My oh my, how the weeks fly by,
Check out those sweet rhyming skills.
This week has been excellent. It's awesome being companions with Elder Dunford. We're working hard, talking to people, finding people, teaching people, and moving the work along here in Belo Horizonte.
1) Dedicated- So the name of the game has been dedication in order to find more success. As a mission, each missionary needs to make at least ten contacts per day with new people, inviting them to hear our message. As secretaries, with a third of the normal amount of proselyting time, this has always been a struggle. But it's also very doable if you just step out of the comfort zone and talk with literally everyone. So that's what we've been doing. And sure, there's a large amount of people that turn you down. But you also find the people who are being prepared by our Heavenly Father to receive our visit. And at the very least we show Him that we're willing to do our part. And as we do that, I've come to see that He makes up the difference.
2) Prepared- This was especially evident in a visit we made on Thursday. We received a reference from another missionary contact for a person named Mariana who lives in our area. We went to visit her in the pouring rain on Thursday night. I, as usual, had forgotten my umbrella. We were standing outside her apartment and no one was answering. It was like 8:00 and we were wondering what else to do, when a guy came outside. We asked if he knew Mariana, and he said he'd go get her. A few seconds later, the door was buzzed open. We stood there, a little confused, when a younger woman appeared at the door and ushered us in. She seemed to have been expecting us, which left us even more confused. It was about then she realized we weren't there to check out the apartment for rent, but to teach her about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. She was very hospitable and talked about her cousin who is going on a mission in January. She seemed interested in the church, has never been before, and is passing through a rough spot in her life. We had to run as it was already late, but returned on Friday.
We sat on the floor as she doesn't have a couch, and taught her the first lesson and paid attention to her problems and desires. It's so important to listen to your investigators and teach directly to them. She explained how she felt lost, that her life was extremely difficult, that she'd already yelled, cried, but nothing seemed to get better. She was beginning to be convinced that God was chastening her. I explained to her that God doesn't necessarily put these difficulties on us, but he always provides us with a cure. In like manner, when the world was lost, he provided the "cure" by means of Joseph Smith and the restoration of the gospel. And I explained that this was also the "cure" for her problems and difficulties. The gospel applies so specifically to her. I could see that God has been preparing her, helping her be humble enough to accept His help. What a marvelous thing.
3) Touched- When we reached the end of the lesson we invited her to be baptized on the 22nd. She asked if it couldn't be this Sunday. Kind of stunned, we said we would have to teach some other things first but would see if the date couldn't be pushed back a bit.
She explained that while we spoke she felt a kind of warmth that pushed back the despair she was feeling. We explained that it was the Spirit confirming to her the truth of these things--and that she could feel this constantly by reading the Book of Mormon and coming to church.
And so life is good. Actually, I'd go so far as to say it's great. The Lord is helping us and I am so happy to be a missionary. The field is white, already to harvest. We just have to get down to work. I'd encourage all of you to do your best, and try to invite someone to church, to hear the truth, this Christmas season. What a wonderful gift you could give to Christ.
For those of you who aren't members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (I imagine there are a few readers in this category): talk to the missionaries. Or if that seems like a lot, shoot me an e-mail or letter. Feel free to learn a little more. Because it will change your life. I know that, because I've seen it change people here in Brazil. And because it has already changed mine.
I love you all. Work hard. Smile a little more. Remember it's true.