Well, this week has been very interesting, to say the least. I´ve learned a lot, and in turn I´ve grown a lot. I´ve seen a multitude of miracles pour out of my own mouth and I´ve been able to see the power of concecration in my life.
The last e-mail I seem to recall mentioning something about how I missed Kansas terribly. Well, to be real, I was beyond missing it terribly. I wanted to go back. I was seriously considering calling President Souza and asking if I could return. I was seeking for some consolation or comfort or something to help me understand what was going on. My companion and I returned to the apartment and he went to take a nap. I chose to remain awake and study a little, trying to understand why I was so down on Brazil and why I wanted to return to the US so bad. I was seeking guidance in the conference Ensign and felt to go back to my place in the Saturday Morning session and begin reading. I read ´Do we know what we have´ by Sister Stevens, but I still felt nothing. I continued onward to Edward Dube´s talk `Look Ahead and Belive` and the Spirit filled me. ´Look Ahead and Believe´ begins with an experience Elder Dube had when he was a child how his mother told him he must always continue looking forward, not back. The talk continues to describe how we need to look back and learn from the past, but not live in it. The Spirit testified very strongly that I had fulfilled my purpose in Kansas, that I was in Brazil now, and I have a work to do. I had turned inward and focused on myself and the fact that I was struggling but ignored that there are people here who are strugging as well. The difference? I´m here to help these people who are struggling. I have the gospel, and these people need it. I was focusing far to much on my own desires rather than how I could help these people. I turned my head down in prayer and asked for forgivenes from our Father with a solemn promise that I would dedicate myself 100% to the work of salvation. We went out that night and instead of sitting tight-lipped afraid to say anything, I opened my mouth, and suddenly I was able to speak freely. I wasn´t concerned if these people thought I sounded uneducated and like I can´t speak Portuguese. I have a message, and I needed to share it. Many times this past week I´ve had to overcome fears and open my mouth, despite every time the natural man said that I shouldn´t do it. It has been amazing to see the miracles that have come as the Spirit has filled my mouth in times of need. At times, when I understand what I need to say, the Spirit strengthens me to be able to say it, but there have been amazing times when I´ve had out of body experiences when I´ve realized I´ve been talking, but it wasn´t me. It was the Spirit. Truly amazing blessings. This is the Lord´s work. In addition, we had some amazing lessons this week, where the Spirit filled my mouth and cleared my mind. We´ve seen miracles in so many ways. Lessons, baptisms, investigators, and some far more simple. A word here. A word there. A powerful scripture in personal study. A feeling of love from the Spirit. Truly even in ´The Valley of the Shadow of Death´ there are sparks of sunshine to light the way. What a blessing.
Now, on a more serious matter, Grandma has been weighing on my mind heavily lately. Her passing has been difficult for all of us, I know. In addition, yes, this will be the first Christmas without her. As I mentioned in my remarks with her death, Grandma was truly an exaple of charity at all times and was always giving of herself. So, I wish to offer us a Christmas challenge. From when you read this e-mail until Christmas, I want each of us to do a charitable act each day. It doesn´t have to be anything big, just a little something to help someone else out each and every day between now and Christmas as a way to remember Grandma. As we do this, I feel to promise that as Malichi said ´the windows of heaven will open and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to recieve it´. Though I don´t know what the blessings will be, I know they will be real. I love Grandma and at times I miss her more than I can believe, as I know many of you do as well. But, as I once told Sister Noland (awesome less-active lady in Wellington) I think the Lord takes people from us so we can remember what they would do, so we can follow their example. May we ever be filled with the Spirit of Charity that Grandma always exemplified is my hope and prayer.