Monday, February 4, 2013

Update from Alex

Another week, another plethora of stories and information I want to share with all of my friends and family back home! And, yet again, not nearly enough time to share it because my immediate family insists on my sending them individual stuff. But here goes:

First, a language update! This week I was getting a little frustrated with myself. See, I had this goal to be fluent within a month of entering the field and it looks like I´m not going to reach that. Or come anywhere close. Haha, it wasn´t a serious goal, and as I reach the end of the month I realize I´m much much further than I expected. Speaking in Portuguese has become a habit, even when my companion speaks to me in English I often respond in Portuguese. I always use the Portuguese words I know, even in my thoughts. My thoughts are a weird messed up hybrid of mostly English and a growing amount of Portuguese. Kind of cool, actually. Overall it´s going well, but I realize I need to speak and participate more in order to improve my speaking and accent. I´ve never been one to say a ton to people I don´t know, especially when I´m not sure if what I will say is completely correct grammatically/coherent at all. But I need to be more bold and trust that the Spirit will help me out!

Now for some quick stories:
1) At the beginning of the week we had zone conference with the Mission President and the APs. We learned a lot and spent the entire day there. Lots of good practicing, learning to be more simple, clear, and bold. Things I´ve tried to put into practice. The best part, though, was lunch. I´m drooling just thinking about it. We went to a Pizzaria, which had garlic fries, amazingly amazing pizza, and everything else a hungry missionary could possibly want. It was the best meal I´ve had in three months, without a doubt. Super delicious.

2) On to more spiritual and mission-related things! The best part of the week occurred Friday. We went on splits, meaning that I spent the day teaching with my district leader rather than my companion. That isn´t what made the day good, though. That evening we had a lesson with a young man who had attended church this last Sunday. We taught him and his two sisters, and they were extremely accepting. Like, more accepting than anyone I´ve taught yet. We taught the lesson clearly, simply, invited them to baptism and two right off the bat accepted, while the other sister said she needed a little more time. Which I very much understand, as she as yet doesn´t know much. But the man, Delmir, is extremely firm. He has already invited friends to his baptism, participates actively in church and talks with excitement about his baptism! We will spend a lot of time teaching him this week to make sure he´s ready, but in any case it made me very happy and excited to see clear results of my work.

3) One morning, during companionship study, we had the chance to chat with some Jehovah´s Witnesses who came proselyting at our door. We let them share their message with us, knowing exactly what it´s like to be in their shoes, knocking on doors. We asked if we could stop by their house to share our message with them, but they only gave the address for their church/bible study group. In any case it was an interesting reversal of roles for a few minutes.

Before I leave off I want to share a quick spiritual thought that I´ve been thinking about after reading in the Book of Mormon this week. I read Alma 5 one day (a rather intense chapter, overall), which includes the prophet Alma calling a city to repentance. One verse in particular stands out, I believe it was the topic of a recent General Conference address. In verse 26, Alma asks the people if they have had a change of heart and the desire to sing the song of redeeming love, can they feel so now? Can ye feel so now? I direct this at anyone who is having a rough time right now, or struggling with testimony, or simply needs a little more joy in life. Know that this gospel, this marvelous news about Christ, is true. I know it, you have felt it, and I know you can feel it again. Or, if needs be, can feel it for the first time. Pray. Truly try to follow Christ. And you´ll feel that joy. I promise.

Much love, follow your hearts, do the good work, and make me proud!
Elder Burt

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