A selfie for mom!

A selfie for mom!

Monday, July 7, 2014

My circumstances didn't change; my perspective changed...

Out of all the lessons I have learned this week, the one that stands out the most is: My Heavenly Father knows me and loves me. Here in the mission, we pass through so many trials and tribulations on a weekly, even daily basis, that it is often easy to forget all of the miracles, big or small, that happen. We sometimes let one great tribulation cloud our sight of the multitude of tender mercies. All this week, I have been suffering with a really bad, painful cold, sometimes flu. I still don´t really know what happened, but I just know that it was a mess. It was uncomfortable to work, and I even had to stay home a day. Because of this sickness, and a series of meetings and exchanges, little work was done in our area. Two more baptisms fell through. During this week, I often felt discouraged and asked myself: when I am trying so hard to be good, and to work hard, why is this happening to me? Why isn´t God protecting me? What am I doing wrong? My fear and sadness disappeared after I received a priesthood blessing. It began when Elder Barker asked me what our monthly goal for baptisms was. I responded that it would be 8, the minimum. He tried to encourage me to go for 10. I confessed that I did not believe we would have even 8. As I said those words, I felt my faith grow feeble, and I felt suddenly distanced from the Spirit. After a long talk, I requested a blessing from my companion. What followed was one of the most sacred experiences I have had so far. In the blessing, I was told exactly what I was so longing to hear. Through my companion, Heavenly Father told me that He loves me, and knows me. He reassured me that He has accepted my work so far, and that He has not forsaken me, nor forgotten about me. He told me that I am forgiven of my past mistakes and trespasses. Through this blessing, Heavenly Father said that He is proud of me, and that I am living an honorable life. During the blessing, I was filled with such a burning in my bosom that I had never before felt. It was as if I was being embraced by the Father Himself. I began to cry, as the spirit healed my broken heart. I was filled with a testimony that is unbreakable: a testimony of God´s love, of His power and the priesthood, and of His mercy. After the blessing, my circumstances didn´t change. My perspective changed. Although the week continued, my sickness lingered, and we had little success, I feel edified. The Lord is accepting my work, here. A couple of days after the blessing, I received yet another testimony of God´s love for me. This came in the form of an empty plastic bottle. I was on exchanges in Casa Grande with Elder Mariano. We were waiting in front of the church for the other two Elders to arrive so that we could go to lunch together. A man walked past. The wind suddenly blew, sending the plastic bottle rolling after the man. I noticed it and pointed it out to Elder Mariano. We joked that it was chasing the man. As soon as we said it, the wind blew again, in the opposite direction, bringing the bottle rolling back. It´s red cap was facing us, as if it were looking at us angrily. I said that the bottle was angry with us for making fun of it. Elder Mariano spotted a woman approaching and said it would be funny if the bottle chased her, too. As the woman walked passed, the wind blew a third time, sending the bottle in the opposite direction, rolling after her. For two tired and hungry missionaries, this little episode cheered us up and gave us a reason to laugh. I don´t see this little incident as a coincidence. I believe that our Heavenly Father doesn´t just love is in a small way. He is our Father, and loves each of us as our Earthly fathers love us. My Earthly dad has a sense of humor and loves to joke and play with his kids. So why wouldn´t our Eternal Father love to play with His children? This small, insignificant joke with a plastic bottle, however subtle, was a reminder from God that He is my Father, and that He does love to play with His children. From now on, I am excited to view the world in a different light: how many times do I miss these little reminders from our Heavenly Father that He loves me? I know that Heavenly Father loves me. He made it known in the beginning, when He presented the Plan of Salvation to us in the Pre-Mortal World. Under the direction of the First Presidency, the Twelve Apostles, and our new Mission President, President Dalton, we are helping Heavenly Father present this wonderful Plan a second time. Our entire mission is changing focus, teaching more about this Plan of Happiness, and about the temple, in order to better motivate people to follow Jesus Christ. And it´s working. We were prompted to stop by the house of a past investigator, Jaqueline. When she came to the door, the first thing she said was: "Elders! I´ve been trying to find you!" She got a new job that requires her to work Sundays, but she had been trying to get in contact with us, but had lost our number. We were prompted to share with her the Plan of Salvation, including the role of temples and vicarious work. At the end, when we invited her (again) to be baptized, she said: "I will, now. I´ll talk with my boss about taking a day off on Sundays." Jaqueline asked us if we could escort her three young children to church the next day. We agreed, and, with the help of some members, her three children, João Vitor (12), Ludimila (8), and Camila (6), went to church, liked it, and want to be baptized. Little Camila isn´t too happy about having to wait almost two years, but she really liked Primary. It´s amazing what a change in perspective can do, not just for missionaries and members, but also for our investigators. I am excited for this week. We will go with Juvinal and Magda to the city hall to schedule their wedding. We received a call that Cileide not only has desire to come back, but also that her friend (who, earlier, spoke against the church and baptism) wants to receive our message. This week will be really good. I have faith that it will be. I am filled with hope, because of my Heavenly Father, and because of His plan. I am excited to continue on in this great work. I know that God lives and loves me. I know that He sent Jesus Christ to suffer and die for me. And I know that Christ lives, and will return to this Earth, to cleanse her of evil and to preside over His kingdom. I know that, after all I do all that I can, I will find peace. I know that the priesthood is real, and that President Thomas S. Monson is a prophet, seer, and revelator, along with the Apostles. They speak with God face to face, and through them, we receive His counsel and instructions. Of these things, I testify in the healing name of Jesus Christ. Amen I love you all and hope you have a great week! --

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