Monday, May 20, 2013

Never Underestimate Any New Convert

Just had my first rainy day in Cagliari. So far it has been sunny and breezy (or downright windy).

Sardegna History
Went to a museum on our day off and learned a bit of local history. Sardinian history is a kaleidoscope of cultures. The island has passed through everyone's hands: Phoenecians, Carthaginians, Romans, North Africans, Spaniards, etc.  The island is one of the most geologically ancient bodies of land in Europe. Unlike Sicily and Italy's mainland, Sardegna is not earthquake prone! Its rocks date from the Palaeozoic Era (up to 500 million years old). In fact, the oldest building structure in Italy is found on Sardegna: Monte d'Accoddi, an ancient open-air temple dating back to 2700BC. Remnants of other ancient structures dot the island. These buildings, called Nuraghe, sometimes built a few stories high, were made completely of stacked stone - no cement or mortar - and date back to around 1800-1200BC. It's fascinating!
Monte d'Accoddi, oldest structure in Italy, built 2700BC
Ancient Structure: Nuraghe, built 1600BC

One of the distinguishing features in Cagliari is the Bastione di Saint Remy, located in the Castello district. Most of the district is medieval in origin, but the Bastione dates to the 19th century.  It was built to join two of the four districts in Cagliari. The promenade of the bastione has been converted into a cultural space and now houses art exhibitions.
Bastione di Saint Remy
View from the Bastione
Arch of Bastione di Saint Remy

Fun Thing 
Cagliari has flamingos! Who knew? Thousands of flamingos congregate in ponds around the city. They call them "sa genti arrubia," the red people. Most of the plant life is the same as at home, just more flowers everywhere, but they also have cactus, reminiscent of the States' southwest. Cactus and flamingos. Hm.
Flamingos at Marina Terraghi
Cactus on Cagliari
Never Underestimate Any New Convert
District Conference on Sunday was wonderful. Visiting Priesthood leadership from Italy came to share their inspiring conversion stories. Basically, every member of the Church here is a convert, so everyone has their own story. The first counselor to the Mission President, President Sanna, joined the Church years ago after attending an English course offered by the missionaries. He ended up serving a mission. Most converts to the Church, I am learning, were found by knocking doors or through teaching the English course.

The former Stake President of the Rome Stake, Massimo da Feo, is now in the Quorum of Seventy! He joined the Church with his brother when they were 9 and 11 years old. They were the only ones in their family to convert; true pioneers! Now he is a General Authority. What a great man.

The Patriarch in Italy, Michele Calabrese, has another interesting story. His wife converted after basically one meeting with the missionaries, but he wanted nothing to do with it, and refused to let her get baptized.  This went on for a while. Then one day he was walking down the street and passed by some missionaries. He felt such a great spirit that he had to go back and talk to them. And now he is the Patriarch in Rome. Booyah!  

The Work
The work has been slow lately. After filling our schedules with teaching appointments, we've had an overwhelming amount of cancellations. When this happens, we resort to doing "casa," knocking doors. However, we handed out a copy of the Book of Mormon to our favorite pizza guys in our neighborhood family-run trattoria. They rock!

After District Conference, the District President, President Angius, spoke with us about his concern over the less-actives. He wants to reactivate them with our help and asked for us to make a goal for how many we could bring back to Church in all of Sardegna. We put forward the number 200. Worked out per companionship: that's about 30 people per, 6 people/week. So far, our week has been a little weak on that front. Unsure what to do. Our ward mission leader, Fratello Locci (the salt of the earth, he and his family!), says that he will work with us on coordinating member help. Preach My Gospel Handbook talks about serving people, which is something we would LOVE to do, but Italians are pretty private about their own needs and issues. So, we will have to really counsel with the Lord on that one.

Regardless of the pace, the work does go forward. If nothing else, we are planting seeds and doing our best to be positive representatives for the Lord.
In front of the Rome Temple Construction Site
Took this picture in Rome before I was assigned to Cagliari. I'm standing in front of the construction site of the Rome Temple.  

This is the goal. This is what we are preparing individuals and families for: To be able to enter the House of the Lord and receive the highest blessings He can bestow.

Seeking out the less-actives is a challenge that will be worth all of the time, effort, and creativity we can muster, because if it leads to one future Stake President, one future Patriarch, a future Ward Mission Leader, Relief Society President, or General Authority, then all the saints are blessed.  If it leads to one eternal family then generations are blessed.

Benediziones Tutto,
Sorella Ashley Nef

No comments:

Post a Comment