First things first friends and family, I love you all. I pray for you, not always by name but in my heart. I hope those prayers make a difference. Because you all know that prayers from a missionary are worth like 10% more than normal prayers. JUST KIDDING! (no respector of persons)
This week was spent doing many things, finding many people, but the most focused efforts were spent preparing those who were just baptized to go to the temple with family names. This is a mission goal. Statistically there's a much higher retention among those that go to the temple within a month after they are baptized into this church. Which makes sense-- preparing to, and being, baptized in the Church of Jesus Christ is like a spiritual nitro boost but what a lot of people experience is spiritual whiplash when that nitro seems to run out. But in reality, our spiritual progression is not meant to end the sunday after we get baptized. It is a ladder upward and each step fills us more. That's why going to the temple soon after baptism matters so much for these converts. It means everything to them. So this week we made it happen.
On Saturday, after waking up at 4:50am and helping William to get up too, we took William, Socorro, Luigi and Carlos to the Boston temple. They LOVED it (see picture above. Some cape verdeans really don't know how to smile in pictures but I promise you they are smiling on the inside). William and Socorro especially had really powerful experiences there. our mission president, president packard, was there with President Haight as well. Socorro said that when President Packard saw Carlos he got really emotional and took him personally to go get changed into white. Not sure why but it touched her heart nonetheless.
And with that I will give you the exciting/terrifying news of the week:
Lopes is transferred to Ashford, CT.
I am training!!!!!
I spent Friday and Saturday terrified for 4 reasons:
1) I've never taken over an area before and of all places Brockton has the most people to keep track of
2) The greenie will arrive so I will take on like 80% of the work for the next while
3) My brain fog and fatigue are still affecting my proselyting ability and annoying the heck out of me
4) I'll have to do it all in Portuguese.
So I was honestly like sick with worry about all these things Saturday night... but Sunday kinda saved me. Elder Lopes spent most of his time saying goodbye to people so the burden of the most stressful day of the week, ironically Sunday #dayofnorest, fell on my shoulders. And I conseguir'd. It worked out. I was awkward on the phone (still can't understand 80% of portuguese over the phone) but it was alright. I made lots of mistakes, but no one minded. And considering I'm not exactly immersed, the fact that people understand me is miraculous.
I'm still super nervous. But two scriptures help me a ton when I think of the pattern by which God calls and qualifies in the midst of affliction:
"And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.
And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.
And it came to pass that so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage." -- Mosiah 24:14-16; see also Jeremiah 1:5-9
The Lord doesn't always take away our burdens when we ask him to (sometimes not his prerogative, but ours... see D&C 101), BUT he will so often strengthen us that with time, the same burden which "encompassed us about" (2 Nephi 4) is just made easy to bear.
So here's my prediction.
The Lord will not magically make me fluent without hard work and study, but maybe he'll make me less embarrassed with my mistakes and the people I teach able to understand and not be critical. The Lord will not magically make me wake up feeling 100% one day, but maybe he'll give me the most incredibly prepared greenie of all time who will be able to pull his weight right from the start. LOLJK. I know I'm dreaming with that one. But who knows!!!
I can't tell you what to think, or what to believe. My testimony isn't eloquent in Portuguese, but here's the jist of what I teach here in Brockton.
I know God lives. I have known it for a long time, but I know it now also. I know His son, Jesus Christ, is our living Savior. I know it is through Him that we can have eternal life. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and my testimony of him comes from the Book of Mormon, which I know is true. This is the one true church of Jesus Christ on the earth, but you don't have to take my word for it. Come and see.