Hello! Wow it has been a week! First and MOST importantly, CONGRATULATIONS KATIE!!!!! I am so excited for you!!!! I wish I could say, "You will love Brazil," hahaha but who knows, I'm not even there yet. So! I hope you have learned from my situation, and that your VISA paperwork is already in! Haha - get that police record now - and all of the other things you already know you need - don't wait for the info packet to get started. But wow. I am so happy! This much I CAN tell you, you will love Portuguese! :) I couldn't be happier- I do believe I "called it". Haha! And yes, I watched the video mom sent me at least 10 times.
Still no word on my VISA, in case you were wondering. I am just prepared to leave when I receive that cal l- but I have a lot to do here before I'm ready to give up Oregon. We still have a lot of potentials, but getting ahold of people is more difficult than ever. It should be better now that graduation is over and school is out... but now we have to work around summer vacations. All part of the work! And we sure are thrilled to be doing it.
Well, we had good lessons this week - but a lot of dropped appointments too. We did a lot of service, which was great! There is a baptism scheduled for Saturday, and hopefully that doesn't fall through. It is an 8-year-old girl we have been teaching (but she doesn't count as an investigator or convert baptism because her mother is a less-active member) and we LOVE her! She is so smart and we are so happy for her! I will send pics if it happens- but she has been sick this week and we are just praying that she recovers quickly.
One really amazing experience was going to visit a less-active. We ended up teaching her friend's son (one of our potentials). We gave him a Book of Mormon after discussing it with him. He didn't really seem interested. I could tell that he didn't want another history book - he is a teenager and what was it to him? The only thing we can do is invite and then testify. So I did. All night long, his little sister had been begging for his attention (with her book, her shoes, anything) and she did her best to be a distraction - which was fine, we love that girl. But! This is the cool part! After that appointment my companion told me that while I was testifying about the Book of Mormon, the little sister was talking/ being a distraction/ trying to get his attention and he looked at her, shook her head and said shhhh. Like he was actually listening. I really don't believe it had anything at all to do with what I was saying, but that he somehow knew that what I was saying was for him, and that it was important. I was amazed that he could tell the difference between "talking" and "testifying" but I know it is because our testimonies bring the Holy Ghost to touch the hearts of those we teach and tell them what we are saying is true. I don't know if he even knew anything at all about the Holy Ghost, but this I do know: that he felt it, and that was a miracle - and definitely my week's highlight. Hope it made sense? Sometimes my stories are a "have to be there" experience. ha ;)
Ok. Awesome scripture! 2 Nephi 2:23-24. It answers the question of why God allows bad things to happen to us. People ask that question a lot. But rest assured, there IS an answer. If everyone was always happy, kind, and good... if there was no sickness, misery, or pain, would we learn to trust God? Would we really understand faith? NO! Don't forget that a world without sorrow is a world without agency... and that was Satan's plan. So I guess I don't understand why people say, "I don't believe in God- if there was a God, He wouldn't let all of these bad things happen in the world..." If that is how we feel, then we don't understand God's plan, and we don't understand agency. Excuse me for being bold - I just hadn't thought about it before and I thought it was cool to finally understand the concept - though I'm sure you all already "got it". :)
To add to that scripture, I found a quote in Joseph B. Wirthlin's talk "Come what May, and Love it" (great talk). He said, "The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned 100-fold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude." I really like this quote. I know life is difficult - far more so for many of you than I even understand. But I also know that our joy in the life to come will far exceed our heartache here on earth, which is only temporary. Jesus Christ promises peace - and that peace is real, nearly tangible. It's incredible. If you don't feel you have experienced that peace in your life, I invite you to seek it. The promise to those that seek is that they will find, and I know this to be true. Peace is powerful, and it is real, but it only comes through the Savior. Look to Him - He never left you.
Well, I love you all! I hope this letter finds you in great health and happiness! Have a wonderful week and thank you for your support!