Well, it´s really here. I´ll be home here in a few days (don´t ask me how many, I´m not counting nor do I plan to) and it´s a really, really, really weird feeling. But just to let everyone know, May 6th, 10:30 AM, Élder Evans will be back in Salt Lake. Weird.
But this week had some ups and downs. We had a baptism, which is always awesome! Irmã Filáucia decided to follow the example of our Savior Jesus Christ and be baptized a member of the church. It was an extremely spiritual service. Irmã Filáucia is a very simple woman with a very strong testimony. She was talking to us on the way to her baptism on Saturday night and she said, "Well, I was talking to my friend who´s from another church and I told her that I´m going to be baptized in the Mormon church. She didn´t like that (yeah, there´s anti-mormons even in Brasil)" and we said, "Oh, and what did you say?" and she responded, "I said, Well, it´s where I feel good and I know it´s what´s right, so it´s what I´m going to do!" She got spunk, Irmã Filáucia. We had a member who helps us out a lot, Matheus, baptize her. It was awesome.
Remember that family that we brought to church last week of 5 that accepted baptismal dates for this Saturday? Well, it didn´t quite work out. It was one of the most dificult but spiritual lessons of my mission, We headed over to talk and the dad began to explain why it wasn´t going to work out. He said that they weren´t ready to live what we taught and that they had given up. We began talking about the Plan of Salvation and how each of us began as a spirit child of our Heavenly Father. We explained that we had chosen to follow Jesus Christ before this life and that our purpose was to follow Him in this life as well. We explained that this life is our time to prepare to meet God and that we need to prepare today because we never know what tomorrow holds. We talked about how one day we will be judged for our actions in this life and that we will have to explain to the Lord why we did what we did and why we didn´t do what we didn´t. We finalized explainig, "Look, we´re not to simply bring you to another good church. We´re not here to tell you that your whole life is sin and that you need to change. We are here because the Lord loves each and every one of you and He wants you back home with Him. We know that what we teach is true and that it will bless you guys beyond your ability to comprehend, but you will have to make a sacrifice. Are you willing to sacrifice everything you have to follow Jesus Christ?" They thought about it, and thought about it, and finally decided, "I know that I need to. But not now. Not today." With that we invited them to pray about the decision that they had made and kindly reminded them that the church is always open to them. Though it was a sad lesson, the Spirit was really strong as we taught and testified. Even though they decided to turn us down, they understood what they were rejecting. I think that was almost the worst part, but at the same time, we can´t condemn others for the choices they make, just counsel them with how to do better. But, I am extremely grateful to be a missionary, born of goodly parents, who taught me the ways of the Lord. I´m grateful to know that as I hold fast to gospel principles and truths that I and my family will be blessed, guided, and protected all the way back to our celestial home.
How does it feel to have to come home? It´s really weird. It´s also really sad, because I love these people and I will miss them greatly. But at the same time, the words of scriptures that I have already shared explain more deeply the feelings that I have of my service as a misionary.
Yea, and from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
Yea, and now behold, O my son, the Lord doth give me exceedingly great joy in the fruit of my labors
Doctrine and Covenants 58: 6-7
Behold, verily I say unto you, for this cause I have sent you—that you might be obedient, and that your hearts might be prepared to bear testimony of the things which are to come;
And also that you might be honored in laying the foundation, and in bearing record of the land upon which the Zion of God shall stand;
Yea, wehave reason to praise him forever, for he is the Most High God, and has loosed our brethren from the chains of hell.
Yea, they were encircled about with everlastingdarkness and destruction; but behold, he has brought them into his everlasting light, yea, into everlasting salvation; and they are encircled about with the matchless bounty of his love; yea, and we have been instruments in his hands of doing this great and marvelous work.
Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel.
From the beginning to the end, I have loved every minute.
Eu amo ser missionário. Nunca na minha vida eu imaginei que seria algo tão maravilhoso quanto que era. Eu louvarei para sempre o Pai Celestial e meu Salvador por tão grande uma oportunidade. Até o último minuto eu farei tudo que eu posso para a salvação de meus queridos e amados irmãos. Amo vocês. Até casa.
Pela última vez, (For the last time),
1) Filáucia´s Baptism
2) We did it!
3) Looking to the future with hope
You probably always do this, but here is the translation from google translate; what a great summary.