Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Are you angels or humans?: 3 May, 2006

Dear Family and Friends,
Ciao!! Questa settimana è stata bellissima - il mio collega nuovo è dallo Utah. Insieme facciamo tantissimo lavoro e stiamo vedendo grandissimi benedizioni dal Signore!
This week has been lots of fun. Wednesday we went to Paestum (ancient greek temples - some of the best preserved in the world!) My camera is sort of out of battery (and I refuse to let it run totally out), so you'll get maybe one picture if you're lucky today. We met a woman from Korea touring here in Italy. We spoke with her for the hour we spent together at the site, and then asked her if we could send the missionaries to visit her in Korea. We were in proselyting clothes - and every time we have gone out to do a cultural activity dressed as missionaries I have seen great blessings. It makes me think about the importance of "wearing your testimony on your sleeve." When we are dressed up, with our tags, everyone can see that we are representatives of the Church and of Jesus Christ. In the same way, as members of the Church when we bring up the Church in every conversation, when we talk about it or use Church vocabulary around others, they can see that we truly are representatives of Christ (you did promise to stand as a witness of God at all times and in all places, even unto death at baptism!). That's the importance of bearing testimony. Then I also realized the importance of inviting. In Preach My Gospel it says that people are not likely to change unless invited. We invite people every day, whether to be baptized, or to live the Word of Wisdom, or to come to Church, or to be taught the Gospel in their homes. In the same way, when we meet people we need to invite them - especially if we don't know them very well! Example: yesterday at our service activity (we give service to two handicapped children who can't speak, move... their bodies are twisted with spastic brain signals and they undergo tons of exercises to ensure their muscles don't atrophy) there was a new woman who was substituting for one of our contacts. I realized that we probably wouldn't ever meet again, and that our 1 and a half hours had to suffice to invite her to learn the Gospel. At the end I invited her (it was hard), and she thought about it and will let us know. Hopefully the Lord will help her to say yes. Invite people! Everyone is looking for the real peace and happiness that we have! The Lord puts people in your way - they are in front of you in the grocery store... they are walking on the street... they are at the crosswalk... they are in the park... everyone you meet is a son or daughter of God, looking to return to the Father who sent them here on Earth.
My companion is incredible. He's from Orem, UT and we were asked just last night, "With blond hair and blue eyes, are you angels or humans?" I think the man was serious. This is his second city and he is a great addition to our district. I'm sad that my last companion is gone, but it's already been so long... maybe that is a blessing from the Lord - time passes so quickly so that we don't have the pangs of nostalgia.
The troubled elder in our apartment was going downhill and it all hit rock bottom Monday when President called to talk with him. I felt lost - I knew that the Lord had sent me here to help him in some way... but what miracle did I need to do? I don't think fire from Heaven would have helped. I turned to the Book of Mormon and found Mosiah 4, put my companion and the elder's companion on exchange (I can do that) and then we talked. We read from the scriptures, prayed, and we talked about our goals and dreams and expectations for missionaries. At the end, he committed to living the missionary schedule and to see if he had any physical problems that would inhibit his being a missionary. Yesterday he got up on time, went out running, exercised, studied... it was a day full of miracles. I hope that he can somehow be changed enough to continue in diligence for the rest of his life... not just while he is under the eye of a loving Anziano Peterson. I'm grateful that I followed the advice of the Spirit to "graze around the edges". I didn't ever get mad with him, and I think I had a lot more power when I spoke to him because of that and the expectation that 100% obedience is the norm. I'm grateful for the opportunity I have to be here... and for the opportunity I had to learn courage to invite even another missionary to come unto Christ.
BYU friends... are you changing addresses? It would be nice to know if the "transfers" are over so I have somewhere to send the rare letter. Smile.
Well... I will call on Mother's Day... but the time difference is always strange (7, 8 hour difference)... so if I call in the morning it's midnight there, if I call in the afternoon it's really early in the morning, if I call in the evening you're all at Church. Fun, no? Wait a second. We actually have a house phone here. I may call from there with a phone card. That would be optimal - I could call at any time. I think we may do that. What time (your time) would be best to call? (When is Church... etc) Give me some options - morning, afternoon, evening...
I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true Church of God upon the Earth, because I have prayed to God and He has answered my prayer. I know that Jesus is the Christ and that His atoning sacrifice makes it possible for all of us to have happiness and peace in this life and eternal life in the world to come. I know that God has called prophets in our days, and that a living prophet guides His Church upon the Earth today. I know the Book of Mormon is true. Go to! Invite all men to come unto Christ! If they say no, perhaps they will change their minds. If they say yes, perhaps they will change their lives. I know the Gospel brings happiness to all people. I love you all!
Anziano Peterson

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