Friday, June 14, 2013

Week Two! Plus some sadness


First off, thank you for calling the MTC to let me know Grandma passed away.  I was called down to the District President's office and he very kindly shared with me what had happened.  He shared with me a thought from D & C 42: 44-46. Read it right now  if you don't remember it (literally, stop reading my e-mail, go read the scripture, and then come back).  It seemed to parallel exactly what happened with Grandma and I.  I knew that I wasn't going to see her again and that her passing would be quickly after I entered the MTC.  I'm glad that she passed away peacefully and I loved the sentiment Mom expressed that "Grandpa was there to take her home".  I know she really wanted that and I prayed one night that he would be able to pick her up. It's very hard to think that I won't see her again in this life, but I know she's in a much better place and is much happier there.  What a blessing it is to know that we can be with her for eternity and that our family ties are not severed.  As the scripture above says (and I paraphrase) "we will mourn when they die because we loved them" but the will be taken into peace and happiness.  My companion was really helpful as well because after I got out of our meeting I think it was fairly obvious that I was emotionaly shaken. He asked if I was okay and I just told him that my grandma had passed away.  He wrapped me in the biggest bear hug and didn't let go until I got everything out.  Since then I've had a few sad thoughts but ultimately I'm so grateful to our Father in Heaven for granting my requests.  I asked that she could return home in peace, that she wouldn't suffer, and especially that grandpa would pick her up.  What a blessing that is.  What a long, full life she lived.  I'm sad she has left us, but supremely grateful that  she has "returned home to the God who gave her life."  He loves us so much, and He loves her.  He will not leave us comfortless, especially in this difficult time.  Christ suffered so He could understand our pains (Alma 7:11-12)  

I don't remember much about Grandpa's funeral, obviously because I was five at the time, but if I get to share any thoughts, these are the thoughts I want shared:

Grandma was a fantastic individual.  I consider her to be one of my greatest mentors, and truly one who was blessed with the Spirit of Discernment.  She always had a way of being able to make me feel better about things that were going on in my life and helping me to remember to always trust in the Lord.  I loved going to plays with her and talking for endless hours about all sorts of things.  She will be dearly missed, especially for playing 12th Street Rag on Christmas Eve.  She is truly one who was blessed with the gift of Charity and sought to serve everyone around her.  I love her so much and I'm very sad to see her go.  However, I look forward to being able to serve with her as a missionary for the next two years.  I know she'll be on the other side of the veil, but I know that we will serve together and the family wil be blessed for our service.  D&C 42:44 explains that.  However, I love in 45 and 46 how it explains that she will not even taste of death "for it shall be sweet unto them".

Anyway, things have been good here.  I was super glad to be able to go to the Marriott Center for the devotional because of the opportunity it gave us to escape from the monestary.  Granted, we were sheparded through a very direct route, however it was nice to get out.  Our devotionalon Sunday was Richard Heaton, the Administrative Director here at the MTC.  He gave us a wonderful talk on how the very beginning moments between missionaries and investigators are so crucial.  He said "most converts will tell you that they knew this message would change their lives in the fist few moments that they were meeting with the missionaries".  He talked about the importance of the Spirit and really teaching to the needs of the investigator, not simply teaching a lesson.  More than teaching, he emphasized understanding who the investigator was as a person.  We're not about simply teaching lessons, we need to teach people.  My companion and I struggle with that a litle because we don't know as much Portuguese, but we're getting better.  This past Tuesday was in the Marriot Center and the speakers were Elder and Sister Mervyn Arnold (I think is how you spell it) of the Seventy.  Sister Arnold's talk was my favorite, personally.  She quoted from D&C 123:17 which is about doing all things that cheerfully lie in our power and then we can stand back and see the arm of the Lord reveal itself in our work.  What a blessing! I know this is truly the work of the Lord and what a privelege I have of sharing that with the world!  Elder Arnold talked about a lot of thing relating to missionary work.  I don't remember a ton about his talk, but it was powerful.  In district devotional review, very tender feelings and powerful testimony was shared.  It was amazing to me that the Spirit of Discernment is real.  Things I've been praying for for the members of my district are truly what they need.  I look at one member in our district in particular who seems so confident about themselves and seems like someone who would never be afraid of anything.  I felt I should relate the story about when Brother Sackett came to visit to tell me that I needed to stop worrying about the mission because the Lord would guide me.  Sure enough, that story was something that I'm sure that individual needed to hear.  I was so blessed to be the instrument through which the Lord manifestied His love to them.  Anyway, we're really growing in unity as a district.  My companion is pretty awesome and though we don't agree on everything, we're still great friends who would back each other up any time.

I hear the blog is fantastic Michelle! Thank you so much for setting that up.  I can't actually see it because of the internet blocks on this place, but in a few weeks I'll for sure check it out.  My talk is on the computer, though I'm not 100% sure where.  I'm pretty sure I entitled it "Peace Through His Plan for Us"  but I coudl be wrong.  Have Trev or Dad do a full computer search (spyglass in the corner) and you should be able to find it.  If not, I'll figure out another way to remember where it is.  Regardless, thank you for keeping the world updated on my life and how things are going! If someone could put a link on my facebook, that would help my friends to know what's going on. 

I forgot to mention, my Branch President here offered us a challenge the very first day we were here.  He challenged us to read the whole Book of Mormon before we leave the CTM (it's Portuguese for MTC).  He said it would be difficult but completely worth it.  We've had to read 13-14 pages a day, but it's been such an amazing experience.  Knowing me, of course I would try to go even better, so I'm trying to read 17-20 a day so I can finish in 4-5 weeks.  What a blessing the Book of Mormon is! I know that it's pages contain such beautiful truths! I especially love the phrase "and if ye keep my commandments ye shall prosper" which I've found over 30 times so far in my study.  I'm also so impressed with how ofter the Book of Mormon testifies of itself.  So often I'll read "and I know not the reason I put this in here save the Lord has commanded me" or "only a hundreth part could be included", or some iteration thereof.  Everything, every word, every number, every name, every everything, is in there for a reason! What a blessing! That our Heavenly Father loves us so much to give us another witness of His Son, our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ!  It's beautiful, it's glorious, and most important, it is true! I also love how often there are prophecies of the comming forth of the Book of Mormon even within itself.  "That these records may be preserved", "they will come forth for the teaching of the Lamanites", and other such prophecies.  What a blessing the Book of Mormon is! I'm currently in Alma 7, and I look forward to Alma's testimony of Christ.  The words of Alma 7:11-13 have always been very important and personal to me.  I've learned so much from this reading and I can't wait to finish.  This is true! Joseph Smith was the prophet of the Restoration! I know that this church is true and I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be an ordained and set apart representative of it! This message is true!

To close, I invite each of you, especially at this time, to read and ponder on Job 19:25-26.  I read it a few nights ago when I first found out Grandma was going on hospice.  What a beautiful promise! "I know that my Reedeemer liveth.... Yet in my flesh shall I see God"

Eu tenho muito amor por voces and por tudo a familia!

Elder Trent Leon Evans

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