Saturday, February 17, 2007

'Tis a gift to be simple...: October 5, 2005

Dear Family & Friends,
It's nice to get a lot of emails. Unlike Mexico however, I don't often have the opportunity to print out pages of emails. They get left on the computer and when it fills up transferred to my pen drive. We are in a country that borders on another world sometimes (and it's not the first or second or sometimes third). Congrats the mission call to Texas - it will be difficult to learn the language, and I hope they teach it in the MTC. It will be strange thinking of her in the MTC like the Sorelle in my own mission - I just heard recently that the Sorella that teaches beginner English in our morning class is 26! Wow - where will I be in seven years? Non ne parliamo. I'm also excited to hear about BYU Hawaii dreams. I would certainly go skydiving with you if I weren't a missionary (strictly against protocol) and if I were home.
Our (1) baptism of October that was supposed to be this Saturday is not happening right now. She was progressing up until Tuesday and then suddenly wouldn't give us the time of day. We arranged a ride to General Conference (we got to see most of the sessions, praise to the Lord!), and some BYU students on study abroad took care of her children. She didn't pay attention very well, and when we went back on Monday she wouldn't even talk to us. She said it was because she needed money and needed to call her brother-in-law and make arrangements for going to London and etc... We'll go back next week and start over. Hopefully she will have felt the mancanza della nostra presenza.
I loved the talk about the light within our eyes - I've read the story of the BYU Jerusalem Center a few times, and someone gave a talk similar in the past, but it was nice that he gave us the reason and the how to kindle a light in our own eyes. Dedication, Diligence, Consecration... Or at least I think those were the three.
Today, to be more efficient (smile!), we woke up early to go to Civitavecchia and dedicate the gravesite of a contact's daughter. Today is her third month in paradise. (It's much better to think of it that way) We also bought abbonamenti (monthly train passes) to save money on our train rides.
Congratulations on the marriage announcement! If I were home I would try to take part in the high-intensity family screening process that ensures your future spouse will be faithful, loving, loyal to the Church, worthy, a hard worker, trustworthy, helpful, friendly, know the lists. I pray that you will be happy.
Italy is still beautiful - and I am realizing again how spoiled I am in the beautiful town of Ladispoli. There really is nothing here, except a beautiful apartment with wall-mounted air conditioning (we will switch to heating soon), a view of the sea, a mailbox right next to our house (which reminds me, I have to buy stamps to mail letters- I can never seem to find them and I would feel bad sending them without stamps - they would probably still arrive), a wonderful companion that has committed to get up and exercise with me, and my bucket of sourdough starter. I made sourdough cinnamon rolls and lemon rolls for English Class yesterday and they were great! I made the sourdough starter myself from our American cookbook (a bit faster than normal - I stuck it in hot water and it almost exploded! ...But that's another story), and it is alive and well. (Burps after every meal, and tries to spit up like our newest little brother... though mine only eats after exercising and eats flour and sugar. Basta) We also made pepperoncino oil this last week, and it is starting to get hot. We just poured pepperoncini and garlic in a bottle of olive oil and left it. We also made a travel size in a Tabasco sauce bottle - it's really hot!
Af far as work goes, we did scambi yesterday and I was here with a new Zone Leader. We held a class before English Class for the members and talked about being a good member missionary, toward members, inactives, investigators, and friends. We did an activity to "become" new members again - the Spirit was really strong they understood, and then talked about not giving counsel (ever!), bearing testimony, not asking personal questions, and listening without acting. There were some terse responses, especially on not ever giving counsel to anyone not under your authority, but at the end we all realized that the only counsel we can give to those not under our own stewardship is that of a testimony of the truth of the Gospel and the personal relationship we can all have with our Father in Heaven. When we don't talk about doctrine and instead bear testimony of our own lives, we help direct people to meet with the missionaries. In fact, we are to phase two in our "becoming a missionary long before going on a mission."
Phase 1 - Pray every day for missionary opportunities, for yourself, personally, with the faith that the Lord will use you and the confidence that He will guide you.
Phase 2 - Change your viewpoint about others. People are not 'ready' and 'not ready' for the Gospel. We are all children of God - a Heavenly Father who deeply loves and cares for us. Everyone has need of the Gospel, as much as they will accept it. Re-look-at your family, friends, colleagues, people on the street as people that the Lord has put in your way to help them come into contact with the Gospel. You don't need to be friends to ask someone to learn about the Gospel. And you cannot judge anyone based on anything. The Lord looks on the heart, and He wants all men to come unto Him. How could you think anything else?
I truly love all of you - Vi voglio tantissimo bene!
May the Lord be with you and guide you to those who are desperately searching for the truth.
Anziano David Peterson

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