Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Winds of Change: September 6, 2006

Dear Family and Friends,
With Anziano Snyder, the new missionary in our apartment, came the new white handbook. It was almost a race to see who could read it first and find the things that would change our lives as missionaries. Most of the things won't seem all that new to outsiders... but there are some things that could set off firecrackers around the world. First, there is a part in the handbook that explains that missionaries should return home immediately after their missions without any delay. It then gives diverse reasons for this rule. We are not exactly sure what this was intended to say, but it seems clear that it is prohibiting the ever-popular "mission giro" where family members come to pick up a departing missionary and then they together become tourists for anywhere from a week to a few months before going home to finally be released by the Stake President. We will have to determine what and why... in the meantime, the Lord has again answered my prayers for guidance (and it only took one day, too!) - I'll be coming home to go to school in January. Maybe I'll even get to hear from Hermano Peterson as he goes out to the field, but even if not, there's always Mother's Day! Obviously, it doesn't prohibit missionaries visiting their country of service, only not staying there as a missionary on the missionary visa that may be impossible to renew for the next missionary until you pass the border once again.
My companion... it is strange to have a companion that speaks Italian better than I do. (He's Italian) I find myself having to think about taking an active part in lessons because his language flows a bit better than mine does. All in all, though, we are trying to communicate. He really wants to learn English, and I am striving to teach him well. The new handbook really cuts down on slang, including mission slang, so I am much happier (another prayer answered - the Lord must really love His missionaries!) and my companion is willing to oblige. As of yet, this transfer hasn't presented any stressful events, except that we don't know what is happening! Elder Schultz of the Seventy is coming to do a mission tour, but we don't know when... which makes scheduling all the other things that have to be done a huge hassle.
I have a question for returned missionaries and missionaries in the field: How many people are/were in your districts and zones in the mission field? How many districts in a zone? Did you ever have two-man districts? And how much time did you have to travel to get to District Meeting each week?
We found a Soup Kitchen to do service this last week, and yesterday we went to give service; it was a great experience and all three companionships worked together to pull off a miracle. The other Elders talked with and made friends with the other two volunteers, our companionship taught a simple first lesson over the lunch table as we ate together, and the Sisters set up a return appointment to talk about the Gospel.
These last few days have been filled to the brim with miracles. We are using another finding method - Sondaggio - surveys where we ask questions about people's basic beliefs in God, the purpose of life, the family, Jesus Christ... Many people then want to hear about our message to the world. We have been talking with many people and the Lord is finally answering our prayers to bless the city of Florence. One thing that is incredible - you need to be careful what you pray for. This last Sunday, it wasn't raining, but as we left around 3 to go to an appointment, I voiced a prayer that the Lord would help everyone go outside and downtown - so the piazza could be full when we arrived to sing. Not thinking about the consequences of such a prayer, we then went to knock doors. No one answered. Maybe 5 people on a huge street. I think they were all outside going to centro. My companion and I laughed for a bit and then found another finding activity downtown. The Lord really is willing to answer our prayers if we have the faith that He will.
Congratulations to everyone with new things in their lives - new babies, babies to come, mission calls, and everything else. Sorry if I forget birthdays or other important events. It means my mind is focused on the work (or that I didn't write it in my planner).
To end, I would like to invite all of you to do all the good things you feel you should do, when you feel you should do them. In short, follow the promptings of the Spirit. In the Book of Mormon, we read that all things that invite men to do good come from Christ. How many times have you felt like calling someone, or visiting someone, or talking with someone, or stopping and doing something that felt like a good thing to do? Every day, there are people all around us that need our help, and if we listen to the Spirit He will tell us where we need to go and what we need to do to help others come unto Christ. Last Friday was a good example of that - we went out to do work and simply followed our promptings. We taught a ton of people who have been looking for the Gospel because we stopped our bikes in an abandoned (almost) park, went to look at the sunset, took another street home, or went to a darkened park near 9:00. The Lord will bless us. We need to have that faith. If we ask for direction and the Lord gives it to us, we can expect that He will bless us for our diligence. If He does not give it to us and we do the best that we can, we can expect the exact same blessings as if an angel of the Lord had commanded us to complete the same action. In fact, we can expect more - we chose ourselves! That is why we need to be anxiously engaged - ask the Lord for guidance, listen carefully and follow the promptings of the Spirit when they come. When they don't, follow the guidance the Lord has given in the past and He will bless you. He will bless you! Have that faith, and ask for His blessings! I know that this Church is true. I know that Jesus is the Christ, and that Gordon B. Hinckley is a prophet of God. Be true to the Faith!
Anziano Peterson

No comments:

Post a Comment

Custom Search