Sunday, May 3, 2015

"Prodigal Children"

Wooh!  Conferência Geral foi increível!  Até Elder Uchtdorf falou em sua propria idioma por um pouco!

D, Me, J, L, and Elder U
So what did you all think of the General Conference?  President Monson didn´t speak much, so that was a little wierd.   All in all it was an incredible conference!  I watched the whole thing in Portuguese, and I understood it pretty well.  At times it was difficult to understand because a lot of other people at the church just made chit chat through all the sessions, but it was still pretty cool.  I loved Elder Ulisses Soares´ talk in Portuguese!  It was so awesome to hear the actual voice of the person speaking!  There were some pretty deep talks about grace and the atonement as well.  Man, I can´t wait to get the Conference addition of the Liahona!  It´s going to be so awesome!!!

  Now, about this week!  It started a bit rough.  J. didn´t come to church last week, and we tried and tried and tried again to contact him.  We were finally able to get into his house on Tuesday to share a message with him.  In our district meeting that morning I´d given a short message about the prodigal son, and how each of us are "prodigal children" of our father in heaven.  Elder U. asked me to share the same message with J.  We went there and taught him a special lesson focused completely around this parable, about how God loves us no matter what we do, and how he is there ready to bless us with everything he has no matter how many times we leave, so long as we come back.  It was the most spiritual lesson of my mission so far, I think we all cried at some point.  We taught J. again the next day, and he opened up to us more about what´s going on.  He said that he drank over the weekend and because of that missed church, again.  He figured that after so many failures, we would give up on him and not come back.  Then, we showed up!  And on top of that, we taught him a lesson about no matter how many times we leave our Father in Heaven by commiting sin, he waits with open arms to welcome us back.  This whole week has been incredible becuase of J.  He wants to be baptized more than any other person I´ve seen on my mission, and is on track to be baptized this coming weekend!  There´s a lot of rough things going on in his family right now too, so we´re praying hard for him.

  This week was pretty strange outside of J.  All of the people that we taught just wanted to bible bash, and hour after hour of work seemed to yield so little fruit.  It was so great to be able to leave all of that at the end of each day to go teach J.  He´s pretty awesome.  I´ll attach a photo here of Elder U. and I, J. and his son L, and a recent convert named D. who is teaching J.with us.  D. was my very first baptism on the mission, and seeing him serving faithfully in the church and (hopefully) baptizing J. this coming weekend is just incredible!  There´s no greater joy than this, without question!

 I took a picture of lightning!  It took a lot of
shots to finally get one, but it was pretty cool
One of my trainers, Elder S, told me that the mission is the best and worst thing that he´s ever done in his life.  It´s hard.  People yell at you, try to rob you, and just want to fight us on every point of doctrine instead of going to their Heavenly Father in prayer.  With that and more, the mission is the worst thing I´ve done in my life so far.  Every now and then, though, you get to see a life change and to see the joy in the eyes of people as the embrace the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ; there can be no value assigned to that joy.  It surpasses all of the hardships of the mission, and makes it the best thing that I´ve done in my life.

   I love you guys!  Have an awesome week, and remember that I love you!  Also, share your thoughts and insights about conference!  I want to hear!

Elder Sweet

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