Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Every week is better than the last here in the mission!
Every week, I´m surprised to find that this week was better than the last. It doesn´t make much sense, but it´s true! Every week is better than the last here in the mission! I´m so happy to be here! I´m glad to hear that you all are enjoying your summer. Meanwhile, Brasil is still switching from a little hot to freezing cold, every other day. I´m really happy that Mom got her Mother´s Day card! I was afraid it would never arrive! And my companions and I thank you for the package you are sending! Elder J. Barker is awesome, by the way! He´s a great companion! Info about President and Sister Dalton: Brazil São Paulo Interlagos Mission Loren G. and Annette N. Dalton Loren Grant Dalton, 52, and Annette Nielsen Dalton, four children, Placentia 2nd Ward, Placentia California Stake, succeeding President R. Pacheco Pinho and Sister Beatriz P. Pinho. Brother Dalton is a former counselor in a mission presidency, bishop, counselor in a bishopric, high councilor, elders quorum president, ward Young Men president, and missionary in the Brazil São Paulo South Mission. Co-owner, Meds in Motion Pharmacy. Born in Harbor City, California, to Leonard Franklynn Dalton and Davida Payne. Sister Dalton serves as a counselor in a ward Young Women presidency and is a former ward Relief Society president, counselor in a ward Relief Society presidency, nursery leader, and Primary music leader. Born in Brigham City, Utah, to Farrell Spackman Nielsen and Coleen Andersen. The wedding of Vagner and Sueli was really great. I think that was the first real wedding I´ve seen, or at least that I remember. It was so great to see everybody in Jardim Mirna again! Sueli and Vagner were very emotional (more emotional) when they saw Elder Paiva and I. She started crying again and thanked us for saving her family. We remembered a little about that one rainy day when the Spirit led us to her door. It truly was a miracle. I´ll try to make it back to Mirna this Saturday to participate in the baptism of Vagner, but as we have to stay home Saturday (because of the World Cup (we´re playing Chile)), and we have a baptism of our own to plan, it´ll be a little difficult to get there. The joy I felt as Bishop Amaral proclaimed Vagner and Sueli married legally was so powerful because I know that they will keep going, that Vagner will be baptized and that Sueli´s daughter will serve a mission this coming year, and that this family will be sealed in the temple approximately one year from this weekend. I imagine that the feelings I felt are reserved for only the most sacred of experiences, when our will and our desires are most close to the will and desire of our Heavenly Father, that is, the salvation of man. We have a baptism this weekend! It´ll be really good! Her name is Cileide. Her daughter, Amanda, was baptized a few months ago, and her aunt and uncle are very active recent converts. It was this aunt and uncle, Josefa and Ronaldo, who referred Vanessa to the missionaries. Vanessa´s mother, Cisera, will be baptized next Saturday. Also, we are working on baptizing Terezinha, mother of a recent convert, 17-year-old Adilson (who will serve a mission when he finishes school). We are having a lot of miracles here! The rough patch is starting to come to an end. I was studying this month´s Liahona. It´s really good this month (June). Here´s some of my favorite parts: (From the First Presidency Message) The Lord has never, to my knowledge, indicated that His work is confined to mortality. Rather, His work embraces eternity. I believe He is hastening His work in the spirit world. I also believe that the Lord, through His servants there, is preparing many spirits to receive the gospel. Our job is to search out our dead and then go to the temple and perform the sacred ordinances that will bring to those beyond the veil the same opportunities we have. When we live as righteously as we know how to live, He will open the way for the fulfillment of the blessings that so earnestly and diligently we seek. Therefore, we must plunge into this work, and we must prepare for some uphill climbing. This is not an easy task, but the Lord has placed it upon you, and He has placed it upon me. As you pursue family history work, you are going to find yourself running into roadblocks, and you are going to say to yourself, “There is nothing else I can do.” When you come to that point, get down on your knees and ask the Lord to open the way, and He will open the way for you. I testify that this is true. Heavenly Father loves His children in the spirit world just as much as He loves you and me. Regarding the work of saving our dead, the Prophet Joseph Smith said, “And now as the great purposes of God are hasteningto their accomplishment, and the things spoken of in the Prophets are fulfilling, as the kingdom of God is established on the earth, and theancient order of things restored, the Lord has manifested to us this duty and privilege.” “Through our efforts in their behalf their chains of bondage will fall from them, and the darkness surrounding them will clear away, that light may shine upont hem and they shall hear in the spirit world of the work that has been done for them by their children here, and will rejoice with you in your performance of these duties.”4 But now they have been taught the gospel and are awaiting the daywhen you and I will do the research necessary to clear the way so that we can go into the house of the Lord and perform for them the work that they themselves cannot perform. My brothers and sisters, I testify that the Lord will bless us as we accept and respond to this challenge. (from the Relief Society Page) At the October 1856 general conference, President Brigham Young (1801–77) announced that handcart pioneers were still crossing the plains and that everyone was to help gather supplies for them immediately. Lucy Meserve Smith wrote that women “stripped off their petticoats [large underskirts], stockings, and every thing they could spare, right there in the Tabernacle, and piled [them] into the wagons.” As the rescued pioneers began to arrive in Salt Lake City, Lucy wrote, “I never took more … pleasure in any labor I ever performed in my life, such a unanimity of feeling prevailed. I only had to go into a store and make my wants known; if it was cloth, it was measured off without charge.”4 President George Albert Smith (1870–1951) said of ministering to others:“Our eternal happiness will be in proportion to the way that we devote ourselves to helping others.” (from page 8) We folded back the beautiful white tablecloth that covered the bread. As I held the bread, I knew I had the responsibility of breaking it as part of the ordinance, but I hesitated. The bread represents the body of Christ. I thought of the soldiers hurting the Lord, and I didn’t want to break the bread. When I broke the first piece, I thought of the painful and humiliating way Jesus was treated prior to His death—the crown of thorns, the whipping, the suffering. The tears continued to roll down my cheeks as I prepared the bread. Then the thought came to me that these painful and humiliating events were necessary. They were part of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ,and He made the sacrifice because of His love for me and each one of us. I began to feel a great peace and joy. I broke every piece of bread carefully and slowly, knowing that what I held in my hands was about to be blessed and sanctified for a special purpose and represented something very precious, beautiful, and extraordinary. I felt the great responsibility of doing this ordinance so that those in the meeting could renew a covenant with the Lord and receive the blessings of the Atonement. There´s so much more that I loved from the Liahona, but I can´t put it all in the email. I´m reading it through all the way, and going back and prayerfully studying each section. It´s amazing what I´m learning through the Holy Ghost. Although the First Presidency Message spoke about Family History Work, I was able to apply it to Missionary Work. I did the same with another really good article about temple covenants (https://www.lds.org/liahona/2014/06/the-challenges-are-the-blessings?lang=eng). The Liahona truly is scripture for us in the last days. Page 16 says that "If you can´t glean some gospel-related truth from your entertainment´s message, it´s not valuable and not worth your time." Pages 18-23 contain an amazing article by Linda K. Burton about the Priesthood, that changed the way I view the power and authority of the priesthood. On pages 30 to 37, Jeffery R. Holland speaks of how we are called to be Christ-like. I highly recommend that, if you haven´t already, you read the Liahona (or I guess it would be Ensign in the United States), because it is the word of God. When used with the Standard Works, it is a vital source of light and truth. I´m so glad that I am learning to appreciate these modern-day scriptures so early in my life. I´m so glad to be here on a mission. I´m learning so much about the scriptures, the Atonement, Christ´s love for us, my relationship with God, and what I need to do to have salvation for me and for my family. I wouldn´t trade my mission for anything. Thank you for your letters and support! It´s so edifying to know that all is well on the homefront. Remember that this is war! Never let your guard down! I know that Christ lives and is our Savior and Redeemer. I know that this is His only true and living Church, and that we have the Holy Priesthood. I know that the Holy Ghost is real and that we have a Heavenly Father that loves us, who wants us to become like He is. I am a witness of these things, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. I love you all and until next P-Day! -- Élder Thomas Richins Ala Palmares Estaca Casa Grande Missão Brasil São Paulo Interlagos