A friend of mine who is also serving in Brazil right now wrote this to me, "The people who have been prepared by the Lord to receive you will be truly interested in the Book of Mormon. Some will be absolutely captivated by it. These are the elect of the Lord." This past week we have been teaching Orlanda, the elderly woman who we found through a man who was painting her home. From the moment we gave her the Book of Mormon, she has been truly captivated by it! One day we showed up to teach and she told us that she had spent the whole day reading! This 79 year old daughter of God is incredible! We teach her a new principle and then ask her if she will commit to live it and she replies "com certeza!" One night, she commented to us that she remembered her father telling her about 'another Bible'. She also told us that she remembered him telling her stories that were very similar to the ones that she was now reading in the Book of Mormon! Wow! As soon as Orlanda is baptized this Sunday, my companion and I will begin to teach her about geneology and how she can start preparing names in her family to have their work done for them. I'm sure she has a lot of family anxiously waiting to receive the Gospel.
During lunch with some members, the wife commented on how strong I looked and
then the husband told my companion that she had better be careful. I
replied that I wouldn't kill a fly. The wife looked at me and said,
"you wouldn't have to kill the fly, it'd die of fright first!"
hahaha! As with most things in my life, I don't like to do things at a
'normal level'; the more adrenaline, the better! Of course, a mission has
it's limits, but I've figured out how to take a normal street contact to the
next level of excitement! A normal street contact consists of talking
about the person's family, the Book of Mormon, and the living prophets.
Preach My Gospel suggested that we can make a street contact using any
principle of the Gospel and than refer it quickly back to the Restoration in
some way. I decided that I wanted to try making a street contact using
the word of wisdom. Here is how it went...my companion and I were walking
down the street and I saw a man who was smoking approaching us. I thought
to myself, 'now here is someone who could really benefit from the principles
found within the word of wisdom.' We approached him and I said,
"Hello, we're missionaries and we teach people about the Gospel of Jesus
Christ that was restored throught a living prophet. One of the truths
that we received through this prophet is called the Word of Wisdom, which
teaches us how we can take care of our bodies. What things are you doing
now to keep your body healthy?" (at this point I'm sweating buckets and
the adrenaline is pumping) He said something about exercising (I think)
and then I replied, "perfect, that is good for your body, but we also need
to not drink, do drugs, drink coffee, and not smoke" (at this point
I gestured to his cigarette that he was holding and become even slightly more
nervous, but continued to smile confidently at him). He replied that he
knew smoking was bad for him and that he had tried to stop, but that it was
difficult. We asked him if he still had the desire to stop and that we
would be willing to help him. Unfortunately, he didn't have the desire to
stop...but we did our part. Besides street contacts, we also 'bate
porta', which is either clapping at someone's gate in front of their house or
ringing their buzzer/intercome on the outside of their gate. The Elder's
in our district told us to simply tell the people that we are missionaries and
then ask if we can come in and offer a prayer for their family. It's
amazing, but 50-75% of the time it works and we get in! It's still weird
to walk into the home of a complete stranger and start talking to them like
you've known them forever, but the people here have the gift of gab, so all we
have to do is ask a good question and then they'll start talking (sometimes so
much we can't get them to stop)! However, I read a great quote in Preach
My Gospel that helps me to feel less weird. "Missionary work is but
home teaching to those who are not now members of the Church, and home teaching
is nothing more or less than missionary work to Church members."
Basically, I am a full-time visting teacher right now! Thinking of
missionary work like visiting teaching somehow makes it seem less scary.
These people are just normal people, with normal families, with normal lives
and challenges, and the same need to be nurished by the word of God.
Likewise, when we switch it around and remember, 'every member a missionary'
it's easy to see that Home Teaching and Visiting teaching truly are magnificent
ways that members can be missionaries. Home Teaching and Visiting
Teaching are so essential to this Gospel! We don't need to make our HT or
VT into some huge, complicated project; simply serve and simply love. We
all need to be constantly lifted and encouraged by the word of God and by the
testimonies of others. When we sacrifice just a small portion of our time
to serve others the blessings we receive will be far greater than the blessings
we impart to others.