Monday, July 8, 2013

Work Monsters

Hi everyone!

Hard work is more important than intellect.
  Pres. Ezra Taft Benson once said:  "One of the greatest secrets of missionary work is work.  If a missionary works, he will get the Spirit; if he gets the Spirit, he will teach by the Spirit; and if he teaches by the Spirit, he will touch the hearts of the people, and he will be happy.  There will be no homesickness, no worrying about families, for all time and talents and interests are centered on the work of the ministry.  That's the secret -- work, work, work.  There is no satisfactory substitute, especially in missionary work." 

My mom sent me that quote this week. Whew, what a quote. It is so true. This last week Elder Bastos and I were work monsters. We taught 27 lessons and had 141 contacts on the street. There wasn't much time for worry. We were super happy the whole entire time also. There were not any down moments. And if our investigators were not following up with their commitments we just showed them more love. :) Another thing that has helped me stay extremely focused is an idea I think we should all consider. Never leaving our sacred grove. When was that time or times you were truly converted and decided to be a better servant of the Lord and live the gospel more fully in your life? For Joseph it was the first vision. What is yours? Afterward did you have a falling away? Even if it was for just a little. I know for sure I have had sacred grove experiences that have changed my life for the better but I still fall short of my goals to live the gospel more fully. The key: Don't leave your sacred grove. Always remember the tender mercies and the times when the gospel has changed your life and live it. Don't re-live them. Live them. In the mission field there are plenty of opportunities to not follow the rules, to give into temptation, to do something good when there is something else you can be doing that is better. Always seek to change your spiritual roots and not the branches. The branches are the by-products of our actions. Don't seek to change your actions but first seek to change your nature, then the branches will bear delicious fruit that people can see and partake of. 

And speaking of delicious, after we worked out this morning, we got some warm bread from the bakery -- a little Brazilian heaven to go with the avacado smoothies we made.

Portuguese lesson and language report

Pra is the Brasilian form of para. They shorten everything. and I mean everything. The word estava-- meaning I have done this (continually in the past) is always shortened to "tava'' and esta is just "ta."   Us Brasilian folk like to keep things short and relaxed. The people are the same: short and relaxed. ;)   They are super chill when you greet them on the street.  I am getting much, much better at the language because I am just talking to everyone. Short, tall, fat. smoking, smoking marijuana, eye-less, some people only have one leg. We had a legendary week with 53 addresses that we can follow up with. Of the total 141 contacts we made, Elder Bastos got 71 of those and I got 70. He had to one up me. I think the only reason they passed along their addresses to me is because they think I understand nothing and won't come back for a return visit.....muwhahahah they are wrong. I told Elder Bastos it is because of my suave Americano accent (sotaque). He thinks it's because I sound ridiculous. He is definitely right. 

primeira história pra vocês (first story for you all)

I forgot to include it in my last email home. então (so) Elder Bastos and I were strolling in the San Francisco-like fog on our way to church. Our church building perece super chique (looks super chic).  Super is a word used quite often. We always try to show up early and greet the members walking in before church starts. Church always starts 15 minutes late. It's a whole new Mormon Standard Time. Brasilian Mormon Standard Time. It was a high councilor Sunday so we met the high councilor and the other speaker. I was chatting with him and it came the point of the conversation where he asked where I was from. I said Philly and his eyes lit up. Você conhece Elder Pogatto? I didn't understand the name at first because it sounds like poe-goto. Then he said it in an American accent and I understood! He was companions with Ross in Santa Maria!!! How crazy is that! He name is Everson, so let Ross know I met up with him if Everson didn't already make contact over the facebook. Which I have no idea if we can use yet. Probably not. At least not in Osternack.

The graffiti is super cool here. Much better than the Americans. But the pizza in America is better. Represent for all the extraordinary pizza shops in Doylestown.

On our walk to find people to teach

I will share a miracle we had this week. We had several little ones but this one stood out to me. Elder Bastos and I were looking through our area book and found a name that was hard to read. We thought it was Luev. So we wrote down this person's address and started walking with the intention of why this person gave the missionaries their address. We found the correct house and clapped. A woman was power washing and didn't hear us until our third clap. She shut off her electrolux and walked over. We asked if she knew a Luev that lived here and she said no. We were disappointed but continued to talk with her. She finally came out and said that her name starts with the sound "Lu" but is not Luev. It is Luci. We decided it was probably her and asked if she had a little bit of time. She said no. We asked, how much time do you have? She said less that ten. Tudo bem podemos cortar nossa mensagem a cinco minutos. She let us in and we started with our speed version of the restoration of the gospel. This is where is started to go down hill. I told the story of Joseph Smith better than I had ever done before and finished the first vision. When I was about to testify, she interrupted me. I was thinking, oh no, she's gonna say something that I won't understand and will probably be mean. She said she was a Jehovah's Witness and this story with the exact words was in the book of Revelation and has not happened yet. Her point being, we were bearing a false message. She asked us to look up the chapter somewhere around Revelation 21:20 and we didn't see the words of the prophet Joseph. So we let her try and find it. Ten minutes later she said she had sworn she knew where it was but at this time couldn't find it. I told her we were not there to fight with her but to let her know what we know to be true. Because the message we have is very special and we are not here to lie to you, but bring you closer to our Savior. Elder Bastos continued and introduced The Book of Mormon and we explained exactly what is what in the introduction and what she can do to find out for herself. Not to take the word of an 18 and 19 year old. She started to applaud us for our work and continued to say how special it was. She kept rubbing the words on the cover "Another Testament of Jesus Christ" and kept pausing to say something but she couldn't finish her sentence. We gave her the invitation to read, ponder and pray. She immediately asked us when we could return. Elder Bastos and I look at each other and smiled because no one just says, "can you come back this week after I have prayed?" We walked away from that lesson with the same idea. The first vision was an echo. She had already heard those words, not on this earth, though. She swore she knew where to find it but couldn't. She wanted us to return ASAP. People are being prepared and we just have to look for the right names in the area book and be guided by the spirit. I find you usually don't know when the spirit is leading you to the best possible outcome. You just have to keep your heart open and be worthy for the spirit to dwell within you.

OK everyone.  Stay sweet and never leave your sacred grove.

Elder Ian Forsyth

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