Hello my beloved friends and family!
So my first week as financial secretary has passed. And fortunately the mission still has money, no one has yelled at me yet, I'm eating well, and I still have progressing investigators! It's amazing how easy it is to get people to say they'll be baptized when you have full control over the mission funds. Just kidding! I would never do anything like that. Cough cough. Let's just get on with it.
1) Portuguese Law - So I admit that when I arrived in the office, one of my fears was that my Portuguese would deteriorate - or at least not progress as fast as it would with my Brazilian companion. And while this could be true, I have discovered one way in which my Portuguese is improving rapidly despite this respite from regular conversation. This blessing appeared in the form of reading housing contracts to see what exactly we expect from the houses and what we promised so I can be ready to deal with angry landlords -- which I hear I have to do a lot.
And I thought reading the scriptures in Portuguese was hard! My vocabulary and reading comprehension improved considerably while reading these hefty law-lexicon filled texts. Lots of stuff that I never would have learned in the field, it's actually pretty cool.
2) Fred - So I mentioned that despite a severe lack of proselyting, we still managed to have a progressing investigator. And it was a miracle. Throughout the week, Monday through Wednesday, we never managed to get out of the office before like 9:30 at night. As I had recently arrived from the field, they were three days of feeling rather cooped up. So when we finally got out on 7:00 Thursday, I was raring to go. But it was 7:00 on a Thursday. Without prior plans, it's extremely difficult to get a lesson in. We had one reference that had been given to us by some other missionaries, and it was on the other side of our area, so it was pretty much our only shot at a lesson. But for some reason I didn't have any doubt that he'd be there. I knew the Lord would bless us since we didn't have any other time to teach. And bless us He did! The reference swiftly let us in, and was excited to hear our message. He's an absolutely golden investigator. He understood the doctrine, explained that he was looking for a true church, and accepted my baptismal invite for the fourteenth. He told us that he believed we were an answer to a fervent prayer he offered that morning, and that he could see we were full of the Holy Ghost. Very cool.
We returned on Friday. He had read in the Book of Mormon, but hadn't prayed about it yet. We encouraged him to do this extremely important part, taught about the Plan of Salvation, and continued to teach with the Spirit. I am so grateful that we found this man who is so prepared to receive us, and recognizes us as servants of God.
3) Give Me Coffee Or Give Me Death! - The other investigator we're currently working with also has a lot of potential. She has been an investigator for a while with the secretaries here. Like eight months, which is pretty crazy in Brazil. Her boyfriend is a member, and she has already said that she will be baptized. There's just one itty bitty little problem. She absolutely refuses to give up coffee. She says it's impossible. My goodness it's frustrating. She could be baptized tomorrow, but she is having a ton of problems with this small commitment. We're working really hard to offer substitutes and figure out exactly what is the problem. I believe it's a big fear of commitment. Of any kind. Because, seriously, coffee can't be all that hard to give up if you really want to! Not that I'd know...in any case, that's the deal there. She's very cool, just a tiny step away from where she needs to be.
And that's my life! Still awesome, still great, still working hard, and still the coolest missionary. Always learning and always teaching. Doing what must be done.
I am so grateful for this gospel. I'm grateful for the amazing promises that it has for the family. I know that, by following the steps of the gospel and keeping the commandments, I can live with my family forever and have a wonderful life with them here. I'm very grateful for loving parents who provided a place for me to learn these things and to feel the Savior's love. I'm trying now to share this joy with other families.
You guys are awesome. Keeping doing what you're doing! Unless you shouldn't, in which case don't! I love you all, and keep you in my prayers.
Elder Alex Burt