Friday, February 16, 2007

Transfers are coming!: June 29,2005

...And we have the predictions!
A fun thing we do in the mission is called "transfer predictions" - it is a few minutes during District Development Meeting where everyone in the District guesses (really, we never have any clue) what will happen during transfers. The call comes next Monday and Transfers themselves are next Thursday. Everyone thinks that I will leave (except me - I think I am doomed to live in the awful heat of Napoli for the rest of my life :) and go North. We'll see. In the meantime, send letters to the mission office for a bit in case of strange happenings...
In response to Mikey's question, I will give a short horror story of an Italian hospital. The health in Italy is socialized, at least part of it. But, it is a bad socialized. When I twisted my ankle, I went to Pellegrini Hospital and was given a wheelchair and wheeled up to Pronto Soccorso, or the Emergency Room. There I sat for a while... and it was a big room divided by curtains with flies buzzing around. The doctors got into a big argument and I was forgotten for a while. They finally wheeled me into a curtained-off area where there were already three people on beds - one who got catheterized twice while we were there - in the open! With just a curtain that wasn't always closed dividing us from the rest of the world! Another just lay there as if dead, and another person was there with an IV in his arm moaning. I sat on a chair and waited. After a while the man who looked dead sat up and just left. A nurse came in and told me I had to leave, so I started hopping on one foot, she apologized profusely, and put another patient on the bed and moved the blood pressure equipment there and left the patient. They put me in a wheelchair again and I went downstairs to get x-rayed. The machine looked safe... And they said I didn't have a fracture. They then gave me a sheet of paper with the analysis, which was about three words, one about 97 letters long, and then took the paper and wheeled me upstairs again and put a sort of just-add-water cast (of course, in a position that made it itch so badly that I took it off the next morning) on my foot (it never dried - it was still sopping wet when we left). Then the doctor gave me a prescription for 2 shots each day (for bad blood??!!), some type of painkiller that dissolved in water, and powerful antibiotics (the kind I would not take except on my deathbed) and something else strange, and told me I needed to fill them and return for a checkup appointment. We scheduled the appointment (of course, I never went back again) and went downstairs, to learn that the hospital did not have crutches, to lend or sell! Obviously with no way to get home, the ambulance driver offered to drive me - with lights on - for $80?! Finally a friend came and picked us up, and I got home and was miserable. My companion was more traumatized by the whole experience, but I have heard of people going into the hospital and dying from absolutely nothing, or having horrible curable diseases (appendicitis, etc) and dying... and because it is socialized, all the doctors are in cahoots with each other and even the autopsy will say that the doctor did all he could to save the life... To be blunt, Italy is about 80 years behind America in everything, including systems of public health.
There's a type of cheese here that isn't found in America - it's called mozzarella di bufala - mozzarella made from buffalo milk. The mozzarella here is in its own milk - it's a cheese that actually makes the story of the man who killed seven with one blow (it's a fairy tale - no time to recount - but it's fun to read :) make sense - when he squeezed the cheese, milk came out. It's the same way here... but we wanted to go north to make it. It takes a while to get there, and we think they make it only in the morning, so we have to wait maybe until next week, but I want to go and help... and then eat some, because it's really good. Instead, we are going to the Museum - the most important archeological museum in Europe.
Here's something to lighten your day and help you be grateful for the knowledge of the Gospel. There is a man here who was searching on the internet and found a "top secret classified document" from the United States Government that he said would be the end of the world. He told his mom about it (his mom is a member that doesn't come to church only because she works to support his family...) and this is what he said. You know when America went to the moon? Well, they went to other planets too, and they found people just like us, and they talked to them, and the other people told the astronauts that there is no Heavenly Father. How far lost would you have to be to believed something like that? How utterly brainwashed to not have a basic understanding of reality? Truly, that is the most absurd thing I have ever heard - every single point of it. I am so grateful that the Gospel teaches us the truth - and that it makes sense, and that we can recognize truth in all of its forms.
So we fasted with the Father of our newly baptized family, and he is overcoming smoking. He still smokes (but only 1 a day, instead of 3 packs!) a little, but asserts each time we see him that he is stronger than the cigarettes. Go! Another woman - the one from Ecuador - was having trouble with things in her house. She is recently reactivated and is absolutely on fire. She was showering and the umbrella started levitating. She stopped it and went back to shower, and then it started moving again. She quickly got out and moved it, then started thinking... the umbrella can't move - so why was it moving? It is impossible for the umbrella to move by itself. What is happening. I do not doubt that the adversary saw a potential adversary in her and was trying to scare her. That proved true when she had dozens of problems getting to Church the next day, but she overcame them and told me that the Devil was not laughing anymore at her problems.
Well, my companion is done and we want to go to the Museum, so I'll finish with a short thought. We were listening to a talk the other day and we were promised all the blessings of the prophets if we have the faith of the prophets. If we study with diligence, live by the Spirit, and pray with faith, we can see visions, dream dreams, encounter angels, and see the face of Deity. We really can, and He wants us to! Reach out and touch the veil, and with faith we can see through it.
I had a very strong thought that Mom was in the hospital this morning... so please, please take every precaution on this trip! Let Dad do everything heavy or dangerous, and if there's a problem, and if he can't do it himself call someone else. Just be careful - you are all in my prayers.
I love you all! Be good missionaries and prepare the way for the Savior to come again!
Anziano David Peterson

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