Everyone thank you so much for the e-mails this week... Everyweek I express how much I need them and its so true! They change everything and help so much. Sometimes we just need a good laugh and well Alyssa your story of the Racoon really brought a smile to my face. Mom and Dad and cannot express how much I miss you and our incredible family. As the hoildays are just around the corner I'm becoming a little homesick and its tough! I'm doing everything in my power to stay strong but even the older Missionarys say that its almost inevitable and all missionarys will get a little homesick around the Hoildays haha but im doing good dont worry. One thing I have to say is I cant believe how fast this is all going by here on the Mission... Last night I had an incredible and much needed talk with one of my best friends on the Mission. (Elder Birch) We talked for a good 45 Minutes about the Mission and the things that are changing within our hearts and lifes. We talked about how everything that is happening on the Mission is shaping us into something much bigger then either of us can realize or can imagine and we just hope once we return we will be better man then when we left... I cant really express to you all what this experience is like, its extremly difficult and this past week was a week of Faith and growth but I have news for everyone... the 18th of November I will have my first two Baptisms with Alexandre and Nayane and I know with all my heart it will happen. Their what we call "Golden Investigators" and this past week we learned that their fear of Baptism was being Baptised without their family.... This statement hit me square in the face. This decison is a big one... one of the biggest they will make in their lifes and their scarred, We are really working hard with them and I think things are going really good for them but I cannot describe how blessed we all are to have our families in the Gospel with us.
Because its thanksgiving I want to say how gratefull I am to have my family in the Gospel with me. To have a Father who is a worthy Priesthood holder and an example of Rightousness (Sorry everyone I cant spell correctly anymore thanks to the Português em minha cabeça haha so you'll all need to have patience with me haha) For my Mother for her incredible example of Love for all of her children and what every Women should be to be the perfect mother in the whole world, and of course my Sisters and Brothers. I love you all so much and I hope that you will always remember that! I look up to you all so much and I want everyone to know that I am here sharing the Gospel because of your love and examples in my life thank you.
This past week was a pretty interesting one for me as I really came to understand what it means to have Faith in the Lord. I would like to start today with a story. A year and a half ago I had the chance to go to New York and visit my sister Alyssa and also visit the Sacred Grove. While we were there I had an experince that Im not sure I've shared with anyone (Mainly because I was a little embarrased afterwards) but is something that has helped me so much here on the Mission. I remember as my family and I were visiting this Sacred place I had a determination to branch off from the group and prayer with true Faith. I had a determination and a hope to see God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ just like Joseph Smith and I felt at the time I had enough Faith to see them. As I silently moved away from the group I kneeled in prayer and asked with all the faith I could find to recieve this privelege and you know what happened.... I didnt see anything, but I felt an overwhelming peace come over me. I wont lie, afterwards I was a little disappointed. I was confused and thought to myself "I know I have enough Faith and I felt I prayed with everything I had but still nothing.... Whats wrong? Why didnt anything happen even though I prayed with all my Faith? Well I found the answer to this question here on the Mission... I've grown so much especially within the Gospel and I'm here to tell you that I did pray with all my Faith that day... but I've also realized thats not how our Heavenly Father works. I've had a trial of my Faith these past 7 months. With the Language Barrier, with the Baptisms and thats when it hit me that I did pray with ALL my faith that day, but I still have a long long long time before my Faith is ready for something that Special. I've noticed how little I had starting out on the Mission and I've seen how far I've come since then, but to be honost with everyone I'm not sure I'll be truly ready until my Judgement day when I meet Our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ face to face to be jugded according to my works. I dont think many of us will every be ready until that day but we must do all that we can possible do to follow the example of our Savior and work towards finding this Faith.
Now I hope this all made sense and Im not speaking apostasy here haha (Thats what all the Missionarys say when Missionarys start talking deep doctrine and true doctrine begins to become opinion of the Missionary) haha but I do know that our Lord and Savior loves us very much, and I know that our Heavenly Father answers our prayers. I have so much love for this gospel and this work but I know that I truly have a long way to go before I'm the man I need to become. I find myself getting angry with my companion more then I should and I've started complaining alot to others about my situation with him. We are just two diffrent people and we have two diffrent out looks on what work is (Thank you mom and dad for teaching me about work also thank you Jamba and Pipe) but then I learned something that has changed everything for me... Instead of complaning and finding someone to blam. Look at yourself and ask "What can I do personally within myself to change this? How can I help without being mean about the whole situation?" I dont know if this all makes sense, my brain is racing a million miles an hour and there is so much I want to share in this e-mail and I have so little time. The only thing I can really say is I know this church is true. I know that with every fiber of my heart. I need to be honest with everyone I've realized I was kind of a negative person back home and I always complained to my friends and family about things in my life but I never took action or the time to think what I could do to personally change my attitude... because of this I missed golden oppurtunitys to grow. Family and Friends I challenge everyone to make a list of some of your weaknesses and things you would like to change you in your life and then set goals to apply the Gospel in changing that weakness into your strength. :) I'm sorry this e-mail is all jumbled, I'm trying to sum up all my growing experiences from the week into one e-mail and thats tough stuff haha. I hope that some of the things I've said will help in some way. I do want to give a Special shout out to Mr.Stevens (Jordan) because I know that he is growing up fast and he will be twenty!!!! :) Love you man and I think of you often. Happy Birthday Also Family and Friends I love you all so much. I'm sorry you all dont hear from me more... I'm really trying to write letters and make things more personal for each of you so I'll try better this following week. Also please let Steven Lavell know that I'm happy to hear he will be serving in Gods Kingdom. :) Its the best experience in the whole world, and let Porter Young know he is in my prayers as he begins this journy of the Mission.
Thank you everyone for everything! I love you all so much... I cant express in E-mail how I feel its just not possible but I hope that you all realize that I love you all so much. Its hard because I feel like I write the same things every week but I truly want you all to know that I love you with all my heart... I know I need to be here in Brasil sharing the Gospel. I miss you all so much and there are times when I have crazy dreams about coming home and nobody is there, that everyone has forget about me and I know that those dreams are Satan trying hard to bring me down.... but I'm happy to say that his efforts are in vain because I know that I have family and Friends that truly care about me. There are definetly times when I miss everyone so much and I feel like I'm missing out on some pretty big events but then I realize just how importatnt this time in my life is... I dont have much time to change others lifes, I only have 1year and 5 months left which means I really need to step it into gear. Thank you everyone I feel your prayers every week and I know that when I return in just a few months that you will all be their with open arms to recieve me. Things wont be the same when I get home.... that I know. Things are really changing fast not only back home but in my life as well. There are things that I wanted before the Mission that now are just not important... I know that things will never be the same but the great thing is that it will actually be better then it was!!! I know that with all my Heart. :) I love you all and I hope this E-mail was a good one. I cannot tell you how much I miss you all but Im so happy to be here. One thing I want to write really fast is Ben I love you.... Things are changing fast in our lifes but I cant wait for the day we meet again and hug and cry! I'm excited because the plane ride home is going to be awesome because we'll talk for like 18 hours straight in Português. Eu te amo meu irmão e eu sai que nós precisamos trabalha muito aqui porque depois de dois anos acabou. Thanks everyone for you love and I hope to hear from you all soon. Especially during the holiday season. Please send lots of pictures especially of the snow. Its super hot here and I really miss the snow haha. :) Love you all and I cant wait to hear from you all again.