Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The time is far spent...: December 27, 2006

Dear Family and Friends,
I guess friends aren't really going to receive this email; I'll have to forward it to them when I get back. Va bene. Non c'è problema. No problem. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone! Here in Italy we have interesting weather - in the mornings on my bike my fingers begin to freeze, then during the day it gets hot again, in the evening it gets cold, and the floor of our apartment is so warm that at night I feel hot! The mosquitoes went on vacation for Christmas. I put into practice this week a principle that I want to internalize for the rest of my life - sacrificing for others. Last Sunday our bike helmets were stolen, so we had to buy new ones. I had a thought as we were going to the bike store, and when the salesman asked, "Scontrino unico, o due?" I said, "Scontrino unico." Merry Christmas companion. I got him a set of batteries for his front light on his bike as well.
I realized that, many times, we have the opportunity to help other people do what is right if we will only make a small sacrifice. Example: You are with a group of friends and they begin to make plans to do something outside the Standards of the Gospel. What can you do? You can try to make some good plans, but sometimes it doesn't work. Nothing helps. Are you going to simply go along into transgression? Or are you going to leave your friends to do what they want, "It's their life... they have free agency" and utterly deny themselves of exaltation? Or can you have the keen-ness of mind to see the obstacle and make a way out of it? "There's (such-and-such) playing at the Dollar Theater - Let's go - My treat." Who's going to turn down a free movie offer? What have you lost? A few dollars - 10? 20? 50? What have you gained? You helped your friends (those who you want to take with you to the Celestial Kingdom) have fun in an environment that doesn't run away the Spirit. There are countless opportunities to help people be obedient to the commandments of the Lord, simply by helping them make the first step.
Our Christmas Party on Friday was an incredible success - We arrived and our members started introducing us to people we didn't know. I realized, "This is an incredible member referral!" And we taught. And taught. And taught. And taught again. We got 7 referrals from members, and the other missionaries got referrals as well. We gave away a copy of the Book of Mormon and have a follow-up appointment with a man; others told us that they felt the Spirit of the Lord guide them to the Church for the party. I was so busy teaching that I didn't have time to be involved in the program - good thing I hadn't planned it! I'm not even sure what the missionaries did; they called me on the microphone to come and sing (took a break from teaching, sang, came back to finish teaching) and it went really well. I was happy. Christmas Day we opened some gifts - from members, others, etc. Later that day we went to the Church to eat dinner with the other missionaries and do phone calls. It was a bit complicated on my part! There wasn't time in the phone schedule at Church, so I braved a public telephone. After a few tries and lots of different numbers, I used 2 phone cards at the same time (one for Italy and one for America) and was able to get through. Perhaps it would have been better to not call... Everyone was trunky (When are you coming home? It will be so nice to see you... etc) I'm certainly not! It helped me realize how much I really have changed... I left, and left a hole in the family, a hole among my friends. Everyone remembers the person I was. For two years, I've been a servant of the Lord, and I have changed. I don't fit in the spot I was before. In a short while I won't fit here, either. And so, I won't fit anywhere. I think that's why missionaries have it so hard - they go back to the people who think they know them and find that they (the missionaries) have changed remarkably, whereas only two years has passed at home... so don't be surprised when my accent and my fluency in Italian aren't the only things that set me apart from 2004.
I intend on emailing every week for the rest of my life. This account is good for another 2 months; by the expiration I'll have another one to use. Ueia! That's a big commitment! But I think it will be easier than just that - there will always be missionaries to email.
Interesting bit of information: Elder Peterson's flight to Nicaragua leaves at 11:45 pm Tuesday night, Mountain Time. My flight leaves Wednesday morning at 7:50 am, Italian Time. There's an 8-hour time difference. We leave at the same time. One Elder going out to the field, another returning home. There's a lot of symbolism in that. If I call from the airport, it will be very, very late at night there; I'll pray about it and follow the Spirit. Either way, I'll have a chance to talk with Elder Peterson on Mother's Day. My flight should get in at 2pm; we have to go through customs as well, so I don't know when I'll get out.
I had this incredible idea - I am going to write down and index all the spiritual experiences (the smaller ones - not the really big ones) I've had in my life (yes, it's a long-term goal) and what principles they teach and what invites I can use them for. Personally, I love personal experiences. And I've seen that having experiences available helps others to believe in a principle enough to have experiences of their own. (Finding things after praying, for example).
My companion and I get along well; we are two very different creatures and we have trouble understanding each other on even the most basic of levels. I think we are simply totally different - not opposite - but somehow different in a way that I was never aware possible.
I know that the Lord is with us - we prayed to find people a few days ago and He led us to an Evangelist Church at 8pm. I knocked "Why not?", and the door opened! We taught two men about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and we felt the Spirit of the Lord testify. I know that Jesus is the Christ - we can be missionaries without a black nametag - and I know that He will always be with us, if we let Him! I love you all!
Anziano Peterson

No comments:

Post a Comment

Custom Search