This week was probably my hardest week here in Mosqueiro, but probably the best on my mission.
No, Solange did not end up getting baptized this week. She decided to go to her home in the south of Pará and talk with her family first before taking this step. Little sketchy, but she´ll be back at the end of May for a small surgery, so hopefully all will go well until then. She lives in an area in the middle of nowhere. They don´t even have electricity. The church doesn´t exist there either... yet. Pres Scisci has been opening up a ton of areas recently and with Solange´s family baptized down there in São Felix de Xingu, who knows, maybe they´ll be getting the gospel sooner than they think! It´s really cool and exciting to see and participate in the gospel moving forward to parts of the world in which the people have never even heard of the church. I mean, you have that in all parts of the world, but this is like real pioneer experience here. The amount of faith these people have to have to build up the church in the middle of nothing is awe-inspiring.
That´s something I´m starting to study a lot right now, faith, and I´m realizing I don´t have a lot of it. When I arrived here in Brazil, one of the first things I noticed was all the bumper stickers that cited scriptures or religious sayings. The one I still don´t really get is, ´´Deus é fiel´´ which means God is faithful. Why would you put that on your car? I don´t know, for me, it´s always been pretty obvious that God is faithful- He´s perfect. The better question is, am I faithful to him? I might make that a bumper sticker when I get back. But that´s how the religious culture is here. EVERYONE believes that when they don´t have food, God will provide, that when they are sick, God will cure them, or when they don´t pay off a debt, don´t sweat it, God will take care of it. They talk of God all day and say that they have so much faith, but an irmão this week at lunch said something interesting about faith. He said that testimony isn´t a belief in the blessings you´ve received, nor in the experiences you´ve had, but of Jesus Christ and his atonement and the principles and doctrines of the gospel. A lot of people have faith in the blessings they will receive, but this isn´t faith. Faith in Jesus Christ means that you´re going to follow him, keep His commandments, even if you do or do not receive any blessings in return. It´s taking that ``step of faith´´ when it appears ilogical, impossible, or unbeneficial because you can put aside your own desires and plans and just want to do what He asks. Here on the mission, it´s hard to do sometimes because we have to do some pretty hard things, but it´s easy to recognize. I should talk to this person? Obviously- I need to talk to everyone.
In ´´real life´´, however, I´ve realized that this is not always so easy. It´s like that book you sent me, Mom, about the faith experiment. When I first read it, not going to lie, I thought, ´´Oh, if only my biggest trial right now was about losing weight or running a half marathon´´. However, how many times are we faced with normal decisions in our life that aren´t so obviously good or bad, but that require faith. I caught myself saying the other day, ´´Well, if I can´t be that missionary that baptizes every week, than I´m going to be the best loser missionary this world has ever seen´´. But that is not faith!! This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ- I am sharing a message of truth and happiness! I am worthy and working- I deserve ´´eleitos´´! I´m trying to learn that faith is not settling for what life hands you and calling it God´s will, but continuing with that hope and expectation that things will turn out right as you work ever harder for it.
Now, to implement this in my life..
Transfers next week! I have no idea what will happen, nor what I want to happen, but I´m excited because I always love change.
I love you all! I´m glad Grandpa´s doing better. Don´t give up Grandpa!
Boa semana e beijão,
P.S. Zane- I am getting so good at puns I can make them in two languages now at the same time. I ate my companion´s last egg without asking (don´t judge me) and when she was complaining about it, I said, ``desculpa, fui muito egoista. Me perdoa.´´ Thought you´d get a kick out of that.