Monday, February 26, 2007

As the Captain to His soldiers... So Lord, art Thou, to me: January 25, 2006

Dear Family and Friends,
We are seeing blessings from Heaven. Most definitely, the prayers of missionaries and members here in Quartu and around the world from months and years before are finally seeing their fulfilment. I am grateful to the chance I have to be here.
For a week filled with cancellations and great opposition, we have certainly been successful. We started actually receiving referrals from members (a first in my mission) who wanted us to contact them and tell them who gave us their info. All of them so far have accepted to hear the gospel, and we have many new investigators. Our investigators that didn't seem to progress suddenly both told us to leave them alone. Thursday and Friday we spent in almost agony - we went from one appointment to another, everything cancelled. We were totally exhausted and went to sleep Friday night without anything planned at all for Saturday, which meant 9 hours of finding work. We knew the Lord would be with us somehow.
Saturday morning we decided to go to Parco Europa - a park on the other side of Quartu that is long and not really huge, but it's big. It has walkways and a few different playgrounds. Courage! It's hard to talk to people in the park. We are very conspicuous. First we talked with Luca - a man who off the bat told us he is atheist. I spoke with him for a while and realized he was actually open and had searched in his life (looking into his eyes), and gave him the test - I taught him about prophets and apostles and the Restoration and promised him if he would try an experiment on my words, the Lord would respond to him. He left enthusiastic about the possible huge change in his life - the ability to actually believe - and we have another appointment with his family Saturday. We then saw a sister in the park (she never goes to that park) and she asked my companion to help her on Sunday with the Hymns. Perfect service opportunity. We then talked with Etien - a man who had searched 10 years ago, then finally gave up and tried to forget about the sadness and void he felt. In reality, there are many people all around us who are searching, searching, and have no idea where to find the truth. They look in all the wrong places, and then finally lose hope and become angry at God. How much we need to talk with them! He hoped to regain the fire he once felt. A woman with cancer was our next opportunity, and she expressed sincerely a lack of wish for anything. But, she was open to change. Beautiful. An old man politely declined, and we left the park after a few hours, having taught the Gospel and spoken to almost everyone we approached. Filled with miracles.
We walked to a bus stop and I tried to figure out which bus would pass. The 1Q did, and I asked the conductor if it went to via Brigata Sassari - the capolinea (bus head stop...) near our house. It did, and we talked with the girls on the bus. One had talked with missionaries 10 years ago (wow! a 16-year-old that remembers missionaries in her home when she was 6!) and was interested. She'll come to English class. I'm glad we have opportunities to invite people according to their commitment level. English Class, Answering Life's Questions, Church itself, appointments at home... We got off the bus and saw a sister from Peru who I have not seen in months. She looked sad and was with her daughter. I asked her how she was, "Ok..." How can we help? "Pray for us, especially my daughter." Why? It turns out she was hit by a car (verb - investire - means the same run-over and hit. Very powerful verb.) on a major road and they were going to the Hospital. Our prayer to be of use to our branch was being answered. We went along to give a blessing and two other members joined us. We gave a blessing and then left, to talk with a woman at the bus stop. I am so grateful we had the courage! The woman, who was a bit strangely outgoing, involved another woman about 10 feet away in the conversation, and the other woman came closer. The quote that shocked us was, (the first woman), "These young men are always so neat and clean - they are handsome and attractive, and always have a sort of beauty around them." The other - "They have a beauty within them, and that beauty shows." Is she a member??? She then bore testimony of the changing power of the Book of Mormon in her life - how simply reading from its pages brought her out of deep depression and found her a job, a house, and truly changed her perspective on life. We find that she was a dropped investigator from 9 months ago, dropped because she couldn't come to appointments anymore (thanks to her new job). She had a brilliance that comes only with a testimony. She promised to come to Church. Lunchtime, and we are only half way done. Our gas goes out during lunch, and the Lord was most definitely protecting my companion and me from explosions... because it could have happened. The huge gas tanks underneath the stove are dangerous... and it was our first time. Don't be concerned - I at least will have the years of my life prolonged upon the earth, and I will heal from any serious accident, so we can be assured that during my mission nothing lasting will happen. Smile. We then began doing house... and got a number off the bat from a man on the street, who nicely told us no one would open to us (it was a garage door). We then taught a family with a mom and daughter who seemed open. We then went with our ever-present member to an appointment with the peruvian family (yes, still teaching Peruvians), and the mother had changed. It was amazing. She had finally let the Spirit change her, and we could see it. Her son had told her that same day, "Mom, you always look in pain, so sad. It hurts me that you are so sad. We cannot live here anymore if you cannot be happy." A 12 year old. She came to Church Sunday and now has a baptismal date for the 18th of February. It seems wrong to not spell phonetically. I'm grateful that I can write emails in English and not lose everything. Our super-golden, didn't come to Church on Sunday, and neither did our bus stop golden contact. Stressful.
But, then branch is changing. A member of the Branch Presidency gave us a bunch of compliments, without really needing to, like, "I love missionaries, I don't ever want to live without missionaries, I don't want to do anything without missionaries...", and came up to shake my hand and thank me for being in their branch, "It is an honor to have you in our branch." With great blessings come great responsibilities - humility is the first. I'm trying.
I felt we needed to not call or go to our contact that lived by Church on Sunday, so we walked by his house a bunch of times without really trying to get in. Monday we learned he had suddenly had a huge migraine and his wife and children had had (Yes! I love English) to leave for 3 days. Wow! The bus contact had a bad case of sore throat. The adversary knew they were ready for baptismal dates. One has his now - the 18th of February. The other will get hers this next week in Church - she can't make it to appointments until she finds a new home. We then contacted a referral with a Sister from Africa, and spoke in English. Without her, they would have said no to our invite... with her, they committed to come to Church. Really, even if we speak the same language, we are totally different in culture from Africa. Hence, the need for this Sorella. We passed by the Peruvians to talk and they had been talking when we rang the doorbell about how they wished the missionaries would come so her sister could meet us. They obviously let us in. Her sister will probably change her idea, "I am Catholic and simply can't change and be baptized" attitude when her sister announces to her family about her baptism. We'll go by later to reinforce her and help her begin. She was laughing a bit. We met another referral yesterday, then called the member who had given it to report on it and she was absolutely ecstatic! I could hear her through the telephone my companion was talking on (I make him make almost all the phone calls now. He needs to be a better missionary than I am one day). Branch Council was once again cancelled, and today we are going to the castle. Fun. We are working on gratitude - we talked about it on Monday at DDM.
Now, becoming a missionary.
Even for missionaries, the first contact is extremely difficult. It's hard to talk to people you don't know! So, I want to invite all of you to talk with all the people around you. You may not be ready to talk about the Gospel just yet. That's ok. Just talk with everyone. Make friends. We'll go from there. Talk with people in the grocery store, on the street, at school, in doctor's offices... everyone!
I really love you all! Thanks for the plaque in the package - when I clear off my desk I'll have room for it. Talk to everyone this week! Just do it!
Anziano David Peterson

No comments:

Post a Comment

Custom Search