Monday, June 2, 2014

Interviews / Conference / Love / Book of Mormon

Elder Burt in Ipatinga.
This week has been pretty crazy. Not as much travelling as last week, but I could see the benefits of our work and we had a lot of success as a zone this week. 

1) Interviews- So I spent basically an entire day in baptismal interviews. Which is cool, but also exhausting. I had one on Friday afternoon with a hilarious old man whose family have been members for sixteen years, but he never wanted to hear anything about the church until these last two weeks. And he was very prepared.

On Saturday I spent hours interviewing, each one a different spiritual experience. The longest was with a child who, after the opening prayer, abruptly informed me that he wasn't getting baptized. He refused to tell me why, but fortunately I pulled out an inspired question-- "are you afraid of water?" He silently nodded. I encouraged him, calmed him, and he finally decided to be baptized when I showed him a picture of Christ with a child. I asked if he wanted to make Jesus happy. He said yes. I asked what he could do to make Christ happy. He said be baptized. I asked if he would do that. He said "yes, but if I drown it'll be your fault!" He was baptized. He didn't drown. Christ and I are happy. I love talking to children. They are so simple and sincere, and have such faith.

2) Conference- This week we had zone conference with President Fortunato. It was awesome, very uplifting--the Spirit was powerfully present. We learned about the importance of inviting everyone, the dangers to faith, and the sheer power and importance of the Book of Mormon. It is our greatest tool of conversion. We learned how to use it to greater effect in our teaching. Elder Newman and I gave some
training about establishing goals. I talked about how we have to establish goals in a spirit of prayer, and make a promise with the Lord that we would accomplish them. If we do that, we will have His help and strength, and will accomplish miracles. All of this seemed to get the zone excited--the zone's goal for the month (based on the goals of the individual areas) is 100 baptisms.

3) Love, True Love- We're working on helping one of our investigators get married this month in order for her to be baptized. We went to city hall to see when they offered free marriages (it's pretty expensive here in Brazil, especially for people of humble circumstances). I felt weird asking the clerk what I had to do to get married.

4) Book of Mormon, Please- As I mentioned, in the conference we learned about how to use the Book of Mormon more effectively in our teaching. To make people really desire to read it and pray about it. Because it changes lives.

So we did that. Applied it's healing and calming power to an investigator who lost her two-month-old son last week. Promised answers to a young man searching for the truth.

And we had another run-in with an old crazy friend who I think I mentioned last month. I first came across him walking to lunch one day, when he asked me to pass by his house to give him a Book of Mormon. When I got there he was locked in, and peered out at me through a crack in the door, asking for a Book of Mormon. We've run across him at least twice this week, and every time he stares at me for a bit, kind of crazy, and then asks "can I have the book?" And I say "when you come to church!" And he just stares at me a for a bit longer like I'll change my mind, and then gives me his address and leaves. I have never found anyone who wants the Book of Morrmon so bad. One of these days I'm going to give in and give him one. I imagine he'll probably read it.

More "Divisions" (splits)

I love being a missionary. So much happens. I see so many miracles. There is nothing more satisfying then realizing you're living in such a way and paying enough attention to be guided by the Holy Ghost. And I have seen that a lot recently.

I love you all. Congrats to Janai on her upcoming wedding--I got the invite! Life keeps moving on, crazy as it is. Don't waste a moment, there's a lot to do. And, for an old missionary like me, you can't waste a minute. Each and every one is precious.

Much Love,

Elder Burt

Elder Burt surveys Ipatinga

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