Happy New Years, everybody! It's 2014, which is awesome. I dunno why, but it just seems like a bigger number then 2013. Figuratively speaking. I mean, obviously it's literally bigger. Does that make sense? No? Just think about it a little more.
This week was transfers, which were crazy as usual. Now the stress has passed, but that was pretty much the focus of the entire week. It'll be nice to settle back into the normal, post-holiday routine on Monday.
The Odinist- So this week started off, after church on Sunday, with the coolest contact I have ever made. Easily. Let me explain. We were doing contacts near the church and ran across this guy sitting down on a bench. He had giant tattoos of vikings on his arms. We approached in normal contact form, when he interrupted us by saying (in English, with a cool British accent) "I don't speak Portuguese." We replied that that was fine, because we speak English! We chatted with him a bit, and he quickly let us know that he has great respect for us, but isn't Christian and, in fact, believes in a religion far older. He explained that he was from Sweden and, like his ancestors for thousands of years, is an Odinist. As in he believes in Norse mythology. Explains the tattoos. I'm embarrassed to admit I was now far more interested in his religion then he was in mine. We talked for a while, he explained that he was a priest and had eventually convinced his son to convert to Odinism with the following phrase: "Other gods ask you to kneel down and pray to them. My god tells you to stand up, stand up for yourself." Pure apostasy, but pretty awesome combined with the accent. I felt like I was in Thor. We invited him to church and left.
Resolutions- I wanted to spend what I assume will be the rest of my letter talking about my New Years resolutions in what I consider to be an extremely important year of my life. A slightly "larger" year than 2013. Again, figuratively speaking.
1) Baptize _________ people. My purpose here on the mission is to help other people come unto Christ by being baptized. I will do everything possible to reach this goal throughout the year.
2) Become more like Christ, especially by working to love everyone. I was given a promise in my setting apart as a missionary that I would be able to love everyone I came into contact with and express to them God's love. I hope to be able to successfully do that this year.
3) Sacrifice everything that I have to the work. Everything. I don't want to hold on to anything for myself, just lay it all out in order to serve God and His children.
4) Return home not just with honor, but with full certainty that I did everything I possibly could during these two years. That my work was sanctified and accepted by the Lord.
5) Come home in shape. Pretty confident on this one, since I managed to pass six months in the office up to this point without gaining anything. I'm gifted.
6) Read the New Testament, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants in Portuguese and English (after the mission) over the course of the year.
7) Change all of the areas I pass through on the mission. If the ward, the area, the work, isn't better when I left than when I arrived, I'll feel like I did something wrong.
8) Improve my relationship with my Heavenly Father. This has been one of my number one goals throughout my mission. This relationship is more important to me than any other, and I feel like my success, happiness, and life depend on being able to communicate well with Him. I am always thinking about it and always praying for it to improve.
9) Help those who are back on the home front come unto Christ. While not a primary focus, I certainly haven't forgotten all of you, and hope that my letters and prayers help or touch someone out there. Of course, this also applies to the last couple months of the year when I can help you more personally.
10) Never waste a day. Make it worthwhile in someone's spiritual growth. Every single one of these 365 days that makes up 2014. Every one is precious. Don't let any slip by without making the most of it. I'd encourage all of you to have this same goal. Time is swift. I'm seeing that now more than ever before. Don't let the precious moments get away from you. Spend time with family. Do service. Tell someone you love them. I certainly love all of you.
So that's that. 2014. Big year. Looking forward. Living in the present. Saving souls. Life is awesome.