This week we feature answers to questions I asked Elder Forsyth last week. He needed a little reminding, but here we go.
Question: What do you feel are your biggest challenges right now?
Biggest challenge: Satan likes to hurt investigators on the day before baptism.
Question: What have been the most important lessons you have learned from your first year?
The lesson of patience has been a big one. I arrived in Brasil without speaking very much Portuguese to now, when I feel I can teach and communicate well. But things sometimes just don't turn out the way I plan them. You get one step from your final goal and you can't put enough force to get the job done because you have a huge weight on your foot. I see these hard final steps as challenges given from God to his little son Elder Forsyth and I am learning patience.
Question: Has your perspective on service changed since you got there?
Completely. I see Christ's example and the work that He put into the first three years of ministry and the last three days of ministry. He knew that He would die as he left the garden of Gethsemane but fulfilled His purpose so that the real growth of mankind could be accomplished with justice and mercy. As He died he forgave those that crucified Him. How? I don't know. Just think about it for a little bit. If you knew you were going to die, would you help yourself or others? The first thing that would come to my mind is to do all the things that I was never able to do before. Like drive a Ferrari or give Stevie Wonder a hug, I would find a way to accomplish my own will. But would I put the same amount of effort into serving those that had never heard of my name, those who didn't know my character, who persecuted me, who didn't understand me, or who had already died? I don't think so. As I wake up each morning, I try to start my day off with the spirit so that the type of people that might seem like my enemies become my best friends and feel my love.
The Guarapuava Zone, without Elder Cesar. BTW Elder Cesar was transferred and I am with my first American companion, Elder Skousen from North Carolina.
As I am here on the mission I hope to please the Lord, reviewing my day in my nightly prayers and asking, "What did I do wrong? Was this day a good one? What can I do to reach my potential? What can I do to help your children reach their potential?" As various prophets have described, faith is hoping in the truth that is not seen or is maybe hidden from our eyes. But why is it hidden sometimes? Why can't I have a perfect knowledge as Alma describes? Maybe because I'm not widening up my spiritual vision. At times we are content with blurry vision because we can make everything out. We can recognize the faces of those we are familiar with and we can "get by". "Get by" is dangerous talk, my friends. "Get by" is like studying half the material so that you can get a C+ on the test of your life, just so that you can pass. I did that in high school sometimes. And everything leads to a consequence. I am learning now, on the mission, that the amount of work that I put into what I desire will affect the outcome. This outcome will reflect my internal desire. Getting by is not good enough for the Lord. That's why we need to take some vision tests and self- assess ourselves daily. Study, pray and ponder daily. It doesn't always have to be about spiritual things, even. Think about a choice you are about to make and then think, what will my 40-year-old self think of this? Option one, "wow I was such a goofball when I was younger. Why did I even think that way?" OR, option 2 says the following, "Yes, I was a rockstar in being wise." Our hope needs to widen and our disposition to do well in all that we do needs to grow. Study, ponder and pray, but with a desire to do well. Have faith and be strong. Don't let the little challenges drag you down. They add up really fast! Work hard and the blessings will follow.
Branch activities with the youth. Recent convert Didi going for the goal.