Thursday, May 9, 2013

Families & Sacrifice

A mission is full of experiences where you do something without really knowing the reason why.  Sister De Paula and I had just finished knocking at a member's home with no success, when I noticed a man standing on the other side of the street.  He didn't appear too well, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to talk to him.  When we began to talk to him, it was clear that he was drunk.  My contacts with drunks usually go something like this, "We have a message that can help you have a better life.  We are missionaries, and we help people change their lives so that they can be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost.  Are you willing to stop drinking and put aside other addictions or sins in order to be baptized?"  I like to make sure that they have no doubts about what our purpose is and what they are going to have to change in order to be baptized.  This man thought for a moment, and agreed that he would like to have a better life, and that he was willing to stop drinking and smoking.  The next question we asked him was if he was legally married.  He replied that he was.  Beleza!!!  As we walked away, I commented to my companion, "It is way easier to help someone stop drinking and smoking than to convince someone that they need to be legally married.  We began teaching this family, and were astonished by how elect they were!  Within a week, the man, stopped drinking and smoking.  The man and his wife both begun to pray everyday, and even though the man doesn't know how to read super well, he is reading a bit in the Book of Mormon everyday as well!  This past Sunday they both came to church and loved it!  During one of our lessons, the man asked us, "Have you guys noticed a change in me?"  We replied, "Indubitably!  Your entire countenance radiates with the righteous changes you are making in your life!"  After about two weeks of visiting them, out of no where I felt prompted to ask the wife if they had truly been married legally.  I pushed the thought aside, because I didn't want to believe that there was possiblity of them not being married legally.  Yet, I couldn't resist the impression.  Imagine my disappointment, when I asked the wife about their marriage, and she replied that they weren't married legally!  NOOOO!!  (remember, it is easier to help someone to stop drinking and smoking than it is to convince someone to get married)  My companion and I taught a great lesson about the importance of marriage, but the very same man who easily stopped drinking and smoking in a week, is now reluctant to marry legally (even though he and his wife have lived together for 13 years)!  Misericordia!!  Our only hope now is to pray for a miracle!  This family is too perfect to not be baptized!

Last Wednesday, Sister De Paula and I packed up everything to move to our new apartment in Bessa.  When we arrived in Bessa, we found out that our washing machine and mattresses hadn't arrived yet.  On top of that, the man who was renting our apartment still had not removed all of his things or cleaned the place.  It didn't take us long to make the decision to return to Cabedelo and wait for a few more days.  If everything goes well, we will be moving today!

This transfer, our Zone is doing an interesting thing.  This month is the last month for President and Sister Hall, and everyone in the mission wants to send them home with lots of baptisms.  So, our Zone has decided to be more unified and make a few more sacrifices in order to receive more blessings.  Every week, our Zone leaders choose one day for all of the missionaries to leave their own areas and to come to another area to make contacts and help find prepared people in that area.  This past Friday, Sister De Paula and I left Bessa for the day and went to the Center of João Pessoa to make contacts.  I couldn't help but worry a bit about our area and the appointments that we were missing, and the people that we were not finding in our area, but I put these thoughts aside, decided to trust in the Lord, and went to work in the Center!  Even though we basically lost an entire day of work in our area, the Lord truly blessed us.  We were able to reach all of our goals, and the biggest miracle was that on Sunday, we had 8 investigators at Church!!  I have a strong testimony of the importance of sacrifices.  Often, the Lord simply wants us to show that we are willing to do His will, and that we trust in Him, even when His commands don't make sense.  Like Abraham and Issac, the Lord didn't want Abraham to truly offer Issac as a sacrifice, He only wanted to see if Abraham trusted in Him enough to obey.  Likewise, we will be asked to make certain sacrifices in our lives that don't make sense, or that seem 'too much to ask'.  Yet, if we are faithful, and trust in the Lord, we will see that the Lord's blessings are far greater than the small sacrifice we are asked to make.

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