Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Time flies by...: 19 April, 2006

Dear Family & Friends,
Here in Battipaglia the time has already gone... transfers are next week, and the Lord has not yet told me whether I stay or go. I'm not sure. The others may get blown out to another city (it is hard to work with members right now, because of them), and my companion has been here for a long time already. But then again, I don't think the stars have aligned just yet (or the cards in the transfer board), so you all won't know what happens until next week. Va bene. In the meantime, you can send mail to the mission office. Today we went to the Reggia di Caserta - the Royal Palace in Caserta - which is a really famous landmark built by the King of Napoli in the late 1700's. The gardens are huge and magnificent and I can see why numerous filmmakers use the spot for shooting scenes. Our baptism on Saturday didn't go through, sadly - the husband of our investigator objected right at the last moment (really - at 6:15 when the baptism was at 6:30). Va bene. The font leaks badly - it is one of those portable, put-together-by-yourself ones (you don't know what I'm talking about), and there are holes in the vinyl. It doesn't leak too bad. We are going to go talk with a Catholic Priest so we can assuage her husband, and assure him that their marriage will not be annulled if she is baptized a member of the Church. Also, this week the Lord helped us to interpret an investigator's dreams. For years, she has had dreams that are more like nightmares for missionaries. Babies in the desert, God appearing and walking up and down a staircase into heaven, trees and mountains and stakes in the desert and fighter jets and so much more that most missionaries have told her simply to forget about anything she has ever dreamed... but as most of us know, you do not forget dreams easily. I still remember nightmares I had when I was little, and this woman refused to forget her revelatory dreams. I was thinking about her one day, and I suddenly realized that all she needed was an interpretation of her dreams... and the Lord could most definitely do it! We prayed, and studied the scriptures, and then her dreams began to make sense (not before, but during the appointment, when our minds were enlightened and we turned to scriptures that explained the symbolism that had always set us on edge). She is progressing so quickly now - she realizes that these dreams are not strange proofs that she will play some unreal role in the 2nd coming of Christ, but are symbolic of the role that every member of the Church needs to play - that of missionary work. All of us need to carry the Gospel to those who are close to us, and we need to fulfill the role we are called to fulfill. We will not receive revelation for those who are called to be our leaders, nor will we know what to do for those over which we do not have stewardship. But we can receive revelation for those who need help from us, as the Lord helped us explain her dreams. She is much more committed to baptism... now we only need to talk with her husband, man-to-man.
I'm grateful that the missionaries are not being soft with our family. Being a big family means that we have a big impact in the society - lots of people who watch us. Like the people on the block who know us but never have truly spoken to us, everyone around us takes notice. Who can't? A mom and dad and 6, 7, 8 (we have never been 9 together) kids in the suburbs of Chicago? All smiling brightly for the whole world to see? I think it high time that our family play a major role carrying the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all people. And I'm not talking about going out and inviting people to Church. Invite them to dinner. Talk about the past. Talk about the family, and they will see the difference. They will come to love being with you, because you bear the Holy Ghost. And then, explain it to them. Bear testimony of the truth. Invite them to meet with missionaries, and be there every step of the way. I know that everyone on the earth is searching for the truth, in some small way, and we are the ones who hold the key. We have peace and happiness, and love unfeigned. Obviously, everyone else can achieve them as well (no corners, as Elder Ballard says in "Our Search for Happiness" - an amazing missionary tool that you can give to friends who want to understand the Gospel), and the Lord wants to give all His blessings to all His children through sacred covenants. We have the authority to do perform such covenants.
I'm grateful that we have obedient missionaries at home as well. We are working to be obedient here. I love you all, and pray for your safety and success. Read the Book of Mormon. Pray daily, sincerely. Go to Church and worship the Lord our God. I love you!
Anziano David Peterson

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