What it is, all of my people??!! As the month of May comes to a close, I can hardly believe how fast the time is flying and how much there is to do! I´m working like crazy all the time and it´s great. There´s nothing quite as invigorating as doing the work of the Lord!
1)There and Back Again-This is a story I forgot to mention last week, but is a very cool one. We had another missionary division, and I went to the nearby city Sete Lagoas to spend the day with another missionary while Elder Wilson stayed in Pedro Leopoldo with our district leader. It was the first time I´ve done missionary work outside of my area, and it was very cool to get the chance to work in a new environment. But the day ended a little earlier than expected, as our district leader wanted to get back that same night instead of the next morning, as is usual. We met up in the bus station at 8:20, but Elder Wilson and I missed our return bus. And the next one didn´t leave until 10:30, which is a little late for a missionary.
So we had to catch a taxi, which was four times the price. But it was so so worth it. We got in the car and began to talk to the taxi driver. He quickly let us know that he had investigated our church six years ago, knew it was true, loved the Book of Mormon, and wanted to be baptized! The only reason he hadn´t been baptized before is because he lived with a girlfriend, but since then they´ve broken up. It was an amazing miracle, clearly something set up by the Lord. The man lives in Sete Lagoas, and we sent in the reference the next day knowing that some lucky companionship just got a free baptism.
And guess who is one of the missionaries now teaching him? My old companion from the MTC, Elder Cushing! He was transferred to my zone in an emergency transfer two weeks ago. It was great to see him, and I´m also happy to know that this taxi driver is in good hands.
2) Second Breakfasts and Elevensies- I had a rather difficult experience in the middle of the week. Difficult both physically and mentally. As a missionary, members really like to feed us a lot of food, and in order to make them happy we have to eat insane amounts. Fortunately, as missionaries we also use all of this intake in our very busy day. Well, on this particular day we had a full lunch with a member, left me feeling happy and full, and we headed directly to the house of some investigators (the 'adorable old people' from the last couple weeks). We arrived to find that they, too, had made us lunch. And instead of let us decide the portion size, they had set out the plates absolutely heaping with rice, beans, potatos, and meat. I nearly died as I forced almost all of it down, but it reached a point where I knew I couldn´t eat more without throwing up. So I am ashamed to admit that I took one of the rolls they set out for us, slipped a large amount of meat and rice into it, and then slipped it into my backpack when they weren´t looking (and yes, I´m sure they didn´t see.) I know it´s not particularly polite, but it had to be done! I´m pretty sure we would have lost two golden investigators had I thrown up the lunch they had so carefully prepared. Sigh, life really is tough as missionary, and sometimes we have to make some difficult decisions.
3) And Now for Something Completely Different- Different in that I was unable to come up with a suitable Lord of the Rings reference for this part and also because it´s not the same type of story I usually have. This week I have really had the chance to immerse myself in the scriptures and receive personal revelation after personal revelation as I read. My testimony of the Book of Mormon, of the power of prayer, and of the Holy Ghost increased significantly through these experiences. I am so grateful for the scriptures and the things that can be learned and applied, as Nephi says in 1 Nephi 19:23. A scripture that particularly touched me was 3 Nephi 9:13-14, as this scripture came to mind in a prayer as one that could particularly help my investigators. Truly Christ is waiting, with arms outstretched, to cure us. We just need to do our part: repent and come unto him. And the way to first accept this mercy is through baptism for the remission of sins by one holding authority. Absolutely!
Oh, and if anyone can think of a suitable Lord of the Rings reference for that (cough cough Andrew cough cough) be sure to let me know!
You all are amazing. Stay strong, love life, fight the good fight, and never give up!
Elder Alex Burt