Sunday, May 4, 2014

28 April 2014

So this week was lovely! I feel like we are seeing some great progress in the area.
In addition to the violin lessons we are holding, we started offering guitar and piano at the same time! All four of us sisters in this ward play some sort of instrument or sing and its been great to serve the members and community. Sandra (mom of a young man, Vitor, who joined the church in the last couple of years) is learning the guitar with Sister Melo. There really is a timing for everything. For quite a while, Vitor has been going to church alone or with his younger sister, but now his mom is starting to show interest. This week we had two activities at the activity house- a clothing exchange and an integration activity with a film and snack. Sandra came to both and at the first activity, everyone was introducing themselves, and when Sandra got up she talked about how at first she came to church just to support Vitor but now she is going because her own free will because she feels good. We had a family night with her and Vitor and the other sisters and watched Finding Faith in Christ. Afterward, Vitor said he wanted to share a scripture and we read together and afterward he shared his testimony and we all shared our testimonies. The Spirit was so strong there and I know she felt it. This is the time the Lord has prepared for her to progress and Vitor is really excited and is being blessed for his patience. Unfortunately, Sandra lives in the area of the other sisters so we don´t get to visit her often, but we see her at church and activities and she is just wonderful!
Also, our lives are just so filled with blessings if we stop to think about it. Today (Pday) Sister Melo was buying a new outfit for the Sister´s Conference and I was looking at the cheetah print section of the store (animal print is something that I think will never be hard to find here) and I thought back to two transfers ago when I came so close to buying a floor length cheetah print dress with lace pockets. It was a beauty but I feel really grateful that I felt impressed not to buy it even though my companion thought it would be stunning on me. It would have been stunning, yes, but it was very expensive and I don´t need it and probably would not use it a whole bunch and I just felt grateful for that today.
Also, Barbara and Hellen came to church again yesterday!! They are so adorable and were trying to learn how to cunduct music during sacrament meeting. We keep trying to find a time when their dad is home because we have only been able to talk to him on the phone and we need to talk to him in person to get permission for their baptisms, but whenever we go he is either working/sleeping or hiding from us. The latter is my personal opinion. So please pray for them because they are so wonderful and read the Book of Mormon together and mark it and pray and I just love them.
Oh, and we also had another investigator, Shirley, come to the clothing exchange. She is a spunky 75-year-old who just thought it was the best thing ever. Before the activity, we met up with her on a corner in front of a giant church and walked arm in arm, the three of us, to the activity, with Shirley in the middle. We got to the edge of a curb that dropped off and I said jokingly, "let´s jump!" and to my surprise she leaped up in the air and pulled us along with her. When I laughed she was like "what? You said to jump!"
During the get to know you part of the activity (the same one where Sandra shared her experience) one of the ladies in the ward (Inês) was talking about how Relief Society has helped her and has made her a better daughter, sister, mom and wife, and then she said, ´well, not exactly wife because right now I am in need of a good man' and Shirley, who was seated by my side, called out "É isso aí!" which is basically like (liberal translation) "Amen, sister, that makes two of us!" She is super funny and I just love her.
I have been thinking a lot this week about perspective. I think it was Bishop Munhoz who told the story of how Sherlock and Watson were out camping and woke up in the middle of the night. Sherlock asked Watson "what do you see?" He responded, I see a beautiful starry sky, trees blowing in the wind, and a lake in the distance." After a minute, Watson returned the question. Sherlock responded "I see someone stole our tent." Its amazing how two people can be in the exact same place or circumstance but look at it so differently.
Our differences are what makes the world interesting, but despite are differences, when we are focused on the Lord, we can become one, like the people of Zion in Moses 7:18. In English is talks about "one heart and one mind", but the translation in portuguese is "um coração e uma vontade" which means one heart and one will. I thought that difference was enlightening because the people that make up Zion are not robots who always have the same opinion but rather people who have the same purpose and are one in that way. And the "one will" that they have is the will of God. When a group of people are all focused on bringing about the will of God, they become unified, become one. That is how a church of over 15 million different people with 15 million opinions and life experiences can work as one great whole to bring about the salvation of makind.
An eternal perspective is the best perspective. Christ lived for us, died for us, and now He lives again. Life does not end with death. Because of the love of God for each one of us, we can live again with Him.

Sister Smith

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