Hi Family and Friends!
It´s good to hear that you are all safe and sound. First off, I´d like to wish a Parabéns to my good brother Dave. Happy Birthday bro. 17 already. Pretty soon you´ll be heading to the mission too. Maybe you´ll even go to Brazil! Sounds like Dave´s play was a success and the week was a really good time. I really like Mom´s observation about the long skinny branches of the tree breaking off during the snow. As we try to serve the gospel, we need to follow as close as we can to the pure, true doctrine of Christ, and not focus on nit-picking or "deep doctrine". As Irmão Douglas put it yesterday, half-truths remove the Spirit.
A few weeks ago in a church meeting, our Deacon´s Quorum President who´s 13 years old said a phrase that I think marked this week pretty well. "Keep going just a little bit more isn´t the gospel princple, but perservere until the end". Sometimes, things aren´t going to go so well, and you can´t hope that everything will get better quickly. In life, we´re not in it to find success for the next week, or the next month, the next year, or even the next decade, but to find an eternal success in the kingdom of God. This week was tough. We knocked a lot of doors and took a lot of no´s this week, but even though we didn´t have much success, we have found a lot of little victories that add up over time. One would be the delicious milk-shakes that they make here. Another would be the pair of sweet R$10,00 ($3.50) pants that I found in a thrift shop last p-day, or the barbecue that a member gave us for lunch on the 21st (which is a Brazilian holiday called Tiradentes. Who knew?). Or my great companion who puts up with all of my lame jokes. And as you look back, you realize that in spite of the problems, you had a good week.
Our greatest victory, perhaps, would be that of one of our longest-standing investigators, Nei. He had been smoking a pack a day (20 cigarettes) for years, until 2 weeks ago, andtoday, he hasn´t smoked at all. Through prayer, the scriptures, and the power of the Spirit, I have seen a miracle in Nei´s life. It´s not easy to give up an addiction like this, but with God´s help, all is possible.
In Moroni 9:6, it says the following, "And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease tolabor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God. ".
Although sometimes we face set backs, trials, and other difficulties, I know that I am in the Lord´s service. It is a commandment to preach the gospel unto all the world, and it´s hard to get discouraged when you have such a wonderful cause to serve. My life is great and I´m happy. I know that with the Lord´s help, even when times are hard, I will succeed.