I'd like to begin by saying that we have some of the finest people in the world overseeing the missionary department for la Chiesa di Gesu Cristo dei Santi degli Ultimi Giorni (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). Elder Stephen B. Allen, Managing Director of the Missionary Department for the church, and Brother Mark Lusvardi, Director of Church Visitor Centers, were in Rome overseeing a project at the Rome Temple which is now well underway. Elder Allen was our former Stake President and we have a great love for him, a love that is even more increased since he volunteered to spend time training our missionaries. He and Brother Lusvardi provided instruction on how to be more effective Preach My Gospel missionaries at a Specialized Training held in Rome. Originally we were scheduled to hold the conference for the Rome West Zone but because of the special nature of the meeting, we invited the Rome East and Napoli Zones to travel to Rome for the meeting. It's times like this that we wish our mission weren't so spread out so we could have brought all the missionaries in, but that is a major task and very, very expensive. We probably would have done it anyway except for the fact that we have a member of the Area Presidency coming to do a mission-wide tour in three weeks and all the missionaries will have to travel again to two locations in the mission.
Elder Allen and Brother Lusvardi were very involved in the writing and creation of the Preach My Gospel program. In fact, President Allen was released as our Stake President because the Brethren needed more of his time to work on the project. They shared insights into how the program was created and why and then demonstrated how the missionaries in the Italy Rome Mission could improve their teaching and finding techniques to become even greater, more effective missionaries. They were very straight forward and told them what they needed to hear and not just want the missionaries wanted to hear. It was a very spiritual, uplifting meeting and the missionaries were really pumped and ready to go to work at the end of the meeting.
I always find it interesting that someone outside the mission can come in and say exactly the same things as the mission president has been saying for months and use the same scriptures, but somehow hearing it from someone else makes it more real. I guess it goes back to the saying "A man hath no honor in his own country."
We are excited to see the results of this meeting and how it affects the work and success of the mission going forward. One missionary who is going home at the end of this transfer wanted to know if he could stay longer because he had learned some things he wanted to try now. Unfortunately that's not how the program works, but he will have a lifetime ahead of him to be a missionary wherever he is. The same principles of missionary work apply to everyone, everywhere.
|Baptism Progress Chart|
|They agreed not to eat cookies for six months and now the six months is over.|
|Somehow it has become a tradition to have our pictures taken at every zone conference.|