Monday, July 14, 2014

Trial of Faith

Hey everybody,

Yes, Brazil lost 7-1 in the World Cup. I may not be Brazilian, but it still hurts. It also hurt that the entire day on Tuesday we had to stay inside. And it also hurts that Brazilians always assume that anyone pale with blue eyes is German, so I feel like people are a little bitter towards us even though I'm just a poor American. People ask us where we're from and we always say "no, we're not Germans." They think it's hilarious.

Actually, it's pretty impressive how upbeat the Brazilian people still are. And when they ignore us and still think we're German, they just tell us that now they want us to win. I love the Brazilian people.

1) Today I Don't Feel Like Doing Anything- We taught a funny old man this week while knocking doors. He was very cheerful and welcoming, and he quickly informed us that his greatest problem that kept him from putting God first in his life is laziness. He told us that he sits in his house all day watching soccer, fully awake, but the moment he steps foot in the church he gets the enormous desire to sleep. We focused the lesson on getting him excited, and he understood fully the message of the Restoration...but when the time came for him to accept a church visit, he refused to commit. Because of laziness. He told us not to be mad at him, and offered a prayer asking God to take from him this terrible plague of laziness that was ruining his life. I learned that one of the greatest illnesses that is threatening the well-being of Brazil is called "preguiça." Look it up.

2) Trial of Faith- Friday was one of the most memorable days of my entire mission. One that I will always remember in detail.

We had a division scheduled with the elders in João Monlevade (2 hours by bus), and the plan was to catch the 7:35a bus there,  I would take the 10:00a bus back with the other elder, eat lunch in the area and get to work. That just didn't happen.

Some important facts to know beforehand: we had a young man, Jaime, with baptismal potential for Saturday. We hadn't talked to him since Monday, when he told us he wasn't ready for baptism yet since he didn't feel he had received an answer about the Book of Mormon yet. We promised him that answer, but couldn't get a hold of him all week and Friday was the last opportunity. And he starts work at 5:00p. Also, I was feeling absolutely horrible that day, coughing and with a fever.

The day didn't go according to plans. First off, the 7:35a bus was late and didn't leave until 8:15a, so we got to João Monlevade late, and already had to reschedule our lunch hour. Elder Newman headed off to the other area while I waited for the bus. At this particular bus station, you can't pay for the ticket beforehand, you have to wait in front of the ticket window, standing, until the bus shows up, and if it has space, then they let you on.

Second, it's important to know that João Monlevade is really cold in the morning. Especially when you're sick. And the buses kept arriving...and leaving again without any space. This had never happened before. We were left waiting for four hours in the cold, without lunch, sick, not knowing when we would catch the bus and not able to contact our investigators.

We finally caught the bus at 2:30p, and I sat back in my chair for the first two hours, half-sleeping and trying to readjust my plans now that I would arrive in the area at 5:30p--too late to contact Jaime. But I didn't lose hope. And I nearly cried when I received a call from the sisters in our branch, who went to visit Jaime's girlfriend, who was also investigating the church. They told me that both of them had decided to be baptized tomorrow.

The baptism went through without a problem, and everyone's joy was full.

The sisters, Mariane and Jaime (the baptized),
Adão (the baptizer), and the elders.
I have never had such an experience before of truly putting everything in the hands of the Lord and waiting until the last second before receiving an answer. It was a great trial of my faith--but I feel that it was in part because of that trial that the miracle happened.

Oh, and both Jaime (19) and Mariane (18) want to serve missions. So that's cool too.

This is the Lord's work. It isn't mine, but I am so grateful to be a part of it. To see people change their lives, to see the joy that the gospel brings to the hearts of those who need it. I feel that joy constantly on the mission. Even when I am a little under the weather. Because sickness passes, but these memories will last a lifetime.

I love you all. Make memories, work hard, and trust in the Lord.

Much Love,

Elder Burt

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