"No obstacles are insurmountable when God commands and we obey"
- - Heber J. Grant
January 31, 2014
Greetings from Italy
by Jeff Lindsay

A few days ago we came to Italy to avoid the complexities of the world's most massive migration, the Chinese New Year where more than 1 billion train tickets will be used within a two-week period.

What can I say about Italy except this: total culture shock. Shock, that is, at how much culture Italy has. Walking through the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, for example, is overwhelming. So many hundreds of majestic statues and paintings, almost any one of which would be a sensation for a museum in the States.


The exterior of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. (Photo by Kathryn H. Kidd)

We have had so many highlights here, including spending time with the family (and food!) of a business leader I have been working with. Their values, their family harmony, their goodness, and their Catholic faith were impressive.

OK, I'm a little biased because they gave us one of the best meals imaginable with world-class seafood dishes, including a seafood risotto that will inspire me for years to come.

On our first day in Italy we were genuinely blessed to be able to attend church with the Florence 1st Branch. With our schedule, we didn't think it would work out because when I checked the LDS church locator website earlier when working out details of our brief visit to Italy, my search indicated that the only meetings in the area were at a time that wouldn't work for us and at a location pretty far outside of Florence itself, and so we figured that we probably wouldn't be able to get to church on Sunday, our only full day in Florence.

So, with apologies to the Lord, I explained in my personal prayer Sunday morning that I didn't think we'd be able to make it church, but would be very happy if there might be a way to work around the various constraints I faced to find some way after all. 

At that point I just felt that my apology wasn't exactly accepted, and instead there was something specific I needed to do -- search again for Mormon meetings in Florence. It was a very specific prompting, and I'm so glad I didn't ignore it.

Right after the prayer, I Googled "Mormon church meetings in florence italy" (no quotes were used) and saw the LDS meetinghouse locator again in the top results. So I went there, searched again for Florence, and to my surprise found that there was a service in Florence itself in the morning, with the Florence 1st Branch.

Why this didn't show up earlier, I don't know. But the time and location, coupled with the fact that things went smoothly for us with our earlier events Sunday, leaving us with enough time to catch a taxi and arrive early enough to meet several new people and make some valuable and enjoyable connections.

One thing that added a lot to the experience of attending church in Italy was the friendliness of the Italian members and the goodness of the missionaries we met. They translated for us and helped us to understand what was said in a great meeting.

Greetings from Sister Holloway (from Portland, Oregon, as I recall) and Sister Strong (from Chandler, Arizona), shown in the photo below (with their permission) with my wife at the end of the special add-on service after sacrament, a pot-luck dinner with real homemade Italian food -- the best food we had had at that point so far in this majestic nation, outside of some miraculous gelato.


Jeff Lindsay's wife with Sister Holloway and Sister Strong

Also shown are two views of the Church building in Florence. One of the great hotspots of this incredibly historic and beautiful city. 




My experience reminded me: each day, I should spend a little time in prayer contemplating and reviewing plans because the Lord might have important changes in mind if only I am willing to listen. I am so grateful for the small miracle of being able to attend church in Florence yesterday. 

We are in a small medieval town now and will soon be in Rome, where Dr. Ugo Perego has kindly arranged for me to speak at a devotional on Sunday, Feb. 2. Ugo, by the way, has made major contributions in our understanding of DNA science and its application to LDS issues. He is an amazing and talented Latter-day Saint.

I'm falling for Italy with its high quality of life and friendly people. I definitely hope to be back.

For more from Jeff Lindsay, see Mormanity at http://mormanity.blogspot.com and his Mormon Answers section at http://jefflindsay.com/LDSFAQ/.


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About Jeff Lindsay

Jeff Lindsay has been defending the Church on the Internet since 1994, when he launched his LDSFAQ website under JeffLindsay.com. He has also long been blogging about LDS matters on the blog Mormanity (mormanity.blogspot.com). Jeff is a longtime resident of Appleton, Wisconsin, who recently moved to Shanghai, China, with his wife, Kendra. He works for an Asian corporation as head of intellectual property. Jeff and Kendra are the parents of 4 boys, 3 married and the the youngest on a mission.

He is a former innovation and IP consultant, a former professor, and former Corporate Patent Strategist and Senior Research Fellow for a multinational corporation.

Jeff Lindsay, Cheryl Perkins and Mukund Karanjikar are authors of the book Conquering Innovation Fatigue (John Wiley & Sons, 2009).

Jeff has a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Brigham Young University and is a registered US patent agent. He has more than 100 granted US patents and is author of numerous publications. Jeff's hobbies include photography, amateur magic, writing, and Mandarin Chinese.

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