Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Some days I wonder...: August 30, 2006

Dear Family and Friends,
Did my picture CD arrive in one piece? And why hasn't my brother written me, if he got his mission call to Nicaragua?
My last companion goes home today. He is probably already on a plane from Rome to London. He left on a train yesterday morning for Rome, and we are now in three until my new companion arrives. Two years is... Transfers are in the process of happening; I am staying here in Florence and one of the other elders in the apartment is going out to the island. The other elder will be training a missionary and my new companion will be an Italian. That will be interesting. The Church in Italy is very small, and for some reason many of the Italians are sent abroad, so there are only a few native missionaries. There are some missionaries that never serve with (including in the apartment) an Italian. This will be my third, but the first as my companion. If he doesn't speak English yet, he will hopefully learn to speak it well. And hopefully I can better my Italian skills.
Sending a missionary home makes me a bit pensive. This elder is going home; my brother is coming out; the world keeps on turning and each of us has his own individual mission to fulfill. Little brother - you don't want to take more than 100 pounds of stuff (and leave room for things you acquire in the MTC) because of airport regulations. I'm not sure what else to write about. We went and played volleyball with a member and some of his friends; we asked them and they invited us to their home to learn about the Gospel. ...We have done a lot of park. People are still on vacation (starting to come back) and school hasn't yet started, so the parks are packed with families. At least, the parks in the other elders' zone. We went singing twice this last week; one time in Piazzale Michelangelo - a big square above the city - panorama type of thing (I'll send a picture), then we left and went to piazza della Signoria again. Then last night I convinced the other two elders to start singing with me in the park... to at least change the atmosphere. A man approached us and we spoke for a long time. He had studied a bit too much psychology and was very closed. It was a bit sad. I'll send you the articles we are trying to publish in the Newspaper as well; we have a friend that said she could get things published for us and there is a couple in the Mission Office that works as a public affairs couple from the Area.
Dad - at an appointment we had Papa alla Juacayina (spelling in Spanish??) I think of you every time a Peruvian member feeds us. Most of the members assigned to us are South American (strangely).
And finally, to brighten your day, another incredible mission story! (They always happen; we just need to be more aware and more grateful) Sunday morning, it was again raining. Hard. The other elders decided to walk to Church and left early (they were afraid their bikes would stain their shirts - happens easily). My companion felt similarly and decided we would take the bus. As we were praying, we heard the bus pull away... which left us with only one choice - bikes. I prayed that the rain would stop, so that we could arrive safely to Church, and so that later in the day we could go and sing again. As we came outside, the rain stopped. The roads were slightly wet, but we went slowly and had no problems at all. As we left Church afterward, the sun was shining brightly and the roads were dry. Then, later dark clouds loomed again on the horizon. We went to check the bus schedule to take us to Piazzale Michelangelo and it started to pour. Again, a prayer was offered to quench the rain. It stopped and the weather cleared enough for it to be a beautiful evening. It was another miracle. It's things like this - the Lord answering prayers even when it is obvious that they affect other people as well - that make me humble. Asking for peace and comfort is one thing; asking for the weather to change is another. I know the Lord hears and answers my prayers... and yet who am I? We all need to remember that the Lord of the Universe is our Father. He wants to bless us and help us to accomplish His grand design; He is willing and very, very able to help us if we will but ask Him. So do it! Go and ask the Lord for the blessings you need. Believe He will give them to you, if you have done your part. That is what faith is. Sunday evening right after singing it started raining again. It was like a "rain check".
I know that Jesus is the Christ. I know that God is behind this work - we can see His hand at every turn. I know that Joseph Smith is the Prophet of the Restoration and that Gordon B. Hinckley is the prophet of God today. I know that the Lord will give us the blessings that we ask for in faith. I know He will bless us with the opportunity to be missionaries according to His needs. I love you all - go out and share the Gospel!
Anziano Peterson

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