Filed under: General Conference, Luca Martinengo's mission
My son Luca (Elder Martinengo) will come home in 3 days from his mission in Massachusetts. A little more than a week ago, he asked a member of the Church over there to call me, in order to ask me to contact a person interested in the Church, who was ready to be baptized, but who had some concerns to be resolved. (Elder Martinengo did not call me personally because Mormon missionaries are not supposed to talk to their parents while in their missions – unless it is Christmas or it is mothers’ day ))).
The previous Sunday, Elder Martinengo had taken several people interested in the Church to a special conference with Elder Ballard. One of them, Monica (from Brazil) , was particularly thrilled while listening to Elder Ballard. It looks like Elder Martinengo, after the end of the conference, decided to take Monica to meet Elder Ballard for a few moments. Many tears were shed by Monica during that conference, but she still had a problem. She had received her testimony of the truthfulness of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or Mormon Church) but she was still struggling about being baptized, because she was afraid of offending her parents, who are good catholics.
At that point Elder Martinengo felt inspired to have her talk to me, since he obviously know of my experience at the time of my own baptism. I was also raised a catholic and I had to become a member of the Church against the will of almost any relative or friend.
To be honest, initially I thought that it would not make a real difference, but I decided to do what I was asked to do and I called Monica. After explaining her who I was (Elder Martinengo’s dad) and after a few seconds of surprise, I went straight to the point of my phone call, and explained why I was calling. After a few minutes I realized how powerful is to sincerely and openly share what you know to be true, and how powerful is to be able to relate to the specific problem of an investigator of the Church. I was catholic, and I had a similar struggle, therefore it was easy for me to relate to her.
While talking to her, I thought of a couple of powerful recent talks from general authorities of the Church that could help her undertand and make the correct decision.
The first was the powerful talk by President Uchdorf, the Faith of our Fathers, then the one by Elder Holland about Mormons being Christian and a couple of others. That was all I did. I shared my testimony and my story, gave a couple of suggestions, and then gave her the opportunity to listen to general authorities’ talks that could help her.
This last Sunday I received a phone call, actually, she left a message where she was thanking me and saying that she had been baptized and she was happy. Later she send me this email (translated):
Ola Sr. Giuseppe,
Thank you for your email. I am very happy!! Your help in my decision, even with a simple email, made a big difference. Again thank you for everything and that God may bless you and your family.
That made my day, and probably the entire week! I did not really had to do very much in terms of time or effort, but thanks to an inspired Elder missionary, thanks to a good friend of Monica who prepared her for months or even years, thanks to an inspiring conference leaded by an apostle of the Lord, another soul was brought back to the fold.
Again and again I realize the power of our testimony and sincerity, and the blessing of having modern technology, such as good videos, Internet, telephone, Skype, and so on.
We only need to make a sincere effort to live the gospel and not be afraid of sharing our feelings and testimony. Then, the pure in heart will listen and we will be able to help change lives forever.
What a great cause!
“We are not anti-gay, we are pro-marriage between a man and a woman”.
This is the position of the Mormon Church on the issue. The focus is not attacking the gays but protecting marriage. Many gay activists try to distort this simple concept by saying that Mormons hate gays or by making other similar accusation, but
“Allegations of bigotry or persecution made against the Church were and are simply wrong. The Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage neither constitutes nor condones any kind of hostility toward gays and lesbians. Even more, the Church does not object to rights for same-sex couples regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches. (KSL.com)
I recently noticed a page on CNN.com about the Berlin Wall’s fall. Several people were posting pictures or videos about it. I remember very well that happening. I was at lunch break and I was watching the news with a friend and colleague when I first saw those images.
When they showed the beginning of the Berlin Wall’s fall I was amazed and thrilled. For those of use who lived in Europe, the Cold War had a strong influence in our lives, even if just as a background feeling of uncertainty. The USSR and the other nations of the Eastern block were just so close to our home that there was always a feeling of concern about what could happen.
At that time I was also a recent convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons), and it is part of our doctrine to believe that before the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Gospel need to be preached to all nations. The Iron Curtain seemed to be a major block to the spreading of the gospel in those countries, and many were thinking that it would take many more years to see a change in that area of the world.
But suddenly, the Berlin Wall’s went down and we experienced first hand how the Lord can open doors when He wants, and it was a sign that He will still open many doors and the Gospel will actually be preached to all nations.
At that time I was also extremely impressed by with Mikhail Gorbachev. I always thought that he was one of the main instruments used by the Lord to make that miracle happen. I am sure that he did not know exactly were his actions will lead, and I think he did not envision the complete change that would happen to his country in a few years, but I believe he was an honest man who did what he felt was right, and the rest… became history.