Dear Family & Friends,
Thank you for all the birthday wishes!!! I want you all to know how much I appreciate your thoughts and encouraging words. I love you all and I am truly grateful for each one of you and your support. Thanks for making me smile!!! Truly there is no better place to be on your birthday than on your mission serving the Lord. Forgetting yourself and focusing on others- this is true happiness!
It was a great day! We talked to lots of people and taught some really awesome lessons. We are teaching a lady named Nieuza who has cancer and yesterday her friend was visiting her when we passed by. Her friend, Rosiane, wanted to know more about baptism so we ended up teaching them both a powerful lesson about baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. As we were getting ready to leave, Rosiane told us "I have gone to lots of different churches all my life but now, for the first time, I understand what the Holy Ghost is. I want this! I want to visit your church." We are passing off her address to the other missionaries who are serving in her area. No doubt she is a golden one! So grateful for the companionship of the Holy Ghost in my life. The Holy Ghost is our teacher, our comforter, our constant guide as we live righteously and keep the commandments.
My sweet companion made me a birthday cake and lots of people at church wished me a happy birthday too. It was also the birthday of a less-active named Lusinete and she came to church!!! And Monica, recent convert, wrote me a little note and gave me some candy. I felt special. Best birthday yet? I think so! Not many people can say they turned 20 in Brazil!
This week Elder Aidukatis of the Seventy (he spoke at the last general conference in April) came to visit our mission and we had a conference with him. It was awesome! He trained us the importance of asking inspired questions and the significance of sincerely listening to our investigators. We can't be afraid of silence because that is when the Spirit is strongest. He also taught us how we can improve our teaching with the Plan of Salvation. This lesson is crucial for people to understand their purpose in this life and why baptism is so important. I also had the privilege of having a one-on-one interview with Elder Aidukatis. President Farnes only chose a few missionaries to have this opportunity- not sure how I got so lucky! It was a special experience and I learned alot.
This week we also had exhanges with the sister training leaders and Sister Zapata spent the day with me in Rio Acima. She was trained in this area 8 months ago so she remembered alot. We were able to visit a few a few people that she taught and we added 11 new investigators. What a day! Sister Zapata is an amazing missionary. She is from Argentina.
Time for a little spiritual nourishment...
"...Ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things ye shall stand in need. DOUBT NOT, but be believing...come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work our your own salvation..." (Mormon)
I found this scripture while studying this morning (look, I'm almost done with the Book of Mormon in Portuguese!) and I gained a new perspective. We can't have faith and doubt at the same time. We either have faith, or fear. We can't have both. When we ask in faith and DO all that we can to solve our problem, the Lord will bless us with what we need. He gives us opportunities to "work out our own salvation" to learn and grow. If He gave us all the answers immediately all the time, we would never learn anything! There would be no need for faith! But God, being our loving Heavenly Father, wants us to trust him and grow in our testimonies of Him and our Savior Jesus Christ.
Mormon 9 is an incredible chapter on faith and miracles. Read it! I am so grateful to know that I have a Father in Heaven who loves me and works miracles in my life day after day. How amazing is it to know that the same God that created the universe and everything in the world, knows you by name and cares about you individually? Doubt not!
Have a wonderful week! How can it be September already?! Love and miss you all!
P.S. Just look at how cute my companion is! Enjoy the pic :)