So, since I had two packages, I decided to open the “Stocking” one today and the other tomorrow morning. I cried, guys. Seriously. It was more than I dared hoped for. $60 a package is expensive and I´ve been lucky enough to get 4 this year. Thanks so much, all of you. I wrote Gen´s birthday letter today, and I´m soooooooooooo ashamed to admit that I let the time get carried away, so I have yet to write Dad´s birthday letter. SOOOOO Sorry. Bad missionary! Bad, bad, bad, bad! Especially after I received three letters this transfer from Dad. Oh, yes. We will have long talks in Spring 2014, Dad. You have my word. You´re welcome to join in on a few, Mom. A very special thank-you to the ward! I was so touched to get your signatures and well-wishes, especially since I didn´t expect it coming. I love you all. Also, you know how the Relief Society doesn´t like empty shelfs? So, the dear, dear sisters of the ward put together a basket for me and my companion. Yep, another touching moment, and I couldn´t be restrained from thanking each and everyone I could.
My “new” companion is Elder Moura from Acre. He is heading home in March. He is just fine, and loves the “profound” doctrine stuff. He has a copy of the old Joseph Smith´s Teachings book complied by President Fielding Smith in Portuguese Apparently, it has the King Follet Sermon. Yeah, I´m looking for any opportunity to steal that and read it. I´m so glad to hear about Corbin. Corbin, listen to Dad and try to learn from him. I wouldn´t be out here without his support, and if you want to feel the spirit of missionary work, spend some time around Dad. Oh, I don´t have Christine´s home address, so I sent the letter to the house. You know what to do.
This morning, I watched “On the Lord´s Errand” (President Monson´s bio) and I starting crying 10 minutes in. What an example of love, service, and thoughtfulness Remember what one man said, “If you want an example of righteous living, keep your eye on the prophet.” (Yes, Dad. I do read your letters. Every one, and some of them multiple times) I absolutely love watching and listening to our prophet. A few months back, I was talking to my good friend, Elder Wilson and I mentioned my way to remember the First Presidency back in 1997. Gordon was the biggest, Thomas was my favorite, and James was the other one. Ironically, this was also how I remembered some of the trains of Thomas the Tank Engine. Oh, yes, Mom. I had the biggest grin on my face when I saw the stickers!
Anyways, President Monson is the Lord´s servant. There is nothing that he will do that will be contrary to the will of the Lord. He has been well prepared for the call, and when he speaks as the prophet, you can be assured that it is the Lord speaking through him. When he announced back in October about the reduction in age for missionary service, it was the same as if Christ came to us and said, “Thus saith the Lord…”
This week, I saw acts of service and I´m happy to say that I performed some. The look in a nine year old´s eyes to know he has a friend and that friend is helping his father get away from drugs is a look that I will never forget. It is similar to the look I see when Katie comes home to Grandma´s, or the look of a child sitting in Primary, or the look of a man kneeling in front of me and my companion – begging for hope and relief and finding the Gospel. It is the look of hope. Hope is not a fragile thing. When the world mocks us for keeping our standards or believing in Christ, it is faith and hope that keeps us going. When we hope for something, it is not the hope that MAYBE it might happen. It is the anticipation for the healing and happiness that comes from the Gospel. To paraphrase Elder Maxwell (thanks for the book!), the gospel is not a collection of feel-good statements thrown together; it is a beautiful, simple, and yet powerful and awe-inspiring way to obtain that happiness that our Father in Heaven so longs to bless us with.
This time, almost approaching 8 months, has convinced me more and more of the certainty of these things. I long for the day when I will not be lead by the world to disbelieve in these things. I have seen evidences of the reality of God´s eternal plan, and the almost magical change that comes from discipleship. I want you all to know that there is no true way to lasting satisfaction about this life and your works except though following the Redeemer´s footsteps. The world wants peace? Follow the Prince! The King of Kings, and The Lord of Lords! God be thanked for his Son.
We´ll talk tomorrow.
Eu amo vocês!