Monday, October 28, 2013

Letter to President

Good analogy from a missionary.

We are the silver of our grand Father in Heaven, the Silverman. And He is working us. There is lots of pounding and lots of heat. And it is a process. And the process will go on until we are at the point that He finds acceptable. He isnt going to pull us out of the fire until He sees His image in our countanace. So if you dont want the fire, you dont want the heat, you have to realize why you have the fire why you have the heat. And the quicker you figure that out, the quicker it will get better. But it is always important to keep in mind that He knows our limits. He will never pound us harder that we have strength and He will never heat us to the point that we will melt. He does it because He loves us. And He sees our potential.



The goal of every missionary should be to Find, Teach, and Baptize.  

Statistics compiled by the church show that for every baptism a missionary must teach 3 fourth lessons because 2 people will drop off after the third lesson.  

In order to have 3 fourth lessons,  a missionary must teach 6 third lessons because half of those will drop off.

In order to have 6 third lessons, a missionary must teach 12 second lessons because half of those will drop off.

In order to have 12 second lessons, a missionary must teach 39 first lessons because even more of those will drop off. 

In order to have 39 first lessons, a missionary must have 312 meaningful conversations.

That statistic makes the missionaries swallow hard, but when you break that statistic down into days it becomes easier.  When you take 30 days in a month and divide it into 312 meaningful conversations per month, each missionary only has to have approximately 10 meaningful conversations per day in order to get 1 baptism per month.  

The mission goal for baptisms has been 20 baptisms per month.  In the last three years, that goal has only been reached once when the mission had 23 baptisms in a month.  It was a a real victory.  

This is the time of "The Hastening" and we have more missionaries than ever in the Italy Rome Mission.   Goals are meant to inspire us and lift us to higher plateaus, therefore, the new goal has been raised to 40 baptisms per month.  It's a lofty goal for this mission, but goals are meant to not only be met but also exceeded.  

* * *
(Here's an interesting side note:  The Rome Temple will have two endowment rooms.  Each room will seat 40 people.  The goal of 40 baptisms was set at the last Capi Conference.  Two days later we found out that each endowment room holds 40 people.  Was it a Coincidence or Inspiration?)

Letter to President

This is the type of letter every mission president loves!

The mission is amazing.   I learn so much, and get to experience so many great things and really realize how much the Lords hand has touched my life. My first full week this transfer has been a rocking success. In our correlation we decided the difference will come from member present lessons so we set an ambitious goal of 9 last week, and the Lord helped us according to our faith and got us 10! We always prayed so hard to get some new people to teach and in almost no time we recieved 3 new investigators. One girl at the station asked what we did. One lady saw the book of mormon and told us her son in Romania is mormon and she was never happy about it but something touched her at that time and now she wants to know why he switched religions and what makes our message so different and special. Then during our spiritual thought about prophets after English course one of our students got up and said I wnat to know more about this! So awesome! We have been blessed so much with work to do here. We have two great progressing investigators as well. Isaac is a man who we teach almost everyday and really wants to find how we can come unto Christ. Our other is Godfred, he is an absolute stud. His father is a very strong member of two years and his mother despises the church, so he is in a tough situation but he loves the lessons, and knows this is the true church, so he is preparing to be baptized at the end of Novemeber. The Lord has helped us to a great work integrating him with the yough since he is 18.  He has become good friends with some of the youth in our ward and their testimonies have really helped him grow. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Capi Conference

October 25, 2013

Capi (leader) Conference is held every other transfer which equates to once every three months or quarterly.  It's an opportunity to bring all the zone leaders and sister training leaders from across the mission to one location and do training.  In the Italy Rome Mission, this is a huge undertaking because the leaders either have to fly because they are on islands, take 10 hr. train rides, or travel long distances by train or bus.  The office elders are new at making all the travel arrangements and scheduling since they have only been in the office for a week.  Kudos to them because of how they made all the arrangements and got everybody to Rome and then home again.  It's really a massive undertaking.

I owe a big thank you to one of the senior couples who came and helped me cook and serve the food.  It's a big job to feed that many hungry missionaries.  It amazes me how much food hungry elders can consume.  The sisters usually eat their fair share, but some of the elders can consume what would normally feed a whole family.  Surprisingly, the elders usually lose weight, and the sisters gain weight.  My theory is that the elders mainly eat when someone else feeds them and then walk it off.  The sisters, on the other hand, cook and try to learn how to prepare the food so they can cook for their families when they get home.  They probably taste it as they prepare it and then eat the final product.

We fed the missionaries dinner in three shifts as different groups arrived either from the airport or the metro station.  It gets pretty loud in the villa as they hug each other and renew friendships.  After a long day, they eventually settle down and fall asleep.

Breakfast is served buffet style so they can eat in shifts as they rotate their way through the showers.  Eventually everyone shows up at the front door and they take a 15 minute walk to the church for the conference.

At this conference, we were excited to have Elder/Doctor Wing with us.  He is the Area Medical Doctor and was here from Germany.  A large portion of the meeting consisted of his presentation to the mission leaders about health issues and how to avoid and manage concerns common among missionaries.  He was able to personally meet with a couple of our missionaries who had some concerns and it was a very valuable opportunity to ask questions.  I wish we could do this every time, but it just isn't feasible.  Gratefully, Dr Wing is only a phone call away and I usually call him at least once or twice a day asking for advice.  If it's a difficult issue I'm not very familiar with, he will call and talk to the missionary personally and then follow up with me.  I'm amazed at the procedure that has been set up by the church to deal with missionary health issues.  If I call Dr. Wing with something he is uncertain about, he is only a computer or a phone call away from some of the best specialists in the world.  It's a very comforting thing to me as I hear from missionaries who are sick or injured.

We have had several severe soccer injuries lately which has resulted in a new policy for our mission.  The new policy is that missionaries are not allowed to play soccer with members or investigators at any time.  They are still allowed to play on p-day but only with other missionaries of the same sex and at 3/4 speed.  We are hopeful this policy will result in less injuries.  The missionaries aren't very happy about it, but we are here to be missionaries, not athletes.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Street Markets

Street Markets are a way of life in Italy.  I'm used to buying food in bulk so that I always have what I need on hand.  In Italy it doesn't work that way.  Homes are smaller and they don't have space to store lots of things.   It is so humid that nothing lasts very long.  Left sitting out, a loaf of bread will mildew in just a couple of days.  Consequently, almost everyday is a market day for those who live here.

Office Elders

We've always had assistants who have helped us out in the office, but for the first time we will have two office elders who will work part time in the office every day doing scheduling and arranging transportation to and from zone conferences.  They are still proselyting missionaries and will spend evenings out doing finding and teaching, but will spend days helping in the office.  It's a change we hope will help us keep track of the nearly 200 missionaries we are responsible for.

Fall Leaves

October 22, 2013

The #1 thing I miss most about being in Italy is my family.  Nothing can compensate for that.  As the seasons are gradually changing, I'm realizing how much I miss the colored leaves.  We used to go for an autumn drive just to look at the leaves.  It was a simple pleasure, but one I thoroughly enjoyed.  Looking out the window of the villa makes me a little homesick because I see the leaves turning black.  Certainly there are other beautiful Italian landscapes that compensate, but just for a minute I'm allowing myself to miss the beautiful fall leaves.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Departing Missionaries - October 2013

October 18, 2013

It's wonderful to see the missionaries complete their missions and return home to their families.  It's also a very sad day as we watch our seasoned leaders leave and we are left praying that the missionaries who have been called as trainers to replace them will be as good as they were.

As a farewell gesture, the departing missionaries spend their final night at the villa.  We have a testimony meeting and President Waddoups interviews them for the last time.  We have one final Italian dinner and hope they cherish thoughts of the Italy Rome Mission forever.

Transfer Day - October 2013

October 17, 2013

Transfer days are pretty hectic.  We have missionaries coming and going and excited and scared.  Some leave early and some leave late.  Early in the morning we set out a buffet-type breakfast so they can eat whenever it fits in the schedule.  They have to rotate through showers and shaving.  The elders have no qualms about eating before their shower.  The sisters usually don't show their faces until they are completely dressed and have their hair combed.

We always have the new missionaries at the villa the night before transfers.   Sometimes we have missionaries who are being transferred to areas that are far away who come in and spend the night at the villa as well.  This time we had two sisters who had completed their missions and were returning home the next day who needed a place to spend the night.  It's difficult to keep everything straight, but by the end of the day everyone is on their way to somewhere.  It's an incredible process.

Two new sisters, two departing sisters, five new elders.