Hello again. Letter number who knows. 5 million it feels like. I am just chillin in a lan house in my home away from home. I am not going to lie, I hate how retarded and non-functional the stuff here in brazil (government, laws, education, the jobs) but I love the people a lot. They usually have no idea. But I love em. I would almost think about living here forever, but then I remember their country sucks compared to ours and I think "yeah right, I'll just find a way to take them all home." I am still working on that idea.
ANYWAYS. news huh? people getting married, people being people, blah blah blah.
nothing new is really going on. We have about 7 people marked for baptism and we have 5 more we are teaching and trying to mark and we'll find more this week. So it goes. I am feeling more and more efficient as time goes. I feel like I can look at people and feel what they are thinking and apply that in a way that stimulates permanant growth in them. I think it would be manipulative if they weren't so thankful, and if it were really me doing the work. But in the end it is just what our Heavenly Father wants for them and my confidence in that has become really strong. When people don't agree with what we say (and also when they do) we just ask them to pray about it and they feel that it is true. Things get to be pretty easy.
But being that I have a bit of time, I thought I would write a "tribute to the mission" by telling people why it rocks to be a missionary. I am hoping that by telling what has happened with me up untill now I can express the deep and true gratitude that I feel in my heart for being a missionary.
Anyone who knows me knows that my whole life EVERYTHING seemed to come easy to me. The things that didn't come easy, I avoided and pretended that they didn't exist and made excuses saying that I could be better if I wanted to but that I just didn't feel like it. Just imagine super prideful times a million and that was me. I seriously in the depth of my heart thought that I was the best at everything.
so sweet, whatever, I like to believe that I wasn't too annoying about it, but I think to some degree this bled into every aspect of my life. My parents know that when I confronted something I wasn't able to do perfectly the first time, I couldn't handle it. I used to get so mad at myself and confused when I wasnt able to do something alone. I hated depending on other people. Right before I left for college I even punched a huge whole in my wall because I wasnt able to reconstruct my car's engine perfectly the first time without any help.
And so it went. I got to the mission thinking I would use all of my God-given talents to be the greatest missionary of all time. What followed was probably the least productive year a missionary has ever passed in my mission. I would come home at night after having tried so hard for weeks with no results, and ask myself "what is wrong with me...?" and just cry my eyes out. Every day week after week for months this happened. The thing that I wanted most was to be successful. Just when finally the area was coming around and I was about to have a bunch of numbers to prove to myself that I had some level of personal worth, I was always transfered to an area that was in the pits. In 15 months I baptised 5 people, while many people with the same time as me baptised 25- 30.
I got to the point where I was at my limit. I would think "why am I going out today...?" and didn't have an answer. I got incredible depressed. Then things got worse. And then they got worse again. No matter what I did, things always seemed to get worse. And it was there in one of the most stressful situations I have ever been in in my life, the I somehow learned a valuable lesson.
I don't remember when it was exactly, but somehwere along the way I learned that things that satisfy our pride don't matter. I was crushed to nothing, and then in a way that is impossible to every communicate in words built up into someone completely different. I have no idea how it happened, but I know that I feel in my heart a faith and dedication that are not connected to outcomes of any kind. I love my savior because he did this to me. He loved me enough to plan everything out just right to tear down my pride. My Father in Heaven patiently waited as I pleaded to him confused day after day, waiting for me to get used to the idea of being nothing so I would be read to learn what I really am. The love that I feel now writing about an experience that is so simple is a love that is greater than I have ever felt in my whole life. My Father in Heaven knows me. And I don't just believe that; I know that.
I am 100% certain that if I didn't go on my mission I would have never been able to have such an individualized lesson. And this is just one of many. I know my savior. When I look at a painting of him, I can say I know him and feel in my heart that I am telling the truth. I would not know him in this way had I not let him mold my life.
A life of a young man in our church that does not serve a mission cannot get to this point without a lot of remorse. He has commanded us to serve, and without accepting his will we will never be able be opened up to the truth. Our hearts will remain closed and hardened and prideful untill we repent. Then when they repent those people that didn't serve missions will want more than anything to go back in time and have that opportunity but it will be too late.
If anyone in the church has a doubt if they should serve or not, do a simple test. Pray about the book of mormon. If you know that book is true, you will also know that a prophet of God has commanded you. It is not a choice, neither is it a burden. It is the greatest blessing that I have received untill now. If I could go back to when I was 12 years old and relive the last 8 years, I would be so much better. And though I cannot do that I will be forever greatful for how my Father has molded me in that last little bit. I really wasn't deserving of what he has done, nor am I now. That is why it is called love.
but blah blah blah, everyone go on a mission. I am not kidding.
But hey I love you all. I know that our savior loves us. Like I said, those aren't just words.
have a good week, there is no reason to do anything else.