To begin, because yesterday was the 4th I didn't recieve my reassignment. We're banking on recieving them tonight though. I would love to recieve my visa, but if I don't I know it'll be the will of the Lord and there is someone in the states I need to go help. One of the training employees who works here served in
Fortaleza so he came in and told us all sorts
of cool stuff. Apparently missionaries sleep in hammocks, there's little
markets where you can bargin shop for stuff, and apparently they have tons and
tons of fruit! Like, a ton! Fruits we've never even seen or heard of! To top it
all off, it's super super cheap and because it's always summer, it's in season
all year long. I'm so pumped for Brazil right now! He told us all
sorts of things, most of which I can't remember, but then he said "The
real reason why Fortaleza is going to be amazing for you and going to change
your life aren't all these things that everyone is generally curious
about" then we read Mosiah 18:30 about the waters of mormon, the
forest of mormon, etc. but the verse ends with the phrase
(paraphrased) "and how beautiful they are to them that there came to
a knowledge of their Redeemer". He then promised us that that's
where we would recieve our knowledge and that we'll be able to help so many
other people do that too! What a blessing!
I can't belive it's been six weeks here in the CTM! At the same time, I can believe it's been six weeks, but it's been a very fast six weeks. Altogether I've learned a ton and been super humbled by the whole experience. Learning Portuguese has been such a cool experience. I don't speak it super well (granted, I can speak it as far as "CTM Portuguese" goes, but I already know that when I get into the field I'm going to be struggling a little. Or a lot. One way or another, I'm super pumped to head out, but super nervous at the same time. Yesterday was "In-Field Orientation" which basically meant we moved from room to room in the main building between 800 & 1730. LSS, it was like taking a drink from a fire hydrant. There was so much information and so much to remember and so much I don't feel I'm adequate to do. In fact, I know I can't do it. Last night to celebrate the 4th of July we watched 17 miracles and that was also humbling to realize how much I don't know, and how utterly helpless I am. I litterally can't do anything as a missionary, at least, by myself. I was reminded of a scripture that I love in 2 Corinthians 12:10 - "Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I amweak, then am I strong." I can't do this. But Our Father in Heaven can, and so can Jesus Christ, and as long as I remember that this is their work and that everything I do and can do is because of them, I can accomplish anything the Lord wants me to do.
Devotionals this week have been good. We haven't had an apostle yet, but I have faith for this Sunday. This Sundaywas an individual who served in Brazil as a missionary, mission president, and he's returning next year to serve as the president of the Brazil CTM. I don't remember his name, but his message was powerful. He spoke a lot like Elder Holland. Lots of fire and conviction. One way or another he talked about a lot of things he's learned over his time here, none of which I remember now. I took notes though so I'll share those later. On Tuesday we had Matthew O. Richardson (Second Councilor, Sunday School General Presidency) and he was pretty aweome. He quoted from one of David O. McKay's favorite statements "What 'ere thou art, act well thy part". He was so enthusiastic and I remember one line he spoke about was "my mission may not have been the best two years of my life, but it was the best two years for my life". Wow. I love hearing of people testifying of what a blessing missionary service continues to be for them throughout their lives. He said a lot of things and altogether was very enthusiastic about missionary work. One way or another, he got me really pumped up to serve and think about how I need to live and serve as a missionary.
It's been good to hear from each of you about things you've done and how your lives are going. Things seem to be going well and everyone seems reconciled in the aftermath of Grandma's funneral. One thing that's helped me is that, though I miss her terribly and I feel so sad I couldn't be there for each of you, she has recieved all of the saving ordiances necessary in this life. All of her sickness and pains are gone. She is truly in a better place and she is resting from all her cares. What a blessing to know we can see her again and live with her in a beautiful and perfect eternal family! Whe will be gone for this short while and it's very hard to lose her, but as long as we remember that she is truly in a better place, I think we can remember that all will be well. God has not left us helpless.
From what I've heard the 4th was good. I hope all of you enjoyed it. We had a program with some singing, musical numbers, a talk, and then we were allowed to watch 17 Miracles. Afterwards we were given ice cream bars and watched the Stadium of Fire fireworks. Altogether it was fun. Nothing like spending July 4th at home, but I'm glad I could spend one last one here in the states. While the fireworks were going in the area where I was standing we started singing the Star Spangled Banner. Wow. What a song. It was quite powerful to feel the spirit of that song, my love of country, and especially that this country was set apart and dedicated by the hand of God so that we could enjoy the blessings of the gospel. I know this is a blessed country and we are so lucky to have it.
I finished the Book of Mormon! I finished it this past Sunday and I've since been reading one chapter a day or so while also reading Joseph Smith History. It's interesting to see how Joseph was prepared from the time he was young to be the one to restore the gospel and what a blessing it is that he did so. I know this gospel is true and I'm so thrilled to serve as a missionary for our Father in Heaven.
Look for an e-mail tonight regarding what's going to happen as far as my reassignment. I can't believe it's here, but I know it's my time to go out and serve.
Amo voces! O envangelho e' verdadiero!
(I love you all! The gospel is true!)
Elder Trent Leon Evans