So.. not a whole lot happened this past week. It seemed like this week was one of the longer weeks of the mission.
Not a whole lot of movement with the investigators. Only 2 investigators showed up to church yesterday out of the 8 we gave dates of baptism to. I am hoping that they realize the importance of church or receive an answer here soon to boost their faith. It is such a blessing to be able to work with these people. Really!! It is hard and all, but I just feel like it is such a privilege to help Gods children re-find their way. I say 're-find' because we truly had it all planned out. We CHOSE this plan and that is why we are here. It is kind of neat to think that we really are on God's team.... no matter how evil the world is. We chose His plan and are just here to be tested if we have faith sufficient to continue His plan and obtain the gifts that He will give hereafter. Just gotta stay focused on the important things in life and let the other 'stuff' just fill in the gaps.. not the other way around. Something that I really thought about this week. Kinda neat if ya think about it!
The highlight of the week was the Favelas. We entered this house and the Spirit was just not present. I have never felt so awful in my life. It just seemed to be tearing us down and the lesson was not going well. I asked if I could say a prayer at the end to bless the house and the family and it was so neat. You could just feel the Spirit lift and brighten the room as I finished the prayer in the name of the Savior. It was so powerful and really helped my testimony of prayer. Prayer is truly such a gift of God. It shows our faith. He already knows our thoughts, needs, and wants... so why do we pray? We pray because it shows our faith. It shows that we are full of weaknesses and that we are humbling ourselves to Heavenly Father and recognizing the Savior as we close in His name. It is through our faith in prayer that Heavenly Father blesses us. So neat!!
So.. to close I just wanna share a few things that I was thinking of this past week and hopefully will explain the subject of this email. I will be honest with you... I felt pretty inadequate this past week. I felt like I just didn't fit in, that my Portuguese was weak, and kind of was just struggling as to what I am doing. I then was reminded of one of my favorite childhood books. Don't ask me why.. but it just randomly popped into my head. Elmer the Elephant. It made me think about how I really do relate to Elmer. Don't judge me if I tell the story wrong.. but this is what I remember. Elmer is an Elephant that was born all sorts of colors. He was a little bit different and didn't fit in with all of the other gray elephants. He was kind of embarrassed as an animal and really just wanted to fit in. So what did he do. He found berries the same color of the other elephants. He thought of a brilliant idea to roll around in these berries so he can fit in. He cover his body with these berries and it WORKED.. he fit in. Everyone accepted him because he now wasn't different from the rest. Unfortunately... the rain came and washed away the berries that we covering his body and his true colors showed. Everyone laughed and laughed and laughed at him, but still accepted him as he was. In fact... they made a day where they would paint there skin all sorts of random colors and would be Elmer.. as Elmer would cover himself in berries and act like a normal elephant. They accepted him for who he was and everyone was happy. I am sure you are all wondering where I am going with this.. and so am I. Just kidding!! But WE are all a kind of Elmer.
I am Elmer. I don't fit in here. In fact... I am a tall blonde kid with an American accent, who dresses in a suit and shares the Gospel. I am different. I am odd. I stand out here in Brazil. Sometimes I ask myself where I can find those berries.. where or what I can do to fit in more. But no matter how many times I roll around in the berries.. the rain will always come and will always show my 'true colors.' As member of the church of Jesus Christ we are different, we stand out, we are odd. But I have come to realize as I have spent some time here in Brazil is that we shouldn't want to blend in... We shouldn't want to be just another person and quite frankly we cant be another person. Our greatest example of Elmer was Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was an Elmer in His Earthly Ministry. He stuck out because He is the Son of God. He is our Savior, He is our Redeemer, and no matter how many times he was spit at, made fun of, and mocked. He never decided to blend in.. he stuck out and it was because of His unique character and love for us that we have the opportunity to obtain the highest glory of God. As members of the Church we stick out and really are different. We have the true Gospel. We smile at our trials and we have a weird light that we carry with us everywhere we go. People can see it in our countenance. We are different, we are odd, and we don't blend in. No matter how crazy this world is or will get.. we will always stick out as we stand for the truth, stand for the right, and walk as a representative of Christ. I am just so grateful to be an ´Elmer` here in Brazil.
I am grateful people look at me weird and wonder what I am doing in their country. I am grateful that I get called names and that people don't like me here. haha! Because it is through all of the rough times that really makes the times where we can help one soul know and understand the truth so sweet! This mission has and is blessing my life. I am grateful for all that I am going through and I am grateful for the opportunity that I have to find my purpose as I help others do the same. I am grateful for a perfect example of Jesus Christ and I am grateful to stand as a representative of Him. It truly is a humbling experience. I love you guys so much! I am so grateful for the love and support that you offer and the many things that you do for me. Thank you for being you and for being such great examples to me in all that you do. I love you all so much and I miss you like crazy!! In fact... I miss you more than I miss a cold Costco Triple Chocolate Cake.. and that my friends is heaven... and is a lot of miss!! But I hope that you all have a wonderful week and that you know that I love you so much! Let me know if there is anything that I can do for you!! I love you so much!! (:
Love, your favorite Elmer... I mean Elder... Elder Abel!... Sky! (: