So on Sunday, Sorella Dall and I were walking around Hotel Satellite (where we have church), waiting for church to start. We stepped out from one of the hallways into the lobby of the hotel and there was a very familiar face looking back up at me! I wasn't sure if I was seeing things right and I stopped and looked at Sorella Dall and then back at this familiar face, which was still staring at me. It was real! It was my Uncle Charlie!!! I guess he had a few extra hours in Rome for a business trip and decided to come find me at the Hotel.
Wow, I was shocked to see him there, it was quite the surprise. He stuck around for the first two hours of church and I loved being able to show him the members and investigators and especially introducing him to my two favorite people, Angela and Adriano! What a joy!!
Other than that, lots of random things this week. We crashed a Filipino party on Sunday, where our Filipino friend Linda kept trying to get us to sing karaoke and dance. I ate so much food that I literally had to sit down on the side of the street when we left and wait for the nausea to pass. Mamma mia!
Luca is still sort of progressing. He reads when we push him to read and is still waiting on his "conversion" experience, where God will give him a new heart and take him out of a pit of mediocrity. We have tried so much to help him understand and feel the Spirit, but he has no trust in the way that a person feels, saying that we all have wicked hearts and the only thing you can trust is the Bible. We have decided that the best thing to do will be to let him be for a little bit, see him less often but pray really hard for him.
I've reflected a lot about conversion as we have worked with Luca. I have always learned that our conversion is a process, but its never been such a personal, meaningful truth as it is to me now. How quickly I become frustrated with how slow the process seems! How easily discouraged I have been in the past when I see all the things that I lack and how much more progress I still need! But thanks to the restored gospel, I have something that Luca doesn't. I understand more about my responsibility to act, the role of faith, and the fact that we don't receive this "new heart" and are filled with righteous desire immediately. IT TAKES TIME! And hard work. And how grateful I am for that! To change my heart and desires and grow more love for God and others has taken tremendous effort on my part. And how much I have learned of patience and faith and maybe above all else, diligence. God doesn't change all our desires in an instance, leaving us with our bad habits that will quickly cause us to stumble and fall. Nope, rather he lets us work to develop these divine attributes along the way; so that as our desire to do righteous things grows, so also does our capacity. How much more prepared will I now be to be a wife and a mother and a friend and a ward member because of this! Of course it is so hard to see this eternal perspective in the moment when we are struggling and wondering why we cant have this converted heart all in one instance :)
I talked to a woman on the train this week and had a list of the "questions of the soul"; things like "what is the purpose of life?" and "where do I come from?" and what happens after we die. I asked her if she had ever wondered any of these things. She told me, of course sometimes she wonders. But there are two problems. One is that these questions without answers "disturb" the soul, the other is that there are too many distractions in the world and when you are distracted, you don't think about these things. That was a wise woman. I am so convinced that that is one of the great tools of Satan. Distraction. I look around at the people on the trains and the streets and I am overwhelmed with how distracted they are. Oh if only we convince them all to take a little more time to slow down and reflect on the things that really matter!! Something we all need to do in our own lives!
Love you all!!