Como vai? Things are going great here. Sometimes it's hard to see everything that is going so well, but I remind myself so that I don't get down.
Last Friday, Preparation Day, was a great day, but not quite as relaxing as I was expecting. It is a very stressed day waking up early to get your laundry in before the mad rush of elders and sisters. Then there is the time crunch to try to make sure that you email everything you could ever possibly want to say in one hour. The best part of the day, by far, was going to the temple. The temple offers such solace in contrast to the craze and work of the MTC. I learned so many new things there than I have ever before. It is amazing to see how the Lord blesses his missionaries who are humbly seeking after Him. Along with the tender mercy of going to the temple, I was also able to see Uncle Scott there. It was wonderful to be able to get a hug from a member of my family. I think that's what I'm missing most right now, a big hug. I hug Elder Findley sometimes, but it's just not the same. What I know, though, is that God knows and cares for us. We are His children. Why wouldn't he be able to discern our needs and supply moments of kindness and mercy in our day?
Once again, Sunday was a much more relaxing day than P-day. There is such a Spirit here on Sundays. I think it also helps that we don't have any language study classes. I really do love learning the language, but sometimes it becomes overwhelming to have to decipher each word that someone is saying. I imagine that it is somewhat like when people who don't have any knowledge of God are taught by the missionaries. The missionaries come in and speak things that they have never known or understood before. I imagine that it is quite confusing to learn about Joseph Smith, gold plates, The Book of Mormon, priesthood authority, the Plan of Salvation, etc. What helps me, and what I know helps humble seekers of Christ, in understanding this new language is the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost usually doesn't speak in words, or complex doctrinal phrases. The Holy Ghost speaks in the language of our soul, bringing thoughts and impressions that guide us, direct us, warn us, and call us to repentance. When I am teaching, I rely heavily upon the Holy Ghost to guide and direct me. I know that if people will humbly listen to the divine thoughts and feelings being given to them through the Holy Ghost, they will be able to come to know the truth of the message of Jesus Christ and His restored gospel. Anyway, Sunday was great. It ended so well when all of my district went to see the movie, "The John Tanner Story'. I cry every time I see that movie. I am always so inspired by the example and faith of John Tanner. He was wealthy as to the things of the world, and he gave all that he had, in faith, to build up the true Kingdom of God on the Earth. I think that is what I want to do. I want to be able to consecrate all that I own to God and His work. The funny thing is that we don't even own what we think we own. As it says in Mosiah, are we not all beggars before God? God has given us everything. Who are we to hold back from Him what is His? Before coming here, I always found it hard to share things. I think I'm very possessive. Since being here, I have had the desire to share what I have with the other missionaries. This may seem trivial, but I don't think that I would have shared my ties before my mission. Now I let the other missionaries look through my ties and wear whichever one they like. This sounds really lame and pitiful as I'm writing it, but it's part of the "baby steps" to total consecration.
The hardest day so far this week was Tuesday. I was fine in the morning, but then I had a sudden wave of depressive and sad feelings come over me in the afternoon. I couldn't tell why. I was kind of annoyed because I am such a positive person. I thought a lot through the day about it. I think it's because Satan is in opposition to what I am doing here. He fights against the work of God. Everything that is good and wholesome he seeks to destroy. As I am striving to be an ambassador of the Lord Jesus Christ, he is striving to tear me down and make me feel worthless. I know that "as to my strength I am weak", but "I can do all things through Jesus Christ which strengtheneth me". Even after thinking about this for awhile, I was still feeling down. That night was devotional, and I have been participating in the choir that sings for the devotionals. That night we were singing, "Where Can I Turn for Peace?" Brother Eggett (dad of one of my BYU friends) always gives spiritual thoughts during our rehearsals. That night he told us that the song reminds him of a discussion between an investigator and a missionary. He made the point that as ambassadors of Christ, who know of and cherish the restored gospel, we should be the most peaceful people there is. Despite anguish and pain, we should be examples of positivity. Another thing I realized is that we all may feel anguish and pain. What we must realize is that our perspective and our outlook is changed through the lens of the Savior. When we accept the gospel of Jesus Christ and are baptized, we should see with His eyes. he brings into focus those things that are eternally important. We forget about present cares and present worries when we see clearly the infinite power of the Atonement. The Atonement is as a fountain of water springing within us unto eternal life. Our peace should be as a river, because our God fills our cup to overflowing.
In my efforts to stay positive and to consecrate my time and talents, I decided to audition to sing in a devotional. Yes, I auditioned with "My Kindness Shall Not Depart From Thee". I was originally thinking that I would switch it up and sing something else. I was actually really not interested in being that one guy who sings the same song all the time. However, I felt the Spirit tell me that I should sing that song. The song is powerful and direct. God loves us. He watches after us. He will direct us if we seek Him. After all that can be said about the gospel, this is the ultimate message. Everything that Jesus Christ did pointed to His Father. The Savior draws all men unto Him so that he can bring them unto the Father. I also think that I am singing this song because I know that I can sing it. I hope that I can be the means of helping someone feel the love of their Father. Anyway, I auditioned yesterday (Thursday). I was expecting to just be auditioning for the sister that manages the music library, but I actually auditioned for the wives of the MTC presidents. I was a little intimidated. My knees were shaking all over the place, but luckily my voice was able to do what it needed to do. (Another tender mercy: my voice was able to hit all of the notes even though I don't have any time to rehearse) After the audition, Sister Nally (President Nally's wife) told me that my voice was "lovely". She also told me that I was a "definite yes". However, she did ask me if I had acting experience because apparently I was moving my hand a little bit and I was "too" expressive. I guess that's what happens after years of goofy acting on stage. :D Anyway, I am excited to be able to share the gift that God has given me with the rest of the MTC.
I love you all so much! Thank you for your support. I pray for you every day. Eu amo meu Deus. Ele ama todos seus filhos. Quando somos obedientes aos mandamentos de Jesus Cristo, Deus nos abençoes. Eu sei que O Livro de Mórmon é verdadeiro. Lendo O Livro de Mórmon vai traz paz e alegria a nossas vidas. (I love my God. He loves all his children. When we are obedient to the commandments of Jesus Christ, God will bless us. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. Reading The Book of Mormon will bring peace and joy to our lives.)
Com muito amor, (With much love,)
P.S. Yes, I do receive DearElder messages the day you send them.
P.P.S. Thank you for sending DearElder messages!
P.P.S. I don't know how I want to go about sending out my emails. Maybe post something on Facebook asking for people to post their emails if they want to be on the mailing list?