Friday, June 20, 2014

Week of Miracles and the World Cup

This has been a week of miracles. We feel successful. 
About 2 months ago, when my companion Elder Costa e Silva got here, he use to struggle starting to speak to people. Which is normal to start the mission a little hesitant to approach people and start teaching every where you go. As I was attempting to explain the principles of being natural about it, and why we do it, he looked across the road and saw a 20 year old girl at a bus stop. He said to me after we passed. ´That girl needed the gospel.´ I responded ´what girl? You wanna go back?´ Fearful, he started to say no. Said it would be weird or awkward. I told him, it only will be if you make it, what do you think the Lord would want you to do. He hesitated, but chose to go back. He was only able to ask the girl her name, Lois,  then the bus pulled up and she left. 
It was a rather insignificant experience for me. But to my companion he felt great sadness for hesitating,and unable to actually get an address or invite her to church. I told him not to worry, that there will be lots of opportunities. I would estimate we have spoken to over 1,000 people in our time together. We have had profound experiences, and met amazing people. Yet, he never forgot that one. A person he had only managed to ask their name.  He spoke about her nearly every day for the next few weeks. He had dreams of her dressed in white at her baptism. I thought it was interesting and kind of funny. But I heeded his pleadings to pass by the same bus stop at the same time at every reasonable opportunity, but did not find her again. Until, last week. We were invited to play basketball with some people, and were at the bus stop to go to the court. We began talking to another girl waiting for the bus as well. Amazingly, we found out she was the cousin of Lois, and they live together. We found Lois!. Yesterday we taught them both in a powerful spirit filled lesson. But most of all I am grateful for my companion´s example of constant prayer every night to find her again. And we did. He has taught me much. I am so grateful for this time I had to serve with Elder Costa e Silva and be his trainer. He was raised in the church with great parents, but had faced some great challenges in his life. Through the healing power of the Savior, he overcame and forgave. He is a powerful missionary. He has overcome his fears and teaches boldly with love. I no longer look at him as a companion but as a life-long friend. This week has been an amazing one. We laugh often, dance, and sing. We have had moments that we have cried together, cried for the pain and sins we see.  But the greatest moment is when we weeped, not of sorrow, but from the witness we have recieved that we are not alone.  Never have been, and never will be. Our hearts burn within us. Humbly I tell what I know for myself. Jesus is the Christ. He is infinitly loving, merciful, kind, and paitent. As we study His life, and search in the scriptures for His character, we will find greater joy and know how we must also live. He is our example.  I know He lives.  p.s  I´m going to a conference tomorrow (man, that bus ride again)   And I´m excited, it´s nearly the whole mission, President has asked me to sing for one of the numbers as well.     

Destry's letter for Fathers day 

Oi Daddio
Deserted. The city was Completely abandoned. On The 12th of June the normal rush of music, people, stores, carts, horses, cars, fruit barrels, even the beans and rice in the city were completely gone. Everything was shut down in the afternoon. In the distance a slight yelling could be heard. I felt like I was in the Walking Dead, fully ready for the zombies to start coming out. 
It was the day of Brazil in a soccer game for the world cup. Everyone, and I mean everyone (except for some Mormon missionaries, who weren´t allowed) were watching the game intensely.  The city looks like spirit week in high school, but bigger. Christmas here wasn´t this big. There are tons of flags and people are all dressed in jerseys of players, it´s neat. 
The one place open would be a gas station, but would still have the game on for the workers. 
I went into our church, at it was full of people, more than I´ve seen before,  just jammed in there in the dark eating popcorn with a projector and the game on. We said ´oh, ok, when we cleaned the church yesterday nobody comes.....but now ya´ll here.....and where were ya´ll for general conference?´ 
So, during the hours of the game for the next few weeks, we just go home. There´s nothing we can do, except watch the fireworks that go off when Brazil scores a goal. 
Happy Father´s day. I´m Sorry you and I got jibbed not getting to talk today like mother´s day. I still look up to you, I always will. Some missionaries have asked me where I get all my energy to work and work and work and have fun. It´s just the way my dad raised me. I´m so grateful for you. I love you!

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