|Photo: Opening the city of Venezia and Mestre to the Gospel in Dec. 1970|
Even today, it's usually just one person in the family that is the first to follow the promptings of the Spirit and ignore the traditions, negative untruths that exist on the internet, and withstand the persecution from friends and family members when they announce that they are joining "i Mormoni". Everyone around them questions their decision and watches to see what life changes occur as a result of this decision. Refusing to join in a friendly cup of cafe' or glass of vino is not easily understood by friends or loved ones. Joining the church is a decision that impacts families and generations, neighbors, friends and those in the workplace. It's not an easy decision and yet those brave few who are the first seem to have an extra measure of faith and dedication that blesses lives forever.
|Photo: Young Elder Steurer with Bro. Larcher at the Swiss Temple in 1970|
|Photo: The beautiful living room of the Pievani home in Bergamo adorned with Giovanna's art talents|
|Photo: Playing a spirited game of "Bugiardo" (Liar) with the Pievani's and Fenn's|
|Photo: The Finotto Family circa 1976|
The total membership numbers really do not justify a temple in Italy, but the faithful have been some of the most ardent supporters of the Swiss Temple and the Lord has now blessed them with one of their own. Once or twice a year wards seem to have no problem filling up buses of dedicated saints who spend an entire week at the temple. They announced in our ward this morning that there are only a few seats available for the temple trip at the end of this month. The bus was completely full when it departed. The experienced ones help the new ones, the youth baby-sit and do baptisms as the adults attend several sessions per day. They eat, sleep and serve together in a bonding experience they will never forget. At the end of the week they ride the packed bus all night arriving home exhausted but spiritually nourished to withstand the trials of life. These are amazing pioneer members of the church who have strengthened our faith as a result of their example of sacrifice and dedication. We love the faithful saints of Italy!