Wow! So many friends joining me in the service of the Master. Now, I´m sure we will be able to do good. Hope to hear in the comming weeks about the calls for Corbin, McKenzie, and Christine. Dang, I´ve been wanting to go to Woodland Park for a while, but I guess I´ll just have to wait until I get back.
One big accomplishment this week. We had interviews with President Martins this week. Did I ever mention I love meeting with him. Some people have a fear of him, but as long as you don´t do anything stupid (I.E. watching a movie during district meeting), and continue working, you should be fine. He´s got a wonderful sense of humor, and we were able to play a joke last Friday on the waiting Elders, as I was the first to be interviewed here. Anyways, we talked about this, that, and the other thing. (Christ, work, Book of Mormon. We really have no idea how well the Bible and the Book of Mormon work so well together) Anyways, after interviews, Elder Viana got pumped for work and started to leave challenges with everyone, including me. So, as of this week, all personal study and outside reading will now be in Portuguese. I´m trying to go one step further by saying personal prayers and thoughts in Portuguese. It´s been slow, but I think an exercise of faith I needed to make. Our American Zone leader was flabbergasted that I started so early. Personally, I probably should have started a few weeks ago.
However, this doesn´t mean a lack of reading material. I purged the place for good things, and among some Portuguese Liahonias (NOT Ensigns), I found 4 “Teachings of the Presidents of the Church” books lying around. Yeah, I´m definitely taking these with me. Joseph Smith, Joseph F. Smith, David O. McKay, and Spencer W. Kimball. The only exceptions to this English afastamento (avoidment) are letters from home (and anything else), journal writings, and emails. So, there is my big acheivement.
I think this is good too, as I have been asked twice this transfer if I´m ready to train. There is apparently a big group coming in soon, and I know President is looking for people. I´m not hoping, nor even desiring a trainer position yet, but if the Lord, through President, says I´m ready, then I´m ready. I just need to trust in Him.
I have received Christine´s letter (Yes, I did have a stellar day!), and Dad´s letter with the new neice´s and nephew photos. Oh my gosh, Randy does amazing work. I can´t help but smile at those three. Brayden is such a stud, Katie looks gorgeous, and who doesn´t want an Addie?
One of our most recent lessons was with a man who is struggling to have faith in his decisions. So, we begged and pleaded with him to READ the Book of Mormon. Really, think about it people! This is the proof we show to people and ask them to judge for themselves. Why? I believe Nephi describes it best: Hearken unto these words and believe in Christ. And if ye believe not in these words, believe in Christ. And if ye believe in Christ, ye shall believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ… If these are not the words of Christ, judge ye, for Christ will show you with power and great glory, that they are the words of Christ and he has commanded me to write these words. (2nd Nephi: 33:10-11)
Recently, I talked about a woman who has “lost her faith”, named Terezinha. We found her based on a small thought I had. She finally came to Church yesterday, and the members did their part. The patriarch fellowshipped her, and she seemed to be in good spirits. I didn´t get a chance to talk to her personally, but I believe that she should be alright. We will be continuing to care for this returning sheep.
Our lessons are steadily increasing and member participation has been slow, but steadly increasing. We had a small missionary activity with another woman named Terezinha Cristina, who has been speaking English since 11. (She is in her 70´s) We delievered two copies of “Joy to the World” to her neighbors, and I couldn´t help, but pause and think of Lois Burton, who Papa Dee and I home taught in Idaho. Just a fun person to be around with, even with the loss of her companion. She also has a strong testimony of the gospel and it was heart-warming to see a woman, towards the end of her life, have that “hope for a better world” and wanting to share it with others.
My family, friends, and loved ones (as I call you guys every night in prayer), I want to help you get over this fear of sharing the gospel. It is natural to be shy about the gospel. Sharing religious beliefs is a private, even a sacred thing. However, I blieve in the words of Elder Holland when he said to “Start Sharing” because “we are not checking our religion at the door.” (I love that phrase) Remember, we have been commanded by Todo-Poderoso Deus to go forth and share. The Lord himself stated that the way to do this was “open your mouth”. He states this three times within three verses. Do not worry about damaging your friendship with these people. You will not offend them by saying “I believe in Christ”. Indeed, you will be doing them the highest possible sign of friendship, showing them the path to salvation. If they choose not to accept, remember that your true testimony will be accepted by the Lord. He records every testimony ever said, written, or performed. And on that great and terrible day, these testimonies will stand as convincing evidence that we love the Lord. Remember, testimonies are shared by word and deed. It is not enough to confess with the tongue, for words may deceive. However, actions are higher manifestations than words.
That is what He asks. Live the gospel. “Live like His Son.”
Eu amo vocês!