Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Country Roads and the Hallelujah Chorus

We often have to travel to a city called Mamanguape for zone meetings, interviews with the President, or other random meetings during the week.  Mamanguape is about a 45 minute drive from Guarabira.  No one likes to call it hitch hiking...alternative transportation is more sophisticated...but in reality we have to hitch hike everytime we go to Mamanguapi.  There are a few places in the every city were a group of men will stand and wait for people to ask for a ride.  Or, the men will shout out a name of a city as you walk past, "Belém, Belém, Belém" -- "Mamanguapi, Mamanguapi, Mamanguapi!"  We then do a little bartering to get the price we want, and then everyone piles into the car and we're on our way!  This past week, we had a random health meeting at 1:00 in Mamanguapi.  This is right during the time of day when everyone is eating lunch, so we were worried that we wouldn't be able to find a ride to Mamanguapi.  Thankfully, there was a man who was willing to drive us there, but he already was taking a woman to João Pessoa.  So, the four of us missionaries had to pile in the back seat for the entire 45 minutes!  We had gotten about 10 minutes outside of Guarabira when we were stopped by a military police.  He was just parked out on the country roads stopping people at random and doing whatever military police do (which I have no idea what that is...).  He looked in the car, saw the four of us missionaries crammed in the back, looked at the driver, and said, 'You've got a full load today,' and then waved us on.  Being my curious little self, I asked the driver why the military police hadn't done anything about the fact that there were four of us in the back.  He replied that maybe if we were in a city it would be a problem, but we were just driving on country roads, so it wasn't a big deal...

One of the Elders had brought along a CD of classical music and asked the driver if we could listen to it.  As if our trip wasn't exciting enough as it was, we soon had the Alleluja Chorus and other Classical music playing from the open windows of the car as we passed through tiny Brazilian towns and countrysides!

A couple weeks ago we found a woman who had been baptized in
Rio, but had stopped attending Church.  We had given her a Book of Mormon to start reading again, but when we returned a few days later she gave it back to us and replied that she had moved on with her life and that she was 'too old'.  In the moment, my companion and I didn't have time to sit down and talk with her, so we returned this past week.  As we talked with her, we discovered that when she had been baptized in the church she had never developed her own, personal testimony.  She had never prayed and asked Heavenly Father if the Book of Mormon was true and if Joseph Smith was a prophet, and if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was true!  We explained to her the importance of asking and receiving a personal testimony of these things, and than invited her to pray that night and ask Heavenly Father.  She replied that she would, and then to make it even better, she told us that when she received an answer she would act upon it!  I am excited for her to recieve an answer, and I am praying that she will be able to recognize her answer; becasue Heavenly Father always answers our prayers, it's just that sometimes we aren't listening as well as we should.

With every fiber in my being, I know that this Gospel is true!  We can't rely on the testimony of anyone else; we must have a personal testimony of the truthfulness of this Gospel.  If you haven't prayed about the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, the Church, or any other principle of the Gospel, DO IT!!  As it states in Preach My Gospel, No one can know the truthfulness of spiritual truths without prayer.  Heavenly Father doesn't want us to have doubts; He doesn't want us to be confused.  I can assure you that Heavenly Father wants us to be confident and sure of ourselves and the decisions that we need to make in our lives.  Pray; seek His guidance, and I know that He will respond!

 Brazilians have three food groups: rice, beans, and leite condensado (sweetened condensed milk)!  They put sweetened condensed milk on everything and it is delicious!!  I love it!!

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