Monday, January 27, 2014

DAY 200

Seems like I should have something really profound to say on day 200…Really not a whole lot has happened.  Well, a lot has happened, but not enough for our leaders to be happy with.  I hate it when missionaries get super focused on numbers and not on the actual welfare of a person.  Leaders and missionaries, missionaries and investigators, all of those relationships matter and are more important than hitting a target number. Right now we have one zone leader who is all about numbers, and another one who actually cares. I just hope that I won’t lose focus on why I am here.

Forbidden shores for missionaries - this is as close as we can get to the beach!
     Anyways, V. was confirmed in church today.  I actually got pretty pumped this sacrament meeting because J., one of our recent converts, said the opening prayer, and Y. another of our recent converts, blessed the sacrament for the first time.  All in all, sacrament meeting was pretty great!  Sadly, that was probably the highlight of the week.  Elder N. had some kind of virus and we couldn’t work for two days, so that was kind of frustrating.  We also had our interview with our mission president on Tuesday.  I basically told him everything that was going on in our house….that was after he had finished telling me that our district is the weakest area in the entire mission, and that I need to step up my responsibilities as a district leader and be an example to my district. The problem is, I don’t know what it’s like to work in a good area!  This is still my first area (after the US. that is, and there is nothing about this place that is like the US.)  I have no idea how a successful area in Brazil should work. He told all of the other missionaries in the house that their purpose as missionaries in my district in my house is to help me to grow. I think that he called me to be district leader to grow even more in the mission because people generally make the most progress when they're under stress.  I am feeling stressed and I still don't really know what he wants me to do... I'm just getting so tired and I haven't even hit 1 year yet.

     Needless to say, we changed a lot of things this week in HOW we work, so I hope that we can see some major changes in our results in the next week. And we've been trying to figure out some kind of way to involve the youth, but it's been going really slow. I don't know if you know, but the wards here are at the very largest 100 people. I don't know why, but that only leaves room for about 13 youth. And of those 13 half of them are rich and lazy and don't like to help other people. The most successful type of integration so far has been our English class which has had up to 7 people.  There is no mutual program at all for the youth, and they only meet once a week for seminary. There are lots of other issues with our ward that makes missionary work really hard. Members are so important when it comes to missionary work.

     So we have one person who we are teaching, T., and she is having a lot of difficulty believing in the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith and the fact that there is a living prophet on the earth today who guides us.  However, she is willing to learn.  She wants to read the entire Book of Mormon before she will pray about it.  Really, she just wants to study it and not pray to ask God if it is true.  That is the hardest part, because I know that if she would pray with a sincere heart and just ask God if it was true, then she would know the truth for herself. I know this works, because I have already received that witness for myself.  Just in the few short months that I have been serving as a missionary, I have prayed and asked God for reassurance because I find myself faltering.  I find myself faltering because this work is HARD, it really is!  However, every time that I get down on my knees and ask God if I’m doing the right thing, I get an answer, through the Holy Ghost testifying to me that this is the TRUTH.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints contains the fullness of the gospel and this is the way to return to live in the presence of God.  I get an answer that tells me that the Book of Mormon is really the word of God, and can help us learn of Him as much, if not more, than the Bible can. These answers help give me the strength that I need to spread the truth as a representative of Jesus Christ.  I am working my hardest to help others know of the gospel of Jesus Christ, restored in its fullness through the prophet Joseph Smith.  Some of our investigators actually say that I’m so excited when I talk and when I teach that they can see that I just want them to know that what I am teaching is true.  However, I can’t give them a testimony, and most of them choose not to try to find one….all I can do is keep on working.

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