Just a note: I’m beginning to see more and more errors in Stephen’s English ..I’ve decided not to make any corrections…I’m sure he’s thinking in Portuguese and having to translate back to English now.
Yeah, speaking of pop-culture things….
It really isn´t possible to escape the news from the north. The day of the hurricane; I was informed of a “tornado” in New York. (To which I called bull-crap on.) Misstranslation. I can´t blame them; none of us has studied the “natural disasters” section of the Portuguese language books. Elections coming up this week, the questions once again fly my way. Most people down here are rooting for Obama, because of some “reported” news that Romney will close the boarders to Brasilians. I really couldn´t care less for the moment. However, there was a bit of news that did catch my attention. We stopped at a members house on our way to the other end of our area on the 1st. Apparently, Skyfall (the new Bond film) is fantastic, the title song is really good, and I just about died to hear the announcement of new Star Wars films. Um, I´m satisfied with the 6. Well, if you have to, DON´T touch the Clone Wars (there is a thing called over-kill), I´d like it if you guys avoided doing continuation stories of Han, Luke, and Leia, and my vote is for a Knights of the Old Republic movie.
Yesterday was stake conference, and as we were preparing to leave to walk to the stake center, we got a call from one of our female investigators wanting to go. So, by the “cunning genius” of Elder Ribeiro, we secured a ride with her and took a male member with us too. (Elder Ribeiro is worried about developing permanent leg pains, so we haven´t walked nearly as much as I had with Elder Dattilo.) On the way, she had the radio on and the theme for Skyfall came on. (You know anything else other than a James Bond song that repeats its title throughout the song?) Pretty neat, I thought, but not the kind of song that one should listen to just before church.
Several of our friends received the higher Priesthood yesterday, including Lucas. (You´ll hear about Lucas when I get back.) So great, and graças á Restuaração (in place of “Him”), I have progressed enough in the language that I can understand and take notes. I thought a lot about what was said, and I have a few requests. Stories of ancestors and the rest of the Garden music (with some Star Wars added in, please?) I´ve been on a family and Star Wars kick recently. One of the “useless” talents that I have is memorization, and so I have several movies (Elder Dattilo calculated it one to be at about 40 hours worth) memorized. So, to help while we´re walking, I´m translating film lines from English into Portuguese. Gotta say, it helps a lot actually and it´s better than staring at the ground.
We´ve marked two baptisms for Saturday. There were two little cousins of a member who have been going for a while, have a desire to be baptized, and nobody has done a thing about it. So, Elder Ribeiro and I have taken upon ourselves to fix this. Unfortunately, transfers are Wednesday, so chances are I won´t be here. Drat! Sorry to hear about Cora dropping the Italian class. Oh, well.
We stopped by Ivanette (a good friend) and unfortunately, Ligla and Marcela (Marcela is the one I confirmed) aren´t staying very active and are actually attending another church often. It broke my heart, especially since they were the only baptisms that Elder Dattilo had here. They´ve been to the temple for baptisms, have felt the spirit, and yet because Ivanette can´t come to church for a while (pregnancy problems), they are faltering. On the bright side, we had a family homje evening last night with the bishop and another member. While our planned investigator didn´t show up (we think the father isn´t liking us), her mother and a brother-in-law showed up. I´ve been looking for an opportunity to share “Special Witnesses of Christ” with someone and last night was the perfect night. We shared President Monson´s section about the Book of Mormon, and then we (along with the Bishop) shared our testimonies to them. We also gave them a copy of the Book of Mormon. I thought I was going to be chrushed under the weight of the Spirit that was there.
This week, we had a reference from a member to teach his family. They love to talk and ask questions. All are receptive and loves our answers to their questions (They were taught by our Jehovah´s Witness friends, and so “dreams are of the devil, long hair is an abomination, and blood transfusions are unholy.”). The father doesn´t study the Bible as much as you might think, so he asks us questions about things he has heard. (Who are the 144,000? Why wasn´t the baptismal manner of Christ sufficent for the disciples in the later part of Acts, etc.) Happily, I was able to answer these questions, with important help from Elder Ribeiro. I attribute this to good parenting.
One thing that has been going around here (and in the States) is that I´m a scholar of the scriptures. While I won´t deny that I study a bit, I absolutely reject that my knowledge has come only by my own efforts. Many of the hard questions about the trifling things of the gospel can be answered when you have the Spirit. I can´t stress it enough. Without the Spirit, all of your reading would be in vain. This week, I have begun to tackle the barrier of sciptures: Isaiah (Revelation isn´t too difficult, keep the idea in mind, go to seminary, and look at the footnotes and you´ll be fine.) I open up the Isaiah chapters of 2 Nephi, while also opening up the corresponding chapters in the Bible, pray before, and suddenly things become clearer. The imagery fades away and the message becomes clear. It speaks of terrible and hopeful things concerning the second coming and the last days. One of my favorite phrases I read this morning was something to the effect of “Those of you who put your trust in men, where will you turn to when you stand before the judgement seat of God and those things fail you?” So cool.
A good part of Stake Conference was about parenting. I thought quite a bit of this. Teach up a chile in the way he should go and he will not depart from it. Read with your younger ones the scriptures, watch videos, sing hymns, and suddenly the mist of darkness fades. What power there is in the scriptures! How firm is that foundation of knowledge! I can testify that without being raised in the scriptures and taught to recognize the Spirit of Truth, I surely would have faltered. So, my invitation to you all: Return to the scriptures and read them. (study is the key word here) You will be building your house upon a rock and there will be no great fall.
Eu amo vocês!