Saturday, February 17, 2007

From the Land of beautiful sunsets...: August 17, 2005

Dear Family,
So, transfers have come again and I am still here at Ladispoli - the little spot of paradise that truly is beautiful (at least let's say it is). My companion, however, has been transferred North to La Spezia - the northernmost part of the mission. My new companion arrives tomorrow.
This companion has taught me a lot about subtle differences. On the surface, we look very similar. We both love to learn, we love music, we love the Gospel... but then we live with each other for a week or six and we realize how different we can be. I'm ultra-confident and he sometimes is not. He plays piano whereas I sing. He loves to study and I love to learn in different ways. His favorite General Authority is Bruce R. McConkie and I have never thought of having a favorite. Yes, they're mundane differences, but these are only a few. We are decidedly different, and I've learned a lot about relationships on a different level. President told me that my next companion should be a good leader. That was one of the most difficult parts of our companionship here; it can sometimes be intimidating to lead me, and if you don't make a strong decision and then later have backing for it, I don't know how to follow. Hopefully my next companion can be a good leader and I can follow and support him.
We almost have a baptismal date! A beautiful old woman has known the Church for over 15 years. There was a branch in her city, but some horrible missionary ruined the work there (long story) and she found herself without contact with the Church for a long time. We talked with her about baptism on Saturday (we only go 1x a week because it's far away) and she committed to pray for a secure answer. I think we can baptize her soon. Very soon. Ansi, I'm sure of it!
Monday was Ferragosto - a huge holiday here in Italy where EVERYONE goes on vacation, even the poorest of the poor. No one is home, so we have a holiday too - it's called Festa di Lavoro. We spend the whole day cleaning the house. Deep cleaning. It was long, and my hands still smeel slightly of chlorine from cleaning the mold on the ceilings (for some reason it seems to keep growing back - the paint here in Italy is disgusting comunque). We are still finishing the list - we have these plastic blind things that cover all the windows (I'll have to take a picture - you have no clue) and they are filled with dirt and take forever to clean. Oh, well. At least our house is clean now.
Yesterday was my companion's birthday! Happy birthday! ...I am probably missing other birthdays too, but I guess time is on a different scale here. It certainly doesn't feel like it's time for school to start. He made a huge lasagna with dozens of ingredients (we decided that next time we would leave out the sage and make the besciamella a bit thinner), a double-layer cherry cake (with yogurt frosting and the Italian equivalent of Cool Whip), I made yogurt jello, and he bought gelato from "the best gelateria in town". To be succinct, we had too much food, and my next companion and I will be eating well for a good amount of time. I think there is still mozzarella di bufala in the refrigerator...
I am certainly grateful for the Sabbath, even if the only repose we really get is for 3 hours during the block. Missionaries do the Lord's work on Sundays, and Mondays, and Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, and every single day for two years straight. I'm starting to get really tired. I think it may also be the heat.
Has a new program been launched in America called Helping Hands? If so... I want to know all about it, because it is new here in Italy and it looks like tons and tons of publicity for the Church and help for the community.
Yesterday I made some beautiful flyers and passouts for our Stop Smoking Program and free genealogy researching. We will print them out today and maybe begin using them when we get permission to use our mostra (street display). We also went on a tour trying to find good service opportunities to help the community at large. We went to a Catholic charity (the priest was very wary and wanted to ensure that we had good intentions, so we have an appointment (maybe to teach a first) on Tuesday), the Comune, another place, another charity... I think we will have plenty of opportunities to help the people this next transfer. Well, I can't think of any miraculous stories right now (I'm sure there are some, just that my brain isn't working as well as it should), so until next week Arrivederci!
Vi voglio bene!
Anziano David Peterson

I just realized that this email is a bit strange. Here's a spiritual thought. It's on time. Until we take control of our time, control of our life, control of our circumstances, we are creatures of our own creation. We are subject to the daily tasks that "need to be done" and work for the rare day of peace where nothing is required of us. In reality, our vacation doesn't last, and we live our lives under the unmbrella of stress and trials. In fact, each of us has the wonderful opportunity to live outside of ourselves. We choose each day whom we will serve, and we don't need to worry about our problems. If you will look at your life from an eternal perspective, prioritize sempre, and take and make time for the things you feel are important, everything will work out in the end. And, you'll have a much better trip of it. Love you again!

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