Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Special Assignment: 26 April, 2006

Dear Family and Friends,
Well, the transfer call has come. To explain how it works (as I recently learned that it is different in different missions), on Monday morning or around lunch, the Mission President personally calls everyone that will be transferred and tells them where they will go and who their new companion will be, as well as a little bit about the work there (always optimistic. I love our Mission President.). Then, Wednesday night the missionaries that are leaving from the island get on the boat, so they can be train-bound Thursday morning, when all the rest of the transfers take place. You must always travel with someone else (for right now), so the Mission Office puts together a big schedule of who goes where and who waits where and why and when and all the trains together. New companions arrive Thursday afternoon/evening (Friday morning on the island - the boat ride takes all night). So what happened? We got a call around lunch on Monday, and my companion has been transferred away to the island - to Cagliari. He leaves tomorrow. Sad. I am staying, and my new companion was the MTC companion of my last companion in Quartu. I've heard only good things about him. Here in Battipaglia, I am on special assignment - missionaries are not only assigned due to the need of the people in their areas or branches, but also determined by the need of other missionaries. Hence, the other 2 missionaries in the apartment are staying here (since our target elder has improved so well in the last month), and we will continue to pray for miracles. I realized that there are a few ways to look at the situation. My choice - realize that President really trusts me - enough to give me stewardship over other missionaries. Missionaries that really need help. That's what he told me on the phone - that he is leaving me here because he has faith that it will work out. I'm grateful for his support, and I know that with the Lord I will be made equal to the task.
Oh! I have a few pictures to send! I'll do it at the end. On another email. I learned that the hard way a long time ago. For future missionaries reading, I have a few points of advice for the myldsmail account (you probably already realize them... but for your own sake...) 1. When you are reading emails and they are all garbled, close the email, push the update button (it's red), then click the email again. Go forward a few emails (the right arrow button), then go back to the one you want to read (or the attachment you want to open). Normally this works for me. I think it's because when you delete or purge an email it messes slightly with the following ones or something like that.
2. Send attachments only with short emails. Sometimes large attachments can freeze the system and eat your email. Also, you may want to delete the large attachments from your sent folder, and if they are connected to large emails it can become complicated if you want to save the emails somehow.
3. If you write for more than 45 minutes (or are inactive), if you try to send the email it will log you out. Use your username, followed by, and your password to log in. Example - for my username I would put
4. Ensure that you purge, not only delete, unwanted emails.
Here in Battipaglia, the work is going well. We have lots of people that want to learn about the Gospel, and our family that owns the cheese factory gives us tons of referrals. The Lord is blessing us. These last few days have been trying - we found an investigator that has a really hard life (and there is nothing we can do to help him financially or legally). I will miss my companion when he leaves tomorrow. It's strange - we have known each other for less than 2 months, and a big chunk of me is getting ripped out as he leaves. It's the same way with every companion - you miss them... the little things you could count on. My next companion is pretty new in the mission, and my last companion said he was a good missionary, so I hope we can learn a lot from each other and be perfect examples of perfect obedience for the other 2 missionaries in our apartment.
Today we go to Paestum (even though it is raining) - a site with ancient Greek temples. We should be the only ones there - no one to get in our pictures!
Really right now, I am grateful for the opportunity the mission is affording me to grow and change. I would have really liked to have the opportunity to explode an area (be with a fireball companion, have no bars, all stops pulled out and change the world...), but the Lord has asked me kindly to do something else. It reminds me of our Mongolian Elder's analogy a while back, mixed with one of my quotes from a while back... "If you are called to be a Bundt cake, then you'd better be a Bundt cake. But that doesn't mean that you can't be the best Bundt cake in the whole universe for all of eternity!" I know the Lord places us in the situations and gives us the trials and blessings that will help us to grow to our full potential. I am grateful that He is always by our side when we follow in His footsteps.
I know that this work is the most important work. Period. People everywhere are looking for solutions to their problems, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ has the answers. We have the answers. We know how to find real lasting peace and joy. We know how to have eternal life. We know the truth, and how to find it. I know that God is our Father, and that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to atone for our sins. I know that Jesus Christ has made it possible for us to individually and with our families return to live in His presence for all eternity, as it states in the scriptures, "In a state of neverending bliss". Sounds a bit trite, but that, too, is true. The Holy Ghost gives us a taste of eternal joy. Reading the scriptures, sharing them with friends and family, praying with and for others... doing missionary work gives more satisfaction than any other thing on earth. I know this Church is true, and I know that we are guided by a living prophet on the earth today. Now go out and shout it on the housetops! I love you all!
Anziano David Peterson

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