Saturday, February 17, 2007

Miracles and Tribulation: December 14, 2005

Dear Family & Friends,
To begin, I'm much happier right now than I've been for much of the transfer. One of the good things that happened (a bit mundane, but makes me happy anyway) is that I suddenly got revelation for a poem. I'll write it here for you.

Walking down the road of Life,
I look around and see
A plethora of persons
Walking Life with me,
And I notice as we're walking
(For every man is free
To take steps as he pleases)
That we all walk differently.
The realist here beside me has a pace that's set in stone;
He sees things as they are and they won't change.
The perfectionist behind him - tiny, measured, perfect steps;
He's not happy till the world is all his own.
I remember just last Tuesday we passed a pessimist...
He just looked down at the ground; refused to take a step!
I guess the world will never be the way he thinks he wants it;
It's sad that little stones get in his way.
The idealist, with his head held back and eyes high in the sky,
Seems to trip as well on every tiny pebble.
He takes steps only as they "should" be and would only be at ease
If the road, and all of Life, were simply level.
The last of Life's pedestrians seems different from the others
-And he is, as I could plainly see.
It really doesn't matter what things are and what they aren't;
It's OK if he has to change his path.
When faced with looming mountains? He just climbs them.
Raging, roaring rivers? Simply crossed.
Twisting, turning pathways? He just winds them, And in the deepest dark of night he's never lost.
Yes, the optimists in life have a world that's all their own;
Their vision here on Earth's what sets them free.
For the one who works the hardest, nothing matters else in Life
Then what Life, with work, can really one day be.

This week was very full. Thursday we sang Christmas carols on the street corner until finally my companion conceded to go to the park. It was closing, of course, but we sang to a couple sitting there and got their phone numbers and addresses to drop off Joy to the World videos. We saw the woman again Monday evening and she asked us to sing for her... and then asked some other questions. She suddenly became amazingly interested in the Gospel and we talked for over an hour, leaving her with a Joseph Smith pamphlet and asking her to pray about it. We called yesterday (another prompting) and she had read and prayed and felt amazing - she had talked to her fiancé and another friend already about it. We fixed an appointment with both of them tomorrow - we already have a member family picked out to befriend them, and I think with a little time they will grow to have testimonies of the truth. We have been asking all the members to follow the promise in Moroni 7:48 and pray to find someone for the missionaries for Christmas. What better gift, to yourself, to the missionaries, and to the person who all their life has been searching for the truth? We can all find someone to help repent and come unto Christ, even if we live among all members of the Church. The Lord still does miracles, and we have seen them in the member work that is unfolding here in Quartu. We'll skip most of the week because the focal point was Monday night. We had come home from Family Home Evening at a member's home (every week) and we had just finished praying. My companion was very angry with me and we talked for a long time. At the end, I'm not sure what changed, but I had changed and so had he - I had committed to be more open with my thoughts when we were alone (I'm much more talkative around other people) and we are already seeing amazing blessings. Tuesday we woke up and he had decided earlier (sometimes I didn't want to argue so I took a passive role when he had really strongly felt ideas) to go to Flumini - a sparsely inhabited area where we have two members and no maps and no real way to do effective work. We started planning and I expressed my concerns - we talked about them, and suddenly another idea surfaced. We planned a little for that, and then went to Flumini - united in the knowledge that only if the Lord helped us, and we were united, and we followed the promptings of the Spirit we would find anyone. We fixed an appointment with a woman who'll invite her next-door-neighbor priest for Sunday, and after following the prompting to talk to an 18-year-old 3 times we fixed an appointment with him (the first time we had just asked about helping him - he was moving palm leaves, the second time his grandmother (a Jehovah's Witness) showed up and started crying because her daughter is dead less than a month ago (and because she is attached to a religion that claims she no longer exists), and finally the third time we talked to him!) on Friday before English class. He lives in Quartu. We went to lunch at a member's house, then went home to plan for Branch Council - the activities we want to do, the new Answering Life's Questions night we are going to have weekly... Then we went to do mostra - do they call it street board in English? We talked to dozens of people and fixed another appointment and gave away lots of stuff, even though it was raining at the beginning, there was almost no light, and it was cold and windy enough to blow over the stand. I have now learned that it is important to talk about differences in opinion if they will affect your companionship... and everything affects the companionship. Va bene. Sunday one of our investigators heard a talk about the importance of paying tithing, even in poverty - the story of President Hinckley and Hurricane Mitch (good memories?)- and she then wanted to pay her tithing afterwards. She had promised us that she would never be able to do it - she was too poor. Now we will have to convince the leadership to let her pay tithing in some way until she gains a similar testimony of the other principles of the Gospel. She is finally letting the Holy Ghost affect and change her core beliefs - she called us yesterday and asked us if she could do a "Healing at a distance" (there is some doctor in England that, for $20 and a name, birthdate + time, and phone number, will "bless" you from a distance). She then explained that she was going to pray to Padre Celeste (Heavenly Father) to bless us with a specific blessing. I'm absolutely sure that her understanding of that was tempered by the Gospel - there is no doctor that would truly use and sell sincere prayer as "Healing at a distance". She is changing, and I am happy to see her become a better person and apply the principles of the Gospel in her life. She told us Sunday that she didn't ever feel comfortable praying at home.

I spent some time on Sunday also to fall in love with the Book of Mormon again. My English Quad fits into the pocket of my big overcoat - so it's always within reach! Wow! I have loved having it with me to read on the bus or waiting for a few minutes. The Book of Mormon is amazing!
So, in fine, (that is actually a term in English - look for it in the Book of Mormon!), my companion and I love each other still, and now we can express it and our concerns more openly. Communication is necessary on both parts of a relationship, and most of the time we must personally develop enough courage to take the steps required to fix problems and prejudices. Simply watching and waiting doesn't often solve problems. We are having a lot more success (we are beginning to have to actually plan out when we will have time to do things instead of what things we will do in the time we have), and the members will soon become remarkably involved in programs and initiatives and lessons and learn to understand the meaning of missionary work. Give my love to the missionaries serving where you are.
Con Amore,
Anziano David Peterson

p.s. - transfers are coming up next week, but I don't think I will be transferred. Much more likely that on the 20th my companion will be spending some time packing (I guess I can bake a birthday cake...) I'll call Christmas Eve or Christmas I think... just be at Grandma's house and I'll let you know beforehand when.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Big Brother...
    This is cool.
    Keep it up.
    Love ya,


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