And here we are.

I guess since I started this thing, I have to finish it. Here we are at the end of this mission David has embraced. I have a few photos he sent this past week to share, and then before we know it, I will be on a plane to Brazil to see my son once again. It’s really quite hard to imagine.

DSCN6786

Celebration of the veteran with his companion who just passed his one-year mark.

Despite it being his last week, he is still just doing the same things he has always done–working till he drops and making it memorable as he goes. I just love how he lives life to the fullest and then has no regrets. Truly that is brilliant.

The Lord has been good to me to lighten those in my path to accept the gospel.

I know that the Lord is satisfied with the work I have done . . . .

 because I have used my time well . . . .

I know that the Lord has prepared me for the future and won’t let me suffer
anything I cannot withstand.

Still the artist he always has been, from drawing on furniture to his animations in notebooks to creating with his hands sculptures that grace our home, he and his companion just designed these shirts for each member of the zone he leads:

DSCN6812

DSCN6805

DSCN6813

He offered some great bits this past Monday in his email. To say that we are excited to meet him seems ludicrous; I’ll probably cry all the way to Sao Paulo. And yet when I picture his bright smiling face, I have to laugh out loud. Especially when he says things like this:

I hope you guys have hunger come Saturday.

Of course I was sending my sappiest letter since last October. And frantically trying to make our home feel perfect and welcoming for him when he arrives (translation: I am a crazy woman on the brink of a breakdown), in between making last-minute arrangements and pouring out my sentimental little heart in my last nostalgic letter to him in his mission. Here I sit, a near basket case. . . .

And then he nonchalantly writes, in pure David form, on his last day to write home:

my advice: relax!

It’s been a little while….

From August 15, 2016

And so, since there have been a few implications in my schedule and things have been crazy these last two weeks, I have not been able to right anything formal to anyone. I apologize with the following experience, which I am pressed for time to write, but I will try to include as many details as possible.

From the first week that I have been here in Jardim Modelo we entered into a very humble viela. We found a family and we started to work with them. The family of E.

The same day we found a boy that has 11 years and live with four other siblings and his mom. His mom wasn’t home so we just talked with him in the viela and invited him to church and to be baptized. He said he would like to. In fact most people say that they would like to be baptized when we invite them, but it is a question of who acts and goes to church and is progressing. So we didn’t see him again for a while. His name is Leo. We tried to return but we never found his mom in the house and when she was home, she didn’t come to the door and said that she was busy. Usually this means that the person doesn’t want our visits. So we kind of lost contact with Leo and just left the invitation to go to church Sunday.

So that first week we worked with E and her family and helped them prepare to be baptized in two weeks to come and to go to church Sunday. Come Sunday, nobody went. We discouraged and rather sad, but we returned to see what had happened.

E told us about how her son who doesn’t live with her was arrested and she had to go get him. We were surprised, and decided that we would continue to teach them. Just to say, when the people don’t go to church, it is their way of saying: No, we don’t want to anymore. It’s too much to do. And so generally we try a few more times with these people until they just don’t progress, then we let them be and we teach other people. So we saw that her excuse was valid, so we continued to teach her.

Later that week, we had found Leo. He asked us why we hadn’t talked to him at church. We were stunned. He had gone to church alone! Even, more, he had called a less active member of the church, Nicolas, and took Nicolas with him his first time going. But they being new and Nicolas who is nine, they didn’t know where they needed to go, and ended up going to the other ward in the same chapel. That’s why we hadn’t seen them at church.

A rule that we have here is that someone with 8-11 years of age needs to go to the church four times and can be baptized, and so we started the process of hunting down his mom.

We continued to teach E’s family. Everyone in the family accepted firm dates to be baptized. They never said, “We will think;” they said, “We will go to church and be baptized–because we want to be!” Since that is something hard to refuse, we focused with them.

Arrived one more Sunday and we never caught Leo’s mom in the house. We visited more E’s family because Leo never really showed such interesting being baptized or going to church. He seemed to like the church, but was always saying, “Ah, I don’t know; we will see.” And so it was hard to follow up as much with him and teach, especially since we never talked to his mom.

Once again, Leo went alone, which was cool to see again. But then E’s family didn’t go once again.

Monday we followed up to see what happened. This time this E’s son had gone to a street party and a raid arrived and started shooting at people with guns! Everyone ran, including him, but he fell and was run over by a car. Broke both legs and hit his head. E explained that this was why she didn’t go again.

Well then, so we had to give her another chance clearly! How crazy! So we continued to teach her thinking, why in the world is this woman being prevented from going to church like this? Why is this happening? Is there something special about this woman being a member of the church that Lucifer doesn’t want to happen?? Yeesh. So we continued to focus on her and not Leo.

Leo went to church two times, but we never found his mom. Still we started to give more attention to him; teaching him in the street when we could, or giving him commitments.

Arrived the third Saturday. We didn’t find E in her house and so we knocked on Leo’s door. This times his mom, Arleta, answered with a big, genuine smile on her face. “Hello missionaries!!!” We were a little confused because first we had imagined a person who didn’t really want much in life or didn’t really want to talk to us. But she invited us in and we talked briefly with her about when we could find her in her house and about Leo going to church. She seemed to be open to the idea that her son was going to church. We talked briefly (because our curfew was arriving) about our intentions to help Leo be baptized. He wasn’t even there. She said that she liked the idea, enough that she signed the baptismal form. We left feeling more confident that it would work out, but we had just talked with her for five minutes, so I, in particular wasn’t ready for what was to come the next visit.

But one more Sunday, and Leo went and E didn’t. This time we didn’t even bother to see what had happened with E because we perceived that the entire time she was leading us on and really just didn’t want much to do with us and didn’t want to commit herself. We are not completely oblivious. . . .

And so we returned to visit Leo and Arlita Monday night, which was the specified time to find her in house. We found her and her other four kids that live with her. She has eight,  but four have moved away. Anyway. We were invited in with smiles, laughter, and a lot of positivity. She talked about the family and the difficulties, how her first husband had passed away eight years ago and how she was fighting to keep her family and teach them correctly. Among all the stuff that has happened she never said anything negative.

We talked about Jesus Christ, his example, and our purpose being missionaries. We invited everyone to be baptized. A few accepted and Arlita explained how she was happy to support them. They started talking about the church and how we were helping her family. She got a cake that she had in the oven and gave it to us, and Leo literally ran to the supermarket and back to bring us something to drink. It was the first time that I started to cry while eating cake. Everyone was excited for the baptism of Leo. I have never felt the presence and influence of Christ so strong in a family like I felt that day in theirs. We left feeling uplifted. We then received a feeling and answer as to why we were led on by E: so that we would give importance to return to this viela to find Leo and teach his family. If E would have said no, we probably wouldn’t have had returned. God is mysterious.

We taught Leo during the week until Saturday. We arrived Saturday and just him and his youngest sister were in house. He told us that his stepfather had died and his mother went to visit. We explained a little about the plan of salvation to him until he felt better and we left.

Sunday (yesterday) was father’s day and the scheduled day for Leo to be baptized. At church he explained how he was sad that his stepfather had passed away but he was going to be baptized. His mother and family hadn’t returned from the funeral yet. We asked him if he wanted to wait until another day when they could be there; he said no. He wanted to be happy and wanted it to be that day. He said that his mother had said Sunday morning to him that he was big and was capable of understanding and would do what he needed to do. She had told him to still be baptized that day!

So he was baptized. We took a lot of pictures for his mom.

DSCN6710

DSCN6711

We went there yesterday night to see his mom and talk with the family.

IMG_6681

We entered the house and nobody talked much. You could feel the sad spirit in the room. We talked gently with them about the situation and how god has a plan for us all. Arlita bore her testimony about how she knows that God had a plan and that she knows that God doesn’t leave us. And she is missing this man, but she isn’t sad. We felt prompted to teach the plan of salvation again and to share the pictures of the baptism of Leo. We did and the sweetest spirit beyond description entered the room. We felt prompted again and we re-invited each person to be baptized 28th of August . . . the last Sunday of my mission. Everyone, including Arlita accepted this time, the first time having demonstrated lack of will to be.

This family is scheduled for baptism, all together, the 28th of august.

I have a testimony on this gospel. I know the church is true and that families may be eternal when we follow the example of Christ. I look forward to this day in which God will be very happy with this family being baptized, which will help them follow His plan for us.

I love you all and hope you all have had a wonderful week. I have.

This will be my last area.

From July 25, 2016

My email starts with last week’s baptism.

We helped Nathan get baptized Saturday and confirmed Sunday. He had real desire to be baptized and it was a real test of our faith that his baptism went through. There were various things that could have gone wrong and impeded him from being baptized, but by the hand of got, everything went well.

IMG_6606

IMG_6605

IMG_6591I was transferred from Vila Angelica, Trujillo stake to Jardim Modelo, Jaçanã stake—a stake where I have already lived. First time this has happened. It was cool to have seen people from the past and a few recent converts that I helped to be baptized. Sunday was a big reunion at church, hahaha. The Guapira ward uses the same chapel.

IMG_6643

IMG_6645My companion is Elder Torres. He is from Portugal but lives in England. He has 11 brothers and sisters and is just about crazy as I am—haha. He has been here 11 months and was secretary of the mission for a while. He was recently the companion of Elder José as well. He has a lot of the same attributes that I have and our personalities are very similar.

IMG_6607

I arrived here and I already did a division with the missionaries of Guapira so I could help them to get to know the area. They are opening the area and so they are completely lost. So I got to show Elder Barbosa my old area. We ran into a few recent converts as well. That was cool!

And so, something crazy happened to me on Monday. We were eating lunch and the secretaries of the mission call me. I answer the phone and they tell me that someone wants to talk to me. I say ok and then appear someone on the other side with a very strong Spanish accent. Who was it? Who would have guessed my own father Elder Borba from Uruguay!!! (Aka: trainer…we say father and child on the mission) I was so excited to talk to him I couldn’t speak straight.

He told me that he would meet up with me at the transfer. So, I arrived in the capital of São Paulo and he was waiting for me, all stylish, with a rented car. Hahaha—he took my new companion, all my baggage and me to my new area. He gave me chimarrão from Uruguay and we shared old memories together. It was hard to say goodbye to him again.

IMG_6609

This week we had a baptism that was really fun to have experienced. It was the baptism of M.

The story happened a little like this:

Generally, here in Brazil we use the water for one week in the baptismal font to conserve water. But during sacrament meeting we had the sudden feeling to go and look at the font. We looked and it was all dirty and there wasn’t enough water. The baptism was scheduled for after the meetings of Sunday. So we drained the font and started cleaning it very quickly so that we could refill it before the Sunday meetings ended. When the font was full enough to turn on the water heater, we turned on the water heater and discovered that there wasn’t any gas. Water here is gas-heated. So we got all panicked and ran out to look at the two gas tanks and found them to be empty. Yikes! So we talked to the bishop and rescheduled the baptism for 5 in the afternoon.

 

M couldn’t be baptized in cold water because she is a little older . . .  and so we asked a member to help us and we raced to another chapel on our stake. We talked to the bishop there, borrowed the gas tank, stuck it in the back of a members tiny car, and we raced back to our chapel.

DSCN1307

DSCN1304

Hahaha–we hooked up the propane tank and turned on the heater. Phew! We left the chapel and returned about 4:30. We set up the baptismal room and looked at the temperature of the water. It was still cold after 3 hours! We messed a little with the heater a little and just prayed in our heads that the water would be warm enough for her to be baptized. Scheduled for 5:00 to start her baptism, we saw a miracle: the water was almost hot! It demonstrated a principle that we must show works to show our faith so we can receive the blessings. You find this passage in James.

IMG_6654

But it was a wonderful week! I love you all and hope that your week was as colorful as mine was!

 

Feeling patriotic this 4th of July

From July 11, 2016

All right, are you all antsy to here what I have to say next??? Hahaha. Well I’ve got something.

I hope everyone had a wonderful week! Mine was great! The feelings of consecration are incredible! I am always grateful for choosing the right and the feelings that come after. This week was working on every little detail to make us worthy to ask God for blessings. It’s awesome. But deixa contar as novidades:

Monday from last week was the 4th and so, I clearly had to do something crazy to show that I am a patriot right? And so I shaved a flag on to my shins. Hahahaha (see photo) Hahahaha!

IMG_6565

We had another baptism. E is a daughter of a member that has 8 years in the church. She went in the festa junina and we contacted her afterwards. She had the desire to be baptized and so we taught her and she went. I can say that her father was very happy!

IMG_6573

I spent a day with Elder Leaner on Wednesday. Talk about a dude who makes you fear he would hit you! He said that he fought in ju-jitsu before his mission. And to top it off, he has one of the dearest voices I have ever heard.

IMG_6567

Yesterday was the ward conference and my, did it ever give me goosebumps. The president of the stake talked about how we could make hell shake. His talk was so powerful it almost singed our eyebrows!

The choir was incredible as well.

And so, clearly because the day of independence passed I have prepared a few thoughts this morning about our country:

I would like to talk about the blessing that the lord has given us about this precious land that we live in. He has made it clear that those who keep his commandments and follow his instruction my dwell here and those from outside may come and dwell as well. As long as we observe the commandments and keep his teachings, we will prosper in the land and it’s all good. Haha (2 Nephi 1:5-9).

But, this covenant comes with a warning: that when we neglect to observe the commandments, the land becomes cursed. We will not prosper, things will disappear, we will suffer, and will be “swept” from the face of the earth. If we do not follow his teachings, we will literally be destroyed, even by the sword or bloodshed. We have already seen it in the past many times:

The Nephites, in Moroni 8:27-29 and Moroni 9:3-5

The Jaredites: found in Ether 15:1-3, Ether1:1,5

Even in Jerusalem: Jeremiah 52:3-5,13

It is so sad to see the people make the same mistakes and commit the same sin over and over and over. Why do they not just keep the commandments? God hasn’t given us anything that he knows we cannot manage (1 Nephi 3:7). We just have to do it.

But, like I focused on last week, I will just give a few thought about our country.  I am so thankful to be blessed by the lord to have been born in the promised land. I love to think about how much God favors this land and how blessed we are to live here. I think there are few people who enter as many different homes as the missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We enter the ghettos, the favelas, the homes of the sick, weak and afflicted, the poor and needy, the hungry and thirsty. We talk with the police in the street who have had literally everything taken from them, those who have been robbed, those who can’t fight against the addictions they have, those who sob and cry out in the night for God because they only have a rag to keep them warn under fallen, cement, buildings. I consider it almost selfish to thank God for the life I have had until now. To think about these people who need God more than anyone. I have come to know Christ through these people and I thank God, and I should thank him more, for the food and water that I have on the table, for the free country from which I come, that I am blessed with a family that loves and worries about me. I am blessed to live in a place where God inspired Christopher Columbus to discover (1 Nephi 13:12).

IMG_6581

God has kept his promise. We are blessed for so much that we take for granted. The Lamanites where destroyed because they didn’t keep the commandments. In other words, the Native Americans were afflicted and suffered because God found the people coming to live there more worthy of the blessings (1 Nephi 13:13-15). I have nothing against Native Americans, okay? Not discriminating here.

We read the prophecy of the day of independence–how we were blessed by the hand of God to declare and fight for our freedom (1 Nephi 13:16-19). We have seen the hand of God fighting at our side, which is clear to see by the number of people fighting for our freedom compared to those who did not want to give it to us.

We see the blessings as our culture has followed some of the commandments and how our parents have taught us right and how God has blessed us according to the commandments we have kept (1 Nephi 13:30). There exists many commandments that we need to keep better than we have been doing as a country. If we do not, we may suffer many of the results that the Nephites, or Jaredites have received, not of complete destruction, but of much punishment and suffering.

And so, how must we serve God to receive the blessings that he has given us, that comes as a contract with the land that we occupied? He gave us simple instructions that every person can do. It was explained with simple words by the apostles of Christ: (Acts 2:38-47).

Supposing that the rest was very clear to you all, what does it mean to break bread? It means to partake of the sacrament worthily and endure to the end. And like Jesus already said:

Mathew 24:13

“And so Elder Burt, if you are telling us that we must do this to receive the blessings of our father in heaven, so, when should we do this?”

And I give you an answer: NOW!

Don’t tell me that you have to learn more first, or that you have to have more knowledge to be capable of doing this, or that because you don’t feel quite ready, because I will give you a few scriptures to read:

Mathew 6:33

and

Helaman 13:29-30,38-39

and Acts 22:16.

We all need to repent. We cannot say that we don’t have anything to make better of ourselves. If you think so, read Ecclesiastes 7:20 and Mathew 9:12-13.

We all have something to repent, whether we have been baptized or not, but being baptized, we are responsible and accountable to repent; if not, we may not repent in the eyes of the lord because we do not yet take part in the atonement.

But, to conclude if you are reading this and feeling offended by something that I have mentioned, take the time to read Alma 7:15-27 and you will feel better about my intentions to speak about these things.

I love you all. I love my country and my freedom. I love the blessing that my God and father have given me in my life, and I look to thank him always for them. I love my family and hope that they choose the right always and strive to be an example to others. If you have something else to ask or tell me, send me a letter. I love to receive them!

I know this church is true and Christ lives as my savior. I write this testimony in the name of Christ.

I am full of feelings.

From July 5, 2016

Sadly, the number of Sundays that I have left is countable on two hands. Only 8?

IMG_6562

I am full of feelings. I don’t really know how to describe it other than being full of mixed feelings. Feelings of drive, longing, wanting to focus, ideas about the future, wanting to continue with strength until the end, thoughts of my family, thoughts of investigators—it just goes on.

These last weeks are mostly a mind battle for me. I want to finish strong and leave Brazil flying, but at the same time, it is hard to focus. It’s hard to keep my eyes on what I should be doing and not plan the future, which I want to do. I know what it says in Mathew 6:33, and I believe it; that’s not the problem.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33).

The problem is wanting to think about something new, different and more about life.

I don’t want this to sound discouraging, because I am not discouraged. I am sad with the little amount of time I have to do so much, but I am disturbed with the feeling that I am “old” here on the mission, I will go home in a little while, and I am living the same story day after day. Yes, I learn new things every day, and I find new things in the scriptures everyday. Study is my favorite time of the day. I cannot get enough. What is starting to get to me are the excuses of the people to procrastinate the day of their repentance. Listening to the same excuses and reasons why people can’t or don’t want to follow the commandment of our Father in Heaven and how they “don’t feel ready” or are not prepared to even start going to church or following Christ’s example. This really gets to me. When you find someone who wants to follow Christ, everything becomes light and starts the fire of teaching and miracles. But then knock on the next door to find someone who gives you the same excuse that 137 people gave that same day causes a horrible feeling of frustration and sadness for one more soul who will not receive the blessings that God has in store for him—because he is too lazy or “too occupied” to attend God’s knock on his door.

And people cause me such stress for their unwillingness to follow Christ words:

Mormon 9

26 And now, behold, who can stand against the works of the Lord? Who can deny his sayings? Who will rise up against the almighty power of the Lord? Who will despise the works of the Lord? Who will despise the children of Christ? Behold, all ye who are despisers of the works of the Lord, for ye shall wonder and perish.

 27 O then despise not, and wonder not, but hearken unto the words of the Lord, and ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever ye shall stand in need. Doubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him.

 28 Be wise in the days of your probation; strip yourselves of all uncleanness; ask not, that ye may consume it on your lusts, but ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation, but that ye will serve the true and living God.

Oh, how it weighs on me every day the responsibility to teach someone who needs the gospel so desperately but doesn’t accept it—how someone can so easily throw the pearls to swine and the treasures in the mud. How someone doesn’t give attention to principles that they want, but are slow to follow and need to be compelled to keep. It’s a sad story to those who must be compelled to be humble so that God may teach them. How it weighs on my heart the little worth that people give to the things of God and the instructions He gave us, and the disregard and disrespect of His counsel. How much more must people suffer, without to blessings of our Father, to be compelled to listen and motivated to act and not stand idle. What lack of faith of those who are unwilling to act, but would rather receive action and be acted upon.

2 Nephi 2:26

And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.

But have you already thought about the blessings of those who act willingly without being compelled? Did you stop to think how many blessings are in store for this person? Holy cow! Alma 32:12-25

Think of all the people that have made my mission what it is! If it were not for the spirit of those who are looking, those who are praying, crying, sobbing to the Lord to know His gospel, my mission would not be what it is today. I am so grateful for the life that these people have brought to my mission, and how happy and willing I am to do anything for any person who chooses to come unto Christ. It is a blessing to be around these people. It is a wonder to feel their faith. It is a power like none other to have a testimony and see the miracles of God rain down upon those who show their faith unto Him, who are willing to sacrifice all that they have that they might know Him.

I live to find these people. I pray, cry, sweat, bleed, walk, run, fall, study, and dedicate my time (which is nothing and not sufficient) for these people so that the grace of our Savior may work a miracle in their lives. I am completely incapable of doing anything for these people. I am simply willing to bear a tool in the hand of God that he can work a mighty work and glory for this people and give more glory to God. Oh, how God is a God of miracles and the people who look find so! Mormon 9:2-11

I don’t know what else I can say in this little time that I have. But if it isn’t clear, I have a plain and certain testimony of the veracity and truthfulness of these things. I am sad that my mission is ending, but I will look to make the most of it for these people who need and want the God of miracles in their lives.

I know this church is true. There isn’t any way to deny this.

I love you all and I hope that you may all have a wonderful week. 🙂

Elder Burt

IMG_6510

 

Almost forgot about my birthday, got sick

From June 27, 2016

This week, I was sick.

Monday was my birthday. I decided not to tell very many people because, as crazy a it seems, even I forgot until the 15th that in five days it would be my birthday. Shameful, right?

Monday would have been p-day, but our mission scheduled a trip to the temple, and so p-day moved to Wednesday. Wednesday we left at about 5 am and started our trip to the temple in Campinas. When we left the temple at about 2:30 pm, I was starting to feel a headache.

IMG_6541

Turns out that I caught a cold and got a fever a few days afterward. Friday, we had a multi-zone meeting. President taught us a ton about planning and how we can make planning more efficient.

Saturday we ran like crazy to make everything happen right so that the baptism of P would go all right. She is 12 years old and is one more elect soul. The first day we met her she said she wanted to be baptized and stood firm with her word until the day. She was very nervous up until she was there, but she was baptized and is very happy.

IMG_6545

Nothing else happened this week. Just the battle of wills and strength of the body.

I love you all and hope you all had a wonderful week!

It’s warm again!

From June 20

Well, this week, the weather started to warm up again. It’s still cold, but not as cold as that cold spell that passed and froze our toes off.

IMG_6531

This week we focused on helping Murilo’s mom (Flavia) to prepare to be baptized. She was smoking about one pack of cigarettes every day, and so we focused on helping her stop smoking. She had a thirst to learn and to read. Everything that we gave to her to read or watch, she did it, and more. She was nervous until the hour of the baptism, but she made it! She stopped smoking and she is just taking in everything that the church has to offer.

IMG_6515

This weekend, the 25th, we are going to help Kevelin, Hudnan, Tatiane, Flavia, and others who have recently joined the church in our ward to go to the temple. We are going to help them each bring one name from extended family members who have passed away to take to the temple and help them work on their family tree.

IMG_6539

There was a big party called festa junina that we had at the church on Friday. There was a torro . . . a bucking bronco, a trampoline, and a ton of food. Basically it was a big party to celebrate like a “hillbilly,” (I do not want to offend anyone, but that’s what they called it, haha). It was fun.

IMG_6500

But I hope everyone is happy and excited in each and every one of your lives! And that your week was wonderful!!

Rain, cold, and no power—oh my

From June 7

A tower fell in Sorocaba and 47 cities were out of power until 2 in the morning, so I wasn’t able to write home yesterday. I’ll have to catch up on news later….

IMG_6474-1

IMG_6427-1

From June 13

Holy cow! I have never felt this cold in my entire mission. This whole week was very cold. Saturday night it got as low as 3 degrees celsius. I was definitely not prepared for this. People, I have lost a ton of fat on my body—so no more insulation. I have experienced basically 2 years of summer (considering the fact that last year winter didn’t seem to happen here, and before I left on my mission I had summer in the United States).

IMG_6491

AND, it is never this cold in Sorocaba.

My body has accustomed to the heat and now I am dying of the cold. The sad fact is that its’ not even cold for what you are used to. I know this, but the last five  days have been the coldest days of my mission, with lots of wind and rain.

IMG_6433-1Outside of the coldness, not much happened this week.

Love you all! I will have more to report next week!!

IMG_6403

A test of our hope and trust in God—and the result was so sweet!

From May 30, 2016

Helloooo!!

This week was awesome! We were visiting like crazy the people that we were trying to help prepare for baptism. There were three people who were baptized Sunday: K, V and J. K is 17; V and J are 11.

The real miracle this week happened in the interview with K. J and V were very excited to learn and to be baptized, and K really wanted to be baptized, but at the same time she wanted to do the right thing and was very worried about what she was feeling and wasn’t sure exactly if it was the spirit or just her thoughts. She had been taught everything and she was still very hesitant. Saturday night was her interview.

Élder Patterson, who was interviewing and talking with K about her doubts,  answered a lot of her questions. She was feeling a lot of pressure and didn’t know what to do or what feeling to follow, even though we had explained so much about the spirit and how it could help her.

Meanwhile, I was in the other room waiting for the interview to finish. As the time passed by, I kept feeling more and more worried. She left the interview and went into the bathroom. I had so many things passing through my head I didn’t know what to think. I saw her return to the interview room. (I think in the time that passed I must have said three prayers that she would feel without a doubt about what she should do.)

After an hour and a half of being interviewed, she came out with Elder Patterson and they both stood in front of me. . . . I wasn’t sure what to say yet. So when she asked me if I would be willing to baptized her, I was almost speechless—I didn’t really know what else to say, other than yes, of course.

What had happened was that when she had entered the bathroom (she didn’t plan this), she said a little prayer to know what to do. When she returned, Elder Patterson felt that she prayed and simply asked her how the prayer went. She was stunned. She started crying in the interview, and she said that she then knew that she needed to follow the will of God and she should be baptized.

When she was telling this all to me, I was so happy I don’t know how to explain. I felt so good watching the baptism that I hardly noticed that we were starving from the fast that were doing that day. I have to say that was another conversion moment on my mission for me—a big test of faith for me in an event that seems so small.

IMG_6367

I was thinking today about how different I am now: how I speak or act in certain situations, how my actions have changed. My faith has grown so much. I was thinking about how it used to be that when something did not work out and my hope died easily, but now I have learned that when I put in more work, I come back stronger.

We passed through many small things this week that tested our hope and trust in God. After striving to do everything we could do, and literally running the whole day Sunday to talk and follow up with people, the result was so sweet! I have such a strong testimony; I’ve never felt so good about anything! It was so hard, and yet at the same time so sweet by the end of the week. My incentive is increased now. The drive is only greater.

I love you all an I hope your week was phenomenal! Our week was! The mission baptized 409 people this month. May: the month of miracles and mercies!

IMG_6365

I can’t explain how much I love my mission.

From May 23, 2016

Dear friends: my mission—I love it. I can’t explain how much I love my mission. It used to be a love/hate thing, but now I just love it. From all the suffering and pain it put me through, and all the things I have learned, I love it.

I remember that back when I had done a division (switching companions for a day) with my best friend in the mission, Elder Hunt. I remember that in this division I was rather confused about how thoughtful he was about his mission, thinking about what he had learned and how much he had grown. This week I have had a lot of thoughts like that. Ever since the mission president interviewed me, I was thinking about how I am going to end my mission and how it will reflect on my life after and the years to come. It’s been driving my crazy and gives me drive to do more and more. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!

This week we helped little Wesley to be baptized. We had found him in the street and had asked him if he wanted to be baptized without explaining what it was. He said yes. We were a little taken aback, but we marked his address, and we returned to say a prayer with his family. We met his mom and his stepfather, who we will help to marry here in a little bit. We learned that although Wesley is 8 years old, he is as smart as a 12-year-old.

IMG_6319

I have never seen someone so antsy to be baptized. While we were waiting for the other ward to finish baptizing so we could start our baptismal meeting, and in the moment that all the people who were being baptized in the other ward were descending in the water, Wesley started to push and pull me (I was dressed to baptize him) almost yelling that he wanted to me baptized right now, and that it would be faster if we just went right hen. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. But this was a wonderful experience to teach and baptize this little crazy kid. Hahahaha—he is awesome!

IMG_6322

I hope you all are well back home! I love you all!