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:
(go down to the bottom for a thumbnail link...)
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.
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.