So, I did get a transfer. The office said that this would be a transfer of surprises, and trust me, nobody was more surprised than I was. Because of the lack of missionaries (We lost about a good 20 on Wednesday), some areas were closed and others merged with existing ones. Indaiatuba no longer has its own missionaries and my friends from Jardim do Vale are taking care of our area and theirs. (Which is huge.) So, I got transfered to Santana de Parnaiba, which is close to Alphaville. (Alphaville is where I thought I´d go first). This place is in the middle of nowhere and reminds me very much of Rothenburg, Germany. To give you an idea, imagine the Bear River Canyon going from McGregor´s to the Hot Pools down south. Now imagine little pockets of a city every mile and a half or so. That´s my area, and it´s big. We have to take a bus to every lunch appointment. My companion was a nice surprise: Elder B. Santos. I believe I´ve mentioned him before; he was one of my Brazilian roommates in the MTC. Sad fact is that he arrived here 2 weeks ago because of an emergency transfer, so we know nothing here. It´s like opening up an area for us. Because the area is in green hills (more like the Brazil you guys think), it´s been a lot of fun to go out and explore the area.
Wonderful for Natasha. I had wondered if she would go too. Keep me updated. I wouldn´t be surprised if a certain Kovelenko put in her papers.
Alphaville is so close to Osasco that you could take a bus there, which I would do in a heartbeat if it wasn´t against mission rules. Yesterday was wonderful. I introduced myself to the ward and we´ve been doing well with the members here. As I was coming here to type the email, we stopped at a photo shop to grab some lunch money from the members for tomorrow (Zone Conference), and I sat down and talked with the Stake President´s daughter (I think). She is a 15 year old who just returned from a year of studying in Salt Lake, so I was doomed to help her practice her English (Yes, what a terrible fate!) She did amazingly well and it just goes to show that missionaries aren´t the only ones to receive gifts from the Spirit. Oh, and Elder Wilson gave me Root Beer extract, so I can finally have some of that goodness!
This week, we´ve been teaching a family that have been reluctant to join because of some family issues and because of the mother´s psychological problems. However, they went to a baptism from the other ward and we went with them. The father, who has been the most reluctant, felt the Spirit quite strong and has gotten back on track to baptism. We´ll keep you posted.
An experience that happened with us last night is the basis for my message to you. In honor of Mom´s birthday, it´s actually based on something she taught me about a year-and-a-half ago while I was passing through a hard time. We visited a less-active family last night and shared some snacks. I left a message based on Revelation 3:19-21. After some explanation, I asked if we could expect them at Church nest Sunday. The father and the children said yes. The mother said No. When we asked, she said she had some big problems with the church that had nothing to do with us. On a side-note, she has only picked up the Book of Mormon once since her baptism. This less-active sister was clearly hurting, and I sat thinking. I was inspired by Mom´s lesson and told her a brief summary of the story:
During my trial, I told Mom that I was only going to attend Sacrament Meeting, and then return home. When she asked why, I told her that Father and I weren´t on good terms. She said: “So you´re running away from Him?”
That struck me deep. I knew running from Him was the wrong thing to do. It is never Him that has the problem with us; it´s us that turn away from Him. Mormon once said: “…O ye fair ones, how reject that Jesus who stood with open arms to receive you?” (Mormon 6:17) Why do we run from Him?
I think it has something to do with the vision we have of Him as the Lord of Hosts, which He is. But, oftentimes we forget that Jesus taught about the unity of Him and His Father. We charaterize Christ as loving, while God as an angry Father. This blind the truth about the Father. He is our “Father”, with all the love, majesty, and affection that the title “Father” should imply. (Thanks, Elder Ballard!) I wonder if the Christian world understands that scripture that we are so fond of: John 3:16. That scripture is as much about the Father as it is about the Atonement. “For God so loved the World, that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The Father loves us so much that he gave up his Only Begotten Son, the thing that we´d think would be most precious to him, so that his whole human family might come back to him, not so that we might run the other way.
Don´t run from him. He wants nothing more than to bless you and to give you eternal life. You can, on his perfect and just terms. I´m learning so much about the nature of Father and his love that I´m becoming more and more suprised that we reject him and Christ. Goes to show the unbelief of our hearts. Let´s use the Atonement and reconcile ourselves with the Father.
“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3)
Eu amo vocês!