Thursday, August 7, 2008

Missionary Letters--Rome Italy: Departing Thoughts of Returning Missionary

Cari Miei,

The time has come the walrus said... ok well I guess here is goes, my
very last email. I remember like it was yesterday, oh wait it was
yesterday that I was sitting in an internet point for the very first time in
Livorno Italy writing my family... no one had written me yet but that
shouldn't have been suprising because you people pretty much stunk at
writing me while on this mission. I could hardly speak any Italian and I
had trouble understanding the man who directed me to the computer that
he wanted me to use.

Growing up I know that we always heard about how much a mission changes
peoples' lives, and I totally expected the mission to be dedicated
service to the Lord, but oh I just had no clue how much fun and yet how
much work it really would be. I just want to share quickly 3 things that
I have been thinking about this week with the inevitable reflecting
that I have tried not to do, but that came anyways.

First, My very first transfer I was doing lungo mare which is where you
walk along the side walk and you talk to people about the Restoration
if you can get them to listen to you. I remember that it always makes
me feel like a Book of Mormon prophet because you can just really relate
to how they felt being rejected and cast out lol. We came to an old
man and he told us that his wife goes to church every day but that she is
still sick and will probably die. Then he said "Why should I believe
in God, what has he ever done for me?" I have talked to hundreds of
people who are alot like this man in the last year and a half. They live in
nice houses, they are surounded by beautiful things, they have
families, and above all else Jesus Christ atoned for their sins. I know that
God is our loving Heavenly Father and that one of the most important
things that we can do in this life is remember every day to be GRATEFUL.
When we forget to be grateful we stop being able to recognize that had
of God in our lives. I have thought over and over of the scripture that
I only memorized in Italian but which says insoma havnt you had enough
signs do you want to tempt God you have the testimony of the prophets
and of all of your brothers and ALL THINGS TESTIFY that THERE IS A GOD.
I have seen his hand every day in my life, he knows you he loves you
how amazing.

Second, I know that God answers prayers. I once found myself lost on a
street looking for the house of a lady named Mary. Her instructions
were as follows, get off the train, walk down the street, there is a gas
station on the right, and a restaurant on the left, at the red car turn
left and you will see a blue gate, I live there... There were quite a
few restaurtants on this long street and quite a few gas stations, and
more than quite a few red cars. I didnt know what to do. She didnt pick
up the phone. So we stopped and like I have done a lot of times on this
mission. We stood on the side of a buzy street folded our arms bowed
our heads and just prayed. Lord I am not leaving you sent us here and we
know that you will show us how to get to this ladies house. We are
grateful for all you do, help us to be led by the spirit. We wandered
that street for 1 hour, there were no blue fences. When we were about to
go home, I said a silent prayer in my heart. I looked up at the car
dealership that we had passed at least 5 times and read "REAL CAR"... we
turned left onto a street with nothing but a factory on it, behind the
factory was one random hidden blue fence. I know that God answers prayers.
I have prayed with people for the first time in their homes on our
knees and heard them talk to God for the first time. I know he was
listening. Sometimes we are just a little slow to put things together or we
just don't hear the instructions right at first. He always answers and if
sometimes it takes a while in the end the journey will have qualified
us for the answer.

Third, I love you all so much. I know that we will be a forever
family... that is right you are all stuck with me forever so get used to it. I
have felt a small part of God's love for the people i have taught here
in Italy. I love the Italians. The one things which I have felt so
strongly is the desire to teach them how to have an eternal family. I never
realized the power of that until I taught Carmella for the first time
that all things would be all right because she could have her family
with her forever no matter what happens in this life.

OK I am out of time, but I just want you to know that I know that God
calls prophets, he always has, it is just us who reject them. I know
there is a prophet on the earth today because Joseph Smith saw God the
Father and Jesus Christ and that he was called to be a prophet. My
favorite line in preach my gospel is found in the second lesson it says that
every injustice can be made right through the atonement of Jesus Christ.

People's lives are complicated. They are full of burdens that feel
heavy. People don't know where to find peace. I know that as impossible as it
seems that the Atonement of Christ can heal every wound. I have loved
serving God I have has SOOOOOO much fun. I have loved the words of the
prophets I have read them and cried over them and laughed over them and
felt their power and I have taught them to others. I know the Book of
Mormon is true.

I am a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints!
What a beautiful sentence. I am a servant of God and I will work so
hard for the Lord for the next 7 days.... and then for the rest of my life
lol. I love you all sooooo much. See ya soon.

Vi Voglio Bene

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