Monday, April 28, 2014

Ready, set, smile!

Daiane's baptism - from a few weeks ago
Happy Easter!
Hi everyone,
This week I don't have too much to say. I´m not sure why. We had an excellent week of work but I feel like sometimes I say the same things over and over again. One of the few phrases that I have been thinking about is: Do what you love, be obedient, be fun, and always keep a smile on your face... just be happy! Obedience to the gospel brings true inner success. You can never go wrong with the gospel.

Things I've learned this past week:
The summary: The gospel is easy to hear and to fulfill. But remember effort, for that is what determines our outcome. And take care of the gospel and the privilege it is to know of the gospel. I want to hear your feedback on these scriptures.

Alma 37:11
Now these mysteries are not yet fully made known unto me; therefore I shall forbear. --don´t explain things you don´t know. 

ALMA 37:43 And now, my son, I would that ye should understand that these things are not without a ashadow; for as our fathers were slothful to give heed to this compass (now these things were temporal) they did not prosper; even so it is with things which are spiritual.
 44 For behold, it is as easy to give heed to the aword of Christ, which will point to you a straight course to eternal bliss, as it was for our fathers to give heed to this compass, which would point unto them a straight course to the promised land.
 45 And now I say, is there not a atype in this thing? For just as surely as this director did bring our fathers, by following its course, to the promised land, shall the words of Christ, if we follow their course, carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise.
 46 O my son, do not let us be aslothful because of the beasiness of the cway; for so was it with our fathers; for so was it prepared for them, that if they would dlook they might elive; even so it is with us. The way is prepared, and if we will look we may live forever.
47 And now, my son, see that ye take acare of these sacred things, yea, see that ye blook to God and live. Go unto this people and declare the word, and be sober. My son, farewell.
And now for some pictures.  Finally.
Baseball on p-day. I am showing our baiano comps in our apartment wiffle ball and we are throwing around the baseball after we wake up, and on p-day we play 2 on 2 wiffle ball. It's been a good stress reliever to throw the ball and run around the bases. 

Easter egg fun

glue stick boredom

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter Sweetness

Easter is just so great. I was called to give a last minute talk in my ward and I truly "spirit" winged it. I didn't just wing it because I did pray before walking up to the pulpit. It felt so good to be complimented on my Portugues but at the same time I know that my English is going down hill super fast. This blog probably looks like a foreigner is writing about his travels but can't express himself so well in his 2nd language. The sad part is my native language is my weakness. Through the Savior's sacrifice I know I can become better ;) No but really, lets talk about this "ultimate sacrifice" as the prophet Alma puts it. Why is it the ultimate?

It is the ultimate because it is the greatest act of charity the world has ever seen and it was the last time anyone will have to sacrifice something living to suffice the demands of justice. We truly live on mercy. Even when we fall, the grace of God is sufficient for all who humble themselves before Him. Easter lets us be humble. Easter enables us to do marvelous things. A soul can be healed through the atonement of Christ and crying eyes can be dried as we rejoice in Christ. This is our sacrifice: humility and service. We must dedicate ourselves to the service of others.

If you are one of my friends, or someone that doesn't know me personally, or not even religious, this state of mind works to bring peace to mankind. Humility and service to those we love and .... to those we do not know, so that we can love them, too. We all want peace, right? Well, where does peace come from? Is it an invisible force that we cannot define because we cannot see it?  Or is it something divine? I know it is divine because I have seen with my own eyes how the atonement of Christ has changed a killer to a pacifist, a homeless pot smoker to a six-day-a-week professional worker, an alcoholic to become a family man, and I have seen myself change from a frivolous teenager to someone who knows what it will be like on the other side.

My testimony of the atonement becomes more sound everyday as I serve those I love and those I don't know so that I can love them. We cannot say we love everyone when we don't strive to get to know them. Strive to get to know everyone this Easter season. As you do you will feel a little bit of what it was like when Christ atoned for us in the Garden of Gethsemane as he prayed for every...single....being. He got to know us. I imagine this is partly how he was able to perform that great act of charity. Because of him I can be redeemed and become a better person in general. If you don't believe in God, take hold upon my words and let this seed of faith that I have tried to plant on the website grow within you -- then cultivate it! You will see how a life well-lived is delicious because it sprouts good fruit. I guarantee you that you can find refuge and the light that you may lack in Christ. I find it. What I find that is good, I eat and hold real tight to the taste.

Love to everyone,

Monday, April 14, 2014

Estação BATISMO!

This week was awesome. BATISMO! But I forgot my camera at home so next week you'll all get to see last Sunday´s baptism. We got to Estação, whitewash (starting from scratch or zero) because an elder had to go back home, and prayed and prayed that we could find someone searching for the restored gospel. When you pray really hard with vigor, the outcomes seem so easy as your give thanks to the Lord everyday for your blessings. 

A young man from the ward (Chris) has regularly been inviting his aunt over for the end of the week day and weekends. For a good time she never wanted to attend church with her nephew until our very first Sunday. Everything just turned out so right. Daiane tagged along with Chris and his friends and absolutely loved all three hours of church. Being new in the area,  I didn't know that she was a first time visitor but I felt the strong prompting to go and talk to the young men and women of the ward to get to know them. I slowly worked my way into the conversation until I caught everyone's attention and then asked the blunt (but useful) question, "who´s a member and who´s not?" Yup, the question worked out because, basically the whole group gave a quick head swing in Daiane´s general direction. THAT ONE'S NOT. Gotcha Daiane. 

From that moment till now she's a different person. Her parents sent her out to Araucaria to get some new friends and to find some direction in her life. At first she did not want to ask her parents because her father is a Baptist pastor. When she told her parents that she passed the baptismal interview, they shouted for joy over the phone and exclaimed that they had been praying so she could find a new life. They told her that their prayers were answered through Chris and the missionaries. She was baptized yesterday and received her Young Women's personal progress and new scriptures. da hora. She also commented that the prophet answered her prayers and on-going doubts. Chris´s mom was at the baptism as well and is now hearing the discussions. Families can be forever.....yesssssss.

Disclaimer: This baptism would not have happened if the members didn't invite their friends. To all of the members at home -- Please just invite your friends to church, it makes the work so much easier. (I almost wrote more easier, but Elder Torrescano from Washington caught me.....Portguês life) Oh yeah, these next 6 months you have to think of a family that you will invite to watch General Conference at the chapel. 

Oh, I forgot. Elder Torrescano from my MTC zone is my new companion. We are on fire. But I hurt my foot today so the walking might be a little slow. It's going to be a great transfer.  

Elder Forsyth 

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Load is Needed to get you Unstuck


I find myself laughing into a little ball when I hear dorky American slang from my Brasilian friends here, because it has been a while since someone has told me to "chill out," "get with the times" or "take it easy."  I don't know why, but several members from the Estação ward have been talking to me in English, showing off their "american-side-comment" skills. 

It has been a good week and to finish it out, I have felt the spirit so brightly in my heart as I heard the words and voices of the prophets. This time I dropped off my investigators in the chapel and I watched conference in the secretary´s office because Elder Skousen still has some difficulty understanding Portugues when spoken quickly.  It was a blessing to hear the sweet sound of Thomas S. Monson's voice as he guided us to love one another as Jesus has loved us so unconditionally.  I hope that everyone at home will heed the words of our modern day prophets, never forgetting the feelings and thoughts that we all hopefully jotted down, and carry on in righteousness helping others feel the light of Christ.

This week I got a letter from my brother, Eric. It was a talk that he gave in church a couple of weeks back.  I really appreciated the thoughts that he gave as he showed how the Light of Christ is like a mechanism that urges us to choose the right but still gives us our unchangeable right to choose. As we ponder our decisions, we will find that we have innumerable choices that define our day. Some just change our day a little bit, such as,"what am i going to eat to today." Well actually, this question changes a lot for an American missionary in Brasil. This question helps a missionary decide if he wants stomach problems and diarrhea for two days. But I digress.  We have so many choices -- some lead to life changers and some lead to gastric journeys. Think of how many choices you have. Then think how many times something guided you to make a decision and it turned out right.  At times we will be guided to make decisions that change our character. These decisions often lead to a path full of challenges.  But you will come out a champion and leave despair behind if, IF, you carry on in faith and righteousness. 

My favorite talk from conference came from the apostle that usually speaks to me the most. I can't say favorite because God is no respecter of persons, but this man sure knows how to help me out when I need it. Here is the talk that helped me understand why burdens and loads help us grab traction in the snowy tempests of our life:

Listen to me, everyone. When everything seems like it is going wrong and your choices lead you to get stuck, leaving you thinking, "this is impossible to get out of,"  remember, "I will not just sit here." We must try again and again, applying power and making goals. Remember, it was the load of wood that provided the traction necessary for him to get out of the snow to get back on the road and to move forward.  It was the load that enabled him to return to his family and to his home. Brothers and sisters, each of us carries a load. Demands and opportunites. Struggles and blessings.  "Is the load that I am carrying providing the spiritual traction that will enable me to press forward with faith in Christ on the straight and narrow path so that I can get out of being stuck?  Sometimes we mistakenly believe that happiness is the lack of loads in our life. Wrong. Loads are a principle part of the plan of happiness that God has created." This was one of the special phrases that touched me. We have difficulties so we can learn for ourselves. So, when you feel stuck, remember there is always a way to get out of it through the atoning sacrifice of our loving and abiding Savior. You just need to accept Him and repent daily. It will all turn out right as President Monson and President Hinckley have repeatedly explained to us in prior conferences. 

I then finally understood what Jesus was saying in Matthew 11 that his "yoke" is easy. Now I know. Watch the video to understand these incredible and vital life-lessons. 

Things I noticed at conference:

Elder Rasband's baseballl tie that he sported well. Way to go, Elder. I love the personal general authority style. 

Elder Uchtdorf looks the same every conference and speaks English so well. I was wowed as I watched various men speak in front of the world in their second language using professional vernacular. I realize how very far I am from being able to do that, as I work on my language skills. 

The spirit of the Lord lifts men to great heights. Boyd K. Packer and Robert D. Hales showed me this as they let the spirit of the Lord talk through them even if it is the only strength they have. I was truly amazed when I saw their determination. 

I felt prompted to write down the following in my notes when I heard Elder Erying's talk. "We need to run away from temptation as Joseph from Egypt ran from Potifer´s beautiful and sneaky wife. Good. Run run run run run. There are those who run and there are those as well who hunt the father of lies down so that he stays far away from those who wish to run. Often, our Heavenly Father will rely on his children to chase Satan from places that should be held holy, like homes and families. Help others to choose the right by guiding them to the right choices. We need to be ready so that the promptings of the Holy Ghost come through us as we help someone stuck and in despair. Show the light of Christ in all that you do, and be an example of the believers that others can look upon you and see attributes of the Savior. Hunt down Satan and chase him out." I don't remember exactly what President Erying said, but this is what I wrote down more or less.

Elder Forsyth

p.s. stay sweet and follow the prophet. Mosiah 5:1-7. What we should do after conference? I had an awesome lesson with the youth from the Araucária and Estação ward. We just talked about what we should do with our feelings and beliefs after the prophets have spoken.