So, Tuesday I received the call from the AP´s to head over to Santa Catarina to interview someone preparing for baptism. At first I thought, why would they need a District Leader in Curitiba to perform a baptismal interview in Santa Catarina (in another state- it's a 4 hour trip with the bus switches in the various terminals)? But I realized that I was training two missionaries. While I would be heading out for to travel, sleeping in the elders' home and returning back home by bus, the work wouldn't be slowed down at all. I was super excited to cross the border and snap some pictures in SC because several elders that have been serving there have been saying only good things about the nature and the scenery. During Zone Conference I started to feel a little strange but didn't think think too much of it. I coordinated with the mission secretaries and the trip was all paid for. I had to change buses at the Portão Terminal. When got to the terminal I ran for the nearest trash can and started to vomit in front of everyone. Just think. An American missionary alone, throwing up in front of several Brasilians...in a trash can. The sad part was I didn't receive that hand on the forehead technic that my mom always used so that I didn't have to strain my extremely long neck. Everyone just stared at me. Me being me, I felt so good afterwards that I started to laugh. It was like when I was little and I would be so nervous to get a shot at the doctor's office. Even before the needle penetrated my skin, I would start to laugh super hard. It was the same thing. Everyone who was staring at me started to laugh, too. I gave myself a few moments to walk around the terminal to see if I could continue traveling. I could not. To make a long story short... one thing lead to another and I stayed a full day on a mattress in the mission headquarters, vomiting. The next day my companions picked me up and I took it easy for the next three days. As I was stuck at home with a member basically babysitting me, I had a lot of time to think. I think I went a little nuts. Missionaries that want to hit the pavement and preach the restored gospel but they can't because of uncontrollable causes are really sad missionaries.
My family has been writing me the best lines today. I was feeling really down in the dumps, getting sick and looking at our results this past week. It is the first time on my Brasilian mission that none of our investigators are progressing. I felt extremely discouraged yesterday. Training two others, being the district leader and being part of a ward that does not have the tradition of helping the missionaries in their blood. I felt like I was in a huge hole that would be too difficult to climb out of. My super hero-like families sent some great spiritual and emotional back up this week. Eric sent me a a great thought process on perfectionism. Eric, I too have been feeling the pressures. I was thinking the other day that I have been doing my job as a district leader terribly and that I have been training two missionaries in an area that can be cultivated just a little bit more to give them a shinier eye of success as they are starting their life changer called "the mission". I think I was focusing more on the numbers side of things and not on the ministering. The Lord gave me a wake up call yesterday. As a prayed really hard for more strength so that I could endure more challenges, I felt my self-development grow. The Lord is the first one I go to now to seek counsel. And it never fails. As I continue to talk to Him first, before anyone else, I can see a real growth within myself.
My mom sent me the story of Alma. A prophet of the Lord that fell in the oh so easy hole of discouragement.
Alma 8:14-15 ...while Alma was this weighed down with sorrow, behold an angel of the Lord appeared unto him, saying:
Blessed art thou, Alma; therefore, lift up thy head and rejoice, for thou hast great cause to rejoice; for thou hast been faithful in keeping the commandments of God from the time which thou receivedst thy first message from him. Behold, I am he that delivered it unto you.
This helped a ton, momma! This week we have no baptismal dates lined up and that's super scary. No one is progressing. Everything will start from scratch. A lot of knocking doors and fasting has to been done here. I know that we can perform a miracle here. But first we have to create a miracle in ourselves. We cannot be the examples that others look toward and we cannot give inspiration if we are not inspired. Personal conversion has to come first. Am I keeping all the rules I can follow? Am I keeping the commandments of the Lord? Why am I here on the mission? What plant can I grow here in Brasil that I can take with me to the United States fully gardened and beautiful? Without self assessments on the mission, you are lying to yourself. Let's perform a miracle here in Brasil. In rain or sickness (and it is always shiny in Brasil).
Love, Elder Forsyth
p.s. stay sweet and eat your vegetables. I need to buy and eat more.
p.p.s. sorry, no pictures this week. Hopefully next week.