Monday, October 27, 2014
Wow! This week was AWESOME! First off, I want to bear my testimony of following promptings from the Spirit. My companion and I have been trying really hard to follow the impressions from the Holy Ghost. This has led us to 13 new investigators, including families! Murilo and Kelly were walking with their cousin, Talita, when we found them. I almost walked past them. I don´t like making street contacts with groups, I´m still uncomfortable doing that. But Elder Sá told me to talk to them. I felt, very briefly but very clearly, a promption of confirming revelation. I did so and, now, we are helping Murilo and Kelly to get married! I´m so excited! Shortly after meeting them, we entered a dark street. We both felt very unsafe and the Spirit clearly told us to get out of the neighborhood quickly. So, we got out! As we walked away, some men were calling after us, but we didn´t pause to listen. I just know that we got ourselves out of what could have been a very dangerous situation. The next day, we were walking and a car pulled up to us. There were two men in the car. One of them called to us and said "Elders! I´ve got a question!" He gestured for us to come to the car, but we both felt the Spirit whisper for us to stay put. "Go ahead and ask!" Elder Sá said from the curb. The man made a strange face, then simply asked where the church was, then sped away. Once again, I knew that we were protected from harm because we obeyed the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Second, I want to tell you about Reynaldo. I was on exchanges with Elder Assunção in my area, visiting less actives. When I reached a certain address and called for Sonia from the gate, a man appeared at the door. He didn´t look very pleased. But when we said that we were missionaries from the church, his expression changed dramatically. He asked us to enter. We reached the door and I shook the man´s hand. He used a crutch and walked with difficulty due to an injury, and was almost completely blind because of diabetes, but he was so happy to see us. He welcomed us into his very humble home. Sonia is his sister. He lives with his 75 year old mother, Ana, and takes care of her and the house as his three sisters work. The Spirit I felt from this man was very strong. In the name of the First Presidency, and of Bishop Lima, I reassured this brother that he was not forgotten and that the prophet, the bishop, and we love him very much. We then downloaded the Book of Mormon in audio so that he could listen to the book. He was in tears as he heard the word of God after being unable to read for so long. Yesterday, Reynaldo went to church, alone. I sat by him in Sacrament Meeting. He could not read the hymnbook, but he listened reverently to each hymn. He struggled to partake of the bread, and I had to help him take the water. But this did stop him, nor me, from feeling the Spirit. As the Sacrament prayers were read, it began to rain, which is very much needed, as water supplies are running low in São Paulo. It was a wonderful Sabbath. At the end of the day, I felt so great. As I conversed with my Heavenly Father in prayer, I felt His love for me so strong. I know that He is my Father in Heaven. I know that I am a son of God and that He loves me. I testify of Jesus Christ. He is the Son of Man and is my Older Brother. This is His world. This is His church. I testify of this in his name, even the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. -- Élder Thomas Richins Ala Interlagos (antiga Cidade Dutra) Estaca Interlagos Missão Brasil São Paulo Interlagos
Monday, October 20, 2014
So I got transferred! My new area´s got a name that´s really hard to remember! I´m in the Interlagos Area, Interlagos Ward, Interlagos Zone, Interlagos Stake in the Interlagos Mission! This ward is of historical importance, as it has one of the older chapels in São Paulo, called Cidade Dutra. Unfortunately, this ward has seen better days. The Interlagos Ward is actually two wards: Cidade Dutra Ward and Interlagos Ward. While the Cidade Dutra Ward began a new era of growth, the Interlagos Ward threatened to close. To preserve the name of the stake and the mission, the wards were combined under the name of Interlagos. But there are other wards in this stake that are threatening to close, so it was starting to look as if the stake would have to be closed. And now, I´m here. President Dalton is working with all of the bishops and ward and stake leaders of Interlagos so that we can save this stake (if it closes, it can never reopen with the same name). So this is a very serious situation. We are entering a new theater of war. Every missionary in the mission is being equipped with the book "Invoking the Powers of Heaven" and we are learning to do exactly that. Personally, my vision and faith have been greatly increased! It´s an amazing experience! Yesterday, I gave a talk in church. Really, I am feeling the weight of my calling on my shoulders. The more I think about it, the more excited I get! I already love this ward so much! We have one batism marked for this Sunday and my companion and I are ready to keep finding more! My companion is Elder Sá, from Recife, Pernambuco (the same city as Elder Paiva), but he grew up in Olinda, Pernambuco. He´s got 10 months in the mission and this is his first transfer as District Leader. He´s just a couple months older than I am. He´s really funny and a great guy. There are four other missionaries in our ward: Elder Maynard (from Pocatello, Idaho) and Elder Hernandez (from Boston, Massachusetts), and Sister Soares da Silva (from Fortaleza, Ceara) and Sister Boulangger (from Lima, Peru). Remember Elder Almeida, my trainer? He´s in my zone! His area is right next to mine! Well, I´m out of stuff to say. One of the packages arrived! I will get it tomorrow when Elder Sá comes back from the meeting in Santo Amaro. I bear my testimony that Jesus Christ lives and that He loves us and is more willing to help us than we are to receive help. I know that God exists and is watching out for us. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Sants is the very church that Christ organized during His mortal ministry. I testify that the church was lost after the death of the Apostles, and that the priesthood was taken off the Earth. I tesify that both the priesthood and the church organization were restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith and that the kingdom of God is filling the whole Earth. I know that Thomas S. Monson is the chosen prophet of God, that he talks with God face to face and that he cannot lead us astray. I testify of these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. I love you all and have a great week!
Monday, October 6, 2014
What a week! GENERAL CONFERENCE!!!! SO MUCH BETTER THAN CHRISTMAS AND BIRTHDAYS!!!!! I don´t know about you guys, but for me, these last two days were two of the best four days of the year! GENERAL CONFERENCE! So, about the sickness: it sumiu (or disappeared). But I think what´s going on (from what the doctors told me) is that I had inflamed intestines due to a lot of really bad diarrhea, for a long period of time (sorry for the grafficness, I try to make my emails family-friendly). The thing that baffles me is what caused the diarrhea in the first place! But I´m on a special diet, that has helped a lot. The pain went away and the other symptoms are almost gone, too. Whatever happens, I know exactly where to go for help! I´m also eating less pizza. :( But back to General Conference! The TV connection in English wasn´t set up, so we had to watch the first three talks in Portuguese (not the same). But we got to watch it on this little TV in the "English room". That means snacks, and talking in English! Oh yeah! When Godoy started talking, we switched back to Portuguese. It was so cool to see him speaking Portuguese in GENERAL CONFERENCE! THAT´S NUTS! It seems like Conference gets better every time! I´m downloading all of it so that I can listen to it every day! The work is going really difficult in Palmares. Despite this, we are seeing miracles still. I know for a fact that I will be transferred on the 14th of October. It´ll be sad to leave this ward, and the people I love so much, but I know that I´ll go where the Lord wants me. Besides, change is good. I´m ready for a fresh start. Well, that´s about it. We´re coming into the last week in Palmares! Time to leave this area better than I found it for the incoming missionaries! Keep up the good work and stay true to the faith! I love you all and thank you for all of the prayers on my behalf. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that He loves us. I know that He speaks to us today through personal revelation and also through His chosen servant, Thomas S. Monson, and the other leaders of the church. I testify of these things in the sacred name of Jesus Christ. Amen. -- Élder Thomas Richins Ala Palmares Estaca Casa Grande Missão Brasil São Paulo Interlagos