Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Que Firme Alicerce (What Firm Foundation)

Oi família!

So this week was legit.  I´m learning more and more about the gift of tongues (?) every day.  It´s actually super cool.  There comes a point that I don´t even have to think any more and things just come out in Portuguese.  There were a few times this past week when I said some things that are actually decently complicated, without thinking.  It was soooo cool.  I love being a missionary.   Whenever I thought about the gift of tongues I always thought it would be soo cool to just talk in whatever language I want, but as I thought more I thought "well, it´ll be cool to talk, but I want to know what I´m saying."  All that I can say, the Lord has blessed me SOOOO much to really understand what I´m saying.  Portuguese, is really flipping cool.

But this week we had a really cool experience with a member named Beatriz (that´s basically the Brazilian way of saying Beatrice).  She´s been a member for four years now, but attends church in Caucaia, that´s kind of like the Sandy of Fortaleza.  It´s a different city, but it´s a branch-off of Fortaleza.  Anyway, she´s been attending there because that´s where she was baptized and that´s where her aunt lives, even though she lives in our ward boundaries now.  Every week we´ve been telling her "Hey Beatriz, you coming to church this week?"  And she always responds "yes."  Then we say "Here in Floresta?"  then she always says "no."  But we´re working with her.  Her brother, Rodrigo, is an investigator who´s super cool. But, we went to pass by and, well, it´s hot here, so we asked for some water.  We headed to the kitchen to get some and we passed Beatriz´s room on the way there.  I said, "Hey Beatriz, you coming to church this week?" and she responded, "probably not.  I haven´t been going to church for a few weeks now."  Well, if there is anything to not say to a missionary, it´s that.  So our conversation went something like this:
Us: Whoa, why aren´t you headed to church?
Beatriz: Well, I´m having doubts about the church.
Us:  Doubts like what?
Beatriz: Well, I don´t know if it really is the true church or not.
And it was in this moment that I remembered an experience I had just a few years earlier when the Lord had showed me how to reaffirm my  testimony in times of doubt.
Us: Well, do you remember the prayer in which you asked the Lord if this was the true church?
Beatriz: Well, I never really prayed about it.
Us:  Do you know the Book of Mormon is true?
Beatriz: I don´t know.
Us: Do you know that Joseph Smith is a prophet?
Beatriz: Yes.
Us: Do you know that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet of God on earth today?
Beatriz: Yes.
Us: Well, if you know these things are true...
Beatriz: Then...it must be true.
Wow.  The Spirit hit us all like a wall.  It was amazing. 
Us: Exactly.  But, we have an invitation for you.  Will you pray to know if this is the true church?
Beatriz:  I will, but how will I know what the answer is?
This was one of the coolest things that´s ever happened as a missionary, the Spirit filled my mouth completely and this spilled out:
Us: Well, when you ask something from your mom and she says no, how do you feel?
Beatriz: Well, I feel sad and I little angry.
Us: And when the answer is yes, how do you feel?
Beatriz: Good, happy, things like that.
Us: So, if these things are true, how will you feel?
Beatriz: Good. Happy.
And the smile that broke across her face as she was talking with us was priceless.  These are the moment you look for as a missionary.  When the person you are teaching teaches themself, it´s the world´s greatest thing.  The Spirit was sooo strong.  Afterwards we bore testimony and went to teach Ricardo.  As we were kneeling to pray Élder Bradley said "hey, let´s invite Beatriz to pray with us too."  She came in and we invited her to pray.  In the prayer she said "Thank thee father that we belong to the true church."  The Spirit was so strong and testified to me of the importance of the message that we have.
Elder Bradley frequently says "I don´t know how other missionaries do it.  We can invite them to pray and they WILL get an answer."  The other day our Zone Leaders said " we entered in someone´s house and they said 'if you invite me to pray, I won´t'"  When they asked her why she said, "because my pastor said that´s how you get us"  But just think of that.  We KNOW these things are true because we prayed.  I didn´t gain my knowledge of the gospel from any member of the church, nor because I read something on the internet.  I didn´t gain a testimony becasue bishop said "what we teach is true" or because I was raised in the church.  I gained my testimony because I talked with God and He said it was true. 
Last week, I had a very beautiful response to one of my prayers.  A feeling of peace comforted my doubts and responded to a question that only God could respond to.  So, what I´m saying is to pray today.  Pray to know that the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph Smith is a prophet and that this really is the true church of Jesus Christ.  It doesn´t matter how many times you´ve already prayed, God will respond again.  I know he will because he responded to me.  This is the truth.
I love being a missionary.  It´s the greatest thing I´ve ever done in my life.
Vos amo!  Até o próximo!

Élder Evans  

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