Monday, August 25, 2014

Story Time (and recipe time)

Story #1
Alright, so there´s a man who lives in our area and his name is Vigilato. He is a music radio broadcaster here in São José dos Pinhais. His colleague invited him to a sacrament meeting 8 months ago and ever since then he has grown spiritually in the gospel. Well, to a certain point. He hasn't been able to get himself into the baptismal font with ease. He has been attending church in a another ward on the southern side of the city because his friend lives there. Several missionaries have tried but have not been able to mark a baptismal date with him. Last week Elder House told me about him and I felt the urge from the spirit saying, "GO TO HIS HOUSE AND INVITE HIM TO BE BAPTISED." It was like the spirit was giving me a right hook to the face because I spit out the words, "nós temos que ir lá....séi lá... hoje" ("we've gotta go") so we did. The best part was that I was able to interview him right on the spot because I hadn't taught him in the past. 

To make a long story short and to not include the confidential details of the interview, I was able to mark a baptismal date with him. The best was that it will be on his birthday. When the calender date left my mouth, he looked at me, gave me a smooth radio broadcaster chuckle and said, "you have no idea how many times I have joked around with the missionaries, telling them that I would get baptised on my birthday." I then told him he was a personal prophet and he thought my awkward religion joke was funny. He doesn't laugh too much. Just when he tells a joke or when a missionary hits his funny bone. So when he lets out a radio broadcaster laugh I feel good about myself. I know that I was prepared to teach, interview and encourage him to be baptised because of my obedience to the Lord. é simplesmente isso. 

We are helping a lot of other people prepare to be baptised and the work is growing. Working with members is a blast because you get to sit in a car and get driven around to your appointments. I know. It seems like my life is really sad. But, to tell you the truth, my legs are tired. 

Yesterday, our ward was split and Elder House and I are opening up a new ward. ALA PARQUE DA FONTE. The Park Fountain Ward. I am super psyched about it. I don't have any pictures of the sweet zone activity we planned today. Elder House and I made 5 pizzas and slurpies. 

How to make a Brasilian slurpy
Freeze some oranges (3-4) and freeze some orange juice into little ice trays. Buy Fanta. When the fruit juice and the oranges are frozen put them in the blender and go at it.  It makes a perfect blend.  Who knew that frozen oranges makes perfect slurpy material? I´ll have to bring home the little Tang packets they sell in the supermarket. They are 89 centavos and delicious. The flavor is way more fruity and realistic than the USA product. 89 centavos is about 40 cents per packet. Suuuuuuper cheap. We also made a passion fruit juice (maracuja), played some hoops and then threw the frisbee around by the field.  I was in heaven. Passionfruit heaven. 

Funny story --  we reactivated Paulo, a man who as been inactive for 39 years. He now puts our house in his daily walk route and gives us some fresh apples and guavas. He likes to hit me really hard on the shoulder to tell me he loves me, so I don't mind. 

Singing on the street
We are catching peoples' ears, and then contacting them. Sometimes people then ask you to sing a hymn. My voice is improving because we are singing a lot for our less actives. 

Elder Forsyth

Monday, August 18, 2014

Spelunking for personal revelation

"Preach the first principles of the Gospel - preach them over again; you will find that day after day new ideas and additional light concerning them will be revealed to you. You can enlarge upon them so as to comprehend them clearly.  You will then be able to make them more plainly understood by those you teach."

é verdade. I asked my mom to pray so that I can increase my concentration skills while I teach people and study  the gospel. A couple of days ago I was walking from one appointment to the other and so many simple principles filled my mind that I hadn't recognized before, as I pondered about the spirit I felt while I taught. The spirit and the way it touches us is such a basic mórmon principle. We believe that we can receive personal revelation as we seek diligently and ponder the mysteries of God. 

1 Nephi 10. As a missionary, sometimes you think you know a lot about how to teach or how to explain a gospel principle perfectly, but the spirit nourishes with a more divine knowledge if you search more and more. Here´s what I think about this phrase, mom. I´m spelunking in a pitch black cave full of treasures and all I have to do is turn my head lamp. Some treasures cannot be shown or spoken of to others because the Lord reveals certain principles because of certain searching steps. Many people want to gain more knowledge without study and many people want to earn great rewards without working and preparing. This is the enemy´s plan and we cannot listen to his cunning and persuasive comments. As we find spiritual treasures of the Lord, He will reveal them to us through the gift of the Holy Ghost and we will recognize the promptings if we are patient and persistent.

But to find the treasures we have to descend into the cave. Revelation doesn't come it you don't dedicate yourself. We receive more revelation if we are pure of heart and spiritually worthy of the Lord´s guidance. 

The right knots and carabiners help you discover new things without danger. But without the knots and the climbing gear we can get lost in revelation (the cave) that does not make sense to our un-prepared mind and spirit. 

A phrase that I read in Dad´s notebook - "the battle is one in the tent of the general" helps me understand planning and execution according to the plan a lot better.

Knowledge has two paths. Arrogance and the misuse of sacred information, or humility and the protection of sacred information. The beforehand preparation that is done through scripture study, prayer and self assessments helps you stay on the road less traveled by. 

Remember this guy?
He's going on a mission next year!  Woo hoo!

Some silly pictures:
Eagle scouts with their American fried chicken

The Gecko
Chasing down The Gecko

Monday, August 11, 2014

Brasilian missionary culture and my Indie moment

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Light Reading

The "plan of salvation" gates in front of Parque da Fonte. It's a huge forest right by our home -- we pass by it every day.
This week was exceptional. Presidente has been stressing how the mission needs to teach "people" and not just "lessons." The mission fell into a teaching routine that wasn't really helping investigators progress because we weren't teaching them the doctrinal portion that was needed in the moment when the spirit can testify.  We have been receiving a lot of training and have been practicing a bunch to make our discussions dynamic and more like a conversation than a lecture. This has been put into practice slowly but surely and we are seeing a great difference. More people have the desire to read The Book of Mormon and attend church with us. This week we had a miraculous 15 investigators at church. Five went at our invitation and the other 10 showed up because of a relative's baby blessing. We showed up to sacrament meeting and saw a bunch a non-members filling up the first two rows. Elder House and I gave each other a look of, "who are these people?" The best part is that the majority of them live in our area and have several other contacts than just the relative. It seems that they used to be co-workers with a recent convert who got baptized just 3 months ago. I am feeling a Doylestown baptism chain that happened many years ago when I was much younger. Our friends that we are teaching are progressing because of our new teaching style.  It makes it easier to focus on the doctrine and sometimes it gets exciting.
Elders Forsyth and House

I've been working on changing my normal teaching style to a more interesting conversation full of simple yet deep questions that help others understand and explain better the principles that we teach. Wooo, so much fire. Ou seja, temos muito fogo (in other words, we have a lot of fire.)  You will enjoy this true story:

I was studying about patience a couple days ago and I found that the opposite of patience is frustration or the act of giving up. These two emotional antagonists come from pride and confusion. The fulfilling protagonists on the other side are humility and clarity. Clarity comes from divine planning. Darkness doesn't have power because it only means that there is a lack of light. Light will always exist. But the darkness thrives when we don't search for the light. Light will show itself in a pitch black room when you open the door. Light isn't something that you can make from nothing. It will always come from a greater source that controls the universe and isn't man-made. For example, if we didn't have the the large gas ball called the sun, we would die. The sun controls our days. Here is what I have discovered:  if we can just understand a portion of the humility and willingness of our Savior, our weaknesses will be shown clearly and we will know what must be done to overcome them. Frustration doesn't need to be the result of a difficulty. Frustration comes when you do not rely on the great power that generates clarity and light. Pride and frustration come when you haven't planned. Patience with those who have let you down is called charity and charity is the pure love of Christ which lights our world and gives us life. It never fails. Our life will never "fail" if we rely on His redeeming and enabling atoning powers. Sometimes people want instant solutions when they forget that patience is a celestial virtue that is constantly needed.

We are teaching a lot of "espiritas" (spiritualists) that come from the "espiritismo" (spiritism) religion. This religion was founded by Alan Kardec -- they believe in reincarnation. It has been a great opportunity to study about the Atonement of Christ.

love, Elder Forsyth

p.s. muitas saudades de casa