Monday, June 4, 2012

The Painter

As my sister Janette mentioned in one of her letters, a mission is 90% awkward and 10% miracle.  Hahahaha!  I have never said so many prayers on the street with strangers before in my life!  One day, we were saying a prayer with a man and his neighbor yelled out, 'bon dia'.  Right in the middle of our prayer the guy yelled back, 'bon dia, tudo bem!?' haha!  Another time, we were teaching a family and after our lesson we invited the father to say the prayer.  While he was praying, his mother and sister started making suggestions for things he should pray for.  It was a fun little group prayer, everyone contributing! heehee! Oh gosh, you gotta love the awkwardness. 

Sunday is certainly a 'day of rest' for the Brazilians.  Everyone is sitting outside or lounging in hammocks with the best chillin', beach party music (think Colbie Calliet 'Brighter than the Sun' type of music) blaring from their houses or cars!  It takes all the self-control that I have to not grab my own hammock and enjoy the Sunday afternoon under the sun!  After a lunch of rice, beans, spaghetti, and some sort of casserole or potato salad it's hard to stay awake in those first few hours in the afternoon.  (but I'm grateful that I have the whole rest of the day to walk off the calories!)

Saturday night my companion and I witness the 10% part of a mission that's a miracle!  All week long, we had endured rejections, false addresses, and no progressing investigators.  It was
6:00 at night and we were walking through a neighborhood where we had spoken to a guy who was a painter for a family who lived there.  We had give the guy a pamphlet about the restoration and had come back once to see if we could teach him, but since he didn't actually live at the house, it was kind of difficult.  As we walked by the house, my companion and I decided to try talking to him one more time.  We buzzed the intercom and a woman's voice asked us what we wanted.  We replied that we were looking for José.  After a few moments, the metal gate slid open and the light from the garage flooded out onto the street.  Standing in the driveway was a very elderly woman.  We introduced ourselves and asked again if José was there.  She simply replied, 'come closer'.  My companion and I stepped through the entryway and approached the woman.  She then motioned for us to come into her house.  As we sat down, she began to tell us that she had been reading her scriptures and praying when we rang the bell.  She then got chocked up and started to cry.  She related to us that her husband had passed away some years ago, and she missed him immensely.  I looked into her eyes and bore my testimony that I knew she would be able to see her husband again and that she would live with him and her family again one day.  As I bore my testimony, I could feel the spirit so strongly I almost started to cry.  The elderly woman got up after I finished talking and walked back to her room.  When she returned, she was holding the pamphlet about the Restoration that we had given the painter who works in her home!  She told us that she had read the pamphlet and believed that it was true!  We didn't have a lot of time to visit with her because we had another appointment at 7:00, but we briefly reviewed the pamphlet with her, invited her to come to church the next day, and committed her to be baptized!  It was incredible!  As we left her home, I thought back on the night when we had first contacted the painter.  He was the only man in the street, and I almost passed him by, but felt that I should stop and talk to him.  When I learned that he didn't even live in that house I didn't understand why I would've felt the need to stop and talk to him when we would probably never have the chance to teach him.  Yet, now I could look back on all those tiny steps and see how the Lord was preparing the way for this elderly woman to receive the Gospel!  I want to bear testimony that I KNOW our Heavenly Father is in control!  When your life feels like all you're doing is sporadically slopping paint onto a canvas with no purpose or direction, remember who is guiding the paint to fall exactly where it should.  'Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow.'  God in all His infinite power cares for and nurtures even such an infinitesimal creation as the lilies of the field -- How much more do you think that He cares for you and guides your life, you who are His child!  As a friend of mine said, 'you can't see the whole picture now, and every brush stroke you make may seem dull and worthless, but be not weary in well doing, for you are laying the foundation of a great work!'

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