So I am here in the campo limpo stake in the pirajussara ward. It is in the city, difinately the richest area I've been in, but it still has raw sewage rivers and what not so no huge differences. My companion is Elder Maclane Winsor Taggart, who I met before the mission because he was a mutual friend of caitlin mitchell. We are having a really good time working really hard.
Sooooo I saw todd and josh his buddy in a peach my gospel DVD. Pretty funny. It was a M Russel Ballard training.
I know you guys don't really follow this that much, but the baptisms in Brazil have been going way down in number. It is weird because it happened right at the same time that the prophet made this plan for missionary work. I would think it is because no one is following his plan down here, so we organized with our local leaders here to start following it. We are going to be the first area in our mission to put it in action even though it came out a year ago. So we'll see how it goes in a bit. We are launching it on November 2nd, and for right now we are just training everyone involved so they can get off on the right foot. Hopefully it will make a big difference and we can help our whole mission get it rolling with time after they see our results. A lot of people here don't do things that they can't see right away. Imagine if Christ had stopped trying the first time he met opposition...
So besides that I have set some random goals for the last 6 months of my mission (that start on the 27th).
-1,500 people directly challenged to follow Christ through faith, sincere repentance and baptism for the remission of sins. (a bit less than 10 a day)
-Draw significantly closer to God (focusing on the areas of Faith, Hope, Charity and Love with the mesurable goals established in the Missionary Guide PMG).
-Be able to do 100 push ups and 25 pull ups.
-Not waste one second doing anything that doesn't matter (sleeping late, zoning out/not focusing on what people are saying, etc.)
Those goals are all super doable, and it just reminds me of when Christ looking for true disciples said "He that putteth his hand to the plough looking back is not fit for the kingdom of God" (probably paraphrased... from the book luke [Luke7:62 ?]). The idea is just to finish out my mission not focusing on anything beside my purpose here. I see a lot of missionaries that just give up that last couple months because it is getting a bit harder where we are at. I refuse to do that (hopefully).
I am pretty excited about the future here. We are getting some resistance for sure, but I feel really good about what we are doing here so I think it will make an enormous difference and make us capable of helping a ton of people. The basic idea of the plan is to just rely more heavily on members, to the point where we don't even knock doors anymore. We just talk to people we see on the street and we work 80% of the time with references.
But besides that I don't really have a life. I bought a pull up bar that screws into doorframes. woo. recreation.
But one other thing I am realizing is that the whole world is more or less like a huge boiling pot. In this pot there are a ton of eggs getting cooked (people getting prepared to hear and accept the restored gospel of Christ) and if we just run around trying to teach people that aren't even ready to hear us, we end up wasting a lot of time (eating raw eggs), because God will never force people to follow him. So we have been developing a few ways to see how ready people are from the very first time we talk to them. We mostly just talk about the reality of being forgiven for our sins, getting a new start, and then we explain how good the future can be according to the necissity of the person, and ask people if they interested in forgetting about the past, being releived of guilt, and taught how to live a better life. The people who say they are interested, we teach them how these things are related to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and invite them to show their faith by repenting, changing, and being baptised to start the new and better life on the same day. Depeding on their response we have a list of actions we'll take that are super flexible and all end up helping the people. The people who aren't interested we just invite to church and leave alone, the ones who are wanting help we help, and everyone ends up being way happy.
That is not a new tactic world wide, but it is new here in our mission because lots of missionaries thought they would somehow convince the people that they needed to change. But I realized that doesn't ever work, so we just invite, then help if the want it. It is so much easier and more effective. Also the lessons all end up being way better.
Plus the members trust us a lot more as they see us do this. We have members now who, after seeing us just inviting everyone in a focused but non-threatening way, give us huge lists of people to visit. There was a family that marked family home evenings every monday for a month just to introduce all of their friends to us and see if they are interested.
And the same principle works for members anywhere. Members can invite people to learn more in a casual manner, and for everyone that accepts to learn more, help them as much as they want to be helped. If someone is learning more but decides they don't want to continue, just continue to be their friend and let them be for a while. It is no risk and you can always find all the people who the Lord has been preparing for you to invite. Plus, the more you do it, the more people you find. It seems like God puts some kind of trust in you or something and puts more people in your path. Whenever we pray to find people then make it known to everyone that everyone is welcome to know more, those who are prepared will make themselves known.
But I will stop rambling. I love you all and I hope you all have a good week. Pray for me to not be so tired all the time, because I have been sleeping through 2 alarms lately without waking up (and they are loud). I know that all people can be forgiven of anything they have ever done. I see it every day and it is incredibly real.