Well, to put it simply, this week was the worlds biggest emotional roller coaster. We had some absolutely amazing miracles, and some other really depressing things happen. One way or another it´s been an amazing week that I´ll never forget.
In short on the miracles:
Aluizo was marked for baptism this Sunday! He´s thrilled for it, along with his whole family. I can´t even begin to describe how amazing the lesson was that we had with him when we invited him to baptism. Long story short, his wife asked him why he wanted to be baptized and he bore a very simple but powerful testimony. So wonderful. Pictures to follow.
We received a referral for a friend that a member brought to church. We visited them and invited the whole family to hear the message. The result? 5 new investigators (parents and the 3 sons) ALL of which have an extreme interest in the gospel. Every single one of them has an amazing desire to know if this really is true and the youngest son Tynã, basically bore his testimony about the church yesterday when we went over to visit.
But to be real, these are only just pieces of much larger experiences. What really ended up happening with Aluizo and with the family were a series of very powerful events. When I get home, I´ll tell you all about them. But as I contemplated what to write to you all about, the Spirit spoke to me about another powerful experience that I had this week with Elder Tribino. Because he´s sitll new, we have training every day after Companionship Study where we follow a basic 12 week program as constructed by The Bretheren. This past week focused on the Book of Mormon and the role that it has in our conversion. We read in Chapter 5 of Preach My Gospel about this marvelous treasure. As we read a powerful Spirit filled the room and testified to both of us of the truthfullness and the importance of The Book of Mormon. I contemplated this more during the week and then we had training on Saturday about "Revelation through the Book of Mormon." As we studied we learned of the power of The Book of Mormon in our own lives and also in our own personal conversion to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As we considered our own conversion, we continued on into the conversion of our investigators. As we studied in greater depth the Spirit whispered something to me I don´t think I´ll ever forget. Simply put, the reason we haven´t seen the success we wanted to, the reason we´ve had fewer baptisms than we would like, the reason for the lack of anything we´re striving for is because we aren´t focusing enough on the Book of Mormon. I then remembered a quote from Elder Wirthlin that we find in Preach My Gospel “Please do not take the Book of Mormon for granted. Pray for a vision of how the Book of Mormon can be used more effectively in your mission. I promise that as you do so, your mind will be enlightened with the direction that you should take." So, we fasted for a way to use the Book of Mormon more. Essentially, what I felt is that the Book of Mormon needs to be the centerpoint of EVERYTHINNG we do. Not just during Lesson 1 when we want the investigator to read more. Not just to show them Môroni 10:3-5 and promise an answer. The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ, and should be used as such. The first thing we learn about the Book of Mormon on the title page is that the purpose of the book is to convince everyone that "Jesus is the Christ". In the introduction to the Book and as well in Preach My Gospel we learn the same thing. Our purpose here is to show everyone that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. But, the Book of Mormon does more than that. It testifies that Jesus Christ lives, and He is not silent. He speaks today still, through a living prophet. The Book of Mormon proves that "the holy scriptures are true and that God does inspire men and call them to His work in this generation as well as in generations of old (D&C 20:11)." I imagine that the Lord still has grand things to show me rearding the Book of Mormon. Because of what we know of the power and divinity of this marvelous work we know that we could spend lifetimes studying the Book of Mormon and still not learn everything there is to learn, but I wish to close with my testimony of this Book. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. The reason I am serving a mission today is because of the Book of Mormon. I´ve read it, and reread it, and read it again, and every single time the Lord has revealed to me that it is true. The blessings that are available by means of this book are grand and impossible to describe. The Lord will bless us in every single aspect of our lives the instant we begin to study this inspired work. I know without a doubt that there are still grand miracles in store for me as a missionary, and I now know, that the Book of Mormon is the key to those miracles. So, my invitation to each of you is to read the Book of Mormon. But more than that, treasure the Book of Mormon. Make sure that every single day you are reading and seeking, and searching, and applying the teachings written therein. Truly, there is an undenaiable power in this Book, that I can´t wait to share with the lovely people in the Brasil.
Now, I did not sail with the brother of Jared in crossing an ocean, settling in a new world. I did not hear King Benjamin speak his angelically delivered sermon. I did not proselyte with Alma and Amulek nor witness the fiery death of innocent believers. I was not among the Nephite crowd who touched the wounds of the resurrected Lord, nor did I weep with Mormon and Moroni over the destruction of an entire civilization. But my testimony of this record and the peace it brings to the human heart is as binding and unequivocal as was theirs. Like them, “[I] give [my name] unto the world, to witness unto the world that which [I] have seen.” And like them, “[I] lie not, God bearing witness of it. - Elder Jeffery R. Holland