Good morning, ladies and gents, from Ipatinga, land of the water and fire! Life is awesome and it's good to be alive here in the field. This week was full of miracles, and I truly felt that we were being guided by the Lord throughout the week, which was very refreshing.
1) Part 1-Stay off the Bus- This week, due to our spread-out zone and distance from the mission office, we had to spend a bunch of time on the bus. Mission leadership council was on Wednesday, so we spent 12 hours on the bus. Yet, due to the tender mercies of the Lord and a little bit of help, we found all of our new investigators this week during times when we should have been on the bus but, for various reasons, ended up in the area.
The first was on Tuesday in preparation to go to Belo Horizonte. The financial secretary was going to buy our tickets for 3:00 in the afternoon so we would get there in time to sleep. Excited to work, I asked him to buy our tickets for a little later in the day. Inspiration. During the two extra hours we had, we found an amazing family who accepted baptism. We're working with them a lot--they have some adorable kids who really like us, and the mom has a great interest in the Book of Mormon.
Another time when we were supposed to catch a bus for a baptismal interview, it ended up being cancelled at the last second. This kind of threw a wrench in our day, since that was all we had planned. But we followed the Spirit, and found yet another person who is completely ready for the gospel and accepted baptism. So cool.
2) Part 2-Knocking- Another cool experience of being guided by the Spirit came while knocking doors in a neighborhood we were visiting for the first time. Well, I say knocking doors, but really we were walking to an appointment, sporadically knocking on doors we felt we should. One of these let us in warmly (though we did see the woman's sister storm out shouting that she would never enter the house again. Awkward). Anyway, we got to talking and found out that we had stumbled upon a former member of the church who still had a testimony and believed in the Book of Mormon. She is a very spiritual, great person, and we'll work with her, and I firmly believe she'll return to church, bringing with her several non-member family members
3) Part 3-Words of the Prophets- I hope all of you watched conference this weekend. If not, go watch it. It was amazing and incredibly inspiring, answering many of my prayers. The talk that most touched me was Elder Bednar's talk about the Atonement. I've been focusing a lot on the Atonement this past month and have encouraged the zone to study it daily. Hearing Elder Bednar give the same advice and explain how it helps us have success in our lives (and missions) made me grateful to know I was on the same page as the apostles. The other thing I was focused on for the zone was following up, the theme of Elder Ballard's talk. Good stuff.
To end, I wanted to talk about a scripture that really touched me this week: Alma 7:11-15. As missionaries, we frequently use the scripture in two parts. Verses 11-13 explain the Atonement and 14-15 have a powerful invitation to baptism. I realized this week how well they fit together. It explains how much Christ went through for us. He suffered for our individual pains, sorrows, and transgressions. He died so that we may live again. He did that for every single person who has ever lived, a burden unimaginably difficult to bear.
And what are we asked to do in return? Set aside our sins. Have faith in Him. Be baptized. It's so simple, so miraculously perfect. I am so grateful for what He did for me and am willing to do my part. I wish I could do more. I think about that every day. But I'll give of what I have, and I hope that's enough for now.
Think about the Atonement. Ponder and pray about it. And act. Do your part. I love you all. I love the Lord,