Alrighty, so if I thought that the previous several weeks had flown by. This week went to the next level because on Saturday I thought it was Wednesday. In any case I went to Rome this week on Wednesday and Thursday for a conference with President Nelson (President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles). Also present were Elder Halstrom and Elder Kearon. So we had a pretty power-packed meeting despite it being so brief. Wednesday the entire mission headed to Rome. To describe how big a feat that is, we had 35 companionships (70 missionaries) who needed flights and 20 companionships (40 missionaries) that needed trains lasting over 4 hours.
I was on a 6 1/2 hour train with the rest of my district and we had a good time. We got into Rome at about 8:40 Wednesday night so we didn’t get to see anything of the city, but honestly I could not care less because I was too excited to see all my old friends from all over the mission before a lot of them end up going home in the next few transfers. To me, one takes priority over the other.
Anyway, the conference was at 9am Thursday. Seeing as traveling from one end of Rome to the other is a nightmare, we all woke up around 5am, got ready ate breakfast and left to grab the metro at 6:45. When did we arrive to the church for the meeting you ask? Oh, around 8:30. The meeting was awesome. The speakers touched on a variety of topics:
- being anxiously engaged in good works,
- not allowing distractions to take our attention away from the work of the Lord,
- remembering Christ in the work,
- why the mission is just as much for us as for others,
- the importance of time, and
- finally from President Nelson himself: a workshop on the great promises of the Abrahamic covenant.
The rest of the week was really good. We met with our investigators and they are doing really well. Mariella and Erika took us to an all you can eat sushi buffet for lunch and it was so good! By the end of the meal I had eaten over 60 pieces of sushi. That makes for a very happy Anziano Friedman. Not to mention the Mongolian grill, chow mein, and gelato I ate. I love food.
Also, I haven’t really been bringing this up in any of my emails because after my last two experiences of helping two different people in two different cities prepare for baptism, them being so close, and then all of a sudden disappearing I have been pretty hesitant to bring up any big news regarding baptism. It’s pretty discouraging to write one week that everything is great and they’ll be getting baptized and then the next week write that we have lost contact with them . . .
Anyway, this week Maria Grazia is getting baptized and I would really, really, really appreciate it if you could all say a small prayer for her (even as you’re reading this) so that all will go well and she can receive these great blessings.
Before I go I wanted to touch on a thought that President Nelson’s wife shared during her comments to us. She talked about how we are eternal beings. Our start wasn’t here on earth but eons ago. And then she extended a promise saying, “If you could see your pre-mortal self – if you could see who you have always been – if you could see who you really are – your true self — then the challenges of life would never be great enough to weigh you down.” I testify that what she said is true. So often in life we shrink under the pressure solely because we forget WHO WE ARE. We must follow the example of Moses when he declared in his confront with temptation, “Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God.” Who are we? We are children of God. We need not fear. Only have faith and believe.
I pray for you and love you all!