Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Transferred! On to the art!: July 19, 2006

Dear Family and Friends,
Obviously, I have been transferred. We received the call Monday (not that we were not expecting it) during DDM and I'll tell you in a little bit where I've been transferred. The title betrays it a little. During DDM, though, so I don't forget, we did a roleplay for one of the elders in our district, who is no longer a missionary. He just finished his mission, and so I wanted to help him realize the importance of member missionary work. We pretended we were in the supermarket and we saw another man buying baby supplies (bottles, food, etc). That's all - what would you do to invite someone like that to hear the gospel? How do you begin? We realized, after a few failed attempts, that talking to people without having a nametag as an excuse can be difficult - especially in the publicity of a supermarket (and even in roleplaying!). The phone rang, and transfer calls came... and then we started with some great begin friendly, smiling, and then talking about the family. We used family home evening as an opportunity to invite him to learn more about the Gospel.
Ok, ok. I know you're dying to know where I'll be spending at least the next 3 months of my life. The answer is... Firenze. Florence in the crude English tongue. To pronounce it correctly you say - Fee-ren-tsay. That's Italian. I have not heard so many "Che bello!"'s in my life - it's obvious that Italians are proud of the culture that came from a certain Dante Alighieri or the famed works of artists like Michelangelo. I'm going to the branch called Firenze 1, and I don't know exactly where it is just yet. But Firenze will be beautiful. And fun. And a lot of work.
In preparation for the transfer, we have been doing all finding work. Lots of house. Lots of mostra. Lost of miracles. I wish I could be on TV. Maybe I'll write a few newspaper articles in Italian and give them to the Public Relations couple. Maybe Firenze will have a TV station. Beh? Sunday I taught both Priesthood and Sunday School, and the presiding authority had asked me to give a parting testimony, but he took the rest of the time. As I taught, I was grateful for the guidance of the Lord - I realize every time I prepare a lesson the work that goes into teaching. I am grateful for the people who took the time to teach me before my mission. It reminds me of being Sunday School President at BYU, and preparing a lesson every week... and then having to teach on demand if a teacher didn't show. Even though I was teaching members of many years there, I felt so much more at ease here. Perhaps the spirit of the Lord helps us to teach when we are missionaries. It has certainly happened to me.
We essentially knocked doors for hours this week. I tried to spend the time getting to know my companion (too late? Never!) - he doesn't talk much and likes to listen. I talk a lot and like to listen. It ends that he asks me questions and I talk and he learns a lot about me and I can't remember the names of his siblings. So I tried asking him questions and found a brick wall. Maybe rubber. Certainly softer than brick. I finally found the right questions these last few days, and I feel like I know him better (just in time to leave). My new companion... I don't know anything about him, except that he finishes his mission in 6 weeks. I hope he doesn't make me trunky.
Today we went to the Zoo. It was really sad, and I almost cried. It was awful - all these unkept animals in cage-like habitats... with little food, unclean living conditions... there were these two bears with dirty drinking water and wading in mud 3 inches deep... or 12 tigers in a row in individual 9 by 9 cages. Not very fun. Va bene. It's a different culture, and I'm grateful for places like Yellowstone, where wildlife can think they are truly wild, and we can see them be happy.
Well, the internet place is almost closing... and I still have 24 minutes. We spend 33 cents an hour here. I think that missionaries will come here for the rest of all eternity. I've never heard of cheaper.
This last week our greatest miracle was doing mostra. We began stopping people and after a few minutes I stopped a family. Husband, wife, son, daughter. They were from Belgium, near Holland, and they were searching for the truth. They had never seen missionaries or even heard about the Church before. They left me their information and want missionaries and literature and contact information to give to all the other members of their church and they have 7 children! I thought just that enough to merit having done mostra, but the night was filled with miracles. I know the Lord's hand is in this work!
Dear family, I know the Lord is with us, whatever we do. We only need to follow his commandments. A sister that hated me (really) when I arrived apologized this week - she realized that the complete obedience I stood for brought the miracles the Lord had promised. It really was true. She simply didn't believe it before because she had never seen it spoken and then followed through with. I hope she can help missionaries in the future. I know that Jesus is the Christ, and that God is our Father. We are His children, and this is the true Church of Jesus Christ. I love you all - go out and be missionaries! Realize that you are on a mission, whoever you are! We are part of God's mission - to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man! I love you! Next time, from Firenze!
Anziano Peterson

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