So I dare you all to tell me which Disney movie I have quoted this week!
Work Work Work!!! That is really what a mission comes down to. You have to be willing to work and not just any work. The Lords work, His way. I have really been thinking about this and I really never knew how to work before the mission ( Yes Dad, You were right.) I knew how to be busy and to get stuff done fast and effectively. But there is another side to work. Extended, long term, hard work. Something you have to do for more than a few hours for a few days. That is right. Work means a ton of hours, for months, or years. We have been working more than I ever thought I would ever need to and man, I am TIRED.
This week was a pretty interesting week for me. I spent a lot of time thinking this week and really trying to understand who I really am. How am I to operate out here to most effective. I had a leadership training this past week and the president talked a lot about planning and doing. Not just trying and looking. He talked a lot about the spirit and how this work is really not lead by us, or him but by the spirit. It is lead by the Lord himself through direct revelation through the Holy Ghost to each and every missionary who is willing and worthy to listen. Well, I have been thinking about these elements and how I can apply them most. THEN, it hit me. Like a ton of bricks. BIG bricks. Something I had already known finally clicked. You just have to work and be obedient. Not work most of the time and follow the easiest rules. 100% commitment from morning break till that final phone call before bed time. Heck, for me I feel like I even have to work just to take a shower now!! I just really want to work my tail off. I want to be effective. I want to know exactly what I am supposed to, or else I am suffering lack of energy, water, and a surplus of Sun and rain for no reason at all. I am going to just love it all and try my hardest to be a tool for the spirit to touch these people. Already, I have seen the blessing of this.
We are still teaching Heliton and Maria. I believe I mentioned them in my last letter or so. They are a very humble couple with nothing and they are really searching for the truth. Also, they are pastors. Well, they came to church again and they asked me if I could help them out. He is unemployed and they have almost no food now. The gas for the stove ran out and the rainy season is coming. I was heartbroken and I said I would talk to the bishop. Well, our wonderful bishop gathered the leaders of the ward and they came with us on Sunday to Helitons house had a sort of interveiw/chat to determine what the ward could do for them. This was harsh meeting, a very harsh meeting. What it really came down to in the questions the bishop had was whether or not they were planning on accepting the messages we had and joining the church. He stated that whether they joined or not made no difference on what the ward would provide but he wanted to know because church headquarters can provide a lot more than the ward can. Basically, the couple said no. They said they "enjoyed the lessons and they loved learning more but they found church to be 'dry.'" Well, soon the ward leadership left and left me and my companion to pick up the pieces of what once was, what we thought, a growing testimony in this family. We taught "The Word of Wisdom", a health code the church follows that was given to the prophet Joseph Smith by revelation. It clearly states that coffee, tea (green and black), alcohol, smoking, and illegal drugs are to be avoided. It also states that mankind is to have a balanced diet with many fruits and vegetables. However, Heliton did not quite agree. He agreed that all of these things were true, except that coffee was not a vice for him so he does not need to give it up. I was pretty much heartbroken throughout the entire time and near the end I simply sat staring off into the jungle as the sun set and my companion tried to explain. Elder Carmo closed the lesson and asked for a prayer. Maria offered to give it but first she wanted to pray for me. She had noticed my distress (everyone noticed) and asked if she could "place her hands upon me to prayer for my name." I conceded and allowed her to do so. She grabbed me and called upon God to bless me to feel better. During this I was praying in my mind to know what to do. A thought came to mind " Grab her hands." I was stunned and did not really get it at first but I did so. As she finished I grabbed her hands, placed them together, and simply began to say exactly why I was so despaired at the moment. I hold this moment very sacred to me and I do not wish to share exactly what happened but here is what I will say; I told them that I felt they should be willing to accept an answer from God if he were to tell them to change their course. I told them I was so sad and wanted to cry because they were prepared by God to receive His gospel, and they were not willing to see with open hearts. I pleaded that they would leave behind their pride of what they had come to know to accept what God was willing to give them. It was an incredibly spiritual moment that I will never forget. They were definitely touched. We the closed with a prayer which Heliton gave and we left on the night trail back to the road to take us home.
However, we first had to pass by the house of Rodrigo. He is 18 and is married to a 16 year old girl in the ward, because he got her pregnant. We got to the house and where we would normally find a shy, awkward, inattentive Rodrigo ther was a new Rodrigo. I asked him what he thought we wanted to talk about. He said church, the Book of Mormon, and baptism. I said " maybe, but what do you want to HEAR about?" He said " Families." So we read the first verse of the Book of Mormon. I asked him questions about what he understood about "goodly parents" and what he could do to be the same way for his family. I think it really spoke to him. He realized he has to be better than any normal 18 year old kid. He had to grow up and be a goodly parent. My companion shared another verse from the Book of Mormon and Rodrigo accepted to pray about a date to be baptized. It was wonderful and I was exhausted.
I wish to add a part here about how amazing good juice is here. Really, I will miss fresh Lime or Mango or Açai. So the food here is always the same but the fruits and juice, they are sublime. I love it. Sorry mom, I dropped another kilo and am down to 64 (about 140 lbs). Oops. Even the ward noticed I am getting smallish. Do not worry!!! I have made a resolve to stuff my face with mores beans and rice!!! It will be done!!!!!!
It is beautiful here. I will send new photos this next week as I forgot my camera. All is well inches from the sun, here in Manaus.
Eu amo voçês
Elder Asa Laws