Another week of good work has taught me a lot. We have been hitting the pavement looking for new investigators, visiting members, looking for opportunities to serve, and trying to help grow the Parelheiros ward.
We had lunch at our Bishop´s house this week, and we asked him what we could do to help him. He just asked us to bring the members to church ;he added ``investigators too.`` But we are really trying to help the ward because attendance is really low. We are trying to help people get to the temple and do temple ordinances for their Family.
We are also trying to find more families to teach, and in our planning one night we wrote down the names of a few members to visit. We wrote down the name of the old Relief Society President in the ward, Luciana. The next day as we were walking, we saw her and her mom with a TON of groceries trying to hike up a really big hill to get home. We hurried to help them, and they were very grateful. We got to their house, and asked to share a message with everyone that was home. We quickly found out that she was the only member in her Family, but her whole Family(mom, sisters, neices/nephews--the whole crew) agreed to listen. We felt prompted to teach the Plan of Salvation. When I got there, I greeted everyone and asked what their names were. I asked Luciana´s sister who is special and she said, ``Ana Paula`` really softly. The whole Family like freaked out because apparently she like never talks, not even to the Family. I said it was probably because I talk funny, but who knows it was a cool experience. I felt the Spirit really strongly as we taught. We testified of the resurrection, and how everyone will receive perfect bodies. Luciana was really touched and thanked us. I could feel the Spirit so strongly as we responded to their questions about what will happen after this life. Sometimes as a missionary when you teach and feel that the Spirit is presente, but the people you are teaching feel nothing/seem to feel nothing. It kind of felt like that. President Dalton once said that that happens because they aren´t prepared to receive the Spirit. They have the choice to receive it, but often times they won´t because they don´t want to. As missionaries we can be the same way, the Spirit can be trying to tell us something, but we aren´t hearing it because we aren´t prepared to receive it. That night I was glad I was prepared to act upon the promptings I received. I felt very strongly that we had done what Heavenly Father wanted us to do, despite the result. I don´t know if her Family will come to church, but I know that I did my part. I am learning that not every time we follow a prompting, the result will be successful. For example, sometimes I really feel like I need to talk to somebody. Sometimes it goes well, sometimes they reject us immediately. I don´t know the reason why I was supposed to talk to them at that time. Maybe if they rejected us, they will feel bad later and commit to listen to us the next time. You never know what they are really thinking, so you just continue following your positive thoughts that lead you to act. I like the scripture in 1 Samuel 16:7, ``for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.`` We can´t judge who would seem like a likely candidate to accept the restored gospel. We just share it with everyone.
I´ve also been thinking about the forgiveness, especially forgiving ourselves and not regretting things in the past. I read this really good talk called ``Becoming Perfect in Christ.`` Elder Gong said:
Understanding the Savior’s freely given atoning love can free us from self-imposed, incorrect, and unrealistic expectations of what perfection is. Such understanding allows us to let go of fears that we are imperfect—fears that we make mistakes, fears that we are not good enough, fears that we are a failure compared to others, fears that we are not doing enough to merit His love.
The word perfection, however, is sometimes misunderstood to mean never making a mistake. Perhaps you or someone you know is trying hard to be perfect in this way. Because such perfection always seems out of reach, even our best efforts can leave us anxious, discouraged, or exhausted. We unsuccessfully try to control our circumstances and the people around us. We fret over weaknesses and mistakes. In fact, the harder we try, the further we may feel from the perfection we seek.
Fully accepting our Savior’s Atonement can increase our faith and give us courage to let go of constraining expectations that we are somehow required to be or to make things perfect. Black-and-white thinking says everything is either absolutely perfect or hopelessly flawed. But we can gratefully accept, as God’s sons and daughters, that we are His greatest handiwork (see Psalm 8:3–6; Hebrews 2:7), even though we are still a work in progress.
A misunderstanding of what it means to be perfect can result in perfectionism—an attitude or behavior that takes an admirable desire to be good and turns it into an unrealistic expectation to be perfect now. Perfectionism sometimes arises from the feeling that only those who are perfect deserve to be loved or that we do not deserve to be happy unless we are perfect.
Perfectionism can cause sleeplessness, anxiety, procrastination, discouragement, self-justification, and depression. These feelings can crowd out the peace, joy, and assurance our Savior wants us to have.
Missionaries who want to be perfect now may become anxious or discouraged if learning their mission language, seeing people baptized, or receiving mission leadership assignments do not happen fast enough. For capable young people accustomed to accomplishment, a mission may be life’s first great challenge. But missionaries can be exactly obedient without being perfect. They can measure their success primarily by their commitment to help individuals and families “become faithful members of the Church who enjoy
As we act and are not acted upon (see 2 Nephi 2:14), we can navigate between complementary virtues and achieve much of life’s growth. These can appear in “an opposition,” being “a compound in one” (2 Nephi 2:11).
For example, we can cease to be idle (see D&C 88:124) without running faster than we have strength (see Mosiah 4:27).
We can be “anxiously engaged in a good cause” (D&C 58:27) while also periodically pausing to “be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10; see also D&C 101:16).
We can be “not weary in well-doing” (D&C 64:33; see also Galatians 6:9) while taking appropriate time to refresh spiritually and physically.
We can be lighthearted without being light-minded.
We can laugh heartily with but not haughtily at.
I really like what he said. I often try to have perfect mission experiences, but obviously they are unrealistic because I am bound to make mistakes. I am grateful for the atonement and the enabling power to change. I am grateful that God is patient and works with me even though I am weak and simple.
Also a funny thing that President Dalton said this week in a special meeting. He was worried about us because we aren´t having the amount of success we used to have as a mission. He talked about certain types of missionaries: Elder Doença(Sick), Elder Desanimo(Sad) and Elder Moleza(non-commital), Sister Benção(Blessing), Elder Sóbatize(just baptize) and Elder Berçario(Nursery). A few of these need explanation because these are problems that might be specific to just my mission, but I think they might be pretty general. Sick is pretty self-explanatory but lots of missionaries are having problems because of the cold and walking the streets(mountains) of São Paulo. Sad and Noncommital are self-explanatory too--usually happens when you aren´t getting along with your companion. Sister Blessing is pretty funny; at first all the elders thought that presidente was idolizing the sisters, but he said, ``Sister Blessing thinks, I don´t have a priesthood responsibility to serve a mission so every contact that I do do is just a blessing.`` Then he talked about Elder Just Baptize(will baptize anyone without having all the lessons; basically just convincing them to get baptized even when we know they won´t come back to church after--this was a problem because lots of missionaries just wanted lots of numbers) and Elder Nursery (only contacts youth because---at least here---they will easily get baptized, but this really isn´t helping to build the church most of the time when they have no support and become inactive quickly). President Dalton is a really funny guy, but really wants to help us.
I know it can be easy to be these types of missionaries, but I am grateful for great leaders and companions and the Lord that help me to serve better and become better everyday.
I hope everyone has a great week!
Sister Sadie Bledsoe