Our area is the most lax with the music rules I have ever seen. My companion has Lords of the Rings (only on P-Days) and he apparently is getting his Pirates Soundtracks soon. Dang my hide. There could be tons of John Williams cycling around our apratment. Oh well.
Experiences this week: President Costa took our Thursday and delivered sermons the entire time in Portuguese. As helpful as the Lord has been and the language practice we do out here, most of the ones under 6 months were still so lost. So, can´t deliever any of his words for you. Provided us a good excuse to take a train ride back to our area.
I´m so thankful for your prayers and concerns. This week was extremely tough, mostly because of language problems. Portuguese is suppossed to be one of the easiest languages to learn, but I still can only pick out certain words. I felt discouraged enough to chat with President Martins on his way through our area. He took me behind the ward building and, being a doctor in theology, he explained D&C 18: 10-11. You know, the worth of souls is great in the sight of the Lord? The reason is explained in the next verse. The price of even one soul was worth the suffering and death of our Savior. You are not worthless, otherwise Satan wouldn´t waste his time with you. Every worthy member holds the priesthood, which is the power and authority of God. Every woman has the most sacred calling in the church: to be a mother. A worthy wife is the greatest gift that the Lord can give a man. So, Dad. I know you don´t need a reminder, but Mom is a blessing in all of our lives. Treasure her and keep defending her. Mom, your example has been the best for my out here, and knowing that you haven´t forgotten about your little missionary in a favela is part of what keeps me going, despite so many times that I have wanted to quit and be done with these hardships.
We have been called devil worshipers by some. My companion suffered an illness very early on due to the food here. The language is one that requires specificity in your pronuciation, and so many people ramble it off like Dr. Suess books. However, the Lord still wroughts mighty miracles among two American missionaries from Washington. By others, we have been called Prophets; and even more have expressed gratitude for the service in which we work. The last missionary companion here was one that became lazy in his last few months of the mission. It has been 3 weeks since he left, and many people have forgotten his name already, even those who were baptized by him. In our case, Elder Dattilo (go find his funny pictures of us on his facebook) prefers to be the example of hardwork, at the expense of blisters on our feet. If our lunch appointment will take another hour, we do not hesistate to go right back out and work for that hour. Our first baptisms are scheduled for this Sunday, with more to follow.
I´m grateful for this gospel, which is one of action and of happiness. I´m am so grateful for the peace that the Atonement brings to one´s life and the infinite rewards it brings to ALL in the human family. Stay true. A life anchored by the gospel of the Redeemer is one that will weather the storms of hell. My thoughts this morning were about the millions upon millions of examples and stories that come from living this gospel. Anyone remember any inspiring books about being blessed for worshipping as the Zoramites did? Once a week, in church, repeating the same prayers, and then never speaking of it again until the next Sunday? I remember the examples of our prophets, the touching accounts of pure faith from the members, the dilligence of our leaders, and the absolute selflessness of the Master. You have so many reasons to be grateful and to praise the Lord all day long.
I miss you guys lots, but there is still so much more to do out here. Which sucks because I´m exhuasted. However, I have devoted my time to the Lord. Can´t back out now. All of you will be getting quality me time and hugs when I get home. (The strange thing is that I´m only three months in, when there is still so much more to go.)
Eu amo vocês!
Stephen (Elder Jarvis)