Monday, April 21, 2014
It's getting chilly in Sao Paulo!
First of all: I never realized it was so hard to speak English! It´s so unnatural now! I don´t like it! I have to think too much! I have been on a mission for more than six months! That´s so crazy! My mission is more that a quarter of the way over! I don´t want it to end! Every day here is better and better! Elder Paiva is awesome like always! He´s got more than 1 year and 7 months! Yikes! I got the package with the slimfast and the meds and the chocolate. Everyone (especially my companion) loved the chocolate. We ate it during the Sunday sessions of General Conference, among other snacks. I can´t wait for next October! Conferência Geral! Sad news! I´m pretty sure that Boyd K. Packer (officially my favorite apostle) gave his last General Conference talk! I haven´t got the multivitamins, yet, but I bought some Centrum at the pharmacy (the price was outrageous). I got a priesthood blessing from my companion and the bishop, so everything will work out! Last Saturday, the primary had an Easter activity that involved a lot of chocolate. We were in the church preparing for a training we were to give to the ward, while the activity was ending, so Elder Paiva and I got a TON of chocolate. The training went really well except that only one and a half families showed up, out of the 12 that were invited. But what can you do? So we went ahead and held the meeting. We provided the refreshments (Elder Paiva and I made the Brazilian equivalent of sloppy joes, and Sisters Küster and Monges made cake). On Sunday, after church, Elder Paiva and I and Thales (a 15-year-old young man who does visits with us almost every day) and 4 other men from the ward took to the streets, passing out specially made pass-along cards. We just handed them out to men of priesthood age, in hopes of aumenting the number of priesthood holders. Everyone loved it, and we´ll do it again next Sunday, with more people and possibly a potluck. Maybe the Sisters will do the same thing with the women of the ward. I know almost everyone in this ward! I must confess that i´ve been referring to Jardim Mirna as "my ward". Sorry Joplin Second! I guess that´s Stockholm Syndrome! Maybe I´ll return to the U.S., or maybe I´ll live here forever! Who knows? But it´s so great to have a ward family on both American continents! Just goes to show that we are one human family, not a collection of nations. Success is coming slowly but surely. That is, however, success measured by baptisms. We are doing our part, I´m sure of that. As we keep showing our faith, and our diligence, we will be rewarded with baptisms. Regarding success that can´t be measured, the windows of heaven are constantly open! I am being so blessed! Blessed with an awesome companion, who is one of my best friends! Blessed to work with such great missionaries! Blessed to have an AREA SEVENTY as a mission president! Blessed to have a family that supports me (not every missionary has that)! Blessed to have TWO ward families! Blessed to be a part of the gathering of Israel from all nations, fulfilling countless prophecies made in every dispensation of time, from prophets on at least two different continents! There is so much to be grateful for! And like President Uchtdorf said, we don´t have to count our blessings to be grateful! I´ve been studying a lot of the ministry of Ammon, the great Book of Mormon prophet, and how he exemplified his mission to the Lamanites, and how he was a type, or pattern, of Christ. I wish I could share with you all that I´ve learned, just from these few chapters, but I don´t have space, nor time! But I´m writing it all down in my small plates! I hope you all are studying Preach My Gospel, like Elder Ballard spoke! Chapters 3, 9, and 10 are of particular use. Study them first! Also, from this point on, I would love to hear from each of my family members (1) what you studied this week from the scriptures (Standard works, PMG, or words of living prophets) and (2) what it means to you! It would be even better to hear from the ward members, too! We are going to spend Easter lunch (remember that lunch is the major meal of the day) with the Madruga family! They have one son on a mission (he left last month to serve in Brasilia), and two more preparing to leave soon. Irmão Madruga is the first counselor in the bishopric, and Irma Madruga is the Relief Society president. They are really funny! Irmão Madruga is a lot like Dad! Well, I better wrap it up. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church, the Kingdom of God established on the Earth. The world is starting to take notice. With every temple built, every missionary called, every convert baptism, every family raised in the church, we grow stronger. The world is moving into the final stages of history, when the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, even Jehovah, is near. Opposition and persecution will rage, and the Earth herself will show signs of this great event drawing closer. Fear not and trust in the God of Israel! Remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, that we are building our foundations. As we remain true disciples of Him, we will never fall. Of this, I am certain, and of this I testify in the name of Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen. I love you all and have a great week! Atê proxima semana! Elder Thomas Richins Ala Jardim Mirna Estaca Grajaú Missão Brasil São Paulo Interlagos