Sunday, July 6, 2014

Life on the Mission


What an interesting experience a mission is...

This week was full of ups and downs. Sister Oliveira Souza and I are improving our teaching abilities and teaching more people than ever. Most of these people aren't interested in more than a "hi, how are you," but such is life on the mission. We still open our mouths and testify that there is one true church on the face of the Earth, even if they don´t want to hear it or if they don´t have "time". It´s our responsibility to talk to everyone we meet. They have to know, and then they can choose to ignore it.

This week we had some sad events happen. We were preparing yet another baptism here in Lajeado. We were super excited, because President Wright challenged us to work hard and have at least one baptism before the end of the transfer. We took the challenge seriously, because we know that like the scriptures say, "The Lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." I know that President Wright is inspired and that he receives revelation for us and our mission. So, if he challenged us to baptize before the end of the transfer, he knows that it´s possible.

Anyway, Sister Oliveira Souza and I were crazy excited because Reni, our investigator since my first week here, accepted to be baptized. Everything was going great, everything was perfect.I made an amazing chocolate cake and everything! But then Sunday happened... a member went to pick up Reni and his family (they live in the other city), but when he got there, the family said that the river overflew (I don't know if this is even a word anymore...), and that he was at his sisters house helping with the flooding... It was awful news, but understandable. We didn´t have a baptism... But it got worse than that. Sister Oliveira Souza had a really strong impression during sacrament meeting that she needed to return to his house and invite him to church. So she rounded up a ride and she went, and you know what happened? He wasn't at his sister´s house, he was at home, and he ran away... He said that he was going to grab a pair of pants that were hanging outside, and when she looked a few seconds later he was literally running away... WHAT?! How crazy is that?! Never on the mission have I experienced anything like this... It was so sad to hear when she told me what happened. We love him and his family so much. We've spent so much time teaching and helping them, and then something like this happens... I was so sad.

But I know that everything happens for a reason, because after all of this trauma, miracles started to happen. We had 4 investigators at church! Our group in Encantado had 2 more people this week! A married couple that we´re trying to reactivate went to church for the second week in a row (the wife is a member, but the husband isn't), we had an amazing devotional at night, and receive the most amazing referral from our friend Samuel (They came to our devotional)! Her name is Ana Paula, and she told Samuel that she felt a peace that she has never felt before. She was even asking me questions about baptism! She´s so cool! We´re going to teach her tomorrow night.
Man, even though everything seemed to be going wrong, the Lord blessed us so much yesterday.

We always have trials and burdens in our life, Sometimes in life we ask why things go wrong when we´re trying our best to do everything right... but it´s like Alma explains in The Book of Mormon, these trials are to test our patience and our faith.

I´m so grateful for this area. It´s been a real challenge. We have troubles in a lot of different ways here. We have problems with the ward, the cold, the rain, the crazy closed off Germans, the river overflowing, lunch falling through. Everything! But the Lord always shows us that He has something greater in store. And that there´s always someone to help. If anything, this area has shown me how I want to be after the mission. This area has strengthened my testimony in the importance of member missionary work. This area has strengthened my testimony in the atonement of Jesus Christ. He suffered more things than this. More pains, more disappointments more hunger and thirst. He went beneath it all. And because of His stripes, we are healed.

I feel so blessed, because even if some of the members hate us, even if the people reject us, even if we don´t baptize a single person. I blessed the lives of at least 3 people here. I helped 3 of my friends - Rose, Samuel and Leonardo - prepare for missions. They will receive their calls soon, and they will baptized and bless the lives of more people that I can even imagine.

I´m so grateful for this area. I´m so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Only through the gospel, can we return to live with our Heavenly Father and with our families again one day.

I love you all. Remember that our trials really do make us stronger if we let them. They´re to test our patience and our faith. But in the end, if we keep strong, the Lord will show us His wonders.

I love you all.
Sister Stevens

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