Its another beautiful day in the mission field. I am healthy and happy. This week we worked hard but have resolved to work hard this next week to have more success. Antonio continues to smoke unfortunately and it has been difficult to know what to do with him. The silver lining is that I have thought more about the Atonement of Christ than I have before. The cool thing about serving a mission is you get to see the gospel in action - the literal power it has to change and inspire lives. I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve.
Elder Sloan is a great trainer and continues to teach me loads. We have great discussions about the mysteries of the universe and he has a saying that I really like. He says, ´Todo mundo precisa. Eu vou.´ Translated it means Everybody needs to do something. I am going to do it. Something like that, haha. It inspires me to actually do and not just think about what I should do. I am definitely changing and learning to be more decisive and firm with people.
Brasil is a wonderful place. The people here are great and the members are wonderful. We have lunch with a family everyday and they are always very nice. It is interesting though - the majority of people down here think about God in a very different way. He is sort of a celebrity magic genie person. Everyone says things like Gracas a Deus and Deus é fiel but often their devotion doesn't go beyond that. I am not trying to be judgmental - in reality, this has motivated me to think about my relationship with God and how often my actions are directly tied to my faith in my Father in Heaven.
Elder Sloan and I live in a little house with three rooms, a bathroom and a kitchen. There are two beds but I am looking forward to the time when I can sleep on the floor because some houses don't have beds. We have hot water, a washing machine and use a clothes line to dry our clothes. We have a study room where we study and practice every morning. I have been trying to be diligent with my ab work out and pushups every morning.
I learned a great Portuguese joke. Que um peixe faz? Nada. Translated it means What does a fish do? Nothing. But Nada is also the conjugation of the verb to swim so hence the joke. Probably not that funny on your end but I always crack up when I think about it.
We walk everywhere generally. The buses here are doido (crazy). I really like them - I think of Big Thunder Mountain in Disneyland whenever I ride the bus. But we walk everywhere and it is great. I actually enjoy the walking - it is a great time to think. Contagem is a bit bigger than Provo. Right now there is an election. Elections here are more like student council elections in high school. They have music and singing playing from cars all the day long and the election isn't until October. It is different but fun!
I can honestly say that I have been blessed by the Lord this week. I have felt His love greatly during the hard times when I feel overwhelmed. I read 1 Nephi 17 today - it is really a beautiful chapter of scripture. The parallelism that Nephi uses to compare the Children of Israel and the Family of Lehi is really interesting. I wondered what really was the difference between Nephi and his brethren. I decided that what made the difference was that Nephi decided to ask and seek the will of the Lord. He sought to understand the plan that God had for him and his family. He lived worthy and received divine guidance which helped him to be obedient and dedicated. On the other hand, Laman and Lemuel didn't seek to understand the will of God and found it very difficult to be obedient. They didn't understand the why of the gospel, why we have commandments and why the Lord asks us to do the things He does. I am going to try and seek the will of the Lord more in my life and seek to understand the Atonement more completely. Elder Sloan always says "If someone really understands the Atonement, they will never forget to pray, never not go to church and never break the commandments." I really like that idea and it is good to think about.
Thank you to for the wonderful letters from the Grandparents! It really is a special treat to be able to learn from your wisdom and advice. Thank you so much for all you have done for me in my life! I love you!
Have a wonderful week! Remember the Lord always! Be Good! Be Happy!
Love, Elder Jacob