Monday, January 30, 2017

Defending The Book of Mormon

I didn’t think I was fat—When I weighed myself last week I was only 64 kilograms—but during a lesson this week the plastic chair I was sitting on broke. Haha!

Thursday I went on an exchange with Elder Ward in his area, called California. After approving the apartment they wanted to rent, we had a good afternoon of work, including marking two baptismal dates on the first door we knocked. Elder Ward has a neat teaching style and it was fun teaching with him. We talked with a guy on the road who said he was caught up in crime and drugs and wanted to change his life and he went to church with the California elders, yesterday. Bom!

That night we started talking to a family through their garage (fence), and at first they didn’t want to talk to us because we were from a “different church.” We started to briefly explain the Restoration, and their 10 year old kid persuaded his parents to let us in. We taught about Christ’s church, the Apostasy, the Prophet Joseph Smith, and when we began to teach the Book of Mormon, their spiritual ignorance peaked. “God only gave us the Bible!” “The Bible is the Word, it’s all in the Word, there’s nothing outside of the Word.” “Why is there another book? We already have THE WORD!”

We patiently (and it did require a lot of patience) began to explain exactly why Heavenly Father would reveal another book of Holy Scripture:
-To make known the communication of God with His children in the Americas
-To uncover the story of a lost part of the House of Israel (Matthew 15:24)
-To tell the story of Jesus’ ministry among His “other sheep” (John 10:16) in the Americas
-To teach the doctrine of Christ (2 Nephi 31)
-To prove that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God
-To prove that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church of Christ and the kingdom of God upon the Earth
-To restore to the original, true form much of Christ’s gospel that had been distorted, corrupted, or lost after many centuries of apostasy
-To unite the stick of Joseph to the stick of Judah (Ezekiel 37:15-17)
-To serve as a testament that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world (2 Nephi 9, 2 Nephi 25, Mosiah 3, Mosiah 16, Alma 5, Alma 7, Alma 42, Helaman 5, 3 Nephi 11-18, 3 Nephi 27, Mormon 9, Ether 12, Moroni 7, Moroni 10…etc. etc.)

The group of family members and friends that had assembled to hear our message didn’t accept anything we said (though one woman did accept a Book of Mormon), but I know we did our part. The reason I know the Book of Mormon is true is not because I read and prayed about it. If I ever received an answer to a prayer about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, it was always a small thought: “You already know.” My undeniable testimony of the Book of Mormon I gained on my mission in the moments when I have to testify with all my soul that it is true in order to defend the truth to an ignorant and mocking opposition. This night was probably the most powerful of these experiences. I felt a true Godly power flow through me as I testified without fear to that group of spiritually blind men and women that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know I spoke with the power of the Holy Ghost because with my own forces I could never have spoken like I did. I looked at all of them and said “Why are you complaining about and rejecting more of God’s word instead of gratefully and faithfully receiving it? It is because you do not love God enough!”

I know that I was strengthened by the power of the Lord as I firmly defended the Book of Mormon. I know it is true. I know it came from God. I know Heavenly Father believes in the Book of Mormon just as He does in the Bible as His own Word. I don’t have any doubt.

I left that tumultuous lesson peacefully, with the certainty in my heart that I represented the Lord well.

I almost forgot to write about the incredible worldwide missionary broadcast that we had this week. The setting of the two hour meeting was a meeting of the leaders of the missionary department, including Elder Oaks, Bednar, and Andersen. I remember that E. Bednar started the meeting with a powerful prayer. I felt a great spirit of unity and power knowing that all the missionaries in the world were praying together in that exact moment. After a ton of inspiration and advice from the apostles and other board members, the big news was released: significant changes to the missionary daily schedule, P-Days and key-indicators of work. This week E. Brandão and I will go to a leadership meeting and hear how Pres. Bührer will adapt all of these novidades to our mission.

The greatest testimony I've gained on my mission is that of the Book of Mormon. I've had plenty of experiences having to really defend it, for which I'm grateful.

I’m really enjoying serving here in Patos de Minas. This month the zone didn’t have many baptisms (just 1) but we’ll have 3 this first week of February! I’m 90% sure I’ll stay here another transfer because E. Brandao is finishing his mission, and I’m excited to continue the work. We visited the Presbyterian Church this week, after an investigator invited us. It was a cool experience. I’m really grateful to belong to a church with a clear doctrinal foundation and divinely defined purpose. There’s a big difference! Amo Voces! Tenham uma otima semana!

Elder Anderson

 I. got. really. burned. last. P-Day.

  Kodiak Cakes again!
 American pancakes are a blessing.
 Água Tônica. I like it but no one else does kkkkkk
My breakfast today: fried egg sandwiches!
 I read about the venomous snakes in the book of Ether today and produced some margin art.
 O Livro de Mórmon veio de Deus!
We play darts at home
Finally got a 10!

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