This week was pretty good. We have been focusing on teaching about 5 specific people that have demonstrated the most desire and potential to grow.
The first is Azimom. He has 3 sons, the oldest is 10, and his wife is an inactive member. It´s been amazing to see Azimom grow. Elder Jara told me that before I was here, he was never interested in the church and didn´t want anything to do with it. It´s been amazing to see the fire that has grown within him, the immense desire he has to know more and help his family. Its amazing that he has been coming to church and keeping commitments, even though his wife doesn´t support it. We intend to work with her more too and find out why she stopped going to church, why she lost the fire that Azimom now has.
We also have Ana, who is about 25yrs old. She was progressing immensly and has always kept every commitment. She is ready to be baptized, but uncertainty and a feeling of unreadiness is stopping her. We work with her almost every day.
Then we have Sandra, She is a single mother with 6 kids. All live with her except for the oldest who lives in João Pessoa, just north of here. Sandra only has problems with money, because feeding 5 kids is difficult. She also accepts everything and is growing a lot. Her main difficulty has been coming to church, because she sometimes has to work on sundays for extra money.
We also have kelly, who is a single mom. She´s 19 yrs old and loves to learn and study scriptures. She loved learning about the plan of salvation, especially when we explained it only using scriptures from the bible. We explained that these truths were lost, and doctrines were changed during the apostacy, and are more clearly explained in the book of mormon. This is also why prophets are so important. Without someone who has Authority from God, we cannot know which way is certain.
As for the Language, I´ve been trying to figure out what speaking fluently really means. Right now I understand most people if they dont talk super fast, and most people understand me aswell. But there are still plenty of words and conjugations I don´t know. like staircase. I dont know how to say staircase.....just the first example that came to mind haha. The more portuguese I learn the more I understand that English is actually really difficult. There are so many exceptions to rules and words that are pronounced wierd. We have a silent ´´w´´ on the word ´´who´´. what a weird word.
So today, we ran out of running water. I showered using a bucket and a pot that I used to cook pasta yesterday. I was pretty happy about it too, because now I can say that I´ve showered using a bucket. I don´t know why I feel so special about something so insignficant, but I showered using a bucket! Maybe I can put that on my resume´´february 17, 2014. showered using a bucket´´ hahaha. It made me think of jackson serving in the marshall islands. He probably showers with a bucket every day, or even better in the ocean itself. Its funny that you wrote about him today too mom. Im glad he´s having a lot of interesting experiences. It would be cool to serve in the marshall islands for two years haha. And mikey in Nicaragua. He probably showered with a bucket at least a few times. The food is good too. I havent eaten anything strange yet, like scorpions. Rice and Beans still taste good to me. I love it. Sometimes I miss the snow, and I cant see those pictures mom. Its always super hot here. I´ve never drank so much water, sweat so much, and peed so little. its crazy.
So this is what I learned from studying purity/charity: there are plenty of scriptures included to explain in better detail.
Why do we need to be pure in heart?
Moroni 7:48 says that charity is the PURE love of christ, and unless we have charity we are nothing. All things will fail except charity.
How can we develop charity, or purify our hearts?
Phillipians 4:8 by dwelling on good things in our thoughts.
Acts 15:8-9, and 3rd Nephi 19:28-29 says that God can purify people according to their faith.
Mosiah 4:2 we can also repent and apply the atonement in our lives to purify our hearts.
James 4:8 We can ´´draw nigh unto god´´, but how?
Helamen 3:35 through fasting, praying, humility, faith, and (what i think is most important) yeilding our hearts to god. Our agency is the only thing that truly belongs to us. Everything else we have is really God´s. I think one of the greatest gifts we can give to god is our agency; through obedience to his commandments and yeilding our hearts to him
Some examples of the consequences of lacking charity/not being pure in heart:
D&C 84:19-26. The children of Isreal did not receive the higher preisthood/ higher law because they were not prepared for it, were not pure in heart/ sanctified in heart.
1 Kings 11:9-11 the Lord was angry with Solomon for turning his heart from the lord.
The blessings of being pure in heart:
Matthew 5:8,D&C 88:68, 97:15-16 the pure in heart shall see god. I really dont understand how literal this is or exactly what it means, and want to study more.
D&C 76: 113-118. The mysteries of God are revealed to those who love God and purify themselves before him.
1 John 3:2-3, D&C 35:21, D&C 101:18 the pure in heart shall be purified like God during the 2nd coming.
1 Peter 1:22. 1 Timothy 1:5, 4:12, Isaiah 52:11 its a commandment to be pure in heart as well.
During Elder Bednar´s talk in the MTC, someone asked: why do we still feel shame for sins, even after having repented? Elder Bednar explained its to help you not make the same mistake again, and also that we do not have the power to choose the consequences of our actions. The consequences serve as reminders to help us improve, and may remain even after repentence. He also explained that our mind is like a jar full of sand, with a small hole big enough for 1 grain to enter or leave at a time. All our sins, bad actions in the past, are represented by black grains of sand. We can slowly replace each black grain of sand with a white one when we sincerely pray daily, go to church, read our scriptures, and serve others. Through these things over time, we will erase the feelings of shame that may remain after repentence.
Im doing well right now, and dont really need anything. Thank you for all the support Eu amo Vocês!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
**Picture will be added soon**
Our District: Elder Jorgenson, Elder Jara (my trainer, from Chile), Elder Pacheco ( the district leader, From Peru) and me. I met Elder Jorgenson in the airport in TX, he served in California for 5 months waiting on a visa. He was trained in english, then was moved to spanish speaking, and now he´s here. He still sometimes mixes up spanish and portuguese words. Its funny because he´s an american speaking portuguese with a mexican accent! haha He´s an awesome missionary!!!!
A picture of me. Proof Im alive. Im wearing Mikey´s favorite tie today!! tell him to write me!!!