Well, this week has been all sorts of an adventure. We had Ano Novo (new years) and that was pretty great. We hung out at a members house and played this game called "Monopoly Deal" which is like Monopoly, but with cards. Big suprise, didn´t stay up for the new year, we went to bed at 11:00. I called my Zone Leader to see what time we needed to be in bed because we didn´t have to return home until 10:00 and he said "You can stay up until past midnight because it´ll be dificult to sleep with all the firworks going off" and I said "alright. Cool." But let´s be real, I inherited mom´s ability to sleep anytime and anywhere. Fireworks? Not a problem.
Now the subject line "Get Lost!" No, this has nothing to do with the man that said this to us the other week, though that was actually quite funny. No, this week we´re focused on the verse we find in Mark 8:35 - "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel´s, the same shall save it." The concept of losing oneself is an interesing one, and one that I need to study in greater depth. But, the idea here is that when we are lost, our focus is not inward, but outward towards the people whom we serve and help each day. This week, this was my focus, and the results were amazing. When I woke up at the beginning of the week my thoughts were constantly "Ah, I don´t want to go out and work today. I´m so tired..." but of course, we need to fulfill our responsibilities. We went and we worked. As we worked during the week, my attitude and my countenance changed. When I wake up in the morning now my first thoughts are "Rockin, time to run so I can prepare other people for the blessings of the gospel." As we´ve been teaching my thoughts have been "This is the greatest message that has ever happened to the world!" and it shows. We were talking with some women in the street yesterday and taught an impromptu lesson about the restoration. At the end I was bearing my testimony and it was amazing to feel the happiness that was flowing from me. I was talking with them and said "Sisters, we have prophets on the earth today. Real prophets! How marvelous is that?!" and I could even discern the amazement that graced my voice. As I focused this week on serving others, on their needs, what mattered to them, everything else fell away. My concerns about the language, culture, and my inability became meaningless. The fact that it was hot, I was thirsty, and really blasted tired became immaterial. I´m lost! Certainly, I can lose myself more and more each and every day, and I´m working to do so. But, it´s such an amazing feeling. I don´t really understand it, but I just know that I´m happy to be here. That´s inacurate. I´m thrilled to be here. Why? We have the greatest thing on earth! We have living prophets! We have the Priesthood! More important, we have the fullness of the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ! How great is that? We literally have everything we need to return and live with our Father in Heaven again. Certainly, we will face challenges. We may lose loved ones, but we know we´ll see them again. We may face financial difficulties, but the Lord has promised necessities to all those who keep his comandments (Mosiah 2:41 and there´s another one, thought I don´t know where). Yes, the mission is the refiner´s fire. But to be completely honest, I´ve never been so happy to be refined in my entire life.
The results of this happiness? Yesterday we had 3 investigators at church. At the end one of them came up to me and said "Elder Evans, I loved church today! We´ll definitely be coming back next week!" The best part? He´s married to an inactive member who returned to church last week as well with their 4 year-old daughter. Not just him, all of them came to church with us. And I can´t wait to see them united as one happy eternal family :)
Até mais! Vos amo!