Weather update: everyone said "get ready, winter is coming...." for two or three months. It never came. Now spring is here but feels like summer. But it is raining today! Which is a blessing because I left my sunscreen at my old apartment and I already am sunburnt.
So, update on my life- it´s been a while since I wrote details and I can´t remember what I have already said. So....
I am here in Alameda with Sister Silva, but we live in an apartment with four sisters (for the first time in my mission!!), Sister A. Oliveira (new on the mission) and Sister Melo (one of my old companions :D ). Life in four is an adventure. There is never a dull moment.
So these past couple weeks I got to know area Alameda. If I could choose one word to describe it, it would be...hills. Or the complete oppossite of the area where I was serving for the last four transfers. But I love it here too!!!
There are no straight roads here and the map looks like someone dropped ramen noodles on the ground, but there are some of the most beautiful views from the tops of the hills!
Last week we met the most amazing family. One of the members from our ward gave a reference of her aunt and we have been getting to know her and her family. Her name is Eliza and she is one of the most kindhearted people I have met. She came to church with us yesterday and at the end of Relief Society, the RS president announced that the Sisters needed someone to give lunchand , and an Irmã volunteered for , and guess who volunteered for ? Eliza! I was so touched that she is so willing to give everything she has. We have known her for so short a time, but she made certain that we always feel welcome in her home. She loved church and is so willing to learn about what changes she can make in her life to prepare to enter the church. Her daughter, Carina, is also taking interest in the church and says she wants to make changes and learn how to better help her young family (she has two beautiful kids who came to church with Eliza). Her kids are super adorable- they did not act out even once during church, and in the first lesson with them, they sat quietly and paid attention the whole time!!
There is a giant prison in the middle of our area- Central Prison, and it is basically used as a reference point for everything. "I live on prison street......I live on the road behind the prison......I live three streets east of the prison......etc" and we walk past it basically every day. So naturally I have had time to reflect on what it truly means to be bound or to be free. We were teaching Renato, an 8 year old in the ward preparing to get baptized, and we shared about agency in 2 Ne " (merriam webster). We discussed the two simple choices we have- liberty and eternal life through Christ, or captivity and death, being subject to the devil. He asked about what captivity means, and we explained that it means being bound by something, like being in prison. There is a definition of being captive that I found really interesting. Being captive is to be "held under control of another but having the appearance of independence...... being such involuntarily because of a situation that makes free choice or departure difficult
It made me think of the traps Satan uses to captivate us. With the appearance of freedom, he traps us. With the promise of being able to do 'whatever I want' he captivates us.
The Savior does the complete opposite. He explains clearly the requirements of the law, asking complete obedience and explaining that it will not be easy, but true, eternal freedom is our reward.
Exact obedience truly brings the greatest freedom. When we are obedient, we are happier and more confident.
Obey the Lord! Be happy!