Hey Mom and Dad,
Thanks so much for the package, it was AWESOME getting hot Cheetos and candy. I read Jesus the Christ every night before bed and I just snack on those a bit 😀 Tell Natalie thanks for her drawing! It was great! 🙂 No new news on my visa yet, still waiting to be processed. Yeah, I got 13 days left here, it’s going fast! I won’t be too surprised if I get reassigned, but a few elders and sisters here have got their Brazil visas before they left so we’ll see! Our branch also got dissolved Sunday, because we are the last wave of American-Brazil missionaries. The church is growing fast enough there and visas are getting too tough, so they combined my zone with another. We moved from the 5th floor of our building to the basement two days ago, me and the other 3 in my district sleep there. Elder Rodriguez photo sniped some funny pictures of me I attached them 😀
I learned a lot about what it means to get success in life this week. We listened to a talk by David A. Bednar called Becoming a Missionary. In Alma 26:22, it reads “Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing–Unto such it is GIVEN to know the mysteries of God, yea, unto such it shall be GIVEN to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and it shall be GIVEN unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentance, even as it has been GIVEN unto us to bring these our brethren to repentance…
Later in Alma 26:27, Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.
Notice how many times we see the success is GIVEN, not EARNED. I think we can all attest to the fact that sometimes we work as hard as we can and something still doesn’t work out. 2 Nephi 2:2 tells us that our afflictions shall be consecrated for our gain. I learned that I should always give thanks to God when I achieve success in anything, because it is a gift from God. I have been really blessed here to be able to learn Portuguese fast….Probably the quickest I’ve ever learned anything in my life….I feel like God has blessed me with a heightened ability to learn in order to be at the level of effectiveness needed to hit the ground running when I get to Brazil. I actually got to mail a real letter to a fourteen year old girl named Carleigh who has not been baptized yet. Our teacher Sister Dangerfield has been role playing her, and she wanted us to write a letter to this girl. It was pretty humbling that she trusts us that much.
I also have had a strengthened testimony of the Book of Mormon again this week. Everything in our church comes from the Book of Mormon, everything. Nephi, Mormon, and Moroni in particular all express that they write many things for a wise purpose of the Lord not made known unto them. I don’t know about you, but don’t you just feel like the scriptures were written just for you? The cool thing is they are 🙂 When we apply the Scriptures to our lives and not just read them, they become that much more powerful 🙂
I bear my testimony that I know the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. I am so grateful he has reached out in love again to bring us the Restored Gospel of his son Jesus Christ. It truly is a blessing that we have the knowledge of why we are here on this Earth, and who we are. We literally have been given the answer to one of the biggest questions of the soul. I hope that I do get to go to the United States first. Many people talk about their mission not being a baptizing mission and then it isn’t. While that is great, that is not how success is measured as a missionary. We learned many missionaries do not work very hard and get lot’s of Baptisms. We also learned some work as hard as they can and get no Baptisms. David A. Bednar says that all we know is success is a gift from God, and it will be given on his time, not ours. For myself, I know that the Book of Mormon promises us that the words within are sufficient to teach ANY man or woman. I forget the verse but that is promised to us. There is no reason it cannot teach and testify to people here in the United States than Brazil. The people of Brazil have been very prepared to receive the Gospel, but I know the people here are too. God does not lie, he is a truthful God 🙂 If the Book of Mormon says it can teach any man, than I believe it 🙂 I am excited to share the Gospel with anybody, I am itching to get out into the field!
I have a few scriptures that helped me with things I have been wanting to understand more.
I wanted to know more about how I could have the Holy Ghost more….
3 Nephi 12:6
I am glad that I can be here to become a missionary, not just go on a mission. When we become missionaries, we are changing who we are. We do not return to become the people we were before the mission. I know that we have Thomas S. Monson, who has been called as a prophet of God. I know that the Gospel work is hastening, and that this is the time to obtain the word and then bring it to others. I know that if we have questions or problems in our lives, the Lord first counsels us to study it out in our minds, then ask in prayer if it is right. I know that God hears our prayers, and he answers them. I know that if we have feelings of love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness,goodness, and faith that those are fruits of the spirit. I know that if we seek to develop Christlike attributes we will understand our Savior more. The world often tells us that because we are just one person, we are too small to make an effect. The Book of Mormon tells us that our works here can change lives….For better or worse. The secret combinations created by Gadianton brought the Nephites to wickedness and destruction. The desire of Alma to leave behind his sins and serve God, through the power of God, brought thousands unto Christ. I know that when we are righteous we can also help change lives for the better. I know God lives and I know Jesus Christ lives. The Nephites seldom went to battle save they had the strength of God behind them. I want to try to live as righteous as I can to also have the strength of God to support and lift me.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Love, Elder Sanders