The island of Malta is part of our mission. Missionary work in Malta creates a unique challenge because the people in Malta speak Maltese and some English. The missionaries who serve there have traditionally been serving in Italy and have had to learn Italian and then they are faced with the challenge of learning Maltese. Most of them never master the language, but because most people speak some English they are able to manage. The most difficult hurdle is that the Book of Mormon has not been translated into Maltese yet. It's a challenge to gain a testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon when you can't read it and study it. They do have it in English and that's better than nothing but they pray for the day they will have it in Maltese. Malta is a small island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea with approximately 450,000 inhabitants. No other country in the world speaks Maltese.
In January we held the first ever Branch Conference in Malta. There are currently six missionaries serving there--a senior couple and four elders. It was a very emotional experience. The Maltese Branch often feels left out and forgotten. When we returned six months after the first conference for a second conference, they were delighted because we hadn't forgotten about them. We wish more of the members had attended church, but Sacrament Meeting was crowded anyway. Because it's currently tourist season, there were members from Austria, Nigeria, Ireland, Wales, England, Italy, Mexico, Phillipines, Australia, California, and St. George, Orem, and Taylorsville, Utah in attendance.
Quotes from talks given at the Mosta Branch Conference:
"The advesary uses tradition to confuse our minds."
"If we read the scriptures daily, they will be written upon our hearts."
"You don't need to be re-baptized to become clean. You only need to come to church every week and partake of the sacrament."
"We never seem to learn a lot when things are good, but we learn a lot when things are challenging."