This is my last year on the mission and it's time to give it my all for the final stretch of the race! I have about 6 months left and I'm determined to not waste a minute of it.
This next week is transfers, so there's a chance I'll be transferred from Macapá. If I am transferred, it will be a very sad day...I've grown really close to the members here in Macapá. I've been here for 6 months already and I think I know everybody here, even the dogs on the street. I've seen many people baptized in my time here, and it's a pleasure to see my converts passing the sacrament, bearing testimonies, and receiving callings.
This week was really an awesome experience for me of how the Lord rewards our efforts and how we really aren't capable to do this work by ourselves. I've been thinking a lot of myself recently, because of the baptisms and the activities, and everything, so it was good to have a bit of a challenge. Our area was really struggling on the new year. It's a hard time to work here in Brazil because nobody wants to hear about God on the new year, and everybody's drunk.
So we were trying to teach lessons and find new people, but it wasn't working. Nobody was listening to us. And basically we already baptized our teaching group so we were left without anybody to teach. After you've stayed in an area for a long time, you start to feel like you already know everybody. I was starting to get a bit discouraged. Even so, we left house on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day to try to find people. Everything fell through. The investigators that we did have were all drunk or traveling, or both.
We were able to teach one woman about the Book of Mormon before New Year's Eve, and it was a really great lesson...until the commitment. I asked her if she was willing to read a specific chapter in two days and she refused. She said "I'll read it afterwards...it's just that...I'm going to be really drunk over New Year's. Really Drunk". I said, "But there is 70 hours until the ! We are just asking for 10 minutes!" And she just looked at me and said, "But I've already bought the alcohol".
So that was our day on New Year's. We spent New Year's Eve playing Monopoly and messing with the Rubix Cube. (I won't tell you what my new high score is, but Ben had better be practicing :D).
But anyways, I was pretty less than excited for the work. We had worked hard, but by ourselves we weren't able to have results.
I had to leave the area for a couple days. A city close by, Santana, started a new group in the area so I went there for 3 days to supervise the opening. Elder Prado stayed here with a young man. It was a great adventure! I worked with a different missionary each day, and we visited a ton of less actives. we had our first meeting in a small shack-looking thing. There were 41 people, so it was a great success! There were inactives that went for the first time in years to church!
Anyways, it was time to return to my area and I wasn't too excited. Our sacrament meeting had already started in Macapá and it was pouring rain. I ended up just walking in the rain to the meeting. So you can imagine the feeling of getting there, soaking wet, expecting nothing.
It ended up being a really special experience for me. I walked in on several miracles.
1. One of our recent converts brought a family of 6 to church for us to meet and teach.
2. Another really special family we were teaching went to church alone (normally we go pick them up).
3. One of our ancient families we were teaching (and had stopped teaching because they weren't progressing) said they wanted to be baptized.
4. All of my recent converts were there.
5. Almost all of them bore testimony and spoke about how greatful they were for our service. THAT was a really special moment for me. I shed a tear or two.
6. We ended up with 10 investigators at Sacrament Meeting when I thought we would have 0.
I know the Lord blesses us when we work hard. There are things we don't have control over, but if we do everything in our power the Lord will make up the rest. In my own power I am not able to do anything. It is the Lord who blesses us with the miracles.
I love you guys. This Church is perfect and true and living. Don't forget that! The work of salvation is hastening, and each one of us has to participate!