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Semana 24---the 4th of July

By 12:11 PM

Oi família!

Yet another transfer has flown by.. and like you heard, President pulled a surprise and I am staying one more transfer here in Natal! Sister Lopes was transferred to Souza to be a new Sister Leader Trainer. Not going to lie, it was the worst day getting news that she would be transferred! Sister Lopes and I just cried and talked the whole day - she has become one of my best friends here on the mission. She helped me in ways that I will never be able to repay her for.

 However, my new companion is ótima! Her name is Sister Coelho, from Rio Grande do Sul, another gaucha for a companion! She has 5 months left in the mission and is super great! I like working with her so far.

The work week was a week of harvest - we had another baptism yesterday of Luiz Otávio, the grandson of Benedita, the senhora that we baptized last week. When we went to pick him up he was all ready to go and so excited! It´s so rewarding to see people so happy to make good decisions and follow the example of Jesus Christ.

This week we contacted some ladies standing in front of their house - they weren´t too interested, but as we  were conversing I saw a young man in the back kitchen, who was paying attention to the conversation. After a few minutes he appeared and started talking with us, and accepted a return visit. When we went back to teach him, we were short on time and gave him an introduction to the Book of Mormon. We marked a visit for the following day. When we came back to visit him, he told us he had read the entire chapter we left him, and had decided that the Book of Mormon held all of the answers to his questions in life, and decided that if he read from the very beginning he would know what he needed to do with his life. So he started from the very beginning and had read all the way until 1 Nephi 8, and was explaining to us all about Joseph Smith and the witnesses of the plates before we had even taught him the Restoration! It was amazing, everything that he explained to us about his religious background, his life goals and pursuits, and desire to follow Christ was a perfect introduction for us. He even told us that he felt like God had places us in his path to help him correct his tragectory. He came to church yesterday, accepted the invitation to be baptized next week, and will be a firm member and future priesthood holder! Yesterday we had 4 investigators at church, which is a huge deal for our area and our recent stats, it was a good day.

In other news...

This week we did some super fun/super stupid things this week: we spent p day drawing all over each other, and the sisters colored my feet and legs, which we thought was a great idea until it didn´t wash off… 

and then to celebrate the 4th of July, we bought paint and painted our faces half the flag of Brasil and the other half America and took a bunch of pictures haha. 

Sister Coelho straightened my hair, and holy cow I look so different and my hair is so long! It was a shock to everyone haha. The things you do to entertain yourself on the mission

I got packages from mom and the Lewis family!!! You guys are great, the assistants and secretaries are super jealous because I get packages like every few weeks haha, but keep them coming!

I wanted to share a quote that a dear friend of mine sent me this week -

“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, in the end, "Thy will be done." All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened” (The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis)
It really is so true - we will be rewarded for our desires here on earth, whether they be good or evil. I thought this went hand in hand with a scripture in Alma 41:3-6,
" 3 And it is requisite with the justice of God that men should be judged according to their works; and if their works were good in this life, and the desires of their hearts were good, that they should also, at the last day, be restored unto that which is good.
 4 And if their works are evil they shall be restored unto them for evil. Therefore, all things shall be restored to their proper order, every thing to its natural frame—mortality raised to immortality, corruption to incorruption—raised to endless happiness to inherit the kingdom of God, or to endless misery to inherit the kingdom of the devil, the one on one hand, the other on the other—
 5 The one raised to happiness according to his desires of happiness, or good according to his desires of good; and the other to evil according to his desires of evil; for as he has desired to do evil all the day long even so shall he have his reward of evil when the night cometh.
 6 And so it is on the other hand. If he hath repented of his sins, and desired righteousness until the end of his days, even so he shall be rewarded unto righteousness."

As I teach all sorts of different people with different situations, I am beginning to recognize some patterns - eternal laws of heaven. First off, no one is perfect. Everyone has a different package of sins, flaws, insecurities, and weaknesses that make us succeptible to the adversary. We have the absolute necessity for an infinite Atonement in order to make restitution for our natural state of mankind. I am also learning that God is just - He truly does reward people for their desires, righteous or evil. Our task is to learn how to control the natural man, and use the Atonement to overcome our weaknesses and prove to our Heavenly Father that we truly want to live in His presence. Sometimes I get really frustrated with people when they don´t have a care in the world to change their circumstances, especially when they are presented the truth through the restored gospel but their hearts are too hard to admit. It really is through the small and simple things that we are saved, that God shows His power and glory through plainness. I wish people would understand that better, but then I look at my own life when I failed to follow through with the simple things myself: reading the Book of Mormon daily, fervent prayer, fasting, going to church with a purpose and intent to become a better person and follow the gospel of Jesus Christ. As I see a change in the lives of others through these small and simple things, my testimony grows of the power of God and His plan for us.

I love you all, and will talk to you next week! <3

Sister Brown

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