Monday, August 18, 2014

A Restauração (The Restoration)

Oi família!

Well, things are going well.  In general I´m as happy as a clam.  It would be a lie to say that this week has been a bed of roses, though we´re working for that.  We had a number of difficulties, but we´ve also been very blessed.  We headed back to Canindé this week and once again, it was like the road to St. George.  I got to observe some awesome missionary work by the élderes in Canindé and in general, I´m thrilled with how the zone is progressing.  Being a zone leader is a taxing experience, but we´re seeing some awesome miracles.  I´m learning a bunch and we´re having an awesome time.

We´ve been having some super cool experiences with teachig over the past few days.  I remember one lesson in particular where I had the opportunity to feel the Spirit very powerfully.  I particulary felt so during one time when we were teaching the resotration to a family.  I always like to explain very carefully about the Joseph Smith story using our own surroundings to tell the story.  Here in Ceará, churches are more common than churches in Utah.  But the difference is that they´re of all sorts of denominations.  Every single one teaches something different and every single one claims to have the way back to our Heavenly Father.  So, as we explained this we put them in the moment.  We talked about how this young man, Joseph Smith was confused because of the many churches that he had seen, all claiming the authority of God, but not knowing which one was the true church that Jesus Christ had restored.  We explained how Joseph Smith turned to the Bible looking for answers and found scriptures that indicated to him the organization and structure of the church of Jesus Christ.  "One Lord, One faith, One baptism" (Ephesians 4:5)  "that upon this rock I will build my church" (Mathew 16:18) and finally "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God..." (James 1:5).  I remember keenly the feeling I had as I explained the first vision using the Prophet Joseph´s own words.  "I saw a pillar of light, exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.  When the light rested upon me, I saw two Personagens, whose brightness and glory defied all description standing above me in the air.  One of them spake unto me, calling me by name, and said, pointing to the other, "This is my Beloved Son, Hear Him"" Wow.  How are you feeling right now?  As I was explaining this the Spirit filled me with the conviction that this is reality.  God and our Savior really did appear to the boy prophet Joseph and it was by him and through him that the gospel was restored.  I was filled with such profound joy and gratitude to Father in Heaven for this profound gift and I know that the investigators felt it as well.

The Book of Mormon is the proof of this in these our days.  We watched "The Restoration" with Vitória´s family (the young woman we baptized last week) and afterwards we asked her to explain how she knows that the Restoration is true.  She explained, "Well, He translated the Book of Mormon so it must be true!"  It was a very powerful moment.  The Book of Mormon is the powerful and living witness we have that these things are true.  I know that it is true and that it will help anyone "draw closer to God...than any other book"

I invite each of you to ponder on the message of the Restoration, and the profound happiness that it brings in our lives.  Think about the blessings that you all have received because of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  If you struggle to think of some, I invite each of you to pray and talk with Father in Heaven.  He will help you see.

Amo vocês.  Fiquem firmes!

Élder Evans

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