Monday, October 26, 2015

Worldly Comforts

Carta Semanal:

We spent our preparation day, like I had said last week, in Feira de Santana and didn´t do a whole lot. There´s a place called ´´Feira-guay´´ or something like that and nearby, there´s a small clothing store famous by missionaries that sells a LOT of neat ties for pretty darn cheap. I´ll be sure to send you guys a photo of a few new ties that I had boughten.

The mission tour in Feira de Santana was a pretty neat experience. Elder Mazzagardi´s words were rather encouraging but what really lifted my spirits was just being able to see many of my good friends once again. I didn´t get to see everyone because the mission tour was two days (the first day being in Feira de Santana with the missionaries from the inland parts of Bahia and the next day being in Salvador with the areas around Salvador) so I got to see Elder Cerna, Elder Ramirez, Elder Santana, Elder Nickerson, Elder Chastain, and many other missionaries. Like I´ve said many times before, it was so nice to be able to see those guys again, mainly Elder Cerna. We were only companions for one transfer, but I really like and miss the guy and all the laughs and jokes we had shared. I´ll remember all the things that I had done, all the friends I had made, and the people we taught in Petrolina for the rest of my life. 

 I suppose that the hardest distraction for me right now are the worldly comforts that I´ve been accustomed to before the mission life. I won´t lie that occasionally I miss just lying on the couch without a care in the world just listening to music on my iPod in an air conditioned living room waiting for the family to get home so that we can all go out in eat and return home and watch a movie together.  The things that keep me on my feet are those times at the end of the day to unwind a little, talk about our day, joke around a little bit with the other 3 elders in our home and, of course, knowing that we´re doing our best to spread the true gospel of Christ. It can be hard and sometimes discouraging but I know that there´s nothing better that I could be doing right now.

Things are going fine here in Barreiras as well. We had a day of rain here which was a blessing of immeasurable proportions as we didn´t have to pass another day in the blistering heat. Elder Laurindo and I have been daily contacting and teaching pretty much anybody and everybody in the hope that we´ll find those that have been prepared by the Lord to hear our message but we usually end up having to move on as we soon discover that now´s not their time to accept us. It can be disappointing at times because I often associate our lack of finding and baptizing as God´s way of telling me that I´m not doing something right when sometimes it isn´t about that. I suppose that the two greatest things that I have learned this week and lately in general is that 

1st: when God answers our prayers, we have to choose to recognize that what happened came from Him. It was a little principle that Elder Cerna had taught me. I remember that one time we left and prayed for something simple, like having a better day than a discouraging week that we had. Then, when we went to visit Clayton before teaching him a lesson we had prepared, he asked us if we wanted to eat dinner with him before starting. That night, he bought pizza and we all sat, ate dinner real quick, and went to our lesson and it ended up being a great lesson. I remember kind of laughing at the end of that night asking Elder Cerna if that was an answer to a prayer, God giving us pizza, and he said yes. The natural man, and even Satan, wants us to disbelieve in the little things as coming from God. I know that was a rather corny example of God answering prayers but I believe the principle is the same because God blesses us in so many ways and usually we expect our answers to come through miracles. 

the 2nd thing I learned is that I developed a bit of a deeper empathy for the sorrow that many prophets from the Book of Mormon have felt. Sometimes we forget that the scriptures aren´t a one day thing, meaning that the events and chapters of the Book of Mormon weren´t things that happened in a day, but over the course of weeks, months, and years. Alma 26:26-30 I believe would be the best example of some of the sorrows that missionaries of those days went through. Sometimes we focus more on the successes that these men had and forget the amount of tears shed and grief they had felt. It gives me greater appreciation for them knowing that I´m barely experiencing just a taste of what they had to go through and they still pressed forward. 

I hope all is well at home and that everyone is happy and healthy. Love you all! Até a próxima semana. 


Elder Skinner

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