Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Your Tattoos Don't Matter to God

Hello familia!

So much happened this week! First, we found out about transfers... Although I didn´t really want to leave my first and only area in Brazil, I got a call from the zone leaders and...

I´ve been transferred to Mosquiero!

Mosqueiro is a tiny (HUGE) island off the side of Belem (I think). It´s an hour and a half bus ride to get to district meeting every week, and our area is so big that we have to take half hour van rides to get to a lot of our areas. We´re serving in a small branch of like 30 people, and apparently, a lot of the previous missionaries weren´t super.. on the ball.. so there´s A LOT of work to do. But I´m really excited! The members that are here are so great. One of them lives in a really cool house off the side of a river, so we have to take a canoe to get to it. However, the members here feel a little bit forgotten by the rest of the stake and/or mission, so we´re hoping to build up their confidence in the missionaries and their desire to take part in the work. Don´t know how yet... but I know Heavenly Father will help! Looks like there´s a lot of fasting and prayer in the future.

My companion is Sister F. Santos. Seriously, there has got to be something with that name because all of the Santos I´ve met here on my mish have been literally that- saints. I love her! She has the same sarcastic sense of humor and is the Brazilian equivalent of an English major, so we have a lot of fun joking around in two languages. It´s really helpful for us both because we´re learning all of the minor expressions in each language together. Also, she talks REALLY fast, and in just 3 days together, I feel like my velocity of speech ( is that a normal thing to say?) has tripled. The thing that I appreciate the most about her, is that she is always telling me how well I teach and how in awe she is of me- sometimes sarcastically, sometimes not. No, I am not saying this to be prideful or to say that I´m an awesome missionary. I´m grateful for this because it´s been a really long time since someone´s said anything nice about the way I teach or the things I do. I´m trying really hard to improve everyday, and especially when you start at negative 50, validation is really helpful in the whole growing process. I´m definitely gaining more confidence as I teach with Sister F. Santos, and I´m learning A TON from her. I think this transfer is only 5 weeks, but I´m so excited about being here in paradise with my really great companion.

As far as miracles go, we were teaching a street contact about the Gospel of Jesus Christ a couple days back. I had no idea what I was saying, just really trying to search for inspired questions, until finally, I asked a question and Paulo, the man we were teaching, just nodded his head. He was not understanding. So I said, ´´And Sister F. Santos will explain the rest´´. Sister F. Santos has been having a hard time getting away from the robotic ´´teaching lessons not people´´ way of teaching that a lot of the older missionaries have aquired, but as she taught about baptism and the Holy Ghost, it was literally as if her face was radiating the spirit. I´ve never felt the spirit so strongly, and I don´t think the people in that house had either because the two other men came and sat with us and started saying, ´´yeah, yeah man! I told you man! Your tatoos don´t matter to God!´´ We then taught each one of them individually separate lessons for lack of space, but they all crowded in the window to hear the other´s lesson everytime. It was almost comical if not so spiritual.

With just five days here in Mosqueiro, we´re already seeing so many miracles. I love this work. I know that our testimony and personal conversion is what will testify of the truthfulness of the gospel when we teach rather than fancy words or analogies. I´m so grateful for the help of the spirit in all I do.

I love you all! Thanks for the Christmas/ Valentine´s day cards!

Love, Sister Barkdull

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