Monday, January 28, 2013

Matozinhos Area

Well, I´ve been here nearly three weeks and I think I´m finally starting to get the hang of things. I don´t have the perpetual appearance of a startled rabbit anymore. Or so I hope.

The big stories of this week all relate to a certain town called Matozinhos. As I think I´ve mentioned already, our area covers three cities: Pedro Leopoldo (where we live and the branch is located), Matozinhos, and Confins. We received a couple references for Matozinhas, which I think I also mentioned. Well, success continues to appear there as people haven´t heard much about the church and are very open to learning more. The only down side is a rather large sum of money that is now going to daily bus rides there and my meals will be a bit more scanty, I think. Or maybe it just means less snacks. However, everyone there loves us, feeds us, insists on our return...we are a welcome presence, and it makes me grateful to be a missionary.

Some fun stories! First, a lesson that occurred in Vera Cruz, another area. We were knocking on doors. In fact, it was the first door we tried that day, and a woman came out, opened her gate, and told us to enter before we even explained who we were, saying she had been expecting us. We walked in and she had an open Bible and said she´d been praying for answers right when we arrived. It seemed like a miracle! We were ready to teach but then she just kept talking...and talking...and talking. I don´t think we said a single word until we´d been there twenty minutes. We tried, I promise, but she just kept interrupting! We were there for TWO HOURS and didn´t even get to fully explain the Book of Mormon. She kept saying she didn´t need it, she already had the truth, ignoring everything we said including attempts to leave. Overall it was rather entertaining and very frustrating. However, her husband was more receptive, and we will try to teach him more on a later day.

Next was a pair of lessons that occurred one right after another and were exact polar opposites. We entered the first home and encountered just the wife, an older woman, of a man who had been extremely excited the last time we visited (different family from my last story.) This woman ignored everything we said and insisted she didn´t have any desire to read the Book of Mormon, that reading was too much work, and that she was very comfortable with what she had. Not a whole lot we can do at that point but testify. The next lesson we taught was to a reference of a reference. We had no idea what would happen when we walked in. Turns out she had already received a visit from the missionaries twelve years ago, had a Book of Mormon, read it and believed in it, and was extremely open and understanding of everything we said. It was an awesome lesson, teaching someone who is so ready to hear our message. Brought me up considerably after our last lesson. (So you know, we returned to that home later with the husband home and he was just as excited about the Book of Mormon and seems like he could continue progressing.)

I want to share a quick thought. I don´t know who all reads this, but I guess it´s quite likely there are some people who aren´t religious, or perhaps just not Mormon. I want to explain a term that I´ve used frequently: The Spirit. I wish I had more time to explain, but essentially The Spirit is the Holy Ghost, a member of the Godhead. We believe it is a distinct personage from God, and we receive the gift of its presence and guidance after baptism. It has various roles, including teaching, comforting, and testifying. For this reason it´s really important to me on my mission, as I need a lot of help, comfort, and guidance from God. It is via the Spirit that we receive these things.

So there you go! I´ve got to close now, I wish I could write more. I have so many stories, experiences, and lessons that are helping me become a better person. It´s not easy, but as Elder Holland would say, salvation was never easy! I´m here to help others and to serve Christ. And I know that I´m doing the right thing.

Much love,
Elder Alex Burt

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