Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Week 59: Kanooch

Our group leader, Irmão Machado, pronounces Knutti like that--kanooch. He totally leaves off the "i"! So Elder MacJanet, the one who just got transferred here (who I've known for a long time now) calls me that constantly. He thinks it's hilarious. He'll just say "Are you going to have some rice, Kanooch?" Just like that. 

Anyways! What another crazy missionary week. I think that doesn't really change. It's always crazy. When is missionary work NOT crazy? 

Actually, I feel like we haven't seen most of our investigators this week. Funny, because last week during weekly planning we really wanted to make sure we saw everyone on our list. Oh well, it happens. 

But guess what?? We set a baptismal date with Maria, Walter, and Paulinho Silveira!! (family of our recent converts, Anselmo and Clarice) They will be baptized on September 12th, then they will be able to come to church the next day to be confirmed. It should work perfectly with Maria's work situation, but definitely please pray for her that things will work out and she will be able to go to church enough. They are an amazing family. Maria is so excited to be baptized, and she loves, absolutely loves, every lesson that we teach. This week we actually managed to teach her all of the Plan of Salvation in one lesson! In Kriolo! I don't know how that happened, but it probably helped that she kind of already had the right ideas about what happens to us after we die. The elders taught them the Gospel of Jesus Christ too, and we helped explain more about baptism. On Saturday, we had our exciting church lesson with Walter and Paulinho! We talked about why we got to church, what we do there, and why we need to wear nice clothes and be reverent. That is the day when we gave the boys their clothes :) They were so happy!! Thank you again mom! Walter's were a little too small, so we're going to try to see if we can exchange them for a bigger size today. Hopefully we can so we can give them to him this week. Paulinho's worked great though. Keila and Nataviah weren't there, but we tried to wait until we taught the lesson before we gave them the clothes. Except Maria took the clothes from us and didn't give them back haha. But that's ok, we asked her to not give them to them yet, but to wait until we taught the lesson about church to them too. 

Otherwise, we did a whole lot of other things that I can't remember very clearly. We weekly planned and did digital mission... Mars, our baptismal date, doesn't like going to church. He thinks it's boring. Because they speak Chinese there. Apparently he doesn't like talking to people, unless it's in English. Too bad he lives in Taiwan, haha.... we tried to help him understand the importance of church this week and we gave him an assignment to think of questions and pray about them and to receive answers to them at church this week. Except he didn't go to church and he isn't answering us or the phone calls of the sisters who work with him there. Oh well, we'll keep trying. He's an interesting guy, but I'm sure he'll figure it out one day. 

On Wednesday we had a dinner with this family who has been visiting from Utah! They are so great. They had us, the Portuguese elders and the English sisters over, which we don't normally do, but they were visiting and rarely have missionaries over while in Utah, so we allowed it. It was so so so fun. We would love to keep them here for our group! Too bad they like living in Utah. Come on, who doesn't want to move to Rhode Island? It's a state with 2 names!!

Haha.

We also had the opportunity to talk with David Lopes, the man who was baptized last week, about the temple, and he is super pumped to go on September 7th. He's got his parents' names to do and everything! He just got called to be the group Sunday School President too, and I think he was ordained to be a priest on Sunday. He was sustained at least. The Lord definitely has some plans in mind for this little Portuguese group of ours, because we keep teaching these solid men! It's awesome. We are getting closer and closer to our very own branch. How exciting is that??

Yesterday we had this family home evening activity with a bunch of members from our group, and the most important thing for you to know about that is we ate a lot of food and they had pastels (my favorite are the Cape Verdean kind with tuna :) ) and I learned how you make passionfruit mousse. That is so important, I promise you.

And those are really the highlights! Brianna was in Brockton all week, we think, but we did get to see her briefly on Saturday. She seemed so happy. I think it is because her mom and sisters were there (so we got to meet them, which was nice). But we didn't get to teach her because she and all the rest of the world went to this party they had in a park on Sunday. Way to keep the Sabbath right after we taught it, boys. Hahaha oh well! They just aren't used to living that way yet. Change takes time. 

One last thing I want to share. This was so cool.
So yesterday before church, Brother Machado was talking to these 2 ladies who just walked in, and he called us over. We went over and met them--the older one, the mom, said she had just come to America from Cape Verde literally 3 days ago, and she is a really active member of the church! Haha I could see the edge of her garment top and she showed us her temple recommend. She and her daughter, who was the other lady, told us that even though her daughter is not a member, her mom kept bothering her until she found the closest church to where her daughter lives. So the nonmember daughter went and looked online for the church. She found the Central Falls building and the English ward we have here. She told her mom that it would be in English, so she wouldn't understand anything. Her mom said "no, it doesn't matter. I just need to go to church." 

EXCEPT.

When she got to the church building (like 30 minutes before church starts, that's really impressive for a Cape Verdean lady), they found out that, hey, we have a Portuguese-speaking group that meets here! Her daughter couldn't stay for church this time, but the mom will stay here in America with this daughter for 3 months, and the daughter totally might come to church next week. They were so happy to find that it was a Portuguese group. :)

So let's give a big old shoutout to Odette Silva! The faith that some of these people have is so admirable. I wish my faith was as strong as theirs sometimes. I'm getting there though. 

Lately I've been reading the story of Abinadi, and it is just so cool. Abinadi is an amazing example, and the things he teaches are so good for us to learn!! One thing that I learned and thought about this time around was that he talks about how the Law of Moses doesn't bring salvation. He also explains that the Jews were given the Law of Moses because they were not being obedient enough--funny how when we are disobedient, we are given more rules to follow. I heard once that after President Hinckley said that thing were we should only have one piercing in each ear, a man commented to him how good it was that people know that now and have that rule to follow. President Hinckley replied that is was actually a pretty bad thing that the Lord had to give us this rule and specify that. He said that if everyone were being obedient enough and receiving enough revelation, everyone would have figured that out before, and there would be no need for a rule.

I don't have a source for that, so I don't know 100% for sure if that's what he said, but I've been just thinking about that. Sometimes here on the mission we are told to "live a higher level of obedience". That means to not just follow the rule because we have to. It doesn't mean living the bare minimum of the rule. It means to live a higher standard, be even more obedient than you "really have to". One example of this is Sister Roman. She told me that her personal Word of Wisdom includes not eating chocolate and not drinking any kind of tea. That is her personal choice, of course, but it shows that she prayerfully considered how the Lord wanted her to live that specific commandment. She is literally crazy about chocolate, so she decided she just should cut it out all together. 

So I would encourage all of you, in whatever you are doing, to live a higher level of obedience. To the commandments, to the mission rules, to your parents' rules, to the honor code of BYU, whatever. Don't just barely follow the rules. Pray about them and gain a testimony of commandments and rules, and decide to live the spirit of the law and not just the letter of the law.

It's a good thing for me to think about too :)

I love you all! I hope you have a fantastic week. Have fun at the beach, I guess that's cool... good thing you know about that, because now when I come home we can have cool vacations there during the summer. WIN! Don't get too sunburned, though. That's not so fun.

did Spencer get his postcard? I sent one early last week...

Y'all are the best friends and family I ever had.

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