The Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ is the heart and core and center of revealed religion.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie Christ and the Creation

July 4, 2017

Italy, Rescue

Comments Off on The Most Important Thing I Know is that God Loves Me

Since I have had the privilege to spend this Sunday in Florence, Italy, after attending a spirit-filled Sacrament Meeting here, I thought the following might be appropriate.

Alberto Sottili is a silver craftsman. He recognizes and treasures beautiful things. Each day in his shop in Florence, Italy, he creates jewelry—lovely necklaces, earrings, and brooches. But he is modest about his skills. “My shop is very simple—it is really just a laboratory,” he says. “I always wanted to be a musician, but I didn’t have enough money. So, when I was 14, I worked in the summer and began learning to make jewelry.”

Three years later—at a time when his life seemed very unsettled and he was searching for direction—Alberto heard about something that brought peace and beauty to him. “God loves you,” a relative who was a member of the Church assured him. Alberto was so impressed by this simple statement that he consented to kneel and pray with him. “I felt an incredible peace inside after our prayer, and I felt that I should learn more about this church.”

When the elders began teaching the gospel to Alberto in 1974, they spoke to him about Joseph Smith, the Word of Wisdom, and the purpose of life. “As I listened, I was touched by the fact that the ideas the missionaries were explaining to me were already familiar,” recalls Alberto. One month later, Alberto was baptized.

Today—20 years later—Alberto’s life is still surrounded by beauty. For many years, he was a single parent to his two older daughters, Simona and Silvia. When they were 12 and 11 years old, he met his present wife, Maria Teresa. They were married in the Swiss Temple and now have two more lovely daughters, Sara, 6, and Denise Gloria, 1. The older girls—now 19 and 18—have strong testimonies of the gospel, and both desire to serve missions. Simona reflected, “Thanks to the gospel, I am the person that I am. The gospel influences me each day of my life. Even though sometimes it is hard, I feel that the gospel brings me strength and freedom.”

Silvia is following in her father’s artistic footsteps as she studies painting and sculpture. She also follows his spiritual footsteps as she expresses her testimony, “I am so thankful for my father—it is because of him that I was able to join the Church. Often, people in the world feel that they have the freedom to do whatever they want to do. But I think that obedience to the laws of the gospel is the only thing that makes us really free from the weight of the bad things of the world. To me, the gospel is strength and help, and everything in my life. The most important thing I know is that God loves me and listens to me.”

In Florence, Italy, a city renowned for beautiful treasures, Alberto Sottili talks about his own priceless treasures: “I think that everything good is from God. To keep our family together, we have to work, to pray, to have home evening. We must not permit evil to come into our house.”

And Maria Teresa agrees, “I can’t imagine my life without the gospel. The gospel is my life!”

DeAnne Walker

A Foundation in Faith,” Tambuli, Nov 1994, 41

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August 27, 2016

Enabling Power, Italy

Comments Off on We are Watchers of a Beacon

Italy was first opened to missionary work in 1849 by Lorenzo Snow. During his five-year mission he proselyted northern Italy and succeeded in converting 20 families from a protestant congregation known as the Waldenses in the Piedmont area of Italy. The hymn “For the Strength of the Hills” was a favorite song of the Waldenses and an early Italian contribution to our hymnal.

Political and religious opposition to early proselyting efforts closed Italy to missionary work until 1965.

Richard G. Wilkins

All’Italiana—The Italian Way,” New Era, Mar 1978, 30

Here are two verses from “For the Strength of the Hills”

Thou hast led us here in safety
Where the mountain bulwark stands
As the guardian of the loved ones
Thou hast brought from many lands.
For the rock and for the river,
The valley’s fertile sod,

We are watchers of a beacon
Whose light must never die;
We are guardians of an altar
’Midst the silence of the sky.
Here the rocks yield founts of courage,
Struck forth as by thy rod;

For the Strength of the Hills,” Hymn 35

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