April 7, 2014
Dear Family & Friends,
Conference was spectacular! I watched some sessions in Portuguese, some in English, and some I missed because we were working. So, I will need to revisit a lot of it to understand completely, but what I watched I Loved. I Loved Elder Bednar's story about the truck and needing traction. I thought about Dad and you going back and forth about such decisions, haha. And he always illustrates principles so clearly using metaphors and such. I hope each of us can develop more spiritual traction. Yeah, I was thrilled when they sang "Lead, Kindly Light". Priesthood session was good; I believe President Monson talked about courage. That was one session that I had to watch in Portuguese, so...I'll get back to you on that, haha! :)
I too enjoyed President Uchtdorf's talk. My mission has been almost nothing but new beginnings and abrupt endings, and yet at the same time, things continue on. As Doctor Who once said, "Those we Love never leave us. Not really." Sorry, I had to. I'm wearing the Dr. Who shirt you gave me because we have a super P-Day today with the whole Zone. But speaking of being grateful, yes. That is something that has helped tremendously throughout my mission because of my various circumstances. I used to feel so angry that I could not remain in Kansas. But, I decided instead to offer prayers of gratitude thanking Heavenly Father that I was able to go there in the first place. Many missionaries go straight to Brazil and never are blessed with such opportunities. I can honestly say that I have served (or am serving) two missions. I will have 3 Mission Presidents! Not many can say that. You can take me out of Kansas, but Kansas will never quite be taken out of me. Here is something Elder Evans once shared with me during companionship study when I was having a bad day. I was wondering why the Lord had suffered me to come to Kansas and not go straight to Brazil. This is what he shared from:
Doctrine and Covenants 100:2-8
2 "Therefore, follow me, and listen to the counsel which I shall give unto you.
3 Behold, and lo, I have much people in this place, in the regions round about; and an effectual door shall be opened in the regions round about in this eastern land.
4 Therefore, I, the Lord, have suffered you to come unto this place; for thus it was expedient in me for the asalvation of souls.
5 Therefore, verily I say unto you, lift up your voices unto this people; aspeak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be bconfounded before men;
6 For it shall be agiven you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say.
7 But a commandment I give unto you, that ye shall declare whatsoever thing ye adeclare in my name, in solemnity of heart, in the spirit of meekness, in all things.
8 And I give unto you this promise, that inasmuch as ye do this the aHoly Ghost shall be shed forth in bearing record unto all things whatsoever ye shall say."
I felt as though I was doing no good there, but then the Lord showed me this scripture through His servant, my companion, and I realized that what I did may not have added up to many Key Indicators, but I was opening up an effectual door in those eastern lands. Many missionaries say that in order to have a full broken heart and contrite spirit the Lord does things back home to break our hearts. For instance, most missionaries have girlfriends that break up with them and marry other returned missionaries instead of them. This breaks their hearts. Well, I don't have a girlfriend, so, I guess the Lord saw fit to break my heart another way. Once I had sacrificed everything and given my whole (yet imperfect, and clumsy) heart to the people of Kansas, the Lord pulled me from it. What ever remained of my heart was completely shattered when I got here. Maybe I would not be fully consecrated if this did not happen. The Lord wants to see how far I am really willing to go for Him. But I am grateful for everything the Lord has seen fit to do for me. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. For every purpose under heaven there is a time and a season. A time for joy and a time for misery. A time for Kansas and a time for Brazil. I don't know if I can have joy the remainder of my mission. But I will serve well. I promise. Whatever happens, I need to try to pay the Lord back for sending me to Kansas. I will live every day in gratitude for what He has done. I may not understand everything, I may not speak anything right, but I will do whatever my weak self can as long as I am in this place the people call "Brasil".
Another newsflash. Elder Alexandrino, my "dad" here was Emergency Transferred this week. He traded places with and Elder M. Silva who is my new companion. He was a Zone Leader in Linhares, and now he is our District Leader. I am gratefully for every change.