Howdy doody to all my loyal friends, family, and loved ones!
Well, this week was pretty solid. My companion and I taught a lot of lessons, encountered a lot of people, and worked hard. Sadly, we didn´t find any new, interested investigators like last week, but nonetheless we continue to progress. I also have less exciting stories this week...not that life is ever un-exciting as a missionary.
First, an update on my first convert, Delmir. He is doing extremely well. He studies the scriptures and other church materials daily at work, is actively working to help his sisters get baptized, and received the Aaronic priesthood yesterday. Also, he and his girlfriend have set hesitant plans to get married in the temple next year. Nothing official, but it´s clear he has his focus in the right places. All in all things are awesome.
Second, a few quick fun facts about the animal life here in Brazil. Because, in case you didn´t know, it´s a little different than back in the states. Some of the fun experiences I´ve had with animals recently:
- We have a couple lizards living in our house. One was in the bathroom but we chased it out, but the other lives in our couch and refuses to come out except when we leave. They eat spiders so that´s awesome, I just don´t want it to die and leave a rotting lizard corpse somewhere in our house...so yeah. Lots of lizards here. Pretty cool.
- We got back to our house one night and sat on the front steps for a minute before going in. As my companion and I were talking, I noticed a dark shape walking along the telephone wire. Upon closer inspection, I realized it was a porcupine. A full sized porcupine walking along the telephone wire like a tightrope. I have no idea how it got up there, and it had no idea how to get down. I took a picture, so I have proof!
- There´s a lot of awesome insects here and a lot of less awesome ones. The butterflies are amazing, all different colors and sizes, it´s like the butterfly exhibit back at the science center. There´s also a lot of insects that like to bite, but fortunately they´ve started to get tired of me. I´m not having nearly as much trouble as I was the first few weeks.
Third, the nature of our lessons this week. We decided to teach as much as possible, but there weren´t a lot of people willing to let us in to their houses. So we taught an immense amount of doorstep lessons- just five to ten minutes, covering all the points of the restoration, and inviting them to church and to pray about our message. It´s not the most effective way to teach, but everyone needs to hear the gospel and if this is the only way to plant a seed, so be it! That being said, there were still a good number of other, more concrete lessons. Marley, who I mentioned last week, continues to progress and is closer to getting married. We were invited into the home of a less active and offered an amazing, authentic Spanish dinner which made for an amazing end to a rather exhausting day.
Which brings me to point four: the immense amount of walking we did on Friday. We walked an hour to our lunch appointment, an hour and 45 minutes back to get to our first lesson, and then another half hour back to our house. And that doesn´t even include walking from door to door during the day. I have learned to love walking here, legitimately and truthfully, but let it be said I slept quite well that night. Oh, and we taught eight lessons that day, too.
So I will wrap up with a quick, spiritual experience. A few days ago, in the morning, I asked in my morning personal prayer to feel closer to God. It´s something I always seek, but I´d just been feeling that I needed to improve on something recently to feel his influence more. I got off my knees and began to study a conference talk given in October by President Eyring entitled "Where Is the Pavilion?" I was avidly reading and taking notes when a powerful impression hit me. Powerful enough that it was a voice heard clearly in my mind. "Alex, stop and listen." Immediately, I stopped reading and sat back in my chair. A feeling of peace and love came over me, and I knew that my Heavenly Father loves and watches out for me. I know I have a tendency to constantly do things, working and studying and thinking at every possible moment. This can be good, but it´s also important to stop and listen. I´d encourage all of you to do the same things in your lives, if you don´t already. "Life is a journey, not a race. Enjoy the moment." I promise if you do you will feel the promptings of the Spirit.
I love you all and hope that all is well. Stay strong, choose the right, make me proud, etc etc. Oh, and if anyone has Andy Merkley´s mission address please send it to me or my family, I don´t have it, but I have a letter written for him!
Elder Alex Burt
P.S. If the title for this post doesn´t make much sense, sorry, haha. It was just a phrase that I wrote in my journal and thought was entertaining