A busy, exciting, sad, thoughtful, beautiful, spirit-filled week! On June 16th my oldest brother, Kenny Teeples, passed away. What a difficult piece of news to receive when you are so far away from home and so unavailable to go be with family at a tender time like this. Kenny’s wife, Audrey passed away in November of this past year. Between missing her and being in very poor health, I’m certain that Kenny was ready to go “home.” There is a saying: “to take mourning out of death, is to take love out of life.” Ken and Audrey were such good people and I will miss our visits tremendously. Ken and I were 17 years apart in age and yet, we were really quite close. I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and the knowledge that we can see loved ones again. Thank goodness for a husband who understands my need to reminisce about my brother and who gives me comfort in my temporary loss. Five new missionaries from the MTC arrived at the mission home on Wednesday. They were two weeks late getting to Rome as they were all detained for a time in Provo due to a swine flu scare at the MTC. They look like fine young men and women and we are excited to have them serve in our mission. Our mission president has given us an additional assignment and the week has been a busy one. So, by Saturday we were looking forward to our first train ride to Anzio.
It is a fishing village on the shores of the Mediterranean. On our way there, President Acerson called and invited us to travel with him and his wife to LaSpezia in the northern most corner of the mission the next day. We were delighted. Sister and President Acerson - Sister Pearson - Will - Elder Pearson At 4:00 a.m. we were ready to be picked up for the 4-hour drive to LaSpezia. An overcast day was perfect for driving, and we attended our 3-hour meeting block there at an active branch of the church. After the meetings, the President encouraged us to take a train to Cinque Terre, a beautiful rugged coastline area of Italy. Pearson’s, the other office couple and ourselves, enjoyed three hours of incredible beauty. The overcast burned off and the day turned out to be warm and sunny. At the end of that time, we met back up with the President and Sister Acerson to travel to Prato for two baptisms. That part ended up being the highlight of the day as we witnessed the baptisms and listened to the testimonies of these two converts. The spirit of the Lord was so incredibly strong. (We JUST NOW felt about 10 seconds of another earthquake move our building gently back and forth!) Then toward the end of the meeting, Sister Leckie and Sister Stephensen sang the hymn, “I Know That My Redeemer Lives,” in Italian. During the singing, as their voices blended with amazing skill and thrilled all of us, we looked at one another and mouthed the word: WOW! The perfect ending to a beautiful Father’s Day! We are being so very blessed. What an awesome experience a mission is for a couple. We highly encourage it. Looks like snow? Actually, it is marble in the mountain where it is being mined.