I never was a person to stress. Perhaps it was because I always exercised a lot, ate healthy, had quick and ready access to cookies and chocolate when needed, or for whatever reason, I just had a much calmer outlook on life; but here on the mission, I stress. It isn't that type of stress that everyone can see, but it's the kind of stress that eats at my from the inside out. The kind of stress that often even I don't notice until something drastic happens, like a red light flashing in my face - "you are stressed out, you need to calm down!"
This week, we went on splits with the new Sister Leaders, Sister Britez and Sister Borges, the two Sisters with whom I arrived in the field. The three of us had a great time reminiscing about the CTM and our various experiences on the mission so far. I spent the whole day with Sister Borges, making contacts and teaching. We were out walking in the hot sun from 1:00 pm until 9:00 pm. My feet, which had various open cuts (small and insignificant) because of mosquito bites, had become slightly infected the day before. I didn't pay them any mind because normally I have a strong immune system that takes care of little things like that. Plus, I was washing them every morning and night, and soaking them in saline solution (water mixed with salt). However, by the end of the day with Sister Borges, my right foot was completely swollen, and it was difficult to walk. Sister Borges took one look at my foot and said, "Sister Fernelius, you need to get rid of the stress in your life!" I laughed and said, "That's fine coming from the girl who has some stomach disease now because of stress on the mission!" hahaha We both laughed about that, but then seriously talked about how we could remove some of the stress in our life. This past week, had been very difficult for Sister De Paula and I. We had hardly gotten into any houses, and all of our investigators stopped progredindo. Sister Borges shared a story she had heard about Pres Bednar going to give a very sick man a blessing. When Pres Bednar went to give the blessing, he asked the man, "Do you have the faith to not be healed?" Sister Borges then turned to me and said, "Sister Fernelius, do you have the faith to do everything in your power to baptize, and then not succeed, and on top of that suffer a bit more from illness or injuries?" This was a deep question. Everyone always talks about how we need to have the faith to have miracles in our life. But perhaps, the hardest faith to aquire is the faith to not receive a miracle but to continue to trust in the Lord and obey His commandments. It made me think of your State Conference notes, Mom, and the talk by Elder Gay. He was sacrificing everything, and yet he was suffering. Sometimes, it doesn't make sense, but we have to continue to trust in the Lord and stand in our rank even though it appears as if we will lose it all and that no 'back up help' is on its way. Well, I decided that I had the faith to give it my all and still 'suffer'. I took care of my feet, but continued to work, and in the last three days of our week, Sister De Paula and I received an out pouring of blessings! Truly, the Lord is looking out for us. As it says in the scriptures, the Lord will 'try the faith of His people', and if we remain faithful além de tudo, o Senhor vai nos fortalecer e tornar nossas fraquezas nossos pontos fortes!
During one of our lunches, a friend of the member who didn't know that he couldn't hug Sisters, went in to give me a hug. He kind of caught me off guard, so I just accepted the hug, but awkwardly. Afterward, the member notified him on that little rule, and he became super embarrassad! When we went to leave after lunch, he didn't even shake my hand, he just smiled and said, "Tchao, sinta você abraçada!" (consider yourself hugged!) haha