As you all can probably guess by the title of this entry, I have finally had the opportunity to play some real, hardcore ultimate frisbee in Brazil!!! On Friday my zone, as well as three others had our Christmas Conference! I brought my frisbee with the hope and prayer that we would be able to find a open space large enough to get a competitive game of ultimate frisbee going. My prayers were answered! There was a total of 9 missionaries who played, and it was AWESOME!!!! It didn't even matter that it was 1:00, the hottest part of the day! I played like it had only been 8 days since the last time I played, instead of 8 months...which wasn't a problem until the 5 hour drive back to Sousa cramped up in a van! haha! It was a miracle I was able to walk the next day!
On Saturday, our Branch had their Christmas party! Our District President brought the daughter of a friend of his that he has been sharing the Gospel with. This girl is 12 years old, but has the maturity level of a 16 or 18 year old. Since she lives about 20 minutes outside of Sousa, Sister East and I only had Saturday and Sunday to talk to her. Sunday morning we went over to the District President's house to give the first lesson to this young girl. She sat on the edge of her seat the whole lesson and literally absorbed everything we said. The District President's wife was also there, and she shared an experience of when she was baptized at 12 years of age. As she was sharing this story and her testimony, the young girl who we were teaching started to tear up a bit. The spirit was super strong, and I could just feel that this young girl was truly an elect daughter of Heavenly Father! I am bummed that we will only be able to teach her on the weekends, but I am way excited to continue teaching her and to see her progress in the Gospel.
Also during this week, my companion and I had a neat experience helping on of our investigators resolve her doubts about 'not worshiping saints.' We had taught her the second commandment and explained to her how our Heavenly Father is the only one that can answer our prayers and that we should worship 'man-made' objects or conceptions. Yet, she was stubbornly fixed on the idea that she could pray to these two 'saints', one of which she had personally met. Finally, we asked her, 'Do you believe that the Book of Mormon is true?' She replied that she did. Then, we asked her, 'Do you believe that the Book of Mormon can help you resolve your doubts?' Once again she replied that she did. We continued, 'Alright, then you are going to say a prayer right now and ask Heavenly Father to help you understand that you don't need to worship saints, and that it is not good for you to worship these saints. Then, after you say this prayer, you are going to open up the Book of Mormon, choose a place to start reading, and we know that Heavenly Father will provide you with the answer that you need!' Our investigator became super excited and knelt on the floor to say her prayer. During her entire prayer I was praying as well, 'Please Heavenly Father, give her an answer in the Book of Mormon, please stand behind our promise, please!' My heart was going crazy as our investigator opened up the Book of Mormon and told us the page number. Sister East and I quickly turned to the page and began reading along with our investigator as she read, "O, remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youthç yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God. Yea, and cry unto God for all thy supportç yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thous goest let it be in the Lordç yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lordç yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever." (Alma 37:35-37) After she read these verses, she looked up at us and said, 'I received my answer. I shouldn't worship these saints!' WOOOHOOOO!!! Heavenly Father answers our prayers! The Book of Mormon is true!!!
As I've been studying this week for various lessons, I've been focusing a lot on forgiveness. In the course of a life time, each of us will be hurt and offended numerous times. Yet, the Lord has given us the commandment, 'ye ought to forgive one anotherç for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord for there remaineth in him the greater sin. I, the Lord, will forgive whome I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men' (D&C 64:9-10) As I was pondering about this commandment to forgive all men, I had the opportunity to watch a short clip of the life of Christ when the woman who was taken in adultery was brought before him and the question was made, 'such should be stoned, but what say thou?' Christ's answer is profound, 'He who is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone.' So it should be with our judgements of others. Perhaps we truly were offended, perhaps someone truly sinned against us, but who are we to 'cast stones' at others when we ourselves are no where near perfect? We need to allow our Heavenly Father to judge others for their actions; our responsibility is to simply forgive. I know that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can find the needed strength to forgive others freely and fill our hearts with love.