Oh. my. gosh. Katie, you are a barrel of laughs. Yes, I did know that Reindeer fly, but I didn´t know it was because of Tinkerbell. That makes so much sense now. Thanks, Katie!
I´m so excited for McKenzie and Christine! I bought DVD´s at the temple a while back (Multiple Languages) and Tagalog and Dutch are among what I have. More and more people entering the field to combat Satan´s armies. What better present could Christ receive than knowing more and more are accepting the call to serve. According to my “trunky” companion, I have 8 months. I say 7, because most of the time, I´m so glad to see the results of working in the vineyard. Quite a few things happened this week. First was Zone conference, which was awesome as always. Did I mention that I love President Martins? He is a hoot and a half. But, he always give us much needed counsel to dispel the atmosphere of doubt that a few of us have. I also received the christmas package, which is waiting in the closet. Don´t know if I can hold out until Christmas though. I also got Joe´s letter, which I was so excited to read. Thanks Joe! The response should be written today.
Quite a few finding lost sheep, tender moments, and fleeting scenes of frusteration, as usual. We have successfully reactivated the woman that I mentioned in another email, Terezinha. We are not the first group of missionaries to have tried, but this time, we are winning! Beyond that, we are also reactivating her grandson, which is a bit tougher. We also have another baptism marked for Saturday. The heat here is almost unbearablily hot (98.6 is the average), but we manage somehow. Have to be careful not to get dehydrated though.
This email will be a bit shorter, as I´m continuning to write President in Portuguese and my letters are steadily getting bigger.
I´m in Alma 5 and reading the testimony of John in Portuguese and it´s a blast. John carefully selects his events so that he shows, like a logically written speech, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. His testimony contains more references and proofs of His godship than any other book and it contains one of my favorite chapters in all of scripture, which is John 8. I invite you to read the entire tesitmony of John. Alma talks about preparing to meet God in Chapter 5, and it made me reflect on one aspect of this week that stood out: the hardness of the hearts of men. We lost a promising investigator recently because he was more fancisnated with the designs and conincedences of man than those of God. We almost lost another investigator because he doesn´t believe that he can stop drinking. He doesn´t have a huge problem, but he also doesn´t believe that his age (18) that he can stop. We met another young man of 13 that only believes in God because 95% of Brazil believes in God, not because he feels indebted or even touched by the love of Christ. Finally, I had an experience that, because of circumstances I cannot describe the details, reminds me of how stiffnecked people can be. In naming experiences and finding them, you find that you are looking at yourself as well, wondering if you are not being just as hard and stiffnecked as they are.
Why do men persist on believing in their own power? Why do men doubt the very miracles they ask for? Why do men insist that their way is better? Why do men doubt God? The answer is not one that is easy to describe or to articulate, but I believe it is because of a lask of faith and trust. Life is not as hard as some people really think it is; you could sit in a room and pass your whole life by without any major problems. It is the tasks, the seemingly insurmontable challenges that cause men to give up even before they start. The Lord asks: “Is there anything too hard for the Lord?” No, there isn´t, but we want His help (and, trust me, we need it), He asks certain conditions and those conditions must be met in order to win the prize. My favorite example of this is in Mark: 10, with the young rich man. He lacked one thing in order to gain eternal life, and he wasn´t willing to meet the requirement, however small or great the requirement is. Coming to the Lord with a broken heart and contrite spirit AND willing to keep his comandments and His name upon you is what He asks. At times, I find that I´m not giving everything to the Lord, and I am filled with a desire to fix it. Sacrifices are required in true religion, however, some people are not willing to accept the author of our salvation´s terms; be it time, the specific thing, or the size of the task.
At times, we all forget the innumerable promises that the Lord has made with us that are written and spoken by the prophets. One statement that President Martins said almost sounded like he was pleading with us: You will be compensated for your loss! The Savior has absolutely no problem in blessing us and giving eternal life; He paid the price with His precious blood. He wants to bless us like He wants nothing else. As Joseph B. Wirthlin once said (and this is particuraly wonderful because he was talking about Christmas): May we celebrate His birth by coming unto Him. What better present could you give to the Savior than a recommitment to follow Him? What a gift! His joy becomes your joy as you loose yourself in discipleship. And believe me, there is nothing in this world that could hope to provide the joy and eternal happiness that He can give.
Eu amo vocês!