Hello, everyone! It's another sunny day here in Brazil. My air conditioner is going at full blast, the sun is shining through my office window, and it seems like a wonderful day to take a nice cool dip in a baptismal font.
Sorry to hear it's still winter over in the states. Ha.
1) Stressed Out- I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but the week before transfers is easily the most stressful thing in the world. Especially when we have nearly twenty missionaries arriving, only six going home, and like a million houses to rent. I literally get a call every day from a new missionary who wants a new house. To give you an idea, the mission currently has 70 houses. I am trying to rent 21 new ones.
But that was true last week too. This week just turned it up a notch, since the missionaries need the houses by next Wednesday. The week was a roller coaster of emotion. One day I had all the houses I needed, the contracts were approved, and we were ready to move. Then I would get a few calls and find out that some small problem had led to the whole contract being dropped. I was living in fear of my phone ringing. One moment I'd walk into President's office saying "well, President, I've landed five contracts. You can pick where you want to put the new missionaries." Then moments later I'd return and say we had nothing. And so on and so forth.
The funny part about all of this? I love it. I don't know that I could go home and have a profession that wasn't stressful. That being said, I'm a little tired. Like butter spread over too much bread.
2) The Economist- We started this week with an entertaining lesson with a new investigator. His name is Mario. And no, he is not an Italian plumber. He is an 88-year-old Brazilian economist. In fact, as we found out near the end of the lesson, he was one of the three founding economists here in Belo Horizonte. He's old, a little senile, but extremely intelligent. He went on a tangent (encouraged by a visiting member) about the history of Europe and how the English are stubborn and don't want to do anything like everyone else. He didn't seem to like them very much. I was a little offended, but didn't let that affect my teaching.
His daughter is a firm member of the church. She bore her testimony in church about how her mother had died last Friday and she prayed that she could go with her still-living father to be sealed together in the temple. Obviously we went to visit her that afternoon.
The lesson went well with him, and I have a lot of hope that this family will be able to fulfill that dream.
3) Meetings- This week was also crazy full of meetings. Ward council, leadership council, zone meeting, etc. There was a lot of good training from our leaders, especially President. It was pretty hard on the Zone Leaders, focusing on the theme "You need to change. You can do more." As leaders, far more is expected of them. But at the same time, in leadership positions, we have the right to so much more in terms of blessings. So we need to take advantage of that. When we receive callings in the church, the Lord qualifies us to that calling. I've certainly seen that in my time as financial secretary, doing my best at all times.
There were a number of messages that were powerfully delivered in the meeting. Defy all expectations. We have far more gifts then we are aware of. And that's so true. To any of you who feel like you are being asked to do difficult things: step up and do it. The Lord will help, and you will do more than you ever thought possible.
I want to leave the mission stronger than when I arrived. And for that to happen, I'm going to have to pass through the refiner's fire. What are we willing to do and experience in order to become better?
More then anything else, we need to remember the Atonement. Apply it to our lives. Christ's path was anything but easy, anything but smooth. And from Him we can learn patience, diligence, and love. As we study and apply these things, we become better. It isn't easy. But it is simple.
I love you all. You have so much potential. I wish I could communicate that to you, but it's only through a lot of prayer that you can really come to realize it. Pray. Study. Work. Love. It's all good stuff.