Monday, June 22, 2015
I am so proud to be an instrument in the hands of God.
First off, some bad news: we left our house in a hurry and I forgot both the cord and the adapter! And I have LOTS of pictures to send! Oh well, I guess I´ll just send them next week (sorry, mom). So, I learned a lot about the atonement this week, in experiences and in preparation to give my talk. There were many things that happened this week (or didn´t happen) that taught us to appreciate more and more the cleansing and purifying effects of the atonement, and how it can bring us up and out of our sorrows and troubles. I have yet to translate my talk. I´ll try to do it this week. I got the birthday package! Thanks a lot! We LOVED the Reese´s Pieces! Those didn´t last too long! I´m going to make no bake cookies, and I hope they turn out as good as Mom´s! (That´s something I´ll request when I get home!) I´m super glad to hear that you had a good Father´s Day! I did, too! I would like to share a very spiritual experience we had yesterday. I was feeling down, as my emotions were starting to be hard to control (a symptom of an oncoming episode of chemically-caused depression). We were going to just go home and end the day early (about 6 at night). It was already dark. Elder Ward wanted to pass by one more house, and it was on the way, so we went there. I´m not going to use names for the privacy of those involved. When we arrived in the house of the family, we found the two active youth there, the mom having just left. We entered into the one room home and began to talk. After a little bit, we found out that when they went to the ward activity last night, their house was broken into. All of their food, some furniture, the gas for the stove, and whatever valuables they had were taken. Their mother had left to ask for food from relatives. We asked if they called the Relief Society president or the bishop, and they replied that they were too embarrased to call. So we called Bishop Oliveira. Unfortunately, he wasn´t able to offer immediate help (he would need to go to the bishop´s storehouse). We could have called around for help, but we wanted to respect their privacy, so we decided to act for ourselves. We left them there to run home. We took a majority of our food (a lot of which we got leftover from the ward activity), some Liahonas and copies of the Book of Mormon, and whatever else we could spare to take to them. We ended up making two trips. I gave them, among other things, the blanket I took with me on the mission (the mission already provided me with a much MUCH warmer blanket, which I kept). Elder Ward gave the young man his second pair of sunday shoes and a stuffed dog his friend had sent him, among other things. When we arrived with the supplies, we found the mother returned. She was involved in a car accident a few years ago and was left blind. Yet tears fell from her eyes as we told her what we had brought. Bread, oranges, crackers, cookies, bananas, herbal teas, juice packets, clean water, toothpaste, shampoo, silverware, plastic cups, things that we took for grant it, were received as if they were great treasures. I wrapped the blanket around the mother. She cried a lot. Elder Ward gave his freshly polished shoes to the young man and the little dog to the young woman. We both felt like Santa Claus. The mother said: "I thought God had abandoned us, but now I know He loves us because He sent you to help us! Now we can be happy!" After a prayer of protection for the family, we left that house feeling such a sweet spirit. We wanted to give more, but at the same time we knew that it was enough. On this Father´s Day, we had unknowingly given a special gift to our Heavenly Father: hope for a family struggling to live the gospel in a very hostile environment under such difficult circumstances. We did not just give them food, we gave them peace of mind and the love of God. I am so proud to be an instrument in the hands of God. Today, I received a priesthood blessing from President Dalton. Today, some of the questions that ached my heart and tormented me for a year and 8 months have finally been answered. I know with a perfect knowledge that my Heavenly Father has accepted my offering to Him, and that He is willing to be with me for the rest of my mission, until the end. I love Him and I love His Son. I await His coming with awe and with the spirit of preparation. I testify that we can build His kingdom here on the Earth. I testify that Christ lives. He truly does. In His holy name, amen. I love you all! Have a great week! -- Élder Thomas Richins Ala Jardim Mirna <--- ZION, THE PURE IN HEART Estaca Grajaú Missão Brasil São Paulo Interlagos