Yes, this was another great week and I am so happy to be here in Manaus. So this week I really wanted to talk to all of you about something for which a I am extremely grateful. The Holy Spirit! So far on my mission, I have been so wonderfully blessed to be able to develop an ear and heart that listens for that still small voice and I felt impressed to share with all of you a few things that I have discovered about the Spirit. I hope that what I have learned might be able to help one of you recognize more in your life, these heavenly impressions that I have found to be so vital in my life.
I have noticed that the spirit speaks distinctly different than my own personal thoughts and feelings. When an impression comes I have noticed that the nature of the message, the syntax, and method of logical order is different than what I could come up with personally. I have found that generally the things I have felt prompted to say or do have been very small, normal things that are not really unusual. The distinct difference in discerning the spirit from my own thoughts and feelings was how each impression came, how it felt, and what its consequences are when followed. I have learned that all that is good comes from heaven and that if one performs miracles or receives inspiration, it is through and from the powers of heaven that those miracles and messages are received. Thus, if a man touches the heart of another then he must have touched that heart through and by the holy spirit.
So then if I as a missionary help someone understand the true nature of our Lords gospel, it is only through and by that same spirit that the miracles has been performed. By understanding this I have been able to look back at those moments in my mission and life and see how I felt, how I received that impression, and what happened in direct consequence to what was said or done. By perceiving these things I have begun to understand and notice HOW the spirit spoke to me and how I can see to have that spirit again.
However, in doing so I have also learned that perspective is the key. Just as one mans trash is another mans treasure the one who is looking for miracles will find them in places where others will not. The trash, or everyday coincidence of one man, can truly be an angelic message for the penitent soul. Those who ask, receive; but how shall they receive if they refuse to look.
Because of this, I have been blessed to see the work of God performed through the words of my companion. As he speaks, I trust that what he is saying is the truth, sent from heaven to be heard at that time. I feel the power of his words as they touch my heart, as well as the hearts of others. I see the influence that the spirit has on the people after he speaks. I notice that when I have no more to say, that when the spirit has not told me what is to be done, he has received that inspiration. I am so grateful for Elder Christiansen and how much he has taught me.
The work here has become wonderfully more active now that we are striving more to follow what the president has taught. He has told us to teach part-member families; to bring these families into activity and to help them be come whole in the gospel, also to receive the blessings of the temple. That is our focus and we have been blessed with 3 wonderful families to teach. I am confident all will soon become eternal families through the blessing of the temple in Manaus.
As great side notes; my companion has bought a soccer ball and I can now practice juggling again. I can get about 7 on average, but my record is 17! Elder Christiansen always gets more than 15. We also love masking french toast and yesterday he made 9 slices for himself!! Then, he tried eating all of them in the same bite!!! It was quite funny.
Anyways my mission has been great. I love this people. Really I have been noticing how much Brazil has become a part of me. When I started my mission, so much was new and foreign and it was going to stay that way. Now with one year under my belt I have just come to be apart of Brazil. I love it here. I love the language, the people, the music (well, just bossa nova and samba.) I am hoping that for the rest of my life I can always be a little bit Brazilian.
Eu vos amo,
Elder Asa Laws