I had a transfer and am with a happy Brasilian named Elder Viana. He is a language snob, so that means college-type morning classes for language study. Fortunately, the Lord has blessed me to be proficient enough in the language that I can understand Viana´s explanations of the rules and grammar basics. It is clearing up a few things, and though I would have been just fine where I am now, it´s part of what the Lord has in store for me. Elder Viana has ambition, and everything else has been fairly smooth.
Just now, we made the visit to the small railway museum close to the house. As we were looking, someone locked the door on us. As Elder Viana and I were the only ones visiting, Elder Viana started to panic a bit. I was about halfway done with the museum, so once I finished my route, then I turned to the locked door. We watched the security cameras and nobody was really anywhere close to us so that they could hear Elder Viana calling Succor! Succor! (literally translated is succor! but it means Help!) I never panicked, and I found that the door was easily unlockable from the inside. I did the necessary thing, and the door opened to freedom. I thought it was rather amusing. Oh! I believed I mentioned it last week, but I have secured two possible locations for Skype on Christmas. I´m excited for Brayden´s letter. I also thought how exciting it will be to take him to a new Star Wars movie in a few years. Christine, watch for a new letter soon!
We had our baptism on Saturday! I was so happy for Adrianna, but unfortunately she showed up late for her confirmation the next day. So, we´ve had to push it back until next Sunday. Here in the ward, they are prone to gossip about the elders, so I´ve been trying to not give them reasons to do so. Lunches here have been fairly consistent, but my favorite was an elderly lady (who Elder Riberio “warned” me about because she talks a lot.). She was so sweet and wonderful and showed us her family treasure hove. She has been doing lots of family history work and scrapbooking and I shared with her some things. She has been taking English since she was 11 and so she switched back and forth. It was so great, but in accordance with our rules, I talked in Portuguese most of the time. I couldn´t resist her charm and so we will be participating with her in a small missionary activity this week giving The “Joy to the World” dvd to some of her friends. I´m excited. Some of my best friends her are, not surprisingly, elderly people. We had one come to us yesterday and pleaded with us to stop by and visit because she felt a lack of the sweet missionary spirit in her home. How could I refuse that?
This week, we had a few FHE´s, all with promising investigators. One man cried when we and a video introduced to him that idea of eternal families. His wife has died and he is a bit estranged with his daughter. The gospel and its redeeming message touched his heart, and I gained a new appreciation for how the gospel blesses all people. I cannot wait to meet with him again. I also got a chance to look on familysearch.org and was surprised that one line of our family has gotten their temple work done until the 1500´s.
This week, I was impressed by Elder Holland´s CES fireside talk of “Israel, Israel, God is Calling.” Standing for something and the integrity of it and the “why” behind it touched my heart this week as I had an opportunity to stand my ground. Really, the last few days have been extremely difficult as I was forced to question if I was just being stubborn, or if I was on the right ground. Inevitably, I had to make a decision. After much prayer and thinking, I decided to stand my ground. The best thing you can do in situations of trouble is give the temptations no heed. Obedience to your Heavenly Father very rarely yields praise here on earth. The Savior said; Let your Light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father, which is in heaven. The praise goes not to man, but to the Father. You are rewarded for being obedient and loyal. Integrity for the commandments and the rules of your leaders is never naivety, even if the world would have you think so. As I stated in an earlier letter, Neal A. Maxwell once said, “The laughter of the world is just the world pathetically trying to reassure itself.” Stand fast, be a witness of God at ALL times, and in ALL things, and in ALL places that ye may be in, even until death. I promise you that what you are doing will influence you and your Father in Heaven will see you. Elder Holland so recently said that the chief way to show love is loyalty and standing and defending those divinely mandated “thou shalts” and “thous shalt nots” is loyalty. Remember, we want to show to the Lord that in our hearts we truly love him.
Eu amo vocês!