Monday, July 6, 2015

Week 52: 525,600 minutes

How do you measure a year as a missionary? In lessons? In baptisms? In times you felt the Spirit?

Sorry if that was too cheesy or something, but I've been working on that one in the shower for about 2 weeks now. I thought it was good.

But President Packard said in his last transfer meeting "for those who were there [in this case, with me on my mission], no explanation is necessary. For those who were not there, no explanation is possible."

I hit my year mark on July 9thThursday. I couldn't even begin to describe all of the things I have learned and felt and experienced and how I have changed and grown. How does a year fly by so darn quickly? I remember when I started my mission... when I entered the MTC almost 362 days ago! And now Elder Knutti is there learning Spanish and how to survive eating the MTC food for 6 weeks. Good luck, brother. You may need it.

Well this week has been another one FULL of great things! Last pday we played ultimate Frisbee, tennis, and soccer with the elders and the Cape Verdean kids that were roaming around the park (including our 11-year old investigator Walter!). It was such a good pday. Except that we were SUPER late to our appointment, so she cancelled on us at her door.... we're getting better, I promise.

On Tuesday, Elder Cagle last minute asked me to play the piano for him and our ZL Elder Scott so they could sing a song at the Welcome Conference with the Millers. So we spent an hour working on Come Thou Fount only to go and buy a song called "O Lord, My Redeemer". But it was worth it. Go look that song up, it is gorgeous. I like it better with the piano than the guitar though. The elders sang it very well buy the way! So great. on Tuesday we also visited Ana Goncalves (who was not baptized last Sunday). We read from the Book of Mormon stories book with her about when Christ came to visit the Nephites. That was perfect for her! The Spirit was so strong as we talked about the story and how He blessed the children. Her daughter has some sort of disability, so I hoped that it touched her heart in some way. I think it did. We finally got it--we need to teach Ana super simply and only one principle at a time. That is how she will best understand.

We also visited the Silveiras (the big family) and taught some of the women the Plan of Salvation! It was awesome.

Wednesday.. we did some digital mission, always exciting, and we weekly planned early. We tried to visit a few people but we did end up visiting AnaPaula, and we taught her the Restoration finally (she's already had the Plan of Salvation). She liked it! She and her husband are still figuring out when to get baptized. She told us on Friday when we saw her again (and taught about the Book of Mormon) that she really wants her husband to change, because things have been difficult for them recently. We promised her that the gospel will help him to change for the better and that we would do our best to help. I love missionary work, guys. It really doesn't get much better than someone confides in you and you can promise the gospel will help solve their problems.

Thursday! We practiced early for the song the elders were going to sing, and we had our Welcome Conference with President and Sister Miller! They are awesome. It's honestly pretty weird that they aren't the Packards, but I think we will get used to them and we will love them just as much as the Packards. They talked about promoting unity (aka Zion), obedience, Preach My Gospel, and discipleship. President Miller is a systems integrator guy, so he will be fantastic for the Digital Mission. Also I'm hoping we get to jump onboard the iPad bandwagon soon.... Watch, Jared will get one his first day. Just watch.

The Conference was just so good. I'm excited to work with the Millers for my last 4 transfers! There must be something I need to learn specifically from them, so I'll just keep running along side them as they work.

We tried seeing other people afterwards but no one was home. We did go to IHOP though! I love pancakes.

Friday was pretty darn productive, if I do say so myself. We taught Ana again (about the Godhead using an egg! Just a drawing because we forgot the egg, but still), we met with our group RS president, had district meeting (where I gave a training on How to Begin Teaching), taught a less active, Antonia, and her girls about the Book of Mormon, contacted some neighbors of our recent converts, taught Clarice (the 12 year old of the Silveira family) and some other girls the Plan of Salvation, and talked with AnaPaula again about the Book of Mormon. Whew!

Highlights of the day: we extended a baptismal date of July 19th to Clarice. We told her to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. She told us the next time we saw her that she felt like God spoke to her and told her that it was good for her to be baptized on July 19th. SHE'S SO GREAT. Her brother, Ancelmo, will also be baptized that day!! These kids are amazing. Seriously. On Sunday they bore their testimonies. Let me say that again--our investigators bore their testimonies. They talked about why they wanted to be baptized and how they know the Book of Mormon is true. At the end of sacrament meeting when Irmao Machado went up to finish the meeting, he cried because he was so touched by their testimonies. This is a big deal, my friends. But please pray for Ancelmo and Clarice that they will be able to have the support they need. Their family likes the church, but it's hard because many of them work on Sundays so it's just hard for them to get to church. They just need prayers.

Oh, and we taught them again on Sunday night--plan of salvation for Ancelmo this time-- and it was great. Some of their friends came over too and started to listen!

The rest of Sunday was fine, we just hunted down people that didn't go to church. I think because of the holiday on the 4th, everyone stayed up late.. we knocked on a lot of peoples' doors in the morning to get them to go to church, but not one of them answered the door. So here's the lesson friends: always go to church, even if you stayed up too late the night before. Always go. Or else the missionaries will pound on your door and you'll get annoyed with us.

But I skipped Saturday!

Because it was INDEPENDENCE DAY for the GREATEST NATION ON EARTH, I made Sister Couto wear red white and blue and we sang America the Beautiful for our companionship study hymn. I dressed like the flag because that was the only appropriate thing to wear on July 4th of course. The Machados invited us over for a churrasco (shoo-ha-scoo), or a barbeque, and it was extremely delicious. That's right--I celebrated America's independence by eating Brazilian barbeque with Brazilians and a Cape Verdean. And it was awesome. We had permission that night to stay out until 10:30pm, so we drove down to Providence with the Elders to watch the fireworks! They were super cool.

You know what else was super cool? When we went to see the fireworks, the Spanish elders found this family of 10 people who are less-actives. From Portugal. That's right, 10 less-active Portuguese members. So we contacted them and we'll reactivate them. The Lord has His own purposes and the work never stops, even on a holiday :)

I think that's it.

We were sad to hear that Boyd K Packer passed away as well this week. His grandson is in our mission. This October Conference will be interesting, but the Lord has everything in His plan and in His timing.

This past week I've been studying some about covenants and their eternal nature. Also, the Atonement is called "infinite" in 2 Nephi 9. It's neat to think about--even the people who lived before Christ could repent of their sins. It's like they were using a credit card as the debt got higher until Christ paid it all. For those of us on this side of history, it is like we are using a debit card when we use the Atonement.

Anyways, I read today too that "covenant" is sometimes called "testament". Think about how the Book of Mormon is called "Another Testament of Jesus Christ". Ponder on that. It's pretty cool.

Well my friends and my family, I love you all. Thank you for your prayers and your support for me. We are having a blast here in Central Falls and I am loving every second of it. Sister Couto is awesome. (Fun fact, before me she was Sister Asay's companion) She will teach me all about photography and all about Brazilian cooking. Get ready. I'll make everyone some good ole arroz e feijão in December, and you WILL like it.

Have a fantastic week! Good luck in the MTC Jared, just love every second of it. The time passes quicker than you can imagine.

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