July 18, 2011
So, here is the official letter to the family. Everything is well. It was really heartbreaking to leave Sinop. Monday was full of tearful goodbyes. Brazilians are so sweet. They will love you if you love them, and loving them is really easy. Hardest part of the mission so far. I felt like was leaving my mission! Elder Melo was a great companion, and we tearfully said goodbye as I jumped on the bus for Lucas. It was hard. I cannot even imagine leaving my mission for real. So, in Lucas the work continues. Everything is well here. Elder J. Silva is cool, although I am... what is the word... stressed... no, more sad. We are doing a lot of walking, and less teaching. He works hard, but does not quite have my vision. My vision is that we can baptize a person every week. He´s vision is to baptize a person every transfer. As a junior, it is my job to try and help, encourage and support, and learn everything that I can, and so that is what I am doing and everything will be okay, although I cannot help but feel responsible for people that we may be missing out on. He is good though, and he has a rough background and is doing great. I know that I have been greatly blessed with my family and background, and that this is special. I do see a lot of potential is Lucas. It is smaller than Sinop, but I think that the area is bigger because it is just us 2. The people have a lot more money as well, so the humility is at a different level. Really though, I see a ton of potential. Sunday was good. The members are awesome. I think that we have 35 active members here. The church building is a little different than the buildings that we find in the United States. It was not built by the church. It reminds me of the meeting houses that Joseph Smith used. I like it, although the mosquitos are killers. I have moved all of my studies to Portugues literature. The language is becoming much easier, although I have a ton to learn. I can understand and be understood though, so that is good. It is amazing how much my ability to listen and speak improves when I am teaching an investigator. The gift of tongues is super amazing. So, I really do not have anything else going on. I am still learning the people in Lucas. We are teaching 3 families that need to be married. Marriage always seems to be the problem, huh. Oh, but in Sinop, Railson and Lei will be married and Railson baptized by the end of this transfer. I am way excited about that. Elder Melo is doing well. Right now I am in Sorriso. We played soccer today and tomorrow we have a zone meeting. Elder Melo is here and is was great talking with him. He told me that he is going to really work on contacts this week to find new people. It was awesome playing soccer. We played indoor. It is like indoor in the United States but there is an out of bounds so you cannot use the walls and the floor is a cement or hardwood floor. It was fun. It has been a while since I have played, but after the first game I was back into the swing of things, and I was playing with the Brasilians. Elder Melo is incredibly good. He played professional (I forget if I told you that or not). Anyways, everything is good. I do remember Scott. Life is so fragile. I was just reading in 1 Peter 4:12 (I think that is right), and it says, don´t think that it is a strange thing when trails come. I was thinking of my life, and I really have not had many trials, so this scripture was easy to accept. I cannot imagine the way Scott´s family is feeling. It is good to hear that they are firm and strong, and growing closer. Life really is interesting. `People focus on this life so much and live in the moment only to have it taken away in a single blow. This life is so unreal, isn´t it? Everyone want happiness in the eternal life to come, members and nonmembers, but the temptation of sin becomes a mist of darkness and many lose sight of the eternities and focus their eyes one things that are just an illusion. This is my purpose as a missionary. To invite all people to leave the pleasures that have an end, and take hold of a savior who will give them unending happiness here and in the world to come, through faith on him and his infinite atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the holy ghost who brings sanctification and purification, and the ever-important principle of enduring to the end. It is a hard work. Not because of the physical demanding tasks, or even the mentally demanding tasks, but it is hard because in this work, there are people who refuse and reject their Savior and Friend for the fickle and falsely desirable things of this world, and allow themselves, whether it be because of their actions or their lack of action, to be spiritual bond in the chains of the devil, who wants to lead them down to an everlasting misery and endless wo. There is also no work more desirable. Seeing a person catch the outreached hand of the savior and accept his graceful sacrifice, and change their lives, and follow him, leaving all of the cares of the world behind, brings the most desirable feelings of joy, peace, and overwhelming excitement. I have felt both in this work, and, using the words of Paul in a little different context, but in a way that I believe is applicable, the feelings of sadness and heartbreak are not worthy to be compared to the feelings of joy and overall rejoicing that are felt in seeing a son or daughter of God return to the fold (Romans 8:18). I love this work. I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of salvation unto all the Souls here in the Cuiabá Brasil mission. Nothing can hinder the work of the Lord, and I know that even my lacking of knowing the language is but a small thing to the all-powerful God. His work will go forth, and the faithful will bring the light to all those that will accept it. I was not expecting to share a testimony, but all the same, I do so in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. I love all of you! Thank you all for everything, the letters of support and the force that you all are at home. We are working the same work. The only difference is the location. You are all amazing. I love you and will write again next week.
Vomas La! Tchau.