A picture for me? HOORAY!!!!! I also appreciate the music coming. Our home usually has some kind of music going on, and it creates a wonderful atmosphere for exercising, studying, and eating.
On the exercising note, Elder Dattilo wanted to start a “Six Weeks to a Six-Pack” program, which includes a tradeoff between running in the mornings and something I like to call “ab-kills”. Yeah, when your legs hurt before 7:30, you´re not always going to be jumping for joy. However, the results speak for themselves. No, there will not be pictures. Except for my arms and head, I´m still white. Also, Elder Datillo has been hearing a lot about family, friends, and other loved ones. He joked about writing 2 girls a letter, and he (not joking) will be promptly showing up at the house sometime next October or so. He really thinks you guys are awesome, and fortunately, communication here is not one of our problems. (Unlike his last companion) English, Portuguese, inside jokes, tanta fiz para nos.
The members are always friendly and have been providing us with some references. Most members don´t think twice about inviting us in and sharing some fruits or cakes that they made. I´m affectionately known by one English/ Portuguese speaking member as “Elder Chocolate”…..Yeah, there has been SOOO many instances where that has come up, and the members are always apologizing for having chocolate deserts or ice-creams. Luckly for them, I love Strawberry.
We´ve had a dry spell recently, to which Elder Datillo and I have refocused our efforts and figured out how to improve our finding of people. We studied Elder Holland´s talk from November entitled “We are All Enlisted”, which will be the focus of our district meeting tomorrow. Apparently, Elder Dattilo has a package coming from the zone leaders. MORE FOOD! And maybe some more things. I wish we could be sure if it was music, but Elder Dattilo has another package sent by his friends from March that still hasn´t gotten here.
I had a division with Elder Wolfe for a day, and fortunately the Lord wanted us to have a good day. We collected 6 return appointments for Elder Goates and Elder Wolfe and met some very enthusiastic people. One person was a recent convert who, like many people, was the only member of the church in her family. She first looked through my photo-book, and like many others, immediately got a smile when she saw Katie on the front. The joy in her eyes as she looked through the family and saw Joe, Cora´s artistic eyes, Brayden and Katie, Landon´s bike, and Christine´s cropped photo. We watched “Finding Faith in Christ” with her, and we each bore powerful testimonies about the gospel. President Martins said a phrase that I love, “This gospel is one of hope, joy, and eternity”. I´m sure Satan had other plans for that night, because I´m sure that no evil thing could have been in that room with us at that time.
I dealt a lot with doubt this week. Whether we were really making much of a dent. We´ve had a few success here and there, but mostly the doubt was personal. I have little knowledge of the language and would only get through the lessons before I felt like I had used my entire vocabulary. Really, my doubts were if I was having any effect on anyone here. Every day, Elder Dattilo is explaing something that I had never thought of. The family always turn their attention to Elder Dattilo for conversations, my wanting to stick with the schedule is often shattered by the wants of the investigators, and I really wondered if I was just there so that Elder Dattilo had another witness to the truth. I expressed my thoughts and concerns to him, and he told me to stop. He knows much about my life and about how my group of friends were never really strong in the faith. In college, I felt alone in the church, as I had no roommates nor close friends that I associated with daily that could strengthen me and my faith, nor would even begin to help my spiritual thrist. I could not feel the companionship that I longed for and really only got by on divine intervention.
His older brother and sister walked away from the chruch as well and he is the first in his family (His dad is a convert) to serve a mission, so he knows the pain that comes from being “Joseph amongst the older sons of Jacob”. He stopped me and counted the unspoken things that he learned from me. I listened and really began to ponder if I have had that effect on people. No one tells me of these things, nor should I desire to hear from them about this everyday. Most of my friends have come and gone the same people, and I´ve never seen any big changes in their lives. However, when Elder Dattilo told me of the things he has learned from a film-obsessed drama kid, I began to think about the friends that i have had and wondered if I have left them with something different. I´m sure the Savior, if he weren´t flipping awesome and perfect, would have wondered if anyone listened to his teachings. 2 billion people living today profess that He is the Son of God. However, we, as Latter-Day Saints, have a unique perception of Him. “But whom say ye that I am?” Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Christ”. With all that title, and all the many other names He has, I bear my testimony that HE IS THE CHRIST! The Living Son of the Living God. The Good Shepherd of whom we are seeking His sheep. The Master who set the example for us. The Almighty Comforter of our hearts. The Everlasting Prince of Peace, to whom we may look to for a remission of our sins and feel at peace and without guilt or shame.
One last thought I leave with you who are struggling with the lone and dreary world. “The laughter of the world is just the world patheticlly trying to reassure itself” – Neal A. Maxwell
Eu amo vocês!