I am SO SORRY for not talking about ANYTHING last week! I felt awful, but the hour ran out and I got logged off. Oops. :( But I wrote a super long handwritten mail that will be in the mail tomorrow. Promise :)
This week was great, we're just keep on doing what we know how to do....and knowing the Lord will bless our efforts. It's incredible, and a littlefreaky to think about how much responsibility I have right now. More or less, Sister Garner and I are responsible for inviting the whole of Cerquilho to come unto Christ, and for helping the to receive the restored Gospel. (AKA, their salvation...) It scares me a lot when I think about how weak I am alone. But I know that we're never, not ever alone when we're enlisted in the service of the Lord. He'll bless His children here in Cerquilho, because He loves them. He wants them to receive the sacred ordinances that'll help them to return to His presence.
Quick something from yesterday, and then I wanted to better answer the questions you sent me!
Yesterday, we finally had a lesson with Edina, an investigator who's been ridiculously hard to find the past month. (I really have been in Cerquilho a while, huh? New experience for me on the mission.) She's incredible. We followed up on how she was doing reading the Book of Mormon, and she told us, "I know you said to read every day, but I haven't read yet today, and I didn't yesterday either." Without talking to her for a month, she's been readingevery day!!!!!! Uhhh...MIRACLE. She's in the book of Alma, over 250 pages into the Book of Mormon. She says she doesn't understand everything she reads, but that she feels a lot of peace. What's more, she told us there's been a change in her life since we started talking to her. Her relationship with her "husband" (she needs to get married) has improved, her son who had health problems before has been sooo much better, and she's been able to sleep better at night. She says she knows that the Book of Mormon is true. She's kind of the sweetest person ever, and I love her to death!
Ok, I'm ready now :)
My favorite thing about being on a mission:
It's a little selfish, but I love the clarity in which I'm understanding the Gospel now, as well as my purpose as a missionary! I see the basic principles of the Gospel in a way I never have before, and I'm learning a new depth to them. I LOVE IT. Of course, I love the obvious--seeing a similar clarity come into the eyes of others, and witnessing the power of the gospel in changing their lives.
The part that's the most difficult:
This may be just a personal thing--but we do have a lot of responsibility as missionaries, and we have to be 100% filled with faith. I have to learn how to handle stress that's a whole lot bigger than anything I've ever felt before, and always work my hardest. For me, the hardest part might be my own expectations. I never want to let anyone down, and I want to be the best I can. But if my expectations aren't realistic, or I lack in faith, I'll feel overwhelmed or under qualified. Advice--don't do that. :) Trust in the Lord, and be strong!
I'm grateful that I prepared by...
-Being familiar with and having a love for the Book of Mormon
-Learning how to talk to strangers. Get rid of the "don't talk to strangers" mentality that you're taught all your life...
-Experiences I had that taught me the power of personal prayer. Living faithfully
-Making my decision to serve a prayerful process, conversing with the Lord. Knowing that He wants me to be here, and called me to this place specifically, is PRICELESS. It helps every single day
-Doing my visiting teaching and going out with the Sisters from the Frontenac ward.
-Leadership opportunities to teach me how to handle responsibility...also something I wish I did more of
-If you're going to Brazil, bring what food or seasoning you're going to miss. Goodness gracious, every said it and I didn't listen!
-Be a missionary NOW! Learn to talk to everyone
-Internalize "Your purpose" that's in PMG. Use it to answer questions (why you're going on a mission, what you do on a mission, etc)
-Don't forget to do the things that will strengthen your relationship with Heavenly Father and your Savior right now. Learn how to really, really converse with your Father in Heaven, and rely on Him. You're going to rely on that power every day!
-Actively pray for the gift of charity
-When you struggle to get along with a companion, focus on the work! Work, work, work...the perfect common ground :)
-Freely compliment when it comes to your mind, and always encourage one another (again, companion advice). It really builds a healthy relationship, where you'll be able to grow together.
-Always remember that your desire determines your success. Decide to serve the Lord, focus on that, and you won't have problems with your companion or homesickness or anything else.
Love you all sooooo much! Have a great week!