Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Missionary Letters--Rome Italy: Finding Honest in Heart


This week was good, we were in Rome basically every day. I am emailing today because tomorrow we will be in Rome yet again to give blood in a blood drive at an the international school where our mission presidents children go to school. So that should be exciting, I hope that my companion doesn't faint!

Because we were in Rome so much we really did not have a lot of time to go to some of the other cities near by Ladispoli but Friday night as we were praying we thought that we should go to Santa Marinella to pass back by this man named Salvatore.

Three weeks ago we knocked on a rickety old fence where we were not sure if anyone lived. Two men came down the back stairs of this house an older man Salvatore and a younger man Gaetano. At first they thought we were Jehovah's Witnesses (like everyone else in Italy... that or the Amish) anyways when we explained who we were they took a pamphlet and told us that right now they were eating dinner but to come back after they had a chance to read it.

We didn't know how interested they were but a week and a half later when we managed to get back out to Santa Marinella we passed back by. Gaetano was there and he told us that Salvatore wanted to see us but that he wasn't home. We couldn't go up because there were no women in their home but we taught him about prayer and asked him to pray. He told us that he loved Jesus and was in fact that night going to go and get a giant tattoo on his chest to show his love for Christ. To this I replied that God didn't want him to damage his body because it is a temple and that if he would pray God would tell him that it was not a good idea, in fact that God would answer any of his prayers. He agreed to pray about it and read another pamphlet we left about the restoration.

So now we really didn't know if Salvatore was interested or not but Saturday night we went by. We rang the doorbell and both of them peaked their heads out. The second they saw us they just smiled and came right down. Salvatore told us that since we came the last time that he had read the pamphlet and that since that moment the desire that he had lost to pray come back to him, that he was going through a hard period of time but that ever since we came that things that he didn't know how to face were working themselves out and that he had found a desire to understand if God really would listen and answer his prayers. I didn't really know what to say so we told him about Joseph Smith and gave him a Book of Mormon and asked him to come to church the next day.

BTW Gaetano got the tattoo... Piano Piano I guess we should work on his testimony of prophets and modern day revelation sometimes you learn the hard way...

So when Salvatore came to church the next day he told us that there were a million things that tried to stop him from coming to church. The night before he read the introduction to the Book of Mormon and then went to bed but that in the middle of the night he had a dream where something carried him literally to church and he knew that he just had to get there. He told us that he was up here working because he is from Sicily and that he didn't have enough money to feed his family who is still down there and that his 15 year old daughter is pregnant and that he just didn't know what to do but that after we talked about prayer he prayed and that the next day he got money from work that he didn't know if he would get and that he should be able to bring his daughter here and help her.

All we did was show up 3 times at this mans house and he was just READY, ready to accept our message, ready to do our invites, ready to humble himself and ask God. I don't know what will happen. In our training last week Elder Johnson of the Seventy said that they had a meeting with President Hinckley where they talked about increasing baptisms in Europe. President Hinckley said only one thing... if the missionaries want to increase baptisms they need to have more faith. All we did was go to this man's house three times, thats it. I think that I am realizing how much work the Lord is really doing every day in peoples lives, members, less active members, non members... he is working in our lives and giving us experiences to bring us to him. I worry a lot about my inadequacies that I am not a good enough teacher, that I don't know how to find people, that I don't love people enough... but none of that matters as long as Heavenly Father can use us to do his work. I am trying to always have more faith not so much in myself but in God and in his work here in Italy. I love that he answers the prayers of those who ask, seek, and knock.


S.Faux said...

Dr. B:

There are simply few things better than a good missionary letter from a daughter or son. I hope you keep posting these. Your daughter expresses herself so well.

Last year or so when my son served in Salt Lake for his mission, I could hardly get through the week until we got his email. I worried; I fretted; I prayed; I put his name in the Temple.

He is now a RM, but he is away from home this summer trying to earn some money for school. He is doing sales in Chicago. For whatever reason, I have little worry. I don't care if he sells much. He's got a cell phone, and I can procrastinate all I want in contacting him. ;)

Is it just me, or is there a "Missionary Effect?"

Dr. B said...

It is amazing the spiritual growth that our children have on a mission. I have been impressed that my daughter has been self-reflecting on her mission. She is one of my few children that despite the fact we don't email her regularly keeps sending us her weekly email. She has obedience to the mission rules. I wish my wife and I were more conscientious about keeping in touch.