Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A new finding method that will change the world!: May 12, 2006

Dear Family and Friends,
The Mother's Day call will happen on Sunday - I'll call in the morning before Church at 7:00am your time (2:00 our time) - my companion's family has Church at 9 as well in Utah and I wouldn't want you to miss choir. Sorry if you have to wake up early so that everyone can still be ready on time to go the Church. Va bene.
We have been in Napoli a lot recently. Far away from our work, and our contacts... we had District Conference on Saturday and Sunday (there was a BYU study abroad group there Sunday morning - the exact same group that was there last year at the Napoli District Conference... strange...), Zone Conference Monday, Tuesday was normal, and then my companion went to Rome for another conference Wednesday and Thursday (hence why the email is two days later than normal). I went to Pozzuoli - Paul did missionary work there. Our revelation at Pozzuoli was while we had a short time to do finding work, we didn't know the area very well, and we really didn't have time to teach. So, we pulled English Class flyers out of our pockets and went into the smaller stores (as much as I love supermarkets, there is little one-on-one contact). We invited the store owners to come to English class, then, upon looking into their eyes and determining their worth as a child of God (infinite), we invited them to hear the Gospel. It worked really well - the coppia (companionship) of missionaries in Pozzuoli has a couple return appointments and we'll see if others come to English class. The reason why it is such a good way of finding? The people are industrious - they own their own shops; they cannot "not be there" - they are always there; they are social - lots of referrals; and I could list a few more. Our biggest problem is finding people who are interested in the Gospel and who are willing to make and keep commitments. Keeping commitments is the hard part. It's probably like that all around the world.
We had some really great appointments this week (when we were here) and I have realized the importance of differences in personality. Each of the many people we are teaching has different social and spiritual needs, and hence our teaching style needs to be different. For example, we are teaching a family that owns a Caseificio - a cheese factory and store - and they are very social creatures. It means that they give us tons of referrals and talk about us to everyone they meet (they'll be great missionaries one day). It also means that they make decisions only when great numbers of people around them are making the same decision. Read the Book of Mormon? Sure! It sounds like a great idea! ...but I have no time! This last week we taught them with their friends and when the friends committed to read the Book of Mormon the family committed to read it. They'll read it together and progress in the Gospel together. I think I understand better what President Hinckley meant when he said that every new convert in the Church needs a friend. There are people in the world that, without a friend in the Church, could not progress. There are people that couldn't progress without a source of knowledge. There are people that couldn't progress without an opportunity to serve. All of us needs each one, but there are people that have helped me to understand them much better.
Then, one day we were teaching the sister of a contact... we were afraid that there wouldn't be a male present (absolute rule in the mission that there is a male present) but we then found out that she cares for an elderly man and lives as a boarder in his house. Perfect! She speaks Russian and Italian very well (what a strange thing to teach in a language that is not native for either of us!) and we brought her a Book of Mormon in her native tongue. We explained it and she had tons of questions. We read some of it together and she became very excited - there was a word that hit her incredibly - Istina (pronounced EE-stee-nuh . She explained that in Russian there are two words for truth - The first is truth, like "tell me the truth!" or "It is true that 1+1=2" Yes, it's true, but it isn't really necessarily worthwhile or important. The second - Istina, on the other hand, is a sort of fountain of all truth, from which truth springs. You take all the truth and boil it down and you get Istina. You take papers and papers of truth and file through all of them to find the Istina. Scientists when they are searching to find universal truths are looking for Istina. And in the Book of Mormon, Moroni 10:5, it explains that through the power of the Holy Ghost we may know the ---Istina--- of all things. Not simply the truth, or the factuality (is it right or is it wrong), but the fundamental truth - the Istina - of all things. She realized that the search in life was for this Istina, and the Book of Mormon promised to have it. She will most definitely read it (and I will use the word Istina with any Russian-speaker I ever meet from now until the end of time) and then help the rest of her family to learn the Istina of all things - the everlasting truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It truly made me think about the difference between the Gospel and other things. In English, I agree, that through the power of the Holy Ghost we may know the truth of all things, but sometimes that is difficult to explain to someone. "Will it really tell you what the 3rd integral of this equation is?" No - it tells you the things that are really important - the Istina of all things. The fundamental, basic truths upon which the laws of the Universe are based - the truths that formed the Earth and the Heavens and all things that in them are. Truths that testify of Christ as the Savior and God as our Father. Suddenly I wish there was a word so used in English (more in Italian right now... verità has about the same meaning as truth in English) that could explain the truth that we claim. I know that the Gospel is true. I know that the Gospel is Istina. It is the collection of the basic, fundamental truths that will lead us to live happy, peaceful lives here on Earth and to have Eternal Life in the world to come. May we all turn to the Holy Ghost to find the Istina of all things! We have it - revealed from God! The fundamental truths that will stand the test of time! This is what everyone is looking for, whenever they look for perfection - whenever they look to find out more truth about anything... they are looking for Istina. I know that this Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is true. I know that Jesus is the Christ, and that we, by following the Gospel of Jesus Christ, can live with Him again. I love you all - go out and share the Istina!
Anziano Peterson

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