Monday, January 25, 2016

Awesome Missionary Broadcast

Hey all!

Our District
   This week was awesome!  We had the first worldwide missionary broadcast in 10 years, and we recieved live instruction from some of the Apostles, Seventies, and the President of the Young Women´s organization.  It was awesome!  The theme was "Teach repentance and Baptize Converts."
All the Mission together for the Broadcast
 They discussed how this is really what we have been called to do, and then discussed several applications that are very importante for our success in this endeavor.

Elder Bednar gave an incredible training about the importance of teaching with the spirit, and how
this can be done.  More than teaching with the spirit, he discussed the importance of helping our investigators recognize that they are being taught by the spirit.

The Presidency of the Seventy and Sister Oscarson spoke about the importance of working with less actives and recente converts, and Elder Oaks finished it off with a talk about teaching repentance and baptizing converts.  It was great!

   Aside from that, I also gave a talk in our Ward this week.  Elder Z. and I were both asked to speak.  Elder Z.  spoke about the importance of having our own personal game plan, like the Family Mission Plans that Mom used to have us make.  Family Mission Plan 

I was asked to speak about asking in Faith, and discussed 2 importante principles that we can apply to ask in Faith.  1 - Asking in Faith necessitates real intente, and 2 - Prayer is the act of putting our will in harmony with our Father´s.  As we pray expressing our desire to do the will of the Lord and supplicate his aid in so doing, and afterwards act with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength, then the Lord blesses us with strength, desire, and courage beyond our own to aid us as we strive to do his will.  What a powerful principle!

Right now we´re teaching a woman named R., who lives way on the other side of our área.  We found her through a member reference, and it´s going well so far!  She was very interested in the message as well as her children.  

I´ve got to go now, but I love you all tremendously!  Have a great week and I look forward to hearing from you all next week!

Elder Sweet


Monday, January 11, 2016

Some of the Fruits of Faith

Hey, all!  So what´s everybody doing?  Keep me up to date, send me some pics!
Poroto Alegre Brazil Temple
   This week, like all of the others, was awesome!  It was also very busy.  We had the Mission Leadership Meeting, and on top of that there were several Visas that we needed to renew this week.  So it was a lot of fun!  It´s one of those good busies!  

   The work has been pretty rough lately.  Since the transfer, all of my previous investigators stayed with Elder C. and now Elder O. and I have no one to teach!  ....  Lately we´ve been feeling that the Lord wants us to work in a part of Goiânia that is affluent, it´s the most affluent area in the mission.  No other missionaries have ever put any significant effort into this neighborhood, but we´ve decided to follow the impressions we´ve recieved and dedicate ourselves to the work!  Success may come much more slowly than in other neighborhoods.  In poorer areas you work one or two days and already have a decent group of people to teach, but here it´s a bit slower coming and requires much more effort.  I´m not exactly sure why the Lord wants us to work here, but I am sure that one of the reasons is to give me an opportunity to increase my faith.  
   The last verse of Alma 32 is one of my favorites in the book of mormon: "Then, my brethren, ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long-suffering,waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you."  I´m not sure if this is doctrine, but it seems to me that the last three atributes listed (diligence, patience, and long-suffering) rather than be stand-alone attributes, are among the fruits of faith.  When we truly have faith, we can see and measure it through our diligence, patience, and long-suffering.  They are natural results of faith-based patterns of thinking and living.  Faith is generally difficult to measure and recognize in ourselves directly, but it is very easily seen when we are honest with ourselves in assessing our diligence in fulfilling the Lord´s commands, and our patience and long-suffering when the results aren´t immediate.
Image of faith from the internet
   Long-suffering is also an interesting word.  I like it much more in Portuguese; the translation is longanimidade.  Instead of sounding like enduring suffering for a long time, the word longanimidade seems to convey the ability to remain excited, happy, and driven even when things aren´t going that well.  It would be more like long-excitedness or long-courage if those were words in english.  

This is one of the greatest fruits of faith, in my opinion.  Our faith in the Lord is truly manifest as we seek diligently to know the will of the Lord, and as we continue in long-suffering until he tells us "It is finished."  

   Before my mission I thought of faith as a rather basic topic, one so easily understood and applied.  But now I´m just beginning to recognize the eternal value of faith, and the value of those who truly exercise it.  Exercising faith is not easy.  It requires charity and hope, and manifests itself through diligence, patience, and long-suffering.  It is not easy.  But the power of he who empowers us to do so is not little.  I am absolutely certain that through the power of Christ we can truly exercise faith unto salvation, and become like him.

I love you all a ton!  Have a great week, and I look forward to hearing from you all next P-day!

Elder Sweet    

Monday, January 4, 2016

Feliz 2016!!!!!!!

Beautiful City of Goiania, Brazil
Alright, so this is officially (did I spell that right?) wierd.  I just can´t understand where on earth the time has gone!  Someone needs to slow down the clock!  I heard a talk recently where Elder Maxwell said that he didn´t resent the passing of time, I hope that someday I get to the point where I can say the same thing!

   My new companion is Elder O., a guatemalan Elder who´s awesome!  He´s really funny, excited, and helps me to be a bit better each day.  That´s what you need in a good companion!  This week was pretty rough in terms of the work, our teaching pool´s pretty dry.  This week we´ve planned to use almost all of our in-field working hours on Tuesday and Wednesday to contact new people and mark appointments for later in the week.  I´m actually really excited, I want to talk to at least 250 people about the gospel before Wednesday ends!  That will be a ton of fun, contacting people and getting to know them is energizing and fuels my excitement for the rest of the week!  We´re also trying to improve our relationship with the members here.  On Saturday Elder O. and I helped an elderly lady in our ward wash the doors on her house.  That was a fun project!  We talked a lot about family history, her children, the church, just about a bit of everything.  After we finished, she pulled out a pan of sweet rice pudding that she made for us that was absolutely divine!  She put a little bit of coconut on top with some cloves, and then sprinkled cinammon over all of that.  It was great!

   This month I´ve set a goal for myself to work on developing a bit further the Christlike attributes of Virtue and Patience.  I´m not exactly sure how, but I´m working on that.  One thing that I´m going to try to do for virtue is memorize a new scripture each day this month.  That will occupy my mind with thoughts directed to the Lord, and give me a defense to fall back on when my thoughts get distracted by anything that isn´t relevant to my work as a missionary.  Patience is tougher.  It takes a long to time to develop patience, and  I´m in a hurry to get to the celestial kingdom!  Just kidding!    It´s interesting how sometimes we´re in such a hurry to improve that we forget that patience is one of the prerequisites if God is to mold us how he wants.  He´s not in a hurry, he´s in it for the long run and I suppose he hopes that we are too!

   Anyhow, have a wonderful New Year, everyone!  Let me know your thoughts on 2016 and some of the things that you all hope to accomplish!

Elder Sweet 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Christmas Tunnels of light in Go Goiania Brazil (Internet Photo)
   So what did you all do to celebrate the holiday?  Send me some pics and tell me some stories!

   Anyhow, it was awesome to talk to you guys on Christmas!  Getting to talk with our families makes Christmas 10 times more awesome!  Be sure to send me the pics from your fishing trip when that happens, Dad.  And I´m serious about that 2016 fishing trip, there´s no way I´ll let you off the hook on that one!  

   Christmas here was pretty cool!  On Christmas eve we were invited to a recent converts house and she made us a feast!  It was awesome!  She made ham, turkey, farofa, feijão tropeiro (you´ve got to try this out if you get the chance, it´s really good!), maionese, a salad, and pudim!  Pudim is basically Brazilian flan, but it´s a little bit denser that the mexican variant. 

Brazilian pudim (internet photo) 
On Christmas President gave us permission to do our calls from the office, so that was cool!  All of us four secretaries and the assistants did our calls from here, so it was great!  After that, some other recent converts invited us to eat at their house, and they had a traditional brazilian barbeque!  It was so good!  It´s kind of fun how they do barbeques here.  They´ve always got meat on the grill, and as it comes off they cut it into bite sized pieces, put them on the table, and everyone just grabs em.  It´s a lot of fun!

Feijão tropeiro (internet photo)

Farofa (internet photo)
 This week is going to be nuts for us, because it´s transfer week!   At this point it´s just execution.  I got kind of sort of not really transferred!  The only thing that changed is that my companion is going to be Elder O. now.  Elder O. is the new Executive Secretary, and President wanted us to be companions because a lot of the time in the office the Executive secretary and the Finance secretary have to run errands together, so it´s just more convenient.  I´m going to miss being Elder C.´s companion, that guy rocks!  He´s funny, works hard, and always excited about the work!  But still the same, it´s a great transfer!

   I´ve got to go now, but I want to leave with each of you a reminder of what the central point of the Christmas season is!  I am so grateful for our savior and what he did for us!  May he always be the center of our lives, not just in this season but always!

Love you guys, and have a great New Year!

Elder Sweet