Only the very chosen missionaries are allowed to come to the Italy Rome Mission. No doubt about it. We are constantly amazed at their wonderful testimonies and desire to serve. That's not to say they aren't young and creative because they are, but overall they are the "best of the best" and we love each and every one of them.
This is a challenging season for missionaries to be away from home. For many of them, this is the first time away from home. Add Christmas time on top of that and it takes some real determination not to be homesick.
The missionaries are all making plans to call and Skype families and loved ones. There are some pretty stringent rules they have to follow simply because they are missionaries. The most challenging rule seems to be the one about not using a member's computer. There are two major reasons behind this. First, it's not right for missionaries to utilize all day on the member's computer and monopolize their family day. (The member's are really good about inviting them to dinner.) Second, we never know what might pop up on a member's computer and we want to be certain that our missionaries aren't exposed to things that might be inappropriate or harmful. The Assistants field lots of questions from missionaries regarding that issue. "Are you certain we can't use a member's computer? - Yes, we're certain." "What about if we just borrow the member's computer and take it to the church? - We'll check with President about that." "If we can't use a member's computer, can we use an investigator's computer? - The answer to that one is a definite no." The list goes on and on. Just when you think they can't come up with anything else, they do. We really try to not give the missionaries too many rules. They all have the missionary handbook or "White Bible" as they frequently refer to it. It lists what they can and can't do. It's fairly comprehensive and if they abide by what it says, they are blessed and safe. They have reached a time in their lives when it's very important to make wise choices just because it's the right thing to do and not because somebody is forcing them to do it. The majority of missionaries hold to the rod and follow the straight and narrow path. It's the ones that don't that struggle.