Monday, July 28, 2014

Just Families / Tickets / You Do What?

Hey everybody!

Things are looking great here in Ipatinga, as we speed into another month and, for me, another year of life. I'm not sure if that makes sense in English, it does in Portuguese, I promise.

1) Just Families- This week was awesome. The beginning of the week was a little slow, there was a transfer--nothing changed in our area but it still set us back a bit. Our teaching pool was getting a little low. Then Thursday and Friday hit.

We found 13 new investigators who accepted baptismal dates within the space of two days, a majority of which are families who live within five minutes of the chapel. And a majority came to church on Sunday, which was awesome. I love teaching families who are open to the gospel. This truly is a gospel that blesses families, as I have said in the past, and I love seeing how it changes the lives of the people we teach.

2) Tickets- We saw a kind of crazy miracle here this week, last Tuesday. As I mentioned, there were transfers. And for some reason the financial secretary (my beloved "son") decided to buy the tickets in my name, so I was the one who had to go to the bus station to pick them up. Which I did that evening, then stuck them in my back pocket and ran back to the chapel where the sisters were having a baptism.

We got there and...the tickets were missing. Five tickets, which were worth about R$300. And anyone who found them on the street could trade them in for the money. We retraced our steps, looking urgently on the ground for the tickets. Nothing. We got to the bus station and asked if they could reprint the tickets and they said, no, that wasn't possible. I would have to buy new ones. And the bus the missionaries had to catch had no other openings. They would have to leave the next morning, arrive late at the transfer, and cause an enormous headache. And an enormous hole in my wallet.

So we left the bus station, offering a silent prayer and shaking our heads at how this had happened. At this point, a woman approached us to ask if we had lost something. She directed us to a man who had, miracle of miracles, found our tickets and returned to the bus station to find the owners. He explained how he had been lying down in his hotel room (he lives in Belo Horizonte), when suddenly something told him he had to go to the bank. Off he went, and found our tickets.

Then things got even crazier when he said that, in fact, he was a member of the church. He's been less active for a few years, but still remembers everything and we got his address to send the missionaries after him. Cool beans.

3) You Do What?!- Sometimes we get funny responses from people who learn just exactly what we do as missionaries. This happened on Sunday when Peterson, an investigator we're working with, came to church and offered us a ride an hour early in order to pick up the other investigators with us. As we passed by each house, he asked a ton of questions about what we do. We explained that we spend two years in a foreign country, working 16-hour days full time spreading the gospel, visiting people in the rain or the extreme sun, without pay. In fact, we pay to be here. We can't watch TV, we can't date, we can't go to parties. The list kept building up and he finally arrived at two conclusions, one spoken and one unspoken.
First: You guys are crazy
Second: There must be something special about this church, this gospel that they devote themselves completely to spreading.

And there is. Something awfully special. It's true! Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. The truth, the priesthood authority, the keys to salvation were restored in these, the last days. Our familes can be together forever. We can have peace in this life and eternal life in the world to come. And we know all this to be true.

Elder Burt w/ a 104-yr-old man.
I know that it is true. That's why I'm here in Brazil, doing kind of crazy things. Because it's completely worth it. There is no greater work. No greater cause. How blessed I am to know what I know, to have seen what I have seen. And now I have the solemn responsibility of sharing this with my brothers and sisters.

I love you all. Never give in to doubt. Christ is our Redeemer, our Eternal Head. My dearest friend. How I love him.

Much Love,

Elder Burt

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