Tuesday, March 25, 2008

LDS in Italy

Post 3
Trafford R. Cole

LDS in Italy

Should you think that all is trial and hardship for the saints here, you should know that there are many opportunities for the members in Italy to grow in the Gospel. There is not one active member of my branch who does not have at least one, and sometimes several callings. For example one young adult is the branch librarian, the branch representative for the young adults stake activities and a relief society teacher. Our relief society president has had that calling for the last 17 years, and the Lord has not inspired anyone to change her calling – she is the spiritual dynamo of the branch. Since we only have five priesthood holders, each has multiple callings. My counselor is also the branch clerk, and the Young Men’s president is also the branch missionary leader. Of course, everyone is also a home teacher or visiting teacher too.

If service is the path to spiritual growth then members in Italy have every opportunity to grow. Just think if every Sunday we have three or four talks during the meeting, that means with 18 active members you will have a talk to give every other month and sometimes more. You need to be creative not to repeat yourself constantly.

This opportunity to serve is not just at my small branch. Every stake leader also serves in his local unit. Therefore at Padova, the first counselor in the bishopric is also a stake high counselor and has another branch an hour away to follow. This means that he participates at stake executive meetings and ward bishopric meetings too. In Italy you are either a member with all your heart and soul or you are inactive, but it difficult to sit on the fence.

If any of you feel underused by the Lord and want to come to Italy we have callings for you!


Emily Cushing said...

I love your blog about LDS life in Italy. My husband and I were members of the smallest branch in Germany for one year--and much of what you write reminds me of the difficulties the members in our branch faced. The Relief Society President was also the ward chorister, RS instructor, and her husband was our branch president.

Trafford said...

Thank you for your comment. I was undecided whether to name in LDS in Italy or in Europe as the conditions throughout Europe are the same except for England. I decided to go with what I am most familiar with. Where were you in Germany? Were you with the military?

Emily Cushing said...

We lived in Mosbach (about 50 min. from Heidelberg.)My husband did a work study program through BYU. We loved our time over there and would love to live abroad again one day. Are you from Italy or are you living there with your job?

Tamster said...

My sister and her husband and kids lived in Germany for over 20 years before finally moving back to the states. Unfortunately, they are not in the church anymore, but I attended their small branch there more than once when visiting. The last time I went there was after they had left the church, and their daughter came to church with me. Once there, they asked me to play the organ (which I had never done--only piano, and I don't consider myself an accompanist by any means). I agreed to try, but once I pushed down on the keys at all, it freaked me out, so I couldn't do it. So they had me lead the music instead. Keep in mind, I don't know German, so here I am leading the singing in German while singing in English or not at all (I don't remember which); I think they gave me an English hymnbook, but even that I am not sure of anymore. This was a long time ago. I just remember feeling really awkward visiting a branch in a language I didn't know and being asked to do stuff. They obviously missed my sister's family (very musical family) and were lacking people desperately. It is definitely not easy to be a member of the Church in Europe. I really admire those who are stalwart there. :-)

Trafford R. Cole said...

I am still trying to figure out this blog- how to publish things and where to go for comments. After my initial reply I didn't see your comments until now.
I came to Italy on my mission met my future wife and after more schooling at BYU I came back to finish my graduate degree in psychology married my wife, Fernanda and I have been here ever since. You can see more at traffordcole.com
It is interesting to hear about your experience in Germany. I can understand the language barrier, but I can understand equally the branch's need for valid members for callings.