Focusing on The Atonement

ImageFirst off, peanut Butter. Don´t be stingy, there really is none out here, and when you do find it, it´s expensive.
Thank you, Mickey. I thought about you a few times this week, and I hope you are doing well. I´m glad you can find something worthwhile in this kid´s emails to home. 
Elder Dattilo and I have had a bit of a dry spell recently. So, we´ve set our sights on doing the contacts and never forgetting to ask for references. The Lord has given us encouragement, as the few contacts we did do yielded return dates and 2 sets of members gave us references to Catholic families. But, the biggest news this week is that 
Elder Dattilo was made District Leader! He couldn´t be happier to be in a position of leadership and we are looking forward to tomorrow´s district meeting.
Music. That´s a fun story. We have a few songs on our phone and Elder Dattilo´s Zune. On the phone, we have “You´ve got a Friend in me” and its portuguese companion “Amigo Estou Aqui” (Friend, I am here). So, I usually get a good dose of Katie memories often. Miss her! We traveled to the mission home on Friday for a “New District Leader” meeting, so the companions had to stay outside and talk about nothing. Through the magic of Bluetooth, we got “He´s a Pirate” (The Main theme to Pirates), and so because it is so awesome, it gets played fairly regulary on the big speakers. However, thanks to Mommy efforts (THANK YOU!!!), we will be receiving more music soon.
Yesterday was my first talk in Portuguese. It was scheduled for 7 mintues, but I only took 4. It was on “The Importance of Testimonies”, and it actually went fairly well. I didn´t crash and burn, but it, to me, felt pretty choppy. The members, in their infinite kindness to us, forgave me for the brutal beating that I gave Portuguese. (That´ll show it.) Fortunately, the kid after me (One of three kids putting in his papers) took a lot of time. We still ended at about 12.
Transfers happened, and we got a new sister from South Jordan. (Elder Dattilo calls it the fabrica – factory). She´s doing fairly good, and plus her trainer is a native speaker. The district got rearranged, so our district has all 4 couple training somebody. Plus, Elder Dattilo is suppossed to go on spilts with the senior companions first. Next week: The Spectacular Adventure of a Day and a Half work from two 4 monthers!
We´ve had a few challenges this week, but nothing that stops the work. One of our favorite investigators we had to drop. However, we also have another that is actually reading the Book of Mormon every day. We have another that is a sister and a best friend to two recent converts. She “knows that I´m suppossed to be here”. Fingers-crossed!
This week also seemed to go by really slow, but before we knew it, it was Sunday. We´ve have most of our work with less-actives. It´s painfully obvious to us that they need the Atonement and the fruits that naturally come from living the gospel. As I thought about it, I knew that we all need the Atonement. Elder Dattilo and I are doing a cookie experiment tomorrow to illustrate the Atonement. One person does a certain number of Push-ups for every person in the room. The person that is being offered the cookie has the choice to accept or reject the cookie. They are offered it first, and whether they say yes or no, the one person still has to do the push-ups so that the price is paid. It´s an object lesson, and by the end of it, you feel gulity about not taking the cookie as you watch the one do the work so that you may have the cookie. We have three secret people who have to reject the cookie for different reasons (I´m one of them, and I have to reject the cookie based on the grounds that I´m fine just as I am.) It´s a powerful visual example.
As I thought again about many of the things that I´ve already thought about, I thought about those ungrateful people that won´t allow the Savior to help them because they can get by on their own, they don´t want to change, or they don´t see a reason to add more to what they already have. We may not openly reject the Savior´s help, but the Lord “looketh on the heart”. Your heart must be in this; it´s not (as Elder Holland says) like Burger King. You cannot have it your way. Perhaps we all have something that we aren´t willing to change. This isn´t a test of physical and self-reliance; it´s one of faith. Do you have faith enough to step onto the water, knowing that no matter what happens, the Savior of the World, the Lamb of God, the Master of both Heaven and Earth, will immediately stretch forth His hand to save you?
We are rapidly approaching the 5 month mark, to which the next mark is the 6th. 1/4 of my required service will be done. The time will move forward, with or without your watch. Let it move without your watchful counting, you have others things that demand your attention. Your Son will come home better and stronger, your Brother will return to help you in any way, your friend will be there to support you no matter what, and for my future wife (whoever she is), I going to be scared out of my pants, but trusting that the Lord knows what he is doing.
I tried to attach something very special to today´s email, but alas, the file exceeds the max size for an email. Thus, the present will come with the disc in a package. I can promise you, you will not be disappointed. I miss you guys and wish, at different times during the day that one of you were here. However, if the Savior walked his long lonely road without comfort, except that of the Father, then so must I. Only for a little while, I was not called to be the sinless one; my calling was to cry salvation unto the people of Brazil, and if you could see the work being done here, none of you would ever have a doubt that the Kingdom of God isn´t the prevailing thing on our mind.
Eu amo vocês!
(Elder Jarvis)Image

About elderstephenjarvis

My name is Stephen Jarvis, and I grew up in the State of Washington. I am currently serving a two year mission for my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This blog will be maintained by my family throughout my two years service, May 2012 - May 2014. I enter the MTC (Missionary Training Center) in Sao Paulo, Brazil on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012. I invite my friends and family to view the posts to this blog.
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One Response to Focusing on The Atonement

  1. mickeybatin says:

    Dear Elder:
    Thank you for thinking about me. I had a wonderful conversation with your mom and dad a couple of days ago and miss them something fierce. But as for me, “all is well.” Even with the hiccups of life, there is no denying we are being protected in spite of ourselves. That feeling is ever present, and makes me feel very humble to know I am cared about so much.

    As for the atonement, there was a time for almost 15 years that I did not take it; and for years I watched everyone at church mindlessly and mechanically take it, and my guess is, if you asked them “why”, they wouldn’t have been able to tell you. Other than perhaps the usual pat answer they learned at church. I didn’t want that, I personally wanted to know the “why” and until I did I wasn’t going to be hypocrite enough to take it on the notion of “just because.” I felt the aspect of the atonement was too important to be so non-chalant about the whole thing.

    Heavenly Father apparantly figured I had struggled enough in the why, and put someone in my path that showed up at my door. This sweet sister was obviously out of her element knocking at my door, and anyone who knows me, knows that if I am not thrilled about a suggestion I am more than happy to tell you to get lost. So I know this sister was figuring a door was going to get slammed in her face in short order. However, because in all the years I have known her she has never once come to my home, I figured it was taking a lot of guts for her to show up there now telling me Heavenly Father told her to bring this book called Believing Christ. So I couldn’t very well get angry with her. This book forever changed the way I felt about things and answered many questions I had and didn’t trust anyone enough to ask. The dry spell of not taking the sacrament ended, but during those times of just mechanically popping the sacrament starts to happen, and it does, I find myself pulling back to remember the “why.”

    As always know you are thought of and in our prayers. Thank you again for all you do. Mickey

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