Friday, February 16, 2007

I guess no news tops that...: June 22, 2005

Dear augmented family,
This is the first letter that my little brother has ever received (I think), and certainly the first letter he has received from a missionary. Welcome to the family, little brother! You will find as time goes on that you are greatly blessed to be a part of a family that adheres to Gospel principles and strives to integrate teachings of the Gospel in all facets of life. You'll be lauded with attention (because there are more people from which to be lauded), but hopefully not spoiled. You'll learn that your parents and siblings would do anything for you and that their love is unconditional, and finally you'll learn the stress we place upon the Gospel of Jesus Christ - we would each willingly give much more than 2 years of time to serve the Lord; we try to give our whole lives in everything we do and say. May you follow in the footsteps of your ancestors and lengthen the legacy of love. I love you little brother!
In comparison, today we met with a private investigator who 1: gained US citizenship through a lottery??!! 2: denounced her husband (or his Arab partner.. something) for something to do with Sep 11th 3: lived in Brooklyn for 3 years 4: is fighting a legal battle for her children here and 5: offered to help us anytime we need a private investigator. We meet the strangest people with all different types of power here - illegal underground, government ties, doctors, Private Eyes... we just need to meet some high-up priests [note: that did happen] and we'll have ties to all points of power in Italy!
Thanks for your letters!
On a different note, our branch here may suffer soon. There may have been a few problems, and it seems like the problem is continually escalating. We as missionaries are afraid that there may be a schism in the branch soon, or the trial will break someone... Hopefully all will go well, the Church will still be true in Italy, and justice and mercy will be served.
We have an investigator who is progressing very well (if you call coming to Church every Sunday, professing the wish to be baptized, and committing to go to the Temple progressing :) and will finally meet with us the first time Saturday. We'll teach him everything and set a baptismal date. He is one of those 'golden investigators' or 'the elect' as people call it... I've found that you don't find the elect doing door-to-door. They come because of members. That is the importance of member-missionary work. If investigators don't come to Church because of members, they probably won't end up coming back. Hence... your responsibility!
The father and wife of two recent converts is reveling (two l's or one? ouch.) in the attention he gets from the missionaries. His family is working on him sooooo hard, and he doesn't stand a chance! He had a room filled with idols and he is removing all of them and throwing them away (you have no clue about Catholic Idols... I almost screamed. Really.); we are also starting a family fast (missionary rules say to not encourage family members to participate in special fasts for investigators... so I'm not encouraging you. You can pray for him.) to help him stop smoking permanently. We'll overload him with grapefruit juice and Vitamin C and toothpaste and mouthwash and snacks until he doesn't have time to think about smoking. We'll also hire his family to help him - they won't stop at anything to keep him upright! He is at home every day uuntil August 1st, so we are planning to pass by almost every day to help him, teach him, and eventually prepare him for baptism. Once he makes the step into the Church, his family will become a huge wellspring for contacts. I really only want to work with families - the families of the Church take time, but they are soooo worth it! The people are grateful forever, and it lights the fire of missionary work again in their hearts. If we can work with part-member families we can make dreams come true. How beautiful... Sigh... It almost makes me wish I knew someone in my family that wasn't a member. Is there anyone? Maybe I'm just clueless. I've learned here in the mission that no one is worth giving up on, not thinking about, anything like that. Ever. People change. A lot. I've seen it.
So, my message is get close to your family. Tell 'em you love 'em. Share Gospel principles with them. Everyone needs edification in the Gospel, whether we are Patriarchs or vagabonds. Take the time to teach the people you care about, and then let them talk to others. All too often the people here in Italy won't let us talk to their family members, feeling afraid that they will take offense or something. On the contrary, every family member I've spoken with is extremely open to the missionaries even when they hate the Church. Missionaries have a certain innocence, perfection, outsiderness, that enables people to tell us everything - their fears, hates, loves, dreams... and then we can help them come unto Christ. Don't be afraid of the missionaries - express faith in them, and if you are afraid they won't teach well enough go with them. Go with them anyway! You don't have to be a priest or part of the Elder's Quorum to help in the work - missionary work needs women and children, everyone needs to get involved. Ask the missionaries if there are people your age. Ask them about their contacts. Ask to become friends with investigators. Really search to bring people into the Church, and they and we will gain eternally from it. I love you all. This keyboard is a little strange, so I apologize for any typo's. Think about missionary work every day of your life, and find something you can do. If it's to give out a passalong card, and that's all, that's good. You gave an opportunity to someone to learn more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Thanks Dad. If it's to talk about the Plan of Salvation with a friend, or teach a friend a Primary song, or give away a Book of Mormon with a testimony, or even simply walk up to someone you know and say, "I know that Jesus is my Savior and that there is a Prophet today because I feel it in my heart," we can all do something to help the Lord in His work - because this is really His work - to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. May we bind our wills with His, may His work become our work is my prayer as a missionary.
Anziano David Peterson

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