Monday, June 9, 2014
Being a missionary is so great!
There is so much to tell you! > In Brazil, if you are whitish and "blond" (I´m blond by Brazilian definition), you are German. Everyone in the street calls me "Alemão" ("the German") or "Grandeon" ("the Giant"). I have also been called Italian, English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Brazilian! Very rarely do people refer to me as "Americano". > Elder Paiva showed me something really cool: the 13 points of Preach My Gospel apply to all aspects of life, especially finding a job, making your way through college, and having success in general. > Both pairs of shoes that I have are worn out (to the point that I shouldn´t use them, so I´ll have to buy a new pair tomorrow after the transfer. I also need to buy a new shoulder bag (it won´t be very expensive. Definitely less than $20. I don´t know about the shoes.) > My circular scar that I got coming home from General Conference hasn´t gone away yet. I think it never will. But I´m okay with that. > Sister Küster, who has been in my district since New Year´s has been called to be "Sister Training Leader", which is the highest calling a sister missionary can have. > I´m being transfered! Tomorrow, I report to the mission office with all my bags to recieve my new companion, meet with old friends, check for mail, buy new shoes, and go to the bank! I´m super excited! Elder Paiva and I will keep in contact and we´ll continue being good friends after the mission! We already made plans to hang out and he and his future wife will attend my sealing to my future wife. > I ate chili. Good, hearty, American chili. An irma in our ward received chili mix from her daughter (who lives in the U.S.), and made me chili and cornbread and chocolate cake! It tasted like home. Elder Paiva liked it, too, so get ready to made a ton for him when he comes to stay in our house! > It´s starting to get cold in São Paulo. I mean it this time. It´s not pleasant. > I gave a talk in church yesterday about building Zion in our hearts and in our homes. I also talked about the role of the Doctrine and Covenants, which is a manual for building Zion. > Elder Neil L. Anderson will visit our mission and make a tour on the 21st of May. We get to go to the temple and do a session on the 20th of the same month. > We have a new program in our mission, called simply "pilot project". It´s straight from the Area Presidency of Brazil. Our mission was chosen to be the guinea pig for this project. If it works here, it will be implemented in all of Brazil. President Pinho said that while he was in Salt Lake, many of the Apostles and Seventy congratulated him and our mission for the outstanding work. Right now, the entire Church government is watching our mission. We could be changing church history with this program. We will use 50% of our proselyting time for reactivation and retention, teaching recent converts and less active members how to do family history. We will teach them to use FamilySearch.org and the "My Family: Stories That Unite Us" booklet. We will help them to feel the Spirit of Elijah, which will encourage them to return to (or stay in) the church to receive their temple recommend and participate in the Work of Salvation. The purpose of this program is to increase new member baptisms and reactivated members by animating the members, fortifying wards, training members how to be missionaries, etc. I´m really excited for this program and I know it will work. I have never seen the Spirit of Elijah work within someone like I am seeing with my companion. He was the first in his family to join the church, and no one in his family has started family history. But yesterday, during the nationwide family history broadcast, my rock of a companion teared up as he heard the stories of people finding their ancestors. He has a burning desire to start now. In fact, I´ve already seen him working on his own "My Family: Stories That Unite Us" booklet. Just imagine, starting family history from scratch. I´m super excited for him! > This morning, in between packing my suitcases, I studied 1 Kings 13, which contains a very interesting story about two prophets, an angel, a wicked king, and a lion. I suggest you to read it and pay special attention to the JST in verse 18. I also studied about Elijah the prophet (1 Kings 17-18) and the importance of obedience. Whether you are a prophet of God, or a poor widow, or a faithful servant of a wicked king, obedience to the Word of the Lord is the key to blessings. Obedience is the first law decreed in Heaven, and is a celestial law, that will never be changed. Being a missionary is so great! I´m so glad to be here! This work really is the work of salvation. What a wonderful gift it is to be a part of this work. I know that Christ lives and that He will save us if we accept Him. I know that God exists and that He loves us and only wants the best for us because He is our Father. I know that we can learn the truth of all things through the Holy Ghost. The Church of Jesus Christ is true. It was true in Jerusalem with the Apostles, it was true in the America with the coming of the Savior there, it was true in 1830 when the Church was restored to the Earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith, and it is true today, led by inspired men who hold priesthood keys and speak with God face to face. I boldly declare these things to be true in the name of our King and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen. I love you all and have a wonderful week! Elder Thomas Richins Enjoy the view. All Photo