Monday, December 23, 2013

What's the Lord's plan?

Oi familia!

Wow.  This week has been the biggest roller coaster of emotion.  My new companion is Elder Tribino (pronounced Tree-bee-noh) and he´s from Rio Grande do Sul.  Funny enough, he lives in the Santa Maria mission, where Scott Omer served.  Sadly, he doesn´t know him.  He lives right on the boarder between Brazil and Uraguay.  When I picked him up Tuesday night I said ´Welcome!  You ready to teach a lesson tonight?´ He was like ´Well, yeah.  Let´s do it.´ So, I was pretty pumped.  We saw two miracles that night.  First we taught a lesson to Augusto about the Restoration and I said to my companion `Okay, I want you to share the Joseph Smith story and the Restoration´ and he did it flawlessly.  It was amazing.  Augusto totally got it and he´s going to be baptized this coming Saturday!  Then we headed out for a family night with a part-member family, though the wife (member) hasn´t been active since her baptism about 14 years ago.  We talked about eternal families and I shared a scripture from Matthew 19 about how marriage means ´becoming one flesh´and that they could be together forever.  Then Elder Tribino offered his testimony that we can be with our families for eternity.  The Spirit was so strong and the room felt like it was on fire.  We closed and the husband offered the closing prayer.  As he was praying he asked our Father in Heaven to know more about eternal families and there was a little catch in his voice.  He stumbled through the rest of the prayer and when he closed I looked up and both he and his wife had tears streaming down their faces.  It was such a powerful moment to see that they trully have a desire to be an eternal family.  One day, I know they´ll enter the temple together to be sealed.  What a blessing.

During the rest of the week we had a number of appointments fall through, but I quickly learned that man´s extremity is God´s opportunity.  We continued to work hard and talk to all the people we could.  We found a few potential investigators and we ran into three families one day!!! Three!!! Sadly, two of them live way outside our area, but we ran into one that I have high hopes for.  Something new we´ve been trying is going to people and saying ´We´re missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and we´re going around spreading a message about Christmas.  Can we sing a Christmas Hymn for you?´ Almost everyone says yes and it´s an amazing way to bring the Spirit.  We went to one house and sang for them and afterwards she said ´That was so beautiful, thank you.´ And we marked for another day to return.  This was the other family we found and we have an appointment with them tomorrow. But that´s the key thing.  We we´re far from our house and had little idea of what to do, but it´s in those moments that we have to buckle down and say ´Well, our plans didn´t work out.  What does the Lord have planned for us?´ I´m learning that what I talked about in my farewell is completely and 100% true.  Sometimes, we just have to hang in there and do what we can.  As D&C 123:17 tells us we should "cheerfully do everything that lies within our power".  Sure, sometimes it´s hard, but what matters is that we´re giving the Lord our best.  100%.  All day.  Every day.  Until our work is finished.

And after all of this, our Christmas Miracle.  We´ve been working every week with a great couple Ronald and Cleid who were baptized within the past 6 months but since fell to inactivity.  We´ve been trying and trying to get them back to church and nothing was working.  We headed over there with Elder Tribino and our Ward Mission Leader and I was thinking about what to share.  On the way over I though, ´Luke 2´ so we read Luke 2.  The Spirit was so strong and testified that we truly have the church of Jesus Christ on the earth again.  We visited them the next day and they said ´we read the scriptures as a family and prayed together.  It was great!´ And the next day (yesterday) guess who came to church, Ronald & Cleid!!! It was so amazing to feel the Love of Christ for those two wonderful people.  Truly, the Lord works miracles every day if we´re willing to strive until the end.

Feliz Natal!

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