“My Bell Tower Reminder,” Liahona, Mar. 2023.
Latter-day Saint Voices
My Bell Tower Reminder
Had I responded to the prompting, we would have had more time to teach Giuseppe the gospel.
One preparation day, my missionary companion and I were visiting a cathedral in Parma, Italy. While marveling at the beautiful paintings there, I noticed a monk reading nearby. I received a prompting to talk to him about the Book of Mormon, but I became afraid.
How would a Catholic monk react to a missionary proselyting inside a cathedral? The prompting came again, but again I dismissed it.
A few weeks later, the other two elders in our apartment told us they had visited with a monk named Giuseppe while street contacting. After they had taught him a lesson, he accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon.
When the missionaries met with Giuseppe a week later, he had already read much of the book. He was very excited about it.
Before the missionaries met with Giuseppe again, my companion was transferred, so I joined their companionship. When we went to teach Giuseppe in the cathedral, I was not surprised to see that he was the same monk I was prompted to talk to earlier.
Giuseppe told us he was reading the book of Alma, whom he compared to the Apostle Paul. We decided to teach him the second lesson, which ended with an invitation to be baptized. At the end of our lesson, just before we could invite Giuseppe to follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized, the cathedral bells began ringing, startling us.
Giuseppe had lost track of time and said he needed to join the other monks for midday prayers. Then he apologized, saying he would be unavailable in the future because he was going to a monastic retreat. His ordination as a priest would follow.
We were surprised at how that significant moment had just evaporated. Had I responded to my earlier prompting, we would have had more time to teach Giuseppe and he would have had time to finish reading the Book of Mormon. As far as I know, missionaries never taught him again.
After that experience, the sound of clock-tower bells reminded me how valuable and short our time is. For the rest of my mission, every time I heard a bell tower ring, I was motivated to speak to anyone I could about the gospel. Today, I still strive to follow promptings from the Spirit.