Saturday, February 17, 2007

Ladispoli!: July 13, 2005

...Imagine a little town just west of Rome - outside the city far enough that the smog of the city doesn't even come close. The Mediterrenean Sea hovers nearby - literally close enough to walk on foot; it forms a border of the city itself. Our apartment is beautiful - with a large bedroom, large study room, bathroom, kitchen, and a large storage room. It used to belong to the Sisters, and so we are horribly spoiled - we have wall-unit air conditioning (really - it does not exist in the mission), a huge hot water heater, a large wraparound balcony that has a view of the sea, and bikes (if we ever decide to use them). The stove pumps out gas so that water boils almost instantly, and our oven is electric! Yes!
The flowers are all in bloom - the city is full of honeysuckle and lilacs and huge trees covered in magenta and pink and purple and white, fragrances floating across the wide, lush medians to the wide, paved streets. Every palazzo over 3 stories has an elevator, and very few require payment (I haven't seen one). We have counted at least 13 supermarkets and Rome is only a skip away on the train for thousands of tourist opps. The air is clear and fresh - so clear, in fact, that I have been sunburned for the first time this year. My companion, fits me perfectly (almost - really!). He declared the exact, same major as I had at BYU. We are both under the school of Mathematics and Sciences... and in the Physics department... and chose Applied Physics... and chose the "open applied physics" option... and for our four electives chose exactly the same ones! We are both "acoustics majors" at BYU! Now, just because I will change as soon as possible doesn't mean anything - I've never met an acoustics major before, let alone be companion with one. He has a beautiful voice and plays the piano excellently. He isn't afraid to sing in the streets and we are planning to sing in the piazzas (city squares) for a part of finding work. He also cooks well, loves to speak Italian, and teaches well. We spend our free time complimenting each other and telling each other the skills we admire and want to learn. I think we are a good fit. In fact, I would be happy being here for the rest of my mission, right here in Ladispoli. It's really a lot like Heaven here. It may not seem like a lot, but simply the atmosphere has changed my way of thinking... decidedly.
Also, the Church building is only a minute from our house (literally - walking it is closer than the mission home to our ward building), and it has a beautiful facade with a big sign that says "Chiesa di Gesù Cristo dei Santi degli Ultimi Giorni" We have a supportive branch president and about twenty amazing members. We have some branch missionaries in the making, and we are planning to involve the whole ward is huge missionary activities. They will all be extremely supportive, as long as we can give them assignments. Wow!
We also have an american "Good Cook" cookbook, which has all the recipes I've been pleading for (no need to send them now) and plenty of cookware (except for an electric mixer, but I'll have big arm muscles when I get home :).
Fill up my new address with letters!

To be truthful, we have a few people that will only take a few moments before they will begin making covenants with God. We are helping the branch to grow, and I hope to help the Branch President begin tons of activities to help the Church be better understood here.
The Prophet is coming to Rome!!!! He is coming the first week in August, and our Stake President (of Rome - he was at Church on Sunday) suggested that we fast for his success here. We don't know exactly what his agenda is (except that it is a private meeting - he won't meet with many members), but we can guess it has something to do with the Stake and a future Temple and the new pope and the Church's future here in Italy. Please remember the Prophet in your prayers.
Today we are going to the Vatican City - and we both want to see the gardens (Yes! A companion that is as excited about everything as I am!). Then we'll come back and teach English Class (hopefully there will be a ton of people) and have Serata Familiare (Family Home Evening). Once things get moving in this little town, we are going to change the face of the earth! How blessed I am to be a missionary, to live in a place like this, to have such a good companion, to live and know the Gospel, to have family and friends and leaders that support me, and to know that the Church is true! I know that this Church is true and that missionary work is the greatest work there is. Go out and sing from the tops of the mountains - a Prophet lives in Israel! He speaks with God to guide His people! How blessed we are!
I love you all - have a great vacation and remember to be good missionaries!
Anziano David Peterson

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