What a week!
So. Last Wednesday was so looooonnnngggg. We got all moved in to our apartment and then a sister that lives with us said that our apartment was tiny, and found out the elders apartment (with only 2 elders) is twice the size. So... We switched apartments. Good news- it is huge and very well-ventilated. YES! Bad news- oh elders.... why why why are you SO gross!!! Yes, strike 2- second time moving into an elders apartment and I have pretty much decided it’s something I never want to do again. If you can believe it- this apartment was 100 times worse than the one in Prossind when I got there. Man. I was shocked. But... no horry stories. No pictures either- it’s better that you don’t see. Haha but it’s fine now, we have done a ton of work there and it’s looking better every day- after getting a few beds and dressers and cleaning supplies and utensils, we should be good to go!
Guarabira is SO cool. There are so many people here ready for the gospel. It’s a city with a lot of neighborhoods- we divide our work by neighborhoods with our district- 6 missionaries, as I explained last time. The first picture is a picture of our district. 2 Brazilians from São Paulo. My companion from Georgia, and Sister Willette from PA and Elder Wilson from Texas. I really like our district- our DL is LEGIT. He works hard and has some really great ideas- we are going to see miracles this transfer.
Speaking of miracles- the baptism of 4 wasn’t as easy as was planned. 2 of the sons dropped out and we will be working with them this week- but the dad, and his youngest son were baptized- which still took a TON of work. I was glad to have to work for the baptism though- I don’t want anything handed to me on a silver platter here. Or anywhere anymore. I’ve learned we only appreciate the things we have to work for. I took a picture with Roberto- the 10-year-old with my nametag on. He doesn’t know it yet, but yes, he is my future missionary.... Don’t know why he wasn’t smiling, because he has the cutest smile in the world- but oh well. Maybe its cuz he thinks I’m crazy? But... he is becoming my best buddy- love that family. The last pic is of the 4 of them- the dad with 3 of his sons. They are great and I am so happy to be working with them.
So, it’s a ramo, as I mentioned earlier. There is a lot of work to be done- the chapel was pretty empty yesterday- but that is exactly why we are here. The members really want to be missionaries- what a blessing! I don’t have a picture of the area yet- but it’s all green hills- everywhere. It’s probably the most beautiful area that exists in Brazil. But, the sun is way hotter here- I’m thinking we are at a higher altitude? Não sei. Because I am getting burned- like CRAZY. Don’t worry. I learned my lesson, swallowed my pride and will be using sun screen from here on out.
I really like my companion. She is super sweet, happy, and easy to get along with. She wants to learn and is humble too. I already love her and this is probably going to be the easiest companionship of all time. She has said some of the nicest things to me that I have heard on the mission. She told me I always know what to say and that I am ``powerful``. WOA. That was the first time I have heard that one. Anyways. She did marching band at BYU- so that will be fun after the mission- just one more companion I really don’t have to say goodbye to. YES! Speaking of companions. Moore got transferred- late transfer- to a different area and is now with my good buddy Sister Sciammarella. We are both sad she wasn’t able to stay with our old area, but this is going to help her a lot- she was pretty stressed out the last few weeks. She seems happier now, with makes me happy.
Ok. I read a really cool talk by Elder Holland this morning about change and faith. He based it around the story of ``Lot´s wife.`` He counseled, ``As a new year begins and we try to benefit from a proper view of what has gone before, I plead with you not to dwell on days now gone nor to yearn vainly for yesterdays, however good those yesterdays may have been. The past is to be learned from but not lived in. We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead and remember that faith is always pointed toward the future.
``So a more theological way to talk about Lot´s wife is to say that she did not have faith. She doubted the Lord´s ability to give her something better than she already had.
He went on to talk about forgiveness. He said,``...That also happens in marriages and other relationships. I can’t tell you the number of couples I have counseled who, when they are deeply hurt or even just deeply stressed, reach farther and farther into the past to find yet a bigger brick to throw through the window ``pain`` of their marriage. When something is over and done with, when it had been repented of as fully as it can be repented of, when life has moved on as it should and a lot of other wonderfully good things have happened since then, it is not right to go back and open some ancient wound that the Son og God Himself died to heal. Let people repent. Let people grow. Believe that people can change and improve. Is that faith? Yes! Is that hope? Yes! Is that charity? Yes! Above all, it is charity, the pure love of Christ.
``...bury your weapons of war and leave them buried. Forgive and do that which is harder to do: forget. And when it comes to mind again, forget it again.
``...Keep your eyes on your dreams, however distant and far away. Live to see the miracles of repentance and forgiveness, of trust and divine love that will transform our life today, tomorrow, and forever. That is a New Year´s Resolution I ask you to keep.``
The idea is that we shouldn’t be a Lot´s wife, thinking that anyone’s past is more interesting that their future. Forgive people. Forget their mistakes and forget your own. Loved this idea because I truly love knowing we can change through the atonement. And, when you believe that for yourself, believe that for someone else too.
I love you guys. Don’t you worry about me, because I am just doing GREAT! Loving every minute of this mission and Guarabira. Have a wonderful day. Be safe! Enjoy the holiday today- and remember what it means!
Sister M. Seal