Dear Family and Friends!
Oh what a week it was! Honestly, nothing too big happened, but all in all it was a pretty good week. I'm so proud of Amy, and she'll have to teach me the dances when she gets home! I am so excited for her and so I'll need to definitely get pictures of her! I know she worked hard to get in. So many girls train for years to do that! It makes me miss Hawaii. I remember sitting in my dorm and hearing "The Breath of Life". I love it, and she'll be great. Training is HARD but she'll be great.
I'm trying to think of things that happened this week. I started reading the Book of Mormon again with a focus on becoming a better missionary. I got a fresh copy of the Book of Mormon and highlight anything that will help me be a better missionary, and it's been amazing watching the Book of Mormon come to life as I've been reading. There are very few things as powerful as the words in that book. My knowledge has grown more, but even more important, my understanding has grown more as I've read it. I've read a lot about happiness. It's funny because what does happiness even really mean? Whenever I think of happiness, I think of Triple Chocolate Brownie Thunder Ice Cream.
I went to a zone conference this week, as well as stake conference this week, and the theme was "Hastening the Work" (no suprise there) and joy. I was reading in 2 Nephi last night, and it said in Chapter 2:13 If there be no righteousness, there be no happiness. It made me think of the scripture and a little bit of high school geometry. "wickedness NEVER was happiness" and if that is true, than that is true for other things as well. That means, wickedness ALWAYS was misery, righteousness NEVER was misery, and righteousness ALWAYS was happiness. I then read in Alma as well when the lamanites kept the commandments and were faithful. It said there was never a happier people. In the Book of Mormon, I've recognized a DIRECT correlation between righteousness and happiness. When we're righteous, we are happy. When we aren't, we're miserable. There are several examples where I've seen it happen this week as a missionary.
This week, after about a month, we were able to get back in touch with A. We asked him if he had been praying since his super spiritual experience from his blessing. He told us no. He told us his life has been more miserable. Essentially since we've seen him, he dropped out of school, and all he wants in life is to make money because he thinks he's a top dolla rapper. He doesn't take care of his body. He doesn't want to keep the commandments because he wants to have fun because he's a teenager. He's 17, He has kidney failure and has a child on the way, and doesn't understand why he is so miserable. He told us this week that he wants to come closer to God without doing the work. Every time we talk to him, he tells us that. And as I was reading my scriptures, and the part that I read was that God gives man the opportunity to choose happiness and eternal life, or captivity and misery. The answer I got from that was that we've taught him WHY it is important to keep the commandments, and HOW to do them, and he still chooses to do what he wants. Now that we've taught him, he has to choose.
Another example is P. We taught P pretty much all of the lessons. She's given up smoking and coffee. She reads her scriptures (Book of Mormon, Bible, Mormon Messages, General Conference talks, etc), comes to church when she can and she has a lot going on in her life as well. She has a very verbally abusive boss, and has MANY THINGS that have happened in her past that I would never ask to happen to my worst enemy. But she prays, and she asks God for help, and she randomly opens up to a general conference talk or the Book of Mormon and her questions are ALWAYS answered. She has so much faith, hope, charity, and love. And even though she has really hard problems in her life, she is HAPPY. Happier than anyone I think I know because she's righteous, she keeps the commandments, and would do anything to find truth. Pis on date to be baptized October 19th, and I am so happy for her and can't wait. There really is no greater happiness than helping people come closer to Christ. I think of Ammon, who passes out he's so happy that King Lamoni has come to know that there is a God!
That's what the Book of Mormon is. It's a book that 100 percent guaruntees happiness. Not just in the next life, but the moment you turn towards God. I just want everyone to read it and know for themselves, but it's hard when everyday you're faced with rejection!!! But it's okay, I don't let it get me down.
I had another really cool experience this week. We were tracking down some less actives. One of them lived on the married campus housing. So we went down there and see this man who drops all of his groceries. We go to help him and take it back to his house. While he's talking, I recognized he had a funny accent, and asked where he was from. He told me Brazil. Out of nowhere, I started speaking Portguese with him. I told him that I am a missionary who is going to Brazil, but I haven't received my visa, so that is why I am here in Ann Arbor. He asked where, and I told him Goiania, and he asked me where I learned Portugues and how long I had been studying. I told him the MTC and we study for 6 weeks. He was shocked! He said, It is incredible that you're Portugues is this good for that amount of training. I told him that I would love to practice my portugues and share some lessons with them in Portugues as well. They said of course, and so I found another family who I can practice Portugues with, and maybe share the gospel with them as well. It really was a miracle.
Anyways, a lot of really good things are happening in this area. There is a lot of work to do. Not just for missionaries, but for everyone. I love serving a mission. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world right now, and to be honest, I wouldn't trade a day taht I've spent here for a day in Brazil. There are so many things to be learned here. So many people that I love, and so many people to teach. I know I'll go to Brazil when I need to. But for now, I know that I am needed here.