Sorry I didn’t have much time last week, and not much this week either but here’s a quick update! Our simps Renzo and Tenal are making some decent progress and both are sincerely and genuinely interested in the things that we teach, making lessons powerhouse spiritual experiences for them and us alike! Both have set baptismal dates for November 14th and November 27th, but Tenal needs to come to church more to qualify, so pray for him! And also pray for Renzo’s family because his daughter is undergoing some pretty rough chemo and they could use it! Other simps have all but dropped off and it was a bit sad to see Wilfred tell us last night that he won’t leave the Catholic Church for anything and so he doesn’t want the things we offer. But hey, there are about 500,000 other people here who need to hear this too so we aren’t giving up hope on that 🙂
Truly, our job as missionaries is to invite others to come to Christ; what happens after must be THEIR choice. Too many missionaries mix up in their heads their purpose with that of their investigators, and that should not be done. The whole purpose is for us to present the opportunity, but to accept the opportunity is not the role of the missionary. Just because the opportunity was refused or rejected, doesn’t mean the missionary failed. Yes, any good missionary will feel sorrow for the lost sheep and do all they can to keep them on track, but I hope no other missionaries out there blame themselves for the incorrect use of the agency of others.
Anyways, at the end of the week we had the wonderful opportunity to go with about 8 others missionaries to Venice and sing in a choir at a Lutheran church as part of a multi-denominational worship service. What a grand experience that was 🙂 Venice IS as beautiful as everyone says but you have to explore and get out of the tourist areas to see the real thing. As for the event, there were present a number of representatives from our church, the Catholic Church, Roman Orthodox, Lutheran, Evangelist, and a few random others. Good stuff 🙂
Cultural Bit: Padova has a church that has the supposed remains of Saint Luke himself.
Spiritual Bit: So many times in life and especially among missionaries here, I have seen a slew of self degrading criticisms on the grounds that we aren’t perfect. We are meant to give our all to God, every ounce, every bit of everything, but every time we try it seems we fall short. Even President Uchtdorf said in the April conference, “We are not saved “because” of all that we can do. Have any of us done all that we can do? Does God wait until we’ve expended every effort before He will intervene in our lives with His saving grace? Many people feel discouraged because they constantly fall short. They know firsthand that “the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” They raise their voices with Nephi in proclaiming, “My soul grieveth because of mine iniquities.” I am certain Nephi knew that the Savior’s grace allows and enables us to overcome sin. This is why Nephi labored so diligently to persuade his children and brethren “to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God.” After all, that is what we can do! And that is our task in mortality!”
The power of grace, as it states in 2 Nephi 25:23, is a power that will complete our efforts and exalt us to a higher level of ability after we do that which we can. We must be diligent. We hear that word very often: diligent. We know we must be so, but how? May I point out the definition of diligent? It is to have careful or conscientiousness in one’s work or duties. It doesn’t mean you have to outwork even your most inner safety barriers on sanity, but to be persistent. Tomorrow we get up and try again, then again, then again, then again. If your child were to do that day after day and even though they fail often at following your council they still try again and again and again, wouldn’t that show some strong love? Wouldn’t you step in and help too? I promise that with persistent work and just taking those consistent, but small steps, we will qualify for grace and show our love to the Father. It IS doable. God made sure it would be, and I say this in the name of Jesus Christ amen.
Tante belle cose