The Best Day Yet
January 21, 2013
Osório decided that he wants to decide to get baptized without anyone’s help... including the help of God’s messengers... makes sense? It didn’t to me, either. It’s so sad that people don’t understand that being baptized is a BLESSING and not an obligation. It’s a blessing after the trials of your faith and the fruits of true repentance.
WE GOT IN CONTACT WITH THE LIMAS’ REFERRAL! Roberto is 39 (who looks 29), lives alone, used to work a LOT at a fancy restaurant, and has two BEAUTIFUL daughters, ages 10 and 2, who live with their mom. He’s divorced, hasn’t had a girlfriend for a year, and smokes and drinks to pass the time and dull the pain of the divorce. He quit his job because he knew the atmosphere wasn’t good for him and didn’t feel any desire to be around people. He’s humble. He’s hungry. He’s ready to know.
We passed by his street many times and finally decided to write a note to him on the back of a pass-along card. (That’s all they’re good for because we can’t use them here.) His neighbor—who didn’t know he even existed—slipped the note face down under the door, and Roberto eventually placed it on the fridge. It wasn’t until his daughters visited for Christmas that he found out the picture had a message on the back. He called after his daughters left. The FIRST investigator who has actually called US!
I’ve decided I like teaching men because we MUST have a member present, so they progress so much faster… YES! AND a potential priesthood holder! Double whammy! His first Sunday was yesterday, and he loved it a lot; but I noted it was draining to him, even though he tried to hide it. It’s so sad to see people addicted to things, and they don’t realize just how much it consumes them. We are also teaching these 3 sisters, who live practically alone because their mom works a LOT. Their addiction is something you ingest... it’s technology. Seriously. The TV is always on; cell phones are in their hands AND a laptop in front of them. So sad. DON’T DO IT! If you use the internet more than your scriptures, you are breaking a commandment. You are worshipping an idol who is making you idle.
Roberto’s first prayer was so sweet. He’s so great. When we gave him the Book of Mormon and asked him to read, he said, “It’s gonna take me a while to get through this, hahahaha.” Of course. But, just like a cake, you can know it is good with just one bite or just one slice. He wants so bad to be forgiven and start a new life that he asked, “If I don’t get an answer about the Book of Mormon—which I will ask but not out of obligation of your challenge, I wanna do it for me—can I still be baptized?”
If I were an investigator, I think I would be like Roberto. I wouldn’t have the most perfect faith that God will answer my prayers, but I wouldn’t want that to impede my progress to start over. The only thing is... without God, we are more apt to return to bad habits. To be born of water and of the spirit is the only way to be reborn and the only way to overcome all. God is worthy to save all. It is by His power that we change, and it is our faith that limits or welcomes the power of God to work in our lives.
So, we live above a “Lanchonete” [snack bar/café] that serves beer and has (for the first time) smokers. Yet, they are playing Pachelbel’s Canon. Hey, I’m not complaining.
Best Day Yet
Yesterday, we decided to contact a family we met in a park. And, since we were in the area, I decided to try to pick out a house of some young women we met on the street. They had told us the street, the number of the house, and that the house was green. We got to the street, and the first green house wasn’t the right number. Cool. Let’s retrace our steps and try the other green house that doesn’t have a number. (It’s VERY common to have a house without a number.) Nope, but we made a contact with a lady who said she’d visit the church. Okay, let’s try this perpendicular street that probably isn’t the right street; but there’s a green house. No one answered. Boo. Let’s ask the neighbors who are outside! “Yeeeah, there’s a girl named Julia who lives in the blue house over there, but there’s another Julia who lives in this house. She’s arriving right now.” We look, stare... oops, stop staring, nope not her. Cool, let’s try the blue house the neighbors talked about. BINGO! AAAAND the mom was in the house WITH her boyfriend who was JUST leaving but decided to stay for our lesson. It was cool because he was in a hurry... he had his bike and was heading to his house to sleep for an hour before his 2nd job’s night shift. We chatted a bit; the mom LOVES to laugh and smile. Love lovvvvve loves. One daughter is baptized in a Methodist church, and the mom is religious. The boyfriend was... sleepy, poor thing.
We gave the 1st lesson; and, as we were finishing up, Sister Carvalho was looking for a scripture, so I awkwardly asked, “What would be different in your lives if you knew that there was a modern-day prophet?” Of course, I had to reword the question; and I added, “…like a modern-day Moses or Abraham?”
The boyfriend said that there would be a lot to change; and the mom, Simone, said, “I think it would be way easier to have a... guide, like, there are pastors, sure, but a real guide. It wouldn’t be as confusing.”
Sister Carvalho finished up the lesson by making the connection to Simone that “there IS a modern-day prophet who talks to us every 6 months, who gives counsel to single-parent homes.” She continued, “Is being the mom and the dad of your family easy?”
“No, it totally isn’t.”
“I know. My mom raised me for the greatest part of my life without a husband. Would you like to know what God has to say to you through this prophet?”
Sister Carvalho bore her testimony; and Simone, Julia, and Nicoly cried. When the awesome lesson was finishing and I bore my testimony, I got SO MANY goosebumps that even my companion noted that my NECK got goosebumps. I LOVE THE SPIRIT! We closed the lesson on our knees with Simone giving the prayer. She even asked to know if there was a prophet in a very insecure, unsure-if-God-would-answer way; but it was beautiful.
We stood up, and I asked, “Can we come back?” Hahaha.
“OF COURSE. You won’t abandon us, will you?”
We marked for TOMORROW!
This is a bus stop... on the side of the beach. What were we to do???
It was a BUS STOP, hehe.
[Missionaries are not supposed to be on the
BEACH side of the street. Such a rebel.]
I love the lumps of clay I pick up in lessons that I can include in my Testimony Sculpture. When teaching about prophets to Simone, I got it. It clicked. God gets lots of prayers every hour. He knows that some will be “Pai Nosso,” and others will be pleadings. He saves the special ones that are Thank-You cards; but He categorizes the prayers according to worries, so He can give direction to His prophet on what to teach. It’s just like President Lima. He reads all the missionary letters weekly and responds to some individually if the case requires. Then, he responds to all in his general email. That’s why we have prophets. He gives the formulas for the general problems, and then he responds individually to the sincere prayers of His children.
Miracles are occurring! I know that God loves us. He has a lot of responsibility to feed all His pet birds and dolphins and water His huge garden, but He notes every time that an individual hair falls to the ground. He knows we cannot survive without His help, so He sacrificed His Only Begotten Son to come to earth, to be a model for us all, and to provide the way to overcome physical and spiritual death.
Faith is the first step to everything, but it doesn’t suffice to just pray for something we want. We must WORK. God works VERY hard, so how can we think that we are better than He? He’s perfect and doesn’t fall into temptation, yet he WORKS; so how much more need we to work.
Satan is real; and he captivates the weak by making innocent, time-wasting, forgivable, counterfeit sensations of true happiness and passing them off as real. And he relentlessly works to make us forget who we are and what we will inherit if we are worthy at the end of our lives. He even makes us feel like forgiveness is out of reach when we slip up. He is the Master of Lies. He’s neither lazy nor a slacker and doesn’t procrastinate to lead whatever person down the path of destruction.
DON’T HEED his lures.
[Don’t get stuck in the muck.]