On Sunday, Feb. 2, I’ll have the privilege of speaking at a devotional for LDS single adults in Rome. I will be talking about the Book of Mormon’s teachings regarding testimony, evidence, and doubts.
My topic is “Dealing with Doubts.” It will be at 6:00 5:00 pm in the Roma 1 building. I think it is currently scheduled for the Rome 2nd building, but I should hear back shortly about the possibility of moving it to the Rome 1st building. If you’re in Rome, do as a handful of Romans do and join us! I’ll be attending church that morning in the Roma 1st building. Special thanks to Dr. Ugo Perego of Rome for extending the kind invitation to speak.
Yesterday on our first day in Italy we were genuinely blessed to be able to attend church with the Florence 1st branch. With our schedule, we didn’t think it would work out because when I checked the LDS church locator website earlier when working out details of our brief visit to Italy, my search indicated that the only meetings in the area were at a time that wouldn’t work for us and at a location pretty far outside of Florence itself, and so we figured that we probably wouldn’t be able to get to church on Sunday, our only full day in Florence. So, with apologies to the Lord, I explained in my personal prayer Sunday morning that I didn’t think we’d be able to make it church, but would be very happy if there might be a way to work around the various constrains I faced to find some way after all.
At that point I just felt that my apology wasn’t exactly accepted, and instead there was something specific I needed to do: search again for Mormon meetings in Florence. It was a very specific prompting and I’m so glad I didn’t ignore it. Right after the prayer, I Googled “mormon church meetings in florence italy” (no quotes were used) and saw the LDS meetinghouse locator again in the top results. So I went there, searched again for Florence, and to my surprise found that there was a service in Florence itself in the morning, with the Florence 1st Branch. Why this didn’t show up earlier I don’t know. But the time and location, coupled with the fact that things went very smoothly for us with our earlier events Sunday, leaving us with enough time to catch a taxi and arrive early enough to meet several new people and make some valuable and enjoyable connections.
One thing that added a lot to the experience of attending church in Italy was the friendliness of the Italian members and the goodness of the missionaries we met. They translated for us and helped us to understand what was said in a great meeting. Greetings from Sister Holloway (from Portland, Oregon, as I recall) and Sister Strong (from Chandler, Arizona), shown in the photo below (with their permission) with my wife at the end of the special add-on service after sacrament, a pot-luck dinner with real homemade Italian food – the best food we’ve had so far in this majestic nation, outside of some miraculous gelato. Also shown are two views of the Church building in Florence. One of the great hotspots of this incredibly historic and beautiful city.
My experience reminded me: each day, I should spend a little time in prayer contemplating and reviewing plans because the Lord might have important changes in mind if only I am willing to listen. I am so grateful for the small miracle of being able to attend church in Florence yesterday.
Update, Feb. 3, 2014: Ugo Perego posted a photo from the devotional on his Facebook page. Thanks, Ugo. I was impressed with the attentiveness of the audience and the excellent questions they asked. Fun group. And wow, do I love being in Italy. Rome is marvelous beyond words. Ditto for real gelato.