Monday, September 15, 2014

livre arbìtrio

Another really good week has come and gone! I am trying to make the most of this transfer and we have seen some great things happen! We have been able to teach a lot of lessons in many houses--less actives, recent-converts, investigators, members, which has been an answer to my prayers--we are finding people when they are home! For a long time, that hasn´t happened, so I was really happy.

One cool lesson I learned this week was in district meeting. Our district leader is Elder Cranor, and during his training, we had some extra time, so he suggested we implement the training right then. We had been learning about setting goals--setting realistic goals that really push us. He told us that we had 10 minutes to go out and contact. He asked what our goals of contacts and lessons would be--we said 7 contacts and 2 lessons. We left and began talking to people. I felt like our goals were realistic and helped us keep going. The third or fourth person we talked to was Patricia. She showed interest, and we talked about marriage. She has been wanting to get married, but they are waiting a year to save up money because she said it would cost like $300 reiais ($150). We offered to help, and Sister Mota said, ``What if we told you we could help you get married for free?`` (which we can do here because of our plaques since we are `ministers´or something).Her jaw dropped in shock. She was SUPER happy and we got her address to pass on to the elders that work in Cipó. I was really glad that we had that goal to talk to that number of people because we pretty much met our goals, didn´t feel rushed, and met a really awesome person who had interest in our message. I want to try to make more realistic goals to really push me and keep me going.

We also had a cool lesson this week with Silvana. She has been struggling with having a desire to gain an answer. She had that dream where she was at church, but she is struggling with the desire to follow it because she is deeply involved in her church. We told her very clearly that asking permission for her pastor will not help her(this is what she keeps telling us is keeping her from coming to church--she needs his permission), and that he will never give his blessing because she is paying a lot of tithing to his church. We have been talking a lot about free agency this week with her. She had a question about the Plan of Salvation that brought up a good discussion; she asked, ``Why does God let all that suffering happen in places like Africa where there are kids starving?`` We felt impressed to read some of Alma 14 with her where Amulek sees the suffering of a group of righteous people who are being persecuted(women and children)/being burned to death because of their beliefs. Amulek knows he has the priesthood, so he asks Alma,``How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God which is in us, and save them from the flames.``
`` But Alma said unto him: The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand; for behold the Lord receiveth them up unto himself, in glory; and he doth suffer that they may do this thing, or that the people may do this thing unto them, according to the hardness of their hearts, that the judgments which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day.``(alma 14: 10-11). We taught about free agency--how our choices are a huge part of God´s plan. He will not force us to do anything nor will he impede the free agency of others to answer all of our prayers in the way we want. Sister Mota remembered a quote by President Kimball:
``Could the Lord have prevented these tragedies? The answer is, Yes. The Lord is omnipotent, with all power to control our lives, save us pain, prevent all accidents, drive all planes and cars, feed us, protect us, save us from labor, effort, sickness, even from death, if he will. But he will not. We should be able to understand this, because we can realize how unwise it would be for us to shield our children from all effort, from disappointments, temptations, sorrows, and suffering. The basic gospel law is free agency and eternal development. To force us to be careful or righteous would be to nullify that fundamental law and make growth impossible. If all the sick for whom we pray were healed, if all the righteous were protected and the wicked destroyed, the whole program of the Father would be annulled and the basic principle of the gospel, free agency, would be ended. No man would have to live by faith. If joy and peace and rewards were instantaneously given the doer of good, there could be no evil—all would do good but not because of the rightness of doing good. There would be no test of strength, no development of character, no growth of powers, no free agency, only satanic controls. Should all prayers be immediately answered according to our selfish desires and our limited understanding, then there would be little or no suffering, sorrow, disappointment, or even death, and if these were not, there would also be no joy, success, resurrection, nor eternal life and godhood.``

She summerized what he said, and we testified of the Plan of Salvation. We made it very clear, and as we left, I felt a peace that we had done our part. Silvana knows what she needs to do. We have encouraged her very consistantly, and I felt like we had given her knowledge and our testimonies, but she has her free agency to accept it and follow her answer. Like in the pamphlets, at the end of every one it says something like ``you will have to choose to live in harmony with the knowledge that you receive.``I hope to continue teaching clearly and motivating these people to come unto Christ. I hope that Silvana, and the others we are teaching, can really progress as we continue to teach and follow-up.

Also Moisés came to church for the 3rd time! We asked the elders to ask for his information, since he didn´t want to give it to us. He agreed to a visit from the elders, which is best because he just lives with his aunt who is never home.
This week I also broke my bed, so I slept on the floor a few times... I was hungry one morning and the elders wanted us to walk to their house to pick up money. They live far away and I wasn´t too happy, so I jumped on my bed only to hear a huge snap. One of the side bars of my bed broke in half. We(the 3 sisters I live with and I) just about died of laughter. The maintenance guy told me my situation reminded him of a movie--I think it translates to ``Blind Love,`` where a guy is in love with a girl who is really fat but when he looks at her he sees a really skinny girl. He told me that how I broke the bed is a mystery because it looks like someone with 300 pounds jumped on my bed. The connection was a bit of a stretch but we laughed so hard. It might be all the churrasco(brazilian BBQ) I´ve been eating here in Parelheiros!

thanks for everything! have an awesome week! love you ;)
Sister Sadie Bledsoe

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