Monday, December 15, 2014

Should I Stay or Should I Go! (The Clash)

A lot of amazing things have been happening. 

The trunky call is when the secretaries call to ask what airport you´ll be landing in when you go home. They informed me I´ll be leaving with the rest of the missionaries this march, who started with me in April, When they said that, I had a bad feeling. I felt that it was just too soon. Just under two years, but they say it´s what normal for an American in another country. I just had a feeling that it was wrong, that I needed to stay longer. I began considering talking with President Lisonbee to extend my mission. 
I got around to calling him this week. In my conversation with him, he assured me that on my call it says I am to stay another transfer until the end of April. He told me that there was not a mistake, I was called to serve just over the 2 years. :D I felt excited and a peace with it. 

       I love my companion elder Morgan so much! It has been a fantastic transfer. I learned a lot. He was teaching me so many things, that I wish I had a greater capacity to absorb it all. He taught me how to be better listener. How to become more humble. How to chose not take offense, regardless of what others say. I felt like we were making some great progress in our relationship and in our area. Elder Morgan has fulfilled specific parts of my patriarchal blessing about my mission. It got to the point that I didn´t want to be transferred. 
        For the first time I called the mission President to ask for him to consider me staying. I explained all the things that were happening. How I wanted to stay and help my companion and stay here in this area. I told him that I would go anywhere the Lord wants, but I personally would like to stay. 
         He heard me out. Told me that it was a righteous desire and that he would pray about it. He called me back later in the afternoon. He told me that I would not be able to stay, for he feels and has felt for a time that the Lord had a special assignment for me to do. He than called me to be his assistant. 
          I´ll still be in the same zone, and only an hour away from here.  I feel anxious and excited and a little stressed. I´ll be working a lot in the office helping president prepare training's and such. I´m heading out tonight. Tomorrow we´ll go to the airport to get the new missionaries arriving. ( I´m also happy, from what I understand, we have a maid that is going to wash our clothes- She can sew some of my pants! Hehe)

            We had a Christmas meeting with the mission. Our district put on a little skit of the birth of the savior. It went really well. I saw Elder Briggs (my trainer) there. He´s going home on Wednesday! I had an impression when I saw him, that we needed to go back to Alogoinhas, where I started my mission. I told him what I felt. He agreed. He spoke with president and he gave us permission to head there last Saturday. 
            It was really fun. I had a great time with Elder Briggs as we traveled and talked. I felt like we were in Paradise- leaned back in some comfy chairs on the bus eating some pastels and watching the green hills of jungle go by with one of my best friends conversing about the mission. 
           Walking those streets again was amazing. I felt like I was on holy ground. Everything looked so much different. So much more calm and small. The massive hills that I walked before, looked like small slants. They were nothing compared to the massive hills I´ve climbed since. The long streets, looked like little pathways. The intimating homes and people in the streets now looked harmless and non-threatening.  My perception was entirely changed in this year. The area didn´t change, I did. 
            When I was there a year ago, I felt like a servant in the area. I was rushing a lot and felt worried. But now, I didn´t feel like a servant to the area- but rather a MASTER. I felt so calm and peaceful. So full of confidence. The large area seemed rather small and we moved around quickly, with a peaceful pace. I felt we had learned to walk as the Savior did. 
  As we got there, an impression came that we needed to go to Joline´s home. She was a girl I had baptized over a year ago. We stopped by a members home first to have someone take us there. They informed us that she had gone less-active. That her parents had discouraged her from going to church and she had given up a little. 
             We got to her home with a calmness and an assurance we were not showing up alone. I felt the presence of the Lord and His angels. We were confident we would help her. 
           We clapped our hands (which is normal for knocking). Joline appeared from her home, she was surprised to see us, but delighted. Her parents also greeted us with surprise looks of Joy. They had heard that the missionaries almost never come back. They asked why had we. With the spirit in our hearts we told them plainly- God has sent us. For you and your family, He will always send angels to help. 
           Joline began to cry. As we knelt in prayer with everyone. And we bore just simple testimony. Her mother was soon in tears from the spirit. It was the feeling of an open mind. A new heart. repentance. We spoke little-only what we felt to say, and we sat in the silent much and just listened. For the greatest Teacher taught us. 
            Uplifted and recommitted. Jonline and her family were at church yesterday having returned. 

          Eu amo todos vocês! Eu presto meu testemunho que essa é igreja verdadeira, a unica verdadeira. Eu testifico do Senhor Jesus Cristo, que eu sei que ele vive. Esse é Sua Igreja, Ele guia essa trabalho.Ele sempre mandar os Anjos dele. Muitas vezes ele nos chama a voltar e ser esses anjos.  Nós podemos ajudar outros quando nós escutamos O espirito dele e oramos para a capacidade de chamar arrependimento com humildade. Digo, em nome Jesus Cristo, Ámen. 

I love you all! I bear witness that this is the true church , the true unique . I testify of the Lord Jesus Christ , I know that he lives . This is His Church , He guides this work . He always send the Angels. He often calls us to come back and be these angels . We can help others when we listen to His spirit and pray for the ability to call repentance in humility. I say , on behalf of Jesus Christ , Amen .

Picture Video

Here´s a video Grazy made. She was a woman we reactivated. In it are lots of photos, of lots of people we were teaching and reactivating. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Short and sweet

I can´t wait to Skype you! I´ll probably be in a new area by then. There´s going to be transfer next week, and I got word that I´m going. As I conversed with Elder Morgan about our investigators I actually began to cry. Because I don´t feel ready to leave them in a week. I love the ward and it´s members. I love our investigators. I´m closer to the people here than I´ve been in any other area. I don´t know how I´m ever going to leave this country

It was a great week. Bianca was baptized! Elder Reynolds and I found her mom Nataly weeks ago. Nataly´s active now.  I feel really grateful, for the first time I went to their home, it didn´t go super well. But I had that impression I would baptize Bianca. It was really spiritual. 

Sorry for the Short email. But I want you to know that I love you!!!! Talk to you next week. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Gratitude increases your attitude!

There was no Turkey this thanksgiving. (Looks like a couple of Turkeys in the photos above don't you think?) We worked and planned the day like any other. Except we did change one thing. Prayers of only Gratitude. From the moment we woke up, to our studies, to all visits, to planning, and to moments of need, we only gave thanks. We started the lessons with a prayer, thanking the Lord for the privilege of knowing the individual and his/her progress in the gospel. 
There were many times, I wanted to ask for things. I never realized how much I and others ask, ask, and ask, until I made a conscious effort to stop. The lessons I learned this thanksgiving were amazing. I had an amazing feeling of joy by the end of the day. I could feel within my soul that we having a Loving Heavenly Father willing to bless us in all things.
 I learned that because of my often ingratitude, I focus on what I see as a problem to be removed, and fail to see the miracles already wrought. I learned how this truly is a marvelous work and a wonder, it is still however- a work in process. With only some small daily quirks to be worked out, that we often stress over these relatively small issues and if we are not careful, we will fail to see the big picture of the Lord hand pushing things forward. .  
With each stress that day, instead of pleading for help, I gave a heart full of gratitude. I felt my faith and hope grow. My worries were always calmed. Because it takes faith to just give gratitude when we only see a problem. 
Things are going really well here. We met Zeek´s wife, Cristina who´s an american. We taught them all together at the home of Daniel and Josey- (whom are in the process of marriage papers to get baptized!) Today we went and saw the beach with Zeek and had lunch by a neat lake.
I felt so happy when I saw Graziela stand up in sacrament meeting yesterday, called as a ward missionary. To think it was only a couple months ago, she told us she would never return- now she´s teaching everyone with us. 
Another Family close to our hearts are the Estake´s. The Father São Paio is kind to us, but is not yet a member. His wife, Rosangela, their 4 kids are less-actives for many years. Many in the ward knows this family. They receive many visits from members trying to help them. As we´ve prayed and fasted together we felt that it must start with Rosangela. That if she were to return to activity, her family would follow. 
We met once again with this family this week with her home teachers. But we did it a little different, before we started her family and home teachers looked to us- the missionaries- to start teaching, we looked at Rosangela and ask her to give all of us a message. 
Singing a hymn and the opening prayer were just enough time for her to find a scripture to share. She gave a great message of the importance of studying the scriptures and the sacrifices of others so we could have them. The conversation lead to the pioneers and those that had given their very lives so we could have the gospel. 
We asked Rosangela a simple question ´If these people that went on before us, were here now, what do you think they would expect of you?´ 
Rosangela had tears in her eyes when she said ´To return back to church, so I can help them.´
We explained that we needed her, that the church needed her, that her ancestors needed her, and her children and many generations to follow needed her. Then she stated with firmness ´I will be there. I will come to church´ 
And she did.  

.   Love you all! Love you mom and dad! I´m so proud to be your son.