Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Mais uma semana

Oi familia!

Sorry I didn´t write yesterday. I had to go to a meeting in Campinas,
so p day is today instead!

Anyways its been a great couple weeks here in Itupeva. One of the
most special moments of my mission came when Gabriel bore her
testimony after getting confirmed. It was so fun to see her share her
personal experience of coming to learn of the divinity of the Gospel.
Like President Hinkley said, the miracle of conversion is honestly one
of the greatest miracles. People get a tiny testimony of the truth,
and change their entire lives to act on it. So great to be a part of
it all.

The biggest challenge here in Brazil is retention. There are a lot of
missionaries that baptize, baptize, and baptize. Too be honest, it´s
not hard to find people who want to be baptized. But a lot of times
we forget that the gospel is so much more than baptism, it´s literally
a change of heart (see Mosiah 5). Yesterday President told us that
conversion retention in Brazil is 5%! Practically nothing at all. So
we really have our work cut out for us in finding people that will
stay, and helping new members stay strong.

And the trick to all of it is the Book of Mormon. At least for me.
It´s honestly been quite a different experience here in Brazil for me
because there are so many people that have huge faith in Christ, and
are absolutely converted to their evangelical church. So converted
that they even go out and prosilite, and so when they see us, they are
like, Cool, we do the same thing as you, followed up by a phrase like
`só um Deus`. It was really honestly hard for a while and a lot of
times I questioned what makes us any different from them? What makes
our church different? A lot of people like to say prophets and
apostles, but there are a lot of churches who believe in their own
prophets here, so really, what is the difference? The answer is the
Book of Mormon. It really is God´s proof to the world. He knew how
many Christian churches there would be, and he knew the confusion it
would cause, so he gave us the Book of Mormon. And like Nephi says,
if we believe in Christ we will believe in the Book of Mormon. Anyone
who reads on a daily basis will grow and mantain a strong testimony.
That is our responsibility. To gain this testimony for ourselves, and
help others do the same.

Well I hope you know I´m loving life. It´s so tiring, so exhausting,
and sometimes I have days I just want to go home, but almost without
fail, I come home to a nice hot house and am just happy. Sometimes it
seems without reason, but I know it´s because I´m doing what the Lord
wants.

I love you all, hope it´s snowing a lot for all of you there, and hope
you have a great Christmas season. Might be a good idea to get a
Skype account all set up as well :). Send me some snow if you can!

Love,

Evan

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