Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's beginning to look like Christmas.

It is starting to feel like Christmas here in Rome! We drink lots of hot chocolate and everyone put up their lights (there is an official "put up your Christmas decorations" day here in Italy) and its cold enough to snow!
Highlights from the week:
Number one highlight would be the service we did yesterday. One of the families here lives about an hour outside the city and owns some land in the countryside, including an olive grove of 300 olive trees. We spent the morning harvesting olives from the trees, and it was one of the coolest things I have ever done. It was a beautiful cold, clear morning and the countryside outside of Rome is gorgeous. It was a wonderful break to be outside the city and the difference between the city and the country was more profound to me yesterday than it has ever been before. I now understand why people like to escape to the country and relax. PHEW, it was relaxing! They had these big green nets that would stretch out under two trees at a time and these small hand rakes that we could use to rake the branches of their olives. It takes quite a while to get all the olives off one tree and once we finish, we gather up the nets and dump the olives in a bucket and move to the next set of trees. The family would then take the olives t to the community olive press to make olive oil. WOW.

We had a wonderful Family Home Evening with a new convert family from Bolivia. We acted out 1 Nephi 16 with Nephi breaking his bow and them finding the Liahona. When we showed up, the mom said, "I need to run an errand, I will be right back" and we thought, "sure, that's fine!". We waited for an hour and a half for her to return!!!! She decided to go grocery shopping for the week. What??
A great lesson with Yolanda and the Tempesta family about Enos.

Elder Causse, a general authority, toured the mission this week and our zone conference for the transfer was centered on him and his training to us. Incredible! He talked about lots of great things, about approaching people on the street, planning every night to find people (first we choose who we want to find and then decide where we want to find them. For example, we decide that we want to find a young Italian university student and then we decide where we could find her, how, and what we could say to her. Its so important to remember that these are people, people who the Lord has in mind for us to find, we just have to have the faith that He will help us find them if we do our part), teaching the first lesson (talking about baptism from the very beginning of teaching someone), and preparing someone for baptism.

It was pretty funny, Elder Causee would call on random missionaries to come up and role play with him and if they weren't doing it right he would say, "stop, start over" and sometimes had to repeat this a bunch of times. Intimidating!
We have these great Christmas pass along cards that we are using to talk to people. I love it! Its still awkward but that's part of being a missionary!

I've been thinking about the process of conversion and how our testimony of the Savior is a precious thing and for some of us, it is not gained easily. Just like Joseph Smith said, the mysteries of God (or knowledge or testimony of any form) come through time, experience, and deep ponderous thinking. We need to be patient as our understanding and appreciating for the Savior grows slowly over time!

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