Monday, April 28, 2014

Division / Healed / Doubt

Alex and his chocolate Easter egg.
What a week. At the end of it, I looked back and honestly couldn't decide if it was a week of testing my faith or strengthening it. I guess one has a way of leading to the other. In any case, I wanted to share with all of you some of the miraculous happenings of this week in Ipatinga.

1) Division- Well first off, I'm sorry to any missionary who served in an English-speaking mission and calls divisions "splits" or something weird like that. Here in Brazil we call them "divisões," so I can't think of a better translation.

In any case, I went on a couple divisions this week that were excellent. The best was on Tuesday, in which I went to Fabriciano (a nearby city) to help out in an area that had been struggling to find people and help them progress towards baptism. I got there at about 4:00pm and had just a few hours, so I asked that we visit the people who had potential to be baptized the following Sunday. Praying for a miracle to strengthen the faith of this elder and help out the area, we went to the first visit with a family who had been to church once, enjoyed it, but was doubting further progression. I talked to them, firmly had them commit to live the commandments, and after reading Alma 7:11-15, invited them to be baptized. All three were baptized yesterday.

We continued the division, found new investigators, and this small branch of 30 members has one more family to help strengthen it.

2) Healed- The miracles continued through the week. On Thursday we felt impressed to visit a less active. We arrived and no one answered our knocking. Ready to leave, I stayed just a few moments more to look something up in our list of members. As we turned to leave, a car pulled up. A young man got out and said he was this member's son. He let us in, and we talked with him and the father--who had been hit by a car two days before. He was really beat up, alone in his small, humble home, with an apparently broken leg that he couldn't stand on. I was worried for him, but he refused to go to the hospital. He just asked for a blessing, which we willingly gave.

The next day, across town, he called me, telling me to come quick. I said I was a little far away, but would do my best. A couple hours of nearly running later, we arrived sweaty and breathless at the house. Upon entering, the man showed us what had happened. He said he had woken up that morning, left his bed, and felt absolutely no pain in his leg. He was walking normally, and even hit his foot against the ground to prove the lack of pain. He was healed. Crying, he bore testimony to us of the truthfulness of the church, the priesthood, and Jesus Christ.

3) Doubt- One other great miracle happened this week, again in an area that was not my own but in which I played a part. I went to interview someone for baptism and quickly came to realize that he was lacking considerable faith. He told me he wouldn't be baptized because he didn't believe it was true. As we talked, he opened up to me. Said he had been praying, imploring for an answer from God. To know He was there. I saw this 15-year-old boy, in tears, tell me of his sister's terminal illness. That he loved her so much and wanted her to be healed. I spoke to him of faith, of hope, and committed him to daily prayer, scripture study, and weekly church attendance. I promised that in the Lord's time he would feel God's presence. Because that's how it was with me. I bore my testimony, explained how I know what I know, and left, saying I hoped to return soon. I wondered if I'd said what I needed to say, wondered at this poor boy's situation, and prayed for him to feel something of God's love. It hurt all the more as I remembered a similar experience I'd had before the mission.

And it was all the more sweet as I received a call from the missionaries today, informing me that the baptism will happen tomorrow evening. The boy had recognized the faith he does have and is willing to act on that small knowledge. Small, but amazingly powerful.

This is the kind of week that will stay with me for the rest of my life. Miracles happen. I am doing the Lord's work, giving all I have, and seeing His hand daily in what I do. Rest assured, anyone who is taking the time to read this, it's all true. Take heart, have hope, keep pressing forward. I love you all.

Much Love,

Elder Burt

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