(Miracles, Improvement, and Progression)
Summer in Spokane this year sounds more like the Apocalypse. I hope everyone is staying safe. And I hope the city still exists when I get hope. I´m not sure if it can survive another storm.
Also, Elder Bradshaw, from the Long Beach mission, sold my bike, so he might send you a check in the mail or give you the money from my bike in some other form. But don´t worry if you don´t see anything soon. He might wait to send it until later.
Thank you David and Tyler for suggestions on learning a new language. It really does help. We have a rule in our mission that all Americans will learn Portuguese (claro) and all Brasileiros will learn English, and so we have a rule that all Brasileiro/Americano companionships have to switch daily between a day of Portuguese and a day of English. Elder Mesquita is already quite good at English from all the American TV and music he watched before his mission. And he went out with the missionaries a lot and learned English from them. It really is incredible how praying for the gift of tongues and having a divine necessity to use the language makes such a difference. I feel really blessed because everyone is amazed if I tell them how I just got to Brasil six weeks ago. But I know com certeza that it isn´t me because I took French for three years and I don´t remember ANYTHING from French (I hope my past french teachers aren´t reading this… je m`excuse… I want to re-learn it in a year!).
This week I might only share one story, which happened last night.
We had almoço (lunch) with a less-active member, Maria (one of probably 30 Marias in our ward). She is actually really really awesome, has solid testimony, and reads the Book of Mormon everyday, but because of work she hasn´t been attending church. She has a friend, Karen, who was there as well, and we talked with her. We invited them both to church the next Sunday, and Karen accepted, but didn´t really seem all that interested. However, later that day, she called us and said she had made a bolo (cake) that she needed us to eat. Seeing a teaching opportunity (and a delicious cake), we went to her house with an awesome member in our ward, ate delicious cake and taught her how to pray. We only had 15 minutes until we had to return home, but in those 15 minutes she learned how to pray, prayed sincerely, and was in tears afterward. She is super excited to learn more about The Restoration when we return on Wednesday (we try to teach our investigators here every day, but she was only available later). Like I said about another experience with someone else last week, words can´t really describe the miracle. It may appear simple and normal to the rest of the world, but for us, it was a miracle. Plus Maria was there and is super excited that her friend is interested in the gospel… and Maria definitely will not miss church this Sunday.
This week I learned a few things. First, if we are not giving are all when we are outside of our apartment, we are wasting our time and we will probably be miserable. How did I just learn this now? Not that I was wasting my time for the past year, but some days I didn´t talk to every single person. As a missionary, I have nothing to lose and the people around me have everything to gain.
Second, many times the people who appear most weak will turn out to be incredible. And many, many times, the people who appear super prepared turn out to be nothing. This is the nature of missionary work. We invite, they commit, we follow up. Following this pattern, we are doing what the Lord wants.
I forgot the other thing… but it is in my study journal so I will be sure to study it tomorrow in personal study because I remember it was really important.
I LOVE MY FAMILY! I love the Lord. I love my mission.
And I am still praying for Grandma Koetitz every day.