|Saudade da fam!|
|Tchau! Jady and her fam|
Tchau! Marlon (um rapaz que ensinamos) and his fam
|Last day with Matheus!!|
The Araxá group! (and some church leaders)
I got bit by a dog this week! A black mutt lab barked at me and then bit my leg as I walked past it in the road yesterday. Woohoo! It didn’t hurt, and now I have another good story to tell.
As I’m writing this, we’re all in a full van returning from the Uberaba Stake Conference, the baptisms of Jady and Matheus, and a great, simple lunch of stroganoff and salad (with kiwi and mango!). I’m happy, tired, and pensive. What a memorable final week it has been in Araxa!
All week I was nervous for Friday when E. Zeballos and E. Sweet would call about transfers. Em Jeto memhum (in no way) I wanted to leave Araxa. I’ve loved it! The pure hard working—uninterrupted by following up with others or meetings, the small yet devoted group of members, our investigators—our friends, and the whole, new, tranquil city of Araxa to ourselves made this my favorite transfer and definitely my favorite area thus far. Presidente Kuceki had told me I’d be here for one or two transfers. I was hoping for two!
Friday afternoon, walking down Avenida Imbiara, the principal avenue of Araxa, I felt the phone vibrate in my pocket. My heart sank as I saw the call was from “AP Zeballos.” He could tell I was nervous hahaha. In short, he said I would be the mission’s new financial secretary. I became excited and sad.
I was pretty triste (sad)—for 15 minutes. I didn’t want to leave this place! I felt like I had more to do here. BUT with every tick of the minute hand, my thoughts and feelings turned away from my unfulfilled wish to stay and towards my yet greater desire to be the most effective instrument I can possible be in the hands of the Lord—whenever and wherever. Rapidly, I got happier, and as I received the spiritual confirmation that this was what the Lord wanted me to do, my perspective evolved and becamse solely positive. EU VOU SE O NOVO SECRETARIO FINANCEIRO DA MISSAO!!! WOOHOO!!! Estou animadao! So felicidade! I’ll cover the details next week.
A lot of things made this week the best of this transfer. On Tuesday, we cooked our own food for lunch. That’s a horror story in itself! As the noodles boiled on the stove, a slightly chemical smell filled the kitchen. We had bought sodium bicarbonate instead of NaCl (all the chemistry people laugh) and hadn’t realized it until the noodles were almost ready. Well, we ate it anyway. The taste wasn’t even that different, and I haven’t died yet. Entao, all’s good!
The scripture Moroni 9:6 has been in my mind this week. In English, the middle part of the verse should read something like ‘While we inhabit this tabernacle of clay, we have a work to execute’. Man it’s so awesome! I realize that in about 90 years I’ll be able to rest all I want, but during the mortal life I have work to perform and these 2 years are the most concentrated of them all! I was so tired this week E. Lisboa said I looked like a zombie hahaha! In spite of exhaustion and a whole day of fasting, this week I worked my hardest, and how rewarding it is to look back and know it! This was by far the hardest working transfer of my mission, and I loved it.
Batismos!!! The baptisms of Jady and Matheus were fruits of our labors. I remember interrupting Matheus as he listened to music, giving him the chance to hear the restored gospel. Watching how he has grown spiritually since that day has been amazing. He'll be a big help in the group and possibly serve a mission! Jady (who, like I’ve already said, reminds me a ton of Heidi) was ready for baptism ha muito tempo. We pretty much just reviewed the lessons, and I was grateful for the privilege to baptize her! Both Matheus and Jady will be great members!
Probably the biggest miracle of the transfer was finding less-actives here. Just by being in the right place at the right time—surely under the Lord’s guidance—we found 7 members who were less-active only because they hadn’t found the church. One, Bruno, already has the Melchizedek Priesthood, and another, Davi, is preparing to receive the same. We found him as he was selling popsicles haha. As a result of finding them, it won’t be long before we have a branch here in Araxa!!!
Even though this transfer was only 5 weeks (to help with visas or something) it was the greatest of my mission! I loved having the entire city, brand-new to missionary work, as our area. I grew more spiritually here than anywhere else. It was in Araxa that my testimony of the Book of Mormon turned from firm to rock solid and I really lost myself in the work. I grew closer to the Holy Ghost and became more sensitive to his promptings. Here I became closer to my Savior Jesus Christ and know more than ever that He Lives! I will never forget my experience in this city that I’ve loved so much.
I’m excited for a change and am, as always, so grateful for all the endless love, advice, and support you all give to me. I hope that these weekly letters become of some spiritual worth to you all.
Oh, I heard that Batman won. Let me know about that!