Monday, March 21, 2016

I love my Mission!

Week of  March 14-20th, 2016

(14) SEGUNDA (Monday): Today we had some great lessons.  The church released a new video for Easter, and so we are passing out little cards with the site for the video, and sharing a message of the resurrection with people.  I also studied some of the talks I got today, which is also good.  I now have a good collection of conference talks. 
            This Thursday we’ll leave for Alegrete for the zone conference and we’ll spend some the whole day there. 
            I read today in Mormon about that final big battle between the Lamanites and the Nephites.  I counted what he recorded had been killed.  There were 220,000 Nephites killed, and 24 survived.  Of those 24, 2 were he and Mormoni.  This stood out to me a lot, because it really shows that the Lord protects his followers, where as Satan finds joy in watching his followers fall.  I remembered Alma 30:60.  It makes me very happy to know I’m on the right side.  After, all the Nephites gone, the Lamanites started warring amongst themselves!  Satan cannot bring us real happiness; it’s against his nature. (2 Nephi 2:27).  But he is the master of the illusion of happiness.  I read a Liahona talk the other day about an ant venom that to them appears good, so they excitedly bring it to their queen who eats it and dies and the whole colony dies.  How often can watching TV appear more attractive then the scriptures, or sleep more attractive then mission prep (That one’s from personal experience).  Satan has a lot of practice in making good things appear bad and bad things appear good.  Moroni 7:5-15 (16-19 are good, too).  We need to learn to distinguish what is really worth our precious time here on earth and then cling to it.  A talk from President Eyering came to mind where he said that everyone has something in his or her life that upsets the spirit.  (I think it was Eyering), My personal goal is to always identify what that point is, change it, and then find the next one.  Through this I know the Lord will protect me when the other 220,000 are falling.  Through this I know I will find true happiness, and I won’t be chasing Satan’s illusion.  I’ll become the man the Lord sees me as, and hopefully be a tool in His hand. 
            Today was day 251 of my mission.  (Also, I slept talked in Portuguese last night.  Sleep talked, slept talk, slept talked?)
(15) TERCA (Tuesday):  Today before lunch we went to Fabiane, who is a recent convert who went less active because of her work, but now she stopped working at the pharmacy so it’s all good.  She’s super cool, and today talked about how she wants to serve a mission.  She’s 25 and with 7 months as a member.  We’re working with her now to go to the temple to do baptisms.
            Then we had a GREAT lesson with Vinicius.  First off, today was his birthday, so I took some skittles to share with him.  Then, his brother Wilker, who is a member, came with his wife.  We had cake, and then a very spiritual lesson about baptism and confirmation.  Wilker and Rosangello, his wife, bore testimony and shared experiences.  It was a great lesson.
            Haha, then Wilker shared an experience from the temple, how the only time he’s ever fainted in his life was in the middle of a sealing.  He fell backwards in the middle and they had to do it all over again.  He said he thinks it was the spirit of the man he was proxying, trying to stop the ordinance because he didn’t want to be sealed to the woman.
            One thing that I don’t understand is the people who agree with everything we say, teach, and explain with the bible, and then say, “no, even if I get an answer from God, I’ll stick with my religion.”  What!?!  I said, “But Irma, this is God telling you that this is His true church.  Even if He gave you an answer, you won’t follow it?”  “No, my parents were Catholic, I was born Catholic.  I’ll stick with it.”  The types of people who want to follow God with out commitment, I’ll never understand!
            But we found a woman with a lot of Potential named Debra.  She really liked the message.  I’m excited about her.  Today was day 252 of my mission.  Also, I’m on my 12th pen.
(16) QUARTA (Wednesday):  Today we started off the day with Juliano and Stefani.  They are INCREDIBLE!  It’s insane how much the Lord prepared them, waited until the right moment, and then used the members to bring them to us.  Here’s my favorite quote from today.
            “Elder, I want to be baptized  in the church of Jesus Christ.  What’s the first step I need to do?”  Juliano
            They need to be married, but they are working on that.  At one point he asked if there was some sort of a problem where he is already baptized in another church.  We asked him if he believed that in order to baptize the baptizer he’s to have the authority of  God.  He said of course.  Then we said, “Do you believe that the man who baptized you had this same authority that Jesus gave to his apostles, which was then restored to Joseph Smith?”  He thought for a moment, smiled really big, and said, “No.”  We paused a moment and said, “your first baptism was a great experience for you.  It showed your willingness to follow Christ. But now the Lord has His gospel in your life, along with the correct baptism.”  Oh man, that made him happy.  Then we explained how all the little ‘coincidences’ that happen to led him to the church was the Lord slightly, patiently leading him to the truth.    He started in one church, rushed to be baptized. After a little, noticed a lot of things out of line from the Bible.  Switched churches again, a lot of stuff he didn’t think should be in Christ’s church, Etc., etc.  Finally he said he prayed and told God, “I’m trying to find your church, God.  All these churches seem wrong, and if they’re right then I don’t want them.  Show me what I need to do.”  The next day, his shift at work over lapped with that of Fabio, 2nd counselor in the ward and ward missionary. Juliano mentioned a few of his religious doubts.  Fabio said, “so, you’re looking for Christ’s true church?”  “Yes”  “Have you found it?  What do you think it would have?”  Juliano expressed a few of his thoughts.  Fabio said, “Juliano, Christ’s true church exists.  It’s the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I have the keys, I’ll show you the building tonight if you want.”  So that night, he took Juliano and some other people from work, and gave them a tour of the church.  Juliano said that the moment he entered it felt different.  The next day Juliano and Stefani went to church for the first time, and Fabio presented them to us missionaries.  It wasn’t until a while after, the 11th of this month that we managed to get them both for a lesson.  Now they’ve both prayed, both received an answer, both want to be baptized. They already follow the Word of Wisdom, they don’t like parties with beer and stuff like that.  Juliano said he much rather stay home and read the scriptures.  He’s read 14 chapters of the Book of Mormon, all the pamphlets, the Family Proclamation to the World, and is studying the Gospel Principles book all in the last week.    
            It’s incredible to see the power a true witness fro the Holy Ghost brings.  He believes it all, and all he already feels is right or wrong he finds confirmed by our doctrine.  There’s a fire in his eyes and he absorbs every word we say or reading we have.  When I told him Fabio knows how to cut the price of the marriage in half by using bishop as a judge, I told him, “So, you could talk to him Sunday at church and get the marriage faster.”  Without hesitation he said, “No, I’ll call him today.”
            I have no doubt this church is true, and that this is the only true church.  Everything about it makes sense and is so simple.  That fact, along with the confirmation the spirit brings, there’s no way to deny it’s true.  That’s when you get people like Juliano, doing all he can to follow his Savior.  We had other good lessons today, too.  Today was day 253 of my mission.
(17) QUINTA (Thursday):  Today we had a conference 4 hours away.  We had some awesome training, and I finally really got to meet Sister Cornick, the sister who said, “Holy Crap!”.  Also my son met his grandpa, and we took a picture.
Sister, Sister Cornick, and Jake
 Family Tree:  Elder Martins, Jake, Elder Santos Melo
Elder Martins Jake's son, Jake is Elder Santos Melo's son.  

 Jake and Elder Martins

 Sister and President Parrela 

            Studying today, I read a lot in the book of Ether.  Abinadi is my favorite man from the Book of Mormon, but the story of the Brother of Jared is my favorite part.  The whole book of Ether.  Every little part has a new lesson for me.  I LOVE reading it.  I think when I finish it; I’ll read it again before going on to Moroni.
            Today was day 254 of my mission.  Quote of the day:  “Life is hard for those that are soft.”  President Parrela
(18) SEXTA (Friday):  Well today was another good day.  My favorite lesson of the day was when we passed by Welerson’s house.  He wasn’t home, but his mom and cousin were, who we’ve already given Book of Mormons to.  We sat and talked with them for a few minutes, then came a woman named Camilia, whom I’ve never met.  We started talking with her and she talked about how she doesn’t have a church because all the churches that she visits don’t feel right and just ask for tithing.   We taught the restoration to her and the mom of Welerson, and I have never seen someone understand the message so good.  We taught about prophets and their importance and she said, “Of course, we need a prophet in these times.  Where is he?”  Then we explained Jesus and his apostles with the priesthood and she understood perfectly how the church that Christ established had a prophet, 12 apostles, with this priesthood. Then she asked, “But where is this authority to baptize today?”  We explained the apostasy, and Joseph Smith.  She loved it.  We explained how the authority, which was lost, was restored through Joseph Smith along with the church of Jesus Christ.  She said, “I was baptized by the priest/father in the Catholic church.  Are you saying I wasn’t really baptized?”  We asked, “do you believe that to baptize someone, you need to have the authority?”  “Yes”  “Do you believe Jesus Christ had this authority and the man who baptized you had this same authority?”  “But I don’t know, I never even met him!”  We explained the purpose of baptism is for a remission of sins.  She said, “But I had 5 days of age!  I didn’t have any sin!”  We just sat there for a second and let her think, and then she said, “now I'm sad!  I wasn’t baptized!  Is there someone today that has the authority to baptize?”  Ha-ha, as we explained, she got more and more sad!  THEN SHE GOT UP AND LEFT!  She was so upset she just left!  Ha-ha.  So we knocked on her door and gave her the Book of Mormon.  She loved it and said she would read the part we marked, pray, read other parts, read some more, then pray about hem, too.  THEN LEFT AGAIN!  But, it’s all-good.
            We also learned that the cousin of Welerson had been reading the Book of Mormon.  She started from the beginning and is on chapter 13 of 1 Nephi!  Woot Woot!
            We had another lesson with a crazy.  When we asked her to pray about our message, she got mad at us, “Are you accusing me of having doubts of God?  I don’t need to pray if what you’ve said is true, God will show me you both in a vision, and when you guys pass by my house I’ll be about to tell you what clothes you are using.”  I resisted the urge to say anyone can look at us and list our clothing, and probably even without looking at us.  We use the same clothes every day.  Ha-ha.  But today was great.  Today was day 255 of my mission.
(19) SABADO (Saturday):  Today was a very good day.  We finally managed a lesson with Welerson.  Then he went to the talent show of the ward with us.
            THE TALENT SHOW!  Our other investigator Daley also went and played music on his accordion.  HOLY COW!  It was so awesome!  He loved it!  The ward was cheering for more music.  He plays very, very well.  Now he will go to church tomorrow also.  Another person, who has 18 years, showed his talent of solving a rubix cube in 18 seconds.  It was insane.  Others sang, danced, and played the harmonica.  It was very cool. 
            We also met an inactive today who hasn’t gone to church in 20 years.  He said he was active for a year, then when he wanted to go to the temple, the Elder told him the bus was full.  After, he learned that there were 3 benches empty.  He got mad at the Elder, and never went again.  Some people seem to expect that in the true church everyone should be perfect.  Well, they’re not!  They will mess up, people will unintentially offend others.  But to go inactive for 20 years about it is ridiculous.  Our baptism conversion is with God, not with the missionaries.  I’m sure there’s more to the story, so I won’t judge.  We’re going to try to help this man to gain a real testimony this time.  D&C says how great will be your joy with that soul that you brought unto Christ.  I believe this includes the souls we bring to salvation through baptism, but also the lost souls we bring back to the church.  It’s a soul brought unto Christ, and I believe the joy to be the same.  Today was day 256 of my mission.
(20) DOMINGO (Sunday):  HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOSH!!  Daley, the guy who plays the accordion, went to church!  He really liked it!  But Juliano and Stefani didn’t go, they went to travel somewhere, but they asked for us to pass Wednesday. Church was very good today.
            During church, Elder Martins got real sick.  He threw up like 4-5 times today.  So, we called Sister Parrela.  She gave some instructions to him and told him to rest.  So, I got some good study while he was sleeping.  Then a meeting at 5, then after we tried a few houses, but nobody was home, or they couldn’t today, then it started to rain, and as much as it killed me to let today pass without a single lesson, we went back to the house and studied a little more from 8:20-9.  He was still feeling sick, and we didn’t think that knocking doors in the rain would help him.  Today was the first day of my mission with out a lesson.  Elder Martins’ all good now. Ha-ha I made him some juice with lime, with is the cure all that Sister Parrela always has us drink, and he didn’t like it because I just threw the whole lime in with all the peel. 
Elder Martins not happy with his juice.

Then I made some really good rice.  But this week all in all went good.  It was a little slower because of the conference and today, but we had some very good lessons.  I’m learning a lot, and helping others, too.  So, all is well.  Today was day 257 of my mission.

Until next week.  Love you all, Elder Mckee
Elder Martins, Elder Passao De Silva, Elder Alvaranga, Jake

 Pizza for dinner, and a cream on Elder Martins face that they all tease him about.

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