Saturday, February 17, 2007

...sigh... The work of the Lord is beautiful: August 24, 2005

Today we are actually, really, seriously going to Rome for Preparation Day. I've been nearby for 6 weeks and seen absolutely nothing. I think we just need to go. Next week we'll go to the Vatican gardens. ...But I'm not so sure that I'm really excited about seeing the tourist sites around Rome when there are so many people who don't understand the Gospel...
We went to Civitavecchia on Monday, and I think one sister will be baptized soon. She spoke about it, specifically, and even with a friend there she told us and her that she would probably do it. In the past, she has not spoken the word, only talked about making "a decision". I believe she has made her decision, and now we will go and help her follow though with it. Once she announces it, she will become an amazing missionary. She has dozens of friends who look to her as a stalwart in the faith. She is gifted in her understanding of the scriptures, and explains the concepts of the Gospel and the Plan of Salvation to anyone nearby. I hope we have more visitors at her baptism than members of the Church (though she will certainly become a legend soon - baptisms of 80-year-old women who are Baptist do not happen often). We are going tomorrow and there will probably be more friends. I used to be afraid of having large groups to teach - it is much more difficult to give different commitments to different people, and when one person doesn't progress or has problems in a lesson, we have to stop and explain. Someday soon she will be on the track to be with her daughter forever. (How sweet :))
We are working with the Branch President to put together a HUGE branch program - he caught the fire. We had an appointment with him before Church on Sunday and talked with him about 3 different activities we wanted to plan for the Branch. He was enthusiastic about each, and actually had another that he wanted to plan - and then invited us to him home to plan some more during the week. We went last night and he is going to do all the technical work for this first activity set. We have 3 main programs - one for each of the 3 purposes of the Church - and each will be within 3 weeks of the others. The first and biggest is on Missionary Work. Our first program is September 16 at 6:30 and is an Open House to which members can bring friends and family to learn about the Church. Our building is small, so we won't publicize the event to the whole community, but soon after we are planning 2 more events - one in the Comune - city hall - where we will do the same presentation, this time for the whole community. We are planning on inviting the heads of all organizations in the city to come. Finally, we will have a member fireside where we will give each member family a missionary packet of 3 DVD's with amazing Church films that apply to the work here in Italy, a copy of The Book of Mormon, and then teach them how they can approach all different types of people - friends, family members, mafia members, everyone! In reality, there is a media presentation that would be acceptable to absolutely everyone - the Introduction to the Church DVD talks about the Church in 3rd person and is an excellent explanation of doctrine and practices and programs of the Church. Everyone is willing to watch it, as well.
Our second activity scheme is on Perfecting the Saints. First is Emergency Preparedness. Our Branch President's first words were, "Sono esperto" - vuol dire che (it means that) he is an expert. He already has a presentation done and saved on Powerpoint, as well as Food storage programs for families. Perfect! Also we want to do a fireside on budgeting for time and money (calendaring, time priorities, stress, savings, shopping, etc... - all things that our family is trying to do really well.) so that members can have more time for missionary work and for their families. Members will be encouraged to bring friends and family with them, and we'll try again to publicize it.
Finally, yes, you guessed it! Genealogy is simple because we have a new genealogy library in Rome and the Branch President's wife is the Assistant there. No problem. Perfect. We then can determine what types of initiatives we want to do.
This will be so awesome once we have this DVD - there are a few videos that you really NEED to see. I mean it. Here are the titles in Italian and what they might be in English.
La Ricerca della verità - (Search for the Truth)?
- The story of Wilford Woodruff as he searches for the religion spoken of in the Bible, with Prophets, apostles, authority, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Amazing! Perfect to show to anyone because it speaks from a perspective outside the Church about someone searching for the truth! - Video
Un Bene Prezioso - How Rare a Possession
- Tells the story of an Italian minister that finds a copy of the Book of Mormon in an alley in New York. There is no cover, and he does not find the Church for many years. He integrates the Book into his teachings, is excommunicated from his church, and develops a testimony of the truth without ever even knowing a missionary. His story is one of perseverance and faith. Also great for showing to anyone who lacks faith. - Video
An Introduction to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- Explains easily and beautifully the doctrine and practices of the Church from a 3rd person perspective. Can easily be shown to absolutely anyone. - DVD
I am absolutely psyched - just having Ricerca della Verità on DVD will help with the work so much, and when members know what they have at their disposal, and know how to use it... We will have an explosion!
We are teaching a faimly from Peru! They are very receptive. We joke that they will be baptized simply because they are South American, but I really think it is true. The people of South America are ready for the Gospel of Jesus Christ to change their lives. Amazing.
There are some amazing recipes here in Italy. Pesto Genovese, Pesto Calabrese, Risotto, are a few of the many. Just please do not ever serve Melanzana alla Parmeggiana. The people here love it, but I do not.
Oh! I have a new companion. He's from Colorado and come from Caserta. I think he needs a boost of energy for his work. I'll try to be it. Smile :) We will do good things together - I do not envision problems with seniority. He is more than willing to give assignments to me if I do them better than he, and I am willing to do vice versa. Perfect. Soon we will see the results.
I will think about exuding love for the people, and then I hope to do it. I truly want to be loving to the people. They are such good people, but don't realize it! They don't even think they are good people... But we can help them.
I want you to do something. All of you. We here are praying every prayer for the rest of our lives for missionary opportunities in our own lives. Teach the children to do it every prayer. Every meal, every night, everything but the Sacrament. Truly, once our minds are centered on this essential work, we will begin to see the miracles of God. He will prepare the lives of the people near us. Please, pray every prayer for missionary opportunities and the opportunity to see them.
I love you. The best support you can give me is to try more every day to be missionaries. I love you!
Anziano David Peterson

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