Dearest Friends and Family,
|Ipatinga Ping Pong Championships|
The weeks continue to flash by in the blink of an eye, and the miracles don't stop here in Ipatinga.
1) The Hand of the Lord- Something I have come to see in my weeks here is that the Hand of the Lord is truly over Ipatinga at this moment. It is a great privilege to serve here at this point of my mission. The branches here are all growing remarkably, the papers asking to become a stake are already in Salt Lake and we should know what will happen by the end of the month.
Due to that, the miracles are happening here in our area as well. We contacted a family in the street a couple weeks ago, shortly after arriving. They came to church on Sunday because the sisters in our area, on a seperate occasion, also made contact with them. All will baptize on the 26th. The Lord is putting prepared people in our way.
Together with this, unfortunately, is the fact that the enemy is stepping up his game as well. There are so many people who are very closed, want to argue, and become very angry with us despite our kind approach. Others are convinced that there is no need of change because everything is fine where they are now. Well, folks, all is not well in Zion. Sorry to break it to you. There is work to be done and someone has to do it!
2) Love- Something interesting I've learned over the course of the week has something to do with a passage I read in Preach My Gospel (note to everyone--listen to Elder Ballard and study it.) It says that the power of our calling is made manifest as we express our love for others. I'll be honest, that part never made much sense to me. But I gained a testimony of that this week. We visited a number of people who were initially closed to our teachings and questions. But time after time I expressed the love I felt for them, the sheer power of the Spirit that came nearly overwhelmed me. It changes hearts. I know that in those moments these people were touched, and I realized that love truly has far more power than I had realized. Maybe it sounds cliche. But it's a truth of missionary work, and the general work of the Lord.
3) Dream Couple- Another proof to me of the Lord's hand in our work was being led to the most amazing couple I have ever met on my mission. They are so crazy prepared. We made a contact with him on the street at the beginning of the week, and he said he wanted to practice his English for a program he was participating in in the Baptist Church. We marked an appointment for Thursday, but I didn't think much would come of it.
That Thursday night we almost didn't go because of some other appointments. But I felt it was important, so we showed up and taught one of the most amazing lessons of my mission. Not because of us. Because of who was being taught. They were open, expressed a desire to learn, understood everything, accepted baptism, are intelligent, have a great love for the family and for each other...like I can't stop going on about them. I was so grateful to the Lord for leading us to them after a somewhat rough week.
Oh, and they had bought us food, too. Based only on a passing street contact. So I think they're people of their word.
I'm so blessed to be here in Brazil. It's not always easy to be a missionary. Honestly, it shouldn't be easy. That wouldn't be right. But it is so worth it. The miracles, the emotions, the people you meet, the hearts you comfort, the souls you save...it's beyond words or even comprehension. So if you're of that age...serve a mission. Stop second-guessing it. It's worth it, I promise.
I love you all. Thank you for your support and prayers. I pray for you. If you need anything from me at all, that I am able to give, please ask. We're doing the Lord's work. Of this I am sure.