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Semana 34

By 3:20 PM

Olá todo mundo!!

So I didn´t have time to write up an outline for this week´s email, so
it´s probably not going to be very detailed or interesting or
all-inclusive, but I´ll try my best!

Before we hit the spiritual stuff - one day I just want to know how
many miles I have walked on my mission.....
I also hit some other landmarks (mom you´ll be proud). I sewed my
first item of clothing! It wasn´t pretty but at least it didn´t fall
apart afterwards... Also, I´m getting pretty good at handwashing my
clothes. I´ve also finally been converted to coconut. Maybe I always
hated it at home because it wasn´t fresh, like it is here. :) 





Now for the good stuff!

This week we spent our time weeding out our teaching group, cutting a
few investigators, and trying to focus on our progressing
investigators. Sometimes, weeks on the mission are more exciting than
others. We were planning on baptizing Vânia this week, but everything
went well until she failed her baptismal interview.. turns out she had
lied to us about a problem with homosexuality she had had in the past,
and she is still living with the woman as a "sister" although they
sleep in different beds.. it´s a really sticky situation and I don´t
really feel comfortable baptizing her, unfortunately. The ethics of
the mission are really difficult, because of course we shouldn´t deny
baptism to anyone, but in a situation like this, with her repentant,
but still living with the woman and in the favela, no one from the
ward will follow up with her or visit her because of where she lives
(we´re the only ones that will enter the favelas) and will need a ride
to church every week but we can´t afford that. I´ll stop there, but
it´s a lot more difficult serving here than I realized. To answer your
question, mom - lots of people we teach are illiterate, not only in
the favelas. Especially if they´re over the age of 40 or 50, not very
many people can read, and if they do they don´t understand what they
read because the people here are very simple, and so is the language -
we have to explain things really simply here!

One miracle this week - we tried to find an address of a contact for
several hours one day. When we finally found her house, she wasn´t
home but were able to talk to her neighbor. When we went back a
different day, she wasn´t there again but talked to the neighbor, and
his son Moalisson was at home. We contacted him and invited him to go
to church, and told us that he had visited church once at the stake
center in Mossoró. He said, "se da tempo, talvez eu vou. Se Deus
quiser, eu vou lá. vamos ver." Which is basically the most wishy washy
response that EVERYONE and their dog gives us - (if there´s time,
maybe I will go. If God wishes, I will go there. Let´s see what
happens). I can´t count how many times a day we hear phrases like
that! But anyway, we didn´t think much of it. But we showed up to
church on sunday, and he was there, sitting in Elder´s Quorum! He came
to church all by himself and LOVED it. Afterwards he said, "I want to
know all about your church and temples and eternal families." He had
paid super close attention all day - we went back and visited him
Sunday night, taught him the Restoration, and marked his baptism for
next week! Pray that everything will go well with him!

This week I did a lot of life evaluating that I wanted to share with
you guys. I don´t remember if I have already talked about this in the
past, so if I have, sorry. But one thing that I realized, as I have
thought about Adam in college and what his experience is going to be
like, and my own college experience, I reflected on how I could have
done better, in my grades, in my stress levels, in my overall
happiness. And I realized something - I didn´t do as well as I could
have, I wasn´t as happy as I could have been, I could have handled
things better than I did, because I wasn´t keeping the commandments of
God. Obviously I wasn´t doing things wrong 24/7, but I wasn´t
converted to the gospel like I am now. I wasn´t always repentant. I did do
some things very wrong. I wasn´t the best person, and I recognized
that I could change, until the Lord took me to my knees and I humbled
myself and changed. But I realized that the promise in Mosiah 2:41 is
real - that when we keep the commandments of God, we are blessed in
ALL things, temporally and spiritually. I have a new resolve in life.
I will do things better. I can´t afford to do things the way I did
before the mission - my salvation depends on it! If we want to be
blessed, keep the commandments that God has given us and we will
succeed.

I think that is why I have found so much happiness here on the mission
- I constantly have the presence of the Spirit with me because I am
worthy of it. When we do what we are asked to do, whatever the mantle
we carry (that of a missionary, a mother or father, church calling,
student, etc.) when we work diligently and with obedience, the Lord
blesses us. I like to compare the mission to an anthill, and all of us
missionaries are the ants, working for the queen (President, the
Lord). We all have our own capacities to carry a load, and have a duty
to perform - to contribute building the anthill. In the end, the queen
ant isn´t going to remember or even recognize the workers that brought
in the heaviest loads, or who worked faster than the others for a
certain time period (the mission) and then gave up or relaxed because
they were making up for the work. The queen (the Lord) will recognize
our efforts to work and support our load (which He knows perfectly how
much we can handle) diligently and obediently - the ants that kept to
the path and didn´t stray far, or waste time - but those who just did
their job with a smile.

Sometimes I sort of feel like the obedient worker ant (if that even
makes sense haha), just doing my job and hoping that the Lord is
pleased with what I´m doing. Maybe I don´t bring 15, 16 or more
investigators to church every week, or maybe I don´t even baptize
every week. But if I am happy and I have the Spirit with me and I am
growing, then I know that the Lord, when I meet Him one day, will tell
me that He was pleased of my work.

That´s it for this week, but I love you guys so much! Tell Max
CONGRATS on the mission call, can´t believe another cousin is going
out! So far, the Peterson family is winning with the count of 3 - it´s
up to you Adam for the other side!

Love you all, até mais!


Sister Brown

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