there is an activity - it is much easier to get someone into the Church and then you can introduce them to the missionaries and when they feel the Spirit you invite them to come to our house and the missionaries will explain the new feelings they are having - the peace and joy that the Gospel brings. It works. Promise. Our days are usually filled to the brim... and there are always things that we want to do and don't find any time for. That's OK. We sometimes run when we're late for a train, and we get plenty of exercise. We should be home by 9:00 if we don't have any night appointments, 9:30 is the latest before we are late. We get home and program for the next day, eat a light snack/meal, and go to bed absolutely exhausted to get up the next morning to the sound of our cell phone alarm clock. It's dark when we get up now. Sort of sad, but we get to almost watch the sunrise (if we had an East window with a view we could...). Another woman decided to be baptized, and we hope she will drag her best friend into the font with her (Family swimming parties - you just gang up and jump in with the hard-to-get ones). A referral through English Class from a member (miracles), is already progressing and will probably be baptized soon as well. Ladispoli is turning around gaining speed. We hope the boundaries will be changed to augment our membership, or that the Lord will turn us into miracle-missionaries and either way make it possible for our branch to function by itself. We are small. We've received a bunch of referrals lately and we are going to get more from members that understand how to share the Gospel.
Well, we are going overtime (we use 2 computers still - we are free to do anything we want within the rules. I am so grateful that we are obedient!), and I really love all of you!
How are your projects going, little ones? Are they alive, or dead?
And here's an Italian recipe...
Pesto alla Calabrese
1 Red pepper
Tomato Paste
Olive Oil
Hot stuff (Chilli pepper or something... I don't remember what it's called)
Pull out the seeds from the red pepper, chop it up and stick it in the blender with a half a can of tomato paste, add a clove of garlic and some oregano and basil and some pepperoncino (hot stuff), then olive oil until it is the consistency of softened butter (not too much). Season to flavor with more cheese, salt, olive oil... it is really good, and this is really the recipe (sorry - Italians don't specify). Maybe if you look online there is one that is more specific. Pour it on hot pasta without cooking the sauce. Basta. That's it.
I love you tons! Do missionary work - pray and fast for missionary opportunities, no matter who you are, and the Lord will bless you with the greatest blessings you have ever experienced. Missionary work, like families, brings us the opportunity to help save souls - the greatest and most fulfilling work upon the face of the Earth and in the reaches of Eternity. May we all always be missionaries!
Anziano David Peterson

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