Monday, February 25, 2013
My Dear Family and Friends Who Love Me,
This week's letter will be in Portuguese. . .Okay, no it won't, but maybe one day in the future it will be and I´ll make you use Google translate, Muahaha. Let me tell you, though. I am not a fan of the information age. I had this roaring way coool first sentence all about the new missions in Brasil and then...way to go internet!
But it is pretty exciting. We got word from our president who had just finished having a conference with the presidency of the area about the changes and he directly had a conference with our entire mission to share. We received word about our new mission president, President Genaro from Sorocaba, Brasil, who happens to be a friend of my companion as he lives in the same city. Cool connections. He should be, it sounds like, a wonderful president ready to go. Let me reiterate the oft stated statement, "What an exciting time to be a missionary!" The best part is that I arrived literally just before the rocket ship took off and it's a wonderful view of the Lord's work that I'm getting from way up here.
Notable events this week or to come: Tomorrow, my first baptism here in Agudos will start seminary. Double cool! I´m excited that he's progressing and growing in the gospel. Better yet, his influence is being felt for good in his own family. This week his mom stopped smoking and drinking coffee. She went to church for the first time Sunday and has committed to pray fervently over being baptized. I am so excited for her and her family, and the blessings that they will receive in the upcoming days and weeks.
Some more firsts: The entire family of the two brothers who were baptized last week went to church and it was wonderful. They are members but have not been for a very long time. I cannot tell you how many members and how many times have said to me that they want nothing to do with the gospel and would never return. Well, caring and hope and love work miracles in this line of work and they have done so again. Not only that, but the mother and grandmother made the long walk uphill back to the church for an activity that night. They too will be blessed.
My companion was more or less sick the entire week, verily suffering from some virus, perhaps the one I had the week before, and the virile effects of, "I've got my date, time and ticket to go home already" disease. Have you heard of that one yet? It's rather frustrating for those who have to watch another suffering from the same, as it is in some cases entirely incurable and the only plan of action is to let the disease work its course. I have taken advantage, however, of his doubly weakened state to invest myself in study. It has been a glorious week reading from the Book of Mormon, The Bible, general conference talks, and Jesus the Christ. I don't expect the symptoms to be as bad this week, they're worse when combined, but I look forward warily to the date of March 12, also known as the next transfers. In the meantime, I work in every way to combat any collateral infecting.
My fun other-world allegory for you this week: Did you know that the moon and constellations are upside down here? It's true. Orion is standing on his head and the moon is much more interesting for its slight revolution. Cool huh? Allegory: Although my world has literally been flipped upside down, it is the much the same world in a different form. Is Orion better right side up? Yes, but he´ll do for now upside down, as will the moon.
My thought for this week, you´ll be excited to know, is in Portuguese, from the Portuguese version of the classic hymn, Ye Elders of Israel. Let´s see what it has to say: "E ao terminar nossa grande missão, descanso teremos na bela Sião. Em nossas famílias a paz reinará, pois já vitoriosa Sião estará." Hunter, did you get any of that? "And to finish our great mission, we will rest in beautiful Zion In our families peace will reign, because Zion is already victorious."
Lost slightly in my more literal translation is this idea, hiding in between the lines: First, that our mission in this life is not a lonely one but with our families. As a general authority stated long ago, you cannot have the fullness of eternal life, living in the presence of God and Christ without your families. They are an essential part of your exaltation and joy. And how will Zion be beautiful and how will it be victorious? For the peace we have in our families. When we have the peace of the gospel as opposed to the contention of the Devil, Zion is already victorious in our homes and families. I feel so blessed that we continue to carry off the trophy in this direction. It brings me unspeakable joy to hear of the good you are doing (and the good food you are eating) and to know that you are MY family, my eternal family, my prize in victory and in peace. I love you all so much,
Look for more surprises in the mailbox. . .
Your Elder of Israel and son,