Monday, September 16, 2013

More Adventures with Elder Burt

Hello, everyone. Thanks for showing up once again to read just a little bit about me. I'm Elder Burt, a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And this is my life.
Queue theme song, a mash-up of Happy Days and We Are the Champions. I'll let you figure that one out.

All right, enough with that nonsense. This week, yet again, seems to have blown by in the blink of an eye. Cool stuff happened. Lessons were learned. New people were taught. Money was spent. The usual.

1) Israel, Israel God is Calling- So the week started off really well when we got a call on Sunday night from a less-active member who is dating our eternal investigator. He told us that the investigator's sister was in town and wanted really badly to meet us. She's been living in Israel for the last eight years. We set up an appointment for the next day, all kinds of excited to actually have received a reference. (Note to members: Give references. Please.)

On Monday we stopped by and got to talking. The sister (Renata) was very open, and told us a whole bunch about her life as a doctor in Israel. She speaks Portuguese, Hebrew, some Arabic, and a good amount of English. We taught the first lesson which includes the Restoration, and she was very receptive.  She had some really good questions about prophets today (before we got to that part), lost scriptures (as we were arriving at the Book of Mormon), and the authority of the church. Although I think it got to the point where we spent a little bit too much time answering questions. It's important to leave relatively quickly and let the Spirit work.

We haven't been able to return yet, not due to lack of desire on our part. It's just that our eternal investigator and her boyfriend got married this week. Which we had no idea was happening. And they went to another city. But we're definitely very happy for them, and I hope this leaves them even more open to hearing the gospel message about the family!

2) There Is Sunshine In My Soul- This week I've discovered that I have a personality flaw that causes some minor annoyances in my work as financial secretary. I know, I'll wait a second for all of you to pull yourselves together after that heart-stopping revelation that I'm not perfect.

The flaw is that I'm too likable. OK. Just kidding. Not a flaw, I have plenty of those. But it can be kind of annoying. Let me explain why: So as secretary, I have to make sure all of the accounts add up during the week. But the Brazilians have this really obnoxious problem which is a lack of a one cent coin. So things are never exact, they're always rounding. Also, I catch a lot of taxis and always end up talking to the drivers, as I think I've mentioned in the past. Well, due to all this I end up making like R$5 every week just off of minor discounts, though the receipts keep the higher value. Which is annoying, as it means nothing ever adds up. Yesterday I got an extra R$2 in coins. I'll give an example. I was in the taxi with this one guy who was kind of crazy. He had all sorts of "difficult" questions for us. The grand finale was about "dialogue." He said that we could learn a lot from dialogue along with the scriptures. He asked me what they had at the beginning of time to learn from. I said that the prophets talked to God and then conveyed it to the people. While driving, he offered me his hand to shake and congratulated me on my wisdom. The cost of the taxi was R$11.30. I gave him a ten and a two. He asked me if I had a one-real coin, and I said no. So he just gave me back the two and let me go. I honestly cannot remember the last time I've paid a taxi driver the full price of the ride. Sigh. [I inquired of Alex about tipping practices, and he said it wasn't allowed with missionary funds.  Didn't know that.]

3) Lord, I Would Follow Thee- We had another lesson with Jenny this week, the woman who goes to church in the sisters' branch. She's awesome. Honestly, she has every reason to just give up on us and stop investigating the church. We have had to cancel on her like three times due to our own poor scheduling or unseen mishaps with missionaries. Her mom is a Jehovah's Witness and talks to her all about the church. Her friends are Catholic and tell her she can't change her religion. Her boss is just crazy. She doesn't even live in our area. But still she comes. She tells us that she only wants to come to our church, that we explain things so simply and clearly for her, and that she's been inviting all these people to come to church with her. She is an amazing example to me of faith and hope.

I've been thinking and studying a lot recently about desire. I read Alma 5:45-46, and was pondering a lot about how to help people have this same desire that Alma had, to truly lead to extended study and prayer. This is not a passive gospel. And I think it has a lot to due with recognition of the blessings that the church brings to our lives. Which I guess Jenny must be seeing...but I still am trying to figure out how to help the others. I guess we'll see.

People. This work is amazing. There is nothing better. I wish I was better than I am, but I really do give it my best. I hope that's enough. I love you all. Stay strong. Do good work. Follow your hearts. Keep to the faith.

Much Love,

Elder Burt

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