Monday, July 25, 2011
Can I just say by sunday, I am dead? This past week the trio of Verdão was running like crazy to get to appointments, to get people committed, to get people to church. It is a good feeling when you feel like you´ve done all you can do. But its also frustrating when you feel like you have done all that you can do and its still not enough. We´ve had a few baptisms fall through, which is devistating. One thing I am seeing on my mission in this time, is that satan is working double time to derail the train of this work. As missionaries, we have to do everything we can to help people understand and have the opportinity to recive this gospel; but in the end it is their agency to act. Fear of change, lack of desire to change, and the cunning deceptions of satan really hinder the progression of a soul. Its sad when you see someone who rejects this glad message, but you recieve comfort knowning you offered to them this gift. Yesterday I got the opportunity to give a talk in sacrament meeting. Of course sister Morais and I talked about missionary work. :) I was pondering all week about how to talk to this ward, what exactly to say to help this memebers understand their role in this work. We have some members who are willing to help us and are great missionaries, but still, this ward needs to grasp the excitment of sharing the gospel. as I was preparing my talk, my mind settled in on a phrase in Jacob 5. I ended up pretty much reading that chapter to my ward. I started, ``Ouve, Ala Verdão!`` or listen, verdao ward! I compared this ward to that olive tree. This ward started out miniscule, they met in the house of a memeber. they grew enoguh to have a rented building. But the retention, is sad. our records have us at 340 more or less members. We do good to have 110 people every week. I related to them how the Lord of the vineyard wept, because of the work He did, yet the tree was corrupt. `´Who has corrupted my vineyard?´´ Satan. Oh gosh he is such a pain in the neck. He is so miserable. I think sometimes we forget how much power satan does have, when ever i am feeling down or angry or frustrated (which I feel everyday, along with the opooiste feeling of complete joy and happiness) i remember its satan that is trying to make me feel this way, to give up, to go home. But God has the higher ground. He prolongs His hand over His creations, His children. We have to work with the Lord to help the olive tree grow strong and produce good fruit. the final verse I shared I tiink is verse 79, near the end of the chapter where the Lord sees that the vineyard is good, and says blessed art thou because youhave labored diligently and worked in my vineyard. As members of the church, it is our responisiblity, our priveldge to work in the vineyard, to strengthen our brothers and sisters. I am so grateful that the Lord directed me to serving a mission; I am really coming to understand what I need to be doing with my life. ITs simple, the Christ taught that the purpose of this live is to prepare to meet God. But not only prepare ourselves, but each other. To me, when the Lord says to return to him as a family, its not just my intermediate family, but OUR family. EVERYONE. So ya´ll, lets make it back home to our Father!!Love you all.sister smith
Monday, July 18, 2011
My new companion, Sister Morais is just awesome. i can already tell we are going to have a great time together. Im pretty certain that she got transfered here specifically for me, I definately need her, she´d make the better senior companion than me. She´s from Paranaboko (spelling, I dont know...) Recife, but has been living in São Paulo. I´ve got two Recifians in the house! Currently I am once again in a Trio, sister Albuquerque´s companion is having visa problems and is waiting in the MTC provo. The other 2 Americans arrived timely, but sister Chatwin has yet to come. I hope she gets her visa in a jiffy, my comp. needs one less stressful thing in the final transfer of her mission. Today we are going to go to the house of Mídia, a recent convert who was less active, but now that her son has joined the church she has this drive to keep going and reading her scriptures. I love this woman, I struggle to understand her, heck brasilians struggle to understand her cuz she talks so fast and talks alot. But she has this happiness about her all the time. Anywho today we´re going to crash at her house, watch a church film and learn how to make her pão con canela. (cinnamon bread. it is so delicious!) and then tonight we will have a family home evening lesson with recent convert family Eduardo e Debora, along with Mídia e Ricardo. Vai ser muito fun. We had a lot of crazy things happening the past three days, remeber Marcia? the woman we taught 2 weeks back who accepted a date for baptism and then decided she couldnt give up coffee? well she decided she could, and was going to suprise her spouse for their anniversary by arranging the baptism for saturday, her there in the capella in white and him show up with the bishop for a ´´meeting´´ . well that all fell through when she decided to talk to him about it friday night. he told her she wasnt ready yet. AUGH! He´s been relentless with her about how he wants to be sealed to her, and when she finally gives up her coffee and says the Lord is calling her to do this (for a second time) why? I was very frustrated because all our time got robbed because of having to rearranging everything for her, my companion was pretty depressed and useless after the phone call on saturday. I just hope that we dont loose another future baptism we had set because of this. Its hard to have these emotional rollercoasters, esp on your last transfer. everything is a BIG DEAL. you are overly sensitive and think everyone is watching you. At least this is what im seeing from my companion. something to look forward to? But things always could be worse; our fans could break. Yes, that would be the worst thing ever! I would die. There has been more than one day this week that i´ve thought, Heavenly Father, are you trying to kill me? because this heat is cookn´ me. And then i had to reflect on the scripture that talks about the refiner´s fire. I guess for me that scripture is literal. the firey sun of Cuiabá. Im hoping i can load some pictures today! this mach. is alittle wacky.
stay strong ya´ll, youre in my prayers.
stay strong ya´ll, youre in my prayers.
Am I excited? yeshhh. I´ve been walking on the clouds today. I´ve been pretty happy the last few days, cuz, you know what, I have no reason NOT to be happy. I´ve got the restored Gospel in my life. I´ve got awesome friends and family who keep me updated in life and laughing. And I´ve got this great opportunity to leave life for a small while and share the great news of the gospel of Jesus Christ with other people.
And.......after serving together for two transfers and wading through the discouragement of not finding those who want the gospel, The last day of our transfer we had the amazing opportunity to see our irmão Ricardo be baptised!!!!!!!!
He is going to be such a great leader in the church, he has had so many experiences where the Lord truly has been guiding him. His mom is a recent convert, who hasnt been super active (I love Mídia like no other! but she is kinda flakey, you know, air head?) but I think they´ll be able to keep each other strong. He had already been keeping the word of wisdom. awesome.
So yep i´ll still be in Verdão, i´m guessing for at least one more transfer. Some people dont like Verdão, but I think its great. ITs not the area that is slow, its the missionaries, right?! This last week was a lot of running, Im looking forward to getting back to the apartment and just sleeping.....
baptism of Ricardo
oh mother, I have been very grateful for the 40% deet bug repelant....i havent actually been using it on my skin but on the infestation of formidas! err little ants! they are everywhere! I hate them......I pretend they are satan when I spray them.....
okay well...i thought I had some more awesomethings to say....fail...
Tanto de coisas falar sobre este semana...
OKay I will start at the top of my list:
Friday I ate fish. Very tasty. This fish had teeth. I would have taken a photo, but it was in a the house of a member....that would be rude....but seriously! TEETH!
Friday will also met more crazies.
An old man, probably 60 yrs with no teeth (therefore I didnt understand him anyway...) was speaking in tounges and prophecying for my companion and I. He said he is 110 yrs old.
After that we stopped by the house of some less actives and my companion about strangled one member, he was wanting us to go with him to a house of a friend who is aflicted by an evil spirit, he says. He wanted us to go and make prayers and give a blessing.
Ricardo.....let us explain again.....we dont have the priesthood......
In the mix of that one of their neighboors who is short a fuse or two, came over and starting talking about everything under the sun. She said I was a lier because she didnt believe I was American. And when I spoke english to her (´´speak english, I know englihs´´) she said i have to be french. she wanted to get in a fight with my companion, called us prositutes. Sorry, we dont have time to play games ma´am.
Friday was rather depressing because we were planning on going to our ward activity, we had invited a bunch of investigaters there and a lot of our members were bringing non memeber friends. Great opportunity, no? But president called and said we couldnt....so when it was time for dinner break, i wanted icecream. (i was really dissapointed, okay) so maybe I ate r$8 worth of chocolate icecream. my comp was shocked becase im such a tight wad usually. and after i had consumed that tasty goodnesss, I was so happy.
But the sad thing was that night we had arrranged for our leader of missionary work to pick up an investigator, whom on tuesday said that he knew if he came to church with us he´d be baptised.....elect....well, somehow he didnt get picked up and he called us at 930 livid. He didnt want to hear from us again. he went out drinking with his friend instead. Low of Lows. But we made a cake and a card and droped off at his work, he didnt show up the whole weekened for work. I hope he forgives us. yo your salvation is on it friend! But after this saturday, an old investigator told her husband she wanted to be baptised. So of course we suprised her at her home. She accepted a date for ysterday, but she has to give up coffee so hopefully next week we´ll be hearing that I finally was able to participate in a baptism here in brasil! We are working with a few people for baptism, i pray that we can be effective in helping them.
Ive felt a lot of dissapointment here in my mission in brasil, but I have had a lot to learn from the dissapointment. And im super greatful for the good experiences I had in Louisiana that bring some sun in the rain! This week is going to be awesome, we are going to end this transfer with a kick!
and yes, its cold in cuiabá.;
im wearing my winter clothes.