Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Missionary work: hard work all day; all work, no play

Letter 8-25-08

FYI. – We were finally able to post Adam’s pictures – look at the last two letters if you want to see them. :-)

Actually, today I will have to be a little bit shorter, because today, for the second time in my mission, I am going to do something "fun" for p-day. Today we are going to downtown Rio. Not to the big Christ statue or anything, but we are going to get a train and leave the favelas for a little bit and see the ritzy side of the city. I am excited!

for a quick update on our investigators, this Sunday was a tuffy...but the good news is that we have a baptism marked for this Saturday! Nilza will be baptized!! Nilza is the wife of an inactive man in the ward called André. André wants to come back to church, so we went over to their house a few weeks ago and taught them both about how the church was restored. For some reason, Nilza wanted to be baptized. I shared with them the things that I remember from my family that helped us be strong in the church- family prayer and scripture study, and challenged them to do the same. They did. Every night they read a few verses of the BoM together and are teaching their 4 year old daughter how to pray every night in family prayer. She would have been baptized earlier BUT André works every other day, which means every other Sunday. They live very far away from the church and so it has been tough for her to come to church by bus w/o André with her. Finally this Sunday she got there on her own, there by completing her preparation for baptism. They are such a cool family.

As for the family of 7...you see, the dad is a member that is returning to church now, but the wife has some weird ideas and doesn’t want the kids to be baptized, or even go to church on Sunday. We are doing our best to support the sons so that they continue listening and going to church. The oldest is starting to think more seriously about being baptized, but the situation is becoming complicated there. My experience has shown that the key to help is the members. As missionaries, we are teachers, but there are simply certain things that we cannot do. The testimony of a missionary, powerful as it may be, doesn’t come close to the testimony of a “regular” member, even if it is a simple testimony. The investigator immediately wonders why that member would say that, and how they know it is true. The members also can show by example, the very best teaching method, how a family can be happy, and how the gospel blesses families. So the members, obviously just as thrilled by the idea of 5 baptisms as we are, are going to work - family home evenings, help them find good jobs, soccer nights at the church; they are doing incredible work with this family. Unfortunately, bc of the spilt support at home only 2 of the sons went to church yesterday. I’ll update you next week.

MOM- you, my dear lady, are super awesome!!! Man, I feel the same way. Sometimes I get to church, all stressed about if the people that we invited will actually come, so I miss the goodness that comes in the meetings. Recently, I decided to make sure that I work my tail off to help them get to church - call them and visit them, whatever it takes, and then, when I get to church, I relax and know that the preparation the I did was the best I could and knowing that if they go or not, it is ultimately their choice. So I relax, enjoy, and learn. I find that when I do this the Lord inspires me with ideas of things to teach investigators or missionaries. I feel the spirit confirming the things that I did well, and teaching me what I could do better the next week. It becomes that promised "day of rest". (well, for us it is at least a few hours of rest. :) ) I guess that right now I am learning, and it is tough, to "exactly" follow the spirit. I guess it’s like the Nike slogan, just do it!

DAD- you, my old man, almost made me cry. I guess that I never really realized that you went to church for a few months without really wanting to be baptized, or learn more. It is funny, because I see the same things in many people that I teach that struggle. They look at other people and wonder why they are so happy. One of the young men in that big family that we are teaching said that he liked being with the members because they are so “pure”. Like they honestly are happy bc of the things that they say. They don’t do the things that others do, but are happy any way. I loved your email.

One thing that we are doing now is talking a lot with members. We talk about how they were converted. We ask, "What helped you in deciding to be baptized?" Almost always they say how it was the visits of the members, or the testimony of the members, or FHE in someone’s house, or somebody at work was reading the BoM and they asked what it was. When they tell us this, we tell them to do the same - BE the kind of member that helps others in the same way that THOSE members helped you. I think that is SO COOL that my dad is a convert, bc I LOVE CONVERTS!!

ALYCE- hmm, i didn’t get anything from you this week, probably a misfire. Oh well. Have fun in college, missy.

love elder helland

PS WOW- that package was incredibly EXCELLENT!! I am wearing the pinkish tie right now!! That toothbrush blew me away!! Elder Sidney thought it was cool too. ( I didn’t let him use it... when I opened it I put it on his jaw, so he could catch the "good vibrations". I have never heard the song before, but besides that it was awesome beyond all belief!!!!! )

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