Saturday, July 27, 2013

Did You Have a Question?

Qual'e la Scopo Della Vita? What is the Purpose of Life?
Thursday, we visited our elderly friend, Adelle, the elderly lady who called us angels (initial visit in post The Stuff of Legend).  Our morning visit caught her right after she got out of the bathtub (she was in her bathrobe!), yet we were still invited in.  Our visit turned into a discussion about the Plan of Salvation.  She was convinced that God must be cruel to send Christ to suffer and die for a bunch of sinners because she couldn't imagine sending her own son to die.  In explaining the Plan, we spoke of our divine nature as sons and daughters of God, and the nature of agency in Christ's decision to die for us, and God's great love in offering His Only Begotten as a sacrifice in order to get us all back Home.  It is an act - not of cruelty - but of love: love from our Father in Heaven and love from our Savior.

Near the end of our thoughts, her friends came - a young family from Porto Torrez (up north near Sassari).  They were very nice and asked about who we were.  We gave them info on English Course, but they told us they were from far north.  "No problem," we said, "there is another English Course run up there taught by our colleagues," and we handed them a flyer and the number for their local missionaries.  They seemed very excited about the class.  As they flipped over the flier and saw the pass along card we stapled to the back - a picture of the Salt Lake Temple which says, "Qual'e la scopo della vita?" (What is the purpose of life?) - the mom asked us, "What happens after death?" Aha! we thought to ourselves.  Sorella O said, "You know, our companions up north, in your area, can explain it more in full, but..." and then she bore powerful testimony about eternal families.  The Spirit instantly filled the room and the mom just lit up!  They said they would call the missionaries.
"If you want a wise answer, ask a reasonable question."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Sei Mormoni?  Are You Mormons?

Saturday, Maria Rita and Giuseppina cancelled our appointment.  So instead, we got on a bus heading to Quartu and ended up finding an American lady from New York vacationing in Sardegna who asked, "Sei Mormoni?" (Are you Mormons?)  "Yes," we answered enthusiastically.  When she realized we were Americans, she switched to speaking in English.  Conversation with her was so intriguing, we stayed on the bus for the next hour, forgetting our other plans, as we explained the importance of Christ to us, and who Joseph Smith was, and the significance of the Book of Mormon, what happens after death, and so forth.  She kept asking question after question until she reached her destination (the beach to meet her friends).  Luckily, I had an English pass along card that I gave to her and recommended the site to visit and learn the answers to any more questions.
"Question with boldness even the existence of a God;
because, if there be One,
He must more approve of the homage of reason,
than that of blindfolded fear."
Thomas Jefferson
Who's the Real Mastermind Here?
It's interesting the way the Lord works.  He needed this woman to encounter missionaries, so he got the closest missionaries in the area (us) to have a free morning (cancelled appointment) so we would get on a bus to Quartu (at least half an hour trip that we usually make only in the afternoons), and had us sit in seats right across from where she was so she could see our tags and ask the question, "Are you Mormons?"  This is why I say that we missionaries don't do much.  Missionaries are not the brilliant masterminds in the work (if that were the case then Cagliari would be in BIG trouble).  Oh sure, missionaries fill themselves with scriptural academics, and lesson formats, and language skills and, most importantly, the Spirit, but, let's face it, we are NOT the geniuses behind the work.  No.  The Lord does all the work, all the complicated coordinating, and we just show up - in the right place, the right time.

We received yet another referral from!  Again, they didn't want to meet with us, but we gave them a Book of Mormon, all the same.

Random City Pics
Hey, my companion and I were not transfered from Cagliari.  We're here at least six more weeks.

His listeners look completely captivated
Street sign with a New York 9-11 tribute.  Interesting.

I Hope They Call Me on a Mission When I Have Grown a Foot or Two
After Church we were invited to a member's home to eat pronzo (lunch).  There was an American
family there who has been vacationing in Sardegna.  They arrived a few week's back, brought all the missionaries candy from America (clearly the best family ever), and they have really adorable children.  
Primary kids holding their pictures of missionaries. Works of art!
The mom of the family is originally from Sardegna, so everyone knew her.  Since her kids had a hard time with the language - we sister missionaries were called to translate for them in Primary (toooooo cute - and the lessons were on missionary work!)  Behold their works of art.

Oh, Don't Mind Him, He's Just My Companion
For lunch, we had maialetto - which is roasted piglet.  And, I mean the FULL pig - the boys in the family were fighting over who gets the brains and the tongue.  I stuck with the normal pork parts, which were all super perfectly cooked.  Delicious!  Afterwards, Fratello Vicedomini (the dad) swapped mission stories with the American dad (forgot his name).  Vicedomini served in Italy, the other dad served in Korea.  They seemed to have endless stories of crazy companions.  Vicedomini, for instance, had 17 companions during his mission because the Mission President knew he was fluent in the language (obviously, he's Italian), and that he was a hard worker, so he sent him all the nutty, not-so-great missionaries.  One companion, in particular, liked to play the flute as they walked down the street, or recite a scripture aloud like, "I AM JESUS CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD," or would give blessings to other missionaries saying they would die at age 33, or would say the Lord had told him he needed to nap for an extra 8 hours, or that he needed to go to the hospital in Rome (even though it was in a different zone), and would say that the Mission President approved it even though the Mission President definitely did not approve it, and so on and so on.  He told story after hilarious story of this guy, and it turns out he was only with him one transfer.  So this was a daily thing.  Hahahaha.  Yikes.  Makes me so grateful to be serving with Sorella O - she's the best!

Good Question Maria Rita and Giuseppina!
Sunday, Maria Rita came to Church! Yay.  She showed up at 8:45am, before the members.  She stayed for all three meetings, wants a manual for Relief Society and Gospel Principles, and loves the members.  So exciting.  Last week, we hadn't seen Maria Rita and Giuseppina at all, until Church on Sunday.  Frankly, we were a little concerned, and then we had our lesson yesterday.
Sorella O, Giuseppina, Maria Rita, Moi
Martina Sanna (daughter of President Sanna - soon to be married) came with us at the request of her dad (who wanted to make sure a member came with us who would not try to take over the lesson and dominate conversation).  Our history with Maria Rita and Giuseppina revealed, after the first 3 lessons, that they had a working knowledge of the important things - enough to gain a testimony.  So, we wanted to check up on that: were they reading the Book of Mormon and praying?  And we had another goal in mind: the baptismal invite.  We wondered how to handle it and what date to suggest as their goal.  We settled on August 18th.

Alex, the Answer: What is Baptism?
So, we go into the lesson with our goals in mind.  We start with the Book of Mormon.  Maria Rita says she likes it a lot!  She has been reading it and had several questions about the context and setting of the book, "How did they know about Christ and are talking about Christ if they lived 600 BC?" she asks.  Great question Maria Rita!  Answer: PROPHETS.  We ask them a little more about how they are feeling about everything.  Maria Rita says she wants to know if it's all true, but doesn't yet, but she likes what she has come across.  She loves Church.  She loves the Book of Mormon and says, "It makes sense".

Her mom, Giuseppina, told us that she hasn't been reading.  Even though she's been a strong Catholic her whole life, she likes our Church meetings and what she has heard from the Book of Mormon.  Her big question was, "What am I supposed to do once I know it's true?"  Great question Giuseppina!  Answer: BAPTISM.  We explained the concept of covenants and action as a means of building testimony.  We talked about the importance of honest intent when approaching the Lord to know if something is true - that we must show we are willing to act on the answer given.  And then we asked the baptismal invite as written in Preach My Gospel: "Seguira l'esempio di Gesu Cristo, facendosi battezare da qualcuno che detiene il sacerdozio di Dio?"  They said Yes.  We then proposed the baptismal date goal and asked, "If you get your answer by then, would you be baptized by August 18th?"  They said Yes!

BOOM.  It's as easy as that, my friends.  Once again - ALL the Spirit of the Lord.  We just invite according to what the Spirit directs and trust the Spirit to testify to their hearts.  And He does.
"We should not only master questions,
but also act upon them, and act definitely."
Woodrow T. Wilson
I love questions.  Questions are important.  Questions are the gateway to truth and knowledge. Because of questions - life's most important innovations in art, science, literature, and throughout history and scripture have happened.  Jesus even used questions as pivotal teaching tools in his ministry.  It was a question that brought about the restoration of the gospel with its priesthood keys and saving ordinances.  And it is through questions (like "What is the purpose of life?" and "What am I supposed to do once I know it's true?") that we are led to personal revelation, inspiration, and answers.

So, do you think Maria Rita and Giuseppina are well on their way?  That's a good question.

A Presto,
Sorella Ashley Nef

No comments:

Post a Comment