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Former Executive VP WordPerfect Corporation. Father of 6, grandfather of 16. Mostly retired, but still thinking.

A Leap not of Faith

We still don’t know for sure where we are going.

We submitted our papers on December 9, requesting we go to Italy. The papers went through a review process, and then went to the Missionary Committee on December 18. From there they were forwarded to the desk of one of the Apostles. As our luck would have it, the Apostle has not made a decision about where to send us.

We know this because the Italy Milan mission president has been calling the Missionary Committee every few days to track the progress of our papers. He has not been told which Apostle has the papers, but has been told that the General Authority in question has been out of the office and will probably not return until next week. So, we likely won’t know our fate until the week of January 5.

Of course, we are in turmoil. We have sold two cars, spent hours learning Italian, settled finances, purchased large luggage, taken family pictures, and have moved forward at an unhesitating pace. Marieta was even released from her ward callings. We are truly hurrying up and waiting at the same time. Could we end up in Africa?

More unsettled is our upcoming trip. We have been planning to fly to Italy on January 2 for a week of training before the current office couple comes home. They leave on January 16, but they won’t have much time in their last week to teach us very much. So, if we want their help, we have to go right away.

We can’t even call this a leap of faith. We have faith the Lord will send us where He wants us to go, but we have no idea what He might be thinking. We talked with the mission president this morning, who talked with the Missionary Committee this morning, and everything points towards us going to Milan. Our probability of going is likely to be greater than 90%.

What do you think? Remember that Milan is cold, foggy, and rainy this time of year. Keep in mind that we can take a lot more stuff if we make two trips. Remember that much of the work we will do is very specific to Italy–helping missionaries with visa issues, paying bills, and handling leases. We also would be able to see our apartment, so we would have an idea where we can put Marieta’s sewing machine. On the other hand, if we stayed home, we could save more than enough to money to ship anything we needed FedEx.

Should we go? Let us know what you are think we should do.

Love, Pete and Marieta

Not a Christmas List

Our week passed in a blur of appointments, shots, interviews and arrangements. We’ve sold one car, purchased two items of luggage, put our finances in order, and started a list of things to do. The list is long enough that we use post-it notes on the kitchen door. There is so much left to do. And the list is growing.< ?xml:namespace prefix = o />

Our last appointment needed to finish our application was a visit to the dentist. At 4:30 p.m. at the moment the dentist signed the evaluations, I called Bishop Cluff to tell him we had completed our application. Within moments he pushed the application to the stake level.

We took our signed evaluations to the assistant stake executive secretary so he could fill-in all the medical and dental information. By 8:30 p.m. the application all was ready for the Stake President. Minutes later, President Hughes, who happens to be in Japan today, sent an email to say he had reviewed the application and had passed it on to the missionary committee. After a week of furious activity, we have officially submitted our mission papers.

First thing tomorrow morning, President Dunaway will be calling the missionary committee from Italy to make sure everyone is on the same page. Although unlikely, there is a small chance the church could send another couple to Italy and send us to some other place. Marieta is very afraid we will end up somewhere in Africa.

We probably will not know our fate for certain for two to three weeks, but at least we can relax a little. Because we are trying to get to Italy as quickly as possible and because we cannot get a long-term visa until we have an official call in hand, we were in a rush. Now while we wait we can concentrate on our list. Hopefully, Marieta will have a little time to sew. Pete

Laziness Interrupted

Sunday morning we trudged to the Stake President’s office to keep a 9:00 a.m. appointment. Marieta felt at ease, because we were both under the impression that I would get a new calling. Soon she shared my anxiety.

President Hughes explained that President Dunaway, our former stake president and current president of the Milan Italy Mission, called asking for help. The mission office couple was returning home in January, and he desperately needed a senior couple to serve in their place. The missionary department of the church let him know that he had little chance of receiving a replacement couple unless he could find a couple himself. The demand for senior missionaries exceeds the supply, and the available missionaries were needed elsewhere.

President Hughes explained that after a lot of prayer and thought he had come to the conclusion that he should ask us to consider accepting the call. Unlike earlier days of the LDS church when calls were announced from the pulpit and no one could say no, he was asking us if we would be willing to serve. We talked about our family, our health, our finances (Milan, Italy is one of the more expensive missions and missionaries pay their own expenses), and our commitments. We could only think of nine reasons not to go—our grandchildren Rylee, Samantha, Jacob, Barrett, Dani, Jonny, Ashley, Matthew, and Jane. They are so dear to us. Watching them learn and grow is such a joy.

We had a few questions, but we told President Hughes we would go. By Tuesday morning our questions were answered and our plans were settled. Assuming we pass our physicals, receive approval from the church’s missionary committee, and have our visas, we should be in Milano (notice the switch to Italian) in March.

We’ve shed some tears and lost a little sleep, but we’re going to go because we feel we should. We’re excited to help the missionary effort and to learn a little Italian, but we’re sad to have to say good-by. Luckily we’ll have the Internet and the tools it offers us to stay in touch for the 18 months we are in Italy.