Well, the weather here has been pouring down rain for the last three days. Very wet shoes and very few things to do during the day, but we held out. We had a baptism Saturday…or rather the baptism that Jardim do Vale stole from us!! We have been teaching a 13 year-old named Mateus (Mathew) for a while, and right after the interview, Elder Kubeja (American from Kent or Renton, don´t remember) found that the kid´s parents live in their area. We had been teaching the kid at his uncle´s house, who lives here in Indaiatuba. So, though it was technically their baptism, we can still rejoice. Mateus is playing for the right team now.
We have been progressing in the work a bit. This seems to be a very slow part of the year, so enthusiasm isn´t as high as usual. However, we are still teaching, occasionally finding new people, and making baptismal invites, so I guess I really can´t complain. Three family home evenings this week, one baptism, and surprise reunion with Rick Morris yesterday with his wife at Church. We also gave a blessing to “dear” Tereza Cristina, an older woman whom I believe I´ve mentioned. She speaks English fluently and uses every opportunity to use it with me. She has had some recent eye surgery and some other problems, and while the ward here is filled with wonderful converts, it is still lacking on Home Teachers, so we got to perform the ordinance. Unfortunately, some of our marked baptisms have to be put on hold due to the father losing their home to financial troubles, which stinks to high-heaven. We´ve been working very hard with this family, and now due to this… Yeah, I´m still not happy about that. I got some recent letters, one of which was a Christmas Card from Shelly and Kris. Loved it!
I loved yesterday´s message about Lorenzo Snow in learning the gospel by faith. I recently read an old talk by then Elder Eyring about “Listening Together”. It talks about a 4-step system to by able to get more out of your classes, and all are based on you. I tried it out yesterday, and it seemed to work well. I think the system was developed by George Q. Cannon. I don´t remember exactly; I´ll have to go back and look.
I finished “Broken Things to Mend” by Elder Holland, and the last chapter provided a big thing I really hadn´t thought of before. Jesus always said (in John), “The Son can do nothing of himself but what he seeth the Father do….I and the Father are one…This is not my doctrine, but his that sent me.” In all of his actions, Christ was trying to show us what His Father was like. If you really think about that for a second, you might realize something in a very real way. Jesus is usually characterized as a very loving, merciful person, while the Father is characterized by final judgement wraith and ummovable punishment. However, if you really think about it, Jesus was here as the Father´s representative. So, all he did was what the Father would have done. Blessing the children, healing the sick, raising the dead, correctly false teachings, giving His life for the flock; all these things the Father would have done. To paraphrase the Prophet Joseph, “The Father is more merciful and loving that we are ready to believe or accept.” Just a thought for you the next time you complain about one thing or another. I know I was guilt-tripped once or twice this week because of it. It reminds me of the amzing passage in Moses 7 where Enoch sees the Father weeping because of the wickedness of his children. That´s something you don´t see or hear about in the scriptures except in this part and in the allegory of the Olive-Tree in Jacob.
I believe that the Father has incredible restrant because of the horrible things that happen in this world. Just the things I see in Brazil make me wonder for a moment if Father is watching this, and he is. I imagine the Father is restraining himself so much in so many different times during the history of the Earth because he wants us to be happy. When we commit sin, he weeps. When we say an unkind thing to our brethern, he whinces and weeps a bit more. I´m sure the Father´s throne is engulfed with a river of tears for our sake….and then when after the great and terrible events of the Atonement, the Father´s voice was the loudest rejoicing because his children could now come home. I testify that the Father´s love is so unbounding and so majestic that we would be brought to our knees by the meer comprehension of it. Please don´t give up on him, he will never give up on you.
Eu amo vocês,