The combination this week of stressful office days and lesson-filled evenings has left me rather shell-shocked. The house renting has progressed significantly, with only a couple major problems that may or may not leave missionaries homeless. Just kidding. But it has been crazy. And it isn't over yet. I was thinking the other day about what it would be like to leave the office at 5:00, head home to a family, and relax until the next day. Holy moly that would be boring. I get to leave, walking at breakneck speeds up and down miles of hills in order to teach lessons, share the gospel, and save souls. My life is awesome.
1) A Fallen Giant- This week we began visiting a less active member that the ward leadership wanted us to help. He left the church about five years ago for an unknown motive. At the time he was a High Priest, a member for many years, and a leader in the ward. Something I have noticed in my visits to less actives is that the greater the person, the greater the fall. Somehow this beloved, once faith-filled man has reached the point where he believes neither in the church nor God, without any faith or hope whatsoever. The scripture I have shared with him and that I truly felt is from Alma 5, "if you have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?" I believe that he can. I love to visit him-the conversation is entertaining, he's very intelligent, and there are members of the family that have not been baptized. And he wants them to be. The goal: sealed in the temple.
2) Guided Steps- We had some wonderful experiences this Thursday in which I saw how the Lord blesses us when we are in the right place, at the right time, doing the right things. That day all of our lessons had cancelled on us. We went to try and visit a few less actives, but when they too did not answer, we got to street contacting. Ringing apartment intercoms at 8:00 at night. Talking to everyone on the street. Usually we get a couple of "come back laters" and maybe a solid phone number after wringing it out of them.
And then the miracles started happening.
We didn't even have to leave the street we were on. One man stopped at the building we were knocking--on a bike, exhausted. He hastily accepted a visit, and explained that he felt like he needed something to help him with his family as he raises two small boys. A man racing to an appointment stopped, gave us all of his information, and more, and then continued. Another went out of his way to walk past us, got really excited when we made a contact with him, told us he'd studied about the Mormons online but had never been able to talk to them, and invited us to his house. A woman gave us her address, and said her brother-in-law is a member, her husband has been visiting the church, and they're interested. All within the period of under an hour. I honestly didn't know what had happened. Miracles.
3) Looking Toward Eternity- As I mentioned last week, we had two baptisms on Saturday! Neia and Vitoria are extremely excited, and it is catching with the rest of their family too. The other two are really really close to baptism. Over the course of the week they have come to a very sure decision that they want to be baptized, they just don't quite have the courage to accept a date. I'm still hoping it happens tomorrow. In any case I know it'll be soon.
The course we've taken with them is focusing on the temple. Explaining the meaning and blessings of eternal families, eternal life, firmness in the church and gospel...I mean, the blessings we have to offer just don't get much better. I've come this week to really miss the close proximity of a house of the Lord. And I've decided that I'm going to work as hard as I can and do all that is within my power during this short space of time to progress towards a temple in Belo Horizonte. It should have one. It will.
What a great week. Life is amazing. I am so grateful to be serving as a missionary doing the Lord's work. And this is His work. Of that I have no doubt. I can see His hand in it every day. I encourage you all to be a part of it. In the words of President Uchtdorf, "Come, join with us."
I love you all. Try a little harder to be a little better.