This week, I learned a lot about how The Gospel of Jesus Christ blesses families.
I´m going to miss Grandma Koetitz. And Grandpa Koetitz. But I´m actually really happy. Because I was thinking this week about how hard it would be to be in Grandma Koetiz´s place, more or less alone, suffering from the loss of family, away from her home, and painfully passing through the final stages of life. But, I have no doubt that her memory of that pain has already been swallowed up by the joy brought by The Plan of Salvation.
This week Elder Rezabala and I focused on finding families. And we found many.
Gilberto and Ana Paula have six daughters. They live in the first house in one of the favelas in our area. And the gospel is going to transform their lives. Seriously. It was a miracle when we found them. We had an address for a referral named Gilberto that was supposed to live in the same viela, but he didn´t live there. However, Ana Paula leaned her head out the window and said “My husband is Gilberto!” We taught her on her doorstep and she burst into tears, telling us how she had been praying all week for God´s help. We taught their family about the temple and The Family: Proclamation to the World. We taught about the responsibility of Mother and Father. Gilberto has entered a deep depression and literally hasn´t left the house in a month. The family BARELY has enough bread, rice, and beans to sustain their six children. But they are capable of change. Unlike other families that live in the favela, they haven´t been torn apart by drugs, addictions, sex, and abuse. Just depression and a lack of the guidance of the gospel. I´m confident that we will see miracles (And already have seen miracles) in their home.
Sandra and Rena we found just contacting. We We taught the Restoration (probably the most incredible first lesson I´ve experienced in my mission, and there have been a lot), comparing the God and the human family to Sandra and her children. IT WAS SO GOOD! Words can´t describe the spirit that was present. Elder Rezabala bore testimony in tears. Sandra and Rena said without a doubt they believe in The Restoration, but we committed them to read and pray to really know. In the end, we asked for referrals and without waiting a moment Rena gave us his mom´s address.
I don´t have time to recount all of our experiences, but every experience this week, including when I read today that Grandma Koetitz passed away, strengthened my knowledged that the gospel blesses families.
I´m so grateful for the knowledge of eternal families. I´m a little sad that I´ve played the piano at six funerals in my mission for other people but couldn´t be there for the funerals of my own grandparents. But I know without a doubt that I am where I´m supposed to be. I can´t deny it. One of our investigators bore testimony on Sunday to someone visiting our ward about how the gospel has changed her life. It is these moments that I have to remember, because some days it feels like everything is going wrong. But the tender mercies and miracles I have seen day by day in my mission will remain deeply impressed in my mind. The boring or hard moments, I have already forgotten.
I LOVE OUR FAMILY! The only way I know how to express how much I love our family is by putting that sentence in caps lock and making it bold.
P.S. Mom, for the package you are preparing, I would really like:
1. a photo of my baptism (if we have one)
2. a copy of my patriarchal blessing (laminated and scripture-sized. My other copy disappeared last week when I was transferred)
3. Pebernuts! (If we still have some from last year)
P.P.S. The Brazilian heat has DEFINITELY arrived! All week long it has been at least 95 degrees and the forecast shows sun and at least 95 degrees forever. São Paulo is having a horrible drought right now and if we don´t receive rain soon, apparently we won´t have any water (even to drink) by the end of the year. I think they will start shutting water off one day a week in our neighborhood.