Wow, what a feast! I could hardly hold it in Saturday Afternoon when we stood and sang “Rejoice, the Lord is King.” Those last lines are some of my favorites in all of hymns: Lift up your hearts, lift up your voice! Rejoice, again I say, Rejoice! The magnificent blessings of the Restoration; when I start to list them, my heart sings. If you can´t get excited after that, you just can´t get excited! I also enjoyed the two talks on marriage, especially the seventy who talked about the 6 proverbs of his wife. “A child that sings is a happy child.” In the mission field, often behind the scenes, the missionaries break down and question the worth of their time or fight with their companions on the most minute details. However, generally, my mood doesn´t change too much overall. The secret is the hymns of Zion. These remind me of the promises made to us and the blessings that we may count as ours. When I think of this and sing them as the day goes on, it doesn´t change the day into a successful one, but it lessens the blow and I can go to bed happy that the work I´ve done has been accepted by the Lord. BTW, “catch the wave” of missionary work. We always have better success when the members do the bulk of the finding. We´re here to teach and to be guides, but we are two young men who can only do so much during the day. The work “hastens” when we go with you to your friends and family. Don´t worry about being rejected; we get it all the time. I can´t tell you how many times we´ve come across an “elect reference” and found nothing. I´ve even had 60 or 70 year old women shout at me: “You´re wasting your time, you devil-worshippers!!!!” I usually get a good laugh about that one.
I also had a good laugh during President Monson´s talk. After finishing his biography, I knew exactly what he was talking about when he talked about the cabin and his little friend. One sister came to me shocked that President Monson would have done such a thing. If you know what kind of child he was, it´s not all that suprising. One of my favorite stories was when he and a friend had been pulled to stay after school to write lines on the board. While they were doing that, a horn honked outside and the friend turned to the teacher: “That´s my dad; can I go home?” The teacher excused him and out he went! Tommy Monson thought to himself: “Wait a minute. His dad doesn´t have a car….”
In between sessions, we had another baptism. I went into the waters again to baptize Alexandre Soares Mendes. Next week, we have four more planned. The Lord is being extremely kind to us here.
As you might have guessed, Elder Holland was the standout, though less because it was him talking. It was because he touched on two points dear to me: Alma 32 and faith. I had always been concerned that I couldn´t truthfully say “I know that…” so the story about the 14 year-old boy that Elder Holland hugged was so appreciated. He also quoted the scripture most dear to my heart: “If ye can no more than desire to believe…” I had been born in the church, raised in it, participated in seminary, and went to Institute, but all failed to hit my heart just right. Not because there was anything wrong with them, it was because of the hardness of my own heart. I wasn´t a disobedient kid, but I did things within the church just to please people. I got a lot of knowledge and lessons out of it, but I just thought that, essentially, it was just another school among others. When I went to college, I had to live and do these things on my own. I took a Book of Mormon class with a friend who was investigating the church at the time, and we started in the middle of Alma. I remember reading that verse and suddenly, the wonderful feeling of Primary came back to me. That feeling of blissfully believing in Jesus and His power and that He loves little children. I took that scripture to heart, but didn´t do much about it. When I reached a crucial point a few months later, I reflected back to that same scripture: “If ye can no more than desire to believe, let that desire work within you.” I decided that, since I was going on a mission soon, I´d probably better do something about that little fire.
Now, looking back on it, I can´t believe how much I´ve missed because I was hard of heart. I also thank the Lord that at least He and my parents never gave up on me. I invite all who have wavered a bit to “Come and See”, for it is glorious to behold and I promise you that if you seek with real intent and having trust that the journey will be worth it, your Father will rejoice and you will have taken the first important step out of “sin and hellish darkness and despair.” Faith is always the first step to the Father, so start now. It´s never too late, as long as He says it´s not too late.
Eu amo voces,