Portuguese word of the day - Geada - (Frost)
Dear Family and Friends,
For the first time since February/March 2015, I am seeing frost in the mornings. As shown in the photo, we are waking up to freezing weather. (no, we don't wake up at 8:17 - That’s when we decided to take the photo.) My companion, Elder Silva, had never seen frost in his life, so he just started taking pictures of everything, lol. Even though it's really cold, at least it’s not raining. That’d be lame for a missionary. I hope I didn’t jinx myself.
Due to the cold, people just don’t seem to want to wake up to go to church. Our branch is shrinking a little bit, and that’s never good news for a missionary.
BUT. Putting the cold aside, Elder Silva and I have been working hard. We placed some super high goals, and have been pushing ourselves to reach them.
Remember Bruno? Well, he's progressing really well, and will be baptized on the 25th after all! We had, at one point last week, 9 baptismal dates marked, but no one seems to want to read the Book of Mormon and pray before saying "Uhm. I don’t want to take the lessons anymore". Actually, it’d be nice if they said that. But they just run and hide. I’m sad for them. They don’t know what they’re missing. :)
So now, it’s just Bruno and his mom who's returning to the church.
I want to share something personal. Prayer works.
Few times in my life I can say that I’ve received an immediate, distinct answer to my prayers. Many times God has let me use my faith to make choices. The majority of the time, God has answered my prayers through other people, or through the scriptures, or slight feelings that build over time, or some other delayed time; but an immediate, clear answer from God has been rare to me.
My testimony of the Book of Mormon came over time. Actually, I don’t remember when I could say: "Well NOW its true." I think it must’ve come somewhere during the time when I first read the book from cover-to-cover when I was 9. SEVERAL times, almost daily, I receive little thoughts and feelings like "Yep. It’s true. How can it NOT be true? How could this just be written by a young guy my age? Nothing compares to it. Pastors try and try to interpret and understand the Bible, studying for years and even decades and still end up with a mediocre doctrine with a bunch of holes. The Book of Mormon explains everything, and matches up perfectly."
Not to mention all the contained prophesies that are being fulfilled these last few years. I could make a very extensive list.
But.. returning to the topic at hand. The other day, I received a clear, immediate answer. I was reading in Moroni 7 and 10, and he exhorts us to pray to develop Christ-like charity. I love the people here in Rio Grande do Sul, I love them so so much; but my love still doesn’t compare to that of Christ. That’ll take a long, long time. So I knelt down to pray.
You know how people say "don't pray for patience, or you'll get situations to develop patience?" "Don’t pray for Humility, or you'll be humbled?" You can bet that I’ve had to ignore the advice and pray for those attributes several times, and uh, yep. It works. Unfortunately, it works just like everyone says it works, XD
But when I went to pray for more love, I didn’t know what to ask for. I said "Father, I don't know how you’re gonna do it. I’m not sure what situations I need to pass through to love the people more than I do. But I know that You can somehow make it happen." And I asked for more charity for the Gaucho people, and my companion, and those that I serve.
I hadn’t even finished the prayer when I was overcome with a powerful sensation of peace, love, and joy. It hit me much stronger than I thought. During the following days, I have had a change of heart and my very perception of the world has changed. It has been awesome.
I know that God is there for us. I know that Jesus Christ paid the price of sin, and part of that payment includes help and comfort when we need it. Thing is - we always need it. And when we ask, He's always there to give it to us.
I love you all.
Its getting COLD!