If anybody was ever wondering why I put "boom" at the beginning of ever letter, it is because I like to think that John Madden is announcing the arrival of my letter. Hehe!
I thought that the format of this weeks letter would be well put in the form of a few thank you letters.
First, THANK YOU FAMILY for the wonderful Christmas packages that I did receive this week. When I picked them up from the mission staff building we had to take a bus back to our area during the middle of traffic. We waited for an hour for the bus to arrive. When it did, my friend Elder Squire guarded one box for me while I had the BIG box. This bus was FULL, really full. So full that when I tried to get on the bus their literally was no space to stand, let alone place a big box on the floor. I actually only had one foot on the bus, one foot off, one hand holding on and the other wrapped around the package when the bus began to leave!!!! I almost fell off the platform and into traffic! Luckily I had a tight grip and I held on for about 30 seconds until someone was kind enough to move and find space for me. Regardless.............. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE PACKAGES!!!! EVERYTHING IS ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC!!!!
Thank you to the men and women of the Tillamook Cheese Factory who, through the grace of my mother, have provided me with possibly the most loved brick of milk product of all time!!! That loaf of cheese took a beating in the shipping process but oh how it tasted divine!!!!!
Thank you for the powerful stain fighting action of Oxiclean, which has given my shirts new life, as well as a new smell (oxiclean smell, not Brazil smell.)
Thank you to Tylenol for being a friend when the sun is not! Thank you to gravy for adding new life to the same potatoes!!!
Thank you to fruitsnacks. You have truly proven your worth as an anti-hunger in-church snack, anti-crying child device, and as the most delicious "packing peanut" the world has yet to see. Continue being the best!
Thank you Sriracha!!!!! The best food enhancing spice that man or beast has tasted!!! You are now a constant back-pack companion who turns the same rice and beans into exciting party friends for my taste buds. You have also served well in soup, on chicken, and on slices of fantastic cheese!!!!
Thank you JIF!!!! Your peanut butter is a neccessary companion to any missionary who wishes to remain sane after those long hard days!! Your chunky, salty flavor has been most welcomed as a singular plate of food, as well as a perfect companion to fantastic cheese!!! ( yes, peanut butter on cheese is amazing!)
Thank you Mama Collier for the wonderful letter!!! It was so good to here from you and all about home and how my second family is doing. I am so glad to hear about the good things that are going on at home!! Missionary Mondays sound fantastic!!!! Glad to contribute!
Thank you Siarra for the little but all important gifts that you sent me. Chapstick is always welcome! I am also man enough to admit that the cuticle cream you sent has helped my sundried fingers feel much more loved!!! Thank you for those home comforts that really make Christmas come alive away from home!
Thank you Lacamas Creek Ward Young Women for the great letters and candy. I can assure you it was very delicious and I am very grateful. The stories of sitting under the spruce goose made me a bit jealous.... however for future reference for all, jolly ranchers are a no go here in Brazil. I have never seen ants find food so fast in my life. I seriously set them down for 5 minutes, and ants engulfed the candy! It was nuts!!!
Thank you Aunt Kierstin!!!!!!! Your Christmas card nearly made me cry!! I loved the photos of Max, Mikaela, and Mia. They all have grown up soo much and I really miss them a ton. I actually showed my mission president and a with a few members your card because I just loved it so much! They all agreed you have a beautiful, happy family.
There are really so many other things that I am grateful for this week, but I am especially grateful for the gift of humility. "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their aweakness. Ibgive unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my cgrace is sufficient for all men that dhumble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make eweak things become strong unto them." This scripture from the Book of Mormon has truly become a source of edification for me this past week. Things on the mission are hard. Really hard. This week I just really felt overwhelmed a few times will all the difficulties that exist here for these people and how some people just do not want help. I felt really weak, powerless, and useless. I felt like no matter how much I left here in Brazil, it all would not matter because there would still be a ton of problems. But this scripture really touched me in a way I cannot really write. But I just know that the Lord is listening to prayers. Honest, truthful, heart-bearing prayers. I know this from experience. NEVER forget the importance of prayer.
"And now, my beloved brethren, I perceive that ye ponder still in your hearts; and it grieveth me that I must speak concerning this thing. For if ye would hearken unto the aSpirit which teacheth a man to bpray, ye would know that ye must cpray; for the devil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray." 2 Nephi 32:8, Book of Mormon.
Thank you for all your prayers and love. I truly feel them here with me. No one receives more prayers on his behalf than a missionary. I know this more and more every day.
Eu amo voçês
Elder Asa Laws