Friday, December 9, 2011

Elder Bednar part 2

Dear Family,
Hearing from Elder Bednar was fantastic! What a blessing it was to have the extra spiritual energy during a taxing time. I was so thankful that we were able to go, all the sacrifice of sleep and all the bug bites while waiting for the bus were worth it.

Elder Bednar´s talk/instruction was very different from what I expected. The first thing he told us was that before he left Salt Lake, the last thing President Monson told him was to tell the missionaries in Teresina that he loved us and to remind us how often he prays for us. I know that all missionaries are loved and prayed for, but an extra shout out from the Prophet never hurt anyone. He had given two previous talks about faith and had sent them to the mission for us to read them. The majority of the time spent was him asking the missionaries what they had learned from the talks, and how they can apply it. After each missionary volunteered, he would give extra insights and tidbits of wisdom. I wrote a ton of stuff down that I know I will be able to use for the rest of my mission and beyond. He talked a lot about acting in Faith, using the example of Peter walking on the water, he didn´t know he had the power until he stepped off of the boat. We don´t know our capacities until we are in the action. Faith is action and then power. I liked that very much, and wish I had brought my notes to expound more. Nevertheless, it was a perfect instruction for missionaries, and for me. How can i know what I can say in Portuguese until I actually try to speak to someone? A mission is probably a pretty safe place to see what abilities I have through faith.

We had a six hour bus ride to get to Teresina, I had already forgotten how hot it is there! My area in Sobral is also hot, but there is almost always a breeze here, whereas in Teresina there is none. I have a new appreciation for the missionaries who are serving in that zone:)

Our area is doing well, but we have had the majority of our appointments fall through in the last week. One day, we had planned to teach 13 lessons, and only 2 of the originally planned happened. With the fast pace here, if someone isn´t home, it is never clear when or if we will actually get to teach them again. With lots of new faces and new names everyday, it has been tough to create any kind of a bond with most of the people we teach, but I am hopeful that with the spirit, connections can be made quickly. I know that even though I don´t fully understand why things are they way they are here, the direction we have been given is for a purpose. The attitude of many here is to graciously accept us once and avoid us after that, but our message is of such power that there is going to be someone who invites us in a second time. Even though we have a high standard of baptisms, we have not had one in this transfer yet, but we do have a date set with a young woman named Amanda this week. She is already active of her own volition in another christian religion, and her knowledge of the gospel is very impressive. (she has already met with two other sets of missionaries) Her only fear now is to make the change and be judged by her friends. Change is never easy, that is probably my least favorite thing about life! Change is uncomfortable. But hopefully Amanda and I can learn together to accept why change is necessary when it means coming closer to the Lord. She is very smart and has so much potential. I hope her baptism comes through.

Another one of our investigators came to chruch yesterday, his name is Irinilton. He was a reference from another Bishop in Sobral. He lives with his girlfriend and 2 year old daughter, and we have taught the mother once while he was working. She told us that she was not interested, but would not stand in his way. well miracle of all miracles he came to church by himself this week, and was befriended by some of the members. I hope that his example can touch Luciana´s heart and they can continue to have a joyful family experience.

It was fun to meet the rest of the sisters in our mission and some of the elders at this mission conference. It is always a pleasure to meet others who are just incredible missionaries and are working so hard! It is an inspiration to me, to be more like them and work harder. Being in a large group of missionaries is probably one of my favorite things about being one myself.
It has been an awesome week, filled with plenty of disappointment but many spiritual highs as well.
I love you all and hope this week is a good one at home. As you shovel the snow and snuggle with my mom´s flannel, just remember that I am jealous:)
Sister Smith

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