Well, I´m glad you all have had a successful week. We have, too. I have become the senior companion and am with Elder Braga from Belem. (I´m always getting companions from the north. Fortaleza, Recife, Acre, Belém, Marcial….) He is a delight and a half, and he brought with him a new method of teaching which I love. Fast, clear, and powerful. Basically, we spend less time on the “details” (Prophets, Apostasy, Creation, etc.) and jump to the things which lead people to baptism. (Book of Mormon, Eternal Families, The Restoration, and of course, Baptism itself). President Martins wants to take advantage of the fact that the heavens are open here, and thus we shouldn´t waste time preparing the cake with cream. That comes later, after baptism.
Thus, we have three more for this Saturday, and I will enter the waters again with a girl named Natalie. (Her best friend´s name is Carol. I´m sure only family members will probably understand the injoke with a Carol in the family.) We had four confirmations (as we have had two weeks without a regular sacrament meeting) and once again, Maria Jose had the ordinance performed by her high-counselor son, who was in tears to finally confirm his mother. This family is truly one of the miracles that I have had the pleasure to witness and to participate in. The mother is the most active 60 year old missionary I´ve ever seen. She didn´t even wait til baptism before sharing the gospel. We´re having trouble keeping up with her references.
I´m so glad that we are working together in the service of the Lord. This is a time that will be remembered for enternity, between us, the families we bless, and the Lord. It is a rare thing to have a family with one missionary out, another one that will be out, and a father who is ward mission leader.
Yesterday was a whirlwind of emotional stuff. We had lunch with a less-active sister who has one of the strongest personailties I´ve seen. She is only less-active because of her health problems, and was a young women´s president for a while. I took notes on her recommendations on finding an eternal companion. Unfortunately, the rest of her family have fallen away and we taught her son who is not a member. The kind of person he is reminds me very much of someone very close to me, and so the Spirit was able to bear testimony of what we said, because I felt like I was talking to this person. Ask me later about this person.
Elder Braga gave me a thought that I want to share with you all. We almost lost an investigator last night (we still might), and as Elder Braga spoke about the prayer that follows your reading of the Book of Mormon, he said something that has stuck with me. “When you ask your mother for $250 without telling her why, she´ll be hesitant to hand it over. The same with our Father. He is willing to give us answers, but He wants to know what we will do with the answer.” I pondered that for a while, and I believe it´s true. Earlier, we had talked to a woman who ticked me off. She studied forty years in seminary, accepted no scripture other than the Bible, and “knew” that Joseph Smith beat Emma 5 times before lunch. I thought about what her prayer might have been like, had we invited her to pray to Father about these things. I can´t imagine that she would receive a testimony easily.
In order to have faith, we have to open our hearts. We apply our hearts to know wisdom. Our feelings are not as fleeting as one might think. If you want to believe in something, that is the first step. The grand thing about the plan of happiness and the gospel is that it is the one sure thing that you will be justified in believing in. I promise you that this message is not to be left to the side to gather dust. The marvelous blessings that I and others have received are not faint wishes to think our lives are better than they are appear; they are real manifestations of a Father who has an infinite love for us all.
No, I´m not exactly sure how it all works out. I don´t know how One dying for us can give us the promise of eternal life. I don´t know how the ressurection works, or why the Father has such infinite mercy with us. But I have a fairly good idea about it all, and it´s enough to make me want to know. As my favorite scripture says: “Even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work within you.”
Eu amo voces!