Sometimes I don't know if the strange things I see in São Paulo are because I'm in Brazil or because this is the first time I've 'lived' in a huge city for any length of time. Traffic on the freeway is in a perpetual state of 'rush hour' traffic, backed up and slowly crawling from exit to exit. The 'smart' Brazilians buy motorcycles so that they can weave in and out of the stopped cars and zip to their destinations. The motorcyclists seem to have their own rules of the road. Any piece of road unoccupied by a car is classified as a 'motorcycle lane'. Estão louco!! On P-Day we get to leave the CTM and walk around the part of São Paulo that is close to the CTM. None of the shops have doors. They only have three walls and then are completely open to the street. At night they simply pull down a gate to lock their shop. Anyway, last P-Day a few of the Elders in my district and I wanted to buy a Brazilian fruit smoothie. One of the Elders wanted a pineapple smoothie, but didn't pronounciate the word properly and ended up ording an Abacate (avocado) smoothie instead of an Abacaxí (pineapple) smoothie! hahahah! We all had a good laugh about that...except for the Elder with the Avocado smoothie! heehee
Every devotional we have is either translated into Portuguese or translated into English (the spanish speakers can understand the Portuguese pretty well). Whenever we have a Brazilian speaker, I try to race the translator to see if I can understand what was said in Portuguese before I hear the translation! It's a fun game and helps to keep me awake...most of the time anyway... ;) Yesterday we had the opportunity to hear from Elder Cook! Before he spoke, he shook every missionary's hand! It was incredible to watch as the Brazilian and Hispanic missionaries shook Elder Cook's hand. Many of them have only been members for a few years and the majority of them have never met an apostle of the Lord before and probably won't ever have an experience like this again. The spirit was so strong!! At the end of his talk, Elder Cook gave all the missionaries in the CTM (about 250) a remarkable promise. He promised us that if we served a valiant and honorable mission every person in our life now and in the future would be blessed in someway! I could only imagine what that promise meant to some of those missionaries who I knew were the only members of the Church in their families!
In a recent devotional given by the mission President of the Interlogos mission, I was reminded of the magnitude of my call as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The president stood for a moment in silence and then with a penetrating look said, "you Elders and Sisters are called to represent a God! Think about it! Everyday, you carry around the Savior's name on your shirt. Do your actions, thoughts, and words epitomize a representative of a God?!" His words had a powerful effect on me, and it somewhat intimidated me to realize the immense trust my Heavenly Father was putting in me to represent Him well. As I thought more about this grand responsibility, I realized that full-time missionaries are not the only ones who 'take the Lord's name upon them' and become representatives for Him. Every member of the Church who has been baptized has covenanted to 'take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, to have a determination to serve him to the end, and to truly manifest by their works that they have received the Spirit of Christ' (D&C 20:37). Each of us - whether we are a full-time missionary, a mother, a student, an employee, a father, a sunday school teacher, a neighbor, whatever role we are currently fulfilling - each of us has covenanted to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things and in all places!!! (Mosiah 18:8-10) We have covenanted to be representatives of God!! What an incredible responsibility and opportunity we have to live a higher standard and to conduct our lives in such a way that those who see us will have no doubt that we are indeed representatives of our God, Heavenly Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ!!