Monday, January 7, 2013
To All Well Wishers, Fishers of Men (and women) and My Family, who keep the candle lit for me at home,
Well, it's another week in the books. And it's been an interesting one. Let's see: This week I put into action various plans such as: Let Elder A. take the reins for two days to see what the difference in work or resulting effects would be. Lots of knocking doors. I eased the reins back in my direction and I feel very humbled, I think, to have the opportunity to make a difference in his life; help him develop perspective and other things. He's a cool kid, you'd like him.
Most of the week's memorable events this week occurred on Sunday but on Wednesday, President Tavares initiated a meeting with our leaders here in Tupã and with the zone leaders. If a turning point exists here, this was it. Many promises were made, by both sides, (sounds like a war. . .) and I know that when they are, the Lord will bless Tupã greatly. In response, I created a calendar of teaching with the members and have marked every day this week with at least one member, which is good, very good, because it often makes all the difference. Planting season has begun, harvest season begins Sunday. Activities will start again this week and we can see now by the numbers their impact on the area here. It's big.
I'm excited for Thursday's Brasilian version of the ever-loved and successful "Minute to Win It," thank you Uncle Aaron! I taught the gospel principles class Sunday on the spur of the moment and am only slightly proud to say that it went well, everyone mostly understood what I said and left edified by the spirit if not by my accent. Testimony meeting was highlighted by having one investigator in the church and two of my recent converts/less actives-recently activated members bear their testimonies. Especially poignant was the testimony of the ward mission leader who we met briefly with Friday after a chance and rare encounter near his house. He said that the meeting meant more than he could say to him; that someone valued his calling enough to counsel with him and to ask his help and advice. He said that the brief 10-15 minute meeting left him lighter, happier and with more peace than he had had in sometime.
Some things you just hope they made a record in heaven so you can watch them again sometime. Another sweet testimony was that of a returned missionary gone inactive and recently returned, this time to the church. He testified simply and gently that the church was true, he knew it, and he could not deny it. But what topped it all, was his active and timid son, bearing testimony after him of how his father and the gospel had changed his life. Yes!, yes yes yes. Left feeling wonderful.
We also launched a new type of activity Sunday night to help integrate the new members/less actives with the active members, over Family history. We prepared EVERYTHING, from group sheets, computers to search/explain the site of the church, to rolling films of microfilm that were oh so very pretty. . . but we had a disappointing showing over all. It was raining inside and out on our party. Still, for some, it was success and that made it worth it. Oh, and the cake didn't show, but hey, who needs cake with ancestors?
That's the cliff notes on last week. It's hot, it's not, it's Tupã, roll on. We are teaching two families that are very good and so we have high expectations for this week and the next. Also, to note, it was fast Sunday, and this month made the list of top 5 hardest things I've done in my life. I've still got some weak sauce to work out till I fast like a champion, without the whole long face going on.
Right in the Book of Mormon it's mostly destruction and burning of the wicked in wonderful Isaiaical prose, but during some lunch time this week I enjoyed the tragic story of David and Absalom. Oh! it reads magically and has many lessons better not learned personally. Among them the heart-rending refrain of David mourning for his son´s death (echoed in the title of Faulkner´s work "O, Absalom, Absalom:
"And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!- (2 Samuel 18) ."
What can we learn here? The love of a father for his son? The sorrow of a family separated against itself? Generally, anything connected with our families I think first of our Father in Heaven. How he must feel, knowing perfect love for his children, and watching them wander, sometimes willfully, from His ways. How much greater must be his mourning for us when we sin. So great in fact that He gave to us, the source of this sorrow the only pure child he had, His only Begotten Jesus Christ, who then suffered, and died unblemished for our sins and misdeeds that we might not sorrow. Christ came not of himself, but God, who sent Him (John 8:42). He sent his son for us.
I'm so grateful to be a representative of Him and to carry this message of peace and healing and hope; this message of purpose to all and any that will hear it. I'm grateful for you , and for your love, and this morning for your supply of granola bars which served admirably to energize this missionary's road weary body. So, who are you going to share the gospel with this week? Grab some granola bars and lets go. . .