I’m going to be completely honest this week completely zipped by. I don’t know where it went, but somehow we’re back to Monday. We saw Mariella (mom of Matteo) a few times this week which was good because I think she really needed us. We have become like her adopted kids since Matteo left. She is really awesome. We finished teaching her the Restoration and invited her to read the pamphlet that explains everything better than us, as well as recommitting her to read the Book of Mormon. She is very studious. She read several chapters of the Book of Mormon and read the entire pamphlet including answering the questions at the back! In preparation for our lesson with her covering the great apostasy and the restoration of the priesthood, I all of a sudden had the idea to approach it in a more hands-on way by making a bit more of an “experience.” So when we started our lesson, I closed all the window shades (which Italians use to take their afternoon naps so it makes any room pitch black) and left on only one light which I sat next to. We began talking about the ministry of Jesus Christ and all that He did when He was on the earth, and the role of His apostles after He was resurrected. Then we explained that when the apostles were all killed, the authority of the priesthood was lost from the earth. And the light went out. It was absolutely, completely dark in that living room. You couldn’t even see your hand in front of your face. I explained this is what the apostasy was like. There was no church of Jesus Christ because there was no way to direct it through His authority. And then we went on to unravel the story of Joseph Smith and the lights were turned back on and the blinds were opened and sunshine filled the room. I said this is what the Restoration represents for the world. There are now authorized representatives of Christ on the earth to lead His church. Not just any church, not the “Mormon” church, His Church. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She really enjoyed the lesson.
Other than that, we did an exchange in Statte which was fun. I was with Anziano Davidson who has one transfer left, is from Utah, and loves motorcycles. The rest of the week was taken up by seeing our other couple we’re working with, Cosimo and Nunzia. Cosimo actually started reading the Book of Mormon this week and there was a noticeable difference in him!
To wrap up the week, I will include an experience that is quintessential Italian missionary-esque. We were invited to Pranzo at one of our English course student homes and it was huge. We ate lasagna, clam stir fry, sausage, liver (which was disgusting), eggplant lasagna, Greek salad, mozzarella, and three different kinds of dessert. As I am handed a plate with all three, I give each dessert a long hard look. I take a bite of the first and determine immediately that it has coffee in it. I move on to the next and give it a taste and it tastes good…too good . . . I ask what’s in it and they say rum! Moving on. The final dessert. I smell it and smells quite distinctly sharp, if that makes any sense. I ask what is in this last one and they say it is made with a special dessert liqueur. At that point I gave up! All three desserts contained either alcohol or coffee! Which leads me to my thought for the week.
Obedience. It’s a word we use more for house pets and young children, but what about the rest of us who have grown up? Do we all of a sudden not need some kind of obedience or discipline in our lives? All the people present at the Pranzo joined in saying that it was only a little bit of alcohol or just a little bit of coffee and it wouldn’t hurt us. Was I concerned with hurting myself? No, that never came to mind. I was concerned with disobeying a covenant I had made with my Father in Heaven.
Why did I make this covenant? It seems so restricting, doesn’t it? No, in fact I feel it gives me great power. The power to say no even when it’s easy to say yes. The power to not let others affect my decisions. The power to stand strong. The power to have faith in something even when I don’t understand every aspect that goes into it. I think we sorely underestimate the true strength that comes when we follow the commandments of our Heavenly Father and His living Prophets.
I love you all. I pray for you all! Don’t forget that conference is this weekend! Prepare for it, and if you have never seen it before than maybe consider watching a session or two!