Thanks for the birthday wishes. I´ve been laughing to myself, last year I was working on my birthday, and this year I´ll be working on my birthday. But, this is a different and more fulfilling kind of work, so I´m ok with that.
Speaking of work, we´re fairly proud of ourselves. We only had 28 people missing from Sacrament meeting yesterday, out of 160 people in the ward. Our work this week with the less-actives has really produced some results. We encountered a good modern-day pioneer story, and finally talked with some people that the whole ward has been bgging us to get in contact with. Unfortunately, these people´s excuses (because there is rarely, if ever, a solid reason for going less-active) has been the reception of the ward to them. Elder Moura let the ward council know yesterday that if they want to support us in missionary work, they need to do their part. “If the Savior can´t trust His people to keep the lost sheep in the flock, He´s not going to bother bringing them in.” Harsh as that may sound, there is a truth to that. The work of the members is perhaps the more important part in bringing the people to Christ, so I appreciated Mom´s rescue story. Elder Andersen´s talk is the one I think I loved the most from this conference.
Tomorrow, we get a special treat. Elder Craig C. Christensen is visiting the mission tomorrow, and we get to listen to him. I´m fairly excited, but it means that some of our time gets cut tomorrow. Other news: I just finished this afternoon reading Jesus The Christ in Portuguese Despite the higher language I was able to understand 90% of it and I was spiritually refreshed by the final 2 chapters, which talk about the restoration and the Second Coming. I´ve been wanting to know about Corbin´s progress for a while. If he´s not careful, I could be home and married before he gets home.
Speaking English has its benefits beyond having a cool accent! No, seriously, I´ve had one 9 year old tell me that I should give all the lessons, because I can speak Portuguese “with a cool accent”.
Unfortunately, baptisms haven´t been happening, but we´re not discouraged. The Lord just has some other ideas in mind.
Appreciate the news about missionaries, Brayden´s “nutball” session, and about Stuart and Cindy. It usually gets a good laugh here when I mention “Elder Elder.”
So, my thought for the week. I´ve absolutely loved searching through the “Teaching from the Presidents of the Church” books. Though we are not allowed to study them, I do pick up and read one when I´m at a member´s house, at the chapel, or reading in Sunday School about Lorenzo Snow. I have been thinking a lot lately about the things I know for certain. In the last 20 years, what things can I resolutely say I know for certain? I know paying your tithing has always been a thing of safety for me, and I´ve never found myself on the wanting end when I pay it. I know praying can rest the weary soul. I know the knowledge of this gospel can bring peace to our minds. I know temple are sacred houses of the Lord and we may receive orientation when we go there. I know Thomas S. Monson is a prophet and an inspired man.
But, three things stand out for me that has never been faulting since I made the decision years ago to stick with the church. One, I know (this part is not the “I feel”, but the “I know it like I know my companion is Brazilian” part) that the Book of Mormon is a book that changes lives and I have never felt the same “coming home” feeling like I get from reading the Book of Mormon in reading or going or doing anything else. That feeling that I ALWAYS get makes it clear in my mind that this book is a book from God. Second, I know Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. The power and authority he taught with burns its mark on the heart of man. His account of the events are true. He saw and spoke with God, the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the World, Jesus Christ. Third, I know that above all churches, this church preaches the word of God. No other church declares with the boldness that we do that Jesus is the Christ and we are His disciples and that we want to help in His work.
All of this amounts to one final thing: What about this Jesus, that the prophets testify of? Well, for me, I have repeatedly felt His healing touch, His comforting arm, His stern reproach for my sins, and the true and sure power that desolates all worldly reason that comes through His teachings. He watches over this world and He notices the fall of every sparrow. His works bring me to my knees when I contemplate them all. And the fact that He knows and cares about everyone of us personally is a treasure (a pearl of great price, if you will) that I will never let go.
To quote the marvelous Peter: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
Let´s go spread that knowledge my brethren!
Eu amo vocês!