So this week was crazy, in a really good way. On Tuesday (when we usually have district meeting) we walked to the stake center, which is pretty far, only to find no one there. Our phone is broken so we couldn´t call anyone; we then assumed that there were emergency transfers today(the only reason we dont have district meetings on Tuesday). Then we realized that more Americans probably just arrived in the mission. Later we went to lunch and the elders in our ward said that they overheard that we would possibly be getting more sisters living in our apartment. We were excited about that, and then at like 6pm we got a call from the secretary who needed us to pick up some sisters from the mission office who would be living with us. Now we have 6 missionaries in my ward! We have another Brazilian sister from Fortaleza, Sister Costa, and another American from Oklahoma, Sister Stephens. Sister Stephens served for a year in the US.
The work really is hastening. Elder Walhstrom(an American from Utah) gave a talk on Sunday about missionary work, and he said that when he arrived in the mission, it was rare to find a ward with more than one set of missionaries. Now it is rare to find only one set of missionaries in a ward. He talked about how great of an opportunity we have to triple the size of the ward. He then talked about how lots of members have fears to talk about the gospel/church with their friends. He then shared an experience from before his mission. He said that he was super shy when we was growing up and always said no when the bishopric asked him to speak in sacrament meeting. So when it was time for him to give his farewell talk right before his mission, he was mortified. He said that he didnt eat for three days before his talk before he was just that scared. He is from the Ogden, Utah area where there are a ton of Mormons, and the day he gave his farewell talk there were also lke 3 other missionaries giving farewell talks. He said that there were over 800 people in that sacrament meeting. He said then when he got into the field, he was so scared to talk to people. But after lots of prayer and trust in the Lord, he now loves talking to people and it is easy for him.
Like Elder Walhstrom, I know that we can replace fear with faith and pray to the Lord to help us in His work. I know that ``whom(which is all of members of the church after we stepped out the baptismal font) the Lord calls, He qualifies.`` However, I know that missionaries are the only people in the world who hold the keys to help people get baptized. They have that authority. Thus members and missionaries need to learn how to work together. I have learned so much in the past couple of months about our roles as members and missionaries. We have been training the members here, doing role-plays, having firesides, etc to help the members get excited about this work. We have also been using the ``My Family`` booklet with people and helping them learn more about their families and how their families can be sealed in the temple.
We are also working with two teengaers who are 14, Larissa and Jennifer. They are crazy. They are very social, which is why we got to teach them at first. They come to seminary and church when we pick them up. However they are very fickle and dont take things really seriously most of the time. They love American music and words so they constantly ask me about that stuff. We have to refocus them often ; its like herding cats. But its worth it because when we actually have real lessons with them, they have really insightful comments and questions. They are super intelligent, but they are also 14 so we need to work with them and their families alot before they get baptized.
We also taught a former investigator who was dropped before because he didn´t want to get baptized. We visited him because he came to church that week and seemed interested again. When we came by, we asked him some questions and he told us that he had never prayed about the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith. That surprised us because his teaching record said that he had been taught all of the lessons. We committed him to read and pray and came back later in the week. We wanted to review the Restoration with him and as we began we realized that he really knew nothing about it. He ´s 21 and really smart so I was really surprised. We retaught him and really focused on the doctrine of prophets, authority/priesthood, apostacy, how Jesus Christ established his church, the great apostacy, and the Restoration. At the end, we felt like he really understood how our church is different from all the other churches because he couldn´t tell us before one thing that was different. Everyone needs to understand the doctrine of the Restoration before they get baptized. They won´t have a desire to read the Book of Mormon or pray if we don´t teach them, so they can understand, that this is the church of Jesus Christ. That lesson taught me that we need to teach quality lessons to people, especially the Restoration.
Also this week on Wednesday, I had to go to the Federal Police building in Sao Paulo to do visa paperwork. It was a really long day of standing in lines that were worse than the DMV. However, I got to be with the Americans that arrived with me. One of the elders decided that we are like the Breakfast Club. We had a really awesome discussion on the way home because we were stuck in traffic. We were talking about cool things we´ve learned/heard on our missions, and one of the elders said that he heard that once missionaries were talking to President Hinckley about how they shoud be able to have beards because Jesus had one. President Hinckley responded, ``He didn´t the last time I saw Him.`` I dont know how accurate that story is, but it made me think about whether or not I would recognize the Savior when I see Him.
Also for lunch here its normal to eat rice and beans and pasta and mashed potatoes all on the same plate. Interesting but delicious!
``You can´t do everything for everyone everywhere., but you can do something for someone somewhere.``
Love ya! Sister Sadie Bledsoe