December 23, 2013
Dear Family and Friends,
Ola from humid/rainy/HOTTER THAN HADES Brazil! Hope you are all enjoying the snow! It feels really really weird to be sweating in December. We’re listening to all the Christmas music we can, and decorating for Christmas and singing Christmas carols in many of our lessons, and are super excited to talk with family! But other than that it doesn’t feel much like Christmas haha. It’s not a super big holiday here, just a day off of work, and a month to hang up lights and creepy Santa statues. They celebrate the birth of the saints in July, and it’s super huge, but the birth of Jesus Christ himself isn’t a super big holiday.
This week was pretty difficult. We had 2 or 3 days with hardly any lessons. All of our appointments and plans B, C, D through Z fell through. Even going door-to-door singing hymns, hardly anyone wanted to listen to us. It was pretty discouraging. Sister Roig and I decided we needed to work more with the ward. The theme of stake conference was missionary work, and they’re really encouraging our stake to share the gospel with friends, and go out with the missionaries and integrate the new members. We were very excited to hear that. So this week we sat down with our Ward mission Leader (he’s 18 and preparing for a mission), and basically taught him how to be a ward mission leader. We read from preach my gospel, and talked with him about some things we could do to increase the work in the ward. After that we talked with our Relief Society president and our bishop, and got some really good ideas to help the members get involved in missionary work! We were really excited. And then yesterday the bishop’s wife went with us to two lessons that for the most part went really well. She answered some questions, and bore her testimony (it was especially cool with Luciene and Luana because they’re part of the religion that she used to be a part of, so she knew where they were coming from), and as we left their house, she was beaming. She loved it, and thanked us for inviting her to come with us. The spirit of missionary work is really contagious, and it gave us hope that the other members can experience this too, and want to become more involved!
Ahhh I can’t describe to you guys how much I’ve learned this week about the importance of members. They don’t just make A difference. They make THE difference. In reality, it should be us, as missionaries helping THEM to do the work. Especially now. It always should have been this way, but now our leaders have told us that the Lord is hastening his work, and the time has come for us all to be missionaries. This is something I didn’t really understand before the mission. I was scared to share the gospel with my friends. And I thought before my mission that I was preparing to serve a full-time mission, but now that I’m on a mission, I feel like I’m preparing to be a good member missionary afterwards, for the rest of my life. Please help your missionaries. Get to know their investigators, and recent converts. Invite your friends to activities. Most importantly, do your home and visiting teaching! We all need each other in the church, and home and visiting teaching is the way to make sure that everyone is loved and looked after. When it doesn’t happen, people fall away. Members are full-time finders, and the missionaries are full-time teachers. We look for people prepared to hear the gospel by knocking on doors, but it isn’t super effective. Every single one of the people who we have baptized recently found the church through a friend or family member. Members make the difference!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We may have a baptism this week! Bruno. A member, Ana Eduarda invited him to church, and he liked it and came again yesterday, and decided he wanted to be baptized. So we’re teaching him and he’s awesome, and we’re hoping to set a date for this week or next week. Pray for him! And also Luana. We invited her to be baptized and she accepted on the condition that she feels it’s right. We promised her as representatives of Jesus Christ that if she prayed earnestly, Heavenly Father would confirm to her that it is right. She is fantastic! Also Vitoria. She is elect. She’s just super stressed and confused right now. She’s seeking an answer and not feeling like she’s getting one. But she goes to church every week.
In other news, I have a farmer tan to rival that of the ice cream cone guy from Lilo and Stitch.
I love you all and wish you a very Merry Christmas!!!!! :)))))