Monday, January 30, 2012

Fumbling Words And Open Hearts

In addition to visiting members in eight Brazilian cities, Church leaders surveyed progress on the Manaus Temple during their visit to Brazil in January 2012. Left to right: Elder Jay E. Jensen, Elder M. Russell Ballard, and Elder Neil L. Andersen.
Hey Guys!

Thank goodness last week has ended!  haha  What a horrible week it was!  One that I hope I will never have to relive.  It started off pretty good with a special conference that we had with one of the Presidency of the Seventy, Elder Jay E. Jensen.  That was really good.  It was especially interesting because it was a conference thrown together at the last minute.  Elder Jensen had nothing prepared and that was the same case with President and Sister Martins and President Gudoy (a Seventy that’s the Area President that lives here in my mission).  He called all of them up to speak and it was whatever came to them at that moment.  It was really neat because you could tell that it was all by the spirit.  Elder Jensen was speaking in Portuguêse too.  He speaks Spanish fluently (and English obviously) but did a pretty good job with his Portuguêse.  A lot of times he threw in English and Spanish too.  I was able to understand the three languages but the Brazilians were lost when he’d speak English and sometimes with the Spanish.  But he had the funniest word mix-up ever!!!  He meant to say "e depois nos vamos abrir o tempo pelos perguntas suas" which means “and after we'll open the time up for your questions“ …  but the error he made was very simple and changed the whole meaning.  When he said it he put a "j" in the middle of "suas" therefore sayings "sujas".  That one letter changed the sentence into … "and after we'll open up the time for the dirty questions".  HAHAHAHAHA  Oh man!  Everyone erupted laughing and Elder Jensen realized what he said and had the funniest look on his face.  hahahaha  Oh, it was hilarious!!!

After that, the week went down hill.  Thursday was a day, more or less, of getting in to teach people.  However, 3 investigators (one of which had a date marked) told us that they were content with their religion and even though they love what we taught them, believed in The Book of Mormon and the teachings in the church …  they didn’t want to change.  We told them that we’re not trying to just baptize them, but they stopped us and said that they “knew that but they also knew that our work is sacred, and our time is too, and they don’t want us wasting it with them“.  They all said more or less the same exact thing.  That hurt pretty bad.  It’s hard to see people you really like know what your teaching is true, believe in all the stuff, and still not want to change.  One of them even said to us that she'll “never forget what we taught her” (in reference to the plan of salvation) and “how much it helped her in her life“.  At least we were able to make some kind of an impact on them and who knows … maybe they just need a bit of time.  Then the next two days, no one let us in.  We spend these whole, entire days just walking walking walking.  The only lessons we had were ones on the road.  On Saturday, we were only able to get one lesson in on the streets and that was one where the whole time we were just trying to teach and avoid a “bible bash” because we were talking to a Jehovah Witness and during the conversation another showed up too.  Thankfully we were able to avoid an argument even though I don’t think it left any impact on them at all.  The rest of the time was spent knocking doors and having them shut in our faces or nobody was home.  When we tried talking to people in the road, it was basically, "Hey how’s it going?"  "I don’t have time"  "Ok.  No problem, but here’s this card.  You can call this number and get this for free and it’ll help your family / your life."  "Ya ya.  Ok.  I’ll call."  "Ok.  Have a great day!"  "K".  There was only one good thing that happened Saturday … my Christmas package arrived finally!!!  As well as a birthday one from the Cox family and one from Papa loaded with chocolates!!!  Could you tell them thanks a ton for me?  And … thank you guys sooooo much for the package!!!  I loved it!  Thank goodness it finally made it through to me!  I love the church music!!!  And the pocket watch is way cool!  I love the engravings on it.  Basically … everything in there was awesome and made my more or less cruddy week way better!!!

Last night we had a Family Home Evening in a member’s house with some investigators.  They said they would give the message and if we wanted to make commentaries after, that would be good.  I thought, “Sweet!  Just do some commentaries.  Piece of cake!”  The message was a little film.  It was really good for a missionary or someone preparing to go on a mission.  It was called “Return With Honor“.  It started off talking about returning to the presence of Heavenly Father with honor so I thought, “Oh, ok cool.  It’s about making good choices in life.”  But then it started talking about missionary work and had a slide show of missionaries.  The film ends and everyone looks at us.  I thought to myself, “Oh man!  That was the message and now it’s time for our commentary.”  These were new investigators so I’m thinking to myself, “What are we going to say now after a film on missionary work?”  We just started talking and basically, I wasn't too happy with my "commentary"  I had no idea what to say but my companion did the "look-right-at-me thing" as to say, “Good luck Elder“.  I really hate when people do that but I guess he had nothing to say and figured I did.  I didn't!  haha  I had to try ... on the spot ... to collect my thoughts and try to think of something to say to pull the night all together.  I don’t even remember what I said.  But after I was done, I bore my testimony about missionary work and about making choices that would help us return back to our Heavenly Father and stopped talking.  Elder Costa said a couple of things and that was it.  Then the dad of the family started talking and he did a great job.  All in all … in the end … whatever we said somehow made an impact on one of them and he started talking and said, “I understand the message you guys are giving.  About the family and how important it is.”  He said a lot of really good stuff.  I don’t know how he got that out of my jumbled up mess or my companions equally jumbled mess, but it goes to show the proof of the promise in the scriptures that the Holy Ghost will carry the words unto the hearts of men.  Thank goodness they opened their hearts to let the Holy Ghost in because what I said, didn’t really help them want to open up.  It was a humbling experience for sure.

I have to get going.  I love you guys so much!!!  I hope you’re all doing great!!!

Love,
Tavin

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