Happy Thanksgiving! My Thanksgiving is definitely going to be a whole lot different than the Thanksgiving of everyone else! (Well, maybe Tyler´s Thanksgiving will be similar) and will definitely be different than the last Thanksgiving in my mission (Haha… That was a YEAR ago?!) But even though I am THOUSANDS of miles from the closest thanksgiving dinner, I am definitely still full of gratitude.
First of all, I´ll share the story of our investigator Marlene who was baptized this week.
Tambem, no domingo uma irmã, Marlene, que nós ensinamos foi batizada. E ELA É INCRÍVEL! Tenho tanto amor por ela. Ela foi uma referência da vizinha dela e ela falou depois que sua vizinha nem sabia a benção que ela deu pra Marlene. Marlene morava perto de um membro toda de sua vida, mas sempre rejeitou o convite de ir pra a igreja. Agora ela está ANIMADA DE MAS para ir para o templo e fazer os batismos por seu pai, sua mãe, sua tia, e outros parentes falecidos. Ela tem um amigo, que batizou ela, que trabalha no templo, e ele vai para o templo com ela para realizar essas ordenanças. Marlene é casada e tem 5 filhos, mas ainda nenhuma pessoa na sua família aceitou o convite para escutar a nossa mensagem nem ir para a igreja. Mas quando ela convidou seu marido para o batismo dela e ele rejeitou, ela falou, “Só lembra-se disto: Que quando vocé for batizado, eu irei.”
You might have noticed it is in portuguese. That´s because I just copied it and pasted it from my email to President Dalton. but, don´t worry, I´ll tell it again in English. With a picture.
Marlene is SO AWESOME. I have so much love for her. I don´t remember how much of her story I have told, so here goes. She was a reference from her neighbor, Silvia, who was just a contact in the street. We knocked on Marlene´s door and she accepted our invitation to come back and teach her. When we came back and taught the Restoration with a member, she read a scripture about the apostasy (Amos 8) and said, “That´s it! That´s exactly what is happening!” From then on, she ate up every material we gave to her. She calls Elder Rezabala. Marlene lived almost all of her life next door to an active member of the church, Maurice. He works in the temple now, and before we had the chance he taught her about the temple and how she could help her father and mother and other ancestors experience the joys of the gospel. She told us, “My children and husband might not have accepted the gospel yet, but my parents will.” She already has all the names and dates ready for when she will go do the baptisms in the temple. The whole ward already told her she will be the next relief society president. And I wouldn´t be surprised. She´s great. So the first thing I´m grateful for is the people I teach. My faith has grown in ways I cannot describe as I have watched and helped our investigators to know that our loving Heavenly Father has the church of His Son Jesus Christ here on Earth.
I just realized that I told different parts of this story in English and Portuguese. If you want the other parts of the story, you will have to use google translator. Sorry!
So what am I grateful for?
I am grateful for my family. More than any other thing I have on this Earth, I am grateful for my family. I am grateful for Mom´s constant faith and patience. I am grateful for Dad´s constant sacrifice, hard work, and teaching us by his faithful example. I am grateful that I was taught in a gospel-centered home, because now I know that the only way to successfully raise a family is when it is based on the essential gospel principles of Faith in Jesus Christ, forgiveness, hard work, and wholesome family activities
I am grateful for my mission. Someday I will discover the proper words to describe what my mission has given me. How it has helped me. But today, I still don´t have them.
Thanks, Mom, and everyone else, for sending what you are grateful for. It really is interesting to see the hand of God guiding us as we reflect back on what has happened. Especially when we compare that with what we thought would happen.
This week, the whole mission had interviews with President Dalton. It really was a sacred experience. I love him. In that interview, we talked about an interesting principle. I commented, “The farther and farther I get into my mission, the more experiences I have, it seems that there is always more to do; it always becomes more challenging when it seems like it should get easier. Why?” President Dalton shared a principle that Elder Bednar has also shared. When we experience and grow, when we increase our faith, when we come closer to the potential God sees for us, we have a greater capacity to act. We have a greater “vision”, or rather, we have more light. With this greater light, we see challenges and opportunities that weren´t even visible to us before. I imagine the moment in the Lion King when Mufasa tells Simba that everything that the light touches will be his.
Anyway, it was really good. There´s never enough time to say everything.
EU AMO VOCÊS!
P.S. Thanks for the pictures, Mom. I really appreciate them. I definitely have not received it yet. I probably will in three or four weeks. This first picture is a picture of our zone. Don´t worry, the mustaches in front are fake. The second picture was just a little slice of home. We were walking down the street and I saw a car with a Utah license plate in the back window. Later that same day I saw a California license plate. My goal now is to find a Washington license plate.